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1988.06.DD - Guns N' Roses: The Interview picture disc (Slash)

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1988.06.DD - Guns N' Roses: The Interview picture disc (Slash) Empty 1988.06.DD - Guns N' Roses: The Interview picture disc (Slash)

Post by Blackstar on Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:27 pm



Transcript:
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Interviewer: Interview with Slash. No names, please.

Slash: (Laughs)

Interviewer: No last names, please. Of Guns N’ Roses. I’m gonna start from day one, square one of your life. When is your birthday?

Slash: My whole life – my birthday is next month, actually. It’s on July 23rd.

Interviewer: Where is home? Where were you born and raised?

Slash: I was born in England, I came out here when I was a little kid, and so basically I’m a Hollywood brat. Do you know what I mean?

Interviewer: Your parents (?) a free lifestyle, that kind of thing?

Slash: Um... Ask me that one more time? My parents...

Interviewer: Did your parents have a free lifestyle? I mean...

Slash: Yeah. Yeah, basically, you know. I grew up – I was born right during the big 60s, that kind of thing. So I grew up with hippie parents and all that stuff.

Interviewer: You’re so lucky that you didn’t come out “Moon” (?) or “Flowers”... (laughs)

Slash: Or Moony or Dwizzle, yeah (laughs). Yeah...

Interviewer: Okay, I’m gonna ask: what is your name?

Slash: My real name?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Slash: Uh, no. It’s not that I’m against it, it’s just that I don’t use it. I haven’t used it since I was about 13.

Interviewer: Oh, okay.

Slash: So its significance is, you know, that my name – Slash is significant as far as calling me anything (chuckles).

Interviewer: Who laid it on you?

Slash: A friend of mine’s dad, of all people. He just started calling me Slash whenever I’d come over.

Interviewer: Oh, he must have been happy for you to call you that (laughs).

Slash: I don’t know why. He was always like, “Hey, Slash,” you know. I don’t know where that came from. It just stuck.

Interviewer: Well, you could fit the word, man. You did.

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: What did your mom and dad do for a living? I mean, when they had to work...

Slash: They were – I was in the music business ever since I can remember. You know, I’ve always been around it, which is probably one of the reasons I can deal with it so well. And I haven’t succumbed to, like, excessive drug use or anything like that, and it’s probably because I was around it when I was young.  My parents – my mom used to make clothes for rock stars. Especially in that time in the 70s it was real extreme, so I’ve been around a lot of real extreme stuff. And then my dad used to do album covers for – actually for David Geffen, so I’ve known David Geffen since I was a kid, you know? (?) He lived in the same building.

Interviewer: Small world, they say!  

Slash: Yeah. So, you know...

Interviewer: I’m not trying to trip you up or anything.

Slash: You remind me of Tom Snyder.

Interviewer: Do I?

Slash: Yeah (laughs).

Interviewer: Oooh! Same school, same - he’s got a couple of years off, thank God. What were some of his album covers? I may have seen them.

Slash: A lot of the early Joni Mitchell album covers, Neil Young and the Crazy Horse albums... Who else he was doing it for then, um... I know there was a lot of people, but Joni Mitchell and Neil Young are the only ones that are really still around. Crosby, Stills and Nash, I think there was a couple of things. But the other people who he worked for were happening then, but they’re not around now, you know.

Interviewer: Like, for instance?

Slash: I can’t really remember.

Interviewer: You can’t remember, it’s cool. Would any of these people come over? I mean, would you be –

Slash: I know Joni Mitchell pretty well. I know David Bowie, you know, from when my mom did clothes for him. I got to meet Keith Moon when I was younger. Let’s see, who else... Nobody really that I’ve kept in contact with, because these are friends of the parents, just people I was around. But Joni is a sweetheart.

Interviewer: When –

Slash: I mean – Go on.  

Interviewer: When you were listening to music – how many kids in the family?

Slash: Well, I’m the oldest of two brothers.

Interviewer: Alright. So you were in control of the radio (laughs). That’s what that tells me. When you decided on what you wanted to hear...

Slash: Uh-huh?

Interviewer: Who did you want to hear?

Slash: Well, when I was a kid, we had tons and tons and tons of records. You know, like, lots and, like, whole walls of milk crates filled with albums. I used to listen to The Who a lot. I liked Joni a lot. There was a lot people that I wouldn’t necessarily go out and buy their records now, but were really cool. Minnie Riperton who died a while back was a real good friend of the family – you know, I went to the funeral and all that stuff. Cat Stevens... Let’s see... Zeppelin, (?) - I didn’t know who any of these people really were, you know, I used to listen. I was exposed to a lot of David Bowie at that level, you know.

Interviewer: Minnie Riperton had probably the best (?)

Slash: Oh, she was great. She was such a good singer. Let me see, who else was it that I really listened to a lot? Just everybody that was around that was any good, basically. I used to like Neil Young a lot, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young I used to like a lot. And Chaka Khan, when she had Rufus... Let’s see... And there was a lot of classical music. It goes on, and I have a pretty heavy-duty music that I was influenced a lot by, and that’s what I was surrounded by.    

Interviewer: You were probably (?)

Slash: Yeah, I was –

Interviewer: What gets to your ears makes an impression.

Slash: Yeah, I was real quick to pick up on listening to the radio and all that kind of stuff.

Interviewer: Now, this is a big difference here. Not that your parents dragged you along to, but the first time you spent money to see somebody else perform in concert. Who it was?

Slash: I think it was the World Music Festival, which was a couple of days. It was two concerts at the Coliseum here and it was Aerosmith, Van Halen, Boomtown Rats – I mean, like, a whole day of bands, two days in a row. The next day was Ted Nugent and Cheap Trick. That was the first major concert I ever went to, got exposed to, like, big outdoors – you know, that was a great time for summer festivals, Cal Jam and all that. And then I just, like, would go to whatever I felt like going to. I’ve never been a heavy concert goer, because I always felt real uncomfortable trying to find seats. I used to love Van Halen a lot, you know. They were a great band to go see live. But they weren’t that many - you know, Cheap Trick, Van Halen, Aerosmith... Ted Nugent I didn’t like when I saw him, because he just bored me, but I still like Ted Nugent records, do you know what I mean?

