20 Great Axl Rose Quotes: Guns N' Roses Singer on Jail, Dancing, Therapy, More | Revolver

20 Great Axl Rose Quotes: Guns N' Roses Singer on Jail, Dancing, Therapy, More

"I hit L.A. with a backpack, a piece of steel in one hand, and a can of mace in the other"
axl-rose-guns-1992-michael-putland-getty-images.jpg, Michael Putland / Getty Images
Axl Rose, Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, Wembley Stadium, London, 1992
photograph by Michael Putland / Getty Images

Since Guns N' Roses' early days ruling the Sunset Strip to their eventual ascension to become one of the world's biggest rock acts one thing has been consistent: Axl Rose has never held his tongue. From onstage (and sometimes on-record) rants aimed at haters or journalists (or bandmates) to fiery press interviews to his latter day political "vote blue!" social media messages, throughout the years the flame-haired singer has consistently let the public in on his own storied history and fascinating opinions. Below are some of our favorite quotes from Rose, from heart wrenching to hilarious and everything in between.

"That hour-and-a-half or two-hour time period that I'm late going onstage is living hell, because I'm wishing there was any way on earth I could get out of where I am and knowing I'm not going to be able to make it. I'm late to everything. I've always wanted to have it written in my will that when I die, the coffin shows up a half-hour late and says on the side, like in gold, 'SORRY I'M LATE.'" –Rolling Stone, 1992

When asked if GN'R had anything in common with Iron Maiden: "I hope not … Your band's like a political thing. Your music, or your album is kind of like your political stance. Their's is completely different than ours." –Donnington Music Festival, 1988

"I hit L.A. with a backpack, a piece of steel in one hand, and a can of mace in the other, and guys were trying to sell me joints everywhere." –Headbanger's Ball, 1988

"I watch the crowd, and I watched the crowd for the other bands. Some of the metal bands, the crowd just kind of moves their fist. With us, we had them dancing, we had them bouncing, around, clapping – different songs they'd be doing different things." –Monsters of Rock interview, 1987

On dancing onstage: "I don't even know that I like what I do, I just look down at my feet and go, 'What am I doing now?' But I feel if I stand there, people will think, 'Oh, this is boring.' So I gotta do something." –Interview, 1987

"I feel that child abuse and sexual abuse … is kind of the key to why there are so many problems in the world today. The more books I read on it, and the more work I do on trying to overcome the problems that I had in my childhood that I accepted … I knew it was crazy, but I accepted it as normal behavior for my life, and I realize now that it wasn't normal behavior, and it's caused me to act in many ways because it's what I was trained, it's what I was taught, it's what I saw. My formative years were very ugly." –Interview, 1991

"Most peoples' actions, no matter how much they infuriate you, are definitely not worth what it's going to do to their human body if you shoot them … I don't think about shooting people if I go shooting." –MTV Interview, early 1990s

"Steven [Adler] didn't leave the band. Steven was fired." – MTV's Famous Last Words, 1990

On playing piano: "I started playing when I was really little, something my father wanted me to do because he regretted he hadn't taken piano lessons … Sometimes I'd sit there for a couple hours and I'd just make up things. I think I could have learned how to be a lot better if I'd have been more dedicated." –Interview, 1991

"I'm not a qualified therapist. I don't know a lot of shit about this, but I do know that we're in the Nineties, and I do know that if we're gonna make it for another 50 years on this planet, we gotta change our shit now." – On-stage speech, 1992

On going to jail in New York: "I basically spent my time writing autographs for cops and talking with them about rock n' roll." –MTV News interview, 1992

"I live, breathe, eat, walk, talk Axl. I knew in first grade I was going to change my name." –Interview, early 1990s

"I think it really has to do with what it takes to face that big of an audience. I wouldn't call it stage fright. It's something else, and to psyche yourself up for that, the old Guns doesn't seem to be able to do it without medication." –Rolling Stone, 2000


On Slash and the rest of the OG lineup: "The truth is, they're a bunch of bad cops and I'm the Serpico, and they can suck my dick." –On-stage rant, 2002

"You know what? I seriously want to open for U2. I really do. That's the fucking goal." –CBGB Interview, 1987

"I don't have anything necessarily against some of the bootlegs and photos and tapes, and that kind of deal, but the people that are bitching about the setlist, 'It's not the same setlist!' You know, some fuckhead from Iowa that doesn't even go to a show – I don't care about, I don't do one song for them. Not one note. Not one goddamn thing." –On-stage rant in Puerto Rico, 2006

"So let sleeping dogs lie or lying dogs sleep or whatever. Time to move on. People get divorced. Life doesn't owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another's, or in this case several others', expense."–-Open letter to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2012

"I'm not really a live performance guy. I'd rather watch sports on TV." –Interview, 2016

"Queen is the greatest band and Freddie [Mercury] is the greatest front man of all time." –Atlas2018

"I think saying you don't have any regrets has become a popular thing for a lot of pop stars or whatever over the years. But I never buy that. So yeah, there's things that could've been done better…or not." –Revolver, 2014