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Mr. Brownstone

by

Guns N' Roses



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song is about how heroin affected the band. Mr. Brownstone is likely to be their dealer. Brownstone isn't a common slang term for heroin, but it is brown, which is likely to be where the dealer got his name from. (thanks, Sterv - Donny, England)
Axl Rose's lyrics mention how the band would take heroin before performing at concerts. "The show usually starts around 7, we go on stage around 9" means they were 2 hours late for the show because of the drug. Later he sings: "Now I get up around whenever, I used to get up on time," meaning he doesn't care anymore about it, he's so obsessed with heroin.
At the end of the song in the lyrics: "Shoved it in the bindle and I shot it in the middle And it, it drove outta my mind I should've known better, said I wish I never met her, said I leave it all behind," A bindle is a "dimebag" full of heroin, he shot it in the middle, getting rid of it, and says he wished he never met her (her being heroin) and he just quit it cold turkey. (thanks, Matt - Woodstock, Canada, for above 2)
Velvet Revolver, which was formed by 3 former Guns N' Roses members, regularly played this at their shows.
While opening for The Rolling Stones at a show in Los Angeles on October 18th, 1989, Axl Rose said on stage: "Unless certain people in this band get their s--t together, these will be the last Guns N' Roses shows you'll f--king ever see. Cause I'm tired of too many people in this organization dancing with Mr. G--damn Brownstone." It apparently got the attention of his bandmates, as Slash, Izzy Stradlin and Steve Adler promised to clean up.
Guns N' Roses
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Comments (62):

