Duswalt claims that Rose’s behavior was never caused by disrespect to the fans. “The myth is that they’re always late, they don’t care about their audiences, their fans, because they go on late,” Duswalt told me. “But the reality is they do care about their fans, so much so that Axl wanted to put on the best show possible. That’s why sometimes he was late because he was not ready to go at the drop of a hat. He had to prepare and sometimes it took longer for him to get into the mindset to put on what he feels is the best show.”
The mindset that Rose had to get into was in fact a state of frenzy, because he carried the weight of delivering the Gun N’ Roses experience on stage. And that experience was all about intensity, danger, violence and mayhem. It was what the fans came for. Axl Rose told journalist Mick Wall in 1990, referencing prize fighter Mike Tyson’s biography Bad Intentions, “I relate what I do to what Tyson says about when he punches someone in the head. He says he imagines hitting ‘em so hard his fist knocks their nose bone right back into their brains. He says when he goes in the ring he does it with bad intentions. Well, that’s like me getting ready to start something, like going onstage. And you gotta make sure when you knock ‘em down they stay down.” Turning the rage on or off was not always easy.