Axel Steel is a main character in the Guitar Hero series. He is one of only a handful of characters to appear in every game in the series, a distinction only shared with Johnny Napalm and Judy Nails. He represents the hard rock and heavy metal genres in all of the games, specifically the "old school" precursors of heavy metal from the 1970s and 1980s.


  • We all know Axel Steel is an awesome guitar player, and that he's the common thread in the legendary bands SideWinder, HellDozer, and MegaThreat. But did you know he got his first guitar out of a pool hall trash bin? Or that his first big break came while hauling equipment for Dopple Ganger? Their guitarist passed out temporarily - and Axel stepped in - permanently. If he's not tearing into the guitar, Axel says he likes to draw motorcycles and skulls, just like he did in school. His friend and band mate, Skip Alldaway, says Axel plays guitar so fast, "there should be caution labels on his albums". - Guitar Hero manual bio.
  • No frills, no fluff. Axel Steel is a shredder from the old school. He was put on this planet for two things, to drink beer and to play some Rock N' Roll. Looks like he's almost out of beer. - Guitar Hero in-game bio.
  • Famous for his driving riffs and up-front attitude, Axel Steel first picked up a guitar in an attempt to quell his boredom during suspension from elementary school. The rest is history. Metal history. - Guitar Hero II in-game bio.
  • Just a city boy, born and raised in South Peoria, Axel Steel is a fan of arena rock and partyin' in the parking lot. King of the stadium show and master of the tailgate, Axel Steel is a hard-riffin' powerhouse. - Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s in-game bio.
  • In his recent published autobiography 'Broken Axel', the noticeably more mature man of Steel wrote, 'I killed emo. And disco still sucks.' - Guitar Hero 5 in-game bio.
  • As a matter of fact Axel's back, he's got halls packed from front to back, surfing rowdy crowds and playing loud; without doubt this rocking lout returns for one more bout. - Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, human form description.
  • Axel feels the blood of rock beating in his heart, taking his music to a new level undreamed of by humankind. Where once there was inspiration now here lives genius. - Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, Warrior/Spirit form description.

Appearance and Outfits

Throughout the Guitar Hero series, Axel's basic appearance is that of a muscular young white man, with medium-length brown hair. In the Neversoft installments, he looks significantly older, has a slight five-o'clock shadow, and has more hardened features.

Guitar Hero

Axel wears a blue ripped-sleeve denim jacket over a black, short-sleeved T-shirt with a white skull, somewhat blue old jeans with a black belt, and white sneakers with red detail. He also has a light brown semi-long haircut.

Guitar Hero II


He wears a long-sleeved shirt under his denim jacket, with spikes protruding from the shoulders, blue jeans with a black belt, and red and white sneakers. He lost a lot of weight in the game and has a costume called "Other Shirt".

Other Shirt

  • Since they don't make you play better and you can't drink 'em, Axel has zero interest in clothes. But even Axel needs a change once in awhile. - Shop description.

His alternate outfit is a basic navy-blue worker's shirt with a pair of black jeans and cowboy boots. In the Xbox 360 version, Axel sports mutton chops when wearing this outfit.

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s

Axel wears a purple track jacket, black shoes and a black band on his head. Aside from that, he does not look much different from his Guitar Hero II incarnation.

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock


Axel wears a denim vest over a leather jacket and a T-shirt. He also wears basic denim pants slashed at the thighs with a belt and hi-top basketball sneakers.

  • Black 'n Blue: Axel wears a black jacket, blue denim vest, gray T-shirt with a flaming orange skull logo, blue denim pants with black belt, all-white sneakers, and the back of the vest has a logo of a devil stylized like an old serial film villain (widow's peak hair and thin mustache).
  • Black 'n Red: Axel wears a black jacket and denim vest, red T-shirt with a bonfire of bones logo, black denim pants with black belt, white and black sneakers, and the back of the vest has a logo of a speared eyeball, similar to the Neversoft logo.
  • Stonewashed: Axel wears a black jacket, white denim vest, teal T-shirt with a fist-and-star logo, white denim pants with white belt, white and red sneakers, and the back of the vest has a logo of a bloodied dagger.
  • Red Leather: Axel wears a red jacket, white denim vest, black T-shirt with no logo, blue denim pants, black sneakers and the back of the vest has no logo.


  • For when Axel needs a bit more mobility. Like playing a 4-hour set to 20,000 people in 115 degree weather at an all day festival in Brazil. - Shop description.

This outfit is a tribute to the late Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. Axel wears a buttoned-up vest, cargo shorts, wristbands, a pair of high-top skate shoes and quarter cut black socks just above them. In addition, he also sports a long goatee (with the exception of the "Brown Vest" palette). He wears a trucker's cap in the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and Mac versions, and in all versions of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. In the Wii and PlayStation 2 versions of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, he wears no cap.

