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2001.06.21 - Philadelphia Daily News - Slash Still A Big Gun On Tour

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Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 04, 2012 6:47 pm

2001.06.21 - Philadelphia Daily News - Slash Still A Big Gun On Tour 2001_039

SOURCE: Philadelphia Daily News
DATE: Friday, June 22, 2001
HEADLINE: Slash still a big gun on tour
AUTHOR(S): Jonathon Takiff

SLASH'S SNAKEPIT, 8 tonight at the Electric Factory, 7th and Willow streets, for the 94 WYSP Babefest, hosted by Kid Rock. Tickets available only from the radio station.

If Slash had a calling card, it would probably read, "Have guitar, will travel."

He's been a nomad since the age of 13, when this British-born, California-raised dude first moved out on his arty/hippie parents (Dad designs album covers, Mom dresses music stars) and started scraping by on his own.

And even though he's still making a nice living from his Guns N' Roses album royalties, this slash 'n' burn guitarist is happiest, he says, working the road and making music with whomever calls for his services - be it Les Paul, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Carole King, Rod Stewart "or some foreign artist I never heard of.

"A lot of people tour to help sell their albums," declared the surprisingly mellow and sober-sounding rocker, in a midday phone chat from Cape Cod. "For me, it's the reverse. Making an album [his current one is 'Ain't Life Grand' out on the Koch label] is my excuse to go out and tour." And while he still has recurring nightmares of live gigs "where everything completely falls apart," Slash gets his batteries charged by living on the edge, by playing his music differently every night.

"Recording is one thing. I like making up cool riffs and grooves and then laying it down. That's why I won't turn down a recording gig, if I think I can help make it better, make a contribution. But there's a whole different dynamic to playing out live. When we go out [on stage], it's so immediate, there's such an urgency, it's almost like our last minute on the planet, like we may never play again."

Once answering to the name Saul Hudson, Slash got his nickname from Seymour Cassell - the cool father of a friend "who let us hang out at his house. He called me Slash because I was always hustling, a sly guy who was always racing out of the house 'cause I had some deal going down. I wasn't exactly a model citizen."

In Guns N' Roses, Slash shared in the debauchery, the excesses of heavy-metal rock stardom as much as the next guy - unless it was front man Axl Rose. Remember those infamous gigs where the band kept the crowd waiting for three hours, or prematurely left the stage and caused a riot? "It wasn't the backline holding up the show," says Slash. "In fact, by the time he [Axl] was finally ready to go on, we were reduced to drinking coffee, we were so bored. . .and embarrassed."

Slash also suggests, ominously, that his decision to split from Rose was as much based on survival instincts as that publicized "difference in artistic vision" - 'cause Rose was suddenly fascinated with the industrial/metal clang of Nine Inch Nails that the guitar wizard argues wasn't true to the group's blues-rockin' roots.

"If I'd stayed for the sake of chivalry, I would probably be sitting here doing nothing. 'Cause there is no new Guns record out. In fact, I would probably not be walking this earth. I'd be pushing daisies. With respect to the millions of Guns fans, I wish I could explain how inevitable the split was. There wasn't anything that could be done to save it. I understand the feeling of being a fan, their sadness. I was a fan of a lot of bands that fell by the wayside. And I'm dying for the next Guns album [tentatively titled 'Chinese Democracy'] to come out and be really good," he declares. But no, Slash is not willing to hold his breath 'til that miracle happens.

"The whole magic of being in a rock and roll band is that although you work 10 times as hard as the average Joe, you also have 10 times as much fun," Slash argues. "But if you're not having the fun part, why do it?"

Clearly, he's enjoying the good life with the second incarnation of Slash's Snakepit, "living moment by moment, day by day, playing everything from clubs to stadiums." The first Snakepit was a pickup band featuring friends from Guns, Alice in Chains and Jellyfish. "But then they had to go back to their day jobs. This Snakepit is a real band, a real collaborative project. I'm totally immersed in this group. There's a real diversity in the backgrounds of the guys, which is why there's a depth to the album."

Slash is such a believer that he financed "Ain't Life Grand" himself. And he fulfilled a fantasy by recording it with veteran producer Jack Douglas - famed for his work with everyone from Jimi Hendrix to John Lennon. "I've been into him since Aerosmith's 'Rocks' - the flame that ignited me to start playing in the first place," says the guitarist. "I wanted to work with Jack on the Guns N' Roses album that turned out to be 'Appetite for Destruction,' but Geffen [Records] was apprehensive about putting so many people with a high level of intoxication together," Slash shares with a laugh. "All these years later, I'm a lot more professional."
SOURCE: Philadelphia Daily News
DATE: Thursday, June 21, 2001
AUTHOR(S): Stu Bykofsky
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