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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.


1989.04.01 - New Musical Express - Slash 'N' Burn (Slash)

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Post by Soulmonster Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:53 pm

1989.04.01 - New Musical Express - Slash 'N' Burn (Slash) 1hAYljPHQ6K0o79iuT8e+20181108_195207


Foul-mouthed hoodlums who live the life Led Zeppelin lionised or acute businessmen with a head for success and a love of leather? Whatever you think of GUNS N' ROSES nobody can deny that in these post-thrash times no rock band has become so successful so quickly. Rocketing out of the ashes of two of LA's (s)turdier glam outfits, LA GUNS and HOLLYWOOD ROSES, four years ago, the band have shot out two LP's that ricocheted off the metal market and into mainstream America. Their debut album, 'Appetite For Destruction', has taken up residency in the US Top 5 for over 80 weeks, and the second, 'GN'R Lies', has already topped two million sales in 14 weeks.

Currently working in their Hollywood hometown on a new LP that's scheduled for summer release, and preparing for an autumn European tour, SACHA REINS met Bolan-curled guitarist SLASH to discover the truth about The Gunners, sex, death and the meaning of alcohol. Gun shot in the sun: TIM JARVIS.

I meet Guns N' Roses' lead guitarist Slash in an LA bar. He arrives an hour late but seems to be genuinely sorry. He explains it is because he has no watch and no car. I like him straight away. Lively, intelligent. friendly, he doesn't go in for stupid provocation. He has his own way of life, all he wants is people to respect him, just as he tolerates anyone else.

I have a beer and he has a triple vodka. He slugs down four in an hour. I'd have been under the table, but he remains fresh as a daisy. So I can testify: I don't think The Gunners are the drug fiends you've read about in the American press. they're not dumb enough for that. But boy can they drink.

First let's talk about your bad boy image.

"It's just stuck to our tail. We don't go out of our way to get it. Let me tell you, we don't provoke people for the pleasure of it. Like the punk bands did. I think what really annoys people most is that we do what we want.

"We don't try and create an image to attract a certain public. In fact, people have stuck this tag on us, 'decadence and provocation'. I've heard absolutely crazy stones going round about us-orgies in the dressing room, that kind of thing.

"That makes me laugh. because three-quarters of them are pure fiction. It also reassures me because if they say it, there's got to be some truth in it!

"But having said that The Stones are a hundred thousand times worse than us. And if you really want to hear some wild stories, you should find out about Julio Iglesias. That guy screws more chicks and creates more havoc in one day than all of us do in a month."

People say your record label pushed that image because it sells records.

"That doesn't hold up because for a year we were banned from the radio and MTV just because of that image and the words of our songs. That was hardly what the record company were after. Sometimes it really goes too far and I don't like that at all. They've also said several times that Axl OD'd. There were stories about rape going round."

You're also accused of being sexist and gay-haters. Not to mention your LP sleeve.

"Lay off, man. There was a picture of a young woman lying on the ground obviously about to get raped by a robot. And just above, there's a hand which is about to crunch the robot up. That doesn't mean anything special. We liked the picture, that's all. But everyone came down on us and accused us of glorifying rape.

"We're an easy target for people who like to see the good guys on one side and the bad guys on the other. We look so much like the image they like to have of bad guys. We're not sexist, but that's no reason for the groupies who hang around backstage to start wanting respect. We treat them like shit because that's what they are."

That's sexism.

"No, it's not. We're talking about groupies. not women in general. Anyway, one day one of those tramps is gonna catch AIDS from screwing some faggot and end up giving it to every group in town. That'll be the end of the rock scene in LA."

Do you see yourself as representing the LA rock scene?

"You've got more chance of finding a 20 dollar bill in the street in Harlem than you have of meeting a good musician in LA. Most of the groups here make me crack up. You know the kind of thing: OK, I'll buy the clothes and then you can show me where to put my fingers on the fretboard. All they want is to get themselves a nice movie soundtrack, make the maximum money and become rock stars. don't even have a car, I don't have a limo either, so it'd be nice if you could drop me off home afterwards. But we've been Number One and we've sold God knows how many albums. They say that you find musicians on every street corner in LA. They're not musicians, they're guys who'd like to be musicians.

"I'm not saying were the world's best rock band but when we play we're to'.ally sincere. Which you don't often find in a town where everyone wants to act a part, to be what he isn't."

The town seems to have an important influence on your lyrics.

"The city's a complete joke, a really bad joke. There are these little gilded oases, guarded day and night by evil-tempered cops. A guy comes in from outside, he thinks he's landed in f—ing paradise.

