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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:26 am


In June 1994, when Slash had decided to take his songs and release them through his own band, Axl wanted to work on the next GN'R record. This prompted Slash to speculate that he would have to work on both records simultaneously:

So I thought I’d go ahead and use the songs I’d been working up for a solo album... only now Axl has decided we should start on the new GN’R album anyway! So the two projects will be run almost in tandem.

Slash would also mention that they already had songs down on tape:

And, contrary to what some people might think, Guns N' Roses haven't been idle. We already have some songs down on tape.

These songs would come in addition to the 25 songs Slash had set aside for possible inclusion on his upcoming solo record [Kerrang! June 25, 1994].

In September The Gazette/Reuter would report that Geffen publicist Bryn Bridenthal had issued a statement saying that all members of the band were now working on new music for the next record [The Gazette/Reuter, September 4, 1994].

In October, while he was touring with his solo band, Gilby would be asked what was happening with GN'R and say they were still on a break:

We’re still just on a break we were taking a year ago. Nobody is ready to make another record yet. […] With GNR, it’s never like we have band meetings. Someone will just call you some day. There’s no schedule. Me, I stay in close contact with Slash and Matt.

But Gilby was wrong. Unknown to him the band had come together to record a cover of 'Sympathy for the Devil' while Gilby was touring to support his solo record.

Rumours would also fly in the media, claiming the band was making music together. One "source close to the band" would describe the new music as "a little bit more moody" than previous material [News Pilot, October 7, 1994].

In October Slash would talk about their recording session and mention that another guitar player had come in to take Gilby's place:

We’ve talking about it for the last year. We just haven’t really - you know, with the absence of Gilby there was a hole in the band. Then there was a new guy that came in, but we haven’t really all come to a cohesive decision as to what exactly we’re gonna do.

At the same time, media would claim the replacement guitarist was Axl's Indiana friend Paul Huge ("pronounced Oo-gee") who was described as a "thinner, lighter-haired Axl" [News Pilot, October 7, 1994].

As for when a new album could be ready, Bryn Bridenthal would respond:

We don’t ever predict on Guns, because that’s wanking. The album will be finished when it’s finished.

In November, after the recording of 'Sympathy', the official stand was that the band planned to reconvene in the second half of 1995 - after Slash had toured in support of his Snakepit album - to work on their next record [Raw Magazine, November 1994]. Still, the media was rife with rumors suggesting the band was breaking apart, including a rumor that Matt would join Led Zeppelin for their reunion tour [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

In November, Gilby was aware that the band had recorded music despite him asking them to wait until he had returned from touring his solo record. Gilby would also be asked "whether the real personalities of Slash and Rose are as difficult as their public personae":

I always just tell people that some of the guys are OK. In fact, some of them are my best friends in the world.

And when asked if he would "go so far as to leave arguably the biggest group in rock today to concentrate on a smaller but more rewarding solo career":

I'd do it in a heartbeat," he replied without hesitation. "I'm very serious about it. I've been touring since July, and we're booked through springtime, with a chance of being booked through next summer. I've already spoken to everybody in GNR and said, 'Look, I'm doing this until it's done, and if you need to make a record in between, you make a record without me'.

It is unlikely that the band were able to get much work done together as a band in this period. The recording of 'Sympathy for the Devil' happened with Axl coming in separately from the rest of the band [as discussed in a later chapter], and Slash likely recorded new music in his own studio while playing with and rehearsing with Duff and Matt without Axl. This is corroborated by this quote from Matt in late 1996 where he said they "didn't really work" together:

I must agree with [Axl], because he's a visionary. He knows what GNR should be 2 or 3 years in advance. When we got out of the plane [in 1993], he said: "Guys, we'll see us again in 96". It was 3 years ago. And now, we work together and an album will be released in 97. […] I saw him! But we didn't really work.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:59 pm

JULY 1994

Slash was a big fan of pinball machines:

[…] I didn't play pinball until, It was Christmas a couple of years ago I bought one for Renee. I was in Chicago visiting her family and there was nothing to do and it started to get to me. They had three pinball machines in their basement and to kill time I started playing them. I'd never played when I was a kid. I smoked pot. I came home and bought her an Addams Family one, and one machine turned into two, two turned into four and so on. They're all over the house. We don't even have a dining room table. We always eat takeout anyway.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

All the pinball companies are in Chicago. My ex-wife, her family lives in the suburbs of Chicago, and I went there to visit for the first time - I never played pinball as a kid - so I was bored. there was nothing to do except drive into the city and get fucked up and never be able to find my way back. But they had a basement - those are real popular in Chicago - and they had pinball machines down there. So I played pinball every night for a week. We came home and I bought The Addams Family (pinball machine) for Renee. That was the first one. Then one turned into two, two turned into four, four into six, and next thing you know, I was designing one!

Then in 1993, after having returned from touring, Slash got an idea of a Guns N' Roses pinball machine:

Then while the studio was being built and Guns wasn't doing anything I thought Guns could do a pinball machine 'cause there hasn't been a genuine rock 'n' roll machine in a long time. The whole idea came together. The basic idea is to get all six guys on stage, because we have a penchant for being late.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

I’m designing the Guns N’ Roses pinball machine now. It’s gonna be killer — the loudest machine ever. It’ll be a six-ball machine ... with songs from the albums on it.

In early 1994 Slash would talk about a Guns N' Roses pinball machine that was slated for launch in the summer.

It's almost done. I've been working... Actually, to tell you the truth, when the earthquake hit [on January 17, 1994], I'd already planned on going to Chicago to work with the Data East Company, who make awesome pinball games. And I came out to Chicago to work on the artwork for it. So, it's sort of like, my little project, that I'm working with them. And it should be out in the summer. […] there's like 13 songs on it.

I like pinball because it’s physical and it’s definitely more rock ‘n’ roll. Video games are wimpy. I got really hooked at it, you know? And I thought, well, they haven’t done a rock ‘n’ roll machine in about 15 years. I think the last one was Ted Nugent. So I thought Guns could probably get away with making a machine at this point. […] It’s definitely a hip game. Plus, it’s the first game that’s ever had real guitars. It’s the loudest one made today. So I’m really proud of it.

The pinball game would feature unreleased music from GN'R:

There’s a song called Ain’t Going Down, which we just never finished, and we have a chorus for it, so I figure we’d use that, you know, and finally get it out there. So now that we’ve done it we have to actually record it.

'Ain't Going Down' had previously been intended to be released on 'The Spaghetti Incident?' [see previous section].

Talking about the pinball machine after its release:

A few years ago, I spent a couple of weeks in the suburbs of Chicago one winter. After a couple days of just sitting there watching TV. I got pretty bored. I was at my uncle-in-­law’s house. In Chicago they have base­ments, and in his basement he had three or four pinball machines that sort of cut the boredom a little bit. I’d never ever been into pinball when I was a kid, never was interested. Finally, I broke down and I was like, well this is something to do, and I got into pinball. I bought my wife one for the following Christmas. And then one turned into about 20. And the whole house was completely — I mean, the living room, the upstairs bar, everywhere there’s pinball machines. Anyway, the band was off the road, finally, and I started thinkin' Guns could probably do a pinball machine. We haven't had a rock n' roll machine in 15 years that was based on a particular band. So, I just started jotting ideas on scraps of papers and napkins - that’s how I always come up with ideas - doodling. And I came up with the basic framework for what I’d consider to be a really different kind of pinball machine. The next thing was which company to go with and who would be interested. I didn't want to go with Barry and Williams because I would have given them the idea and then that would have been the last I would have seen of it until it came out. I wanted to have — you know, more or less creative input through the whole making of the game. And a couple of the machines that I have at home which are the most original and the most, like, on- the-edge machines - you know that take chances - are the Data East machines. So, I went to Chicago and I met with them, showed them my basic designs and stuff and I said, like, "Can you do this? Can you do that?" And they said, "We can fuckin’ do anything." You know, that’s more of the attitude where I come from. We hooked up. And those people at Data East are wonder­ful. They’re really great people. I’d bring a bottle of Jack and we’d all hang out in the drawing room with a big sheet of paper and draw things out into the middle of the night. So, we basically came up with a game and the design team that I worked with — I can’t give you all their names, but there was a guy named Lymon and there was a guy named John Borg who - if you see the machine, it’s designed by John Borg and me. Then, they were serious. They got into it. And before you know it. I'm flying back and forth to Chicago, like, shit, once every couple of weeks, and going over details and so-on and so-forth. So, to actually see it finished and working right now - I'm really proud of it. But it's the loudest game ever made, it’s the only time that real gui­tars and real vocals have ever been used on a pinball machine. So, it’s real Innova­tive. At least at present. God knows what the next pinball machine’s gonna be like. I got to go into the studio and take the origi­nal Guns N' Roses masters from the record and strip them back down to the individual tracks and that was sort of nostalgic. And then we went in and did some voice overs for it. You know, "jackpot" and this and that - little things that the pinball machine says. And that's basically it. It's out and you can find it in arcades. And I have one here at home and it drives me crazy 'cause it plays "Welcome to the Jungle" as the main song and I'm sick of hearing it. And you can crank it as loud as you want - we keep all the machines pretty loud. Everybody who comes over plays it. It’s a good game though. I mean gamewise and also strategically.

It's actually pretty much the most original high-tech kind of game to date, because it's got real guitars on it, and real vocals on it. I'm really happy with it, I was sitting around at home and writing on pieces of napkins, getting the design together. I actually managed to pull off about 80 percent of it, so there's not really any other game like it.

