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THE HISTORY - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:22 pm

1996
'SLASH'S BLUES BALL' AND OTHER PROJECTS


Things were not progressing speedily with Guns N' Roses after Slash's return from his tour with Snakepit, so he filled his time with other projects [see other chapters]. One of these were blues music. In February 1996, it would be reported that he had jammed blues tunes with Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora and actor Steven Seagal at the Sunset Strip’s House of Blues [New York Daily News, February 5, 1996; Kenosha News, February 7, 1996].

In July 1996, Slash would announce that he would going away to play in a new blues band:

Gun has been trying to get the next record together and in the meantime, i've been working on soundtracks and just jamming arount town. i'm playing in Budapest on the 14th of Aug with a Los Angeles based blues band.

Well I'm on my way, actually this evening, well tomorrow morning, it is a three o'clock in the morning - I have to get ready and fly out to Budapest. So I'm doing this sort of band that I threw together to do like a whole bunch of old blues covers and we're just playing a festival.


This blues band was Slash's Blues Ball. One of the members of the band was Teddy "Zigzag" Andreadis, and the first gig would be in Budapest, Hungary, on August 14, 1996 [Netscape Online Chat, July, 1996].


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:27 pm

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1996
SLASH'S FINAL SESSIONS WITH GUNS N' ROSES


Then, in August and September 1996, the band was back working together:

We're definitely getting geared up to do another record. […] It sounds like the band again. Everybody's in good shape and Duff's looking really good and healthy. It was good that we took the time off, because at the end of the tour Duff was one foot in the grave. I mean it was like we were all drugged out. We just all stepped back out of the whole rock and roll debauchery for a while and just sort of mellowed.

We started up again two weeks ago – you know, we started the record. And it’s a big deal, you know? It’s in the newspapers, everybody wants to ask me about it. And it’s like, “Wow, just let us go play,” you know? But we can’t [because of the media interest]. […] You know, we’ve been apart for two years. […] That’s really going great, you know. It’s really fuckin’ rocking and it’s really loud. We are the loudest band in the world. Yeah, it’s great, man. I mean, I can – I just can really tell you my life is going really good right now (chuckles).[…]  What can I say? Guns N’ Roses is really rocking. I’m really happy. I’m very satisfied with what we’re doing. And the chemistry with Guns, I mean, you know, it’s electricity.
Rock & Pop Argentina, September 1996; translated from Spanish


Duff would also talk about the efforts to WYSP-FM (94.1) and state that although they were working, a new record was not likely before the middle of 1997 [Courier Post, August 8, 1996].

In early August Slash had not been part of the sessions but they had been trading tapes among the band members [Kerrang! September 21, 1996; but interview from early August 1996]. At the time they were "working towards working":

The reason I’m talking to you now is that Guns are working towards working. We’re looking for a rehearsal situation that’s compatible. But who f**king cares anyway? People just want the record.

Axl and I are on civil terms. At this point, we’re partially sober. In the last three months, Duff and Matt have started rehearsing every night, and I’m coming in when I get back from Hungary. We all have tons of material, and we have a lot to work out.

I just want us to make a simple, kick-ass hard rock record.


The same day when asked by MTV if they had any songs ready already, Slash would mentioned they had about 80 songs between themselves:

We have tons of songs. Between the three existing members, you know, like Duff and Axl and I, we've got probably about 80 songs, you know.


Describing the songs on the tapes they had shared:

It's amazing stuff. The songs are really good, and I have a good vibe about it. I wouldn't want to go out and do a bad Guns N' Roses record.


And what the record would be like:

Well, I think everyone's so pissed off and frustrated at this point that it's inevitable [the new record will be a modern equivalent to Appetite for Destruction]. It's gonna be an angry record, but that's what we were built on.
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996


And Slash would offer an explanation of why it had taken so long to finally start working together, by pointing to "political crap":

We just haven't sat down and actually done it because there's been so much political crap going on and I know that kids don't want to know about it but it does go on in this business and sometimes you have to deal with it directly because you can't, there's no other way around it and so, you know, we finally, you know, took the bull by the horns and just said, "look, we don't want to around anymore, let's just do it."


When asked if this political crap came from inside or outside of the band:

They come from everywhere [laughing]. They really do. You know, anybody that's young and starting a band at this point, because when I when I first started, I don't know if anybody cares, but when I first started people used to say, like, "how do you get about doing all this stuff?" and, like, I don't know, it's no big deal. But when it comes down to it eventually down the line it becomes something that you weren't expecting and it comes out of the blue and it's just like, and you have to deal with it. If you're gonna function as a working band you have to, you know, confront it.