Interviewer: That was like going to college, man. I mean seeing that, that it could be put together firstly, and the electricity of the crowd must have been unbelievable.  

Slash: Oh, yeah. I’ll never forget the excitement of, like, even walking through the first hallway going towards – you know, to the stadium, and it was just a huge buzz. I mean, that had the biggest effect on me. So now, I go to concerts now, like I went to go see Robert Plant the other night and I went to see Aerosmith recently. I go to concerts all the time, but, usually, just to go to, like, the Forum bar or whatever and just hang out. I don’t actually – Robert Plant was the first time I’ve gone and actually been in the crowd in a while.

Interviewer: When you go now, how do the fans react?

Slash: It’s hard to go to a concert and sit in your seats. I went to, uh... it was Aerosmith, and I didn’t go with my top – I went with my top hat, and so people instantly recognized me for that. It was the first time I got into a concert and sat in the seats since I’ve become, you know, the celebrity status or whatever you wanna call it, and I was just real naive about it and just went. And I got mobbed, you know. It was like, even during the Aerosmith show with the lights out people were still trying to get autographs and stuff - which is cool. And then I went and saw Poison and Dave Roth a little while back: the same thing, you know.

Interviewer: Was there a day when you really knew that this was it? I mean that music was...

Slash: I just started, I didn’t really have any kind of, like, looking down the road and “I’m gonna be famous one day” - you know, working towards that. It wasn’t anything like that. I just got really into guitar playing, and a particular kind of guitar playing, which is just, like, hard rock guitar, the Zeppelin-esque acoustic stuff and all the stuff that I grew up with. And I just kept doing it. I was real diligent about it.

Interviewer: That’s (?)? I mean, to become (?)

Slash: Oh, yeah. It was like, I quit – I was scrap in school anyway, but I quit school and, you know, I went through bands in high school, like, really fast, because I was real serious about it and I didn’t take any crap. It was like, if a drummer would throw a fit because he couldn’t, he was out of there. I had just been like that always, you know.

Interviewer: You could have chosen anything you wanted. Why guitar?

Slash: I started out with a bass, because I’ve known Steven, our drummer, since we started. He’s the one who really turned me on to what guitar was, because I really didn’t know. I mean, I’d just been – something had always been around, but I didn’t know what the difference between lead guitar and rhythm guitar was. I was really, like, you know, unexperienced and naive. And Steve had an electric guitar at his house, and he used to play Kiss records and bang on and stuff, and I was just instantly turned on, so we were gonna start a band. So I was gonna play bass, which I didn’t even know what the difference between bass and guitar was as far as that goes. And I went in and I figured, “Well, I’ll take lessons.” So I went in without a bass, no instrument, and I said, “Well, I wanna learn how to play bass.” And so the guy says, “What do you want, to play bass or do you want to play guitar?” And I said, “Well, what’s the difference?” and he was like, “The guitar has six strings.” I said, “I’ll take that one that’s got more strings on it” and that’s where it started from. Then I realized what it was that I was doing and I got really into it.      

Interviewer: That’s funny, man. I mean, it really is. See now, I went the other way: “Bass, four strings? I can handle four strings.” (laughs)

Slash: Yeah (laughs).

Interviewer: You know? “Nothing too complicated, man. Don’t mess with me.” (laughs)

Slash: I still play bass from time to time. I’m playing a little bit of bass on the record, in a couple of places.

Interviewer: Growing up here – I did, too –

Slash: Right.

Interviewer: Is there an L.A. sound?

Slash: Yeah, but we’re not it (laughs).    

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Slash: I mean, there is a general L.A. sound that Van Halen and Motley Crue sort of prompted, you know? And it hasn’t really got expanded that much since then. It’s always been, you know, the guitar with the whammy bar, the L.A. drum sound and the guy who can’t sing. And it’s been like that way for a long time. We were one of the few bands that came out of L.A. that I felt actually did have some roots to it, and that we had some real rock ‘n’ roll values and stuff.  

Interviewer: When you started playing, I mean, the next thing to do is to get a gig.

Slash: Right.

Interviewer: Is the L.A. club scene fertile enough for an L.A. player? I mean, is there places to play?

Slash: There is places to play. I mean, there’s a lot of clubs. But first you got to start a band. That’s the hardest part, cuz, I mean, if it weren’t for Axl, I could still be searching for a singer, because the singers are, like, few and far between. You can’t fake being a singer. You can fake being a good guitar player – you know, they do it all the time – but, as far as singers go, you have to be really good. A good singer can – you know, singers can make or break bands. So, first you got to get over that hump and hopefully, you know, you’ll stick to your guns and get somebody good, rather than settle for somebody bad. And then, once you’ve got a band, then you can – there’s about a handful of clubs that you can get into on a weekday, opening. And that’s how we started, you know, and we just, like, sort of kicked everybody’s ass.

Interviewer: What was the first paying gig that you ever did?

Slash: First paying gig? As Guns N’ Roses?

Interviewer: No, I mean it could have been a bar mitzvah band.

Slash: For me? I played a couple of bars. I used to play a lot of bars with some older cats that played blues. I just used to jam with them and it was, like, free beer, and cigarettes and stuff. First -

Interviewer: And what else is there?

Slash: Yeah, and I used to join bands constantly, do you know what I mean? Like, I just joined bands that I knew were gonna do a gig, for the exposure and so that I get paid for that - you know, that kind of thing.  

Interviewer: Give me a little bit of a band-ology here. Cuz I know Guns N’ Roses wasn’t the first thing out of the turnip truck for you. What were some of the names of the groups you played with before this?

