Throughout his career, Axl Rose has been involved in a number of public feuds with other musicians, designers, talk show hosts, and even MTV. Despite these conflicts, Rose remains one of the most influential figures in the world of rock music, and Guns N’ Roses continues to be one of the best-selling bands of all time.
Axl Rose vs. Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain
In 1991, Rose took issue with Cobain wearing a shirt with the words “God Hates Guns” during a performance on “Saturday Night Live.” Rose perceived this as an attack on his band Guns N’ Roses and the two engaged in a public feud, with Cobain calling Rose “a real sexist pig” in interviews.
Axl Rose vs. Eminem
In 2002, Eminem released “The Return of Slim Shady” which featured a diss track aimed at Rose. Rose responded with an open letter posted on the Guns N’ Roses website, calling Eminem “a foul-mouthed, backward, ignorant, hateful, misogynistic, sexist and violent little man.”
Axl Rose vs. Steven Adler
Axl Rose and Steven Adler had a turbulent relationship as bandmates in Guns N’ Roses. They had physical fights and the drummer was eventually fired from the band due to his drug addiction. However, they seemed to have reconciled as Adler made appearances during Guns N’ Roses’ Not in This Lifetime tour in 2016.
Axl Rose vs. Motley Crue’s Vince Neil
Rose and Vince Neil’s drama started between GN’R guitarist Izzy Stradlin and Neil’s wife, who was an exotic dancer. Neil punched Stradlin after a GN’R performance, leading to Rose challenging Neil to a fight. The two singers publicly exchanged insults and challenges, but never actually fought.
Axl Rose vs. Mick Wall
Mick Wall, a rock writer, had issues with Guns N’ Roses lead singer Axl Rose. The feud started after an interview Wall conducted with Rose about his feud with Vince Neil. Wall had read the article back to Rose, who approved it, but later accused Wall of lying and misquoting him. This led to Wall being mentioned in a GNR song “Get in the Ring.” Despite the feud, Wall wrote a book about Rose and doesn’t hold the singer’s words against him, feeling sympathy for Rose’s mental health struggles.
Axl Rose vs. David Bowie
David Bowie had a history with Guns N’ Roses, some positive and others not so much. Bowie was in a relationship with Slash’s mother, Ola Hudson, and was present at the Cathouse when Guns N’ Roses were filming their video for “It’s So Easy.” Axl Rose reportedly punched Bowie and threatened to kill him after catching him hitting on Rose’s girlfriend, Erin Everly, who appeared in the video. However, the two later made up, and Rose even went out to dinner with Bowie and thanked him for being the first person to apologize for the situation.
Axl Rose vs. Dr. Phil
In 2007, Dr. Phil made comments about Rose’s appearance on his talk show, calling him “a big baby” for his erratic behavior. Rose responded by suing Dr. Phil for defamation and the lawsuit was eventually dismissed.
Axl Rose vs. Scott Weiland
In 2011, Rose and former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland got into a public feud after Weiland made negative comments about Guns N’ Roses and Rose responded with a series of tweets calling Weiland “a dope fiend” and a “failure.”
Axl Rose vs. Tommy Hilfiger
In 2002, Rose sued designer Tommy Hilfiger for $5 million after Hilfiger made comments about Rose in an interview, calling him “unstable” and claiming that he had tried to fight him at a party. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed.
Axl Rose vs. Buckethead
In 2004, former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Buckethead sued Rose for unpaid royalties, and the two engaged in a public feud, with Rose calling Buckethead “a coward” and “a liar.” The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court.
Axl Rose vs. Bob Guccione Jr.
Bob Guccione Jr. was called out in Guns N’ Roses song “Get in the Ring” by Axl Rose. This was due to Guccione Jr. publishing the contract that publishers had to sign in order to interview Guns N’ Roses in Spin Magazine. Rose was upset about this and challenged Guccione Jr. to a fight, but later backed down.
Axl Rose vs. The City of St. Louis
In 1991, during a Guns N’ Roses concert in St. Louis, lead singer Axl Rose spotted a camera in the crowd and attempted to confiscate it himself, leading to a scuffle with security and a premature end to the show. This incident, known as the “Riverport Riot,” resulted in Rose’s arrest for property damage and assault. The band later referenced the event in their album liner notes by writing “Fuck You, St. Louis!”
Axl Rose vs. Slash
Axl Rose and Slash, the vocalist and guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, had a complicated love-hate relationship. Rose publicly criticized Slash at a concert in 1989 and the two grew more estranged in the following years. In 1996, Slash quit the band after Rose brought in another guitarist and recorded over his parts. The two went back and forth in interviews for over a decade, but finally buried the hatchet in 2015 and reunited.
Axl Rose vs. Warren Beatty
Axl Rose dedicated a song to Warren Beatty in a 1992 Paris concert, calling him a “cheap punk” and implying he was unfaithful to his family. It’s believed this was because Axl thought Beatty was having an affair with Stephanie Seymour, Axl’s former girlfriend.
Axl Rose vs. MTV
In 1987, Guns N’ Roses was scheduled to perform on the MTV Video Music Awards, but the performance was canceled after Rose made demands for a larger dressing room and other amenities. The feud between Rose and MTV continued for years, with Rose making negative comments about the network in interviews.
Axl Rose vs. Thelonius Monster’s Bob Forrest
In 1986, Axl Rose hit a girl in the audience with his mic stand during a Guns N’ Roses performance at Raji’s. After the show, the girl’s boyfriend, singer Bob Forrest of Thelonius Monster, confronted Rose. A fight broke out and security had to intervene. Robert, the band’s photographer, was caught in the middle and got kicked by both Rose and Forrest.
Axl Rose vs. LAX Airport Paparazzi
Axl Rose physically attacked a paparazzo at LAX airport after the paparazzo got pushy with Rose’s personal manager. The firm issued a statement saying that Rose was accosted by unruly photographers and became aggressive with the singer and female members of the group.