Duff would also talk about outside pressure:

There's a lot of BS that went down. The media had built up this pressure. Some people know how to deal with it, some start believing their hype. But now we've grown up a little bit. ... There’s a natural angst now at rehearsal, but it’s great. Just try to put yourself in the shoes. It's like you’re brothers, and all of a sudden it’s like you’re married to each other, too, and you’ve gotta deal with life together. You can get a divorce, but it doesn’t make much sense, because there’s a lot of people out there who want to hear another record.


As for how it would work out when they started playing again together, Slash was unsure:

We'll see where it goes. I haven't rehearsed with them, or even been in the same room with them, since before the Snakepit record came out [February 1995].
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996

The records that Guns have left behind are great. But we haven't blown our f**king wad yet.
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996


Then, likely not long after Slash returned from his festival show in Budapest on August 14, the band allegedly started playing together with Slash finally being part of it:

We've been in for two weeks as a full band with Slash and Axl and me, and we go from midnight to five in the morning. With Guns, there's no problems with material. The problem has always been getting us in the same room. So now that we're in there, it's rockin'.


Duff would confirm that Dizzy was also part of these sessions [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996] and that Axl would still be the rhythm guitarist [The Michigan Daily, September 12, 1996].

One of the reasons Slash was back in the band was having worked out the differences with Axl:

You know and then as far as Guns N' Roses is concerned, as of yesterday we've actually - I don't know - we've sort of concealed our contract so we're in working order as they say. […] Well...in contrast to everything that's been going on in the press, which I've been hearing a lot of, it's like "Guns is in the studio" or "Guns is this" or "Guns is that" or "I'm hanging up by handcuffs in a hotel room" [chuckling]. I mean, basically we've all been working and so now at this point we're actually going to formate [?] ourselves and get to work.


Part of this was having long talks with Axl, but Slash didn't seem entirely confident their differences had been all sorted out:

Well at this point now that Axl and I are really civil. We went out to dinner recently and had a bottle of wine together and like sat and talked about what we were interested in and so on and so forth. You know, more complicated I guess than it normally would be, but Axl is a very complicated guy. He does like to talk about the stuff, I like to just plug in and jam and that's sort of the thing that's the difference between guitar players and he is sort of a visionary - and it sounds like Spinal Tap - and I just like to play my guitar. But we did sit down a couple times and have a really good meeting and so at this point I start rehearsal in a week and a half or so and we just take it from there. That's the way I see it. If you were to talk to him it'd probably be like a little bit more... yeah, I don't know, planned out than that but I'll just show up and we'll go from there. It'll work out, though.


And neither did Duff, who would admit there were tensions but that they were "little things":

There's a certain tension with this band and there always has been, and there's some issues that haven't quite been cleared. Just little things. We've been together 10 years. We're not unlike brothers. So there's tensions, but that's how we thrive.

It’s rockin’. The problem’s never been the material; it’s getting us in the same room. There’s tension - good stuff.


The plan was to release the album in the spring of 1997 consisting of 12 songs with no ballads [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996] and then do a tour in early 1997:

We're already starting to make tour plans. We've got a possible tour starting in South America in January and then we're going to stop and finish the record and probably tour next summer.


Despite the band diligently working on the next record, Slash took time to travel to Arizona's Blockbuster Desert Sky show on August 25 to play with Foreigner [Arizona Republic, August 28, 1996].

In September, Duff would describe the music they were working on:

It rocks; it's heavy. With Guns, with what the chemistry of the band is, you're going to be able to tell it's Guns -- even if we're playing a polka, you would be able to tell it's Guns.

I really feel like we've just started. The last 10 years was [?] used to it, learning the tricks, and now it's time to apply 'em.

We’re making a 12-song record — no ballads, nothing slow. We’ve got to crush on this record. And there’s no better judges of our music than ourselves, so we really cut ourselves apart: We’re basically taking 40 songs and finding 12. But you’ve gotta watch each other’s feelings, so we never use the term ‘that sucks.'


And as for when it would be out:

[it] shouldn't be out any later than next spring.


Just a few weeks later, a staffer at the band's Los Angeles management company would be less optimistic

[…] we’re hoping to have an album out by the end of ’97. But then, we’ve been waiting awhile. What people should know, though, is this is the first time they’ve rehearsed together in quite some time. Everybody’s finally showing up. So it is important.


At the same time these sessions were happening, Duff and Matt would be busy with their side-project, The Neurotic Outsiders [see previous chapter]:

On this [Neurotic Outsiders] tour we're doing, Matt and I fly back from Toronto and then we do four days with Guns (recording) and then we go back out, so Matt and I are playing every single night with one or the other (bands) in September.