And about making it different to other pinball machines:

Well, obviously it's got to have great sound because it's a rock band. It plays nine dif­ferent Guns N’ Roses songs. So, it has to sound good. That was our first and fore­most priority and then I came up with the idea of a "G" ramp and an "R” ramp -I really wanted to pursue that. The whole idea of the game — the whole premise of the game, right from the get-go is to get the whole band on the stage; so, it's a six ball machine. There's a mode for every band member. So, when you go into, say, Axl's, you've got the "Mystery Ball;" Dizzy’s got the "Dizzy Ball" which has magnets that can turn on - when the balls coming down the playing field, the magnet will shoot it off somewhere else so it’s, like, out of control. There’s “Riot Ball" when all six balls come out - it gets real crazy. There’s "Coma Ball" that plays "Coma." There’s “Nightrain." There's "Matt Ball" where all the targets turn into drumheads. There’s "Gilby Rolls" which is on the dot matrix, and that's on the backboard where you have, from a heli­copter's view, a motorcycle that you can control with the flippers - with the buttons for the flippers. All you have to do is avoid traffic and hit pedestrians. There's the "Death Mode" which plays "It's So Easy." Anyway, there’s "Slash Solo," there’s "Snakepit" which is — see, it’s a two lane game so there’s a gun on one side - there’s a plunger and there’s a rose on the other side of the machine that's got a lane where the ball goes into a snake. So, there’s a lot going on. You can play it for four or five hours and you’ll never get close to how much information this game’s got. Those people over there at Data East, they call 'each other "pinheads." As fanatical as I am about guitars, that's how they are about pinball machines. They get up in the morn­ing and they play until midnight. They get other people's machines and fuckin', you know, scrutinize them and figure them out. It's a whole different world over there. But, they’re all really great people to hang out with. […] I had what you call my own produc­tion team to make this. So, we would all get together. We got to be good friends. There was just no end to the ideas that we could come up with.

It's the most technically advanced game to date. I'm really proud of it. And all my ideas are all on there. It sounds really great, there are eight or nine songs on there. Making a record is one thing but making something that's totally out of your league and have it actually come to fruition is really great.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:34 am

JULY 1994-MAY 1995

Say, however many years down the line Guns N' Roses isn't happening then I'm going to branch out to something else and do that, you know, and at least now I have the financial situation where I can support myself if I'm not making enough money doing what I'm doing.

But if we take a long hiatus again, I'd like to put out, not really a solo record, but something with another band—a temporary thing that I'd control. It would be geared towards an almost heavy metal funk-rock concept—music with killer rock and roll vocals and the most awesome riffs. Almost like "Jungle," only a little bit tighter and heavier. A long time ago, Aerosmith got close; Beck has a couple of magic moments too. But I don't want it to be a guitar record where I'm off on some solo trip, 'cause I think that's really boring.

I always said I would never do a solo record, I said I didn't need to – but finally I found out I certainly do.


With the band on hiatus Slash needed another outlet for his music, the music that had already allegedly been rejected by Axl. Doing something on his own outside of Guns N' Roses was not a new thought to Slash:

I plan on doing [a solo record] one day. I'm sure [Axl] does as well.

By August 1991, Slash would state that he intended to do a record with another band if Guns N' Roses experienced a long downtime:

I plan on doing [a solo record] one day. I'm sure [Axl] does as well.

In early 1992 he was asked about a solo record again:

Ha! As far as me doing my own thing, I haven’t given it much thought because I’ve been too busy concentrating on Guns. It’s kept me pretty occupied and I can’t really look at anything other than day by day, that way I don’t get any nasty surprises when things fuck up!

When asked again in July 1992 Slash would say that other than Duff's planned solo record there were no other solo record from band members in plan [Rockline, July 13, 1992], and in January 1994 he would dismiss the idea that he would make a solo record [Rockline, January 3, 1994].

At this point, you know, as we speak, I don't have any interest in it. 'Cause what would I do? Like, some dumb guitar record? So, I don't need to do that. I play with enough people and I got enough freedom within the confines of what it is all about. We don't really have any confines. Because everybody freaks out. [laughs] And, anyway. So, no I don't have any interest in doing it.

I don’t know. I mean, I play enough with other people, and then Guns N’ Roses is a vehicle for me to be able to be – more or less to do everything that I want to do. So it just seems boring to me. It’s like, nothing against Gary Moore or Steve Vai or... I’m not good enough to be one of those who, like, make a guitar record and it doesn’t interest me, so I’d have to start a new band, which I’m not gonna do.

I’m working on stuff at home, but I work with the other guys in the band on it. It sorta sounds like a cliché, but as far as I’m concerned, Guns is more or less a vehicle for doing my own thing. I don’t wanna do a Gary Moore type record or anything like that. I love Gary Moore and everything, but that’s all kinda dull. Guitar records bore me. I’m not interested in trying to express myself as a guitar player, other than the fact that I go and play with all these different people. I jam a lot and I’ve played on a lot of records. If I need to let off some steam somewhere, I can always go and play with whoever. But as far as doing a solo record is concerned, I don’t think I’ve got anything to prove.

I'd like to think that I wouldn't have to. Y'know, Guns is a great vehicle for me to do pretty much anything I want to do. But then, to keep myself playing all the time, when Guns aren't recording or touring, I go and I play with other people. So I pretty much do everything that I want, and I really would hate to do one of those guitar albums, like fuckin' Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, because it's really dull.

With Duff and Axl allegedly rejecting the music that Slash, Matt and Gilby had been working on, Slash decided to use the songs in a side project. Gilby would first mention this in June 1994 when he was asked what would happen to the songs he and Slash had worked on:

It could be Slash’s album, this is what it could be, because Slash has been talking about making his own album. You know, because Duff did it, I did it, he can do it (laughs). He has some really, really good songs and, like I said, it’s gonna be a while before GN’R is gonna do a record, and this stuff isn’t really for GN’R, so he’s been talking about doing his own album. So he’s been working with me and Matt on it, you know, just trying to get it in together.

For Slash, this decision was likely fueled by a strong desire to get back on the road as soon as possible to avoid the lingering temptations of sedentary life in Los Angeles, but also frustration with not being able to see eye to eye with Axl on the direction of the band and wanting to do something with songs he felt were good and should be heard.

Explaining the contradiction between consistently saying he wouldn't do it, and then doing it:

Actually, I've been saying that I would never do [a solo record]. But in the back of my mind I knew that I was contradicting myself, because I knew I'd end up doing it.

Talking about why he decided to make his own record:

This whole idea came about because I was working on material for the next Guns album at my home studio - but then everything had to be put on hold, because Axl Rose was dealing with the lawsuits brought against him by his ex-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour and his ex-wife Erin Everly.

Originally, it was just to fill the gap between Guns last tour and the next record. Izzy was gone, me and Duff were hanging out a lot, Steven was gone. So, the band was not necessarily the same band anyway, towards the tail end, as far as Guns was concerned. So I was hanging out with the guys that I hired to fill the positions in Guns, which was Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum, and Mike Inez was just a good friend of mine, from Alice in Chains. Basically (we were) just writing and recording and digging having a studio in the house. It was a demo, not even a demo, just a big 'cuz we can do it' record. The whole thing took two weeks.

And again without mentioning that he initially wrote the songs for Guns N' Roses but that they were rejected:

The band was off the road for a while, and everybody just kinda split up after being on the road for two and a half years. Everybody sort of did their own thing.

I built a studio (called Snakepit) in my house and started writing songs. The material that I wrote, like 17 songs or something, Matt played drums on and I played the arrangements and we recorded it. After all that was set and done I was like, 'Now what will I do with all this stuff?' We had so much fun doing it that I wanted to keep the momentum going and didn't want to sit around. This was a few months ago, and we recorded it really quickly.

Slash would even go as far as to say Axl had encouraged him to do a solo record with the rejected material:

At one point I was actually encouraged to do a solo record because this material was a little bit, as Axl put it, 'too retro’.

I was hoping it would work with Guns. I was just writing at home, I built a studio, and I was experimenting.[…] It's a simple studio and Matt would be there to help me arrange the stuff. […] So I wrote all these songs and played the demo for Axl and he just wasn't interested. I said, "But this is really what I want Guns to do," and he wasn't into it. So I had all this material and Axl had all these lawsuits going on and he wouldn't have time to get into writing at that point anyway. So he sort of suggested I did a solo record.

Originally, the name of Slash's solo record was "SVO Snakepit" [The Newcastle Journal, July 14, 1994]. SVO stood for "Slash's Very Own" [Kerrang! June 25, 1994].

Slash did not want to sing on the record:

I don’t have the personality for it. I did try it. I mean, some of the songs that I did write lyrics for in the album, I did sing at first, but only just to write them. But to go out in front of a microphone... For one, I can’t stand still that long; and for two, I mean, I can’t even look at the audience when I’m playing my guitar, let alone me standing up there singing, you know? (laughs).

Slash considered former Quire-boys vocalist Jonathan "Spike" Gray to sing on the record, along with 5 others [The Newcastle Journal, July 14, 1994; Kerrang! July 16, 1994]. Other singers who tried out for the spot were Michael Monroe (Hanoi Rocks) and Ron Evans (Little Ceasar) [Metal Hammer, February 1995]. In June, Slash would also say he had been taking singing lessons, but that he doesn't think he has the "personality to carry it off!" [Kerrang! June 25, 1994].

