It was just after 8 a.m. on Feb. 12, and for the last three hours Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose had been knocking back cocktails of vodka, cranberry juice and champagne at hip NYC lounge Greenhouse. Hot off the stage from an electric two-hour gig at the John Varvatos store on the Bowery, Rose still had enough energy to keep the party going with his entourage of 20 or more rockers and hangers-on.
“It’s kind of his thing,” said Greenhouse co-owner Barry Mullineaux of Rose’s early after-partying that morning (Mullineaux later named a rose-colored champagne cocktail “the Axl Rose” in honor of the rocker’s wild morning at his club.).
“His shows always run late, and he’s a true rock star so he liked to have after-parties after all of his shows.”
Axl Rose of GN'R Photo: BENNETT RAGLIN/WIREIMAGE.COM
But Rose’s recent high jinks are legendary even where rockers are concerned. For the last three weeks, the singer has been on an epic bender in New York, tearing through the city’s nightclubs and bars like he’s still the stick-thin 25-year-old who became a worldwide phenomenon after the release of his album “Appetite for Destruction.”
Since he arrived in the city for his Fashion Week concert on Feb. 11, he’s gone out nearly every night (and continued on till the morning), usually crashing afterward at his $1,550-a-night suite in the Essex House Hotel. His assault on New York night life has made him a one-man stimulus package during the scene’s winter doldrums — and the city’s nocturnes are thrilled.
“It’s like he’s teaching the next generation how it’s done,” said one source who has joined Rose on at least half a dozen of his jaunts, where Kings of Leon singer Caleb Followill has also been spotted. “Who’s a bigger rock star than Axl Rose?”
One of Rose’s guitarists, Richard Fortus, is in the process of getting started on an elaborate back tattoo at Graceland in Brooklyn, which will take some time to complete.
Though Rose, who lives on the West Coast, has been in New York on and off in the last couple years, night-life insiders say he hasn’t hit the town this hard since 2006.
That year, Rose was in town to play a show at the now-defunct club The Plumm — and got into a punch-up with preppy designer Tommy Hilfiger. (Rose moved a drink that belonged to one of Hilfiger’s friends, so Hilfiger hit him in the face. The clothier was shown the door, and Rose later performed “You’re Crazy” — dedicating the song to Hilfiger.)
Now, the rocker, who turned 48 on Feb. 6, is back on the rampage in the Big Apple. Rose asked to play the concert at the Varvatos store — for reasons that are still unclear — and proprietor John Varvatos was happy to oblige. “We thought they were only going to play five or six songs,” Varvatos said of Rose and his band. In fact, he played 17 to a packed room which included Kevin Bacon.
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