  • Black Vest: Axel wears a black vest, cap and sneakers, green camo shorts, and the tip of the goatee is dyed red.
  • Brown Vest: Axel wears a brown vest, gray shorts, black cap, and blue sneakers. Instead of a goatee, Axel sports only a biker mustache.
  • White Vest: Axel wears a white vest, olive camo shorts, orange cap, red sneakers, and the tip of the goatee is dyed orange.
  • Stripes: Axel wears a black and gray striped vest with white undershirt, blue jean shorts, black cap, and black sneakers. Axel's hair is a dirty blond in this outfit, including his goatee, which does not have the tip dyed.

Guitar Hero: On Tour

  • Shirt: Axel has the same outfit as his default outfit in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
  • Other Shirt:
  • No Shirt:

Guitar Hero: World Tour

Axel wears the "Black Vest" style from his "Shorts" outfit in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, except his shoes are changed.

Default Clothing

  • Torso: No Sleeves, Please
  • Pants: Camo Whamo!
  • Shoes: Feet On Fire

Default Accessories

  • Left Arm: Diamond Head
  • Right Arm: Leathery Spike

Guitar Hero: Metallica

Default Clothing

  • Torso: The Wreckless One
  • Pants: James Old School
  • Shoes: Axel Kickers

Default Accessories

  • Rings

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits

Axel wears the "Black N Blue" style from his "Jeans" outfit in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock but his shoes have black detail. He also appears as the drummer in the game's cutscenes.

Default Clothing

  • Torso: Fire Proof
  • Pants: Metal Head Basics
  • Shoes: Axel Kickers

Guitar Hero 5

Axel has four alternate attires in the game. Three of them can be unlocked after beating certain challenges with the correct instruments. Unlike the previous band entries, his outfits cannot be changed. Instead, his clothing pieces can be unlocked for use on custom characters.

  1. Stormbringer: Default outfit. Axel wears a black leather vest over a red plaid vest over a sleeveless skull-print T-shirt (Layered Vest), black pants torn at the knees with a black bandanna hanging at the waist (Junkers), and black combat boots (Steel Toe Stompers) (like Floppy Combatants, but the pant legs are worn inside the boots).
  2. Battlescar: Axel's appearance is different from his other three outfits. He has much longer hair (Beast) with a beard. He wears a V-neck shirt with ripped sleeves, ripped scars across the front, and a lion skull with the words "King of the Jungle" on the back (Open Wound), leather gauntlets on each wrist, back baggy pants with a lion tail hanging on the back (Sutures), and big, heavy combat boots (Megas). This outfit can be unlocked through the "Medicate" gig challenge in Guitar Hero 5. This outfit does not appear in Band Hero.
  3. Hog Wild: Axel wears a black leather jacket with button badges on the collars and skull designs on both upper arms of it with a chained necklace (Road King), a leather fingerless glove on his left hand, camouflage cargo pants with a silver cross boned skull belt buckle (Blend In), and black boots (Sole Storm). This outfit can be unlocked through the "Send A Little Love Token" gig challenge in Guitar Hero 5 and the "Lips of an Angel" gig challenge in Band Hero.
  4. Shoulder Blades: Axel wears a strap with studs on his chest (not shown in the rock star creator menu), a red short sleeved buttoned jacket with a black leather vest over it with spikes on the shoulders and red lines with silver studs along the front (Red Dread Rocker), a leather bracelet, a fingerless glove on his left hand, a belt buckle bracelet, a ring on his right hand (the glove on the right is not shown in the rock star creator menu), black leather pants with red lines with silver studs on them, matching the vest (Carmine), and black leather boots with belt buckles on them (Ax Toe). This outfit can be unlocked through the "Sympathy for the Devil" gig challenge in Guitar Hero 5 and the "Rock Star" gig challenge in Band Hero.

Guitar Hero: Van Halen

Axel wears the exact same outfit from Guitar Hero World Tour except he wears Rings on the left arm instead of Diamond Head.

Band Hero

In Band Hero, Axel's appearance is greatly different from his previous appearances. But his first three outfits as seen in GH5 (Stormbringer, Shoulder Blades, & Hog Wild) appear in this game.

  1. Digby: Axel can now be seen with a short haircut and sporting a goatee while wearing a black t-shirt with a gold design on it, jeans with a long chain hanging off the belt, black boots, a spiked bracelet on his left arm and a black wristband with yellow letters on it on his right arm.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Normal form

Axel looks very similar to his previous incarnations. Axel's transformation is a clear reference to Iron Maiden's mascot, Eddie, specifically his Powerslave-era incarnation.

Warrior form

Warrior Axel

Axel becomes a mummy with his skin destroyed, leaving only his spine visible from the chest down. Axel's guitar, Sacryfyce, resembles a Gibson Flying V with a pyramid-like design.

Guitar Hero Live

While not appearing in the game physically, Axel's name is shown to be one of the nine opponents in GHTV's Premium Shows.

Guitar Hero II Manual Interview

The game manual for the PlayStation 2 version of Guitar Hero II contains an interview with Axel. The following text is taken directly from the manual.

