July 2, 1991- The Truth About the Riverport Riot Jul 2, 2021 3:36:40 GMT -8 via mobile
Post by Mojo on Jul 2, 2021 3:36:40 GMT -8
I was at St Louis- I don't blame Axl
"Stump" the guy that was taking pictures was not only a member of the saddle tramps- the gang that was causing trouble- he was also a member of the security staff that was working that night- who was off duty.
■From Doug Goldstein, GN'R's ex manager... The real story behind St. Louis...
About time the story is told...The fucking idiot who was taking pictures was a security guy who took the night off to see his "idol" Axl Rose! We all saw this prick knocking fans over to get a better seat, and spilling beers on everybody around him.
Axl pleaded with the local security company to "get the camera" but because he was one of them...they didn't..The reality (and I love all the guys we employed), but one of the 8 security guys we had working security on this tour SHOULD have interceded LONG before Axl did.
After the Melee...I spoke to Axl, and he said "Give me two minutes to clean up my scrapes and cuts" I assembled the band and we tried to go back out onstage as the crowd grew restless. The promoter and the police told us to "Fuck Off" and leave..I told them that the only way the fans would settle down is if they allowed the band back on..They formed a barricade of cops and again told us to "Fuck Off...we weren't welcome anymore"..at this time..I was concerned for the bands safety so I instructed John Reese the bands tour manager to load up and head to Chicago..I stayed until 5am fighting with the crowd and authorities.
I fucking HATE all the shit that AXL gets blamed for..He had every right to do what he did...try walking a mile in his shoes or the shoes of his bandmates,,its very scary when NO ONE has your back....Time to get the real shit out because Axl has never defended himself against all the haters.
✴A few more details from St. Louis
During the course of the concert, Duff got nailed in the arm with a beer bottle, but didn’t want to tell Axl for fear he would stop the show.
Axl: Also, other things happened at the St. Louis gig that I wasn’t told about until two days after the gig. Duff didn’t want me to get excited.
Musician: Such as?
Axl: Such as Duff getting hit with a bottle twice during the show. Duff knows I would have called the show and he didn’t want to be responsible for whatever happened out of that. Duff’s attitude is, “I’m a man about things. I got hit with a bottle, big deal.” My attitude is that no, you don’t allow yourself to get hit by bottles because that encourages it in the future.Duff has the biggest bruise I’ve ever seen on an arm because he was hit by a bottle and he didn’t want to tell me onstage. If I had known that, we would have left the stage a lot earlier! And if it happens another night, we will leave again! [Musician “There’s a Riot Going On” Sept 1991]
Guns N’ Roses contract at the time guaranteed at least a 90 minute show. Axl said they had met that obligation by the time he left. Concert footage on YouTube clocks in at 84 minutes, but I’m not sure if it had been edited down or whether 6 minutes makes that big of a difference in the end. GNR wasn’t sued for breach of contract, so all parties must have deemed it acceptable.
Guns N’ Roses could not be legally held liable for damages because, according to the performance contract, if a venue sold alcohol on the premises, the band was then not responsible.
The venue — Riverport Amphitheater (now called Verizon Wireless Amphitheater) — had only been open for two weeks prior to the Guns concert. Previous shows included the likes of Jimmy Buffet, Steve Winwood, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Mannheim Steamroller. Not exactly in the realm of GNR.
[writer Babu Barat] had interviewed Gregg Hagglund from Contemporary Productions and asked him how Contemporary was going to prepare for a Guns N’ Roses crowd. He said, “We will be prepared. I don’t think, initially, that we’re going to change a lot of things. I think that the party revelers will respect the environment that they are in. It will be a lot bigger crowd. There will be a lot more of them. Those will be the only differences in terms of how we treat the crowd. We will just have more people to deal with, more customers.”