Slash: I almost played with Poison once; everybody knows that story, though. I played with a band called Black Sheep once. I had a band called Roadcrew, a couple of versions of a band called Roadcrew. Me and Axl had a band called Hollywood Rose, hence the name Guns N’ Roses and L.A. Guns - at the time got together and made Guns N’ Roses. Let’s see, what else was there... I had a band that had a really strange name, called Tidus Sloan, which is, like, T-I-D-U-S S-L-O-A-N. I just thought it looked neat. And, as far as that – there was a lot of them, I can’t really remember. Um, who else did I play with? I don’t know really. Those were, like, the actual working bands. I haven’t been in that many bands.

Interviewer: Out of all that stuff, did anybody do anything? I mean, except for you guys now. I mean, did anybody come out of that?

Slash: Uh-uh. No.  

Interviewer: To get a real...

Slash: Except for Tracii Guns from L.A. Guns, you know. That’s another story.

Interviewer: How did the five of you guys work out?

Slash: It was inevitable. We were the only five guys in L.A. with this attitude that we have, which is, like, very punk rock, sort of anarchistic 70s kind of thing, and we did whatever we wanted, we drank, we did drugs, we did whatever. And, all of a sudden, there we were, five of us all like that. And so we had different combinations, like: me and Axl; me, Duff and Steven; me, Izzy and Axl. And none of them worked until the five of us got together and it was just (?). And then it was just like, we were sort of a sore thumb on the scene, very sort of violent and when we were around, everybody was like – and people are still scared of us, you know? And we’re still the same. We’re not – the thing is, all of a sudden we sold a lot of records, so...

Interviewer: You don’t think you’ve mellowed at all?

Slash: I haven’t mellowed at all. I’ve actually – that’s sort of my trademark, having not mellowed out so far. But it’s been obviously doing irreparable harm (laughs), just haven’t noticed it yet. You know, I’m thinking what a hard day I had yesterday, because I can’t get off the floor over there, right? But it’s life, you know. This is what rock ‘n’ roll to me was all about, you know? I wouldn’t give it up for anything. If it cuts my life, like, a little bit shorter and all that stuff, it’s alright, because I had a good time when I was here, you know? I had a lot better time than a lot of kids I know who’ll be here for the next 60 years or whatever.

Interviewer: Hey, nobody ever got famous playing in sandboxes, except Brian Wilson (?) (laughs).

Slash: And that was extremist right there.

Interviewer: Oh, really?

Slash: Yeah. Us, it’s like, we have a reputation. We’re notorious of having the worst reputation on the scene, right? In this industry right now. Except for that we can sell records, sell a lot of tickets, and kids love us, and whatever is making us happen. But we have a real notorious – you know, cancelling gigs, beating up security people or having them – you know, just whatever. And drugs. And the drug thing is like, we’re not stupid, you know? I’ve never let anything get in the way of my career as far as playing goes. So when I did have my serious bout with drugs, I quit before it really screwed me up. And, well, I’m lucky I did it at a time when we were, like, sort of dormant, you know, after having the record deal and going through producers. There was a lot of time that I just sat around and indulged in, you know, whatever.

Interviewer: You were lucky you could.

Slash: Yeah, but so I –

Interviewer: No, you were lucky you could give it up.

Slash: Yeah, a lot. It was hard, you know. It was hard, but... you know.

Interviewer: What is the common ground here between the five guys?

Slash: Common ground? Musically?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Slash: Well, all of us basically like the same thing. I mean, we tend to lean towards – like, we all love the Stones, but Izzy is more Stones than anybody. We all love the Pistols, but Duff is more Pistols than anybody. We all dig Aerosmith, right? Aerosmith is this kind of thing that we all sort of lean to; like, Aerosmith and AC/DC, we all sort of dig that. Zeppelin, I tend to lean towards Jimmy Page more than anybody else. Axl is very varied, but he likes Nazareth a lot, he likes McCafferty a lot – you know, the singer. And then everything else is common ground, you know?

Interviewer: I was gonna say, compared to what, man? I can hear your guitar 100 miles away. I mean, I know you 100 miles away when I listen.

Slash: Oh, that’s a nice compliment! Because I can’t tell Joe Satriani - I think his name is - and all these guys, and Steve Vai, apart. I don’t – you know, it’s all the same thing, it’s like this... do you know what I mean?

Interviewer: No, I can hear the difference even between those guys, because I’m picking up on, you know, one guy’s playing a Gibson, one guy’s playing a strat or whatever.

Slash: Right.

Interviewer: So, I mean, they have their own identifiable sound, but it’s a technique that I pick out on you 100 miles away.

Slash: Yeah. Well, that’s cool.

Interviewer: The music for this group, is the group’s?

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: The lyrics are usually Axl’s.

Slash: Uh-huh.

Interviewer: Because Axl isn’t comfortable singing anybody else’s.

Slash: Right. He’s the kind of guy that – well, basically, I’m just a guitar player, I don’t exercise vocal or, I don’t know, lyrics stuff. I just don’t even bother with it, because I know that’s Axl’s department, and I know I can trust him to do the best possible job, there’s no reason we have to worry about it. And I’m not inspired to sit down and write. That sort of threw me off (laughs).

Interviewer: (Laughs) Okay. Weren’t you talking about Axl just singing his own –

Slash: Yeah, he just sings his own lyrics. Every once in a while Izzy will do something. Me and Izzy wrote, like, the lyrics to Brownstone together, because it was a period there where that made sense, right? (chuckles). But usually it’s Axl. And as far as the music goes, there’s someone who comes up with the basis, you know, like a riff. Like, in Welcome to the Jungle, I come up with the riff and it’s that, you know, drop-down that’s got. And then, the reason we work so well as a band and why we really click on stage is that everybody has input and it makes it exciting for everybody to play it, you know?

Interviewer: Wow. You know, you always see “W.” Axl. Why isn’t he –

Slash: I think it stands for William.

Interviewer: Why doesn’t he use it?!