I  took some vocal lessons because, you know, at the time it was for discipline. Just to do it. But I didn't really have... I mean, when we talked about me singing, it probably lasts about a quarter of a second [chuckles]. I don't like to be stuck to a microphone, for one, and...I can sing but, you know, depending on how I feel that particular moment I could sing one way or the other way and then I'd blow my voice out. In other words I'm not a survivor as a vocalist. […] Yeah, and the other thing is like if I was to sing it would be pretty much like very aggressive and I would get bored with it and I'd start walking around playing my guitar and forget that I had to do vocals, you know, I just don't need the pressure. And one of the reasons on top of that is the fact that Eric is a frontman for a band, alright? So in other words I don't need to sing at all because we have a band.

He would also say they considered many different singers, but that it would be impractical in regards to touring:

But I thought if we make a record, we should tour. I don’t wanna put out a record and waste it. So we can’t obviously take all these guys on the road. So I thought I’ll sing and I took some vocal lessons. I just don’t have the personality for it. It’s hard enough for me to sit here and talk to you guys.

Eventually Slash would choose the 41th singer to audition, Eric Dover [The Gazette, January 26, 1995]:

Adam, my guitar tech, would take them up to the house, put a tape in and go, ‘Sing.’ Eric wrote Beggars & Hangers-On to a piece of music that was just called Song in D. And I heard the tape the next day and was like, ‘OK, that’s the guy’.

In June it would also be claimed the new band with Slash would be called "Gak", a slang terms for 'cocaine' [Hit Parader, December 1994]. It would also be reported it would be co-produced by Slash and Mike Clink [Kerrang! June 25, 1994].

In July, though, it would be reported it was Slash's new band that would be called "SVO Snakepit", and that it also featured Matt and Gilby [Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1994].

I have all the songs written now and I’m pushing on with recording the basic tracks, using Matt, Gilby and Mike (Inez - Alice In Chains’ bassist). But I still haven’t decided on the person to sing with me. I’ve narrowed down the choice to five guys. They’re all experienced and have had albums released. But I don’t want to name any of them at this stage. It would be unfair to raise anyone’s hopes, only to dash them. […] As far as my record’s concerned, I’m delighted with the way everything is going. It’s gonna sound heavy and ballsy, just wait and see!

Slash would later say he did the record in two weeks, and that this caused a conflict between him and Axl [more on this in later chapters]:

At one point I was actually encouraged to do a solo record because this material was a little bit, as Axl put it, 'too retro.’ So I just took the material and said, 'It’s mine now.’ […] He got pretty upset about that but he did say do a solo record. But then two weeks later it was done.

[Talking about how long it took]: Close to two weeks to record and another two to do the vocals, a couple of days to mix it, and a day to master.

By October 1994, the name had been reduced to just "Snakepit" with Slash explaining why he didn't want his name attached to the band name:

The reason it’s called “Snakepit” and not “Slash” something or “Slash” in general, is it’s really a band, so we collaborated a lot, because, for one, we were forced to, and for two because none of us have really all worked together as a band. So we all had a lot of input to get the basic idea across as to what we all sound like together.

He would emphasize that it was a band later, too:

Another thing is, I know I say my 'Snakepit' album, but it's really a band. I'm only doing the press because everyone else seems to know who I am at this point. Eventually I'd like to make it known as a band, actually. I don't want it to sound like it's Slash's little group. I don't know if this is just a one-off. We'll see what happens.

In November it would be reported that the name of the record would be, 'It's Five O' Clock Somewhere' [RAW Magazine, November 1994]. It would also be said that Slash's plan was to release his record in February 1995 and then go on an "extensive" tour in support of it [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

Explaining the band and record name:

The name Snakepit came from the fact that we recorded the demos for this actual album in the room that’s right next to the snake pit, in my house, which is where all the snakes are (laughs). And we just called it Snakepit because it was the easiest thing to come up with. As far as “It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere,” that’s a whole another story. It’s got its obvious connotations, but, basically, I went to England one time with Guns and went to the bar. It was about 10:00 in the morning, and I said, “I know it’s only 10:00, but give me a Jack and Coke; and the bartender looked me dead in the eye and he goes, “It’s 5:00 somewhere.” So it stuck in my head ever since then, and so when we were doing this thing - basically that’s what the whole album is about, you know? It’s 5:00 somewhere, give me a break.

When we went to England, I think it was Donington, we were going to the airport and I was in a really bad mood. I went to the bar at the hotel and I said, "I know it's only 10 o'clock in the morning, but can I have a Jack and coke?" He said "It's five o'clock somewhere." and I've lived by that over since. The whole reason behind the title is it's really wide open. It's five o'clock somewhere, there's something happening going on. With all the pressures of everything I'm dealing with-Guns, the scene, the business-there's a way to get away from it. It's an attitude you take with you.

I picked that [=the name] up from a guy at an airport bar on the way to London to do the Donnington festival about seven or eight years ago. It was ten in the morning, and we were all shagged, beat to shit, and in bad moods. I went to the bar and asked for a double Jack and Coke. I said, "I know it's only ten o'clock." The bartender leaned over and goes, "It's five o'clock somewhere, pal," with a big smile and sincere eyes. All of a sudden it dawned on me, "That's the quest! Where is it five o'clock?" [Laughs.] I never forgot that.

And the cover:

I drew the actual snake thing – you know, the “S” - and then I gave it to my brother, who gave it to one of his employees who spray-painted on a wall, we took a photo of it. And then my dad helped me to art direct it – you know, to put the arrangement together.

In the end, the cover would say "Slash's Snakepit" and Slash would explain that this was a label decision and not his:

I'll show [the cover] to you. (It's a Slash-like snake wearing a top hat with a cigarette butt in its mouth on a red background). My brother Ash did it—he's younger than me so he lost two letters. He has a company called Conart that does street art. This was spray palmed on a wall, 14 feet tall. It says Slash's Snakepit because the record company, in order to boost any kind of interest in the record other than it being a totally new band, wants to put my name on it. If we keep going as a side project for all of us, I'd like to have it reduced down to Snakepit. I'm doing interviews now to get it started but come January well do it together.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

The press would also report that there was a big fight between Slash and Axl over Slash's solo plans, including a rumor that Axl had sued Slash over Slash's decision to use the songs he had worked on on a solo record  [RAW Magazine, November 1994]. RAW Magazine would deny that this rumor was true, but state that the conflict between the two band members was very real [RAW Magazine, November 1994]. Slash's plan was to release his record in February 1995 and then go on an "extensive" tour in support of it [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

By now Slash had chosen his singer, former Jellyfish sideman Eric Dover [RAW Magazine, November 1994]. It would also be reported that Gilby would play with them, and also open the shows with his solo band [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

In December 1994, Slash would say he was allowed to do a solo record as per their contract:

So I did what I said I'd never do, which is a solo record, to get it out of my system. We'd been doing so many ballads and conceptual videos that I started to get a little concerned about where it was going. When you listen to everybody's solo albums you can hear the individual input in Guns. Mine sounds like the aspect of Guns that I am, Duff sounds like the aspect of Guns that he is. I didn't do this to try to knock anybody's socks off, it was more of a personal release. It's within our contracts to do one.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

In early 1995 Slash was asked why Duff wasn't also part of Snakepit:

It would be Guns without Axl if Duff were playing on it.

Talking about his decision to do Snakepit and tour:

A year ago when we came back from 2 1/2 years of playing stadiums. It was hard work, but I like touring, so that part wasn't so bad. But every time I get home from a long stint like that, I would get in a bad place. I wouldn't know what to do. I'm not good at sitting at home, so I would get into whatever drugs. So this time I thought, "I'm not getting strung out again." It's old. It's over. I'm not into doing that anymore.

And discussing how the record was basically how he would like Guns N' Roses to be:

I was hoping it would work with Guns. I was just writing at home, I built a studio, and I was experimenting. […] So I wrote all these songs and played the demo for Axl and he just wasn't interested. I said, "But this is really what I want Guns to do," and he wasn't into it. So I had all this material and Axl had all these lawsuits going on and he wouldn't have time to get into writing at that point anyway. So he sort of suggested I did a solo record.

So the songs are my representation of what Guns would sound like if I was at the helm. And it's probably good that I did it outside of Guns because I explored a lot of avenues I didn't normally get to. I had to write lyrics, and I had to get the melodies, and I had to get the songs into a cohesive state where they were worth showing to anybody. It's a real down to the bare bones kind of record, and I like that.

There's just two guitars, then a lead, and that's it. I've got Gilby playing on one side and me on the other – the same approach that I use for almost any Guns record. In fact I think Use Your Illusion was the most complicated I've ever gotten. I have gotten more into blending an acoustic with an electric lately, though, and there is some acoustic, some slide, some voice-box, some wah-wah pedal, some mandolin, but that's about it. I used the Les Paul, 12-string and the Martin acoustic and a Guild.

During the touring Slash would run into problems when they intended to do a show in San Diego in May, 1995. The San-Diego-based band Snakepit obtained a restraining order against Slash's Snakepit prohibiting them from doing any shows in the area under the "Slash's Snakepit" name [North County Times, May 5, 1995]. A court date was set for June 19 [North County Times, May 5, 1995].

Later Slash would claim the case was thrown out of court but that because of legalities they had decided to not play in San Diego:

After the Snakepit record was done this band popped up. I'd already been calling it Slash's Snakepit. I had the Snakepit name for a long time. At some point after the album was finished I got a phone call from a friend of mine, "Do you know there's a band in San Diego, they call themselves Snakepit?" I had a demo sent over with five songs on it and it's a bunch of girls, it's dated 1994. I didn't want to get into it. But when Eric and I were doing the promo tour we went to San Diego and went to dinner with these chicks. Everything seemed fine. I didn't give a shit if they called their band Snakepit. But I think it was mostly financial. We went to court over it. The judge threw it out of court, there was no case. But they haven't totally gone away. We wanted to play there but the legalities weren't going to be finished in time. We'll be able to go back there at some point.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview from May 15, 1995

In addition it would be reported that the record had only sold 77,000 units by May 8, and had fallen out of top-200 [New York Daily News, May 8, 1995]. Rumours stated that Geffen was angry Axl had dismissed the material, concluding the material would have done much better if it had been released by Guns N' Roses [New York Daily News, May 8, 1995].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:57 am


In 1994, the press would report that there was a big fight between Slash and Axl over Slash's solo plans, including a rumor that Axl intended to sue Slash over his decision to use the songs he had worked on on a solo record [Kerrang!, November 5, 1994: RAW Magazine, November 1994].

