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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.


2006.08.30 - - Interview with Gilby

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2006.08.30 - - Interview with Gilby Empty 2006.08.30 - - Interview with Gilby

Post by Blackstar Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:29 am

A year later, I'm here again, interviewing Gilby Clarke. Some years ago, this would seem like a dream to me. To be honest, it still does.
2006 was the year that Gilby Clarke came to Greece for 3 gigs! Some years ago, this would seem like a dream to me. To be honest, it still does.
For those of you who don't know, Gilby is in Supernova at the moment, with Tommy Lee (Motley Crue) and Jason Newstead (Metallica).
The following interview was based on questions asked by members of the and forums.

C: In your experience with Guns n Roses , do you believe there is enough unused material to do a Box Set and if so...what would you suggest be on a Box Set as a member of the group during those years?

G: There's nothing available. (Laughs) There really isn't... Everything that I know about is out already. I mean, Greatest Hits, the live album. The only track I can think of is the one on the pinball machine, But I don't even think we ever finished that. But yeah, there's really nothing for a box set, it's probably just gonna include the new era stuff, but we're done.

C: In today's market where so many new bands are shoved down our throats for a few months and then never heard from again, what bands do you think have the ability to still be a factor in the industry in 10 years or so?

G: Bands that are out today?

C: Yeah.

G: Let me see, I gotta tell you, I'm not really a fan of them but I think bands like Pearl Jam are gonna be around for a long time. I mean, I'm not a fan of their music, but I do respect it and I get it, it's just not something I would listen to. Let me think for a second, a lot of stuff I like usually doesn't last. It's a shame, I really love that Jet record that came out a couple of years ago but unfortunately I don't think they're gonna make it. I love the Hives but they're not really growing. I gotta tell you, it's the bands that have been doing it, bands like U2 are gonna be around forever. You know that's pretty much about it.

C: But these are old bands.

G: Yeah, they really are. You know, there are lots of new bands out there that have potential to grow up, this new band the Killers, I think they're a really good band, they have really good songs, let's see how they grow. It all depends on your growth.

C: What's the story behind your gorgeous rendition of the Stones' Wild Horses on the Illusion tour?

G: (Laughs) Actually it's a funny story, I've told it before. Right when we were about to do the first show, Slash came up to me and said "you know before Patience, Izzy always did a little something, it's a solo, what are you gonna do?" and I gotta tell you, I didn't even think of anything but I had done Wild Horses acoustic a couple of times, so it was just my idea to do that and it just kinda clicked with the guys, they liked it. You know, and everybody knew it so they sang and played along. There was a point actually where I switched, I did "Happiness is a Warm Gun" a couple of times, but it didn't work very good, so I just stopped with that. And you know what's fun about it, when we do my solo shows every now and then we go to some places and everybody knows it so...

C: This guy is asking "I have three of your solo cds and of course your stuff with Col. Parker and GNR.  Is there a good address I can use to send one of the cd sleeves in for you to sign the cover for me?"

G: You know what? This is a hard one. (Laughs) Because I don't have an address anymore. The reason is unfortunately I get too many cd's by people. And I don't wanna sound like a mean guy, cause I'm not one, it's just really impossible to be objective and listen to everybody's cd's. That's why we shut down the american fan club. We felt that there was so much information on the internet we didn't really need it. I just feel bad, it's always better to come to the shows and get it signed there.

C: What happened with Col. Parker?  Why Did you only release one album?

G: Well I gotta tell you, that was a really unfortunate circumstance, Because I actually REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like the Col. Parker record. Obviously Muddy still plays with my band. I really thought it was a really good record, it was all about the record company, V2 is just not a very good record company. We knew the president of the label, and he put the record out, he loved the record. It just didn't do well. They just didn't know how to market it. When we were out on the road, it was brutal out there. And we really wanted to make another record. We just kinda said it wasn't a good idea to do it on V2. I'm not saying we'll never, ever get to do that. I think that in the future you'll find me working more with Jim and Muddy on my stuff.

C: When are you gonna release another solo album?

