Gina Siler spent three years in the eye of the maelstrom of Axl’s ambitions, rages, and adolescent scr*pes with cops. She began dating Axl when she was 17 and still a senior in high school. Axl was 20 and had already bussed or hitchhiked out to LA and back twice. In December 1982 she finished high school early so she and Axl could move to LA together in her car. They lived together on and off until 1985, and were engaged to be married "about nine times" by her count. She jokingly calls herself "the missing link" because she says Axl now refuses to acknowledge her. Gina attended the University of Arizona and is now a professor of Astronomy there.
"When I met him", Gina says, remembering, "I was having my seventeenth birthday party. He had on a long trench coat, dark glasses, collar pulled up, and said he was trying to stay away from the police. I asked : ‘What happened?’ He said : ‘Nothing. They just always bother me. They always harass me, no matter where I am.’ But he would do some pretty wild things. They would go out and drink and do some stupid things, like smash windows along Main Street." Gina recalls that the first time Axl bussed back to visit her from LA, cops got to him before she did. "He was walking down the street, and it was probably two o’clock in the morning. From the back, he looks very effeminate, with his long hair - not common for that area - and very thin legs, and he had a long coat on. These police were making comments, making gestures, because they thought he was a woman. Until he turned around, and they were very embarrassed to find out it was a male. So they started hassling him, because they were homophobic as hell. They questioned him, and then found out it was Bill Bailey, who’d obviously been in trouble before, and threw him in jail."
According to Gina, "He called me about three o’clock in the morning and said : ‘I’m in jail. You got to get me out.’ I skipped school the next day. And they brought him out in cuffs. Took him to court. I had to pay his bail." How strange that Axl would later end up sounding like a scared Midwestern cop, espousing the same misdirected homophobia. "There was so little there to do.", Gina explains. "He’d be in fights a lot. And I don’t think he’s even conscious of what he does, or how angry he gets. Somebody told me that he’s on lithium, to try and control it, because he’s a manic depressive. I always thought there was something chemical that happened to him when he was angry. That image of him sitting in the electric chair in the video ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, looking crazed, says it all. That’s what he looks like when he’s p*ssed off. And when you see that coming at you from across a room, coming near you, it’s frightening as hell. And I’m not very big, and that made it even worse. I won’t go much into that." "He came back from LA in the summer after my junior year, which would have been 82," said Gina. "And then he spent the summer here, and we had a wonderful time. We did a lot of hallucinogens. Wrote a lot of poetry. Did a lot of writing. Did lots of skateboarding. We’d go to parks and play Frisbee; we always had music with us, Queen or Nazareth or AC/DC or Sex Pistols or Aerosmith. We’d go hang out at Purdue. We’d sit around in somebody’s room and do acid and paint on the walls. I had pink hair and dressed real strange, so we always had the police around a lot. One time, there was a baseball game across the street at the park, and there was almost a huge fight. And it was, like, nine or ten good ole boys, and then us, and nothing had happened. They just didn’t like us because we had different ideas. Axl and David Lank had designed this huge banner; they wanted to call the band Axl. Izzy was already in LA - there was this idea of things they wanted to do, but for a long time, Izzy and Axl just didn’t click." "The people back in Indiana, they missed out on something that I got to experience," says Gina. "I lived with him during that period of ‘Bill’ to ‘Bill Axl’ to ‘Axl’. It was the strangest thing, because some days he’d be Bill, some days he’d be Axl, some days I didn’t know who the hell he was. I didn’t know what to do, because I didn’t know what person he was. For a long time he tried to dispel the fact that he had ever lived in the Midwest. He was trying to build an image, and a persona of the musician he thought he wanted to be. And sometimes I find it ironic that the thing which he tried most to get away from is what he’s trying most to go back to now."
"He is extremely intelligent," insists Gina. "That was one of the things that attracted me to him. He is just a nit-picky per