According to the rumor, Axl didn't want Slash to release all the songs that Slash, Matt and Gilby had been writing, on Slash' solo record, but instead keep them for Guns N' Roses [Kerrang! November 5, 1994]. This is interesting considering earlier reports that Axl and Duff had rejected the material flat-out. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding or perhaps Axl wanted them, or some of them, for a future release.

Slash would also comment upon this paradox:

I played Axl the material when it was in demo form and he said he didn’t want to do that kind of music anymore. Then after the record was done, he said he wanted to do it. ... To this day I don’t know where Axl’s head is at.

And talk in more detail about how it happened:

[Axl] just wanted these certain songs and he didn't like them at first. And this is way before Snakepit even became like, a reality. This is when I was just writing at home. And he didn't like them. So I was like: "Cool".

You know, it's sorta like old Guns stuff and then all of a sudden, after the album was finished, he goes: "Remember those tapes I have. You know, I want to...". He didn't know we'd finished the record. And he goes: "This song, this song, this song, this song and this song." And I went: "Dude, we finished it already. It's gone". And he goes: "You couldn't have done an album in two weeks." I said: "Oh yeah. I can". You can do that. And it turned into a big fight.

At one point [Axl] didn't like the songs, and all of a sudden he wanted them and the [Snakepit] record was already done. That set me off. What the is that? It turned into a bit of a fight.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview from May 15, 1995

More specifically, the "big fight" including Axl threatening to sue Slash:

I took off and then he threatened to sue me, because he wanted the material back that I'd written and already recorded.

In an interview in March 1995, Slash would say that the songs had been rejected because Axl "was going through a Pearl Jam period at the time" [Associated Press/Greenville News. March 3, 1995], possibly indicating that Axl's fascination with Pearl Jam had by now subsided and that this made him more positive to the music Slash had written.

Slash would also later claim that Axl had encouraged him to take the songs for a Slash solo record:

At one point I was actually encouraged to do a solo record because this material was a little bit, as Axl put it, 'too retro.’ So I just took the material and said, 'It’s mine now.’ […] He got pretty upset about that but he did say do a solo record. But then two weeks later it was done. […] That sorta blew his mind.

I was hoping it would work with Guns. I was just writing at home, I built a studio, and I was experimenting.[…] It's a simple studio and Matt would be there to help me arrange the stuff. […] So I wrote all these songs and played the demo for Axl and he just wasn't interested. I said, "But this is really what I want Guns to do," and he wasn't into it. So I had all this material and Axl had all these lawsuits going on and he wouldn't have time to get into writing at that point anyway. So he sort of suggested I did a solo record.

Axl at some point decided that he wanted certain songs back and they were already - the album was already finished by that point. It sort of was a shock to him that it was done so quickly, you know? And then he was like, “Well, I want those songs back,” and I was like, “No, it’s too late, they’re gone.”

RAW Magazine would later deny that the litigation rumor was true, but state that the conflict between the two band members was very real [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

Slash would comment on the litigation:

Legally, it's all verbal stuff. We have never gone into litigation of any kind with this. Axl just thought that the songs were rightfully Guns' because they were written with the intention of them being Guns songs. I disagree.

[A lawsuit] was brought up; I’m surprised that anybody knew about that - I never went public with it. What happened basically is ever since Guns N’ Roses... even when they first started, it’s always been my thing to be the glue that keeps things organised. That’s always what I’ve done. Not to say that Axl or Duff don’t help, it’s just that that’s always been my thing. I live, sleep, breathe Guns N’ Roses. That’s all I ever did.

So all of a sudden for me to get up and disappear really blew Axl’s mind, ’cos he’s always had me to lean on. All of a sudden he wants to do a record. Now, I’ve waited around for years at a time for him, so when I ended up hanging out with these guys and made a record...

Axl had a tape of demos with no vocals on it that he turned down on me, so I said, ‘Okay, well no big deal, I’ll write more stuff, whatever you don’t like about this particular direction ... What direction do you want to go? Because I’m not really sure what you’re getting at because I wanted to do a real hard, back-to-basics kind of thing?’. So he wasn’t sure and we really weren’t getting on that well: he fired Gilby and that started a whole big slew of f**kin, you know, that caused a mess between us for a while. Then Eric, Matt, Gilby, Mike and myself went in the studio to do a record like that! (snaps his fingers).

All of a sudden Axl decides he wants some of the songs back and I go, ‘They’re gone!’ And he goes, ‘You couldn’t have done a record that fast!’ I said, ‘Well, it’s done!’. So he says, ‘Well, I’m gonna sue you!’. ‘Like, for what?’. ‘Because they’re supposed to be Guns N’ Roses material!’. ‘No they’re not, I wrote them!’.

He has this sort of distorted image in his head that because I’m such a part of Guns N’ Roses that anything that comes out between this hand and this hand is Guns’ material. At the time I wasn’t thinking about doing any kind of side-project or starting another band, I was just writing. I was sitting around the house, I had a new studio, and when he said he didn’t like them I was like, ‘Cool! Whatever!’.

Then I started hanging out with these guys and we had such a good time I thought, ‘We should record this, because we have a decent band,’ so we went and did it. Then he was like, ‘Woah, wait a second, slow down!’. Axl moves at like a quarter of the speed that I do. That’s always been one of the issues with Guns N’ Roses, that’s just the way it is, always has been. I mean, Axl’s awesome but sometimes I need to get back to having to get to work on time. I need that drive. Not just be some sort of lazy Rock star waiting around till whenever.


[Axl] just works slower. He takes things a little bit more seriously than I do. And he has to wait till the timing’s right, and this and that. I mean, I can write a song at the same time as falling out of a car! I just sort of do what I do and I don’t like to think about it too much, whereas he does like to think about it. So that’s one of the things, opposites attract; that’s one of the great things between the two of us, but at the same time this happened so quickly for him he was like, ‘Woah! Woah! Stop! What happened?”

Being asked if Axl really threated to sue him::

Yeah, yeah, but we worked it out. That’s just Axl’s way.

It would also be speculated that Axl owed the band name and logo and could in theory continue the band with a new lineup [Kerrang! November 5, 1994; RAW Magazine, November 1994].

Looking back:

The typical fights between guys in bands, between Axl and I, have been blown way out of proportion. There was a little bit of concern about me taking off to do [Slash’s Snakepit], but I really needed to do it. I need to get that vibe back. I don’t want to feel like some unobtainable rock-star character. This is grounding me.

In February 1995, Slash would say he and Axl had "come to terms" with the fact that Slash had taken the songs for himself:

And so we’ve come to terms about it at this point, but there was a little bit of friction there for a while.

Slash would also imply that Axl considered all music Slash makes while a band member of Guns N' Roses as belonging to Guns N' Roses, and that he didn't like Slash's collaborations with other artists:

[…] [Axl]’s got this distorted vision, or thought, that when I apply my talents to the guitar - or however we wanna call it – that it’s automatically Guns N’ Roses material, which isn’t the case. That means Lenny Kravitz stuff, Iggy Pop, Michael Jackson and Carole King would all be Guns N’ Roses material (laughs). That’s not the case at all.

When I first got into this thing, there were certain songs he wanted back, like he thought anything – like any time that I apply this hand and this hand with a guitar in between, it’s supposed to be designated Guns N’ Roses material, Guns territory, which wasn’t the case.

In an interview published on March 1, 1995, Slash would claim the Snakepit songs hadn't been intended for Guns N' Roses:

I didn’t write them for anybody! […] I’d have a riff and Matt would come up with a beat, and by the end of the day we’d have a song. We didn’t take it so seriously ’cos we had no reason to.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:10 am


In the first half of 1994, The Rolling Stones would finish their upcoming album The Voodoo Lounge in Los Angeles, and Slash would hang out with Keith Richards [The Chicago Tribute, February 3, 1995]. Then, when The Stones toured the album and came to The Rose Bowl in Pasadena in late October, Slash and Renee would have seats for the show:

We were saving a couple of seats for our friends who went to the bathroom, and these other people tried to take them. I said, ‘These seats are taken,’ they start arguing, and we said, ‘[Expletive] you’ and left. The next day, Keith calls, all ticked off. Turns out the people we argued with are his in-laws.

I can’t count all the magazines I’ve read, and how, whether true or not, that’s how we get to know about our rock star heroes. That’s all I ever expected as a kid. And now suddenly it’s gotten to the point where I’m getting yelled at by Keith Richards. One way or another, that’s sorta cool.

Late in the year, Slash would say state "as much as Keith hates me right now for fucking telling his in-laws off" [Metal Hammer, November 1995], but this could have been said jokingly.

Slash would mention the 2000:

[Being told he is like Keith Richard's apprentice]: Don’t ever let him hear that. He’ll f- with me. I’ve been on his bad side, I know. […] Um, I pissed off his f- wife’s parents. I didn’t know who they were. But he’s totally cool as long as he gets to be Keith and I’m just the younger kid. It's a seniority thing.