G: (Laughs) Well, not for a while. I was planning on doing it this year. When I got back from the MC5 tour, my job was to write a new solo record. But now that Supernova is happening, those songs that I was working on, I'm gonna be giving them to Supernova. So, if they won't make it, it'll be the same thing with GN'R, I'll make one next year. Let's just see how Supernova goes. I mean, one thing about making solo records is, it never goes away. There was a few years ago, I actually said I'm not doing it anymore, I'm done. And I really did quit. And I just kinda felt that I was cheating myself. It's a really good form of expression for me and I should keep doing it.

C: So are you writing new music now?

G: Yes, that's what I've been doing. I have a lot of really cool new songs that I'm really happy about. And like I said they're gonna go to Supernova, if we don't dig them they'll go to a new solo record.

C: So as far as Supernova goes, are you going to remain the only guitar player?

G: I hope so. (Laughs) Yes I am, I'm the only guitar player. I mean, Butch is producing the record, Butch Walker, I'm sure Butch will play some guitar on the record. The goal for Supernova is just to write some really good songs. That's all we care about. When we perform live we'll try to do it just like that, like Led Zeppelin, guitar, bass and drums.

C: Do you prefer playing with a frontman or fronting your solo band?

G: You know what? I prefer to just play guitar. What's gonna happen with Supernova is actually what I want. I really like just being the only guitar player and have a bass, a singer and a drummer. That's what I prefer. Playing in a two guitar band is really cool, with the right guitar player. Playing with Slash was great, playing with Tracii was great, playing with Ryan was great.

C: In 1993, did you expect to be making a new GNR record with the band as it was at the time?

G: Well, did I expect it? No. (Laughs). I knew. The reason why I made my solo record was cause I knew the days were numbered. I could tell from the way Axl was on the road, and the conversations we had, that he was going somewhere different. So I gave a bunch of guitar songs to Axl and Slash, and they passed on them. So, that's when I decided to make my record. But, yeah, I could pretty much tell that it was going to be hard to keep it together.

C: What Guns N' Roses song was your favourite to play under the Use Your Illusion tour?

G: Um, Jungle is always great. That's probably my favourite one to play.

C: Do you plan to jam with contestants on the new "Rock Star" show, and will you play any GN'R songs?

G: AHA... (seems excited). A very good question! A, yeah, probably. What we talked about was, we're gonna save the Supernova performance for the very end. We talked about maybe playing and stuff, but we kinda thought that it might build up better maybe if we wait till the end. But, we're planning on it, I mean you know, it could change. I don't know if it'll be a GN'R song or whatever.

C: Do you ever invision yourself in GNR again, or is it something you have left go of?

G: I haven't closed the door on it, because no matter what happens number 1, I love the music of Guns N' Roses, number 2, I still think it's a powerfull band. But I just think, what Axl is doing right now, he needs to do. Wether he wants to continue with it, it's really up to him. I have no problem playing with any of the guys again. So, I'm just gonna leave it at that. You know, it's not about money for me, I hope it's not about money for the rest of the guys too. It's the same thing why we did the MC5, you know, being able to bring that music to a generation that never got to see it the right way. And that's why also I've been playing more GN'R songs in my set. I used to never do it. And I just think it's important for them to see it being represented the right way.

C: What Direction was GN'R going before you left the band?

G: Well, there was no direction. That's really it.

C: Do you still drive a Corvette?

G: No, I got rid of it. I got a Viper. You know, it's really funny, cause I actually got rid of it a long time ago, but I didn't tell Duff until a couple of years ago.

C: So, this has something to do with the next question. I don't know if it's true, but did you actually manage to swap a shirt for a new corvette ?

G: Isn't that a great deal? (Laughs) It's true, it's absolutely true. What had happened is, everybody's seen it, I used to wear this netted black shirt, it was kinda see-through. I was the only one who had one. And Duff always borrowed it from me, and I used to keep taking it back "Gimme my shirt back". So, after the Tokyo shows, the band did very well in Tokyo, the band made a lot of money and Duff just decided to be really generous. Cause two weeks before that, we were driving around in LA, and I had a '65 Mustang that I still have, and it wasn't in a very good shape. And he thought that I needed a new car. So he swapped the shirt for the Corvette. Ain't that funny? And that's all about Duff. Duff is a very generous person.

