Slash, Michael Jackson Collab Began GNR Downfall, Says Former Manager

There have been several books written on the downfall of Guns N' Roses, including a few by members of the band, so it's impossible to distill the cause of the band's decline to one particular event.

But former GNR manager Doug Goldstein says he believes he knows when the first real discord was introduced into the band: Slash's 1991 collaboration with Michael Jackson on the song "Give In to Me." 

Goldstein recalled in his recent marathon interview with Guns N' Roses Central how the timing of the collaboration couldn't have been worse.

About two months before Slash agreed to work with the King of Pop, GNR frontman Axl Rose had for the first time publicly disclosed that he was a victim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of his father. 

While this was before Jackson had been formally accused of any such wrongdoing, rumors of the pop star's behavior around young children were persistent. 

Goldstein says Slash didn't have a good reason for doing the song with Jackson after Rose's incrediblly brave, painful and personal disclosure.

"[Axl] does that huge interview, he bears his deepest, darkest secret, and Slash comes to my room two months later and says, 'Hey, I'm going to play with Michael Jackson,'" Goldstein recalled feeling dumbstruck. "What? No!"

Goldstein told Guns N' Roses Central that if he could have at least gotten Slash a huge payday for the song, that would have given the guitarist a plausible excuse—anything to protect Rose from feeling completely betrayed by his bandmate.

Eddie Van Halen reportedly got $1 million for his contributions to Jackson's "Beat It."

"I said, 'Look, I need to go to Axl with some ammunition to explain why you're going and hanging out with a pedophile!'" Goldstein said he told Slash.

But Slash said the deal was done: for his time and guitar solo on Jackon's track he'd been awarded a 72-inch big screen TV.

"That was the beginning of the end right there, that sealed the fate of the band," Goldstein said, recalling how the band dynamic changed. 

"Axl never again thought Slash was his brother...He thought they understood how damaged his own life was."

You can watch the full, three-hour sit-down with Goldstein in the video below.

At the time, in 1991, Rose said numerous times publicly that he was interested in getting involved as an advocate for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Rose revealed that as a survivor himself, he could relate to other victims. 

"I knew it was crazy, but I accepted it as normal behavior for my life," Rose said of the abuse in a radio interview at the time. "My formative years were very ugly."

Rose said the trauma he experienced in his youth is partially to blame for some of the challenges of his adult life. 

Photo: Getty Images

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