Did Axl Rose Having Sex With a Bandmate’s Girlfriend Make It on to the Song, “Rocket Queen”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: The Guns N’ Roses’ song, “Rocket Queen,” has the sound of Axl Rose having sex with the girlfriend of one of his bandmates on it.

A few years back, we had a discussion on the site about legends involving strange sounds being captured on songs, and commenter machine wrote, “I don’t know of recorded murders in music, but I know that GnR recorded sex. In “Rocket Queen” you clearly hear moaning and groaning. It was Axl Rose banging Steven Adler’s GF in the studio.”

Is that true?

That’s basically the truth, yes.

The song, “Rocket Queen,” was credited to Slash, Duff McKagan and Axl Rose. Slash and McKagen had worked out the riff to the song in a band that they were prior to GNR, so Rose then developed the song from there. Rose worked with a young woman named Barbie Von Grief, who planned on starting a band that would then be named Rocket Queen. That never came about, but Von Grief was still credited on the liner notes of Appetite for Destruction (the album “Rocket Queen” appeared on) as “Barbie (Rocket Queen) Von Grief.” Therefore, when Rose also discussed to Hit Parader at roughly the time of the album’s release that on “Rocket Queen” :

For that song there was also something I tried to work out with various people—a recorded sex act. It was somewhat spontaneous but premeditated; something I wanted to put on the record.

most people presumed that it was crediting Von Grief as the woman with whom Rose is having sex.

However, as it turns out, it was another young woman named Adriana Smith, who was in a relationship with GNR drummer Steven Adler at the time. Here she is with Axl at around that time…

Smith later recalled why she kept quiet over the years about her involvement with the song, telling Jason Price of LiveMetal.Net:

“Actually, it was a decision made of years of progress in my personal life. I had shame and guilt over what I had done and I felt as if I had done something wrong for a long time. Basically, I came out twenty something years later because it was a sense of closure for myself. I realized that it was something that I didn’t have to be ashamed of and something that was really good. I came out and told the world about it. A friend of mine named Brooke, runs Steven Adler’s web page and he is a part time journalist. He said to me ‘Why don’t you go ahead and tell your story?’ and with the release of the Reckless Road book, I just felt that it was time for the story of The Rocket Queen to be heard.”

Smith tells the story in this Uproxx mini-documentary, as well (Von Grief is in there, also):

It seems clear that there WAS recorded sex on the song (the various engineers on the song all talk about it), and it seems like people are all in agreement that it was Smith that was the other party with Rose, so I’m willing to go with…

The legend as…

STATUS: True

Thanks to machine for the suggestion and thanks to Smith and Price for the information!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

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