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2018.08.28/09.19 - Yahoo Music - 3-part interview with Slash

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2018.08.28/09.19 - Yahoo Music - 3-part interview with Slash Empty 2018.08.28/09.19 - Yahoo Music - 3-part interview with Slash

Post by Blackstar on Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:16 pm

Living the dream: How David Bowie, Sylvester, and Neil Young shaped Slash's rock 'n' roll childhood

Lyndsey Parker
Yahoo Music
August 28, 2018

It seems that Slash — the famously top-hatted, aviator-shaded Guns N’ Roses guitar god, who’s about to about to release Living the Dream, his third album with his other band, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators — was almost literally born to be a rock star. As the son of artist Anthony Hudson, who created album covers for Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, and costumer Ola Hudson, who worked with (and briefly dated) David Bowie, he grew up surrounded by rock ’n’ roll role models, the coolest of the cool. But interestingly, he didn’t pursue music himself until he was a teenager … and the guitar wasn’t even his first instrument of choice.

“It’s funny, because I grew up in that world,” the rock legend, whose real name is Saul Hudson, tells Yahoo Entertainment. “I grew up in that very bohemian, artistic environment — tons and tons and tons of music. I never aspired to be a musician, but I loved listening to records. I loved going with my parents to the Troubadour and the Forum and this and that. So, I loved music, and I was fascinated — like, if you go to a gig and you see them putting up the gear, I was completely mesmerized — but I didn’t think about an instrument until I just sort of accidentally picked up the guitar, when I was just about 15. It was right before my 15th birthday. And then, that just changed everything. So I guess I was groomed for it, but I just didn’t know.”

Slash recalls Bowie coming over to his home when Ola and Bowie were a “little item for a while,” when his mother (who died in 2009) was designing outfits for Bowie’s Thin White Duke era. “She did some of his coolest stuff, I have to say — that whole thing with the suits and everything. He definitely looked good,” Slash chuckles. A-list rockers like Bowie understandably made a lasting impression on little Slash.

“David was very cool,” he says. “I was in the presence of growing up with a lot of those musicians and artists, who were really, really f***ing cool. Whereas a lot of people try to be cool these days, but these different folks were really, really together: really intelligent, but just very much had their own language and style and everything, and it was very counterculture. … They were very aware of themselves, and very aware of their music and what they were trying to convey, and they just were, like, very left field, but together. … All very different personalities … it was a really exciting time, because it was so inspired and creative.”

The “Sweet Child o’ Mine” axeman met Stevie Wonder, Minnie Riperton, Neil Young, Ringo Starr, and Keith Moon as a child, but he seems to have the fondest memories of one dynamite disco encounter. “There was a guy — I mean, I just have to mention him because he was so awesome — he was this very extroverted performer named Sylvester, back in the day. He gave me my first pet rat, and he was awesome,” Slash, a noted animal lover and activist, recalls with a grin.

However, it was Slash’s one-time GNR bandmate, drummer Steven Adler, and an astute, Eric Clapton-loving schoolteacher who encouraged Slash to take up the guitar. “I went over to [Steven’s] place one afternoon, and he took one of those really cheap department store electric guitars and an amp, and an equally cheap stereo, and put KISS Alive II on, and just cranked everything up and just banged on it,” Slash remembers. “I mean, at that point we were doing a lot of air guitar too, so we were sort of discovering your own music at that age. And I thought, ‘We’ll put a band together!’ That naïve dreamy thing: ‘We’ll start a band!’”

Slash initially thought he’d play bass, but a visit to a nearby music school changed his destiny forever. “I went over there without an instrument, and not knowing what the f*** I was doing, and went in and talked to the teacher, this guy Robert Walling, who I’ve talked to a couple times over the years. So, he took me in the room and we were talking, and he was playing guitar the whole time, and he was playing Clapton licks. And I said, ‘Well, that’s what I want to do.’ And he goes, ‘That’s not bass, that’s lead guitar.’ And that started. That’s where it went.”

Slash went on to be as cool as the rock stars he met as a child, becoming one of the greatest rock guitarists in history and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. His recent “Not in This Lifetime” tour with the reunited Guns N’ Roses is now the fourth-highest-grossing concert tour of all time, and his new song with the Conspirators, “Driving Rain,” is his most successful single released under his name. Surely his mother would be proud.

