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1991.10.DD - Raw Magazine - Crazy, Crazy Nights! (Slash)

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1991.10.DD - Raw Magazine - Crazy, Crazy Nights! (Slash)  Empty 1991.10.DD - Raw Magazine - Crazy, Crazy Nights! (Slash)

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:31 pm

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1991.10.DD - Raw Magazine - Crazy, Crazy Nights! (Slash)  50OoqmK8Tz2TAyDydfgx+20181203_142608


Crazy, Crazy Nights!

The GUNS N' ROSES world tour is over, the albums are finally out but still the stories keep coming. At their Wembley show at the end of August, the band's few-if-any interviews stance was broken when PHIL ALEXANDER managed to speak to SLASH for RAW Power. And, the shock of the tour occured when Phil asked the corkscrew-hair guitar guru about the music instead of the hype. This is what was said...

THERE'S AN air of uncertainty about the place. Nothing frenetic but something which resembles gentle chaos. The word is that Axl has flipped out, At some unGodly hour he called his publicist and decided that all the press Guns n' Roses were gonna do in the UK was just gonna have to be undone. Consequently there's a horde of TV crews and assorted press people standing around looking a little dismayed at the fact that despite all the assurances, there are no members of Guns n' Roses in the building.

The promise of an interview with Slash and Axl looks remote and it also looks as though my has refused to do anything. Chaos it is.

Suddenly there's a burst of activity. A door opens and a familiar figure sporting a patented top hat and a Zeppelin T-shirt, clasping something the colour of Coca-Cola but distinctly stronger walks in. The relief Is almost audible as Slash nonchalantly saunters into his first interview. It's short, lasting some 15 minutes following the rescheduling of all the band's interviews,


AFTER A brief andd almost inaudible introduction the guitarist sits down and looks a little ill at ease. The first thing that strikes you meeting him is the fact that he seems almost painfully shy. There is no star trip involved. Instead there's a gentleness in him which verges on frailty. His hair and his hat hide his eyes and he talks in softly spoken tones rather than in hyperbolic diatribes favoured by yer average American muso.

In earnest his timidity comes as a bit of a shock in the wake of the tales of excess and outrage that have dogged Guns n' Roses for the last two years. And yet, somehow, it shouldn't. He is, after all, a mere mortal. In much the same way as Guns n' Roses are just a Rock ' Roll band. The world, however, seems to have other ideas on the subject, preferring to scrutinise the six-plece and their personal lives rather than concentrate on the music.

And yet, despite this incessant hounding, the music appears to have triumphed. 'Use Your Illusion I' and 'Use Your Illusion II' may have generic sleeves but the two and a half hours of music on offer is far from being that simple.

The ultimate musical triumph, however, is really the band's recently completed world tour, undertaken before anyone had a chance to hear the albums in order to allow the music to speak first to those genuinely willing to listen, rather than allowing the band's myth to continue its press-driven existence.

Consequently, it seems fitting that we cut the crap and get down to talking about the only thing in the Guns' camp that has remained a genuine mystery for so long: the Goddamn music!


FOR A minute the suggestion seems to puzzle Slash. A quick swig of the Coke-like sluff, however, and he's off.

"Oh my God! What a subject!" he grins, clearly relishing the prospect. "You know, the biggest thing is that we work so hard at playing and yet everybody spends so much time trying to pull out so much negative stuff about us and drugs and sex and bad relationships and the guys in the band and stuff, and it makes it hard for us just to concentrate on playing. Which is one of the reasons why it took us so long to get the record together because, after awhile, the hype just got to be overwhelming, We'd lock ourselves away in the studio and it was great to be in that environment and just spend all your time playing But even then it came and crept into the studio. It was really hard."

So how did It manage to creep into the studio like that?

"Everybody just started to know where we were and every time we'd come out to the studio there'd be people waiting outside. it was like, 'C'mon, give us a break, you know, It's Just a band. We're trying to make a record'. So, like, in-between sessions life on the street was hell, you know? We've adapted to it a little bit better than we had maybe a year ago when we started to get really big. Then it really screwed with us, but now it's better. We've finished the record, we got back on the road even before It was done just to do what Guns n' Roses is all about, and we've been having a great time. It's been hectic, there's been a lot of stuff going on that's out of hand and I love it. I'm surrounded by the element that I got into all this for."

In the time you were, not so much away as locked up in the studio, did you feel that at any point any of you lost touch with reality?

