Watch any of his shows – including the one tonight at Sky City with his new band Adler’s Appetite – and you’ll see him hammering away on drums with a big grin.
Adler said by phone this week that it’s the joy of performing and making the crowd happy that keeps the smile on his face.
“It’s hard not to smile back,” Adler said.
For 20 years, though, that smile was lost in a haze of drugs and hard luck. Adler was famously booted out of one of rock’s best-known bands for his drug habit after recording the albums Appetite for Destruction and Lies. Appetite, the debut album from Guns N’ Roses, has sold more than 18 million copies since its release in 1987.
Adler spent the next two decades struggling with his addictions, which took a turn for the better after a 2008 appearance on Dr. Drew Pinsky’s Celebrity Rehab show on VH1 .
By 2009 he had cleaned up his life and pulled together the current line up of Adler’s Appetite, which includes former Quiet Riot guitarist Alex Grossi.
Adler’s Appetite is now on the road promoting a new album, which includes the singles Alive and Stardog. While the band usually plays Appetite for Destruction in its entirety at shows, the original material stands on its own as good solid rock.
Adler attributes the success of the album to a shared musical vision among the band members – the same kind of chemistry he felt with members of Guns N’ Roses.
“It just felt right,” Adler said.
Jonathan Karow, the owner of Rock Bottom Music and the show’s promoter, met Adler at a show in Myrtle Beach, S.C., last October. He was impressed.
“It’s hard to meet a nicer guy on the planet,” said Karow, who has worked with famous musicians for years as a concert promoter and drum tech. “Just being around him makes you want to smile.”
Karow said Adler’s Appetite has developed a cult following and that people are driving from out of state to tonight’s show. Adler’s interactions with the audience and willingness to sign autographs and mingle makes him popular with fans, Karow said.
For his part, Adler said it’s just a great opportunity to be back on stage and play for Guns N’ Roses fans.
“I’ve realized what a joy and treat it is to be able to perform,” he said.