August 23: The Story Behind “The Spaghetti Incident?”

Tell us about "The Spaghetti Incident"

On this day in 1993, Duff McKagen was testifying against Steven Adler when he was asked to tell the court about “the spaghetti incident,” which later became the title of their next album. 

Steven Adler’s Heroine Addiction

Steven Adler joined Guns N’ Roses when they formed in 1985. During his time with the band, he became addicted to heroin. In 1989 entered a drug rehabilitation program but his problems continued to get worse. 

It got to the point that Axl Rose threatened to drop out of the band if certain members, Adler included, didn’t clean up their act. The band promised to do better but Adler continued to struggle. 

In early 1990, Guns N’ Roses fired Adler but reinstated him on the promise that he would clean up his act. Still, his addiction worsened. It became so severe that Adler had trouble in recording. On July 11 of the same year, he was fired and replaced by Matt Sorum. 

After being ousted from the band, Adler auditioned as a drummer for AC/DC but fell out of the running when the band heard about the problems he had caused for Guns N’ Roses. 

RELATED: The full history of AC/DC from, High Voltage to Power Up …

Addler Sues Guns N’ Roses

The following year, Adler sued Guns N’ Roses. He argued that his problems in the recording studio were a result of the opiate-blocking drug he was taking to help him detox from heroin. He also said, “I was told that every time I did heroin, the band would fine me $2,000. … What these contracts actually said was that the band were paying me $2,000 to leave. They were taking my royalties, all my writing credits. They didn’t like me anymore and just wanted me gone.”

The band eventually settled outside of court with Adler receiving a back payment of $2,250,000 and 15% royalties on anything he recorded. 

The Spaghetti Incident 

Before the case was settled, it was brought before a judge. During testimonies, a lawyer asked Duff McKagen to tell the court about “the spaghetti incident.” The band was so amused by the absurdity of the question that it became the title of their next album. 

Some stories say that “The Spaghetti Incident” referred to an incident where Adler ate McKagen’s leftover pasta. But according to McKagen, that isn’t the case. 

In 1989, the band was staying in Chicago, where they often ordered Italian. Adler, who was heavy into the drugs at that time, would keep his stash in the fridge next to the Italian leftovers. “Spaghetti” became a code word for his drugs. 

Recalling his testimony, McKagen shares, “So then I’m in court, with a jury and the whole thing, and this f*ckin’ lawyer gets up, and with a straight face says, ‘Mr. McKagan, tell us about the spaghetti incident.’ And I started laughing.”

Other Notable Rock Events From August 23

1962 – John Lennon and Cynthia Powell married in Liverpool. They wanted a quiet wedding with only Paul and George attending. Unfortunately, the media caught the newlyweds as they were coming out of the registry office where they married. 

1963 – The Rolling Stones debuted on Ready, Steady, Go! where they performed “Come On.” 

1963 – The Beatles released “She Loves You.” It became the best-selling single of all time in the UK until 1977 when McCartney’s “Mull Of Kintyre” surpassed it. 

1966 – The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby” was at #1 on the singles chart. 

1967 – The Beatles recorded “Your Mother Should Know.” 

1967 – Keith Moon crashed a Lincoln limo into a Holiday Inn pool while trying to avoid the police on his 21st birthday. 

1969 – The Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women” began a 4-week run at the top of the singles chart in the US. 

1969 – Freddie Bulsara (later known as Freddie Mercury) plays with Ibex at the Octagon Theatre in Lancashire.

1970 – Lour Reed plays with Velvet Underground for the last time before going solo. 

1976 – The Beach Boys were the first rock band on the cover of People magazine. 

1980 – David Bowie’s “Ashes To Ashes” was at #1 on the UK singles chart. The accompanying music video became the most expensive made of its time. 

1980 – Toronto’s Heatwave Festival features Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, The B-52’s, The Pretenders, and others. 

1987 – Police killed an escaped drug addict at a Grateful Dead concert. 

1999 – Phil Everly from The Everly Brothers married Patti Arnold. 

2000 – Kenny Loggins received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

2004 – Queen was one of the first rock bands to receive official approval in Iran. 

2012 – Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon, was denied parole for the 7th time. 

2014 – The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 soundtrack, which features a mix of ‘70s hits including rock titles like “Spirit In The Sky,” tops the charts

2018 – Mark David Chapman was denied parole for the 10th time. 

2019 – The Rolling Stones had a rock from Mars named after them.

Rock Birthdays

1946 – Keith Moon of The Who (Drums)

1951 – Jimi Jamison of Survivor (Vocals)

1961 – Dean DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots (Guitar) 

1978 – Julian Casablancas of The Strokes (Vocals)

On This Day In History – August 23

From the birth of Keith Moon to the inspiration behind Guns N’ Rose’s “The Spaghetti Incident?” to The Rolling Stones having a Mars rock named after them, August 23 has seen many interesting moments that serve as a reminder of the enduring power of rock music.