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Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


2010.02.01 - GQ - When Piers Met Slash

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2010.02.01 - GQ - When Piers Met Slash Empty 2010.02.01 - GQ - When Piers Met Slash

Post by Blackstar Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:19 am

When Piers met Slash

When GQ's headline act Piers Morgan last met him, the Guns N'Roses guitarist was a hard-living heroin addict surrounded by the world's most-willing women. Now, 17 years on, they reunite to discuss how he survived one of the most self-destructive bands ever, with his mind - and musicianship - intact.

Slash and I go back a long way. To a small dingy piano bar in Copenhagen, to be precise. It was 1993, and I'd been sent by Kelvin MacKenzie, then editor of the Sun, to spend a few days on the road with Guns N'Roses. They were the biggest band in the world at the time, and supposedly the baddest. Well, less of the "supposedly", actually. They really were the baddest. I saw it with my own eyes - illicit sex, even more illicit drugs, unbelievable quantities of alcohol, violence, and a raw excitement that pulsated through everyone and everything on that tour. They turned out to be the most extraordinary, chaotic, exhilarating and faintly disturbing few days of my life to that point. But it was my night with Slash in that piano bar that I remember most vividly.

We convened there after their Danish gig that night - which for sheer energy and power was the most astonishing concert I've ever watched - ostensibly to conclude an interview that had started in his dressing room six hours before. It was 1am, he ordered a bottle of Jack Daniel's, and we cracked on with the "interview".

I'd never tasted JD before - I was only 27 - but he assured me "it will change your life, man", so I tucked in with all the enthusiasm of a parched desert-dweller stumbling across an unexpected oasis.

Slash, whose real name is Saul Hudson and who was raised in Stoke-on-Trent, was a brilliant interviewee - very funny, unsurprisingly outrageous yet surprisingly sensitive too, passionate about his music, even more passionate about his sexy young girlfriend and clearly already at loggerheads with Axl Rose.

At 7am, we hugged each other goodbye, and Slash stumbled off into the early-morning sunlight wearing my favourite blue Armani jacket.

And yes, I do mean mine. He'd stuck it on because he liked the colour, and that was the last I ever saw of it.

So when GQ asked me to interview the guitar legend, now 44, all over again, at a studio in Santa Monica, I jumped at the chance. First, because I wanted to see if he was still such a great interviewee now he's sober, happily married to his second wife, Perla, and the father of two young children. But more importantly because I still wanted my jacket back.

Piers Morgan: So, Slash, how are you? Sharon Osbourne told me on the set of America's Got Talent that she saw you last week and you were a bit apprehensive about this interview?

Slash: Well, I was like, "He's not going to start judging me about everything, is he?" But hey, I'm here, aren't I? I can take it. So let's go...With all due respect, you're one of the greatest survivors in rock history; I'm sure you can survive an hour with me.

Piers Morgan: Yeah. Sharon was the only person I knew who knew you well, so since we were having dinner, I thought I'd just check you out a bit. She said you were a sweetheart [laughs]. Let's start with the last time we met, on the Copenhagen leg of your world tour in 1993.

Slash: OK.

Piers Morgan: I can state this with absolute certainty: it was the single greatest live show I've ever seen. You guys were unbelievable that night. Then two things happened that I will also never forget: you introduced me to Jack Daniel's, and you stole my favourite jacket.

Slash: Maybe I still have it.

Piers Morgan: That's what I'm banking on. I loved that jacket.

Slash: I keep everything, it's probably in a closet somewhere. Do you actually want it back?

Piers Morgan: No, not really. A lot of my friends have since persuaded me that Slash nicking my jacket was the coolest thing that's ever likely to happen to me. Although I still think me introducing Paul McCartney to Heather Mills probably beats it.

Slash: No! You didn't, did you? Now that is cool.

Piers Morgan: Hey, you did well. You got my jacket, Paul got someone who took £24m off him. And I remain very grateful to you for the Jack Daniel's intro, too. It's my favourite drink.

Slash: I feel very proud, thank you. And you're still standing. I've introduced a few people to other things over the years where it hasn't turned out quite so well...

Piers Morgan: At the peak of Guns N'Roses, would you say you were having the greatest time of your life? Because it looked like it from where I was sitting.

