Today, Axl Rose, the king of wailing, bandanna-wearing hard rock, turns 50 years old. It’s been an eventful five decades for Rose, who’s busted up more cars, relationships, and video shoots than most of us will ever see. We’re resisting the urge to pile on the Guns N’ Roses frontman, who has recently taken a beating in the media for everything from his bizarre statements to his appearance, in favor of celebrating with a list of little known Axl trivia, from his crucifix collection to his favorite books. Rock on.
1. Slash’s nickname for Axl used to be “the Ayatollah.”
2. In the video for Guns N’ Roses’ “Don’t Cry,” the woman who plays Axl’s psychotherapist is his actual therapist, Suzzy London, who occasionally accompanied the band on the road.
3. Axl has a younger sister named Amy and a stepbrother named Stephen.
4. Izzy Stradlin, born Jeffrey Dean Isbell, met Axl Rose in high school when they started a garage band together.
5. Axl often travels with his own psychic, Sharon Maynard, who is known in his entourage as “Yoda.”
6. His stepfather, Pentecostal preacher Stephen Bailey, was nicknamed “Beetle.”
7. Axl believes that he and ex-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour were together in many of their past lives.
8. At the 1992 MTV Music Video Awards, Axl got into a fight with Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, fearing that Love was trying to possess him.
9. In a deposition, Axl’s ex-wife Erin Everly testified that Axl believed he was actually possessed by John Bonham.
10. Axl is a collector of Latin American religious artifacts, particularly crucifixes.