Heroin was probably the reason this song turned out so good.
- Jodie, xxxxx, MD
By the lyrics it sounds like they're calling the drug Mr. Brownstone. Anyway. I think this is there best song. Just love this one.
- Jodie, xxxxx, MD
Regarding the very top comment, and others like it, Hey Sterv/Donny from England, thanks for letting us know that Mr. Brownstone is the name of GNR's drug dealer. When I was a cocaine addict my dealers name was Mr. Whitestone, so I believe you!!
- kelly, san luis obispo, CA
Obviously this song is about the "heroin Addict" and not specifically any individual in the band, but WAR is signing it. Some of the lyrics is about incidents that have happened repeadidly, but to me when I read "the show usually starts around 7 and we get on stage around nine" implies that in the heroin addicts mind they are thinking "we still have two hours to get screwed up" and it is a short story of how it started with on hit and how it progresses to a point where "that ol man he is a real muthaf--ker I'm going to kick him on down the line" implies that he will kick the habbit later or intends to quit. The funny thing abouth that is an addict often wants to quit, but cannot because they are addicted. It is a common desire for addicts wanting to quit and many often try to quit unsucessfullly.
this nest verse "I used ta do a little but a little wouldn't do
So the little got more and more
I just keep tryin' ta get a little better
Said the little better than before
I used ta do a little but a little wouldn't do
So the little got more and more
I just keep tryin' ta get a little better
Said the little better than before"
talks about the progression or the build of tolernece and how he tries to get that euphouric feeling he got the first time.
and the last verse "Shoved it in the bindle and I shot it in the middle
And it, it drove outta my mind
I should've known better, said I wish I never met her Said I,
I leave it all behind Yowsa!"
He is speaking of the thought or Idea of quiting he is re-contemplating and no longer cares because he got his fix and back to square one. This song is about the cyle of an addict; heroin addict.
Behaviors: Sex, Drugs and Rock & roll.
- George, Sitka, AK
I'm quite entertained at some of these comments--a name for a dealer and so on?
Must be that you've never heard of the Stones's song (with a similar theme..) called Brown Sugar..
everybody that knows that song wouldnt have to listen to far to know that that is about black vagina....
- chunks132, cedar rapids, IA
Ok.... Listen Mr.Brownstone is heroin, not the drug dealer. The reason it's called BROWNstone is because at the time Persian Brown Herion was very popular, as a matter of fact Izzy- the rhythm guitarist dealt the drug... so it would make sense that they would write it into a song, and as for the MR. that is refered to Slash the lead guitarist, who had a really bad herion habit, and Axl wrote about it, he was sick of it, so he wrote about the knacking habit, and about the effect it has on a person or the band.
- Lanna, Los Angeles, CA
I'm quite entertained at some of these comments--a name for a dealer and so on?
Must be that you've never heard of the Stones's song (with a similar theme..) called Brown Sugar..
- larissa, vancouver, AB
Dude at lunch at school yesterday me and my friends started talkin about heroin because we were jokin that our teacher was on it and I didn't want to get in trouble for the teachers thinking we were druggies so I refered to it as mr. Brownstone and they all asked wat is that and I said heroin so then the guy next to me said like the song,how does that go again? So I banged out the beat on the table and started singin it then every1 joined so we had about 15 kids singin mr.brownstone. Then 2 minuetes later we stopped and another group of people started bangin on the table and they all got detention it was awsome
- Jake, Oakland, OK
Mr. Brownstone isn't their dealer it's heroin itself because it's like brown sand almost before it's melted and dancing with mr. Brownstone means shooting up heroin and wish I never met her means I wish I never shot up heroin not met a drug dealer
- Jake, Oakland, OK
also for you idiots that think you can do drugs like they were and continue to be successful, you are stupid. they may have been useing before they were successful but nothing like they were after they got rich, which is why they ultimately broke up along with axl's depression and anxiety issues. And last Aerosmith were into drugs pretty bad up until the mid 80's when things began to fall apart for them also but unlike GNR and Aerosmith avoided breaking up for the most part and everyone knows that they only achieved that after going through rehab together as a band. that is why Izzy evently left the band, he realized after touring a short time with aerosmith that he and his bandmates had to stop drinking and doing drugs. after years of trying and not being unsuccessful he left because he realized it was hopeless, frusterated and things werent fun for him anymore.
- DealerDan, Mt. Pleasant, MI
First off it takes all five original memebers to pull off the original sound. it was not axl rose that wrote the songs or made it all happen, Izzy is and was the man when it came to writing lyrics, which he and axl co wrote most lyrics with slash adding input on some song like mr. brownstone.
- DealerDan, Mt. Pleasant, MI
everyone here says that they were late for the show because of drugs but did you ever stop and thing the concert starte at 9 and the term "show" was then starting to take heroin? the 'show" started at 7 but we get on stage around 9
- luke, saint augustine, FL
fatty thats rubbish man, pure heroin is white on the street it tends to be brown cos of all the additives its cut with along the way, the song was written by izzy and slash,"The show usually starts around 7; we go on stage around 9" axl's disgust at izzy and slash not putting the band before drugs.
- kevkev, London, United Kingdom
Why don't you all read Slash's book....it says in there that him and Izzy wrote it while sitting at Dezi's house, doing heroin at her dining room table. The only one that is right here is "Snatch" from Cambodia. And it was quoted from Slash's book.
- Mary, Phoenix, AZ
GNR is so cool, rock on Slash!
- Robert, Atlanta, GA
"Mr. Brownstone" is a song performed by Guns N' Roses. It appears on their 1987 album Appetite for Destruction. Slash relates that the song was written by him and Izzy Stradlin while they were at Izzy and his girlfriend Desi's apartment. He states that they were sitting around, complaining about being heroin addicts, when they started improvising lyrics and music ("Brownstone" is a slang term for heroin). When they had the lyrics all together, they wrote it down on the back of a grocery bag and brought it to Axl. Slash says the lyrics describe a typical day in the life of Slash and Izzy. He also states that it was the first song the band wrote after getting signed by Geffen Records.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Brownstone

