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1991.08.03 - Kerrang - "The Kids They Know The Truth..." (Slash, Duff)

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1991.08.03 - Kerrang - "The Kids They Know The Truth..." (Slash, Duff) Empty 1991.08.03 - Kerrang - "The Kids They Know The Truth..." (Slash, Duff)

Post by Blackstar on Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:57 pm

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Transcript:
---------------

“THE KIDS THEY KNOW THE TRUTH...”
 
So says bassist DUFF McKAGAN on the subject of the portrayal of GUNS N' ROSES in the music and tabloid press. But is their reputation undeserved, as he and guitarist SLASH maintain, or have all the press hassles been brought about by Guns themselves and their infamous 'interview contract'? In Part Two of our world exclusive, TONY GERARD attempts to balance the scales of, er... write and wrong
 
Are you concerned with Guns N' Roses’ public image? All the press coverage, all the hype and mystery about the new albums, the scrutiny of every step each band member takes... is it watched just as carefully by the guys in the group itself?
 
Slash: “I’m more concerned about it now after reading some of the stuff, or watching some of the stuff that we did when we weren’t at all conscious of what we are doing. Not that we were incoherent, just that we didn’t care. Then you read it back and go, ‘This is just f**kin’ ridiculous, you know'. So I think, as we grew up a little bit, not as a band but just as individuals, we started to realize...”
 
Duff clarifies: We’re learning how to deal with the media face to face.”
 
Does ‘face-to-face’ include the much-publicized and now aborted) contracts that were briefly initiated several months ago, where journalists had to sign a paper that essentially turned ownership of any story about GN'R over to the band themselves? It seemed a misguided and insecure action, one that appeared to be completely out of line with a band whose fan base was not about to be blown apart by the words of a reporter, libellous or otherwise.
 
"We have a song called ‘Why do You Look At Me When You Hate Me', which is basically about critics," says Duff slowly, "Like, we were on tour and we’d read the local paper the next day, and you'd read about the show and it would say that we sucked. And then it would say what songs we played, and obviously the guy wasn’t even there at the show! Or if he was, it was obvious in the review or the interview that the guy didn’t like us to begin with. They should have gotten another journalist from the newspaper or the magazine or whatever to do it.”
 
“They would walk in with a biased opinion, so they were set to rip us tip anyway,” says Slash.
 
If there is such a heavy bias against the band already, what is the best situation for a writer to approach this group?
 
"No matter if someone’s going down to review opera or ’Les Miserables' or something, the editor should step back a second and go, ‘I should pick this particular guy to do it',” answers Duff.
 
“Whoever does it should be more or less ignorant of the band’s material and go in with that attitude.” furthers Slash.
 
“Or listen to it at home and just decide that they do or don’t like it then.”
 
“And certainly they should turn up at the show!” exclaims Duff.
 
“Some of the scenarios that go down with some of the people that write about us... I mean, they make it up,” says Slash. “There’s some interviews out there that I think are still on the stands which are totally unfactual, unfounded.”
 
“There was one that said we were on tour with Stryper,” says Duff, “and that we burned all their bibles onstage - we’ve never even been on tour with Stryper! Yet there was a whole article about it!”
 
SLASH FINALLY comes to the heart of the matter. “So there was a situation where we put out a contract, where anybody who wanted to interview the band had to sign this agreement saying that we would get to see the actual interview and approve it, because we’d been screwed around for so long and taken it. And now the band’s got to this point, it only makes things worse, because now there’s some really meaty stuff to make up!
 
“So a lot of the rock ’n' roll publicity machine and the critics were handed this contract, and if they didn’t abide by the stipulations on it, then it was gonna cost them 100 grand. Which was pretty harsh, but my feelings about it were that if these guys weren’t gonna be blatantly honest and do what it said, then they were out to screw us in the first place. In other words, why worry about it? I mean, if I give you a piece of paper right now that says, ‘Don’t try this on me, or do this and that’, and you won't sign it, how am I supposed to trust you?
 
“This came up really hardcore when I did a Rolling Stone piece. I said in the article that there were three things I didn’t want to talk about: Axl, my drugs past and other bands. So when it comes out, the first thing it says is: ’Slash on Axl Rose and drugs’.
 
“And then in the article itself, they did this huge thing on mine and Axl’s relationship. The way it read was to pit me and Axl against each other, which is not at all what I wanted to get into. Axl and I have a relationship which is private, and none of that stuff should be out in the open. As far as the drugs stuff goes, that was my fault. They pressed me so hard on the questions, I ended up just saying, ‘Yeah, well, this is what happened...’. When I read it back, it raised the hair on my arms.
 
“But since then we’ve restipulated the contract. It’s more of a thing for who we want to deal with and who we don’t wanna deal with. Because at this point, if it’s gonna go public, the only people what we care about are the people that listen to the band, and I don’t want them given bullshit.”
 
So does the band still have approval over the articles, or has the whole thing been dropped?
 
“We still get to approve the articles, but now the band’s got the choice of wanting to deal with the situation. There’s no money involved any more...”
 
“Basically what it comes down to is, screw the contract and all that, it comes down to it being fair to the kids, to our fans,” finalizes Duff. “If you're gonna write about us, write the truth. The kids, they know the truth...”
 
TO BE honest, I’ m still not sure I follow the band’s reasoning on this, and I’m dead against any kind of control over a piece of journalism save by the writer and the editor, but at least the contract issue has been wisely retooled to the point where it does significantly less damage.
 
Still, it’s a disturbing facet of this band that one wishes had never seen the light of day. Is it just paranoia on the part of the band, or a authentic strike against that shameful cluster of journalists who slander for the sake of a juicy story? Only by sitting in on every interview GN’R has ever done and then reading the resultant feature would one be able to discern the truth.
 
Both Gunners seem anxious to move away from the subject. And they seem uncomfortable with the notion that there is such a thirst for gossip about them, and that people look to them - and rock stars in general - for profound statements on life, relationships, the government... take your pick.
 
“The only significance that we have in our existence as a group is that we make somebody happy or make somebody have a good time,” reflects Slash. “And that’s it. That may reach from thousands to millions of people. But as far as politics or anything like that goes, that’s Sting’s trip.
 
“What we do is provide one evening of complete mayhem, and some cool songs and sweat. We like to bring back some element of the haphazard goodtime, as opposed to taking everything so seriously all the time. I’ve lived for that since I was 11.”
 
And he's made it to 25. With any luck, there’s still a few good years to go...
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1991.08.03 - Kerrang - "The Kids They Know The Truth..." (Slash, Duff) Empty Re: 1991.08.03 - Kerrang - "The Kids They Know The Truth..." (Slash, Duff)

Post by Blackstar on Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:00 pm

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