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1993.11.26 - The Boston Globe - Guns N' Roses Dips Into History (Slash)

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1993.11.26 - The Boston Globe - Guns N' Roses Dips Into History (Slash) Empty 1993.11.26 - The Boston Globe - Guns N' Roses Dips Into History (Slash)

Post by Blackstar on Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:32 am

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Transcript:
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GUNS N' ROSES DIPS INTO HISTORY

By Jim Sullivan
GLOBE STAFF

Slash, Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist, is concerned about kids these days. About their knowledge of history. Or lack thereof.

He knows we live in an age of fast-fashion. He knows short attention spans are goosed by MTV quick-cutting; he knows the public gets served a new, young brash hitmaker every month. He knows some folks’ idea of hard-rock roots is his very own band.

“We’re almost at the point where people, younger kids, aren’t even aware Led Zeppelin was around,” sighs the 28-year-old Slash, on the phone late one night last week. “That’s really strange. You know how that makes me feel. I’m like, wow, it almost makes you feel sort of dated.”

Guns N’ Roses, the preeminent American hard rock band of the late-’80s and early-’90s, has taken matters into their own hands and given us a history lesson. And it’s not at all a painful one. On Tuesday, the Gunners released the 13-track “The Spaghetti Incident?,” an album composed entirely of covers. It is not exclusively a punk-rock record, but it’s close to it with songs originally done by seminal punks like the Dead Boys (“Ain’t It Fun”), UK Subs (“Down on the Farm”), the Damned (“New Rose”) and Fear (“I Don’t Care About You”) and proto-punks like the New York Dolls (“Human Being”), Johnny Thunders (“You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory”) and the Stooges (“Raw Power”).

Slash is willing to discuss the album, but he is wary of over-hyping it. He’s been assured that the record company, Geffen, will undertake a relatively low-key promotional effort. “The Spaghetti Incident?” isn’t intended to carry the import or weight of the “Use Your Illusion” simultaneous double releases in September of 1991. And in the liner notes, Guns N’ Roses gives credit to all the original bands and suggests listeners seek out those originals.

“The Geffen people were thinking ‘How brilliant!’ ” says Slash, when he told them of the effort, “and we were just like ‘whatever.’ I think it was a cool idea and the recordings were genuine - you know the heart and soul of the band is laid out - but I didn’t want it blown out of proportion.

“It was really something that wasn’t supposed to be taken all that seriously,” he continues. “There was a point when we were in the studio doing the ‘Illusion’ records and we would just go in and [mess] around on some things and we realized that we sounded pretty cool at covering songs that we really liked, songs that had some major influence on us, really. We recorded four songs and we knew we didn’t have enough room to put them on the ‘Illusion’ records, so we thought we’d do an EP - and it sort of grew from there. We started realizing that it was a great catalog for people who would never, ever hear any of these songs, probably for the simple reason that they’re a generation behind or because a lot of the stuff is out of print. Some people don’t even know what the Nazareth song [‘Hair of the Dog’] is! Heaven forbid someone bring up the UK Subs and ask if anyone’s familiar with that.”

Slash would also like to point out that the numerous curses uttered by singer Axl Rose and company on “The Spaghetti Incident?” were also included in the original versions. So, he bellows, mock-addressing those who abhor pop profanity in particular or Guns N’ Roses in general: “You [expletive] idiots! We didn’t even write these songs, so we’re not the [expletive] hardcore creeps that we were made out to be. Obviously, there were more of them out there before us.”

The man is correct. Cheerful nihilism, the expression of dead-end dreams, fun-in-the-face of futility aesthetics, bursting-at-the-seams-anger: All of these were part of the punk language that evolved during the 1970s. These are themes Guns N’ Roses has picked up upon in its own work; they return to those roots here.

Slash would not like to explain what “The Spaghetti Incident?” means. “An inside joke,” he says, “an actual incident when we were trying - to get it together to write the ‘Illusion’ records in Chicago, but it’s one piece of trivia I don’t think anybody will ever get.”

Bassist Duff McKagan is the primary punker in Guns, but Slash ran with the “Spaghetti” ball. He mixed it, mastered it, arranged for the artwork and “made sure everything was going to be cool and we did what we wanted to do - so it didn’t turn into a ‘pop record’ and everybody is like ‘Oh, cute!.’

“Most of these songs were done in one take. It’s not really a punk record: It’s us doing some period pieces and we pretty much still sound like us.

“Personally, I like to be knee-deep in work,” he continues. “When the tour was over, this eased my post-tour blues that I get. This was the first time I’ve ever been clean between [tours] and been able to keep from being bored so that I don’t fall into that [drug] thing again.”

They recorded seven songs in a Los Angeles studio in one day, went on the “Illusion” tour, stopped in Boston at the Sound Techniques studio to record the Skyliners’ “Since I Don’t Have You” and finished the five more after the tour was over. There’s an unlisted bonus song written by the late Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, originally recorded by Charles Manson.

The band is beginning to put together songs for an original studio album that Slash says, in a perfect world, would be released next summer. “How can I even mention ‘a perfect world?’ ” he quickly amends. “I’ve never been there.”

And in the interem ...

... a club tour?!

Could happen. Slash says Rose is half-persuaded to mount a club tour - “I’m starting to think it’s the best way to put the lid on this project,” says Slash - and if the tour is undertaken the Paradise in Boston will be on the itinerary. “Yes,” Slash says, “that would be cool.”
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