"Well, reality keeps coming up and kicking us in the ass!" he chuckles with another grin. "The thing about reality and us being on tour, is that the touring is more or less a reality. We've been like that ever since we started. The worst thing about reality is when you're off the road and you're trying to take a walk to a club, or you're out on the freeway, and then people recognise you and instantly screw your whole reality up because, all of a sudden, you're a Pop star again. And I don't necessarily like being a Pop star, although I appreciate that we're popular and people like our music, so you have to figure out how to get everything on the same ground so that you don't go crazy. And we've gotten pretty good at it so there's no complaints. It's just one of those things that we have to do to keep on doing what we're doing and also have lives, because when the tour ends then we're supposed to go home. And that was hard just going home and actually buying a house and doing that whole thing."


THERE SEEMS to have been a lot of frustration on your part as far as playing's concerned, specifically 'cos you've played on everybody-and-their-grandmothers' albums!

"Well, I wouldn't go as far as to say that!"

No, but it's pretty obvious that you wanted to get out and play.

"Yeah, it started at the Stones shows. That was the first time we'd played since the 'Appetite For Destruction' tour ended. The band had gotten so alienated and even as Individuals we'd completely separated. And, even though I was going through my little chemical problem at the time, the idea of doing the Stones' gigs was to get the band back together and get the ball rolling again. Because we were losing touch with not only ourselves but with what we were supposed to be doing and what Guns n' Roses was all about. So we went and we did the Stones' gigs and that's where it started. And then we tried to go to Chicago and get away from the LA scene, Just so that we could get together and rehearse. The next thing you know they printed in the paper where we were living. So there were hundreds of kids outside the apartment and there was just no concentrating there. Getting back on tour and doing club gigs really cemented it after doing the record and stuff. Then we went out and just started doing stadiums and stuff. We were amazed that the shows were sold out and we could headline without a record. That's a great way to break your band in. It was a lot like when we first started and we didn't have a record out and we were playing and opening up for Motley Crüe and all that and people had no idea who we were but we pulled it off because the band was good. And so we just did it again. We started without having the album and people can get familiar with the material on the album by hearing it at the show and then they can look for it on the record as opposed to the other way round. It's very ass-backwards!"


IN TERMS of the record, most people have enough problems putting out a single album with nine songs on it but you're putting out two double albums on the same day. That's like commercial suicide.

"That's not really true. Our last album had 12 songs and this one has got 13 or 14 per record so to us this is like two single albums. But we worked our asses off together. I don't think people realise how much work that was, especially when it comes out people are gonna go, 'Oh, that's cool'. But they won't know how much work went into it. It was like blood, sweat and tears and that's heavy. But the reason for doing it was because we had all this material that we somehow had not managed to either finish or it didn't meet the deadline on the last record, or songs that we went through with that whole period of being off the road and the struggles that were going on then. And then stuff that we developed in the studio because we were getting so into playing that we'd established a real creative vibe happening. And we wanted to release all of it. We told the record company, 'We're just doing it, if we have to pay for it ourselves we're releasing it'. The record company were supportive. Now we have no backlog. We can start from afresh for the next one."

I'm amazed you mentioned the next one so quickly when these two have just come out!

"Yeah, we were talking about getting right in the studio and doing another one. Just eight or nine, ten songs, you know? The reason for the double record thing, the reason they're separated was because, if we're gonna do all that material we had to come up with a way of putting it out where people didn't have to go out and spend like, you know... It would be like £75 over here, I think."

No it would be...

"Thirty? Well, it would be expensive, anyway, you know? And it's not fair, especially for our second record. I think it would be pretty pompous to force everybody to kind of buy it. So we separated them and you can buy one and if you like It you can buy the other. At least its not really pressing anybody to go out and spend a large amount of cash. And it's all been released so it's cool. I think we did a good job.


IN TERMS of the songwriting, on the first album all songs were written by Guns n' Roses. On this album the songwriting has been credited to individual members. Does that suggest that you're working in a different way?

"No, on this album it's still all written and produced by Guns if Roses - actually it's produced by Mike Clink and Guns n' Roses, right? As far as the songs go, it's pretty much the same. Like on '...Jungle' it was more or less me and Axl but it was still written by Guns n' Roses as far as the credits go. We've always written in pairs or maybe three of us, or us and Wes Arkeen, which is a friend of ours, and it's pretty much the same as it was before."

Izzy seems to have, sort of, developed a side to songwriting that most people didn't know existed..

"Well, he's got a few songs on there that have been around for a while. One he wrote with me, one he wrote with this guy Wes. There's a couple of songs that he wrote totally on his own which the band just embellished. But it's like `...Brownstone' that he and I wrote before and it's the same kind of scenario. You know, hanging out sort of thing."

Right, what about the fact that he's singing on 'Dust And Bones' and Duff's singing on `So Fine'?

