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2018.09.20 - WTF podcast - Interview with Slash [AUDIO]

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2018.09.20 - WTF podcast - Interview with Slash [AUDIO] Empty 2018.09.20 - WTF podcast - Interview with Slash [AUDIO]

Post by Blackstar on Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:02 pm

WTF with Marc Maron
Episode 952
Slash

Slash is known for guitar wizardry, the top hat, and a prolific career across several major rock acts. But he's less known as Saul Hudson, a British, biracial son of a costume designer who was into drawing and BMX, not music. He tells Marc about being involved with a tangled web of Los Angeles bands that led to the formation of Guns N’ Roses, the band no one wanted to see succeed except the people who were directly involved in it. Slash also discusses collaborating with Michael Jackson, Carole King, reuniting with GNR, and his recent projects with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.


AUDIO:



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Transcribed excerpts via Blabbermouth:
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Slash says that watching Cher perform in concert helped him quit smoking nearly a decade ago.

The GUNS N' ROSES guitarist has not smoked since 2009 and admits seeing his mother lose her battle with lung cancer, and a bout of pneumonia he suffered himself, made him realize he needed to ditch his habit for good.

"I quit smoking nine years ago, almost 10 years ago," Slash told "WTF With Marc Maron" (hear audio below). "When I did it, I had pneumonia, and pneumonia is what helped me quit smoking. That, and I saw Cher the night before, and that's when I caught the pneumonia. So Cher helped me quit smoking. Anyway, I couldn't smoke. I tried — I couldn't breathe — so I had two weeks on my back. So I quit, and then I used the patch to sort of get the edge off. Then I started doing the snus [smokeless tobacco] thing, and I was doing that for years. My significant other talked me out of doing it, and so I started doing the [nicotine] gum. And I sleep with the gum."

Slash — who has two sons with his ex-wife Perla Ferrar — did not find it difficult to give up smoking once his mother lost her battle with cancer. "She was one of those smokers that always said, 'I'm gonna quit one day,'" he recalled. "But while she was in the hospital, I would literally sit with her, go outside and smoke a cigarette, come back and sit with her. And then the Cher thing happened, and that's when I said, 'You know what?'"

The guitarist said that he was "dragged" to the Cher concert in Las Vegas by his ex-wife and "her buddies," and was less than impressed by what he saw. "I had to leave for every song and go outside and smoke," he said. "And I think I'd worn myself down from smoking so much, and Cher just took me over the top. Every time she revisited one of those periods [during the concert]… She had a closet on stage and she'd go in the closet and she'd come out and she'd be the Indian. Every single thing that she's been over her career… When she started with the Sonny & Cher thing, it just killed me — I couldn't take it. So I would smoke… I just didn't have any fond memories of that show or any of the other stuff."

Slash, who has been open about his previous battles with drugs and alcohol, went on to say that staying smoke-free is "tough." He explained: "You've got these triggers all the time. They only last for maybe two seconds or so, but they're really, really potent. And you can just get it watching somebody smoke on TV. I saw somebody smoking at a bus stop, and I said, 'Ohhh…' It happens at least once a day every day."

Slash, who had a 60-cigarette-a-day habit, described himself as "a compulsive smoker. I chainsmoked," he said. "And I couldn't handle — this is not why I quit smoking — but I couldn't handle not being able to smoke wherever I wanted.

"I was in Calabasas one time," he recalled. "It was one of the first times I'd ever actually been there. And there's some sort of outdoor mall-y kind of thing with a theater — it was like a pavilion of something — and I got out of the car and I lit a cigarette and I was walking wherever we were walking to through the parking lot. And they said, 'You can't smoke in here.' And I said, 'We can smoke in here. We're fucking out here. This is out here.' And it was, like, there's a rule — you can't smoke on the street. So enough of that kind of stuff [happened]."

Slash said that his cigarette habit affected his live performances, especially after a smoking ban was introduced in enclosed work places in the U.K. back in 2007.

"I was smoking at gigs, and I was on tour in the U.K., and they told me, 'The smoking ban's coming,'" he said. "I said, 'You guys are gonna have some serious problems.' It was in Ireland. [I said] 'You know they're gonna riot. It's not gonna work.' And so we finished the tour, and I came back maybe six months later, and they had passed this thing. And it was people sitting outside all smoking their cigarettes with their cocktails, and they were sitting on benches. And some hotels had put monitors outside so you could watch TV and smoke, and they just went down quietly. And it was, like, 'Wow!' No repercussions whatsoever — no violence, stoning or anything."

He added: "They were trying to fine me for every cigarette I smoked on stage. So it was, like, a hundred quid for every cigarette. So we had to make up a bunch of stories, and we got out of it. But I couldn't believe it had gotten to that point."

Back in 2010, Slash said that he quit smoking once before, only to start lighting up again. "The first time I quit smoking was because me and my wife just had a baby and she claimed the baby smelled like an ashtray," he said. "So I thought, 'Well, I'll give it a shot.' So I quit for a year and then I started again."

