Craig Duswalt teaches professionals how to market themselves and their businesses with his RockStar System for Success.
The name is certainly apt as the speaker and author has associated with some of rock’s biggest acts.
While he started out with Air Supply, Craig really learned about the industry when he joined forces with Guns N’ Roses.
He admits in his new memoir, Welcome to my Jungle, that many might run away from some of what he experienced. But Axl Rose‘s former personal assistant/manager wouldn’t trade what he went through–from teleprompter troubles to searches by narcotics officers–for any amount of money. After all, there were also perks, like hanging out with beautiful women (when he was single) and getting to chat with celebrities, including Elton.
Their initial encounter was at the MTV Awards, when Axl and Elton sang November Rain together. The next time the writer and the musician met was at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, held in memory of Queen‘s frontman as well as to help raise AIDS awareness.
Craig recalls Elton wanting to rehearse Bohemian Rhapsody, but Axl was too concerned about problems he was having with his girlfriend. However, the pair nailed it, even without a minute of preparation.
In another instance, Axl didn’t rehearse for a performance with Bono and The Edge. But their acoustic rendition of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door still managed to wow the audience.
More unusual encounters are also recollected. In one instance, a middle-aged room service waiter kept hounding Axl for his autograph. Another time, they met UFO Nick, a Las Vegas resident who claimed to have a direct link to aliens and an ability to move spaceships.
Even with all of this, the band and entourage–including Craig–would grow bored and play pranks on each other. Some were mean, but the incidents were neutralised by the participants’ genuine affection for each other.
Part of the proceeds from the book (out the end of April) will go to Duswalt’s Band Together Foundation, created to aid charities and foster world peace. The writer plans to put on a concert for his foundation featuring groups that have broken up but are able to put aside their differences for one day. He hopes the original lineup of Guns N’ Roses will be among them.