G N’ R’s Great British Debut
This day (June 19) in 1987, a new rock force was unleashed on international fans. For the princely admission fee of £4, early devotees of an up-and-coming band called Guns N’ Roses could go to the famed Marquee Club, still at that stage in its famed Wardour Street location, to see the band’s first-ever gig outside the US.
“We did two shows [the second on June 22], and they were just awesome,” says Slash in an exclusive new interview with this writer. “It was great to be part of that history. We were one of the last rock ‘n’ roll bands to come along and break out of that club. It had a great history, it was sort of London’s equivalent to the Troubadour. Everybody fantastic came to that club, and we had two great nights.
“I’ll never forget that week building up to it,” Slash goes on. “We were [in London] rehearsing at John Henry’s and just scrounging around Soho, meeting people, getting drunk and picking up girls, and so on. It culminated in these two nights, really sweaty nights, at the Marquee.
“I have a video for one of those evenings, someone was walking around with a camera, and videotaped the entire day, from before soundcheck all the way through the show. I have it on DVD, I don’t even remember who shot it, but someone gave it to me in the last couple of years. I’m sitting there with it, I don’t know what to do with it.
“It was packed to the rafters, and it was a real proper rock ‘n’ roll kind of thing.”
Paul Sexton, freelance journalist and broadcaster