When Guns N’ Roses Helped Ian Astbury Escape from Cops
Cult guitarist Billy Duffy recalled the moment when Guns N’ Roses helped his bandmate, singer Ian Astbury, escape from cops in the ‘80s.
Astbury was hunted after a concert in which he was accused of using profanities on stage – something Duffy said he’d never do as he compared the experience to a scene from the Doors' movie.
“It's called the Sunken Garden; it’s venue in San Antonio, it's still there,” he said in a recent episode of Appetite for Distortion, which you can view below. “[T]here are cops at the side of the stage, and they're big on profanity, apparently. So they give a warning… about profanity and lewd behavior on stage. It's like something from a movie on The Doors in, like, 1970. It was like, 'Is this really happening in 1987?’”
Duffy continued: “Guns N' Roses go on to do the show – they're the opening act… Axl does whatever Axl does every night, which I'm sure includes a few swear words, a few mother-Fs, and this and that. Nothing. Astbury goes on stage, we do our set, he doesn't utter one swear word because he never does. But he's got an English accent, right?
“So we come off, these cops come backstage, and we kind of lock the dressing room door because we have rumors that the cops want to talk to Ian, and this is not a good thing. And they're not like these days cops that usually come and tell us how much they enjoy the band… In the old days, we were considered dangerous. So they come in after Astbury, and Ian climbs out of the Cult dressing room window, which is on the first floor, with a baseball hat on, climbs down the drainpipe, gets on Guns N' Roses' tour bus, and leaves with them.”
That left the rest of the Cult to deal with the officers. “[T]they're going, ‘Where's your singer?’ ‘Oh, we don't know… he just went off stage and, I don't know, vanished.’ So they're going, ‘We have evidence that during the performance he issued the words,’ and I remember the quote… ‘He issued the words “sucking cocks in Amsterdam!”’ I’m like, ‘Really? Why, is that illegal?’”
Duffy remained certain that those words were never said, seeming to suggest that Astbury had been misunderstood due to his accent. “[I]t was just bizarre,” he reflected. “Stuff like that would happen all the time because we were young men,… we were drinking heavily and having fun.”
Watch Billy Duffy on ‘Appetite for Distortion’
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