With a bucket-load of tunes in the back pockets of their blood, sweat and god-knows-what-else-stained stonewash jeans, the band now had to capture the supercharged electricity that pulsated through their live shows on record.
With Mike Clink taking up production duties, Adler and co headed to California’s Rumbo Studios where they would make a record that would not only change their lives, but also change the landscape of rock music - Appetite For Destruction.
“We had a direct idea of what we wanted to do and we found a great producer in Mike Clink who understood our ideas and had great ideas himself. It’s a magical thing. There’s a million bands out there but there’s only a few that have the magical thing.”
Adler and Clink worked closely to find the perfect drum sound for Appetite. The enthusiastic drummer went in with some simple demands.
“I told him I wanted my bass drum to sound like a cannon and my snare to sound like a machine gun, do your best. And he did. It was punk and jazz rock. I think the main thing that I brought to the band though is cowbell!
“I laugh about that but it’s true. Beside the grooves, of course. On Appetite For Destruction, I listen back to it now and I go, ‘Wow, I stole that from this band or this drummer, subconsciously.’
“I’m very influenced by jazz drummers. I always liked drummers like Roger Taylor, Keith Moon, Ian Paice, John Densmore. I just learned from playing to those drummers.
“I feel like I brought a little bit of that rock’n’roll jazz to basic rock’n’roll.”
The popcorn-haired drummer’s gear demands were every bit as straight-up as his tone preferences.
“[I would use] whoever gave me a sponsorship. First Pearl gave me one, they gave me $50,000 and free drums and then six months later Tama offered me $100,000 and free drums so I took that.”
Regardless of whose drums he was playing, one thing was certain - Appetite… was always going to be a hit. Propelled by monster singles ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, ‘Paradise City’ and ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, the record soared up the charts and Guns headed out on what would become a two-and-a-half year tour.
The jaunt saw them start out as openers for The Cult but it wasn’t long before they were packing arenas and stadiums under their own steam.
For a bunch of fresh-faced youngsters experiencing the first tastes of fame and excess it was a dream come true, but it came at a price.
“All we wanted to do was make a record, go on the road, make out with lots of girls, do drugs and travel around the world,” Adler smiles.
“We did that. It was great. It’s a shame it ended the way it did. A younger body can put up with more s**t and we gave ourselves a lot. It was like going in the ring with Muhammad Ali for 10 years.
“They didn’t have Behind The Music when we were growing up. All we would have was magazines and they were talking about partying, you didn’t hear about when they were sick and they couldn’t make a show or they were in hospital.”
Adler reveals that the band’s naivety was costly as drink and drugs infiltrated their lives. He explains: “We went into it thinking it was a party, not knowing about the consequences. The consequences are severe. I found out early in the game.”
The drummer’s partying brought him to his knees and threatened to derail the Guns N’ Roses juggernaut just as they settled into life as stadium-fillers. It was while packing mega-venues night after night that Adler began to feel he was being left in the shadows by his bandmates.
“All of a sudden the family thing turned into little cliques. Duff and Slash would hang out, Izzy would disappear, Axl - god knows what he was doing. I was hanging out with the crew guys. Then the crew guys, if they were seen hanging out with me they would get a reprimand. It was terrible.”
Things failed to improve once the band came off the road. With Adler’s partying showing little sign of letting up, relationships became ever more strained. The situation reached its tipping point as they headed back to the studio to record what would become the use your Illusion albums.
As Adler struggled to nail the track ‘Civil War’ his bandmates lost patience and he was quickly out in the cold and out of the band.
“I built up a family and I thought they had my back like I had theirs. So it was crushing for me when all of a sudden I was alone. I had nobody, it was hard. They say there is safety in numbers and all of a sudden those numbers threw me out.
“I thought, ‘What did I do?’ It was hurtful. It was totally unexpected.” It’s a situation that still visibly upsets Adler more than 20 years on, and he still feels a pang of injustice at his treatment.
“It also pissed me off with those guys, I was doing drugs with them,” Adler says, his voice rising as a shot of anger flashes across his face. “Rick Allen lost his arm, his brothers didn’t throw him out, they found a way. They didn’t give me a chance, it was just one afternoon, all of a sudden, ‘You’re out.’ In eight hours my life changed.”