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SoulMonster

1989.05.19 - Goldmine - Heavy Metal (Slash)

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1989.05.19 - Goldmine - Heavy Metal (Slash)

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:41 pm

Thanks to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for sharing this article with us.

Goldmine is the "Collector's Record and Disc Marketplace" and the article itself contains a lot of details on GN'R record releases. I have not copied all of this text in this post and recommend anyone who is interested to seeing the images of the article made available on troccoli's awesome site [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The interview with Slash:

Ever since Guns N' Roses came on the scene, they've generated enough negative publicity to intimidate even the bravest of Hollywood press agents. With reports of drunken behavior, run-ins with the police, and press interviews that are cut short due to profanity, it's been suspected that the five-man band from Los Angeles easily lives up - or down - to its reputation.

Bearing that in mind, it seemed like nothing less than a challenge to conduct an interview with a group that has emerged as rock music's most notorious band. So imagine our surprise when Goldmine's meeting with Slash proved to be anything but what we anticipated.

Dressed in faded blue jeans and sitting in the conference room of his record company, the 23-year-old guitarist with the curious name was not at all like his image suggested. If anything, he was personable, articulate, and willing to discuss whatever questions were directed his way.

Goldmine: Having started so young in the music business, what do you feel helped ready you for the recording studio as well as the concert stage?

Slash: I come from a musical family. We had tons of records throughout the house when I was growing up, and my parents were both in the music business for as long as I can remember. My mom used to make clothes for rock stars, and my dad used to design album covers for artists such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Crosby, Stills and Nash. So I was more or less surrounded by music, in every sense of the word.

Goldmine: Your house must've played host to a lot of different performers, just based on your parents' acquaintances.

Slash: Oh, I got to meet lots of people when I was younger, like Joni Mitchell, David Bowie and Keith Moon. Basically I was a Hollywood brat, having lived here most of my life.

Goldmine: How did you acquire the nickname "Slash"?

Slash: It came from a father of one of my friends, believe it or not. He just started calling me Slash whenever I came by, and the name stuck. I haven't used or divulged my real name since I was about 13. (Ed. note: His last name is Hudson but we don't know his first.)

Goldmine: Being surrounded by music when you were growing up, when did you decide that you would pursue it as either a hobby or a career?

Slash: It just started for me with no real planning. I never looked down the road and said I'm gonna be famous someday. I just got into guitar playing and was real diligent about it, and played with a number of bands.

Goldmine: You could have chosen any instrument you wanted, What made you decide on the guitar?

Slash: It was really because of Steven Adler, our drummer. We had known each other for years, and I used to go to his house to listen to Kiss records, and he'd play along with his guitar. So when we decided to start a band, even though I didn't know the difference between a bass, lead or rhythm guitar, I figured I'd start taking lessons. Then when we had our first group meeting, one of the guys asked if I preferred bass over guitar. And not knowing the difference, I said I'd take the guitar because it had more strings! Then as I began to learn more about what I was doing, I really got into the instrument,.

Goldmine; Having grown up in southern California and playing with various bands, do you feel there is a "Los Angeles sound"?

Slash: Yes, but we're not it (laughs)! I mean, there is a general L.A. sound that Van Halen and Motley Crue sort of established, bit it hasn't really expanded that much since then. It's always been the guitar with the whammy bar and the L.A. drum sound, and the guy who can't sing. And it's been like that for a long time. We were one of the few bands that came out of L.A: that actually did have some roots to it, and some real rock 'n' roll values.

Goldmine: Do you feel the L.A. club scene is fertile enough for aspiring musicians? Are there enough places to play?

Slash: There are a lot of clubs, but first you've got to start a band. That's the hardest part. Because if it weren't for Axl (Rose, the group's lead vocalist), I could still be searching for a singer. Good singers are really few and far between. You can't fake being a good singer. You can fake being a good guitarist - people do it all the time. But singers can make or break bands. So it's important to find someone good and not just settle for the first person who comes along. Then once you've got a band, there are a handful of clubs you can get booked into on weeknights. That's who we started, and we just sort of kicked everybody's ass in the beginning.

Goldmine: How did the five of you hook up?

Slash: It was inevitable. We were probably the only five guys in L.A. with this attitude, a punk rock, very anarchistic '70s kind of thing. And we did whatever we wanted. We drank. We did drugs. We screwed girls. We did whatever. We were really bad, you know. And it was like all of a sudden, we were there, the five os us. Prior to that, it had all been different combinations of guys, like me and Axl; me, Duff and Steven; me, Izzy and Axl, and none of the combinations really worked until the five of us got together.

Goldmine: How would you define the Guns N' Roses sound?

