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SoulMonster

1989-MM-DD - Interview with Slash and Duff

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1989-MM-DD - Interview with Slash and Duff

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:28 pm

No More Mr. Bad Boy

When Guns N’ Roses burst onto the scene, they were viewed as a breath of less-than-fresh air. In the drug-free, fitness crazed, Safe Sex ‘80s, these boys were living life on the edge - looking like it, talking about it, singing it. And, rock fans embraced their bravado and honesty along with their driving music. The media, fascinated by these long-haired~ leather-jacketed, booze swilling wild boys dubbed them the newest “bad boys” in rock (a crown long worn proudly by the Rolling Stones). Before long, all you’d ever hear about Guns N’ Roses was how bad they were, how wild they’d get - and this to such an extreme that death rumors about the group were as abundant as bottles of Jack Daniels in rock’n’roll dressing rooms.

But, success came - dare I even breathe it? - as a result of discipline, hard work, and dedication to the music. So the mythological wildness was balanced by professionalism. The Guns weren’t always at drunken orgies; sometimes - often - they were working! And, the image they’d helped cultivate so artfully began to dog them, nipping at their heels, annoying them. By the time they made the cover of Rolling Stone, it was set in stone: these boys were the baddest.

So, what did two Guns, Slash and Duff, think of their Rolling Stone cover story?
Slash shakes his curly hair, still wet from the shower, and says, “It plays on the sort of Guns N’ Roses is a notorious band.”


Duff agrees. Adding, “It’s kind of one-sided. ‘Okay, let’s exploit the dirty side, all the dark sides of this band,’ ya know? The writer was with us for three days. I mean, I liked the guy. He was with us for three days, he saw basically every side of us. But he kind of exploited just one side. Which happens from, like, after the gig until you go to sleep on the bus? That side.”

Slash continues, ‘Apparently, with us, it’s the main thing that people want to hear is how bad we are, and that’s the sort of novelty about Guns N’ Roses, right? And so, that’s what Rolling Stone just printed, the stuff that’s going to make the magazine sell, basically.” But, aren’t Guns N’ Roses really bad boys after all?

Duff snorts disdainfully, ‘We’re all men now, ya know? We’re like 23 and 24. I hate that label! It’s really silly, it’s really stupid. Bad boys. That’s like you’re talking to a 7-year-old or something. No. We’re a rock’n’roll band!”

The image was earned, as Slash explains, because, “We basically represent a lot of the characteristics of what a rock’n’roll band is all about.”

Or more accurately, Duff elaborates, “What it was all about when it started. I mean, rock’n’roll was something outrageous when it started, it was Elvis and stuff. And they were not priests, ya know. They did drugs, they drank, they had lots of women running around, which was really unheard of. So, rock’n’roll’s about rebellion, and doing things against the grain, ya know?”

But, that’s the side of Guns N’ Roses we’ve heard about incessantly. Where’s the balance that they claim no one is showing?

Slash and Duff are so anxious to answer that their sentences spill over one another’s.

Slash begins, “Well, just the fact that the band is, ya know, five individual people, ya know, it’s not just sort of like a little group of, Duff interrupts, “... wind up the little parts and go"

Slash continues, “... it’s not like that"

Duff: “Give ‘em a bottle and watch ‘em go.” Whew! Follow that?

Slash insists, “There’s a lot of discipline in this band, ya know? It’s only happened a couple of times where we’ve been, like, wasted on stage or anything. That’s very few and far between, gigs like that. I can actually count on one hand how many times any one of us have done that.”

And, Duff adds, “Just to be on tour, I mean, I’m not saying it’s the hardest thing in the world - I had a construction job which is much harder than being on tour, but you have to have discipline, you have to have responsibility, and you have to be at the gig every day. You gotta do soundchecks, you have to make sure all your equipment’s working. It’s not, like, just all of a sudden, we’re there on stage and playing the gig and then poof! We’re out of there. There’s a lot behind that. A hell of a lot!"

So, this is a real working band, made up of real, complex, grown flesh-and- blood men. You can imagine that it gets a bit old, weird, and downright depressing to keep reading about their own alleged deaths. Slash admits, “They’re pretty negative vibes, floating around all the time.”

But, Duff says, the band is getting used to the strange rumors. “At this point, I don’t think that stuff really fazes anybody in the band. Its like, ‘Oh, really?’ Sure it’s kind of weird, but it’s not true, so how seriously can you take it?”

Slash adds, “It’s starting to be like crying wolf, now. It’s like, when somebody does die, everybody’s going to go ‘(bored voice) Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ ‘No, really!’”

What about the now (in) famous quote, “Guns N’ Roses will be great, if they live that long?” It’s another Guns N’ Roses cliché, yet Duff says they feed off of it. ‘It sort of fuels the fire, for this whole kind of ‘screw you’ attitude that we have. We have the attitude, ‘What the hell,’ but, I mean, who really wants to die?”

Guns N’ Roses obviously want to live, and to make music, and in doing both, are making fun of the overblown Guns image with their new EP, Lies: The Drugs, The Sex, The Violence, The Shocking Truth!, the title blazed. Tabloid style, across the EP cover.

Slash smiles, “Since the band is the center of attention as far as controversy in rock’n’roll, this EP is sort of a parody of our whole existence.”

And, while the band members may be tired of that outrageous image, they’ve done nothing to quell it with songs like “I Used To Love Her, But I Had To Kill Her.”
“It’s very tongue-in- cheek!” Duff exclaims, ‘It’s not to be taken seriously, ya know, it’s like a joke. I don’t condone wife-beating. I understand it, but I don’t condone it. So, it’s very tongue-in-cheek.”

As to possible problems from PMRC types, he simply says, “Who cares? What are they gonna do? Ban the record from record chains? It’s already happened to us, so I don’t think we really care at this point. If somebody’s gonna be so disturbed by it, that just means they don’t have a sense of humor and that’s their problem. The core of our fans will understand it.”

Understanding the Guns, as we’ve begun to understand, means knowing that they can be extreme in every way, wild, hard-working, concerned, even sensitive. And, next month in FACES, we’ll talk to the band about their darkest moment, and discover a seriousness and depth of feeling many would not expect from these five men who may finally leave behind the label “rock’s bad boys.”
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