Remember When: Axl Rose Allegedly Chased Down David Bowie for Hitting on His Girlfriend

There are a lot of alleged stories out there about the late great David Bowie, but this one is by far one of the funniest.

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Bowie was given the nickname “The Devil From Bromley” by Mick Jagger for a reason. He had a tendency to get into a bit of drunken trouble and also had a habit of stealing the occasional girlfriend.

In 1989, this kind of mischief occurred with none other than Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose. The “fight” between the two musicians occurred when Bowie allegedly tried to hit on Rose’s girlfriend at the time, Erin Everly (daughter of Don Everly). The incident happened when Guns N’ Roses headlined a show at The Cathouse in Los Angeles. 

David Bowie had paid the show a visit along with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash’s mother, Ola Hudson. The two had dated in the past.

From the stage, Rose reportedly began throwing insults at Bowie in the crowd. Bowie left, and Slash informed his mother of the spat that the two singers got into earlier that day.

Earlier that afternoon, Guns N’ Roses filmed a music video for their song “It’s So Easy”. Everly was the star of the music video, clad in bondage gear as one would expect for a Guns N’ Roses music video shoot.

Axl Rose vs. David “Steal Ya Girl” Bowie

According to Riki Rachtman, host of Headbangers Ball and co-owner of The Cathouse, the fight all started when someone told Rose that Bowie was flirting it up with Everly after showing up to the famed venue quite inebriated.

“It was basically the home away from home for Guns N’ Roses,” said Rachtman. “They knew they could do whatever they wanted in that club. Now, when your security guard comes up to you and says, ‘Riki, Axl Rose is chasing David Bowie down the street saying he’s gonna kill him, what should I do?’ Well, how do you answer something like that? You’ve got one of your better friends, chasing one of your idols down the street?”

At the time, Bowie was part of the outfit Tin Machine. Thus, Rose could be heard yelling “I’m gonna kill you, Tin Man!” while chasing after the singer.

For the most part, the incident has been confirmed by Rose himself. In a 1990 interview with Kerrang!, Rose talked about the aftermath of the fight.

“I was out doing a soundcheck one day when we were opening for the Rolling Stones, and Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton cornered me,” Rose said in the interview. “I’m sittin’ on this amp and all of a sudden they’re both right there in front of me. And Jagger doesn’t really talk a lot, right? He’s just real serious about everything, and all of a sudden he’s like, ‘So you got in a fight with Bowie, didja?’ So I told him the story real quick, and he and Clapton are going off about Bowie in their own little world, talking about things from years ago. […] I’m just sittin’ there. Listening to ‘em b**** like crazy about Bowie. It was funny.”

In the end, Rose and Bowie made up, though they weren’t exactly friends afterward.

“Well, I don’t know about ‘best of buddies’,” Rose said. “But I like him a lot, yeah.”

Photo by Brian Rasic

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