“I slept with Axl to get Steven jealous...”
From page 37 of Classic Rock Magazine July 2007
Adriana Smith was Steven Adler’s girlfriend. Until she had sex with Axl for the recording of Rocket Queen . Here she remembers the heady days of wine and roses.
By Brooke Ellis
I n early 1987, Guns N’ Roses were not just another popular LA band – they created a community. They had a large, tightknit ‘family’ consisting of musicians, roadies, drug dealers and strippers. The band would often write songs with these friends and sometimes even about them, as was the case with the classics My Michelle and Rocket Queen.
For the latter track, Axl Rose had the creative inclination to record the erotic moans of one of their kindred groupies to colour the track for the band’s debut album. Adriana Smith has the distinction of being the only female to appear on Appetite For Destruction. She was a young, attractive exotic dancer who, at the time, was also the closest drummer Steven Adler had to a steady girlfriend. In her first-ever interview, Adriana reveals the story behind her appearance on Rocket Queen, and how, even early on, controversy was constant.
You were seeing Steven, but how did you get to meet Axl? He came to a party at my place. I took a bunch of pills, I was getting blitzed. I knew Steven was seeing this other girl behind my back; he said she was just ‘driving him around’. I really cared about Steven. I loved him. The only way I could get him jealous was to fuck the singer.
I had the party in my bathing suit, I was already on the warpath. Me and Axl started fucking, on my roommate’s bed by the way, when Steven came in with that girl. I said: “Oh hey baby, why don’t you join us?” He was like: “Uh, that’s okay.” He got all bent out of shape, that’s the reaction I wanted. [I] come back to find out that the girl that drove him over has jumped in bed and taken my place! So Axl starts fucking her! Then my roommate’s boyfriend comes in and gets in Axl’s face about fucking that girl on his girlfriend’s bed, and Axl and Slash and this guy got in this big tussle and they fell through my bedroom window like in a cowboy movie!
[But Stephen] and Axl had some kind of rivalry, not just over me, they just did. If Axl was around, he and I migrated toward each other and caused Steven nothing but heartache, then he would go and do something stupid like shoot up in an elevator or sleep with some sleazy chick.
Was it just sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll all the time? Oh fuck yeah! I remember one time [me and Steven] were having sex in the building across from The Hellhouse – he lived in the fucking laundry room there – and this weird woodcutter guy lived across the street. He had like a pitbull face, bubble eyes and only a couple of teeth. He had a bald-headed wife. He would make Crystal [meth] out of, like, household items. We didn’t know what we were snorting but – who cares? – we were just doing it.
He was a strange man. He made me uncomfortable, like he could have been a cannibal! He was a freak! Nobody wanted to go there but we all wanted his drugs. He would scrape this shit on a plate of glass, he had a blowtorch, he was like an insane Meat Loaf! So we were having sex in the laundry room and there’s this little tiny window and his eye is peeping at us through that! God! But you know what he did for Steven? He took his drum sticks before their first tour and whittled little grooves in them so they wouldn’t slip out of hands when he was drumming. It was a trippy time.
How did you end up appearing on the album?
Axl propositioned me to do something “not even his girlfriend would do”. He sat me down and was all serious. “Erin won’t do this, nobody will do this.” And I was like: “Fuck yeah, I’ll do it – for the band, dude!” So I directed it. We went into the studio and I kicked everybody out except for a couple of sound guys. I made them turn out the lights. They took the microphones down close to the floor, and there was wood panelling halfway up the wall and then the glass window, so nobody could actually see us. Me and Axl got to it, had sex on the floor of the voice room. Apparently there was, like, three and a half hours of audio on the reel to reel. We just kinda laid down and did it. I was having fun and Axl would be like: “C’mon Adriana, quit fucking faking it!” It was probably a comedy of errors for the most part. I told them to destroy the tape.
Were you paid for your services?
I think I did it for a bottle of booze or something. Because I wanted to party with Slash! Of course, Slash got pissed about it; him and Steven were childhood friends. The next day I went down and they were mixing it in the studio. I was like: “God, what have I done?” I’m sure in this day and age any girl would be “Oh yeah!” but I was just trying to prove another point to Steven, like: “See? Fuck you!” So there it was, and I wanted no one to say a word about who that was on the record, and I didn’t let it to go on the credits that it was me, because of Steven. But I was drunk when I did it and I was pissed at him. Eventually I fucking cracked and I told him. He was devastated and pissed: “How could you do this to me?” I felt all guilty but at the same time he was screwing every broad in town.
Then GN’R become huge...
As soon as the touring started everybody kinda broke apart, and out came all these parasites. I became heavily addicted to all different substances. Then the band would come back to Hollywood and would be put up in hotels in shit. I’d see Steven sometimes, but fuck... This huge tidal wave called Guns N’ Roses hit and I was left addicted and feelin’ like a stepchild. I called Axl, and he was like: “Y’know, Steven’s making new friends, and he’s going on with his life.” I don’t know why Axl was fucking counselling me about Steven, and being nice about it. I guess, in a way, he was saying goodbye. You know: “This is it. We’re being swept away by fame and fortune.” It was just a natural progression, people’s lives change. I ended up so fucking spun, I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t get out from under the covers. Things just got ugly.
Today, how do you feel about appearing on one of the most popular records of all time?
That I should have been smarter and got my name on the album, some credit. Maybe a half of a cent of every album? Then I would have been a whore for hire, right? Y’know, hey, whatever... I don’t think anybody owes me anything, what happened in our lives happened.
Are you the Rocket Queen?
Axl wrote that song for a girl named Barbie who was a junkie hooker that he loved. She was the Rocket Queen. I’m the Rocket Queen’s stand-in!