i've seen other websites that has magazine quotes directly from the band confirming this. i will post later, if need be.
- snatch, Desert Hot Springs, Cambodia
i have a feeling that the tune for mr. brownstone is based on "million dollar babies" by alice cooper.
- lazer, buffalo, NY
okay fatty, your completely wrong. Izzy wrote the song-it's common knowledge. Their is no dealer named "mr. Brownstone"- it's a name for heroin, because it's brown. I hate when people post completely inacccurate information
- jason, state of fitz, NJ
Alright, I'm going to have to clear up some misconceptions here because I'm a loser with nothing else to do. The term brownstone refers to a dope dealer named Mr. Brownstone. He got his name because dope dealers dye their heroin brown for whatever reason. The heroin sold in L.A. comes from Africa. It's properly manufactured and pure and therefore is brown/black instead of white the way poor heroin is. This song was written by Axl. Izzy didn't really contribute to the band at all. I can't stress The line: "The show usually starts around 7; we go on stage around 9" means that they were constantly late for gigs.
- Fatty, Fu, CA
I think this song is pretty self-explanatory. Everyone in the UK calls heroin 'brown' (well, anyone who is buying it at least!). To me it's a simple account of how heroin addiction progressed within their band, starting out fun "dancing" descending into hell... "I wish I'd never met him". You'd never get a successful band being honest like that these days!
- Kim, London, England
I know people go here to discuss what a song might mean, but this is ridiculous. Izzy wrote the song,it's about heroin and Mr.brownstone isn't named after a dealer. Slash actually made fun of people who thought that in interviews. Izzy wrote it about heroin!
- jason, state of fitz, NJ
I just read some more of the posts here and noticed that there seems to be a rift between fans as to which member was most responsible for Guns' success and sound. The truth is that they were all equally valuable. They all brought something unique to the table. I've always said that the two most overlooked members of Guns 'n' Roses were Izzy and Steven. Everyone gives Slash all the credit for the guitar work because of his look and the fact that he played lead but Izzy wrote most of the riffs that those solos are played over. And Steven was ABSOLUTELY INSTRUMENTAL to the Guns' sound. He had an almost off-beat "swing" that forced you to bob your head in appreciation. When he was replaced by Matt they lost that feeling to their music. Matt keeps time too well. He sort of plods along. They picked up an almost metal feel to their music. To sum it up, Guns 'n' Roses is/was Axl, Slash, Steven, Izzy, and Duff. All of them. Period.
- Peter, NYC, NY
Alright,I'm going to have to clear up some misconceptions here. The term brownstone refers to heroin itself. It doesn't refer to anyone in particular. There wasn't a dope dealer named Mr. Brownstone. Someone commented on how dope dealers dye their heroin brown for whatever reason. This isn't true. The heroin sold in L.A. comes from Mexico. It's improperly manufactured and impure and therefore is brown/black instead of white the way pharmaceutical grade heroin should be. This song was written by Izzy as he was cooking up a "shot". A dose of heroin and cocaine commonly refered to as a speedball. Everyone overlooks Izzy. I can't stress the following enough: MOST OF THE MUSIC ON APPETITE WAS WRITTEN BY IZZY STRADLIN. He is probably most responsible for Guns' early sound. And lastly, the line: "The show usually starts around 7; we go on stage around 9" has nothing to do with being late. It means that they were headliners and top billed and therfore they always go on last.
- Peter, NYC, NY
Wow at 13 - I used ta do a little but a little wouldn't do So the little got more and more - didn't mean a thing to me. It's amazing how much songs mean to you after you 'grow up' and listen to them again. Been there. Done that. Felt that. Hey there's a song about it.
- Mel!ssa, Pittsburgh, PA
PEOPLE KNOW YOUR FACTS
IZZY, NOT AXL WROTE THE LYRICS!
- jason, state of fitz, NJ
one word... Heroin!
- Kevin, Blenheim, Canada
all this fighting about why the band broke up is fine and dandy. But my question is why the hell is the current band touring all around the damn world except in the USA. you go to the GNR website and has all these dates they have played in Japan and other countries, with new songs. yet here in the states we don't get concerts. Why isn't Axl having the band play in the states. Bands break up all the time. He the original line up would get back together- even if just for the money, at least the fans would get a great show and a new cd.
- Will, Brooklyn, NY
i loooove this song and GNR! and steve actually uses his whole drumkit in this song for once lol.
- andreas, melbourne, Australia
Izzy wrote this song so everyone going on and on about Axl's lyrics is an idiot. Izzy wrote this about heroin usage plain and simple....maybe not his, maybe not a member of the band, but stil it's about heroin usage. If you really want to know the story behind this looking for Axl quotes is retarded ask the real genius of Guns. W/out Izzy the band was a shadow of itself. Period....
- Spoons, orlando, FL
randy, that's rubbish. VR are nowhere near on the same scale as GNR and the simple reason is AXL f'n' ROSE. they can't write full songs like he can. they were great for adding their parts but they are nothing without him. simple as that.
- joe, dublin
Axl Rose is an a**hole- plain and simple. I don't think it has anything to do with him failing to show up at concerts. Maybe he did fail to show up to concerts because the others were under the influence of drugs, and he did not want to perform under those circumstances. But bear in mind, members of Aerosmith use to perform while high on drugs, and they are still intact with the original lineup after almost 35 years together. I have never heard of a crowd of people rioting because the band that they had paid to see perform were stoned. Axl simply failed to appear in many shows, which did caused riots. If people insist that the current lineup of GNR is better, then more power to them. But comparing the current GNR to Velvet Revolver would be like comparing a pile of horse manure to chocolate mousse... Axl Rose will never be as popular.
- Randy, Colerain Twp., OH
well, maybe it's about heroin, but could be about almost any any drug. what drug doesn't make you want more? plus "wish I'd never met HER" (emphasis added) suggests cocaine much more than heroin. The longstanding usage has always been the "girl" (cocaine) and the "boy" (heroin), although I have to admit that's always seemed a little counterintuitive to me. on the heroin side of the argument, though, there is the reference to the brownstone in Lou Reed's Waiting for the Man, which is much more clearly about heroin (reference to works, etc.)
- Linda, Dallas, United States
hey for all those ppl that say axl isnt an a**hole,