Slash would allude to the "seniority thing" in another interview from 2000 where Slash listed Richards on his "villain" list:

I think this one is self-explanatory. He once pulled a knife on me in a hotel room. I don’t know for what reason, I guess just to let me know who’s boss. But it wasn’t a big knife, just one of those little Chinese jobs. He’s like the classic villain.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:17 am


In October 1994 it would reported that the band had recorded a cover of Rolling Stones' 'Sympathy for the Devil' [Los Angeles Times, October 27, 1994; MTV, October 1994] intended for release on January 2, 1995 [Raw Magazine, November 1994]. The song would be featured on the soundtrack for the movie 'Interview with a Vampire' [Raw Magazine, November 1994]. In an interview in February 1995, Slash would say that they were in the studio "doing" 'Sympathy for the Devil' on Halloween 1994, in other words on October 31, 1994 [The Howard Stern Show, February 1, 1995].

Slash would say he had thought it was a good idea to just to get the band together again:

It was an offer that I thought it was a great plot to get Guns more or less together and just start working as a unit. But I think we pulled it off really well, compared to a lot of other bands that would have been offered to do it, that I don’t think could have gotten to the vibe as well.

In an early interview Slash had listed "Interview wit a Vampire" as his favorite book [Metal Edge, January 1989], so naturally it was important to him that the film came out right. When hearing who would play in the movie, Slash was critical:

The movie is about a subject matter I’m very romantic about. It was like this gothic brat pack thing. I like Brad Pitt, but I like him better as a hick. […] ['Sympathy' was] a song that didn’t need to be copied.

Tom Cruise? As Lestat? I don’t think so. I think it’s going to be pretty lousy. But I went to go see the screening anyway, as a favor, and the Stones version was in there at the time and I thought it was fine, because the movie bored me to tears. Axl, of course - always being my nemesis, right? – went and saw it, and loved it. So he goes, “Let’s do the song.” I thought it would be a great vehicle to get everybody’s creative juices flowing and sort of start getting geared towards the next Guns record.
The O-Zone, February 1995

Slash would also say that Axl wanted to do it, and that Slash saw it as an opportunity to "get the band into one room and get die wheels rolling for what would be pre-production for the next Guns album" [Detroit Free Press, December 22, 1994]. But things didn't plan out that way. According to Slash, Axl didn't show up resulting in Slash, Matt and Duff having to figure out their parts on their own [Detroit Free Press, December 22, 1994].

In late 1994 and early 1995, Slash would talk more about how it went down:

A few months ago. Got a phone call from [Geffen A&R man) Tom Zutaut who said, "I want you to do me a favor. David Geffen's doing this movie and they really want you to do 'Sympathy for the Devil' in it." Originally they had the Stones' version in it. I asked who's in it, and he said Tom Cruise.' I know the story backwards and forwards and I said, ''Tom Cruise as Lestat?" They told me the whole cast and I thought, "the new brat pack" So I went to a screening for it, and I'm such a horror fan that it didn't do it for me. It was well made and Tom tried his best, you gotta give him credit for that. Everyone has to take their chances so I'm not gonna knock it but I didn't like the movie that much. I fell asleep at one point. I left before the lights went on so I wouldn't have to answer questions. Axl went to see it the next day and he liked it, which is ironic. So typical. He didn't know I hated it. He saw stuff in it that I didn't and vice versa. He wanted to do the song so I said we'd do it. I wanted to do the movie because it would get the band together in one room and maybe start getting things rolling. It didn't work. Matt, Duff and I got together In the studio and did the music—we're the brick-layers, you know—and Axl came in later and did the vocals. Matt, Duff, and I rocked, that part of it was great, but it didn't do what I hoped. The single isn't that huge. The fact that it's related to a Tom Cruise movie and it's a cover, it was a sacrifice made to try and do something positive but ended up being like, whatever.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

There's a funny story to 'Sympathy...'. When the movie came out (in the US) a couple of months ago, Geffen called and said, 'Could you do us a favour?'. That movie coming out was a big issue for me, because the books (The Vampire Trilogy by Anne Rice) were great. They have a real kind of passion in there — a sort of dark romanticism — and I'm a real heavy-duty, old-time vampire horror movie freak. And it was like Tom Cruise AND Brad Pitt. No f**king way! So I got this call saying would we do 'Sympathy For The Devil' for the movie.

I thought, 'Well okay, maybe it will be a vehicle to get the band back together and get the wheels in motion for some pre-production stuff. So I went to the screening in one of those stiff theatres full of showbiz f**king suits, and I'm half asleep! I'm not having a good time, and I couldn't just get up and leave, so I was trying to be cool.

I started smoking cigarettes, which is not something you're meant to do in an LA cinema... it's like murder! So I got up and left before the lights went out. I have to say Tom Cruise did the best he could, but the film's laughable to me. The Stones' version of the song was playing in the screening in the same place ours was meant to be.

Anyway, I got up and went home. I called Doug [Goldstein] and said, 'Leave it: the Stones version's fine! There's no need to do a song that doesn't need to be redone!'.

Then Axl went to see the film the next day, and it's inevitable that he likes it and comes out of the movie completely at odds with me! It just goes with the territory — I love this singer/lead guitarist relationship in bands... it's just f**king stupid!

So Axl went and saw it and said he loved it. He was ecstatic. 'Let's do the song!' he says. So I said, 'Okay'. We show up at the studio... who shows up? Matt, Duff and I. That was it.

While we were doing it, we literally had to write down how many bars each section was, because without vocals you don't know where the next change is going to come. But we got it done and the guitar solos on and everything […].

We were supposed – I figured we would all show up, and Duff and Matt and I showed up. So we were sort of like to brick layers, we got the music down, then Axl showed up a couple of days later with his entourage.

[Recording 'Sympathy'] didn't do what I was hoping it would do – let's just leave it at that. When it came down to it, there was only three of us there together and then Axl did his part on his own.

Tom Zutaut called up and asked for a favor, and he said, “Would you do Sympathy For The Devil for David Geffen’s movie?” I talked to Axl about it and Axl said, “No, I don’t wanna do it.” And I said, “I’m gonna see the movie” - you know, see a screening. I saw the screening and I was bored to tears; one of the worst vampire movies I’ve ever seen, actually, and I can say that without feeling bad about it, because I love vampires and horror movies, and all that. So I went home and I said, “Nah, the Stones version” – it was already in the movie – “is fine. Just leave it.” And then Axl went to see it and loved it. So it was like, “Okay, no problem.” He said, “Let’s do the song” and so I said, “Fine.” I thought this could be a good vehicle to get Guns N’ Roses in one room and get the wheels turning for a new record. The only thing is, Matt and Duff and me were the only ones that showed up, and Axl took a few days.

Well, it’s a Geffen release for one. We got a phone call from David Geffen asking if we'd be interested in doing it. And I was sort of, ehh, you know. I went and saw a screening of it just to make the effort, just to see what was going on. The scene where the song is featured, it had the Stones’ ver­sion there and as far as I was concerned, the coolest scene was the closing scene - and I thought, well, the Stones' version sounds fine. But, they really wanted us to do it, so basically, me, Matt and Duff just went in and got the basics down. Axl went in later and did the vocals. That was it. But, it's nice because it’s totally featured as opposed to being on a - you know in movies, instead being on a stereo in the background of a party with people talking over it or off a boom box or something like that - it goes all the way up to the credits. You don't hear any dialogue or anything like that. It should sound good. I haven't seen the movie with our version in it. My wife's going to go check it out at the screening - I'm not going to go. I can't be bothered to go. You know, "The Premier." Waving to the people and stuff. Tom Cruise there — no. But, she's going to go and I just said, well tell me how it sounds.

It didn't work. We didn't all show up at the same time in the studio -- put it that way. And that was pretty indicative of what I didn't want to happen.

Well, what happened was when I went to see the movie, it was a screening. A friend had asked us to do it for a favour so we went along. I was like, Tom Cruise is the star? I don't think so. But I went along. I was bored to tears. And I'm really passionate about horror movies and Dracula. Anyway, finally, finally the end of the movie came and the Stones' version of 'Sympathy' was on it and it was fine. So I said, leave it. Then Axl went, loved the movie; I don't know why. Well I do. If I don't like it he'll like it, if I don't he will. So Axl wanted to do that song. I went along with it because I thought his enthusiasm might get the Guns N' Roses wheels in motion again.

And when Axl came in to lay down his vocals, he brought Paul Huge with him who laid down his own guitar track on the song, to compliment Slash's.

Then Axl went on to go do the vocals, and he brought another guitar player with him. It was a guy that’s from Indiana, who I can’t stand; and he sort of added a little rhythm guitar there. They also put little answers on my guitar solo, my first one – there’s two solos in the song. The first one, if you listen to it, you’ll hear my guitar, and then there’s little teeny little thing in the background; so that fucked me off. As a result, we ended up doing another cover song, of a song that didn’t need to be covered, for a lame movie and it didn’t do anything for the band. So it was an effort made, but an effort that was wasted, too.
The O-Zone, February 1995

We went in and did the music, then Axl came in to do the vocals… but he also brought this other guitar player in. That really pissed me off. And this was a guy that I can't stand. As far as I was concerned it just ended up as a cover of a song that didn't need to be covered.

Slash would discover that Axl had invited Paul Huge in to lay down guitar tracks when 'Sympathy' was being mixed, on October 31, 1994. This caused a severe rift between Slash and Axl [see later chapter].

Although the song would not be released until December 1994, radio stations would already be playing advance copies and Geffen would claim to not know who actually played on the song, except that it was "Guns N' Roses" [Detroit Free Press, November 25, 1994].