Slash talks '80s versus #MeToo era: Some GNR songs were ‘sort of sexist,’ but never ‘malicious’

Lyndsey Parker
Yahoo Music
September 10, 2018

When bad boys Guns N’ Roses first exploded onto the scene in the late ’80s, the lyrics of their politically incorrect songs, like “It’s So Easy” and “Used to Love Her” — or of their peers, like Mötley Crüe’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” and Poison’s “I Want Action” — barely raised an eyebrow. In today’s #MeToo era, you’d think it’d be a different case. However, the public appetite, no pun intended, for GNR is still as massive as ever. The band’s “Not in This Lifetime” reunion trek is now ranked as the fourth-most-successful concert tour of all time, and the GNR even just released a Appetite for Destruction boxed set with a $999 price tag.

When asked about whether GNR’s catalog has aged well in the current political climate, the band’s guitarist, Slash, actually seems a little surprised that it would even be an issue.

“I’ve never thought of that. It’s never crossed my mind,” he says contemplatively. “I mean, I think when the #MeToo thing really blew up, the thought crossed my mind of a bunch of musicians, not particular ones, but just musicians [who might be implicated]. But for the most part, as far as all the ones I know, it wasn’t like that. We didn’t have that particular [predatory] relationship with girls. It was a lot more the other way around, in some cases! Anyway, so some of the songs and all that were sort of sexist in their own way, but not to be taken that seriously. I don’t think they were malicious or anything.”

The flip side of the current climate, unfortunately, is that rock ’n’ roll has become too PC, too safe. The appeal of Guns N’ Roses back in the day, after all, was that they seemed so dangerous — that “You don’t even want to f*** with us” attitude, as Slash puts it. Do any rock acts exude that thrilling sense of menace today?

“That’s a great question,” muses Slash, whose 16-year-old son, London Hudson, actually drums for a rock band called Classless Act. “That sort of spirit, it’s still around. It’s still inherent in metal bands. It’s still inherent in young bands who have something that they want to express that maybe they’re not having the easiest time dealing with. But that attitude really is not something fabricated, and so right now at this particular point in time, a lot of bands or a lot of artists are doing a lot of different things — and not much of it is really rock n’ roll. There’s nothing to rebel against. … I think trying to figure out how to have the attitude in your music, and songs, and so forth, is probably difficult for a lot of young bands because now it’s about politics again. So we’ll see what that turns into.”

The metal ’80s were obvious a very specific point in time, in ways both good and bad. And Slash admits that “some of the bubblegum nature of the music at that time was a little bit like, whatever — but it was also what fueled Guns N’ Roses to be the antithesis of that.” Thirty years later, Slash is still Living the Dream, according to the title of his third album with his non-Guns band, Slash, featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. And with songs that tackle topics like modern technology (“Lost Inside the Girl” is about an Instagram stalker; “Call of the Wild” is about social media oversaturation), codependent relationships (“Driving Rain”), and unrequited love (“Read Between the Lines,” “Sugar Cane,” “Slow Grind”), the album mixes GNR’s classic rock riffage with mature themes.

But Slash still harbors some nostalgia for those wild days on Hollywood’s infamous Sunset Strip (he plays two nights at the world-famous Whisky a Go Go this week). “My fondest memories of the ’80s were the ‘flier wars,’ to romantically look back on how exciting all that s*** was,” the 53-year-old rock legend says with a grin, looking back at the time when Mötley, Poison, and GNR ruled the Hollywood scene. “It’s a thing for me, because the scene of the ’80s, what it was all about, was a little plastic to me, but people were very, very passionate. … The energy that was around was palpable, and you couldn’t ignore it. And so when it came time to promoting your own band, the flier wars, and getting into the Rainbow [bar], and the girls, and all the craziness, I did dig all that aspect of it.”


Slash talks addiction, recovery: 'I was fortunate. I didn't die, and I didn't go to prison'

Lyndsey Parker
Editor-in-Chief, Music
September 19, 2018

“Driving Rain,” the new single by Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash and his other band, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, tells the tale of a co-dependent relationship from the point of view of an addict’s significant other. While he tells Yahoo Entertainment that the song is inspired by personal experiences (“It’s something that hits a little close to home — not presently, but in my past, and I guess in Myles’s past”), Slash has obviously been on the other side of that equation.

