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January 28, 2023

Mugshot of a Young Axl Rose in July 1980

An 18-year-old Axl Rose posed for the Lafayette, Indiana police mug shot in July 1980. This was one of the first of many misdemeanor bust for the future Guns N’ Roses frontman.

The photo of was found by John Jeremiah Sullivan, a writer on assignment for GQ. Sullivan explained the details of his discovery in the Paris Review:

“The most memorable trip I made in connection with Axl was to Lafayette, Indiana, where he grew up,” writes Sullivan. “I drove there hoping to trot dawn his oldest childhood friend, a man named Dana, who’d never been interviewed. Dana tamed out not surprisingly to be a very reclusive person, and although he did eventually meet with me, it took several days to coax him out. I spent them inventing little research projects. I visited the public library and found old yearbook pictures of Axl. I photographed the church where he sang in the choir. And lastly, on the morning of the day when Dana finally called me back, I went to the local police station. Did they have any records an Axl? No, they didn’t think so. Really? That seemed impossible. Would they mind checking under his many Indiana names? William Bruce Rose Jr.? William Bruce Bailey? Bill Bailey? W. Rose? A friendly lady officer agreed to help me out.”

“Sure enough, when I came back that evening,” Suilivan continues, “she had a whole folder of stuff. Arrest reports, warrants, and affidavits, as well as two treasures: mug shots that no one had ever seen. Axl’s first mug shots.”




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