While Guns N Roses play tonight April 9, 2016 at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, there is one special woman in attendance who managed them in the early years. Her name is Vicky Hamilton. She has a lot of wisdom and charisma. It is easy to see how she sealed the deal with record labels. This is Grand Opening Week for the T-Mobile Arena.
Vicky Hamilton spoke at Guitar Center in Las Vegas on the same day April 9, 2016. She read from her new book Appetite for Dysfunction. This book was a limited publisher’s proof edition. She told it how it was and didn’t sugarcoat anything. The stories were fluid and easy to visualize. Stories about Axl Rose, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Tom Petty, Motley Crue, Faster Pussycat, bondage parties, drug parties, sobriety, the 80’s, Geffen Records, and the first recordings were interesting to hear.
The intimate setting of Guitar Center’s lecture room made it easy for the storytelling to just flow. The flavorful storytelling began with her reading excerpts from chapters in her book. The Thank You in the beginning has got to have the biggest list there is. The book was funded by a crowd funding campaign. So, it was a large crowd. Bobby Dall of Poison wrote her Introduction stating, “No one had their finger more on the pulse of the L.A. music scene than she did.” She went on to read her Foreword from her words about how it all began. She was from a small Indiana town and moved to L.A. when she was 21. She told of her start writing a column and interviewing bands to working in the A&R Department at Geffen Records just under David Geffen. She explained about her rock bottom both financially and personally in 2001. June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash came to her rescue during this time to show her tools needed to gain a glimpse at a spiritual life. Robbie Quine of Sex With Lurch also came to the rescue with a path to sobriety. She was on “Mr Toad’s Wild Ride,” as she puts it in her book. Through sobriety she gained a wise, happy, and more mature outlook on life.
Chapter 1, Welcome Back to the Jungle, starts off with Axl’s narcissistic antics almost losing a deal with Geffen Records. What antics one may be asking? Read the book. As Vicky explained it, “Being a band manager is much like babysitting.” She said to women out there looking, that managing a band it is more natural for a woman because it takes a maternal instinct.
In addition to Axl’s notorious meltdowns, she read from Chapter 5, Running Down the Dream. This is where she spoke of coercing Shelter Records to get her the interview Tom Petty gave to Jim Ladd’s syndicated radio show. She was working for Forte Wayne’s Three Rivers Review. Tom Petty convinced her to move to California. He said, “You look like a California girl.” Vicky told the story listeners, “That must have been a sign.”
She read from Chapter 9, Shout with the Devil. Yes, this was her hair raising adventures with Motley Crue. She reminisced about the first song Nikki Sixx played for her Stick to Your Guns. The first thing Vince says to her is revealed. Read the book. “When she met Motley Crue, punk rock was the thing. So, this band was another animal entirely,” she told listeners. She told of how Motley Crue was evicted by the board of health. Read the book. Lots of great stories.
She read from Chapter 12, Talk Dirty about Me. A journalist with the L.A. Weekly had written an article about Poison not eating enough Wheaties. Vicky explained, “Bobby Dall was so furious with with the writer he packaged up his own special box of Wheaties, wrapped it in brown paper wrapping, and mailed it to the writer.” She said that they never got a response back, however even to this day, it makes her smile thinking about it.
When asked by Johnny Cash to make a record with June Carter Cash and Rick Rubin, she didn’t know what to say. Press On won a Grammy. This was out of Chapter 26, G Stands for Grammy. Within the book, there are many a photo of her with June Carter. Since this is a limited edition, there are many photos not seen in the general public.
Speaking of photogs, Vicky’s personal photographer Jack Leu from the dawn of metal days was there at Guitar Center, as well. Check out some of his stunning images here. Ava, the owner of Fremont Country Club in Las Vegas, was there as well in support pictured in this slideshow. Her next big event is April 14, 2016 Freakshow Wrestling Snakes and Ladders.
In a Q&A session after the story telling, she answered the question very directly to how do artists get funding from record labels in 2016? “It takes a good manager and artists who can be creative with private investors.” She always dreamed of hanging out with guys like David Cassidy and other leading bands from childhood. She knew it would not happen in Indiana and had to be more in the scene. She moved to L.A. She started in record retail Her taste was mostly commercial as that’s what people listened to on the radio in Indiana. She was a big fish in a small pond in Indiana and became a small fish in a big pond out in L.A. She spoke raves about Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. She spoke of them being just the best. They would share stories with her about Elvis, the Grand Ole Opry, and many other country folk singers and song writers. When asked about life changing moments, the life changing moment was moving from GNR to Geffen. She met with Doug Bailer of Geffen Records and she just took to the stability. When asked about managing now, she pointed to Salty Dog’s Pete Reveen in attendance as part of Vicky’s entourage. She has been managing him for years. Howie Hupperman introduced her to Pete and the rest was history. She spoke of her sun and moon tarot cards. Something she would flash around new clients. Maybe Vicky is secretly actually a hypnotist. A lot of Great music was produced with her hand in it. And she is just funny as well as a life saver. Kelly Nicholes of L.A. Guns and Faster Pussycat literally owes her his leg. She saved his leg going to a hospital due to an injury sustained by a motorcycle accident. Buy the book Appetite for Dysfunction.