Sunday, May 8, 2011

How I Met Steven Adler and Chip Z’Nuff (And Didn’t Even Know It)

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

Two years ago, in May of 2009, I met Steven Adler, formerly of Guns ‘n’ Roses, and Chip Z’Nuff of Enuff Z’Nuff, and didn’t find out that I did until Thursday night (Cinco de Mayooooo!). I thought about writing this as a suspense piece where you don’t find out what happened until I revealed it, but I couldn’t work out an effective way to do it. I’ll just go chronologically instead.

In 2009, there was a bar in Fort Worth, Texas, called Rockstar Bar. It wasn’t a bad venue if I’m being honest, but they did kick my former band off stage. While I enjoyed the hell out of being involved in displeasing so many people with an unapologetically hardcore sound, I thought it was a very dickhead move to cut our set short. The crowd was a metal crowd, but the bar was struggling financially. They tried to have off theme music nights to get bigger crowd in there, and then acted surprised when their core crowd didn’t like the off theme. (As an aside, the bar closed down within a year or so. I like to believe it was because I boycotted it after that. I can dream, I guess.)

At the time my security guard job had me at a hotel near Rockstar Bar for my guard post. One night, a group of guys dressed in 80’s glam rock garb came into the hotel, and I spoke with them briefly. I’m unclear as to why the conversation started, but I think it was because they had equipment in their vans that they wanted me to keep an eye on.

I asked them about their band, and the guy who I now believe was Chip Z’Nuff after looking up what he looks like, told me that they were Adler’s Appetite, and that they did a tribute to the era of Guns ‘n’ Roses when Steven Adler was the drummer. I asked if they had played at Rockstar, and my powers of deduction were awarded with confirmation that that was, in fact, where they played. I didn’t bore them with my tale of getting kicked off stage; because I was sure they just wanted to get to their rooms. And they didn’t fascinate me with any further explanation of who they were, probably for the same reason.

Then I proceeded to go through the next two years of my life with no point of reference as to how interesting that encounter really was. I figured it was just a tribute band not all that different from any other tribute band. If he had said, “We’re a tribute to Steven Adler’s time in Guns ‘n’ Roses, oh, and this guy right here is Steven,” then I think I might have asked a bit more about them, or at least looked them up when I got home.

Thursday night (Cinco de Mayooooo!) I went to see a local band that I know well enough personally, and I was talking the drummer, Trevor, about many things musical. Trevor knows a lot about music, as I do, and we were debating who knows more. I was saying that he knows more, and he was saying that he just knows more about what he listens to and that I probably have more general knowledge. The debate rages on (but I still think he knows more).

We were discussing bands who continue to release albums, not because they’re make large amounts of profit, but rather because they don’t lose money. Trevor’s take was that the more stable your fan base, the easier it is to know how much money can be spent to produce your album, and record companies must surely like having that sort of controllable asset. He offered up King’s X as an example, and I responded with Enuff Z’Nuff as an example.

This is when he explained to me that Chip Z’Nuff had played with Adler’s Appetite, as well as an ever rotating membership of just about everybody who was in a late 80s glam rock band (exaggerating of course, but the band has had its fair share of members). He explained that it was actually Steven Adler’s band, and they covered Gun’s ‘n’ Roses songs from the time that Steven Adler was with the band, which is the point where I put two and two together.

“I’ve met Steven Adler,” I said, “and I just didn’t know it.”

When I got home I looked up the band and its membership by years. This is when I realized that Chip Z’Nuff was also in the band when they played Rockstar Bar. I searched “Adler’s Appetite Rockstar Bar” to verify that my memory was correct, and found that they did, in fact play there on May 20, 2009. I searched images of Chip Z’Nuff, and he looks like the guy who did most of the talking.

In my defense, I used to listen to Guns ‘n’ Roses, but I wasn’t all that interested in memorizing the membership. Up until a few years ago, I didn’t know much about Enuff Z’Nuff, and I was probably most familiar with what their lead singer, Donnie Vie, looked like. This means that I probably wouldn’t recognize Chip Z’ Nuff or Steven Adler, even if I actually held a conversation with them… as was proved back in May of 2009.

For the record, since it seems to be the thing to discuss whether or not celebrities are personable, they all seemed very nice. I’m not sure that each and all of them actually spoke during the brief conversation, but the conversation was pleasant, and left a favourable impression in my memory.

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