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SoulMonster

1995.01.DD - Interview with Slash in Kerrang!

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1995.01.DD - Interview with Slash in Kerrang!

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:30 am

Guns N' Roses guitarist, Slash, can't stand new band mate Paul Huge - and that's official! The bombshell was dropped this week by the superstar six-stringer, who says he has never liked GN'R's new axeman - an old friend of band frontman Axl Rose. In addition, Slash sensationally reveals that Axl refused to record with the rest of the band when they entered the studio to work on latest single "Sympathy For The Devil"! He also owns up to the fact that there are no new songs for the long-awaited follow up to the 1991 "Use Your Illusion" LPs.

Life in GN'R is as turbulent as ever. Virtually all new material Slash has written in the past 18 months will end up on his forthcoming solo LP, "It's Five O' Clock Somewhere", due out next month through Geffen. The only other new tune written by the guitarist features on a high-tech GN'R pinball machine called "Snakepit"! "Other than that, "Use Your Illusion" is the last piece of original material, and that's three years ago," Slash shrugs, speaking to Mayhem (a Kerrang! Column) in a no-holds-barred interview. And the guitarist has plenty to say!

It was hoped that "Sympathy...", a cover of the Rolling Stones classic which features on the soundtrack to movie blockbuster "Interview With the Vampire", would be the prelude to a long-overdue burst of GN'R musical activity. But things couldn't, Slash reveals, be much further from the truth. When GN'R got off the road early last year, Slash went straight into his home studio to start work on what was supposed to be a new get-it-out-quick-and-get-back-on-the-road LP. Things went sour when Axl turned down flat all the songs that Slash had written and put down on tape with GN'R drummer Matt Sorum. Rather than throw these songs away - songs which Axl now wants back for the next GN'R LP! - Slash put together his sideline band Snakepit, and made the aforementioned "It's Five O' Clock Somewhere". Produced by Guns producer Mike Clink and featuring sacked GN'R guitarist Gilby Clarke, Matt Sorum, ex-Jellyfish axe Eric Dover on vocals and Alice In Chains bassist Mike Inez, the Snakepit project could well be seen as an alternative, slimmed-down Guns N' Roses.

Why isn't Duff Mckagan playing on the album?
"It would be Guns without Axl if Duff were playing on it."

A good idea, by all accounts.
"No." Says Slash. "That's not cool. Axl is in such a funny place, you know, because Axl is Axl, and no one will ever really understand him as much as he would probably like to be understood. So he really is on his own in that respect. But I've known him long enough where there's a certain amount of leeway with his outbursts that I can handle. They just don't affect me. But I feel sorry for him sometimes, if only because he's such a tough act to be: to maintain any kind of dignity with this public scrutiny and having all this negative press and so on..."

But here you are, his closest friend in the band, putting together your own group - with songs that he now considers Guns songs! Plus, you're with a drummer who's in Guns N' Roses and a guitar player Axl kicked out of the band! He must think you've turned against him as well!
"The Gilby thing did piss Axl off. But Gilby was pissed off too. He was shocked when he was fired, because there was no other reason behind it other than Axl had made up his mind. And of course I had to be the f***king messenger of bad news, which was f**ked for me because Gilby and I are really close. You don't play with people like that. I hooked up with Gilby and rightly so, because Gilby didn't deserve that kind of treatment - especially when he covered our ass so we could complete the world tour when Izzy quit. I wasn't mad at Gilby. I can do what the f**k I want. And if he wanted to work with me after all this shit... We (Slash and Axl) just had a really rare, heated conversation a couple of days ago, where everything that I've had brewing - you know how quiet and laidback I am - I just let everything out. He sort of listened to me. I said everything I could possibly say that I didn't agree with. So that's about it."

Has Slash going off on his own like this shocked Axl into taking more notice of him?
"I have no idea. He hasn't heard my record yet. I don't really want to hear his opinion. He and I are so close that he could say something that could dampen my enthusiasm for what I'm doing."