Slash: Because it looks cool with “W.” I don’t know (chuckles).

Interviewer: Okay... I mean, why not, man? That’s why you use “Slash.”

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: It’s not your real name, it’s what you wanna be.

Slash: It’s all really irrelevant, you know?

Interviewer: I know Duff has got the nickname “Rose,” too.

Slash: Yeah. Well, I think that’s actually a family name, somewhere in there. Somewhere in his family it’s the name “Rose.” Same with Axl. Axl’s real – that’s his god-given name, you know, birth-given name.

Interviewer: We know Izzy isn’t (laughs) (?). Have these guys got other nicknames? Izzy and Steven?

Slash: No. I mean, I call Steve, “Steve,” and I call Iz, “Iz.” You know? (laughs)

Interviewer: I want to go on record by telling you that Brownstone is my favorite cut of the whole album.

Slash: Oh, thanks. Thanks.

Interviewer: I mean, not because I’m sitting here with you and you wrote it. It’s just –

Slash: Yeah, you like that song, cool. That’s nice.

Interviewer: Yeah. $64,000 question - in your case, probably quarter million dollar question (chuckles): how can a band that is totally ignored by radio – I think that you’re being played on 12 radio stations in the United States right now -

Slash: Well, right at this very point where, you know, we’re sitting down talking and everything has changed, we just broke into CHR, which is top 40, with Sweet Child O’ Mine. We’re basically getting picked up now by a lot of major stations. But what you’re saying is – I know what you’re saying - it’s that we could never get any airplay at all. You know, radio stations wouldn’t touch us, there’s profanity all over the album; people wouldn’t play us just because of the album cover, the original album cover; MTV wouldn’t touch it. And what happened is, it was really the way I guess things should be, which is we went out and played, and proved ourselves to our own audience to the point where word of mouth caused a big enough buzz where we were req... requested a lot – I can’t even pronounce English anymore. Anyway. And it was just getting to the point where the kids wanted it that bad, and the radio, in order to stay – you know, they’d better do something about it. And the record company put out more records and it just sort of snowballed. It’s still going, we’re almost two million. It just, like, went back to number 7 in Billboard, so –

Interviewer: This sucker is double platinum all over.

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: Before this though, I mean, you were platinum without a whole lot of radio. (?)

Slash: Yeah, yeah. This is just recent, that’s why the album is still rolling. It’s just, you know, getting exposed to a lot of people.

Interviewer: I don’t wanna get you off on anything, but this band has always had a take-no-crap attitude.

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: Hurt or helped?

Slash: It’s hurt and helped, but, more or less - well, I mean, it helped that we got the right record deal, we negotiated our own record deal, and we got what we wanted. We don’t have to do anything we don’t wanna do. We only do the stuff that we believe in. I mean, we work really hard, we’re not the kind – like, I’m here now. You know, I’m not the kind of guy that goes, “No, screw it, I don’t have to want to deal with it.” I work to the ends of the earth for this band. I just don’t – when we say take no crap, it’s just like, there’s just a lot of people that will try and force you to do things you don’t wanna do, so you just either do it or you don’t, you know? It helps, I mean, there’s been obstacles that we’ve had to get around, which has been sort of pain in the ass, none that I can think off the top of my head, but I know that has happened, just because we wouldn’t conform, you know?

Interviewer: When’s the birthday of this band? When was it formed?

Slash: We’re only three years old.

Interviewer: I’ve got some articles in my files. I’ve been flipping on you guys for a long, long time.

Slash: Uh-huh.

Interviewer: I’ve got some stuff that goes back to ’85 and ’84, so I probably – no, probably ’85.

Slash: ’85 is when we formed.

Interviewer: I read a lot on you. I mean, I’m telling you, the folder is this thick. Do you want a scrapbook?

Slash: (Laughs).

Interviewer: Come over to my house, I’ve got your scrapbook, alright? “Look at this scrapbook right here, man” (laughs). Um, and one thing that I want to go – I want you to go on record saying that, is that there were songs, one song specifically, for this album that did not have profanity on it.

Slash: Mmm-hmm. Well, there’s a few songs that don’t have.

Interviewer: Alright. But the record company actually encouraged –

Slash: Encouraged it, yeah. I think the record company was just jazz, because we were so brash. And like, you know, Tom Zutaut, when he saw us at the Troubadour, it was like, we were the loudest thing he’d seen since, like, AC/DC somewhere God knows when. We were loud and we were real tough, you know, and real brash and real right in your face, and it was a heavy show. It was, like, a sold-out Troubadour show; 700 people, 800 people packed in the Troubadour. And it made a real impact on him just, you know, that there hasn’t been a band like us really to come out of L.A. in the last 10 years, you know? So he wanted to keep our attitude intact, basically that is all it was.  

Interviewer: What was the no profanity title?

Slash: It was You’re Crazy, I think it was the song – no, Out Ta Get Me. And Axl, (?) when we were recording the vocals, had decided not to say one of the words in it, and Tom said, “No, go ahead, it’s okay.”

Interviewer: So you did go back and re-recorded it?

Slash: Yeah, which was great, because, I mean, that’s one of the strongest – I mean, profanity is something that sometimes is the best way to express something. And the reason we seem so angry sometimes, like on the record - if you listen to the record it’s pretty angry compared to a Bon Jovi record, and it’s because those things are expressive and sometimes the only way to really get it across is to go... you know.  

Interviewer: Yeah (?) (laughs). You mentioned Poison before. They jumped in when you guys bailed on a David Lee Roth show.

Slash: Oh, right.

Interviewer: What happened between you guys? Why did Axl get fired?

Slash: Why did Axl get fired? From the band?

Interviewer: Yeah!