Being asked if they would make a video for the single:

No, there is no video. We didn't shoot a video. We were the last thing in production of the movie. We were the last considera­tion and they really had to rush it out. The timing wasn't right to get a video done. As long as we got the song done, you know?

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:39 pm


In November 1994 Axl would be reported to intend to revive the label Uzi Suicide which Guns N' Roses had used to launch their first EP back in 1986 [Kerrang! November 4, 1994; RAW Magazine, November 1994]. With distribution lined up via Geffen, Axl organized a showcase gig for Geffen executives on October featuring four of the bands he was interested in: Soul, Davy's Farm, Salt Of The Earth and The Assassins [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

The Assassins featured Axl's brother Stuart Bailey on guitar. Bailey was previously best-known as a vocalist with Dr. Whiskey. The Assassins' music, which Bailey has a hand in writing, is in the currently hot Southern Rock vein being pursued by the likes of Pride & Glory and Blind Melon [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

Uzi Suicide obtained the rights to Hanoi Rocks' back catalogue in 1990 [Kerrang! November 5, 1994] and re-released it all in the US in 1993 [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

In January 1995, Axl would be said to devote his time looking for new bands to sign to Uzi Suicide while Slash was occupied with Snakepit [Kerrang! January 14, 1995].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:22 pm


Despite Slash explicitly stating Gilby was out of the band in June 1994, no official statement was released by Geffen, Gilby would not confirm he was out, and media would continue to speculate that he might still be in the band.

In October and November, with Gilby being on tour, the rumours were again spreading [Orange County Register, November 25, 1994]. Again, Gilby would still not explicitly state he was out of the band, but indicate that if the band wanted him again he would be there:

I mean, I have no idea what’s going [with my position in GN'R] on right now. I really don’t. […]  I haven’t spoken to some of the guys in a long time.

The most important thing is that Guns N' Roses won't ever, ever go away. Guns N' Roses is pretty much Axl, Slash and Duff. It's what and when they decide to make an album, the rest of us have to work around that album. Some of the members will change over the years. But as long as Axl, Slash and Duff want to make a record together, it'll continue.

I'm really at their mercy as to when they decide they want to do things. It could be a year, and I just don't think it's very productive to sit around and wait.

Yet, in late November it would be reported that Gilby was no longer a members of GN'R when he "finally decided this fall that there wasn't a place for him in the band" [Arizona Daily Star, November 25, 1994].

The realization that he was really, undeniably, out of the band probably came with the song 'Sympathy for the Devil' which was recorded in October 1994, recording sessions for which Gilby had not been invited. In fact,on October 8 Gilby would be asked when the band last rehearsed together and claim it had been a year ago [MTV Headbanger's Ball, October 8, 1994], indicating he wasn't aware of the 'Sympathy' recording having taken place. Although the song would not be released until December 1994, radio stations would already be playing advance copies and Geffen would refuse to answer who played on the song [Detroit Free Press, November 25, 1994].

When Guns N’ Roses did that project for the ‘Interview with the Vampire’ soundtrack, I was no part of it. I didn’t even know about it. I was out doing my tour and didn’t know anything about it.

And in January 1995, Gilby would also finally admit he was out, but spin it like was him who had quit the band [AP/Daily World, January 16, 1995; Argus Leader, January 19, 1995]. Gilby would also state musical differences with Axl as the reason for leaving the band:

Axl Rose has a different vision for the next Guns ’N Roses album and it’s not the kind of music I’m comfortable playing.

How I feel about it is, Slash and Matt are two of the best friends I’ve had in the world. It was a fun ride. I’m glad I did it, and I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t replace it for the world. But some of the ideas that Axl has about the band, I don’t feel comfortable with it. It’s to the point, I really don’t care what happens. I’m doing what I want to do and having fun.

What really prompted the decision is that the band has been in limbo for the last year. I just don’t really fit in anymore. […] I’ve spoken to the band many times about how they want the next record to sound. The sound Axl wants is not compatible with the way I play guitar. That’s why I’ve always done my solo work and the record they wanted to do.

Later, in 1997, Gilby would mention that he was supposed to discuss his future in Guns N' Roses with Axl after returning from his tour, but that this didn't happen:

We never talked when it was all done. It was clear I wasn’t part of the band any more.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:27 pm


As stated by Slash, one of the guitarists brought in to potentially replace Gilby when he as fired in June 1994, was Paul Huge, Axl's friend from Indiana. Later on, after Slash, Duff and Matt had recorded their parts for 'Sympathy for the Devil' in September or October 1994, Axl came in to lay down his vocals and brought along Paul again.

[Axl] brought with him a guitar player from Indiana he used to hang with, and that helped ruin what I thought was going to be a cool version of the song. In other words, it didn’t provide any vehicle for getting the band back together.

And then there was another guitar player that Axl wanted to use which I didn't like, I didn't like him. And Axl turned around and put him on the record as well and I was pretty pissed off about that. He is answering my guitar solos with his guitar solos. It sounds really bad but... whatever.

[…] then Axl went in to do vocals... and the next thing you know, there's this 'answer' guitar going on during my guitar solo! It's Paul Huge!

I will probably never forgive Axl for that. But we've talked about it. We made a deal that if Paul ever plays on anything, then I should at least be told first, because it really took me off guard. I wasn't there when he did it.

Axl likes the song. I haven't listened to it since it was mixed. It's not like it was lousy guitar playing or anything; I think it's how it went down. If people like it, then fine. I haven't gone to see the movie again because I don't think I could bear it.

That's one of the biggest, most personal things that Axl and I have gone through. It really pissed me off that he brought in an outside guitar player without ever telling me.

I told Axl I refuse to play with this guy. That’s where a lot of the so-called fighting rumors that you’ve heard - which are blown way out of proportion - came from.

Media would report on Paul replacing Gilby and compliment the Paul's guitar playing, likely to Slash's frustrations:

Huge, Clarke's (temporary?) replacement, is an unheard of musician who has known Axl Rose from the years when the pair lived in Indiana. Axl is thought to be keen for Huge to combine with GN'R on a permanent basis, following a spate of successful rehearsals and the new man's tasty playing on 'Sympathy...', where his guitar lines twist together perfectly with Slash's.

The following quote would also indicate that Slash's dislike of Paul went beyond the fact that he had been included on 'Sympathy' without Slash's knowledge or consultation, but stemmed from when they first met and played together after Gilby had been fired:

I never liked that guy from day one.

And in January 1995, when referring to the band's effort to replace Gilby Slash would refer to Paul as "that idiot" [Much Music, January 1995].

I hate that guy. That’s Paul. That’s a whole another story. […] Paul is just a friend of Axl’s, and he brought Paul in without telling me. And I got really angry, cuz the main thing is the band, you know, and getting the band together. So it’s not like you hire a bunch of session people and make Guns N’ Roses. It doesn’t work that way.

And later as a "fucking asshole":

Before [Zakk Wylde], we had this friend of Axl's, Paul, who basically couldn't play that well. He played on 'Sympathy for the Devil.' Fuckin' asshole. I hate that guy. He didn't work out, so I'm not really sure where the fuck that shit's headed. I'll deal with it when I get back off the road.

In a later quote from an anonymous friend of the band, it would be said that Paul simply wasn't good enough:

Nice enough guy. But they're Guns N' Roses for God's sake - great band, great players. He's not that good. Doesn't have the chop.

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:13 pm


Rumours were flourishing and one was that Goldstein considered managing The Stone Roses and quitting Guns N' Roses [Kerrang! January 14, 1995]. In the end, this turned out to not be true.

Despite the rumour being true, an increasing divide between Axl and Goldstein on one side, and the rest of the band seemed to have been building up. In an interview from 2000, Slash would perhaps shed som light on this when he blamed management for losing money during the Use Your Illusions tour:

The Use your illusion world tour was supposed to be the high point in our lives - when you’re one of the biggest rock bands in the world and you’re headlining with Metallica and doing stadiums, and you can do basically whatever the fuck you want. But somehow, some way, between management and Axl and whatever other elements that were involved, when the tour ended we had lost a ton of money.

This could also be colored by the fact that not long before this interview, Goldstein had filed a lawsuit against Slash and Duff, for monies claimed to be owed [see later chapter].

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:14 pm


As 1995 came along, the band was still without a replacement for Gilby. The band had worked with Paul Huge (both in the summer of 1994 and then later when he came in and added guitar to the Sympathy for the Devil) but Slash was adamant about not wanting to work with him. They had also tested other guitarists, but so far nothing had really clicked.

Right now there's a big hole on second guitar.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994


Then, in January 1995, Axl invited Zakk Wylde to come and play with them [RAW, March 1, 1995] and replace Gilby [Detroit Free Press, April 24, 1995].

We did that thing in Wembley, me and Slash, that Night Of 100 Guitars, and just recently Pride & Glory played the Troubadour in LA and Slash came and jammed there. So then the guys asked me if I wanted to come down and jam with them, get some tunes together, and I said, `Yeah, cool, man'!

Yeah - [Axl] said, `Dude, why don't you come and write some songs and we'll see what happens. If it works out, great, it'd be a blast'. He just said, `Hey, maybe we'll be in a band together!'. So we jammed together for just over a week, we jammed over a whole bunch of shit and came out with three pretty cool ideas. That was with the whole band: Axl, Slash, Dizzy, Duff, Matt and me. We were all just jammin' together and havin' a blast.