Matt would also suggest that it was the activity in Neurotic Outsiders that had spurred Axl into action:

"I think Neurotic Outsiders is single-handedly responsible for Guns N' Roses being reunited. It seems like every time something good starts happening, I get a phone call from Axl, `We're going to start rehearsing tomorrow.' But seriously, when Axl heard that me and Duff had gone out and gotten this multi-million-dollar record deal and we're going to go out on the road, he started getting a little nervous.

And now that we got this band together, GN'R decides: "Ok, we're gonna do a record". So, hopefully, you know, we're gonna come out with a GN'R record soon as well. It's kinda thrown a little bit of a quality problem in the Neurotic Outsiders because, you know, we got a lot going on, me and Duff.


In September 1996, Slash would be asked about the new record and say he had been in the studio working on it for the last three and a half weeks.

You know what, we're working on it. […]  I've been [in the studio] for the last three and a half weeks.

Well, I’ve been back in Guns N’ Roses for the last three weeks. So we’re just, like – just writing stuff and reacquainting each other, with each other. […] [Axl's] healthy (laughs). […] he’s fine. I mean, we really haven’t gotten to the point – I mean, first thing first is to do an album and finish that. And then the touring plans come later.


Slash would also say the studio was in Los Angeles and that the whole band went there [The Howard Stern Show, September 30, 1996]:

We get there at 11 o'clock at night.  And then we go to a local....[bar, "or something like that"]…around the corner and about 12 o'clock, 1 o'clock we get working. We work till about 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning.


And when asked if they had any songs completed:



But things must have turned sour, because in mid-October Slash's comment on the new music and their work wasn't exactly promising:

I would like [the new record] to be hard edged like Appetite, but at this moment in time I have no idea what direction it's going in. I have only been back in the band for three weeks and my relationship with Axl right now is sort of at a stand still.


And when discussing what they had done so far, he would emphasize that they had only been "collaborating":

At this point in time we have only been collaborating together. But we have been doing mostly Axl's material.
.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:28 pm

1996
TRYING TO REPLACE GILBY, AXL PICKS UP THE GUITAR


In relation with Gilby's lawsuit against the band [see separate chapter], a Geffen spokeswoman, likely Bryn Bridenthal, would say that a new record was due in late 1996 with an unnamed new guitarist [Billboard, December 16, 1995]. In July 1996, the press would report that this unnamed guitarist could be Axl [New York Daily News, July 11, 1996].

Bryn Bridenthal would comment:

Axl figures he’s going to play some guitar on the next album. Though I don’t think he’s up to lead-guitar quality.


Other band members would confirm that Axl had been taking lessons and was now playing guitar on his own songs:

[…] Axl is rythym guitar on his own songs for the time being.

He’s really rockin’ — and it’s great. It brings a whole new element to our writing process; now we’re all there together.

For the last couple of years, he started to go, 'Okay, I'm going to play guitar and actually learn what these notes are.' It's an innocent guitar, not unlike Izzy was, but Axl's got a lot more musically than Izzy ever did.


In September when the band was back in the studio working on the new record, Duff would be asked about Axl playing guitar:

Oh, he’s great, man!
Rock & Pop Argentina, September 1996; translated from Spanish


In October Slash would say he didn't think Axl intended to be the rhythm guitar player:

As far as I know, Axl's intention is not to be the rhythm guitar player.
Online Chat, October 16, 1996; translated from Spanish


And when asked who would be playing rhythm guitar:

[…] we don't know.
Online Chat, October 16, 1996; translated from Spanish


From the answers it can be alluded that Slash was somewhat in the unknown regarding the plans of the band.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:26 am

SEPTEMBER 27, 1996
THE MOVIE 'CURDLED' IS RELEASED FEATURING MUSIC BY SLASH


In September 1996 Quentin Tarantino would release the black comedy crime movie Curdled. Slash had been involved in making the music and to New York Daily News, he would say he had done on a couple of tracks for the movie [New York Daily News, July 24, 1996]. In a later interview, he would indicate it was only one track:

I've been doing a soundtrack for a movie called Curdled -  that's a Quentin Tarantino movie. I wrote a song for that.

“My music appears during the murder scenes, which is cool.


The song was 'Obsession Confession' with vocals by Marta Sanchez, and it would feature in two version on the soundtrack, an acoustic and an electric [The Howard Stern Show, September 30, 1996]. He spent one night recording each song [Online Chat, October 16, 1996].

