The Spaghetti Incident?, the fifth album by Guns N’ Roses, will commemorate its 30th anniversary on November 23. Dave Everley of Classic Rock spoke with Duff McKagan over the nearly thirty-year-old cover album. According to Duff, the album made the generally gloomy punk-rock tunes more accessible. Additionally, he said it was a fantastic way to help musicians that Guns N’ Roses admired but hadn’t necessarily made a lot of money from their music fill their coffers. In response to a question concerning the songs, McKagan said: “Over the years, we’ve performed all of these songs live or during soundcheck. There was no initial plan. After a few songs were recorded, we decided to just record the entire album. We reasoned that, in the unlikely event that our record became successful, some of our heroes would at least receive royalties. Guns N’ Roses have previously claimed that the reference to a food battle between lead vocalist Axl Rose and drummer Steven Adler in the title of their 1993 covers album, “The Spaghetti Incident?” However, the fact is that the name of the album was inspired by the drummer’s drug abuse and the litigation that led to his termination from the group.
Axl Rose, the group’s lone surviving original member at the moment, informed writer Gavin Edwards the following early in the new millennium: “The incident involving former drummer Steven Adler’s drug addiction, which led to his dismissal from the band in 1990, is referenced in the album title.” McKagan claims that during the band’s summer 1989 stay in Chicago, Italian takeout constituted the majority of their diet. Says he: At this point, Steven was also using a lot of crack cocaine and kept his blow in the refrigerator. Thus, “spaghetti” was his code word for his cache. Speaking on Steven Adler’s health at the time, the band’s drummer, McKagan continued: “Steven lost all control.” We remarked to Steven, “You must be really messed up because we’re messed up people and we’re telling you to shape up.” Approximately one year following his dismissal from Guns N’ Roses, in July 1991, drummer Adler sued his former bandmates. Adler said that the band forced him to sign contracts that gave up his copyrights before firing him and that they fired him due to his subpar performance in the studio, which was brought on by the opiate blockers he was taking to kick his addiction.
Adler remembered the time by stating the following in a 2005 interview with the magazine Classic Rock: I was informed that the band would fine me $2,000 each time I used heroin. There was an entire pile of documents, complete with colored paper clips all over the place for my signatures. In actuality, these contracts said that the band would pay me $2,000 to quit. They were stealing all of my writing credits and royalties. They simply wanted me gone because they no longer liked me. I brought the lawsuit in order to reclaim all of those items. In the aforementioned litigation from 1991, McKagan was asked to testify. In his testimony, he explains what transpired as follows: “Then, when I’m in court with a jury and everything, this fuckin’ lawyer stands up and asks, ‘Mr. McKagan, tell us about the spaghetti incident,’ with a straight face. And I burst out laughing. History is what’s left. The original artists who composed and recorded the album’s tracks received royalties, and the album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200.