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2019.04.14 - Belfast Live - Slash talks Guns N' Roses album, sobriety and why he has no intention of slowing down

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2019.04.14 - Belfast Live - Slash talks Guns N' Roses album, sobriety and why he has no intention of slowing down Empty 2019.04.14 - Belfast Live - Slash talks Guns N' Roses album, sobriety and why he has no intention of slowing down

Post by Blackstar on Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:14 am

Slash talks Guns N' Roses album, sobriety and why he has no intention of slowing down

The iconic musician spoke to Belfast Live ahead of his gig at Belsonic in June

By Ryan Smith

Legendary guitarist Slash has told how drink and drug abuse in the wake of Guns N’ Roses’ acrimonious split almost led to his death.

But after a record-breaking reunion tour with the band that wrapped up at the end of last year, the 53-year-old said he is now enjoying one of the best periods of his career.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators play Belsonic in Belfast in June and the top-hatted axeman spoke candidly to Belfast Live about going sober and how he has no intentions of packing music in any time soon.

He said: “In the 90s when I left Guns N’ Roses I was just sort of out there.

“I was drinking myself to death, I was out playing all over the place, I had no real direction I was going or any real concrete idea as to what I was going to be doing for any predetermined amount of time. It was very excessive.

“I’d left my band, I was getting divorced, I was going through all this s**t. I had record company issues. It was really classic rock’n’roll life – the bad side.

“From 1985 up until 1994, I had been under the wing of [record company] Geffen, everything was great.

“Guns got to be the biggest band in the world. That was all great.

“When I left I left all that security behind and went through all this crazy s**t. And I drank myself through it, I did drugs through it and it was just like, textbook almost.”

Slash revealed he struggled heavily with addiction “through the early millennium, up through 2005”.

He said: “Velvet Revolver started and just because of the nature of the band – and it’s my own fault – but within that context it was easy to do.

“I got completely strung out again and at that point I realised there was nothing about being strung out that reminded me of anything like when I first started doing drugs. It was pretty miserable.

“And then after that, with alcohol, nothing was doing it for me and I decided I had to stop.

“I had two kids and I was living in a hotel because I couldn’t be around them.

“It all sort of came to a head and I thought I needed to go to some sort of facility and just get away from everybody for a month and I’ll clean up.

“I really embraced it and I came out of it really happy and all that energy I was putting towards self-destruction I just put towards music.

“I have definitely been fortunate. I knew a lot of musicians growing up and pretty much all through my career.

“But especially when I was growing up and being around musicians that my parents knew, there were people who couldn’t imagine being sober because they thought that was the nucleus of their whole creative existence.

“When I got off it it didn’t really have anything to do with the creative for me, it was really extra-curricular activity to do in between stuff.

“So I definitely feel fortunate that I didn’t fall into a complete creative block because I wasn’t high.”

In 2015, Slash and Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose ended a feud that had lasted close to two decades.

They went on tour, playing 159 shows and performing to more than four million fans and it became the second highest grossing tour of all time, behind U2’s 360 tour.

Slash said: “To have the opportunity to go back with Guns and that being such an amazing experience and such a positive experience, at this point in time, right now, to be in these two bands is probably one of the best professional periods I’ve ever been in.

“I’m really looking forward to working on a new Guns record and all that.

“And while we were out on the road with the Conspirators up until now I’ve been working on new material for the next Conspirators record whenever that happens.

“There’s something going on all the time, for me that’s my happy place – when you’re not really struggling with what to do next.”

The Rolling Stones are set to tour in America this summer after Mick Jagger’s heart operation, and asked if he could see himself and Guns N’ Roses continuing into their 70s, Slash insisted he has no thoughts of slowing down.

He said: “I don’t think that’s something that you plan ahead for, I think it’s just something that happens.

“The years go by and you’re still doing what you’re doing – all of a sudden 20 years go by and there you are.

“That said, I can’t imagine packing it in – especially since we’ve just sort of got a new lease of life by getting most of us back together.

“I would imagine whatever pace we do it, we’ll be doing this until whenever.

“Any time you can get compared to the Stones on any level is cool, but I’m sure the Stones themselves – I could definitely ask them – ‘Did you foresee...?’

“It’s like no, one year you’re doing this tour and you take a break and make a record and then you do another tour, and the next thing you know it’s 2019 and they’re still doing it.

“You just keeping doing what you do.”


Coming to Belfast:

Slash told Belfast Live that he was looking forward to playing at Belsonic with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, and added: “It’ll be a blast.”

The band released their third album together, Living The Dream in 2018.

He said: “It’s a progressive, steady evolution from the first record to this third one. I don’t know if there’s any set rule about lessons learned along the way but there’s definitely a growing thing, the more experience that you get working together and all that kind of s**t is definitely a bonus.

“I think the band started out as a really good band but has become better just from working with each other and it’s definitely been a process of development which is really good as opposed to being the best you can be right from the get go and then everything else is down hill from there.”

A new Guns N' Roses album:

Slash has said that work on a new Guns N’ Roses album could start at the end of this year.

Fans haven’t heard music featuring Axl Rose, Duff McKagan and Slash together since the mid-1990s.

Asked if the band has started writing together yet, he said: “I wouldn’t say we’ve really sat down and had those sessions yet.”

He added: “The Conspirators are finishing up in mid-August and then Guns is going out in late September/October so in the Fall. But at the same time we’re focused on working towards this new record that everybody’s been asking about. So start focusing on that in earnest. And that’s it. I’m not thinking about anything else while that is going on.

“That’s really the main focus. By the time the Conspirators tour is done I will have written enough material for the next Conspirators record that whenever that break comes up with Guns N’ Roses we can go on to do that.

“We’ll just juggle all this stuff, schedules permitting.”

Asked what the new Guns N’ Roses album will be like, he said: “I have no f*****g idea, I really couldn’t tell you. It’s like anything else, you don’t know what it is until it’s done.”

Keeping busy:

Being part of two band with the capability of selling out huge shows has its pluses for a man who’s favourite thing is playing live.

Slash explained: “I just like playing, I like touring. The biggest turn on for me as a guitar player is to play live. So the ability to do that every night is a real gift to me. I really enjoy doing it. I love to write, I love to create new shit, I like going in the studio - but it’s all a means to an end which is to go out there and play live.

“That’s really how I got into this in the very beginning when I first picked up a guitar. The first thing I did was put together a band to go play at keg parties.

“So it’s always been about that kind of energy and I’ve got great people to be able to go and do that with, be it Conspirators or Guns N’ Roses. These are some of the greatest people to go out there and perform with. So that’s why I’m constantly doing it - there might be some sort of workaholic mentality there but really it’s just because I love it.”

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators play Belsonic at Ormeau Park in Belfast on Wednesday, June 12.

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