ok before i start can i just say one thing: GNR was never a hair band. end of story.
anyways. Axl was a part of the initial growing apart of the band, and as it got to the end, like early to mid 90s, he was pretty much a jerk. i dont think theres anything that specifically happened between slash and axl to cause them to not talk anymore, i just think it happened that way. the media likes to play up their "fued" because theyre the 2 most famous from the band, when really there isnt that much of a fued they just stopped talking.
axl's behavior definitely wasnt the only reason for it ending though.
if you want the best explanation, read Slash's and Duff's autobiographies theyre awesome. but basically in a nutshell, according to slash the best years were '85-'89. thats when the band was a complete democracy. but as soon as steven left, things slowly started going downhill from there. yes Axl was a complete douche about a lot of things, but there were things going on in each of the members lives and everyone (except axl, idk about matt) was having major drug and alcohol abuse problems that stunted the creative growth of the band and in time led to its downfall.
if youre looking at it from that angle, for a while, at least in the early days, axl was the one holding them together and might be the reason they were able to make it so far. he was the only one never heavily into substances. he was sober and able to function when the rest of the band couldnt. if you look up old GNR interviews on youtube, you'll notice that axl is the only one speaking clearly and giving legitimate and intelligent answers to the interviewers, while the rest of the band just kind of mumbles things nonsensically and are obviously heavily under the influence.
yes, axl was a huge part in the breakup at the end, but if it wasn't for him keeping the band together at the beginning, i doubt they ever would've made it big.
-izzy left in '91 because he was so tired of dealing with axl's attitude and how they went on late every night. the band took a plane during the tour and he would take his tour bus, and he would still arrive everywhere before them. the night he left was during one of the shows when a riot broke out and he realized he was sick of all the complications like this that came with being in GNR. also, he had recently become sober. he has said: "Once I quit drugs, I couldn't help looking around and asking myself, 'Is this all there is?' I was just tired of it; I needed to get out. When you're ****** up, you're more likely to put up with things you wouldn't normally put up with."
- slash left because he was tired of just sitting around doing nothing. he left in '96, after 3 years of inactivity of the band. it had become almost impossible to work as a band. he and duff would come up with new material but axl didnt really care and wouldnt put in any effort to actually start up a new album. slash was also married at the time, and after coming to terms with the fact that the band probably wasnt going to go anywhere, he decided he wanted to move on with his life and not stay trapped in something that was never going to work. other reasons slash cites in his book are the disrespect shown by axl to their audiences and crew always coming on late, the legal manipulation that axl forced on the band by demanding ownership of the band name and downgrading them contractually to hired hands; and the departures of Steven and Izzy.
- duff hung on for another year after slash, until 1997, but by that time realized too that with him and axl the only original remaining members, nothing was probably ever going to happen so he kind of followed suit and left.
so yeah, a lot of it was axl honestly. but i dont think its accurate to say that axl single handedly destroyed the band b/c there were other factors.
its really really sad and i wish as much as anyone that they would reunite, if only just for a couple shows. but ive come to terms with the fact that will most likely never happen, and the bright side is that we will always have those 4 amazing albums to listen to, as well as new material from all of the members.
GNR classic lineup is my favorite band!