What happened to Steven Adler?

What happened to Steven Adler?

Steven Adler‘s time in Guns N’ Roses was short and memorable. The drummer was one of the legendary band’s original members but a continuous struggle with addiction — and rising tension with frontman Axl Rose — led to him getting fired in 1990.

Adler helped write the EP Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide and the albums Appetite for Destruction and G N’ R Lies. Bandmate Izzy Stradlin, who left the band shortly after the drummer, credited Adler for the group’s signature sound in a 1992 interview saying, “[our songs] were written with Steve playing the drums and his sense of swing was the push and pull that give the songs their feel. When that was gone, it was just…unbelievable, weird. Nothing worked” — a sentiment that is shared by a large portion of GN’R’s fanbase to this day.

Shortly before he was ultimately ousted, Adler had promised his bandmates he would get clean. Per his own admission, the final straw came during a recording session for “Civil War” during which he couldn’t bring himself to perform the song properly. At the time, he was mixing heroin with opiate blockers which made him devastatingly sick, sure, but his bandmates weren’t exactly sober, either. “I was so weak, my timing was like a rollercoaster. Every time we played it back they’d all shout at me, ‘You’re f***ed up’. Then every two seconds they would go off to the bathroom and do coke,” Adler told Classic Rock Magazine in 2005.

The years following his exit were the toughest of Adler’s life. He sued the band for attempting to cheat him out of royalties, but continued down a drug-filled spiral that led him to two suicide attempts and a stroke that forever affected his speech. In 2007, after nearly dying from a blood infection, his brother Jamie saw kidnapping as a last resort, and kept the drummer locked away in several L.A. homes for 30 days to make sure he took his medicine.

Then Adler decided to turn his life around and in 2008 he joined the reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and wrote an autobiography detailing his lifelong battle against adiction. “Besides Dr. Drew getting me off the drugs, I was able to write my book, My Appetite for Destruction, and writing my book played a huge part in getting my life back together,” he confessed in a 2011 interview.

Where is Steven Adler now?

At 59, Steven Adler is still rocking out. He reserved the summer of 2024 to tour the U.S. with his current band, made up of guitarists Michael Thomas and Alistair James, bassist Cristian Sturba and singer Ariel Kamin. Before that, he put out new music with two different bands of multiple make-ups called Adler’s Appetite and Adler.

Finally, in 2016, the reunion everyone had been waiting for happened when Adler joined Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan in Cincinnati, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Buenos Aires for a number of special performances on Guns N’ Roses’s Not in This Lifetime… reunion tour. It was the band’s first time playing together since the drummer’s firing in 1990.

The road to sobrierity isn’t linear, and Adler has suffered relapses, drug-related run-ins with the law, and health issues in the last few years. In 2019, the musician was admitted to the hospital for a self-inflicted stab wound to the stomach, but he publicly stated that he was “alive and well,” and that the whole ordeal was just “media confusion.” He has remained committed to his health and his music throughout it all.

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