Slash: Oh, the day – he didn’t get fired! We just got pissed off. And what happened was, the management - in order to keep a good steady relationship in this business, you can’t screw around; you have to be a week, two weeks, a month on top of things. And when that happened and everybody was pissed off, Alan, our manager, had to make sure to connect with the Roth people and set things straight before - you know, if we had broken up and he didn’t tell them anything until the last minute, that really would have screwed them up. So when we were in upheaval over this Phoenix gig that we missed, he called them up and said, “Look, there’s some problems,” so that they got somebody else. Then, when the problem was resolved, we wanted to do it, but it was too late. You know what I’m saying, it was no big deal, except for we were off the road for three months.

Interviewer: Do you know how many papers reported that you guys fired Axl?

Slash: Oh, I know. Well, things always get thrown out of hand, I mean, thrown out of proportion. That’s one of the -

Interviewer: You didn’t play with Roth, though.

Slash: No.

Interviewer: You never played with him.

Slash: Uh-uh.

Interviewer: Alright. But you’ve seen Van Halen 14 million times. What do you think that David Lee Roth brings to rock ‘n’ roll music?

Slash: David Lee Roth now is a completely different thing than what turned me on to the early Van Halen. And Van Halen now is a completely different thing than what turned me on to him back when they first came out. That first Van Halen album was brilliant, you know? The second one was pretty good. They were always just a great concert band at the time. Well, I haven’t seen them that many times, I’ve seen them about three times. I mean, it sort of speaks for itself, those guys, when they were really doing it. They had Eddie Van Halen on guitar, the ultimate frontman, and those two guys were like, you know – I mean the other guys in the band were great, too, but they just knew how to put on, like, a no holds barred show that was just, like, really good. And they had it pasted right, and it was just, like, real natural format, they had a perfect chemistry happening. Then it got really boring, after a while – you know, then “1989,” or whatever that album was called, came out in 1987, I don’t know (laughs).

Interviewer: ’84.

Slash: ’84. And that was, like, pretty boring. I mean, I’ve only got up to “Fair Warning,” as far as their albums go, and that’s where it stops for me.

Interviewer: What do you see in Roth as a frontman?

Slash: He’s just good. He knows how to work a crowd. Some guys are really good at it, some guys aren’t. Some people can get all the attention, you know, from the people – not even the first two rows, but all the way back to the back of the house. It’s just a talent, you know? Some people can do it. Steve Tyler, Dave Roth, I think Axl is really good. Who else is out there that I’ve seen recently? Umm... (laughs). There isn’t a lot of bands that our there that I’m really into, but, I mean, there’s always been people that just have so much charisma. You know, one of the good things about us in concert is that as a band we’re all really, sort of like – there’s not one particular person you watch the whole time, because everybody’s real active; and there’s a lot of, like, violence that goes on, that sort of – you know, violence, not saying it’s necessarily great, but there’s an element of violence in rock ‘n’ roll, which makes it exciting and dangerous.

Interviewer: Watching a Guns N’ Roses show is like a fiery circus. That’s –

Slash: Yeah. It’s pretty constant and it’s five of us all over the place, and now I’m wireless, so it’s even worse (laughs).

Interviewer: Not encumbered by a cord any more.

Slash: No.

Interviewer: Good God! You go out in the aisles and play there too?

Slash: I do, every so often.

Interviewer: You’re sick.

Slash: I get into it, though. I’m like, when I’m on stage, I’m completely nuts.

Interviewer: The crowd you play for (?)

Slash: Yeah. It’s pretty varied.

Interviewer: Yeah, it’s pretty varied, but I mean it’s – I mean, we’re talking some serious headbangers.

Slash: Oh, yeah.

Interviewer: And to walk out there is, like, you know, “I’ve got a death wish.”

Slash: (Laughs) Yeah, the people in the first row at a Guns show are, like, pretty nuts. Even in the first 10-15 rows that I can see - cuz the lights make it so you can only see so far - it can be pretty crazy. In Europe, we had people jumping off the balconies and – I mean, we jump into the crowd, too. It’s at the point now where it’s, like, Axl jumped in the crowd at one of these gigs that we were – it was one of those nights where just everything was technically going wrong, but it was a great show; and to top it off at the end of the night, just to get that last – squeeze that last drop out of it, Axl jumped into the crowd. And you just cannot do that anymore. It’s gotten to the point where, you know, you can’t get back. They just take you.

Interviewer: Yeah, really. Yeah. “The bus leaves now!”  

Slash: Uh-huh.

Interviewer: Let me ask you about the worst gig in a couple of seconds. But I want to ask you, if I just said to you, why was Axl fired, alright? Because that’s what I read, alright?

Slash: Right.

Interviewer: And, you know, rumors abound, man. What’s the most bizarre rumor you have ever read about yourself in the paper and said, “Please, man.”

Slash: The one that we played with Stryper, did a tour with Stryper, was pretty bizarre. I don’t know where that came from. Let’s see... I mean, there’s all the death rumors that we have constantly; we’re all dying all the time. I guess it’s because we shock a lot of people and so people love to be the bearer of inside information. I think they just sit home and make it up, you know? I don’t know, a popularity contest, maybe: “Well, I know something,” you know? It doesn’t – it could be a lie, easily.

Interviewer: Alright, let’s take the image here, for a second, alright? This bad boy image. I mean, you really inherited this from the Stones.

Slash: Mmm-hmm.

Interviewer: Because, I mean, the Stones – that’s what (?) it does, for me. It chills you out.

Slash: Yeah, well, I mean, if you look at it like “us and them”, we’re sort of like the Stones and the Beatles or something. Because, you know, we’re not scared to talk about drugs, and sex, and all the other stuff that we may or may not be involved in, and some of our escapades; which, nobody even knows about some of the stuff that we’ve actually been through, because it’s just - you know, that’s personal. But people get a sort of aura from us or something.  

Interviewer: Are there pluses and minuses to this bad boy image? I mean, obviously there’s insurance policies for the hotels or wherever you go into.

Slash: There’s pluses and minuses to everything, you know? I mean, this isn’t, like, a self-imposed bad boy image either, so I don’t make sure I do this or do that just to do it. You know, this is, sort of like, forced on us. It was something they just put on us, I don’t know why or what, you know?