Slash said he’d only play with Les Paul or me, and Axl said, ‘I may be wrong, but I don’t think Les is gonna want to tour anytime soon. Let’s call Zakk. We did (Ozzmosis), and Ozzy asked me what’s up. Then, Axl called me up and said ‘Let’s do some jammin’.’
Ink 19, December 24, 1999

Slash had previously expressed admiration for Zakk Wylde's playing, and it is likely Axl thought Slash would appreciate the opportunity to play with Wylde after all the problems with Paul Huge:

Something happened and [Wylde and I] met and kept in touch on the phone - through a girl, a mutual friend, sort of thing. So when he was here in LA with Ozzy I went to see him at his hotel and we hung out for a while. I had one of my surplus bottles of Jack with me and we went up to his room and got fried. We had a good time, we jammed. He plays Les Paul like I do, and he plays sort of like the same kind of stuff that I’m into, but, like, four times as fast... He’s a good guy, a good guitarist. That’s what I like in people - at least in my so-called peers and stuff - is just real people.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988

Zakk Wylde is cool.

Slash would later state something to that effect:

[Axl] was adamant that he didn't want to write with Gilby, and he wanted to explore some other kind of writing approach. He's always had this vision of teaming me up with a guitar player that's going to stretch my boundaries, whereas I still come from the old Guns N' Roses school where I do what I do and he does what he does. Getting two lead players to meet eye to eye is difficult, not to mention overflowing the record with self-indulgent guitars.
Guitar Player, May 1995; interview from December 1994

Wylde was excited:

When I talked with Axl I said it'd be way cool that Slash and I could do harmonies together, crazy shit that'd be fun to play, and the whole band ended up jammin'.

When I was asked about jammin' with the guys, I thought it'd be way cool because I love the band, I think they're great. And I love Slash as a guitarist, I really love listening to his guitar playing - him and (Alice In Chains star) Jerry Cantrell are my peers that I dig listening to.

[Axl] wasn't all, 'Financially, this would be a great move if the band does this and that...'. He just said 'I wanna play some f**kin' tunes and I like the shit you did with Ozzy. It'd be great to get together and jam with the guys'. And it was great.

Bottom line, [Axl]'s just a normal dude to me. Shit maybe happened in the past because things haven't been going great. He has downs, he wants to kick ass and gets pissed if something isn't right.

It wasn't like he's this 'weirdo', and the bottom line is that if someone gave me a weirdo head-case trip - and I wouldn't care if it was Robert Plant! - I'd tell 'em to go f**k themselves. I need that like a hole in the head.

Axl isn't like that. He just wants to jam and he told me he's bored as f**k and wants to jam.

Wylde was not sure if anything would come out of this one week of jamming:

That's where it pretty much stands right now-things are up in the air. I mean, I have crazy shit happening with my stuff. I'm also doing my work with Oz and there's no telling what will happen in the future. I think the guys in Guns are f**kin' awesome, and hangin' with Axl when I have, we've had a f**kin' great time talkin' and jammin'.

[Axl] said it sounded f**kin' killer. He's got a batch of good ideas, piano things that sound really cool. I have a bunch and I look forward to jammin' some more, seeing if they work out.

But it's all up in the air right now, I ain't a member of Guns N' Roses. Who knows what'll happen, but if the guys say after a record that it would be great if I'd do the tour then that'd be great, but who knows?

And discussing what the music sounded like:

A mixture of both [Metal and more Southern sounding], really. The stuff we've been dicking around with is just heavy hardcore stuff with the whole band jamming it. But I'm having a good time, and I'll tell ya, the only thing that'd stop me from doin' the Oz record, my own thing and jammin' with Guns is if I was a lazy asshole who watched TV and drunk beer all f**kin' day!

Duff would later also talk about the music they had worked on with Wylde in the band:

[…] when Zakk Wylde and Slash played together, there were a couple of songs in which there was a natural progression and they were very rocking. You can imagine, they were really hard songs. As hard as I like them, yeah! But I can't tell you what they sounded like, there was not a definite sound. […] I liked [playing with Zakk] a lot. He's a good guy. He's the funniest guy I know! You can't help but liking him. I worked with him and the guy is a genius. When he sits at the piano and starts playing, he can bring tears to your eyes. When he was 18 he was like the champion of his state playing the piano.

Interestingly, in early 1995 it would also be speculated that Axl considered Wylde a potential replacement for Slash, but that Wylde was not interested in it [Kerrang! January 14, 1995].

Slash would also cool the rumours about Wylde joining the band, saying it had been just a "buddy thing":

And then we jammed with Zakk. But Zakk’s, like – he’s a good friend, so he’d just been jamming. We haven’t made some sort of finalized decision as to who’s gonna be the new guitar player. […] [Wylde]’s in Ozzy right now, as as far as his relationship with Guns in concerned, it’s sort of like – it’s more like a buddy thing, where we’re just hanging and sort of jamming some stuff, so...

And later Slash would go in more detail about why it hadn't worked out:

Zakk is just a good friend we jammed with, because now that Gilby is not in the band, Axl was like, “What about Zakk? You like Zakk, right?” And I was like, “Yeah.” But we don’t sound right. It doesn’t sound right with, like, two heavy lead guitar players. There’s no, like, the off – usually Guns N’ Roses uses an off rhythm and a main lead sort of riff. So now me and Zakk just play the same thing; but that’s just because we’re both lead guitar players. So as much as I love Zakk, we haven’t made any decision. I told Axl I’m gonna be gone till August touring with Snakepit, and we’ll talk about it when I get back.

And we tried out different guitar players, did that whole bullshit thing with Zakk... Just to get that story straight, it's nothing against Zakk, it was just not the right... I love jamming with Zakk on his own, as a separate entity, but in Guns N' Roses it doesn't sound right.

Zakk jammed with the band for a really short period of time and it just didn't work out.

Zakk Wylde was hanging with us for a while, and we sounded like Ozzy and Roses.

As far as Zakk goes, I think Axl wanted to write with him, but me and Zakk playing together in the band would sound like Ozzy N Roses. I love Zakk, but not in the context of the band.

As far as Zakk is concerned, he was there. I rehearsed with Zakk for like two days. I think he is a great guitar player. The problem is taking two lead guitar players and trying to get a lead-rhythm thing happening. We play the same guitar style at the same volume. There's no texture there.

And in the end Slash faxed Wylde:

Man, when I was there, there was no synths or no bullshit, just jammin’, and it all looked good. But once you get the lawyers and that horseshit involved, they slow the process down like molasses in January. I got a fax from Slash saying they wouldn’t need my services, and Ozzy got Joe Holmes to play on the tour, so I wound up doing Book of Shadows.
Ink 19, December 24, 1999

This fax was most likely sent before Slash went on tour with Slash's Snakepit, so in late January or February 1995, or possibly after Slash returned from touring.

In May, Slash would say that Wylde have jammed with them "a couple of times" [Metal Edge Magazine, October 1994; interview from May 15, 1995].

It seems like the jamming with Wylde would be the last Slash would do with GN'R before going on tour with Snakepit, starting om March 1, 1995 [see later section].

Yet, just before Slash went on tour, Slash would indicate that Wylde may be a member of the band and that he had a problem with that:

If Zakk’s (Wylde) gonna be in the band, that’s an issue which ... we were just jamming. There was never any decision when I left to do this. When I said, 'I’ll be back in August,’ we hadn't come to any definitive decision as to who was gonna be the rhythm guitarist. I love Zakk. He’s a lot of fun, but we don’t sound like Guns N’ Roses with two lead Heavy Metal guitar players. It just sounds different. But if that’s supposed to be the case when I get back, we’ll talk about it, so I have no idea where it stands right now.

This could indicate that the fax was sent after Slash returned from the tour.

This also suggests that the band's interaction with Wylde wasn't over after the jamming in January,


Wylde's connection with Guns N' Roses lasted for about 6 months, and that he jammed with the band also after Slash had left to tour with Snakepit.

Yeah, I was jamming with them for about six months.
Classic Rock, April 2002

This sheds some light on the rumour that Axl had considered replacing Slash with Wylde.

This quote from Wylde is likely when Axl called him up again, likely after Slash had gone on tour, and implies that Wylde had talked to Axl earlier about missing lyrics:

Axl called me up and said, "Hey, you want to get together and do some jamming?" I'd say "Dude, did you come up with any lyrics yet?" And he's just like, "Dude, I got people suing me right now." He's on the phone with his lawyers 24-7. He was, like, "I can't come up with any lyrics right now-they'd be about every other lawsuit I got going."

Wylde would later talk about the state of the music in this period:

There were never any melodies. There were never any lyrics. […] The poor fuckin' guy's got every fuckin' cunt trying to sue his ass. I'd be on the phone with him. He'd be telling me about all these strategic moves his lawyers were making. I was listening to him playing Axis and Allies on the fuckin' phone.

