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1994.10.30 - The Desert Sun - Guns n’ Roses rhythm guitarist emerges as solo success (Gilby)

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Post by Blackstar on Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:03 am

1994.10.30 - The Desert Sun - Guns n’ Roses rhythm guitarist emerges as solo success (Gilby) 1994_115


Guns n’ Roses rhythm guitarist emerges as solo success

Least-known member of band garners good reviews, heavy radio airplay.

Gannett News Service

Gilby Clarke, rhythm guitarist for Guns n’ Roses, was the band member least likely to emerge as a successful solo artist. After all, he is the least recognizable, having only been in the band for three years and recording on only one G n’ R studio album — the band's recent release of cover songs entitled “The Spaghetti Incident?" Yet, it is Clarke who has become the first of the Gunners to emerge with a bonafide solo career, even though other members of the band had released solo projects.

Clarke has been getting good reviews and extensive radio airplay with “Pawnshop Guitars,” a solid collection of mainstream rock songs, which ironically sounds like it was designed for the mid-’70s music scene.

“There are good and bad sides to being in G n’ R, and trying to have a solo career," he says. “There are certainly a lot of people who will listen to what I’m doing because I am in the band, but the bad side of it is that the band is a little over-exposed at this point and there are some people who don’t want to listen because maybe they have had enough.

“I wanted to make this a whole separate entity from G n’ R, and that’s one of the reasons that I went with a separate label. I wanted to make my own record.”

Though Guns n’ Roses are signed to David Geffen’s label, Clarke had a publishing deal with Virgin Music.

For Clarke, the success of “Pawnshop Guitars,” comes after years of trying to hit it big with a musical style that somehow merges blues-rock riffs, reminiscent of The Rolling Stones, with the glam-pop sensibility of classic 70s acts, such as David Bowie, Mott The Hoople and The New York Dolls.

“Pawnshop Guitars” features a stellar cast of celebrities, including Axel Rose (who duets with Clarke on a remake of The Stones’ “Dead Flowers”), Slash and all the other members of Gun n’ Roses, Skid Row drummer Rob Affuso and ex-Pixies vocalist Frank Black.

“I perceive this record as a rock ’n’ roll/pop record. It will be interesting to see if the young kids out
there get it, because it certainly isn’t an alternative album.”

A native of Cleveland, Clarke moved to Hollywood after school and began banging out rough shows with a myriad of bar bands.

“It wasn’t difficult for me to do this. I’ve been doing this my whole life, and I’ve been in bands that made records before. I had a lot of songs when I went in to do this project. I have my own way of writing and I usually play the songs live, and fix them up and then I go in and record them.”

Clarke, 32, fell into the hard rock group when founding member Izzy Stradlin abruptly left after the band finished its “Use Your Illusion I” and “II” albums. “When the opportunity to join the band came along, it wasn’t that hard for me to fit in,” he said.

After the initial leg of the tour, Clarke broke his wrist in a motorcycle accident and had to take a month off. It was during this recuperation period that he laid the ground work for “Pawnshop Guitars.”

Clarke is hoping to make more records and tour again with Guns n’ Roses, but he realizes that personal problems with Axel Rose and Slash’s emerging status as a guitar superstar are making it difficult for the band to move ahead collectively.

“I’m treating this project very seriously,” he says. However, he admits that he tried to shop these same songs prior to joining Guns n’ Roses, but no one in the music industry was interested until he was in the band. “I’m looking at this as if there was no more G n’ R,” he said. “I’m working this album pretty hard, touring, shooting videos, and doing interviews.”

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