Slash is not thinking too much about Guns N' Roses at the moment. Snakepit is taking up all his time - he's rehearsing and organising a tour - and all of his musical energy. Snakepit is very much in a simpler, more direct, early Guns vein and a lot of the material is very reminiscent of Guns' classic debut LP "Appetite For Destruction". Slash says that Guns N' Roses' "Las Vegas" direction towards the end of their last gargantuan tour, with the horns, orchestras and backing singers onstage, was something he did not agree with. He says it made him "uncomfortable". The guitarist tried to change things, but failed. With Snakepit, he's doing everything on his own terms. But GN'R do have a future. Slash says he loves the band "with a passion", that it is where his "heart lies" and - for what it's worth - that he and Axl are as close as ever. All this in spite of Axl threatening to sue Slash over those Snakepit songs...
Slash says: " Legally, it's all verbal stuff. We have never gone into litigation of any kind with this. Axl just thought that the songs were rightfully Guns' because they were written with the intention of them being Guns songs. I disagree."

Since Gilby was sacked - after speaking out last summer in Kerrang! - the only flicker of activity from the collective Guns camp has been the "Interview..." track, on which Paul Huge (pronounced "hoogie") made his debut. Slash is far from happy with the situation.

"I never liked that guy from day one," he spits. "That's one of the biggest, most personal things that Axl and I have gone through. It really pissed me off that he brought in an outside guitar player without ever telling me. There is a funny story to "Sympathy...". When the movie came out (in the US) a couple of months ago, Geffen called and said, "Could you do us a favor?" That movie coming out was a big issue for me, because the books ("The Vampire trilogy" by Anne Rice) were great. They have a real kind of passion in there --a sort of dark romanticism - and I'm a real heavy-duty, old time vampire horror movie freak. And it was like Tom Cruise AND Brad Pitt? No f**king way! So I got this call saying would we do "Sympathy For The Devil" for the movie. I thought, "well okay, maybe it'll be a vehicle to get the band back together and get the wheels in motion for some pre-production stuff." So I went to the screening in one of those stiff theatres full of showbiz f**king suits, and I'm half asleep! I'm not having a good time, and I couldn't just get up and leave, so I was trying to be cool. I started smoking some cigarettes, which is not something you're meant to do in an LA cinema... it's like murder! So I got up and left before the lights went out. I have to say Tom Cruise did the best he could, but the film's laughable to me. The Stone's version of the song was playing in the same place ours was meant to be. Anyway, I got up and went home. I called Doug (Goldstein) and said, "Leave it: the Stone's version's fine. There's no need to do a song that doesn't need to be redone." Then Axl went to see the film the next day, and it's inevitable that he likes it and comes out of the movie completely at odds with me! It just goes with the territory - I love this singer/lead guitarist relationship in bands... it's just f**king stupid! So Axl went and saw it and said he loved it. He was ecstatic. "Let's do the song!" he says. So I said "okay". We show up at the studio... who shows up? Matt, Duff and I. That was it. Paul Huge came in with Axl a couple of days later. While we were doing it (recording the song), we had to write down how many bars each section was, because without vocals you don't know where the next change is going to come. But we got it done and the guitar solos on and everything, and then Axl went in to do vocals... and the next thing you know, there's this "answer" guitar going on during my guitar solo! It's Paul Huge! I will probably never forgive Axl for that. But we talked about it. We made a deal that if Paul ever plays on anything, then I should at least be told first, because it really took me off guard. I wasn't there when he did it. Axl likes the song. I haven't listened to it since it was mixed. It's not like it was lousy guitar playing or anything; I think it's how it went down. If people like it, then fine. I haven't gone to see the movie again again because I don't think I could bear it."

Slash says he's got "no idea" when the next GN'R album will appear, but is convinced that there will be one. He and Axl - who is currently checking out bands for the soon-to-be-revived Uzi Suicide label - have come to an agreement whereby any time off Slash gets from Snakepit will be spent working and rehearsing with Guns. The most dangerous band in the world has survived all the obstacles, including three band member changes, and Slash insists that GN'R have gained strength from all of this. Strength to overcome whatever else gets thrown in their path. The Snakepit tour is set to last through the summer, so don't expect any Guns studio action until then at the earliest. "When I get done with the tour and all that," Slash says, "then we'll see where Guns' collective heads are at. And if everything's okay, then I'd love to continue doing it."
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