Slash: It's just basically the five of us doing what we do. With Steven, it's keeping a solid rock 'n' roll beat on the drums. Duff's bass playing is real original. Izzy's guitar is sort of like Keith Richards' choppy rhythm, and Axl is a real good singer. He sings from the soul and his stuff is very bluesy. As for me, you can always pretty much recognize my guitar because it's a Les Paul with a Marshall amp, and I don't think I am likely yo change that. I'm also real riffy and power chordy, and I'll do lots of leads that shouldn't be there (laughs).

Goldmine: You frequently talk about the group effort, which is also evident in the music the band writes. But when it comes to the lyrics, the words are usually Axl's.

Slash: Well, that's Axl's department. I'm just a guitar player, I don't even bother with lyrics. I am not inspired to sit down and write things. But I know I can trust Axl to do the best possible job and I won't have to worry about it. I'd rather put my energy into my guitar playing.

Goldmine: But you have written some lyrics, like in "Mr. Brownstone."

Slash: Yeah, well, once in awhile. And sometimes Izzy will write something. But basically we just come up with a riff, and everybody has input, and that's what makes it a real team effort.

Goldmine: When you were first starting out, radio didn't want to touch your records. But you were still going gold and platinum, despite a lack of airplay.

Slash: Well, there was profanity all over the album, and radio didn't want to touch us. People wouldn't play us 'cause of the original album cover, MTV wouldn't touch us, but we went out and played and proved ourselves to our audience, and finally word of mouth caused enough of a buzz for our records to be requested. Eventually, radio stations decided they'd better do something about us, and as Geffen continued to put out more records, the whole thing started to snowball.

Goldmine: Some of the profanity on your Appetite for Destruction album was actually encouraged by the record company, wasn't it?

Slash: Yeah. I think the record company was just jazzed because we were so brash. In fact, when they saw us at the Troubadour (nightclub), it was like we were the loudest thing they'd seen since AC/DC. We were loud and tough, real right-in-your-face. So I think it had an impact, and when we were recording, they just basically wanted to keep that feeling intact.

Goldmine: It seems you guys have always had a take-no-crap attitude. Has that helped or hindered the band?

Slash: It's done both, but it's probably done more to help. I mean, we got the right record deal - we negotiated and got what we wanted. And we only do the stuff that we believe in. In the music business, there are a lot of people who will try to force you to do things you don't want to do. So when we say we take no crap, it just means we won't conform or compromise what we believe in.

Goldmine: You talked earlier about proving yourself to your audiences. What were some of those early concerts like? How did you relate to the people who came to see you?

Slash: We've done all kinds of things...walking out into the audience, jumping into the crowd. Sometimes it was like taking our lives into our own hands. During one show, Axl jumped into the crowd to beat up a security guard who pushed one of our friends around, so he wound up going to jail and we had to do the show without him. We had a roadie come out and sing with us, and the crowd really dug it. Another time I jumped into a 14-foot pit that I thought was only five feet, but I didn't hurt myself. When we were on tour with Motley Crue, however, Nikki Sixx fell on me when we were wrestling one night, and I dislocated three of the vertebrae in my neck, and I had to go onstage. So I was in agony and still had to play, but basically the experiences have been good.

Goldmine: In the short time you've been recording, you've had some encounters with censorship, which necessitated your changing your album cover on Appetite for Destruction. How do you feel about the issue of censorship?

Slash: Well, first let me say that the original cover is now on the inside sleeve, so it's a catch-22, really. The PMRC can't win - if there are warning stickers on albums, it's only going to sell more records. The whole rebellion thing is what makes everything so great. It keeps the wheels turning. The only thing I see that will likely kill the spirit of rock 'n' roll is AIDS. I know that may sound funny, but it's something that really worries me. Since no major rock star has died from it yet, the scare really hasn't permeated the music scene. But as soon as someone like (names a major rock star) goes, then the girl who was with him will be with the next band, and the next, and so on, and before we know it, the 1990s could wind up being the age of no bands at all. Five years from now, you just watch and see what happens.

Goldmine: But it's up to everyone to take responsibility, and isn't that what maturity is all about?

Slash: Well, there are a lot of things where you take your chances, but you also have to use good judgment.

Goldmine: Do you find yourself mellowing at all with age?

Slash: I haven't mellowed. And it's obviously doing irreparable harm (laughs), though I haven't noticed it yet. But this is what rock 'n' roll is to me, and I wouldn't give it up for anything. If it cuts my life a little bit shorter...well, I had a good time while I was here. And I know I've had a better time than most people who will be here for the nest 60 or 70 years.

Goldmine: Where do you see the career headed in the '90s? Where would you like for the band to be?

Slash: I have no idea. We'll undoubtedly do more records and tours and as long as the inspiration is there as a group, we'll continue to do as we've been doing. One thing I know is we're not going to become is one of those bands that will try to hold onto something once it's gone. When it's over, we'll call it quits. But until them, we're all having a great time.
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