[Talking about his inspirations]: Different kinds of music, and also, as an example, for the "Curdled" soundtrack, visuals. Like the lead actress in Curdled, Angela Jones. The movie has a latin theme, so that helped. And the twisted, bizarre, bloody mess that the movie is based on


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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:46 pm

AUGUST 1996
TRYING TO REPLACE GILBY, SLASH WANTS RYAN ROXIE


In early August Slash would indicate Paul Huge was still in the picture but that Slash had another guitar player in mind that he hoped could be brought into the band:

Axl’s playing guitar now, so I have to deal with that. There’s also another guitarist, who I don’t want to work with. This whole thing started because of him. But there’s someone I do wanna work with.


When asked who this guitar player was, Slash wouldn't say but mention he had been in Alice Cooper's band:

[…] Izzy was an idea, but there’s a guitar player I worked with who was in Alice Cooper's band. He’s really good.


This would likely have been Ryan Roxie who would later he recruited by Slash's for the second Snakepit album.


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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:47 pm

1994-1996
THE PRESS


From 1994 Axl had stopped doing press. This could be because he was busy with personal work like his ongoing legal battles, that he felt there was nothing to say since the band was fragmenting and with no clear future, or because he didn't like the press and doing interviews. Regardless of the reason, this meant that the rest of the band members' opinions and statements would dominate, particularly Slash's.

Slash was doing interviews continuously and when asked if all the rumours about the band was allowed to run rampant due to their silence, he would say:

Well, I’m communicative. I’ll talk to anybody.
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:11 pm

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1996
THE END BETWEEN SLASH AND AXL


[Being asked if he can see himself leave the band]: Not really. I don't look at things in those terms, much. I'm not the kind of guy that has a secret Plan B ready to swing into operation if anything should ever go wrong with this band. We love each other too much as friends for me to worry my ass off about whether we might split up one day

The bottom line is that nothing can come between Slash and I, and as long as we have that bond we have Guns N' Roses.
Hit Parader, June 1993; interview from December 1992

Guns will be around forever, trust me. They know how I feel. They know I'm not going anywhere. I don’t have the inclination to quit Guns and think I’m cool.


____________________________________________________________

PREMONITIONS


As described in previous chapters, there were significant incompatibilities in the personalities of Axl and Slash and these had been obvious from early on.

The volatile chemistry between [Axl and Slash] puts them in the highest class, yet their inherent passion and pyromanic personalities will inevitably blow the partnership assunder sooner or later.


At times Slash would try to minimize the seriousness of these, and suggest that opposites attract, at other times it was obvious it caused a severe strain on the function of the band.

Sometimes you go 'What the fuck is it for?' Then you try to look where to escape to and there's nowhere to go. We been doing it for so long that we really would all feel sorta lost and lonely if it fell apart and we had to go out and do solo records. Because it wouldn't be Guns. None of us could reproduce that. Axl's got so much charisma - he's one of the best singers around. It’s his personality. He can go out and do something. What freaks me out is if the band falls apart, I'll never be able to shake the fact that I'm the ex-Guns n' Roses guitar player. And that's almost like selling your soul.

No, my bond with this group is pretty much in my blood. What can I do? It's like if I have to put it down to, 'Well, do you want to keep playing? Or, 'are you gonna get out?' I want to keep playing and that's what keeps me alert and dealing with some of the really crazy shit that goes down.

The only thing that is really, really secure is the relationship between the members of the band and with the people that we work with.



THE END


In early August 1996, just before Slash would do his last sessions with Guns N' Roses, it was clear that things between Slash and Axl still were shaky. This despite Slash and Axl having had some long talks:

Well at this point now that Axl and I are really civil. We went out to dinner recently and had a bottle of wine together and like sat and talked about what we were interested in and so on and so forth. You know, more complicated I guess than it normally would be, but Axl is a very complicated guy. He does like to talk about the stuff, I like to just plug in and jam and that's sort of the thing that's the difference between guitar players and he is sort of a visionary - and it sounds like Spinal Tap - and I just like to play my guitar. But we did sit down a couple times and have a really good meeting and so at this point I start rehearsal in a week and a half or so and we just take it from there. That's the way I see it. If you were to talk to him it'd probably be like a little bit more... yeah, I don't know, planned out than that but I'll just show up and we'll go from there. It'll work out, though.