C: Do you still have that beautiful red Les Paul standard Slash gave you?

G: No, I don't... I got rid of it, I got rid of it cause you know what? It is a beautiful guitar but it was too heavy. It was really, really heavy, and it actually didn't sound very good. So, you know what? I have a really bad habbit of trading stuff, I don't sell stuff, I trade it. And I traded it for something a long time ago. I don't even remember what it was.

C: Any tips on singing and playing at the same time? Did you learn how to or did you wake up one day and just did it?

G: When I was a kid, when I first started playing guitar, there weren't really very many singers. So it was just kinda natural, that I sang, and the bass player sang. And I gotta tell you, I never really thought twice about it, I just did it. And strangely enough, I have an 11-year old daughter who also plays guitar and sings. And you know what, SHE DOES IT.

C: It's in the blood then!!!

G: Yeah (Laughs). But I also think it's one of those things, nobody told me it was hard. So I did it. But if someone would have told me it was hard, it would probably freak me out. Yeah, people notice I'm one of those people that never looks at their guitar when I'm singing.

C: Why don't you play more songs from your long catalogue (solo albums, candy, Kill for Thrills, Col. Parker) instead of a similar setlist in your shows over the years? Are you unsatisfied with that work or you just don't care to play them in shows?

G: Well, the main reason why we don't play a lot of different stuff, the band actually doesn't know them all. Chad and Muddy have played in ten different bands. So, they really just don't know the catalogue. And number 2 is you can't just please everybody. You know what? Sometimes we'll do a show, and I won't play any GN'R songs and everybody complains. You can't please everybody. So I play what I wanna play.

Notice the A4 paper!!! "Big Boobies Only In The Front Row"

C: Did you ever consider forming a band with Tim Karr?

G: Oh, yeah. Actually that was fun. When we started that record, we were working together. But it was my fault. I was too busy. I had too many things going on, with Heart, with a couple of different records I was producing, and I kept putting Tim off, so it was really my fault. So, that's why we decided to do his record and just kinda finish it. Those were the last songs we wrote together. Yeah, I really love Tim, I think he's really, really talented.

C: Is there anyone you haven't worked with that you want to work with in the future?

G: Of course. the Rolling Stones man. (Laughs) But all guitar players wanna do that.

C: So, one guy saw you in London on May 9th and your daughter played and he says it was great! How did you get the idea to do that? What was it like seeing her play to your audience? You looked really proud.

G: I was extremely proud. I gotta tell you, that is one of our magical family moments. If anybody saw the side of the stage, my wife and her sister, my sister in law, were falling their eyes out. It's just adorable, my daughter is just so special. You know, to watch her play guitar just kills me. One day she just started playing guitar. I teach her, and we have a guy who comes once a week to give her lessons. And it was a sold out house, and she walked on stage with no nerves. Not one nerve. As if it was everyday. And she played better at the gig than she did at soundcheck. Which is what a real performer does. It killed me, I had a big grin on my face, I was so happy!

C: How would you imagine a possible GN'R reunion? With the AFD lineup or the one from the Illusions (with you)?

G: I think if it did ever happen, obviously we're all just talking crap (laughs), everybody would wanna see the original lineup with Izzy and Steven, but the fact is that Steven couldn't do it anymore, he's just not capable of doing that set, playing the songs that Matt has recorded as well as the ones he has, so probably Matt would be the drummer. Obviously I'm sure they would ask Izzy before me, if Izzy wanted to do it he would do it, if he didn't want to do it, then they would probably ask me, I would hope (laughs). It would have to come down to what the circumstances were. Like I said, I still love the music, I still love performing. We would just have to see. It's a fun question to talk about, but we really don't have that answer.

C: When you'll retire from the music business...

