Sunday, 3 March 2013

Underrated Musician #8: Steven Adler

    Somebody who has seen my earlier posts may know I have a certain soft spot for Steven Adler, Guns N' Roses drummer. Now this gives me a chance to talk a little more about why he is one of my absolute favorite musicians ever.
     First and foremost, Steven Adler was a really fantastic musician. I don't think many people ever got how good a drummer he was. His style wasn't loud, boomy and heavy like most metal drummers; instead, he was light, happy, danceable. He brought the swing, the rhythm, the glam and the fun into GNR's signature brand of rock music, which was somewhere between glam, metal, and punk. His personal taste in music centered on KISS, Van Halen, Motley Crue, Mott The Hoople, 60s vocal groups like Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons, even funk and soul along the lines of Sly and the Family Stone. He incorporated all these aspects into his own style of music.

    People tend not to realize what kind of an impact a drummer has on a band, but a good drummer is everything. They lay down the foundation of the music, they decide what the best and the rhythm will be, they create the groove and the feel of the music. GNR bassist Duff McKagan considers Adler's sense of grove to be his strong point, and describes the band as having great chemistry during those days, where everybody needed each other and relied on the unity of their musicianship to make the band what it was. When Adler was fired from the band a couple years later, (for reasons I could go on about for quite a while, so I'll save it for a future post) the band lost its last shreds of comradeship, and ultimately sparked the band's downfall.

     Steven was also responsible for the band's songs. He wasn't just involved in the sound, he collaborated immensely to the writing process of their music. Slash now speaks of what Steven's contributions meant to the band, stating that he always had brilliant, creative ideas, and deserved more credit than he got.
     And now, well, this doesn't really impact how good a musician one is, but in Steven's case, is definety worth mentioning, and that piece of information is that Steven was a really, really wonderful guy. He came from a disastrous home life and saw a good share of shit in his time, but he always remained a great guy, talkative and friendly, and to quote Duff again, he was the best friend a guy could every ask for. To me, being such a great guy only makes you enjoy and respect a brilliant musician even more, and Steven Adler epitomizes that in my eyes. Steven is still active in the music business, with his own band like Adler's Appetite, and is still turning out good rock music. (For the record, they're really the only new band whose music is on my iPod.)


  1. If you want to know how important Steven was to Guns' sound, listen to the Use Your Illusion-era versions of Appetite songs found on the Live Era '87-'93 album. Songs that once skipped and bounced with exuberance now stomp and thud. Matt Sorum's a good drummer in his own right (THAT intro for You Could Me Mine), but to me he was never right for Guns. Turned them from a rock n' roll band into a metal band.

  2. Yes I agree, Steven definitely brought the 'swing' to Guns n Roses. His feel and play for the song was ..and still is spot on. Fantastic musician, and from West I've seen and heard,a genuinely cheerful person! The drumming on Appetite'and Lies' makes you move!..( Oh and 'civil war' on the Illusion' albums too).. David Hutchesson

  3. Um .....from ' what I've seen' I meant to say lol 😁