And at the same day as the quote about, Slash would talk about their differences:

[…] the only thing that really draws us together is once we get in synch as players. Then you get to that earthy, 'all for one, one for all' thing, where you start hanging out together. I don't care what Axl might say - this band was formed on the camaraderie between a little gang, against all odds.
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996


When Kerrang! pointed out that they clearly were not a gang anymore, Slash responded:

Well, we have to re-establish that. We have to say, 'We're gonna do this, because nobody else is'. It's almost like starting over again. "Guns is like a family thing, but we've gone through so many changes - just going through the monstrosities of the business. Contracts, legal stuff, management... This whole huge conglomeration dealing with a stupid bunch of punk kids. It gets over the top.
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996

The plan is for Duff and Matt to take off their band, Neurotic Outsiders, for a while., leaving me and Axl to write stuff. If that spark gets rolling, then great. If it doesn't and we get into a fight, I'll just carry on playing gigs and jamming -with Snakepit or whatever. It's not complicated. At least, I don't see it that way. Axl and I could've done this sooner, if we'd just made a few compromises. But I guess that when bands get so big indecision becomes everything. There's no sense of, like, finite reality with Guns. It's just a matter of everybody coming together and the magic happens. I hate to sound silly about it, but I've found it's the same with a lot of the older bands I've got to know over the years. I talked to (Rolling Stones guitarist) Keith Richards, and he said he'd had more drastic but similar problems with Mick Jagger.
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996


In September 1996, to Howard Stern, Slash said that he and Axl had just got reacquainted and that they hadn't seen each other in "like three years" [The Howard Stern Show, September 30, 1996]. In the same interview Slash would describe his conflict with Axl as a "conflict of interests" and "not having a meeting of minds" [The Howard Stern Show, September 30, 1996].

One major issue for Slash was the continuous presence of Paul Huge:

So now, I’ve come back and Paul’s still there. Now, I’m dealing with this.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996; interview from early August 1996

[Whether he was willing to compromise regarding Paul]: No, I’m going to confront it. Either Paul goes, or he... Well, this is personal, I don’t want to get into this. But during this whole period, Axl’s been geared to get up and do it.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996; interview from early August 1996


Slash would also indicate he had suggested for Axl that he should do a solo record:

That’s what I told him to do [= do a solo record]. Get it all off his chest... Well, you're starting to pull stuff out of me now. In Axl’s mind, Guns is his solo project. He didn’t see any reason, as far as I know, why he should do a solo thing.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996; interview from early August 1996

For any younger bands reading this, you’ve got to watch the beast in this business that stops you from talking to each other.

Nowadays, when the tail-end of my generation gets confronted with it, they either die or disappear into drug-dom. That’s not where we come from. So we will fight and struggle through it.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996; interview from early August 1996


In October Slash would do an online chat that would result in an very ominous comment:

Right now, Axl and I are deliberating over the future of our relationship.


And:

I have only been back in the band for three weeks and my relationship with Axl right now is sort of at a stand still.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:22 am

OCTOBER 30, 1996
FINALLY AXL SPEAKS


As mentioned in previous chapters, Axl had stayed low for a long time, since their tour ended in 1993, giving very few comments to the press and allowing his band mates (mostly Slash) to keep the media updated on what was happening. But then, in October 30, 1996, Axl sent out a fax commenting on many on the ongoing rumours:

LIVE!!!! From "Burning Hills", California...

Due to overwhelming enthusiasm, and that "DIVE IN AND FIND THE MONKEY" attitude....

#1. There will NOT be a Guns N' Roses tour.

#2. There will NOT be an official Guns N' Roses web site.

#3. There will NOT be any NEW Guns N' Roses videos.

#4. There will NOT be any new Guns N' Roses involved merhandise.

#5. There will NOT be a Guns N' Roses Fan Club.

#6. There will be a new Guns N' Roses 12 song minimum recording with three original "B" sides.

   NOTE: If all goes well this will be immediately repeated.

#7. However*******Slash will not be involved in any new Guns N' Roses endeavors? as far has not been musically involved with Guns N" Roses since April 1994 with the exception of a BRIEF feel period with Zakk Wylde and a 2 week initial period with Guns N' Roses in the late fall of '95. He (Slash) has been "OFFICIALLY and LEGALLY" outside of the Guns N' Roses Partnership since December 31, 1995.

                    ***************************************************

              Nothing here is Subject To Change
              Without A PERMANENT SUSPENSION
              Of the "Pseudo Studio Musician Work Ethic"


                              SINCERELY,
                             
                              W. Axl Rose

Big FD Ent., Inc.
Mike "Duff" McKagan


In addition to denying rumours surrounding a tour, web site, fan club and merchandise, but confirmed the band's plans to release a record, Axl officially announced that Slash was out of the band and had indeed been so since December 31, 1995.

Interestingly, although in the words of Axl, the press release also came from Big FD Enterprise Inc. and Duff, indicating that this wasn't a solo decision by Axl.
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