Slash: Actually, what you saw was the beginning of the end. That was a rough time for us, and a very hard tour. We were on the road for three years straight, and we were the biggest rock'n'roll band in the world. And it had been a lot of fun up until that point. But it was very damaging too. By the time you saw us, we were just trying to get through each night with all the bullshit that was flying around, internally and externally. It was psychologically very stressful but I was dead set on us finishing the tour, so we kind of hid everything that was going on.

Piers Morgan: As someone who has always dreamed of being a star in the world's biggest rock band, but only got as far as judging piano-playing pigs with David Hasselhoff, I'd love to know what it was like to live that dream.

Slash: Everything was great on the surface. It looked like the dream personified. But the tensions grew, particularly between Axl and I, and they continued to fester day in, day out, for three years. And that was very taxing on everyone.

Piers Morgan: I saw some of it in Copenhagen. You all gave a press conference the day after the show, where you drank straight from large bottles of JD, fought each other physically on stage, and verbally harangued anyone who asked a question. I remember one poor guy from Belgian television who asked you why you hadn't sung the night before, and you replied: "Because I play the guitar, you moron." Then another guy stood up and said, "Hello, I am GooGoo from German TV," and you stopped him in mid-sentence, and shouted: "Hey GooGoo, fuck off." And that was it, you all left.

Slash: [Laughs] Like I said, we had some fun times, and I have no regrets about any of it. When I look back on that time, I feel really proud we never changed or conformed to any commercial pressures. We just did our thing, not what we were supposed to do to make business people happy. We refused to compromise, and we were incredibly successful doing it our way, so that was good.

Piers Morgan: When you look back, is there one moment that stands out?

Slash: It was always about the music, for me. There would be certain moments when Axl would hit a high note, I would hit the perfect chord, the rest of the band were completely in synergy with us, and those moments were the best for me. When it all came together musically, and the hairs on your arms stand up, it felt like total bliss. We were a great band, man. I remember one time in Argentina, we were playing some huge stadium to a huge crowd, and it was pouring that special South American kind of rain, and we were doing "November Rain", and the smoke was coming off the heat of the bodies in the audience, and that just felt incredible. It's not something you can really explain, it's just the way you feel when it happens.

Piers Morgan: Has any drug, sex, drink or fight ever come close to that feeling for you?

Slash: Nothing comes close to that. It's an out-of-body experience. Drugs can take you there for a second, and sex has its place, but it's organic and you can have it all the time, so it doesn't really compare.

Piers Morgan: If you could have either the best sex of your life again or do that show once more, what would you choose?

Slash: I'd do the show. I can have the best sex again anyway. But even if I couldn't, I'd still go for that show. It was something that all musicians chase, the ultimate high.

Piers Morgan: Out of interest, what would be the best sex you've ever had in your life?

Slash: Actually, I have a really great sex life now. It's one of the reasons I've been with the same woman so long. We manage OK, definitely. We had a great one on her birthday recently, that was... [savours the moment] great.

Piers Morgan: Weren't you introduced to your wife, Perla, by the porn legend Ron Jeremy?

Slash: I was, yeah.

Piers Morgan: Didn't alarm bells ring?

Slash: A lot of things rang... but I could tell she was using Ron as a tool to get to me. She worked at Hustler at the time, and had seen me, and wanted to meet me. So she got him to arrange it.

Piers Morgan: How did you know Ron?

Slash: I come from a very decadent place! We used to hang out together quite a lot in those days.

Piers Morgan: Did you ever compare score sheets?

Slash: No, but we did a lot of partying together in the late Eighties and early Nineties, and that remains the most hedonistic stuff I've ever experienced...

Piers Morgan: Like what?

Slash: I remember one night, I was sitting on the edge of my pool with Ron and there were dozens of naked girls running around, it was a very festive environment. One of the girls started blowing us both, and I remembered hearing once that Ron could suck his own dick, so I asked him to do it again, just to see if he could. And he did, and it was amazing. Not that I like watching guys sucking their own dicks, I hasten to add, but I couldn't believe it was actually possible until that moment. And it didn't seem that seedy, it just seemed funny.

Piers Morgan: Who was the best at picking up women?

