Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose was arrested Tuesday night at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport after allegedly threatening to punch out an airport security guard who was searching his luggage.
Rose was on his way through the Southwest Airlines baggage check when he allegedly objected to having his luggage searched by airport security personnel, Sgt. Kent Debnam of the Phoenix Police Department said Wednesday. "He began to yell threats and obscenities at the guard," said Debnam, reading from a report of the incident in which Rose allegedly shouted, "I'll punch your lights out right here and right now," while allegedly shaking his fists at the security worker.
Rose, who was charged with one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, was arrested at approximately 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday and transported to the Maricopa County Jail, where he was incarcerated for a short time before posting an unspecified amount for bail.
Geffen Records publicist, Bryn Bridenthal, who handles Guns 'N Roses, said the incident was a simple misunderstanding and that Rose was simply trying to protect a fragile momento he had been given as a birthday gift. "Axl had some birthday presents in his bag," she said, "including a glass object that a friend had given him for his birthday. The way they were going through the bag he was afraid it would get smashed."
Rose reached out to catch the object, Bridenthal said, and quickly learned that airline patrons are not allowed to touch their property while it is being searched by security. "Who wouldn't want to catch their stuff when it was falling off the table?" she added. Rose was in Phoenix to celebrate his 36th birthday last Friday, according to Bridenthal.
Sky Harbor Airport public-information officer Joan Sherwood said on Wednesday that it was unclear why Rose reacted the way he did. "Maybe he was concerned about an object in the bag," she said. "But I put my bags through all the time and they routinely unload it. I don't know if they'd know if an item that was special to him ... was in the bag."
On the musical front, Bridenthal said that Rose is currently meeting with producers for the next Guns N' Roses album. At one point last year, techno artist Moby was attached to the untitled project, but he had to later bow out due to other commitments. While it's possible that Rose will be able to release this year the first GN'R album of original material since 1991's two-CD Use Your Illusion set, Bridenthal said it is more likely the album will come out in 1999.
As for the head-count of who is and isn't in the band, the lineup is starting to look a bit more spare. Guitarist and songwriting partner Slash is still out, after he and Rose parted ways several years ago. Bridenthal would neither confirm nor deny drummer Matt Sorum's position, although Sorum has long been rumored to be out of the group, and she said it was more "difficult" to predict the status of bassist Duff McKagan.
For now, the only sure member, according to Bridenthal, is keyboard player Dizzy Reed. -- Gil Kaufman [Wed., Feb. 11, 1998, 5:30 p.m. PST]