Early years (1962-1982)
Born as William Bruce Rose, Jr. in Lafayette, Indiana, as the only child to Sharon E. Lintner, then 16 years old, and William Bruce Rose, then 20 years old. Rose is predominantly of Scottish, German, and Polish ancestry. His grandmother was Polish. When Rose was two years old, his father abandoned his family. In 1965, Rose's mother metStephen L. Bailey at a singles night at her church, and married him shortly after. She changed her son's name to William Bruce Bailey, using the surname of her new husband. He has two younger half-siblings – sister Amy and brother Stuart. Rose has stated that he and his siblings were often physically abused by Bailey. As a child, Rose believed that Bailey was his biological father. Rose stated in aninterview with Rolling Stone magazine in April 1992, that during his childhood, he was made to believe that women and sexuality were evil. Due to the violent treatment of his mother by his stepfather he witnessed as an impressionable child, he was led to think that domestic violence was normal in families.
The Bailey household was deeply religious, and Rose and his family having attended aPentecostal church, where he was required to attend services three to eight times per week. He sang in church from the age of five, and also performed at services with his brother and sister in the "Bailey Trio". Rose was so involved with the church that he even taught Sunday School. In addition to singing in church, he also participated in his high school chorus and studied piano.
Rosespeaks in the baritone register. He originally sang in the low baritone range in his choir, however his normal singing voice is tenor range. He can sing parts ranging from bass, to baritone, and to a high head-voice, and has several different recognized "voices" used in his songs. He has stated that he originally started to develop his range to confuse his chorus teacher in school.He attended Jefferson High School in Lafayette. He dropped out of high school. At age 17, while going through papers in his parents' home, Rose learned of his biological father's existence and his own origins, and readopted his birth name, William Rose (although he was still legally William Bailey). However, he referred to himself only as W. Rose, because he did not wish to share a namewith his biological father.
After discovering the truth of his background, Rose began "acting out" in earnest. He was in trouble numerous times with the police, and was arrested over twenty times on charges such as public drunkenness and assault. At age 16, he was kicked out of his house for not cutting his hair. At this age, Rose also met future Guns guitarist Izzy Stradlin in a driver'seducation class. The two bonded over their love of rock music and eventually started playing in bands together. Stradlin eventually left Rose, and Indiana, to go to Los Angeles and focus on music.
Lafayette authorities threatened to charge Rose as a habitual criminal in his late teenage years. When he was 17, on the advice of his lawyer, he left Indiana and began hitchhiking and taking busesacross the country. Although he returned to Indiana to visit family from time to time, he left for good in December 1982 and moved to Los Angeles, accompanied by a girlfriend.
Rose eventually adopted the name W. Axl Rose ("Axl" after a band in which he once played ), and set out to re-unite with Stradlin. Rose legally changed his name to "W. Axl Rose" in 1986, and had themoniker tattooed on his arm, on the eve of Guns N' Roses signing with Geffen Records. According to author Stephen Davis, Rose tried to sign the contract "W. Axl Rose", but was legally unable to do so, since his legal name was still William Bailey. Rose then changed his name legally.
 Pre-Guns N' Roses years (1982–1984)
Once in Los Angeles, Rose began performing with various local bands,...