1997 – West Arkeen, who played guitar on Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion albums, dies.
West Arkeen (June 18, 1960 – May 30, 1997) was an American musician best-known for co-writing several Guns N’ Roses songs, and was known unofficially as GN’R #6. He died on May 30, 1997 in Los Angeles of a drug overdose.
West grew up in San Diego, Ca. His love for music began at the age of 14 when he started playing guitar. He was self-taught except for a single guitar lesson. He spent hundreds of hours practicing with a metronome in the family room of our house. He moved to L.A. at the age of 21. After several years of struggling to make it in the music industry, he had befriended a group of guys, later to be known as Guns ‘N Roses. They produced his first song to make it on an album: “It’s so easy” was on GNR’s Appetite for Destruction. After that the songs just flowed. He formed The Outpatience in 1995 and released their one and only album in 1996. Six months later, West died from a drug overdose.
Best known for co-writing a number of Guns N’ Roses songs, died suddenly at his home in Los Angeles on Friday. Sources close to Guns N’ Roses as well as posts on the Internet suggest that he possibly died of a drug overdose.
Arkeen co-wrote “It’s So Easy,” “Patience,” “Bad Obsession,” “The Garden” and “Yesterdays” for Guns n’ Roses and also penned “Make Your Play” and “Pressure” for Brother Cane. He’s not known to be involved in the G N’ R material currently being composed and about to be recorded.
Arkeen had been working on his own project, The Outpatience, a band he formed two years ago with vocalist Mike Shotton, bassist James Hunting, guitarist Joey Hunting, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and keyboardist Gregg Buchwalter. The band just released their debut album, Anxious Disease, in Japan and were shopping the record to labels in the States. The album boast strong G N’ R connections: Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan appear as guests (Rose sings backup on the title track), and former G N’ R member Izzy Stradlin co-wrote one of the songs.
Stradlin and McKagan are among those mostly closely associated with Arkeen. The trio played in the The Drunkf**ks side project together; Arkeen co-wrote two of the tunes on McKagan’s solo record and he played bass on Stradlin’s Ju Ju Hounds CD.