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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.


2002.MM.DD - Creative Worx Motion Media - Slash: The Yardbirds Project interview

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2002.MM.DD - Creative Worx Motion Media - Slash: The Yardbirds Project interview Empty 2002.MM.DD - Creative Worx Motion Media - Slash: The Yardbirds Project interview

Post by Blackstar Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:09 am


Interviewer (Dave Weiderman): ... hold your guitar?

Slash: Huh? Oh, you want me to hold my guitar? Okay. Hey, Adam, can I borrow that? Is that why you’re holding it? Thanks.

Interviewer: Is that a Murphy?

Slash: This one?

Interviewer: Is that real?

Slash: No, no. It’s not a real one. It’s made by the same guy that made that other one that I have, that I used on the Appetite record with the zebra pickups, do you remember that?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Slash: And I got this one from Alan Niven. I traded him some guitars and he’s like, “I got another one of those.” I think the guy’s name is Chris?

Interviewer: Right.

Slash: He died? Is that the same guy?

Interviewer: It’s the same with the one with the zebra. It’s the one we had at (?)

Slash: No, it looks like that one, but that’s not the one.

Interviewer: Okay.

Slash: No, that one is very coveted. It’s the only one like it. But this one is just like it, I used this one on the record, on the Yardbirds thing.

Interviewer: I love the... Is that a (?)?

Slash: The pickguard? It’s where the pickguard was.

Interviewer: It’s got gorgeous (?)

Slash: Yeah. It sounds good, too. But it’s made by the same guy, and all these years later I couldn’t get Gibson to match it sound-wise, and Alan all of a sudden had this thing laying around all these years.

Interviewer: What’s the pickups?

Slash: Just same, (?).

Interviewer: Have you tried those (?)

Slash: I haven’t tried any new pickups since twenty years ago (laughs).

Interviewer: If you’re happy...

Slash: I hate fucking around with stuff, you know?

Interviewer: They make the 59... They’re almost like (?)  So what we’re gonna talk about here is basically, you know, your involvement in the album.

Slash: Okay.

Interviewer: And we’re gonna ask you a few questions about your knowledge of Yardbirds – if you don’t have any...

Slash: I have, yeah.

Interviewer: We’re gonna talk about, you know, the great guitarists from that band, what it feels like for you to be a part of that Yardbirds legacy, so to speak (?). So, I guess the first thing we wanna talk about – or you to talk about – is the first time you ever heard about the Yardbirds. How old were you, what were you...  

Slash: I remember distinctly that time when I was first turned on to the Yardbirds, I was probably about two or three, when I was still living in England - you know, I was born there - and my dad is a full British rocker. So the Yardbirds – I mean, there was a whole explosion going on. This is 1967, ’68, ’69, and all that music that was going on around the house was all for the most part English rock ‘n’ roll. It was like, you know – actually sort of before Zeppelin it was the Moody Blues, Eric Clapton, the Stones of course, and the Beatles, and the Yardbirds. And the Yardbirds was probably one of my dad’s favorite, because it was the most hardcore at the time. So that’s where the name The Yardirds came – you know, I was hip to that. I remember they had that great logo. As far as following the band, it was such a household thing for me that I never really paid that much attention as to who was who and which guitar players are which until way later, when I started playing guitar. And then that was the whole Clapton, Beck, Jimmy Page and all that kind of stuff, and that’s when you’re... When you first start playing, you’re really hungry for background on some of these great guitar players, and you find out all the bands they’ve been in – it’s a real exciting period. So that was, sort of in a nutshell, how the Yardbirds sort of had two big introductions in my life, you know?

Interviewer: At the age of two...

Slash: Two, yeah (chuckles).

Interviewer: And then when you got into musicology, one on one. That’s what’s you’re going for, right?

Slash: Yeah, exactly.

Interviewer: You have to go back to the greats...