Interviewer: You’ve trashed many hotel rooms. So, I mean, you know –

Slash: A few. It costs a lot of money to do that, though.

Interviewer: How much?

Slash: I don’t know, it just costs a lot. I mean, I’ve been broke for a long time just paying back things I broke (chuckles).

Interviewer: What’s the worst that you ever did?

Slash: The worst I think I’ve done up to this point was, me and Duff both completely destroyed two hotel rooms in a Four Seasons hotel in Texas.

Interviewer: Why not pick the most expensive hotel in the city?

Slash: Because we weren’t in it (laughs).

Interviewer: Well, the Four Seasons is no schlock hotel, that’s a pretty –

Slash: Yeah, well, that’s just where we happened to be.

Interviewer: Alright. I said I was gonna ask about the worst gig. What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played in life? I mean, not because it technically went wrong, but because the people were killing one another.

Slash: The worst... I can easily tell you the worst gig I personally ever played. There is no such thing as a worst gig for the whole band, because - like bad gigs and good. We’ve had bad gigs all the time, to the point, like, we have – when we’re bad, we’re bad, when we’re good, we’re good, you know? It’s like, when the inspiration is there and everything, it’s happening. You can’t always go out and be great. But the worst gig I’ve ever done was, we played a gig at the Limelight, not too long ago, and if you’ve ever heard about that one, where I was just completely wasted out of my mind and fell into the crowd three times, and all that stuff. That was sort of a drag. It was fun, though, at the time.

Interviewer: They should just take a light stand there and put it up your back, because you were falling over.

Slash: Were you there?

Interviewer: No, I wasn’t there. I know. I’ve read it. Like I’m telling you, I’ve got all of this stuff at home.

Slash: Yeah, I fell into the crowd with my guitar, like, three times. Something like that. That’s happened to me just a few times, though. I’m never – I make a point never to get so bombed before we play that I can’t keep it together.

Interviewer: You play a Gibson, right?

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: What year is it?

Slash: I have a few of them now. I used to play two 59s, but I put those away. Now I’ve got new ones that I completely doctor up and make so that none is a year.

Interviewer: What do you do to make them special? What –

Slash: I put my own pickups in them, I have the necks adjusted, I change the frets I haven’t refinished... you know, whatever.

Interviewer: Do you have a really oldie? I mean, do you have one real rare guitar?

Slash: No, 59s, that two. Yeah, those are fine. I’m not into vintage guitars for vintage’s sake. It just so happens that Gibson produced the best stuff back then. You know, they’ve given me some choice stuff now, but this isn’t off the showroom floral stuff.

Interviewer: You’ve got an endorsement deal with them?

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: Oh, perfect.

Slash: So when I want a guitar, it takes a while before they (?) the right piece of wood, but I do a lot of endorsing for them.

Interviewer: The way you see it, and I’m not gonna – I don’t know, how do you feel about this, if I said you were heavy metal, would you go along with it?

Slash: There’s facets of heavy metal in there.

Interviewer: Alright. You would go along with hard rock without thinking about it, right?

Slash: Yeah.  

Interviewer: Okay. What’s the state of that today? In the music business. Is it healthy or is it the same dinosaur mentality as it was in 1981?

Slash: I don’t – no, it’s better now. I mean, there’s Metallica. Metallica is a great band - if you know these guys, because when I started out, I hated them. I hated anything to do with speed metal, and so the first Metallica album that came out I didn’t even ever bother listening to, but when Master of Puppets came out, I was amazed; it was, like, great. They turned into my favorite people, my best friends and the best band. I’m going to fly to New York next week to go see them. And they’re great – what?

Interviewer: You guys almost wrote together, didn’t you?

Slash: Well, we jammed, you know.

Interviewer: I heard it was gonna be, like, Metallic Roses (laughs).

Slash: No, no. Actually, those guys – we’re totally different kinds of musicians. But they’re just great players and really – I jammed a few times with Lars and stuff like that. They really changed things around, because those guys have – I mean, if you listen to their albums, they’re perfect, and have some amazing chord changes and this and that and the other, and very heavy-duty vocals. And Megadeth is cool; I like to hang out with those guys.

Interviewer: If Bach were alive today, or Beethoven were alive today and written – I know (?)

Slash: He probably should be impressed (laughs).

Interviewer: Oh. And he’d be right. I mean, all they’ve done – and I don’t say this lightly either, man, cuz this is no easy deal to do, but, I mean, they’ve taken what he did on a harpsichord piano but translated to guitars –

Slash: Mmm-hmm.

Interviewer: And they just – where that stops, man? Is there an 11 on this (?)

Slash: Right. So their new album is a monster, and so, you know, that’s helped. I think us coming out has changed a few things. Now the only problem there, is that I haven’t what are the actual results of the influence that we’ve had on the scene at the moment, because there’s still a lot of bands that are sort of riding on our coattails at the moment, and I don’t like to even – I won’t even mention names on that. But, hopefully, in a few years’ time, I’d like to see a lot more sincere and musical bands coming out, do you know what I mean?

Interviewer: One thing I can say about you guys, is that there is a melody line that will drag you to the next planet in your music.

Slash: That’s cool.

Interviewer: I mean, really. And it’s not fresh. This is not fresh, it’s –

Slash: Well, I mean, we belt it out. Like, there’s gigs where we’ll go out, like the Ritz. We did a show at the Ritz in New York as an MTV special – I don’t know if you ever saw it. I mean, playing-wise it was just one of those nights where we’re using borrowed gear - you know, rented gear and all this stuff; and we hadn’t rehearsed in a month, it was the first gig on the tour. But, I mean, the energy level and the attitude was so right on, that even though the fact that some kid grabbed my guitar and knocked it way out of tune, it was, like, still very hardcore; you know, a very New York gig.