"We're working out all the different things that we didn't have the financial means nor the support from the record company before - because it was a new band with a first album - to get into. We've been working on all kinds of things. We've been making everybody happy and the tunes are cool I even sing on one."

Which one?

"On 'Dust And Bones' and I don't (usually) sing! (laughs) But it's a song that me and Izzy actually wrote the riffs for and so, when that part came up, I sang it and I sing it live too. So I've got that new responsibility. They're trying to put tea out on stage for me! I can't get to the tea, let alone drink it, ya' know!?!"

In terms of the other material, there's some stuff on there that's orchestral and grandiose but at the same time it's not self-indulgent..

"Well, it's self indulgent in the way that we did what we wanted to do, but we still paid a lot of attention to content and how it sounded once it was arranged so that you could listen to it and actually enjoy it. A lot of other bands like Rush for example, I used to have a real problem with (when it came) to that real heavy orchestrated progressive situation where nothing fitted together but you still tried to make songs out of it because we still wanted to get off on it ourselves."

Among some of the stuff that could be construed as indulgence there's a cover of Wings 'Live And Let Die'. How did that come together?

"The same way '.. ,Heaven's Door' came together. We have pretty varied musical tastes. I mean, collectively, I couldn't name in a week what we listen to Er, '...Heaven's Door' was something that came out of the blue because I liked the song and Axl liked it but we'd never talked about it. One day it came up and we were talking on the phone and I said, 'You wanna do that? Great!'. We did it at The Marquee for the first time, 'Live And Let Die' was the exact same thing. I went to rehearsal after Axl and I had talked about it and tried to see if the band could play it and make it sound good and Axl came in, heard what we were doing and just loved it. That's how it happened. It's cool, you know!?! (laughs)"

Rehearsing for the new album, it seems, like you said, that there was a backlog of material, but did you actually lock yourselves away as a band in order to start play again as a band?

"Oh yeah. There's no way of getting this band in any kind of regimented routine. It's really hard, you know? We just had a rehearsal studio all the time. And even through the Steve (Adler, ex drummer) situation and all that, we just kept going in and playing. Maybe one day we wouldn't play all the songs we wanted, it was very loose. But we'd go in and jam some Blues, or we'd jam this or jam that. Maybe a song was written while rehearsing. It was that kind of thing. I know there's a few songs on the record that were written while me and Duff were jamming in rehearsal. Anyway, we just jam on stuff and then if something really clicks between all members, like if everybody's getting into it, then that's when it turns into a song. There's a few songs that were just written (by one person). Like 'Coma' was just all arranged by, er, me. I wrote it and showed it to the band and we just stuck with the arrangement that I had whereas on other songs some one'll have an arrangement, someone'll have an idea and put that into it and change the song around. There's no formula to it."


IN TERMS of getting back on the road, its the first time that this band has been in a band environment together. Do you feel as though there's been a big change in the personal relationships? I mean, first of all you've got two new members.

"Well, the two new members really haven't changed a hell of a lot. The main thing that's different is having the whole band on a different level as far as you getting things done and stuff goes. That's the only big change. You have to deal with all these things you never thought about or you weren't expecting. But it's still the same screwed up thing as it always has been! (laughs)"

Is there any point where it's got totally out of control and you've thought well that's it?

"No, my bond with this group is pretty much in my blood. What can I do? It's like if I have to put it down to, 'Well, do you want to keep playing? Or, 'are you gonna get out?' I want to keep playing and that's what keeps me alert and dealing with some of the really crazy shit that goes down."

At this point there's a knock on the door. the 15 minutes are up. There's still so much to jaw about and Slash looks apologetic.

"I'm sorry, man, I'm on a schedule," he mumbles, shaking hands as he leaves.


AND, IN the aftermath of it all this there is some "crazy shit" that goes down yet again. Izzy's absence at interviews appears to be more than just a passing phase. Never the most verbal of the band and certainly the only founder-member able to walk the streets relatively unrecognised, his decision seems to have a more permanent quality about it. Throughout the whole tour Izzy had travelled seperately from the rest of the band and rumours concerning his departure from the band began to emanate when the Gunners were in Germany and cancelled a show. These now appear to have been founded with the guitarist finally feeling that the madness of it all had grown too much and that Axl's tantrums had gone too far. Quite whether he has left for good has yet to be clarified, although it is understood that the rest of the band are attempting to coax him back. The truth is that anything could - and probably will - happen now. This, alter all, Is Guns n' Roses!
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:41 pm

Finally finished transcribing this.
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Post by Blackstar on Tue Jan 05, 2021 2:50 pm

Apparently this article is based on this video interview - with more quotes, though:

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