Slash: Well, you go back and find all the stuff that you’re familiar with, and it turns out to be a major influence on your guitar playing when you start picking up the guitar and making a life out of that - you know, making a vocation out of it. All of a sudden, the stuff that you’ve been listening to, ever since as long as you can remember, is, like, the major support system for your technique, and for your sound, and this and that. It’s pretty cool.

Interviewer: You met Chris and Jim at the recording session for the first time.

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: Tell us about that experience.

Slash: It was just a real casual kind of thing. I think I was a little bit more intimidated having to go in and put a guitar on something that really – a track that didn’t really need me to come in and do it, you know? This is a lot to live up to, and so I was very intimidated. But they were very cordial and polite, and let me do my thing, and I ended up having a really good time. It was a pretty quick session. But I was a little nervous going in.

Interviewer: Did you go back to the old Yardbirds records?

Slash: Yeah, yeah. You know, they gave me “Over Under Sideways Down”, which is perfect for me, but at the same time I had to actually learn that lick which I’d never played before. There’s certain licks that you hear and you recognize them for being great, and you don’t really go near them because it’s not necessary (laughs); it’s been done, it sounds good, there’s no reason to emulate it. But I found myself all these years later having to go back and figure that lick out.

Interviewer: When I was coming (?), I was always like (?). We’d pick up the needle, we’d set it back and forth just so we could (?)

Slash: Yeah. Well, in this particular day and age, it was on CD and I didn’t have the luxury of being able to go back and forth except for, like, going back to the beginning of the song and hearing it, and then just picking it up by ear, you know?

Interviewer: (?)

Slash: I think it sounds pretty good, yeah. I’m happy.

Interviewer: You’ve heard the record. Other than your track, which is an amazing track, what are your favorite tracks?

Slash: Well, actually I don’t know all... Actually, they picked some pretty obscure Yardbirds stuff. There was a couple of tracks that I wasn’t real familiar with. The Jeff Beck track I’m not familiar with, but it sounds great.

Interviewer: That was a brand new track.

Slash: Oh. Well, there you go (laughs). And then there’s a couple of other ones, but I don’t remember the names of the songs. I’ve only listened to it – I’ve only got it, like, a week and a half ago, so I’ve only heard it a few times. But there’s just some cool moments all throughout.

Interviewer: Now you’re a member of the flock, so to speak.

Slash: Yeah, it’s an honor to be sort of included in – you know, as one of the guitar players that definitely had the Yardbirds influence, and actually has enough of the wherewithal to be asked to come in and be included in this whole guitar arsenal kind of thing, cuz there’s some great players on there. So it’s very cool.

Interviewer: It started up with Top Topham, who was the first guitar player in the band.

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: And then it went into Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page, and then Eric Clapton came afterwards.

Slash: Right.

Interviewer: Gypie Mayo is the new guitar player, new guitarist in the band, and he’s got big shoes to fill. How do you feel about his playing?

Slash: Well, from what I could tell on the record, I mean actually on the song that I did, when I went in I just laid my parts and he came in and put his on afterwards, and the marriage of the two is great. So he’s definitely got the roots together, you know. I don’t know how old – I don’t know anything about this guy, but he’s definitely got a recognizable sound and he’s got an approach that fits perfectly with it, and so if you didn’t know much about the band, you’d think he’d been in the band for a long time.

Interviewer: He’s got that English legacy also. He was with a band called Dr. Feelgood.

Slash: Yeah.

Interviewer: And the harmonica player in the band was also with Dr. Feelgood.

Someone: Yeah. Right.

Interviewer: These two guys were meant to play together.

Slash: Oh, I see. That makes a lot of sense in the way it sounds, yeah.

Interviewer: The new singer, John Idan, is a Detroit guy.

Slash: Really?

Interviewer: Yeah. He’s a Detroit guy, he was brought in... He sounds a lot like Keith Relf, the original singer. These guys are in their early sixties, late fifties, and they are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they see a future for their music. It’s got to be inspiring to see guys who had a band, lost their band, and started over, moved forward.