Axl’s response? “That’s not very intelligent.” [Musician Sept 1991]
Because of the destruction to the stage, instruments, and equipment, Guns N’ Roses had to cancel their next two shows in Chicago and Kansas City to give the crew time to make repairs and for the band to secure new equipment. The tour resumed in Dallas on 8 July 1991.
✴Stump admits to sneaking in not only the infamous camera, but also a knife and bottle of whiskey, “like I always have.”
Once the settlement was reached between Stump and Axl and court adjourned, Stump approached Axl in the courtroom with his book of photographs and asked for an autograph. Axl — as can be imagined — wasn’t particularly enthusiastic, but he did sign it.
The place allowed bottles and knives and whatever else inside… And they [public] think I did it just because I wanted to stop somebody from taking my picture. The camera was the last straw, the final thing. I was sick of it, at that point, with the security in the front. There was a weird space in my mind the entire night. I was thinking, “Something isn’t right up here. Why is there this weird attitude, this passiveness, in the security?” There was no feeling that they were on the same team as us. Their feeling towards the crowd wasn’t right. A young boy and a girl were getting shoved over here while rowdy bikers are being allowed to do whatever they want. What is going on? I was very confused… One thing that is not being said in the press is that Earl Gabiddon [Axl’s bodyguard and head of GNR security at the time] was on the headset and he warned these guys [venue staff] in the front that either the cameras go or the show is off. He warned them four times. He was doing his job. [Musician, “There’s a Riot Going On,” Sept 1991]
✴Having that information, the puzzle pieces begin to fall together. But there is more that further explains the depth of what occurred. Axl did not attack an innocent fan. As it turns out, the man with the camera was a member of the Saddletramps Motorcycle Club called Stump. Pulling out a camera wasn’t Stump’s only transgression of the night; it was just his last.
✴All through the concert, Stump and his buddies were on the front row, heckling Axl. If you watch the full concert video, you can see some of these things happen. During the fourth song of the set — “Dust n’ Bones” — Izzy takes the lead, while Axl dances around with a tambourine and chimes in on background vocals. This early in the concert, something was already striking him as odd: at 11:56 on the recording, he looks at the crowd and throws his arms out as if to say, “What’s that about?” About a minute later, we can hear Axl calling out to someone in the audience, throwing his arms out again, but we can’t hear what he is saying over the singing. All during the song, we can see Axl looking hard at the crowd.
As he sings the closing notes, he leans down towards someone in the front row (15:48) and takes a small card. ” ‘You have people yelling and screaming during the whole show,’ says Rose, ‘but this guy just wouldn’t stop, and he was loud — almost as loud as my monitor. He’s holding up a card and I’m like, “Okay yeah, that’s great.” But he still won’t stop yelling.’ … ‘I read his card, ‘ says Rose, ‘and I said, “Okay, you’re Stump from the Saddletramps — was that worth interrupting the show for?” Rose says he asked what he was supposed to do with the card and that Stump told him to ‘remember it.’ ” [Rolling Stone 22 August 1991] With obvious annoyance and disgust, Axl flicked the card onto the drum riser while he got himself a drink.
Two songs later, Axl, trying to be a good guy and connect with his fans, shakes as many hands as he can reach while still singing. There are a few audience members who, not content with a handshake, try to pull Axl into the crowd. Of course, we can’t tell from the video whether one of these is Stump or not, but just the fact that rowdiness like that was permitted begins to explain the vibe of that night.
Despite that, there were lighter moments: Axl grinning and making jokes with Izzy during “Patience;” Slash sitting atop the piano during “November Rain” in just his shorts and socks; Axl laughing at him afterwards as he scurried offstage “to find shoes.”
