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The Axl Rose of today is a far cry from the one we remember from our youths. Gone is the brash young man with the hair trigger temper and penchant for acting out in immature ways and in his place is a quiet man in his mid fifties, fiercely professional and finally ready to assume the responsibility that comes with being a celebrity – but 25 years ago today Axl’s bad behavior found him in the backseat of a police car, arrested after his plane touched down at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on an outstanding warrant calling for extradition to St. Louis, Missouri to stand trial for his role in the 1991 Riverport Amphitheater riot one year earlier.
Rose, then 30 years old, had planned on turning himself in shortly after returning to the U.S. after an extended vacation, but time had run out and authorities had lost their patience. Blaming the entire fiasco on a prosecutor who “reneged on his promise,” Axl spent 10 hours in lockup that day – time he told MTV News anchor Kurt Loder was spent signing autographs and chatting with officers.
“I basically spent my time writing autographs for cops,” Rose said of his time in lockup. “And talking with them about rock ‘n’ roll. I mean, all these cool cops, they were telling me about when they went to Woodstock and everything. It was great. New York cops are the best.”
Ultimately, Rose was declared guilty of property damage and assault, slapped with a sentence of 2 years’ probation and ordered to shell out $50,000 to a handful of local organizations – he even saw his probation amended to allow him to associate with felons, specifically the two members of his band that had been convicted of felonies.
As for St. Louis? Fans welcomed Axl and the gang back with open arms last summer when their Not In This Lifetime…Tour saw Guns N’ Roses set foot in St. Louis for the first time in 25 years. All’s well that ends well!