Askin' Q's and Kickin' A's With AXEL STEEL - An exclusive interview with Guitar Hero II's metal monster

We had a chance to sit down with hard-rocking Axel Steel, one of the stars of Guitar Hero II and ask him a bunch of questions! We were able to meet up with Axel at an all-night diner after one of his shows.

GH Magazine: Thanks for taking the time to do this; I know how busy you are.

Axel Steel: No problem, the smells from that tour bus were starting to get me.

GHM: What kind of music are you listening to now?

AS: There's this new type of metal out of Norway which, like takes metal and smoothers it with a gooey layer of more metal, sprinkles it with bits of metal with and roasts it on an open fire until it's cooked all the way through.

GHM: Sweet. So when did you first pick up a guitar?

AS: I can't remember the exact age, but I was young. I remember seeing this rock band play down the road. They were so loud, they had so many chicks, and they wore so much denim that I was instantly hooked.

GHM: When's your new album coming out?

AS: Well, we decided to do things a bit different this time. We had the cover art done first, and now we're going back and writing songs based on it... it's going slower than we thought it would.

GHM: So what's the album cover like?

AS: It involves a snake somehow holding a machine gun... and he's shooting all these monsters, but the monsters are like they like it... yeaahhhh!

At that point in the interview Axel saw his tour bus taking off down the street and he took off chasing after it.

Songs associated with Axel Steel

Guitar Hero Quickplay Songs

Guitar Hero II Quickplay Songs

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s Quickplay Songs

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Setlist


Basic Effects

The player can earn up to two Ankhs that will revive him/her with the rock meter in the yellow section should he/she fail the song. Any Ankhs left over when the song ends will be converted into one power star each.

+ Effects

The player can now earn up to five Ankhs rather than two.

In-Game Appearances


  • The first part of Axel's Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80's bio is a reference to a line in the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'". The line in Axel's Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80's bio reads, "Just a city boy, born and raised in South Peoria." The line in "Don't Stop Believin'" goes, "Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit."
  • Axel's bio in the original Guitar Hero features a reference to a famous line from the 1988 film They Live. The line in Axel's bio reads, "He was put on this planet for two things, to drink Beer and to play some Rock N' Roll. Looks like he's almost out of Beer" The line in They Live goes, "I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass... And I'm all out of bubble gum."
  • While Neversoft has reused Axel's bio text from Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock up until Guitar Hero: Metallica, the text from Guitar Hero World Tour onwards contains only the first sentence, for reasons unexplained.
  • In the Guitar Hero: Smash Hits cutscenes, Axel has a shorter, feathered hairstyle and he is missing the flaming orange skull logo on his shirt. His shoes are also completely white, much like in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
  • According to Warriors of Rock custom rocker creator, the names of Axel's bandmates are Carlos (singer), Hannah (bassist), and Mason (drummer).
  • He is close friends with Johnny Napalm and Lars Ümlaüt.


External Links

Characters of Guitar Hero
Guitar Hero: Axel Steel - Clive Winston - Grim Ripper - Izzy Sparks - Johnny Napalm - Judy Nails - Pandora - Xavier Stone

Guitar Hero II: Casey Lynch - Lars Ümlaüt - Eddie Knox

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock: - Elroy Budvis - God of Rock - Lou - Metalhead - Midori - Slash - Tom Morello

Guitar Hero On Tour: Gunner Jaxon - Memphis Rose

Guitar Hero Aerosmith: Brad Whitford - DMC - Joe Perry - Tom Hamilton

Guitar Hero World Tour: Aaron Steele - Billy Corgan - Hayley Williams - Jimi Hendrix - Johnny Viper - Marcus Fretshredder - Matty Cannz - Nick - Ozzy Osbourne - Riki Lee - Rina - Rockubot - Shirley Crowley - Skeleton - Sting - Ted Nugent - Travis Barker - Zakk Wylde

Guitar Hero Metallica: Fembot - James Hetfield - King Diamond - Kirk Hammett - Lars Ulrich - Lemmy - Robert Trujillo - Zach Harmon

Guitar Hero Modern Hits: Calista Valenz - Simon Grimmsy

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits: Mario Greendale

Guitar Hero: Van Halen: Alex Van Halen - David Lee Roth - Eddie Van Halen - Wolfgang Van Halen

Guitar Hero 5: Carlos Santana - FrankenRocker - Gerald Contest Winner - Golden God - Johnny Cash - Kurt Cobain - Matt Bellamy - Racques Topus - Robbie Lobster - Scrap Heap - Shadow - Shirley Manson

Band Hero: Adam Levine - Adrian Young - Gwen Stefani - Quincy Styles - Taylor Swift - Tom Dumont - Tony Kanal

DJ Hero: DJ AM - DJ Jazzy Jeff - Grandmaster Flash - Z-Trip

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock: Arthas Menethil - Austin Tejas - Demi-God of Rock - Echo Tesla - Minotaur

NPCs: The Bassist - Bret Michaels - The Drummer - The Female Singer - Joey Kramer - The Keyboardist - The Rhythm Guitarist - The Male Singer - Steven Tyler - The Singer - The Disc jockey