But things began getting tense again. ” ‘During “Jungle” — I don’t stand during “Jungle” — I just stood there and watched a security guy shove a young kid and walk about four feet into the aisle just to act tough and show the crowd that he was a man. Then he turned around to me with a smile of pride on his face. I looked at this slob while he was looking at me with this pride on his face going, “See what I do to your fans?” ‘ ” [Musician Sept 91]
Although, the video doesn’t show what Axl saw, we can see him standing and staring intently into the audience for about half a verse before he snaps out of his inner thoughts and resumes running around. The remainder of the concert appears to go off normally and Axl is in full Rocket Queen character, when suddenly his eye is caught by Stump raising a camera. We know what happens next.
When Axl disappears from view (despite the ostentatious black fur coat) it seems to corroborate his story that he wasn’t fighting — he was on the floor, hanging onto Stump so that he couldn’t get away. The band unperturbedly plays on as Axl’s bodyguard Earl lifts him to his feet. Axl is obviously still angry, pointing and yelling, and when a venue staffer leans in to say something, Axl cuffs him upside the head before being returned to the stage. Again the video seems to corroborate his story that he didn’t hit anyone except the venue security guard who was jawing at him.
” ‘When I got back onstage, says Rose, ‘I’d lost a contact, and I couldn’t see. My first thought was, “I’m out of here. I’m paying these guys’ [venue staff] salary, I don’t need to be treated like that by them.” I went backstage,’ Rose continues, ‘and found a new lens. It was getting crazy and we decided we were going to go back out and try to play, because we didn’t want people to get hurt.’ ” [RS 22Aug91]
But by that time, it was painfully obvious that it was too late. The rioters destroyed the band’s drum set, projection screens, monitors and amps in addition to the damage inflicted on the venue itself and each other. 500 police were called in, 60 people sent to the hospital, 15 sent to jail, and damages were estimated around $500,000. Izzy’s Marshall stack was later found 2 miles away, abandoned at a bus stop.
A year later, Axl was arrested in New York as he was returning from a European leg of the tour and was charged with four misdemeanor counts of assault and one misdemeanor count of property damage, issued by the St. Louis county prosecutor. The week following his arrest, Axl appeared in court in St. Louis where he plead guilty to the charges and was put on two years probation, and donated $50, 000 to child abuse organizations and, later, reached a settlement with Stump for injuries sustained when Axl jumped on him. Guns n’ Roses were banned from ever playing St. Louis again. When the Use Your Illusions albums came out in September 1991, that night was commemorated with a nice “F*** you, St. Louis!” in the liner notes.
In an interview with Kurt Loder taking place between his arrest and trial date, Axl said, “We lost $1 million worth of equipment in that show and I don’t see anyone else taking any responsibility for anything. And I’m saying, Yeah, I jumped offstage, and yeah, things went haywire after that, and maybe I could have handled it better or whatever, but no one was really handling anything at that point. So I took matters into my own hands with what I could do… but I don’t see anybody else in St. Louis really taking responsibility for anything that happened.”
🟥Notes about B&D Security
"Behind me, a B&D security man admitted, “This is a joke. We’re staying here, covering our ass. People are animals.”
"Riverport Is no different. But many fans say the security at the Guns N' Roses show was partly responsible for the riot that followed. "The security guards didn't know how to handle a crowd," said Ken Grissom of Washington, Mo., who said he was beaten by security guards. "They could have kept everyone calmed down. When they started beating on people in the audience, that's when everyone went nuts."
"I've been attending shows in St. Louis for twenty-five years. I've witnessed B&D Security assaulting people at shows more times than I can possibly imagine. How they haven't been sued or brought on criminal charges for the needless assault of concert goers is beyond me. B&D Security is staffed by cowardly muscle bound criminals. I have not attended a Riverport event for at least ten years because of the unprofessional and thuggish behavior of B&D Security."
"You are correct in that B&D uses and instructs it's employees to use illegal and harmful tactics. They further more also under pay thier employees (less than minimum wage) they also fail to pay for all hours worked. B&D provides security of drug infested concerts in Sullivan (Swag) where employees take drugs from people then use them themselves and even by them to take back home Bob and Debbie need to be prosecuted and/or sued.................."