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Transcribed excerpts via Ultimate Guitar:
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You play mostly Les Pauls, but at the beginning, to get the tone you wanted - did you fuck with the electronics or did you just do amp and guitar shit?

"Okay, that's a deep question. When I first started, I think I had a little Fender Princeton, it was this little Fender combo thing, and the first electric guitar that I had was a Memphis Les Paul copy. This was in 1980.

"So I started playing right around my birthday, so 14 going on 15. I had an acoustic guitar that I learned on, it had only one string on it, so I learned all these one-string riffs.

"And then I had this cool guitar teacher in town, that was named Robert Wuhl. It was great. He taught me how to put the other strings on.

How did you find a guitar teacher?

"There was a music school on Fairfax and Santa Monica."

So did you have this cathartic moment when you're like, 'I'm going to be a guitar player'?

"When I got an electric guitar, the first thing I did was take that little Princeton. And I had the Les Paul copy, I got one of those MXR distortion plus pedals, the cute green-yellow kind of thing, and that was that moment where I was like, 'Wow.'

"And I was like, learning about what everybody's using. I think all I've been doing ever since then is just trying to do what it is that turned me on in the first place."

It's like drugs. So you're that young and that first time you turn that MXR distortion, it's a very specific type of distortion, and it's a little compressed...

"It's a little compressed. I mean, when you're 14-15, you sort of really graduate from there, but the one thing about music and about guitar sounds that's different from drugs, is that there are always plateaus that you can reach and it goes on forever.

"With drugs, you hit that one place, usually in the first couple weeks you started doing it, and it's all downhill from there."

In terms of natural ability versus practicing your ass off - I mean, you can have the feel and stuff - but in order for you to get from the beginning there, what were you learning, how were you practicing to get here?

"That guy Robert, he said he's going to teach me guitar lessons, so we started out like, 'I don't know if you ever took piano lessons, scales and whatnot, but if you can learn this lesson by next week, I'll teach you any song you want me to teach you.'

"So I was like, 'Okay, cool.' I was into the Zeppelin, Sabbath, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick. I really liked The Stones and Beatles, and The Who, there's tons of records I loved."

That first Aerosmith record is underrated.

"It is underrated. But, all things considered, in 1973 it didn't sound as good as other records did it. Sonically, I think that's why they didn't cross over.

"Anyway, I can't remember what the first riff I had him teach me was, but I watched him do it, he put the record on and he had the guitar, and he sat there and listened to it and figured out the notes.

"So I eventually left there with all due respect to Robert, I learned a lot of cool things, some picking techniques, just up and down picking, pentatonics...

"So I quit with the lessons and I just started learning. I was learning, you know, Keith and Mick stuff, some of the open chords stuff... I didn't go all the way down, Keith's got a lot of open-chord techniques which didn't totally interest me.

"I know more of it now than I had known then, but a lot of Mick Taylor single-note lead stuff, 'Can You Hear Me Knocking', that solo.

"The guitar and I were inseparable. I used to walk around with one of those tape decks, like a Panasonic and some cassettes, and it was just that and my guitar."

In terms of looking back like a sober cat, how much did drugs shred Guns N' Roses ultimately?

"We were touring, and for the most part I didn't use, I drank, which was always acceptable. But when we were off the road for an extended period of time, I'd go down the black hole and I had to pull myself out of it and all that.

"Obviously, any kind of chemical influence is going to have some bearing on your logic and how you handle certain situations, so I can't say, 'No, it wasn't that.'"

But you were losing members?

"What, like to death? No. The 'clean up and get better' came later, we had a situation with Steven [Adler] that happened, it was pretty irretrievable in a way. We were trying to get him together, but he just, you know, he's still around...

"There was the lying and all that, and it just wasn't going anywhere, and Steven wasn't that kind of a person that under the influence he could just show up and play.

"I'd say it was more of business management that really was the catalyst for splitting up, at least for my leaving, the underlying theme was definitely that.

"It wasn't necessarily about money, it was about money for those guys. For us, it wasn't about money, but it was also, you know, playing guys against each other, and I didn't want to get into all that.

"It's a complex, and ultimately very personal thing, so we just like, after a while, you know it's not even worth trying to explain."

So your real name is Saul. Are you a jew?

"No, but I'm in the book of Jewish famous people, which is funny. If you were to ask my dad about it, he was talking about King Saul, and so it's a different thing."

What did your dad do?


"He's a graphic designer and photographer artist, he's still around. During this time, he was doing all the album covers for Asylum records. We moved to LA in '71."

Crazy. Did you know David Crosby?

"Yeah, and Joni Mitchell - my mom did her clothes, my dad did the buffers, Zappa's down the street... I used to love the swans, he had this big lake, his house is on the corner of Laurel and Woodrow Wilson Lookout Mountain.

"There was a big, huge tall shrubbery that surrounded the whole thing, but if you peeked inside, there was a lake in there, and he had swans. Because they have swans in England. That made me feel like home."

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