Why Axl Rose Beefed With Metallica So Hard in the 1990’s

Axl Rose via Wikicommons
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The infamous tour of 1992 between Guns N Roses and Metallica is the stuff of hard rock legend. Across the world, these two bands gave us some of the most blistering songs of their career, but not without their fair share of rough spots, from James Hetfield catching on fire at a show to Slash nearly dying of a drug overdose during one of their stops.

While the tour might have started off friendly enough, Axl Rose’s relationship towards the metal giants had definitely soured by the tour’s end. 

Asked about the tour after the fact, drummer Matt Sorum talked about Axl being super competitive with the thrash icons, saying:  “Axl’s intention was to rule the world and wasn’t afraid to say it.

Then Lars Ulrich came along and he wanted to rule the world. We were like, ‘You’re going to have to open for us because we rule the world.’ They were very competitive with us.

Metallica weren’t exactly shy about airing what they thought of Guns during the tour though, with Kirk Hammett saying that Axl was one of the main problems they had, saying “That tour was very stressful because there were so many problems.

At that point in time you never really knew if Axl felt like he was going to play the show or not, or if he was going to be on time or not, or if there was going to be an issue with the actual show or not. And that kind of drove everyone crazy.

That would have been enough for them to just have one big fallout, but Axl apparently still held a grudge over a decade later, telling an interviewer in 2008 that “My favorite cartoon characters are Slash and Metallica.”

Then again, James Hetfield wasn’t going to just gloss over a hit like that, clapping back by saying “Guns N Roses are a different type of band {than us}. And I use the word ‘band’ very loosely. It’s a guy and some other guys.”

In hindsight, members of Guns N’ Roses’ camp believe the Hetfield vs. Rose tension lasted so long because James’s mockery of Axl was immortalized on Metallica’s A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica home video.

Per the clips below, Hetfield mocked Rose’s catering rider, but in a way where he clearly was taking jabs at what he didn’t like about the GN’R singer, saying:

“One can of cubed ham… gotta be cubed up right so it can get down his little neck….One rib eye steak dinner… I didn’t even know the guy ate meat because he looks like a fucking vegemitarian… Cans of assorted Pringels chips, you know the greasy shit, so he can slick his hair back.”