The Night Axl Rose Threatened to Cancel a Show Over a Traffic Ticket
On July 30, 1991, Inglewood City, Calif., police pulled over a limousine whose driver had made an illegal left-hand turn on the way to the Forum, where the limo’s passenger, Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose, was to perform that night.
Rose stuck his head out of the vehicle’s sunroof to angrily argue that the driver, James Brian Green, was following the instructions of a traffic control officer, who had motioned the car to make the turn.
Rose later threatened that he would not take the stage unless Inglewood police rescinded the ticket. According to the Los Angeles Times, Police Lt. Tom Hoffman huddled with Guns N’ Roses’ manager and the Forum’s general manager, and Hoffman agreed to take back the ticket, to avoid a potential riot by angry fans (as had happened in St. Louis earlier that month). Guns N’ Roses performed that night, and Rose even thanked Hoffman from the stage.
Days later, after the band was safely out of town, Inglewood City proceeded in its prosecution of the ticket, after Inglewood residents protested Hoffman’s “fixing” it. Officials responded that the ticket had not been “fixed,” but taken back for investigation.
"Nobody is above the law," said Inglewood Mayor Edward Vincent, whom the Times identified as “a jazz fan who couldn't name a single Guns N' Roses hit.”
Green had to pay a $60 fine for his offense.
A little more than a year later, there was a riot at a Guns N' Roses show. In August 1992, a Metallica / Guns N' Roses show would be the scene of a riot in Montreal, when Metallica frontman James Hetfield was severely burned by onstage pyrotechnics, and Rose ended Guns' set early, claiming he had a sore throat.