It’s hard sometimes to differentiate between fact and mythology when looking back at some of the wilder cats of rock and roll. Such is the nature of the business where debauchery is rewarded with dollars, legends can be confused with truth extremely easily – we’re looking at you and your Rolls Royce in the swimming pool Keith Moon. But where some tales are taller than others, shockingly the story of Guns ‘N’ Roses guitarist Slash sneaking his pet mountain lion into a Four Seasons Hotel is somehow true. Here’s how it went down.
At the height of Guns ‘N’ Roses fame there was nobody that could touch the band. Not for their insanely huge shows, their mass radio play, the hysteria that followed them or the heavy drug use. They were the archetypal rock and roll band and very proud of it. But by around 1993 Slash had become dangerously involved with the glamour of fame and its destructive nature. He chose to move out of the Hollywood hole he’d dug for himself and bought a home in Los Angeles.
It was a clear move to try and separate his life as Saul Hudson from his persona as the guitar-wielding juggernaut Slash. So like any homeowner, he bought himself a pet… except this is Slash, so he bought himself a pet mountain lion. No, you didn’t mis-read that. A pet fucking mountain lion.
That wasn’t the only pet in his home either, he also made the sprawling mansion a sanctuary for countless cats, venomous snakes, and lizards and now a near 100kg predator named ‘Curtis’. “I installed a full-on reptile zoo over there,” he recounts in his autobiography. “Just a gazillion snakes and all kinds of stuff.”
John Borg, the legendary pinball machine whizz (another area of expertise for Slash, who in fact helped Borg design the Guns ‘N’ Roses machine) said of Curtis: “I went to Slash’s house in L.A. He showed me his pinball collection and his snake collection. He also had a cougar about 8 months old. His name was Curtis. He was as friendly as your average house cat. He was much larger than a house cat. A little bigger than a German Shepherd. I was petting him and he laid down and rolled over on his back. I squatted down and rubbed his belly. Big mistake!
He reached up with his front paw and got it around my neck and had me on my back in a split second. Next thing I noticed was him on top with his jaws around my neck. I was very calm and didn’t panic or try to get him off.
He was playing with me. Slash yelled at him, “get off Curtis!” He then released me and I got up. I figured if he bit down it would have been a fast death. I did pet him more later, but didn’t squat down to rub his belly again.”
The menagerie of animals, as well as Slash, found a sense of tranquility in the home until 1994. In that year the massive Northridge earthquake would upset their picturesque life and send Slash out of his home. Slash being a resourceful and fairly rich fellow found himself a suite at the Four Seasons in Marina Del Rey. Naturally, the venomous snakes, lizards and nearly a dozen cats were all left to fend for themselves. Curtis, the 100kg killing machine, was however snuck into the hotel.
Yep. You heard it. A hotel will know if you’ve sneezed near the macadamia nuts of a mini-bar but somehow a huge cat capable of munching on anyone it wanted, goes by without even a raised eyebrow. The cat stayed with Slash until it was safe to return to their home. While it may be said that Slash was a bit of an animal, surely the Four Seasons haven’t seen anything like Curtis before.
As someone quite rightly said, the fact that Slash sneaking a pet mountain lion into a hotel isn’t even in the top 10 craziest G’N’R stories, says a whole lot.
Curtis & Slash