G: I thought I was retired 2 years ago (laughs). I mean, I told you. I did come to a point when I didn't wanna make records anymore, I mean solo records. And it was because I was tired of the record company part. I was tired of putting all this work into recording a record, and then watching them not do what they're supposed to do.

C: Ok, I'm sorry, I didn't finish the question and you got the wrong idea... I meant when you'll retire, how do you want people to remember you?

G: Oh, oh, oh... Yeah (laughs). You know like most people, you'd like to be remembered for how you work. Most people, know me from being in Guns N' Roses, I think that's a very important part of my career, but I think it's also important to know that I've played guitar in bands like Heart, with the MC5, with Nancy Sinatra, I've made a million records playing guitar on them. I'm a guitar player, I wanna be remembered as a rock n' roll guitar player. A guy that GN'R was a part of it just as much as everything else. That's how I would like to be remembered.

C: So, what are your expectations with Supernova?

G: I hope it's huge, I hope we sell a million records so we can play stadiums. I mean I do. Look, it's a dream band. You know, Tommy Lee is one of the greatest rock n' roll drummers, Jason is one of the greatest rock n' roll bass players. This is an opportunity that doesn't come along often. And also, they could have had anybody, but I got picked. You know they could have picked anybody, and they picked me. You know, Slash could have the gig, but they wanted me. So I feel really good about that.

C: So, why did you choose a reality show to find a singer? Is that move showing signs of the modern music industry?

G: Yes, times have definitely changed. We didn't have the power of television back then. If we did, we would have used it. Believe me, we all used MTV. Reality TV is reality TV. It's part of the future, cause people are tired of watching crappy television shows that were written by the same 5 guys. Reality TV is unpredictable to a point. So, this is more about a band. The 3 of us, myself, Jason and Tommy we only think about the band, we don't care about TV. TV is TV. Let the TV people do their thing. It's a great way to find a singer. If we knocked our heads to find a singer, we wouldn't have anybody. So, it's great to see a lot of people, that we would have never seen before, in perfect circumstances. I wish everybody would have this chance. Believe me, Velvet Revolver wished they had this chance until they found Scott. So, it's great.

C: Who set up the band? Who made the first step? And with what criteria were the members chosen?

G: It was Tommy's idea. Tommy run into Mark Burnett, who's the producer, they were in Malibu where they live, and they were just talking about the show and Tommy goes "I got an idea, what if we put a new band together and you found a singer?" and Mark liked it. So, when they started knocking around heads, ok Tommy will play drums, who should be playing guitar, who should be playing bass, there was a list of people, and I was on that list, and I got the gig.

C: But Tommy is still in Motley Crue?

G: Yeah, he is still in Motley Crue. As a matter of fact, the show ends in September, Tommy is gonna go out with Motley in September to do some shows, with Aerosmith. So, just like all of us, it's just gonna be a part of what we do. So, that's why I'll still be able to make solo records. But it will be a band.

C: When is the record expected and what kind of shows do you like to do? Stadiums or clubs?

G: (Laughs) Ofcourse we wanna do stadiums, they're more fun! The record I know exactly. The single will come out the day after the last show. The record will come out right before Thanksgiving, in the end of November.

C: Would you ask Axl to sing in the Supernova record?

G: Uh, no. I mean, Axl is somewhere else now. He's doing his record. And he's always been nice to me, he sang on my record. But I don't really think he'll be in our record.

C: Do you think Velvet Revolver have a future? I mean, after the new GN'R record?

G: I don't think it matters. We all know that VR were successful. They were extremely successful. The record sold well, the tour sold well. They're already a new band that did great. It's up to them how they grow. If they write a really good second record, they're gonna kick ass. And it's only good for everybody if VR does well.

C: So, would you imagine Supernova opening for Guns or Velvet Revolver?

G: I think that it'd be really nice if they'd open for Supernova (big smile).

C: (laughs) Well, that's it, we're done. I'd like to thank you very much.

G: Ah, let me tell you, I just wanna thank you, you know, I really respect what you've done for us.

C: Well, it was nothing. Thanks for everything.

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