Interviewer: What, no guitar roadie to bring it back, to tune it up for you?

Slash: There was no guy. I only brought one guitar with me. No, I brought two with me, but I think – see, the problem with me is I get so manic, that switching guitars is a hard thing for me to do, you know?

Interviewer: I’m sure everybody is gonna wanna know this, so I’m gonna ask you this. You and Crue are the only people that are not a part of “The Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years.” Why not?

Slash: Well, the Motley guys, I have no idea whether they were approached to do it and then they turned it down or whatever. We were on the road and we just couldn’t get in sync with it, you know?

Interviewer: Oh, so it’s not that you didn’t wanna do it, it just wasn’t an opportunity.

Slash: I personally wanted to do it, because I loved the first one. The first “Decline...” was great. I haven’t seen the new one, I hear it’s not very good. But, I mean, we were gonna do it, but we couldn’t, because we were on the road with the Cult. The Cult was supposed to do it as well, and we both couldn’t, you know, just fit it in our schedule to get it done.  

Interviewer: Well, let’s get a little bit to the music of this album - let’s promote this sucker, man! Alright, you mentioned that Sweet Child O’ Mine is the first single off the new LP.

Slash: Well, it’s not a single, like, you can’t go on a store and buy it as a single. It’s a radio single, you know.

Interviewer: What should I know about the cut itself?

Slash: I don’t know (laughs).

Interviewer: What can you tell me about how it came together in the studio or whatever Axl (?)

Slash: Axl, the lyrics came to him as we wrote the song. It was one of those things where the beginning intro thing that sounds like piano or whatever it sounds like – people say it sounds like keyboards or something –, I came up with that. Yeah, and then Izzy came in with the chord changes behind it or the chords that back it up, and then Axl started singing. It was just one of the songs – it’s really not that complicated when you listen to it as far as structure goes, but it just sort of evolved until it was finished. And then we went into rehearsals as a sort of pre-pre-production type of thing and just wrote the whole thing out, and I got the solo, you know - and, just like, that was the first solo I felt comfortable with, so I just did that – and it just evolved into something. It was real spontaneous, like most of the material on the record is real spontaneous.

Interviewer: Is there a child?

Slash: Oh no, it’s about his girlfriend. Yeah...

Interviewer: Well, I had a feeling it was. I mean (?)

Slash: There’s no kids yet, thank you (chuckles).

Interviewer: Well, there’s probably plenty of kids, but nobody’s (?) (laughs).

Slash: Yeah, I don’t know about it.

Interviewer: Do you know how does the old lady feel?

Slash: His old lady?

Interviewer: Yeah!

Slash: I don’t know. I mean, I guess she’s alright. We have a video, she’s in it, all our old ladies at one point; I can’t keep a girlfriend, so my girlfriend at one time is in it. I guess – I mean, I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff.

Interviewer: I just wondered, you know, if she was flattered to be immortalized in a song –

Slash: Well, she’s –

Interviewer: Because you guys are one of the biggest bands out there.

Slash: Well, that, I mean, that’s a hard thing for me to fathom, because – hey, I guess that’s sort of true, huh? (laughs). It’s just like, I’m just a kid in the middle of all this, you know?

[Slash coughs]

Interviewer: Are you having (?), man?

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: Oh well. I didn’t mean that like “oh well,” but I mean, you know, that counts for (?).

Slash: I remember reading in magazines some of the biggest all-time American rock ‘n’ roll bands, and I used to just get like, “Wow!” you know, “Check that out.” And now that I’m actually in a position where I can have that label stuck on me, it’s sort of like, “Oh, really?” Well, I still walk to – I walked here, I walk there. I still didn’t have any money last night and then – things haven’t changed for me, I still don’t live anywhere, I still live in a hotel, and –

Interviewer: When do you think the money is gonna start coming in?

Slash: It is coming in now, but I’ve never had any money, so for me to, like, buckle down and say “Well, let’s go get a couple of grand to go do...” – I mean, like, I’m going to New York for a week and I got the cheapest possible flight, right? And I’m spending $600 in its entirety, for the whole thing. I’m crashing at someone’s house and that’s an expenditure for me. That’s, like, (whispers) “I can’t (?), well, I guess I can do it.”

Interviewer: I want to go to Mr. Brownstone, because I, you know... I don’t know if anyone’s ever had a Brownstone in their life, but, I mean, I know a lot of people who have Brownstones in their lives, but...

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: Tell me about the song, how it came together.

Slash: It’s sort of a joke. I mean, I think people take it a little bit more seriously than what it was written to be. I mean, to be totally honest, it was me and Izzy sitting in an apartment up and hot, like, by Hollywood Boulevard, and that was the room we used to sell our drugs from and all that stuff at the time, and we were both what you would call seriously strung out. And it was just a joke. It was like, we were high and we were just playing acoustic guitar, and Mr. Brownstone, “I get up around 7, go to bed...” – you know, whatever – and “I get to the gig whenever,” blah blah blah, and “I used to do a little, but a little wouldn’t do it, now it’s more and more.” It was just not – it was just the kind of thing, it was about what was going on at the time. It’s not pro or con, or anything like that. It was just about the situation.

Interviewer: There were people – I mean, you know, on the street people were calling this thing horse and needle, or needles and horse. You know?

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: And there was Guns N’ Roses.

Slash: Yeah, but it wasn’t even the whole band, you know. I mean, there was a period that - like, Duff has always been really clean, as long as I’ve known him, and Axl has always been pretty cool. And we’re just like, we’re just bored kids sometimes and we get involved in stuff that people don’t necessarily, you know, relish (laughs). But, I mean, that’s just what we do. I mean, to this day I still have a tendency to go out and screw up once, you know, because I’m bored. And that’s just life, and just because I’m in a big rock ‘n’ roll band, and this and that and the other. I’m not gonna tiptoe through life just because of –it’s like, I’m an extremist, you know?

Interviewer: Well, love it, man.

Slash: I am (chuckles).