he didnt show up to a show because he didnt want to

he took a dudes camera from the crowd and left


if thats not an a**hole

what is
- mike, Philadelphia, PA
Here... easy there, Tolly. I'M the one that said he could be replaced. he WAS replaced and Robin Finck makes light work of his parts. As i've said before, Slash was GREAT because of the combination of Axl's songwriting (have you heard Velvet Revolver's stuff?), the whole landscape of GNR being the "most dangerous band on the planet" and his Top Hat/Hair combo. i'm a big fan of his and probably always will be but don't go slaggin' people and insisting on a point if you're not going to back it up.
- joe, dublin
All of you who say that slash can be easily replaced are obviously retards and have no right to make any comments. Slash was the best guitarist of all time!
- Tolly, Nailsworth, England
Michael from Poland is almost right- Brownstone Apartments is actually located in West Lafayette, Indiana- On Purdue University campus-
- Michael, Lafayette, IN
by the way - the lyric "the show usually starts around 7 - we go on stage around 9" doesn't necessarily refer to drugs... no headlining band ever goes on stage at 7! that would be the support act before they go on at 9 (play for 2 hours and "get on a bus about 11")
- joe, dublin
fair enough he got great sounds and technically, he masters the guitar - i'm not taking anything away from slash's abilities - i would prefer the rose/hudson partnership continued forever - but i think axl was right with his ultimatums. he was right not to settle when he knew how good he/they could be. but slash's guitar parts can be recreated and the contemporary GNR gigs aren't lacking in any area other than the absence of the big-haired, top-hatted icon - but that's easily forgotten about when you hear 'there was a time' i reckon
- joe, dublin
Joe, how can you say slash is replacable? His tone is one of the most unique ive heard...I never heard anybody successfuly copy it before...and his solos are so harsh but melodic at the same time. Adler was an excellent before he got f-ed up on drugs, and he paid his price for it.
- Spencer, McBride, Canada
sorry spencer, missed your one there - slash is unique, granted - but mainly because of his image - he IS replaceable. and steven adler? he was only there for 'appetite' and 'lies' - are u forgetting all about the use your illusions?? and he was fired because of his inability to play (a result of his smack addiction, fair enough, but he WAS NOT ABLE TO PLAY THE PARTS) - he was never particularly inventive anyway
- joe, dublin
anyone who's seen Axl play with his current (summer '06) lineup knows he doesn't need Slash or Duff anymore (regardless of Matt Sorum - he'll just do what the other 2 say anyway - altho Brain Mantia is easily as good) anyway... Slash and Duff lost out - Axl was clearly the balls of the band and they should have went back grovelling for their place. GNR is just as good now as it ever was - roll on Chin. Dem.!
- joe, dublin
nick, you are quite wrong. Axl told slash to stop using heroin, and he did. he then told them (since he was owner of the band) that if they didnt give him the name Guns N' Roses, he would replace them all. if thats not an @$$hole, I dont know what is. And also, the band is ireplacable. Slash cannot be compared to people like buckethead, and steven adler is an amazing drummer.
- Spencer, McBride, Canada
Just so you all know... AXL ROSE IS NOT AN A******... He told the others in the band if they dint stop using browstone (heroine) he'd leave and u gota respect him for that...he is the best front man of all time with a unique voice. he is basicaly the band... a guitarist, drummer or anything like that is quite replacable escapecially now a days but a singer is sumthin that is not replacable and if they can be replace its either a lucky match or singer is to common..
- Nick, C-mack, OR
Can you believe Axl got kicked out of Guns N' Roses cause he wasnt on drugs?????So Slash and them all went to Velvet Revolver where they are all on drugs.Screwed up right?
- Alexander, Newburgh, NY