Slash: Well, I mean, what these guys do is timeless, and as long as they recognize it enough to keep going, it’s real inspiring for guys like me, because I’m sort of in that crossroads, you know, where I’m like, “I’m gonna be doing this till... God knows when.” But, I mean, I remember thinking 30 was really old when I was 19, and so now that I’m at that mid-thirties thing, I’m going, “So, going on into my forties,” and it’s great to see guys are still doing it - you know, the Stones included and Clapton as well. There’s a lot of guys that are still out there and putting records out. So, the fact that the Yardbirds did this first one, you know, as sort of a new old band, is really great, because it just gives you some hope as to what it is that you’re gonna be doing 15 to 20 years from now.

Interviewer: You get bands like the White Stripes and the Strokes, and they’re all looking at the Yardbirds as their influence for a new garage band sound that’s out today. We always go back to our elders for inspiration. What were some of your inspirations as a guitarist?

Slash: Well, the Yardbirds is one of them, the Stones are definitely one of them. At one point I got into a lot of blues guitar players, so I was always a big BB King and Muddy Waters fan, Charlie Christian and stuff like that. And then, of course, there was guys that were influenced by the Yardbirds as well, like Aerosmith; I think that was one the bands that picked up on the Yardbirds pretty well. Jeff Beck, of course, and all of those different bands that he’s had. I mean, there’s a lot of guitar players, I could go on and on, and on. There’s certain ones, Brian May is a great one, and I like Angus Young. There’s so many I could – if I could think of it, if I had a list in front of me, I could probably name 90% of the people on the list of all the rock guitar players that have come out since I started - or before I started.

Interviewer: I asked Les Paul the same question, and he said “Django Reinhardt.”

Slash: Yeah, yeah. Well, Django is awesome. I mean, that’s definitely a given. And then, in that instance, Les Paul is a huge influence on me, and the fact that I’ve gotten a chance to play with him a few times, it’s been very humbling, you know? (laughs).

Interviewer: Absolutely.

Slash: But Les Paul, and Chet Atkins, and even Roy Clark...

Interviewer: He’s an amazing guitar player.

Slash: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: There’s a lot of kids now that you influence, just like you were influenced by others.

Slash: Right.

Interviewer: How do you feel when someone comes up to you and says, “You’re my inspiration as a guitarist”?

Slash: It’s very surreal when somebody comes up and says that. It happens every so often and you’ve got a myriad of emotional reactions to it. You can’t really pinpoint, but there’s a lot going on. When a kid walks up to you and he goes, “I started playing guitar because of this song” or “that song” or whatever, you’re like, “Wow!” – you know? And you can’t take it with a grain of salt, because it’s such a big deal. You don’t know how to react, so you just say, “Thank you very much” and try not to flip out over it, you know? (laughs) But it has a huge effect on you for the moment. It’s a big deal, because I know how I am about guitar players that I’ve met, that I’ve grew up listening to, and how over-the-top you get when you get to meet one of them. You don’t even know where to begin to ask questions, if you ask any at all, so you get sort of frozen in that time. So if somebody comes up to me, I sort of know what they’re feeling, and that’s probably one of the biggest compliments as a musician you can get.

Interviewer: Your influences are always evident in you playing. Where does your sound come from?

Slash: You know what? I think, as soon as I got an electric guitar and plugged it in, whatever it is that I’m doing now started pretty much the same way back then. I knew what I wanted it to sound like and I knew, through trial and error, what to use and what not to use to get that, and I’ve been trying to – I don’t know, not necessarily perfect it, but I just try and keep that base for everything that I do, and, if I do anything above and beyond that, it starts from that base. That’s been like that ever since I was 16, 15-16 years old. I guess that’s a mixture of all the stuff. I have a real kind of defined sense of what I like and what I don’t like, and so it makes it easy for me to sort of pick my own sound, because it’s just what I want to hear. So I haven’t really had a lot of experimenting going on. There was a period there with amps, you know, trying to find the amp, trying to find the right guitar, but I knew – when I’d hear it, I knew exactly when I thought it was right, it would be instantaneous. I probably didn’t have the experience to say that back then, but now, looking back on it, I can tell how I got from that point to this point.