Interviewer: You know? It’s your life.

Slash: I know.

Interviewer: (?) What goes down well on concert? That’s the only (?)

Slash: What gets –

Interviewer: Let me ask you about cut by cut on this album. What goes down good (?)

Slash: What gets the best reaction the minute we come out always does real well. Axl’s first rap, Out Ta Get Me, Nightrain, Paradise City, Sweet Child O’ Mine. Jungle is a big one. Knocking on Heaven’s Door, we do a cover of that that goes over real well. I don’t know, we get pretty well received. I mean, like, there’s been a few gigs we’ve done, like in San Diego, where we had a gig where we came on late, we were really late coming on. And, you know, it was just one of those shows where I didn’t know what the next song was gonna be, because Axl was changing the setlist all around - we do that anyway, but sometimes it can be really inconvenient because it screws up pacing and stuff. So it was one of those shows where we basically stood around on the stage for, like, 45 minutes headlining, right? And the whole crowd was, like, confused trying to get into it. But on our normal gigs, they pretty much – it’s like, Guns N’ Roses and the crowd is like one and the same.

Interviewer: So tell me about the cons, then.

Slash: That’s the truth. That happens. Like, in the middle of our sets, there’s been a lot of times where somebody will throw something on. I mean, some people get really carried away and one of the main things I really don’t relate to, because it never happened to kid, is that rock stars are bigger than life always, and some people just want to see you react and they throw stuff at you. This is actually sort of something I learned about from Aerosmith when I got the firecracker or whatever thrown at them in Philly a while back. And it’s the same thing with us; like, all of a sudden, you’re standing there and a kid reaches out and un-tunes your guitar. And that really throws things off, you know? It completely deletes your energy level for a minute, because what if you need that particular string, right? You got to rethink your solo out, right? And then people hit Axl with stuff. So there’s a lot of me kicking somebody in the first row or Axl inviting somebody on for a scrap, or whatever. That kind of stuff happens, but that makes – I think it’s great, you know? There was one crowded show we did, where Axl jumped in the crowd to beat up a security guard who pushed one of our friends around, and we did the whole show without him. He went to jail and we did, like, Honky Tonk Women and guitar solos, and we had a roadie come out and sing Communication Breakdown and we hung out (?) As long as that real feeling and that sincerity is there, people always pick up on it, because that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about.

Interviewer: It’s supposed to be a show.

Slash: Mmm-hmm.

Interviewer: You know? These people have paid good money to see something. The audience participation should be a part of it. You know, I mean -

Slash: Yeah. I really actually regret that we missed those three L.A. dates, because that would’ve been great. But we’re coming back with Aerosmith, so...

Interviewer: Oh, that would be just (?)

Slash: Yeah, I think that’s gonna be one of the best tours going in the summer. That "Monsters" thing is losing tons money on here, because it’s like cost of talent for the promoter. It’s so much that they have to sell 40,000 tickets just to break even.

Interviewer: It’s like the Us festival, man. How can you pay that kind of money and expect that (?)? I mean, you can’t. There’s no givens in this world, man. I mean, sure, it’s a great show, but... You mentioned Jungle, too. I just think that leads off the album, that it starts the album.

Slash: It was actually the first time me and Axl wrote together, too, as Guns N’ Roses.

Interviewer: It’s an amazing tune. First of all, the music for that song is terrific and the lyrics are just... Is the streets the jungle?

Slash: Well, it’s basically Axl’s stab at, like, putting into writing and putting into a song: Middle America white boy meets downtown Hollywood kind of thing. That’s about as indicative as that gonna get, you know.

Interviewer: What’s the worst you’ve ever been hurt on stage?

Slash: The worst I’ve ever been hurt physically?

Interviewer: Uh-huh.

Slash: Well, I’ve been hurt physically before gigs. On stage I think the worst thing I ever did is that I jumped into a 14-foot pit that I thought it was five feet, but I didn’t break anything. When I was on tour with Motley Crue, Nikki Sixx fell on me when we were wrestling one night when we were drunk, and dislocated through the vertebras in my neck, and I had to go onstage – I had to go to chiropractors every day and stuff. I was in serious agony, I couldn’t move on stage. It was like, I just had to stand there. So stuff like that. I’ve, like, broken a couple of fingers before gigs and had to play the gigs with broken fingers, you know?

Interviewer: Generally, have you ever been close enough to check, that you thought that that was it, man?

Slash: Yeah, but that’s not – yeah, that stuff. (Laughing) I’ve had about four or five times I think I’ve been out for the count, but... And then there’s a lot of people who have done that to me, which I think a few people know about.  

Interviewer: Where do you see this thing going in five years?

Slash: I have no idea. It could be like – this thing could be, you know, we can do another record, and tour and stuff. It’s just as long as the inspiration is there, there’s a group. That’s all.


Last edited by Blackstar on Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Dec 16, 2019 4:56 pm

A really informative interview covering many topics. Took me a while to include it in the history section since it added quotes to many chapters where I still hadn't updated the layout, so I had to do that, too.

@Blackstar: It doesn't say who the interviewer is?
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Post by Blackstar on Mon Dec 16, 2019 5:42 pm

@Soulmonster wrote:A really informative interview covering many topics. Took me a while to include it in the history section since it added quotes to many chapters where I still hadn't updated the layout, so I had to do that, too.

@Blackstar: It doesn't say who the interviewer is?
No, it doesn't say. I'm curious as well, because the interviewer sounded like a big fan of the band and also well informed.
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:03 pm

@Blackstar wrote:
@Soulmonster wrote:A really informative interview covering many topics. Took me a while to include it in the history section since it added quotes to many chapters where I still hadn't updated the layout, so I had to do that, too.

@Blackstar: It doesn't say who the interviewer is?

No, it doesn't say. I'm curious as well, because the interviewer sounded like a big fan of the band and also well informed.

He said he had lots of interviews of the band...wonder if he still has them? Razz
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