What is this guy talking about?! Everyone quit because Axl was an @$$, not because he quit drugs. They ALL quit drugs before Use Your Illusion I & II. That's why they kicked out Steven Adler.
- Maich, Toronto, Canada
Mr.Brownstone is about Heroin. After you do it, your hooked and have to keep on shooting more and more to get the desired effect. Amidst all this, you usually sell all your possessions, borrow, or steal money to get more heroin. Very sad. Slash was mainly the heroin guy.
- Mike, Sonora, CA
This song has been known to be played uncensored on Twin Cities rock radio stations despite the line "That old man, he's a real motherf**ker" - one of very few songs that have gotten away with dropping the F-bomb on terrestrial radio, before or after the FCC crackdown.
- Joshua, Twin Cities, MN
the band didnt care that he was protecting his assets john they cared that he would miss sessions and run out on concerts and cause riots, this band could have been the greatest ever but screwed it all up not to say that was all axel's fault but the reason they broke up was
- Worthy, Warrington, PA
yer i didnt no what mr brownstone was really about because i didnt pay much attention to thw lyrics but yer i agree with -J from houston and milezee from perth gnr r like my fav band of all time n i got toold was th on;ly reason they broke up was because once axl announcedthat his dad used to rape him everything went weird and axl and slash didnt get along anymore. everyone reakons axl is a prick because of what hes done but hes just protectin his assets
- john, northam, Australia
1st of axel didnt get kicked out, everyone else just quit. And 2nd he didnt get kicked out b/c he wasnt on drugs he got kicked out b/c he missed concerts and didnt show up at practices.
- Worthy, Warrington, PA
Can you believe Axl got kicked out of Guns N' Roses cause he wasnt on drugs?????So Slash and them all went to Velvet Revolver where they are all on drugs.Screwed up right?
- Alexander, Newburgh, NY
brownstone is slang for herion as in sum parts of amerika dealers would dye there heron brown so when people got addicted they would go back to the same dealer caus they wanted there heron to be brown slash and adler used heron alot and axl didnt do heroin
- mack, australia
C'mon Scott mate, do you really reckon they're gonna put their dealer's name in a track thats gonna be heard by QUITE a few people, even if the extent of their soon-to-be success was maybe unknown at the time? I'm pretty sure they wouldn't even put that in there if they were playing to a pub audience of 10 or 20 people! Nice try anyway mate, full points on effort!
- Milezee, Perth, Australia
hehe, a song about hardcore drug use written while baking crumpets... GnR were badass they didnt cook! lol, i dunno ur probably right michael
- e, vancouver, Canada
Mr brownstone is such an ace song! and so is night train, that rocks, but both of them are much beter played live
- Amy, Leeds, England
Mr. Brownstone - in Lafayette, IN - a hometown of Izzy Stradlin n Axl Rose - was a big complex of appartaments called 'Brownstone Appartaments' where young Jeff Isbell and Bill Bailey bought drugs - that's where the name Mr. Brownstone came from...
Te song was mainy written by Izzy (music, lyrics with additional help of Steven) and Slash (some of the music)... Izzy said that he wrote this song while cooking something...
- Michael_Stradlin, Slupsk, Poland
I used ta do a little
but a little wouldn't do
So the little got more and more

Thats pretty clear
- Dan, Dublin, OH
It was actually Slash & Steve that wrote this song. Axl found the lyrics on a piece of paper that they'd discarded and really liked them. Axl has said in many interviews that "Mr Brownstone" is an analogy for drugs, but not neccessarily the drugs they were taking. It could apply to anyone and any addiction they might have.
- Nikki, Melbourne, Australia
The only reason they drank nighttrain is because it was the only thing they could afford.
- Izzy, Vernon Hills, IL
Mr. Brownstone was about heroin and the band and people they knew using it. And it's night TRAIN not night rain! I know, I've had it!(don't ever buy it, it sucks!)
- Jillian, wakefield, MA
Actually it's night rain, the cheap booze that kept them awake during the nights in LA. 'Loaded like a freight train'.
Axl also said during a concert, that he would leave the band if the members didn't stop 'dancing with mr. brownstone'. They all managed to stop taking drugs, except Steven Adler, who got kicked out of Gn'R.
- Fredrik, Steinkjer, Norway
brown is the slang term for heroin - 'weve been dancin with mr brownstone' is a slang way of saying that the band have been messing around with heroin. Thats my understanding anyway.
- adrian, merthyr tydfil, AL
Mr. Brownstone was the name of their Drug dealer. Night Train was the name of an alcoholic drink they had, I think you're getting the stories crossed.
- Scott, Mt. Pearl, Canada
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