Interviewer: Where do you see yourself in five years as a guitarist?

Slash: Hopefully just touring. As a player, I’m in that process of discovering that I’ve learned a lot over the years, and it’s becoming a little bit easier to express myself on the guitar and know what I’m doing, as to when I used to do it and not know how the hell I got this sound or that sound and just went with it. Now it’s sort of becoming a little bit more second nature, and so I figure the next five years I’m just gonna be out playing and doing what it is that I’ve always been doing, just five years later (laughs).

Interviewer: When the Yardirds wanted to put this record out, they wanted to be true to their sound and the band. And the focus was, “We’ve got to find the producers who’s gonna catch the rawness of our sound, of our garage band sound, and we want it to stay true to the Yardbirds legacy.” So when you found yourself playing and sitting in the (?) or something like that, did you find yourself changing the way you play to fit the (?) of the Yardbirds?

Slash: No. Ironically enough, doing the Yardbirds’ track I just came in with my sort of stock setup without even – you know, actually without even being respectful enough to ask if that would be appropriate (laughs). But I think I figured that’s why I got the phone call; sort of what it is that I do sort of fit right in. So I just took my standard kind of set up, my regular guitar, my regular amp and just went in, and it just fit, you know? And I think that’s probably because of all the years of listening to the Yardbirds. That’s where a big portion of my sound came from, and so they just slapped that on there. It was great.  

Interviewer: It was really the perfect song for you.

Slash: Yeah, it was. It was. Out of all the songs that are on the record, I think there’s only, maybe, one or two others, which I can’t remember the names of, that I would have wanted to do, but none of them as much as I would have wanted to have done that song.

Interviewer: Great riff, great riffer...

Slash: Yeah, right? Thanks (chuckles).

Interviewer: I was amazed by Train Kept-A-Rolling, because we were so used to the Yardbirds...

Slash: The Aerosmith version.

Interviewer: ... the Yardirds version of it, and we got Satriani coming in...

Slash: Sounds killer, too.

Interviewer: ...and he shows up with a Telecaster.

Slash: Right.

Interviewer: And I was drawn to the sound, because it’s not really a Satriani sound.

Slash: Right.

Interviewer: He more or less just kind of tipped his hat to the genre, came with a Telecaster and just worked it up as the song wasn’t original.

Slash: Yeah. Well, for Joe it’s sort of a departure from his normal kind of a thing. I mean, he’s a pretty flexible all-around kind of guitar player, he does a lot of different stuff. But his signature sound isn’t really what you’d call a Yardbirds thing. But he’s so capable of doing it that all he has to do is just tweak a couple of things and he fits right in. On that note, when I came in to do it, I sort of knew that the kind of tone that I normally have for that particular song was gonna be great; whereas if I do sessions like just recently doing the Ray Charles stuff, then I don’t bring in a Les Paul and a Marshall (chuckles). You just know better, it’s not gonna work. So I’ve tried to learn how to adapt when I get into professional situations where I’m playing with people that have a sound that’s far removed from the one that I normally use; and I think that’s sort of what Joe is doing with the Yardbirds.

Interviewer: I’ve got to tell you, we were honored to have you. And I’m so proud of your track and so proud of what you put on the record that I’ve got to thank you for the guys in the band, and I’m sure they would thank you personally.

Slash: Oh, thank you very much.

Interviewer: And Texas is going to be a lot of fun.

Slash: I know, the jam is gonna be great.

Interviewer: A live performance will be...

Slash: Yeah, yeah. So we’ll kick it up a notch, as Emeril would say (laughs).

Interviewer: So that’s it.

Slash: Alright, cool, man.

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