Double the ‘Destruction’: 12 Songs That Could Have Been on Guns N’ Roses’ Debut Album

For years, “Crash Diet” was the most mysterious of all the unreleased Guns N’ Roses songs. Many fans think “Crash Diet” was considered for one of the Use Your Illusion projects, but the version available on bootlegs undoubtedly predates Appetite. “‘Crash Diet’ is a really old song that was kicked around back in the old days,” Slash said in a 2000 online chat with fans. “I don’t know who wrote that, but it is definitely old.” Written by Axl Rose and West Arkeen, it was about the 1984 car accident that Motley Crue’s Vince Neil had been involved in that claimed the life of Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley and left two others permanently brain damaged. At some point, Rose decided not to do anything with the song, so Arkeen began shopping it around to other bands. Two up-and-coming Los Angeles-based groups ended up recording “Crash Diet”: Asphalt Ballet released their take in 1993, with partial writing credit given to their guitarist Danny Clarke, and WildSide put it on an odds-and-ends collection, The Wasted Years, in 2004, even though it was recorded much earlier. “It was 1990 when we got our recording contract with Capitol Records,” WildSide co-founder and guitarist Benny Rhynedance tells Ultimate Classic Rock. “West was with the GNR guys, and he lived in one of the same apartment buildings by the Whisky as we did. At that time, we both shared business managers on Sunset Blvd. West was always looking to sell songs, as that was his living. West played us ‘Crash Diet,’ and we liked it. No one else had done the song yet except early GNR. We were psyched to get a crack at it first. It was supposed to be recorded for the Use Your Illusion albums but wasn’t. We took the song and added some things to it to make it ours. The whole ending is different than the original.” According to Rhynedance, WildSide laid down the song for their debut LP, Under the Influence, thinking, “It was gonna be a cool thing having an Axl Rose tune on our record.” Unfortunately, the temperamental Rose didn’t share their excitement. “We sent a final mix over to West and Axl,“ Rhynedance recalled. “Word came down that Axl said, ‘No f—in’ way.’ Don’t know what the reasoning was behind it. Sonically, it sounded great. Maybe it was the way [WildSide singer] Drew [Hannah] sounded? His voice, back in his prime, sounded kinda like Axl here and there. Maybe Axl didn’t like our arrangement of it? Don’t know, but that was that. It went on the shelf and never really saw the light of day. We played it live everywhere from 1992-94 on various tours.” WildSide wanted to release their version of “Crash Diet,” Rose be damned, but Capitol balked at the idea of going against such a massively popular act. So it was surprising for them to see it on Asphalt Ballet’s second album, Pigs, the following year. “We couldn’t believe that West was peddling it around town,” Rhynedance said. “We found out about Asphalt Ballet version and were like, “What the f—?’ I think Axl was tight with [the Asphalt Ballet] guys. He didn’t know us, and he might have thought Drew was cloning him.” “All I know is what happened on our side of things,” a source from Asphalt Ballet who asked not to be named tells Ultimate Classic Rock. “We were long time friends with West, and hung out with Axl and Del, so for us, it was a song we were all familiar with, and since Danny was a part of writing it, we thought it fit our second singer, who sounded more like Axl than our first singer. So it was something we all agreed would work well on that record. Guns N’ Roses didn’t end up doing the song, so we asked West, Axl and Del if it was cool if we did it. We recorded it and put it on our second full-length record. Since then rumors have taken over the story.”