Although Slash has been sober for 12 years, he and his GNR bandmates were well known for their drug exploits and, well, their appetite for self-destruction. At first, Slash says, it was all about partying and having fun, but eventually he fulfilled the prophecy of GNR’s cautionary tale, “Mr. Brownstone”: The small amount of drugs he did at first wouldn’t do it, so the little got more and more.

“I just really got to a point where I wasn’t enjoying it anymore,” he says of his decision to finally get clean in 2006. “I mean, God knows I probably have my fair share of psychological misadventures, but I got into booze and drugs mostly just to kill time. I mean, it starts out for fun, and then you use it in between shows, after a show, before the next show, that kind of thing. And especially I’d really fall in hard when the tour was over and we were off the road — I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. So that’s just something that before you know it, you’ve got a real physical, and as it happens, psychological addiction going on. And you just keep managing it, and managing it, and it takes its toll eventually. It catches up with you.”

Six years before Slash kicked drugs and alcohol, he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a form of congestive heart failure caused by his chronic substance abuse; at first he was given between six days and six weeks to live, but he recovered with the help of physical therapy and a defibrillator. His GNR bandmates had their own serious, addiction-related health issues: Drummer Steven Adler reportedly suffered 28 overdoses, along with two heart attacks and a stroke; guitarist Izzy Stradlin was in a coma for 96-hours; and bassist Duff McKagan nearly died from acute alcohol-induced pancreatitis.
And of course, Slash has seen many of his peers — including Scott Weiland, who fronted Slash and McKagan’s other side band, Velvet Revolver, from 2002 to 2008, and who died of an overdose in 2015 — suffer even worse consequence of their own addictions. He’s clearly  grateful that he didn’t meet a similar fate.

“I was fortunate. I didn’t die, and I didn’t go to prison,” he says. “Because that’s usually what happens with anybody who doesn’t come to terms with it at some point. So, I just finally really like, ‘I can’t do it anymore. It’s just I’m not getting anything out of it.’” Slash confesses he went on one last binge before getting sober for good — although he stresses, “I don’t think there’s ever a thing called ‘sober for good.’ You’re always practicing sobriety for as long as you possibly can.”

Slash recalls his behavior right up until he sought professional help. “I came to that decision when I had an ample supply of [drugs] sitting in front of me, and I had a date that I was going to put myself into rehab,” he reveals. “I just did what [drugs] I did until that date came, and checked into rehab. And haven’t done it since. And I haven’t really had the desire to do it. I haven’t been struggling with craving it, which is great.”

Slash credits his love for music and for his children for saving him. Of the latter, he says, “I had two kids, and I didn’t want their earliest memories of me to be this burned-out drug addict.” Of the former, he explains, “[Music] really was my driver, and I think it was really wanting to be able to put all my effort and time [in that instead]. Because you end up spending a lot of time copping, and getting loaded, and getting into a nice place where you can sort of write. And I think I just got sick and tired of f***ing around with all that stuff. I just wanted to get to music and get back to work.”

And Slash has done just that, not only with Guns N’ Roses’ hugely successful “Not in This Lifetime” reunion tour, but with his aptly titled new album with Kennedy and the Conspirators, Living the Dream. When he’s onstage with either band, it’s hard to believe he put his body through so much abuse, considering that he seems positively ageless, nearly unchanged since 1987. Slash claims he doesn’t adhere to any special health regimen, and just says, “I think I was really fortunate. I got out of the sort of half a gallon of vodka a day, and all the smack, just at a time [at age 41] where I was about to come out the other side in not such a good way. I try to be healthy. That’s the best I can do.”

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2018.08.28/09.19 - Yahoo Music - 3-part interview with Slash Empty Re: 2018.08.28/09.19 - Yahoo Music - 3-part interview with Slash

Post by Blackstar on Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:16 am

I added the other two parts of this interview (I had posted only the second part about 80s versus Metoo era) and updated the title of the thread. Maybe there are more parts to follow.

I also added the videos (there was a problem with the embed code because of the autolink script bug).

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