Slash: Oh, Ron knew everyone. He's such a porno legend that every young aspiring porn-star girl wants to be with him. So if you hang out with Ron, you get this wave of eager hopefuls coming your way, and it seems like the best life imaginable. It gets old after a while and you move on, but until that point... wow!

Piers Morgan: What was the real problem between you and Axl?

Slash: During that last tour, it was like an ongoing exercise in how we could bond the least. It just got worse and worse. Partly my fault for not confronting things, and partly Axl's for sequestering some private place and brooding over things all the time.

Piers Morgan: What did you first think of Axl?

Slash: He was very talkative, mainly about himself and his beliefs. He had this very intense, emotional, serious vibe about him. And a lot of the brilliance he has is down to that personality. It's what makes him such a brilliant front man.

Piers Morgan: He's written pretty scathing things about you recently, calling you a cancer, a celebrity whore, saying you've lost your edge, and so on.

Slash: I know! Someone sent me those blogs he wrote. It doesn't hurt me now. It would have done when we worked together. But now I'm obviously just this thorn in his side because I am continuing to do my thing musically and he isn't.

Piers Morgan: Why does he hate you?

Slash: Er, I don't... I'm sitting here squirming now because this is hard to answer. I don't have an answer, that's my answer. You'd have to ask him.

Piers Morgan: When was the last time you spoke to him?

Slash: 1996.

Piers Morgan: Does that make you sad?

Slash: Not really. Thirteen years is a long time.

Piers Morgan: But you produced such incredible music together, it must make you sad. It makes me sad, and I wasn't even in the band. Do you think you'll ever work with Axl again?

Slash: Oh, I see. This interview's taken a certain direction...

Piers Morgan: It can go any direction you like...

Slash: OK. Well, the thing is, when we were on stage we were a real force together. But it got to a point off stage where it was impossible for us to even be in the same room together and create any music. So it's sad that something so good doesn't exist any more, even though we're both still alive and on the same planet. But that's all.

Piers Morgan: Do you miss him?

Slash: I think that's all gone by the wayside now. I am a pretty realistic kind of person, and don't expend energy worrying, "What if?" If I hear great music we did together, I respect it for what it was and appreciate it. But I'm not like everyone else around the band who wants to somehow try to recreate it because there's so much money to be made.

Piers Morgan: What's the biggest offer you've had to reform?

Slash: I can't remember exact numbers, but it's excessive.

Piers Morgan: Like what?

Slash: Oh, you know, seven, eight digit kinds of things.

Piers Morgan: Tens of millions?

Slash: More than that.

Piers Morgan: Hundreds of millions?

Slash: Yeah.

Piers Morgan: When you saw Led Zeppelin reform, didn't you yearn to do that too?

Slash: I thought it was interesting watching from a distance. When Robert Plant said he didn't want to tour after that comeback show, I thought that was the right thing. It was a very special night, so why ruin it? As for Guns N'Roses, I don't think there's ever a chance of a reunion. Things were so abrasive by the time I left, I've never thought, "Oh, wouldn't it be nice to get back together." Because I know it wouldn't!

Piers Morgan: How much were drugs to blame for the band's problems?

Slash: There was a lot of excessive, abusive stuff going on, but at least we all managed to turn up. It wasn't all chemicals with us, like it was with Aerosmith. We still managed to do what we had to do.

Piers Morgan: What were your levels of consumption like?

Slash: On the road, it was crazy. Just drinking from morning to night. I'd be up at 11am, and go to the bar, and do whatever I wanted to do. I'd drink those big jugs of vodka, with a dash of cranberry. I'd do at least half a gallon, then cocktails before the show, then shots of Jack Daniel's afterwards until 4-5am. Then we'd do it all over again the next day. And I kept doing that until 2001, when I was told I had six weeks to live.

Piers Morgan: Must have been quite a sobering moment...

Slash: Very sobering. I'd basically carried on the rock'n'roll lifestyle. Only it would be worse when I stopped touring. On tour, you had to work too. So I'd maybe do the odd line of coke here and there, though I was never a big coke guy. Once I got home, I didn't know what to do with myself. I've always moved around a lot, so touring suited me. Once it stopped, I didn't know what the hell to do and I descended into drugs oblivion.

Piers Morgan: And your preferred drug was heroin. Why?

