Guns N' Roses Enter Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

By McCarton Ackerman 04/16/12

The founding band members have survived the ravages of addiction—and at least two are now sober.

McKagan, Sorum, Adler—and Slash
at the weekend
Photo via

It's a miracle most of them are still alive, but the founding members of Guns N' Roses—minus Axl Rose—took the stage in Cleveland this weekend to accept the honor of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Singer Myles Kennedy, who performs with Slash’s solo band and with Alter Bridge, took the mic for a three-song GnR set: "Mr. Brownstone," "Sweet Child O’ Mine" and "Paradise City." “I don’t know if it matters who’s here tonight because it’s about the music that the band created," said former bassist Duff McKagan, who played in the band from 1985-1997. The band's excesses in their heyday were so notorious that they ended up being encapsulated in a 2004 Behind The Music special. McKagan's extreme alcoholism saw him going from drinking a gallon of vodka per day to ten bottles of wine, as a means of "tapering off," ultimately leading to his pancreas bursting in 1994 at the age of 30. He's stayed sober since. Drummer Steven Adler's heroin addiction ultimately got him fired from the band in 1991; a particularly potent speedball in 1996 led to a stroke and temporary paralysis of the left side of his face, resulting in a speech impediment. His efforts to get clean were documented by stints on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and and Sober House (he was arrested on the latter for being under the influence of heroin). And while fellow drummer Matt Sorum managed to keep his drug use out of the public eye, he claims he did more drugs than Adler at his peak. Meanwhile, Slash has stayed sober since entering rehab to tackle his drinking problem—and says he's a better guitarist as a result.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.