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There’s really no appropriate way to talk with Deanna Adler about past situations, the reasons which bring her out to Australia.
She says you can ask her anything, but discussing this woman’s experience with her son’s drug addiction, famed drummer Steven Adler, is not something you can tiptoe around and it’s also not something you can throw yourself directly into–there’s a fine line between being sensitive and wanting to understand.
When Adler hits up Australia with his band Adler’s Appetite, playing Guns N’ Roses pivotal album Appetite For Destruction in its entirety, there will likely be many people coming to these shows have children or are just starting to have children. These people are likely very much into their music, who might love to see their children get into music but would want to know the ins and outs of what can and cannot happen. For those people, Deanna has a story. “I’ll tell ya something. My youngest son Jamie, when he was 16 he wanted to be a manager for rock stars. He asked me one day to drive him to a venue, he had a band playing that night. I get to the venue and I sit down on the side of the table and in walk the parents of these 16, 17 year old kids that are in this band that are playing—just high school kids in a rock band.
“I looked at them [the parents] and I felt so, so sorry for them. I felt terrible for them because of what I was going through with my older boy, with Steven, with the drugs. I felt so bad for these parents, who come in dressed in jeans, like they’re young people in their 20s, laughing, joking. And I sat at the table and I said, ‘Please God, don’t let these kids get famous.’ I did. I said that. Because I didn’t want these parents to go through what I’ve gone through. I dunno, maybe it’s selfish but I wouldn’t want to see it happen again.
“I asked him [Steven] one time, ‘What do you have to do to hit rock bottom?’ and he says to me, “Everyone is different, Ma.’ It’s very sad but it’s very real. I’ve learned my lesson and I want other mothers and fathers to learn their lesson.
“I had a book signing in Los Angeles and we had about 250 people come. A few of the ladies when they met me, the mothers, they started to cry. I said, ‘Why are you crying’ and they said, ‘It’s such an honour to meet you.’ And I’m going to cry now…”
The only difference between me and any other mother that has a son or daughter on drugs, is that ten people know their child is on drugs, but with me, 30,000,000 people knew my son was on drugs. It’s the truth. I don’t know what to tell you, it’s crazy.
[ Deanna Adler ]
If Deanna’s love for her son wasn’t clear before this point in the conversation, now she chokes up, a surge of affection and maternal defence washing over her, and she cries. “What do they mean it’s an honour to meet me? I’m just a normal person, you know? It’s crazy, just crazy.
“They only see him on the stage, that’s all they know. I know I’m gonna cry a lot when I come to Australia!”
Commendations are due to Deanna and indeed, any parent who has had to watch their child suffer through addiction. As Adler was a member of the biggest band in the world—and in the history of music, they still are–given the calibre of platform he was on, for his mother to then to be affiliated with it and to go through everything so publically, so tumultuously, well, it takes a certain kind of person to live through that. “The only difference between me and any other mother that has a son or daughter on drugs, is that ten people know their child is on drugs, but with me, 30,000,000 people knew my son was on drugs. It’s the truth. I don’t know what to tell you, it’s crazy.
Steven Adler is in a great place–married, touring, making new music–and Deanna has success in her own right as a spokesperson for the issues surrounding addiction. But as to the future, who knows. “We take each day as it comes, who knows what the future holds. I’ve always been there for my son.
“Drugs made him do terrible things. Drugs were doing the talking. He told me one time, ‘I would take the drugs in the morning and then they would wear off,’ so he’d get more drugs, forget a little bit. It was a constant struggle for him to forget what his life was like. It hurt him very much to be taken away from Gun N’ Roses. To this day it still hurts him. He loves those guys.”
Adlers Appetite performing Appetite For Destruction in full at the following dates:
Wednesday May 16 – Discovery, Darwin NT
Thursday May 17 – The Gov, Adelaide SA
Friday May 18 – Capitol, Perth WA
Saturday May 19 – The Backroom, Brisbane QLD
Friday May 25 – 170 Russell, Melbourne VIC
Saturday May 26 – Max Watts, Sydney NSW