Slash: Heroin was like the ultimate complement to my personality. It just fitted perfectly. Everyone else was doing coke and speed, and made hyper people even more hyper. Whereas heroin just made me more reclusive and quieter. It was just me and my drug.

Piers Morgan: Do you have happy memories of that period?

Slash: I do, yeah. I have unhappy memories too, towards the end of it. But it was escapism for me.

Piers Morgan: Did you inject it or smoke it?

Slash: Always inject. It's the only way as far as I'm concerned, go straight to the source.

Piers Morgan: How much did you do?

Slash: However much I could get my hands on. If I finished a batch, I'd go hunting for it. It never stopped.

Piers Morgan: Do you miss heroin?

Slash: Not at the moment. Three years ago, I got really stressed because Velvet Revolver were in a state, and my marriage was in a state, and I went back down that road for a while, and while it was fun for a minute, it wasn't nearly as much fun as it had been before. I'd just grown out of that lifestyle.

Piers Morgan: Did the fact you now have children make a difference?

Slash: Yeah, of course. It helped me put a pen in it. I think I needed to go back and have one last go at it, to get over it. And I don't regret any of it. I don't believe in having regrets. I haven't killed anyone, or anything like that. But I did go into rehab after that, for a month, and I really haven't wanted drugs since then.

Piers Morgan: Do you drink now?

Slash: No. I dropped everything. And I feel good. The most important thing for me now is to be able to function as an artist. You can keep struggling to do both, or make a choice. And I put my music first, that is now my priority, and my family.

Piers Morgan: How many women have you slept with?

Slash: Probably less than people think. I was one of those guys who slept around a lot but was still fairly selective, and liked to spend time with the girls concerned. Just banging someone for the sake of doing it happened quite rarely. I preferred to spend a week banging the same one. I'm more of a one-girl kind of guy.

Piers Morgan: So, back to the grand total...

Slash: It wouldn't be in the thousands. More in the hundreds, and probably not over 500. I teased more than I followed through.

Piers Morgan: Are you good in bed?

Slash: I've always liked sex, definitely.

Piers Morgan: They say guitarists are pretty good with their hands.

Slash: Well, we're sensitive [laughs].

Piers Morgan: Never had any complaints?

Slash: None I can remember. But then the ones who complained were probably the ones where I passed out, and can't remember!

Piers Morgan: What's the weirdest place you've ever woken up?

Slash: In the middle of a street, in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard, at 8am, with my van door open. And no memory of how I got there. Then I worked out I was about three or four miles from a club where I'd picked up this girl. But she'd gone, and I was lying on the road. I still have no idea what happened. Crazy.

Piers Morgan: What's the best advice you'd give a budding rock star?

Slash: Never get a blow job before you go on stage. I let it happen once, with some girl who was hanging around backstage before a gig. She was really pushing to get it on before we played, so eventually I took her back to the bus and she went down on me, and I was really urging her to get on with it because I was late, and that piled on the pressure for her, which made things worse. By the time we finished, I could barely walk, my legs were shaky, and I was light-headed, and it was a terrible show that night. And I vowed never to let that happen again.

Piers Morgan: I heard that you used to keep four girls in different rooms in the same hotel?

Slash: Yeah. That was during my least-like-myself period, where I was just into thrill-seeking sex for the sake of it. I was married at the time, too. [Slash's first marriage, to Renee Suran, lasted from 1992 to 1997.] I wasn't able to just bang them and kick them out, so I sorted them all their own rooms. Everyone was happy. It was an expensive way of doing it, though.

Piers Morgan: How rich are you?

Slash: Not as rich as people think. I'm not ridiculously wealthy, but I don't squander money either. I've never been that materialistic. I put my kids in nice schools, and my wife's happy. That's where my money goes, whereas it used to be booze, drugs and fags. Though I have just bought a new white Aston Martin DBS. I allow myself one nice car.

Piers Morgan: Didn't you make a fortune from Guns N' Roses, though?

Slash: We never made any money touring, because we were always too extravagant with the parties, and we always turned up on stage too late and got fined.

Piers Morgan: How much did you blow on partying?

Slash: Who cares? I never killed anyone. I nearly killed myself a few times, but nobody else. That's all that matters.

Piers Morgan: I read that your Stoke family came to one of your Wembley shows once and drank the backstage bar dry?