"What he doesn't know, and what he probably doesn't want to know, is that as soon as you step out of that paradise, you find yourself in an ugly no-man's land where gangs shoot people for fun and where people are dying of hunger in the streets. And that's where we live, pal. So it's normal you're gonna hear about that in our songs."

Don't you worry money's going to change you, make you less angry, dull your inspiration?

"I don't think money's gonna change our way of seeing things, or our way of life either. I don't write songs because I'm poor. What really makes us proud of our commercial success is that we've managed to completely overturn an attitude of rejection.

"In the beginning, people talked about us simply because of our attitude. You can screw the most groupies and be the world's biggest hellraiser, and maybe the kids will buy the newspapers just to follow the latest thrilling episode of The Gunners' Amazing Adventures, but that's not what's gonna make them buy an album.

"We've sold six million LPs because it's a good album. It's a f—ing good album, it'd be f—ing false modesty if I pretend it wasn't.

"To begin with, when we had this album out, which we knew was good but nobody was buying, which everyone rejected out of hand, we thought we were gonna be a cult group with a very small audience, but an audience that was willing to die for us. The kids love us because they see us as kinda rock 'n' roll Robin Hoods."

What are the group's influences?

"I don't like to talk too much about groups or musicians that influenced us. There are some obvious influences: Zeppelin, The Stones, Aerosmith. Come round to my place, I'll show you my cassettes, there are several hundred and I've got everything. Absolutely everything. From Robert Johnson to Frank Sinatra to George Michael.

"I don't know if Sinatra influenced The Gunners but from the moment you hear what he's doing and it gives you pleasure, then his work's bound to influence you, even if you can't hear it."

I hear you have a lot of fights in the band?

"I've been playing with Steve for six years, Axl and fizzy were in the same bands for 13 years. We know each other really well, so we can afford to have really violent arguments occasionally. I can have a really bad fight with Steve, we both know that its gonna be forgotten the next day."

Tell me honestly, do you get a kick out of causing chaos?

"We don't go out of our way to look for trouble, but the slightest incident takes on unbelievable proportions. We cause some chaos, because we think that's what rock 'n' roll's about. Most groups are happy to do as they're told in order to succeed and be commercial, even give up their identity.

"We never wanted to do that. That's why we're the new Public Enemy Number One and every sheriff and cop in the country wants just one thing: to nail one of Guns N' Roses."

You say you don't touch hard drugs. But your song 'Brownstone' sounds like an ode to heroin?

"'Brownstone' isn't for or against smack. It's a song about drugs. Talking about it doesn't mean that we're for it. We live in a totally rotten world where kids are dying of overdoses every day. Why hide your face and go on singing about girls and sun and the beach as if that's all there was?

"We're a mirror of society. If you don't like what you see in it, too bad, but we're just reflecting. Besides, if you'd listened to the words, you'd understand it, I don't mean you personally, but again, I don't wanna be paranoid, but the media's always getting things out of proportion, and playing up the sensational, scandalous side.

What's the biggest mistake that you've made during the group's existence?

"We don't think that we've made any serious f--ups in the course of our career. There are things that we regret but we never talk about. Like playing with INXS, for instance. Why? Because they're assholes. They wouldn't let us turn up the sound, they wouldn't allow us a sound-check, and no lighting show.

"On the other hand, touring with Aerosmith was really a pleasure. They helped us out as much as they could. They knew that we were going completely over the top for the first half of the show, and that they'd have to justify themselves later in the night. The challenge didn't bother them — not at all."

Since you have a degree of power at this stage in your career, do you want to use this to pass on any kind of message?

"We aren't here to deliver messages. Rock groups have an immense power but I don't think that we should be around to deliver messages. The essence of rock 'n' roll is to give everyone a good time, not deliver messages. We don't want to be taken as a bunch of role models, for good or bad. We aren't here to talk a lot of bullshit.

"I have no time for the kind of bullshit that I hear constantly from Bruce Springsteen. Sting? The guy doesn't bother me. Peter Gabriel is the least of them that is like an asshole, and he seems especially sincere. U2 are too serious. And that is so meaningless for a rock band.

"One day you're on top, the next you're gone. And everyone forgets you. James Dean's stayed an authentic hero without having ever done anything to become one. U2 and all the others are so serious, they try so hard to make an impact, to build a future for themselves.

"I live from day to day. I don't make a special effort to try and stay alive next week. The Gunners move in the fast lane. We could all die tomorrow, we know it and the kids know it. That's why right now is so good. The only serious problem today isn't violence, or drugs, but AIDS. It's there, it can strike anywhere and anyone."

What do you do about it? Do you take precautions?

"Yeah, when I screw a girl I don't know, I keep my fingers crossed. What else?"
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