1985 – Guns n Roses Home
Knockin on Heaven's Door
I had gotten back into drums in the late 70s and through the 80s. I would play three or four times a week at night usually around 8pm to 10pm or so. I would warm up by playing along with whatever came on the local rock station or my favorite albums.
My favorite groups to play drums to were John Prine, the Stones, the Police, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Lou Reed, the Doors, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin, Credence Clearwater Revival, Dire Straits, Bob Marley, the Who, Duran Duran, Foreigner, Tina Turner, Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, AC/DC, Peter Gabriel, Robert Palmer, Don Henley, Billy Idol, Z Z Top, Prince's Purple Rain, Bryan Adams, Patti Smyth , John Mellencamp, and of course Bob Dylan.
As you can see I would play to whatever moved me or challenged me or allowed me the freedom to improvise. Once I got sufficiently warmed up I would get into improvising to no music at all and just play a solo for hours on end until I was drenched in sweat and totally mad and high as a kite from just jamming.
Sometimes I would play drums along with lots of acoustic type songs that didn't have any drums to speak of in them, but I felt would be improved by drums. At the time Bob Dylan's “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” album was one of my favorites to play to. I tried to turn them all into hard rock songs – particularly “Knockin on Heaven's Door.” I played that song for several years at least a couple times a week. That song could get me worked up to where after it finished I would go onto another hour of wild soloing. I figured some rock group just had to eventually recognize what a good song a hard rock version of it would be.
Several years later I started hearing Guns n' Roses hard rock version. That's pretty funny considering if you look at the 1967 film of the anti-war demonstration at the Pentagon where the protester was putting the rose into the National Guardsman's gun you can see my ass walking behind the guardsman and I was later filmed burning my expired draft card in front of the Pentagon.