Slash: That's true! My uncles, cousins and grandfather all showed up. I hadn't seen them in 20 years, and it was great. They matched us drink for drink.

Piers Morgan: Do you ever go back to Stoke?

Slash: Not often, but a lot of my family from there keep in touch. I have fond memories of Stoke. I remember never being able to see across the street because of the weather. Walking to school was like stumbling around like a blind man. No, it was a very tight community, everyone knew each other. My grandmother made great mince pies, and my dad would take me for long walks in the countryside. I loved it.

Piers Morgan: Must be very cool for the people of Stoke to have you in their ranks.

Slash: They have me and Robbie Williams.

Piers Morgan: Do you know him?

Slash: Yeah, he lives across the street from me in LA. I played poker with my dad, and him and his Stoke relatives a while back and that was a lot of fun. Robbie's a great guy, a really original and unique mind in the rock world.

Piers Morgan: How good is this solo album of yours?

Slash: Very good, I think. I play the guitar, and I wrote all the songs, and I recruited a load of different singers to sing each track. It's been really exciting. Everyone I asked said yes...

Piers Morgan: Axl?

Slash: I didn't make that call, no.

Piers Morgan: You played with Michael Jackson. Did his death come as a big shock?

Slash: Very much so. I didn't know him that well personally but professionally he was just fantastic. I could tell he was lost outside work, though. The bigger the star, the bigger the bubble you lose yourself in. Guns N'Roses were huge, but nowhere near as huge as him. So I can understand how screwed up his perception of life was, because ours was screwed up and he was on a different level. I spent a few hours in his trailer once at an MTV show, and it was the size of a studio lot. I'd never seen anything like it, all decorated in gold and stuff. His chimpanzee was there, and it was all a bit weird. I was apprehensive getting that close to him because I knew I'd feel sad for him because he had no real grasp on anything outside his talent.

Piers Morgan: I interviewed him once, and he seemed to be a split personality. Childlike one minute, but much harder when he talked about business.

Slash: Definitely. I had an incident once where I did a gig with him in Italy, and his guitarist Jennifer Batten disagreed with me over something we were doing in rehearsal, so we went to have it out with Michael. And he just told her straight: "Let Slash do whatever he wants to do." And I was shocked how firm he was, and businesslike. He wasn't the tortured innocent artist people thought he was. But he was lost, at the same time.

Piers Morgan: Who was the greatest showman: Axl or Michael?

Slash: Wow, how can I answer that? They were very different. On the surface, I'd say Axl because I can relate more to his style of music. It's more me. I had to adapt to play with Michael. The most memorable performer I played with was Ray Charles. He was such a phenomenal talent just to be in his presence and play with him was great.

Piers Morgan: Who would be in your dream band?

Slash: John Bonham on drums. Marc Bolan or Freddie Mercury lead singer, probably Marc if I had to choose. And I would have to play guitar, alongside Jimi Hendrix and John Entwistle. We'd rock.

Piers Morgan: Is it true your first son was conceived at Ronnie Wood's house after two weeks of drinking Guinness?

Slash: Yes! Their slogan is "Guinness makes you strong", and that's definitely true.

Piers Morgan: How important is Perla to you?

Slash: Incredibly important. She is the only woman I've met who could put up with me for an extended period of time and still be happy.

Piers Morgan: Are you a good husband?

Slash: I think I'm a great husband. I'm loyal, I've never cheated on her or even thought of cheating on her. And I can be fun to be around. But the flip side is I'm dedicated to music, 24/7. It's hard for me to prioritise anything in front of my work. But she gets that, and works around it, and although it's a cliché, she completes me.

Piers Morgan: Are you as happy now as you've ever been?

Slash: I've always been pretty happy, but right now I'm the most content I've ever been in my own skin. And I'd be even more content if I could just find your jacket.

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2010.02.01 - GQ - When Piers Met Slash Empty Re: 2010.02.01 - GQ - When Piers Met Slash

Post by Soulmonster Sun Jul 18, 2021 7:55 am

Slash comments about not having killed anyone as part of his drug addiction, would be challenged by Axl in a tweet he posted a few weeks after this interview was released:

[Talking about the media supporting Slash]: Go on! Back ur boy! But when he says he never killed no one that ain't exactly true. Yeah, that's right, stone cold.
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