And how he was drawn in different directions:

[…] Axl (Rose) called me up and he's like, "Dude, you wanna do some jammin'?" and all this shit. So I'd be writing and doin' demos over at Duff's house - basically, the stuff I was writing was pretty much Black Label. Then Ozzy was like, "Zakk, you gonna do the tour?" and I said, "Oz, I don't know the fuck's going on with the Guns guys." And I told Axl, "Dude, can't be dickin' Ozzy around. You guys gotta let me know what the fuck's goin' on?" Then, you know, once you get fuckin' lawyers and managers fuckin' involved, suddenly everybody's on the clock and everything takes fucking five trillion fucking years to get done. You know what I mean? So I finally told Ozzy, "Oz, I don't know what the fuck is going on with these guys" and he said, "Zakk, I gotta get somebody else" and I was "All right, dude, I understand" but after that, you know, the Guns thing kinda ... nothing, nothing really ... it didn't end ... nothing. I said, fuck this, I got all these fuckin' tunes lying around, you know what, fuck it! I'm just gonna do 'em. And that's pretty much how Black Label was born.
Rough Edge, 1999

Talking about how it never happened:

I think what happened was you got all the lawyers and all those motherfuckers working together, and all that bullshit. I just saw [Axl] not too long ago in the studio when we were doin’ our BLS record, and Axl’s like, ‘Well, Zakk, I heard you wanted $5 million upfront and your own tour bus.’ And I go, ‘Fuck me, what do you think, I’m some kind of fuckin’ whore?’ I said, ‘At least $9 million, motherfucker!’ No, we’re still buds, and I hope everything works out with what he’s doin’.
L.A. Weekly, August 30, 2000

I saw Axl about a year and a half ago, when I was working on 'Stronger Than Death'. He was in the next studio . We were drinking beers all night, and Del James asked why it never worked out between us. Axl says: "Well, Zakk, I heard you wanted two million up front and your own tour bus." And I said: "Do you think I'm some dishrag whore, you motherfucker? I want nine million and two tour buses!" We were all laughing about it.

But it didn't happen because once you get lawyers involved, and managers and agents and all that bullshit going on... I looked at Axl and asked: "Who tells you this shit? If I get two songs on a Guns N' Roses record I make a million bucks. Are you out of your mind?
Classic Rock, April 2002

It is obvious Wylde had a lot of admiration for Axl:

I'm friends with the guy, so I think he's fucking awesome. Like I said, Ozzy, Bon Scott and him are the three best frontmen that ever lived. I just hope he gets it together, as he's such a fucking talent it's ridiculous. I'm definitely on his side.

I ran into Duff a couple of nights ago in Tokyo and said: "Why don't you guys just make a phone call and get it on?" He said: "Zakk, I gotta be honest with you, we ain't exactly calling him, either." Ah, whatever.
Classic Rock, April 2002


In late 1996 there would also be rumours about Steve Vai joining the band:

Steve Vai - I have no idea about that one. He might have to take my place is anything weird were to happen. […] It'd definitely be the same thing with Vai [as with Wylde], having two overly - I wouldn't say flamboyant - but two aggressive front guys as lead guitar players. We'd both be doing the same thing at the same time, and it would lose its personality. The guitar playing shouldn't be excessive; it should be one of the instruments in the band.

When Slash was out of the band in late 1996, Vai was asked about joining Guns N' Roses:

Can you imagine me in Guns N' Roses? I like Guns N' Roses. I like Axl. But I've worked with enough singers like that for four lifetimes.

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Post by Soulmonster on Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:22 pm



Axl rejected the material Slash had worked on in early 1994, according to Slash because Axl "was going through a Pearl Jam period at the time" [Associated Press/Greenville News, March 3, 1995]. Gilby would confirm Axl wanted the band to evolve:

As soon as I finished [Pawnshop Guitars], before it came out, Axl came up with the idea that he wants to change the sound of the band. He wants to take the band in a more Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, Jane's Addiction direction.

Axl wanted to change the sound of the band for a while, he wanted to take advantage of some of the new sounds. Guns N’ Roses is at its best as a hard-rock band and if it’s not that, I don’t think that any of the band members would really want to be in it.

As 1994 continued there were further indications that Axl and Slash didn't see eye to eye on the musical direction of the band.

We were supposed to do some stuff this month [=December] but we haven't done anything up till now and in March I'm gone [on tour]. Maybe in February, if we can come to some sort of an agreement as to what we're gonna do. So I did what I said I'd never do, which is a solo record, to get it out of my system. We'd been doing so many ballads and conceptual videos that I started to get a little concerned about where it was going.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

Axl's got an agenda but it doesn't really match mine. Every day is a new test, one after the other. It would be easier if the same test would happen repeatedly but instead there's one test, you deal with that and the next one is altogether different. You have to be tenacious to be able to handle it.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

Axl was on a different trip, where he wanted to sound like Pearl Jam, last I heard, with keyboards, and heavy-duty epic videos. That was all really tedious for me, [Snakepit] kept me sane.

Right now there seems to be a fucking confusion about what "a good Guns-record" is.

There are some things that need to be sorted out. Axl wants Guns to do a lot of ballads and stuff, and I want to do rock stuff. I don't care about the current musical climate or what is commercially viable. […] I'm just a street-level guy, and I don't fucking live on the beach in Malibu. And I'm not gonna conform to any of that shit either.

Axl had from an early stage discussed how he wanted Guns N' Roses to expand into different musical genres and obviously felt that the next record should be different to what they had released so far.

Later, Jim Barber, a former Geffen executive who had worked with Axl and his work on 'Chinese Democracy', stated:

An artist [like Axl] who's had as much success with Guns N' Roses as he has gets to a point in his career where he can settle into one sound and do it over and over again, usually with diminishing returns. Axl is determined not to do that. There's a sort of ruthlessness about pushing Guns N' Roses to grow, and to find some depth in their music, and to evolve.

Despite playing with many different bands and artists, when it came to the music he wrote himself, Slash was less adventurous, and when asked why his Snakepit record wasn't more diverse in styles, would reply:

When it comes to writing, I don't have any interest in rap or punk.


While in the band, Slash would talk positively about the ballads:

I love playing ballads, I have to admit. It gives me a chance to express a bit more of the subtle and slower side of my playing.

But when his fighting with Axl escalated and after leaving the band, he would change his tune and even talk disparagingly about some of the music he had helped make:

There's some material that Guns does that I don't like. But as a band we all work together. There are some aspects of Guns that I'm not too thrilled about, so this [=Snakepit] was a chance for me to do a simple, off-the-wall-it-doesn't-matter record, ha, ha.

One ballad for me is always enough. Zeppelin's records in the old days were filled with acoustic stuff--that's a style they're good at. I love to write music like that, but only one or two at the most on a record. I concentrate on the more aggressive approach.

I have a problem with [pianos and ballads of GN'R].... When Axl goes to the piano I used to be bored... Some songs are ok, like "November Rain". I think it's interesting recording a good guitar solo over a piano accompaniment, but it's something i don't wanna do too much... It pisses me off...But sometimes, it's ok.

In a later interview he would go even further, referring to Axl's music as "piano-shit" and talking negatively about some of the piano-ballads the band had done:

And last but not least there was Axl with his piano-shit, the gospelsongs and a lot of Rose Tattoo, AC/DC and Nazareth. From these bands he also had the rage in his vocals.

There were never any problems really about the stylistic direction of the band, untill Axl started disagreeing with the rest of us at one moment. It clearly became harder for us to be ourselves, as long as we were working together with him. Can you imagine how sick we were, suddenly having to play ballad-sets with songs like "Estranged", "November Rain", or "Don't Cry". Duff was the first of us who didn't feel like doing that anymore and the whole thing became an essential problem for the band, because we, accomplished musicians, needed to be changed just because of 'stylistic self-circumcision'. At a certain point it was just a war, because Axl didn't like anything anymore that came from us, the others.
Hard Rock (Germany), March 2000; translated from German


Matt would later confirm that Slash had little interest in changing musical style:

I had produced [techno songstress] Poe and there were drum loops in the songs, and Axl wanted that. But Slash is a rock guitarist. He doesn't want to do techno-industrial.


When asked if Axl plans to do a solo record, Slash would quip:

Axl thinks that Guns is his solo-project.

Axl has gotten very into a lot of stuff (musically) that I don't necessarily relate to, but we still work together on it. It's like we've expanded into different realms.

Guns is in no hurry to rush out the next record to keep up with current trends. I wouldn't want to sacrifice what Guns does naturally to try and keep up with the generational changes in music that happen really quickly. […] I'm not gonna sacrifice what I do to try and keep up with, say, the Seattle scene. It's not like I have any new rap material coming out.

My traditional values – as far as Guns is concerned or just in general, having to do with integrity and music sense and so forth – haven't changed. Everybody grows in their own way and when we all get together in a room, we know each other very well... but you want to get to where there's a meeting of the minds. And it's like pulling teeth actually to do that. But the guys in the band and I call ourselves the "bricklayers", the guys who really do a lot of hands-on work. And then there's the lead singer who has a whole other vision of his own. You just have to deal with it. You can't, like, stress out – I have no intentions of quitting the band or anything like that – and the only reason I'm doing a solo project is just to sort of get away from that for a while because Guns doesn't have to record now or next year. They can do a record whenever.

In July 1995, Slash would again state that when they las talked, which was in late January 1995, Axl wanted to accomplish his solo aspirations within Guns N' Roses, possibly bringing in Trent Reznor to help him out:

There was a point there when Axl was going to do a solo record, and he wanted to do it with Trent, Dave Navarro, the drummer from Nirvana and then he changed his mind and thought why do a solo record if he could do it with Guns N’ Roses, which is the last thing I heard.

This raises the question: did Axl want Guns N' Roses to evolve in the direction of bands like Pearl Jam or bands like Nine Inch Nails? Because Slash would state both. From Slash's quotes it could seem like Axl wasn't sure himself and was interested in exploring various possibilities, or perhaps Slash didn't simply hadn't understood what Axl wanted, except that it wasn't the music that ended up on It's Five O' Clock Somewhere.

Again would Slash say that Axl considered Guns N' Roses his solo project:

He [Axl] was supposed to do a solo record at one time, but he thinks Guns N’ Roses as a solo record for him; and, unfortunately, it’s not really that way. So we need to sit down and talk about it. But we’ve come to an agreement, where, you know, it’s very amicable what’s going on at the moment – as far as I know, last I talked to him.

I don’t know where Guns is headed. I mean, Axl at one point said he was going to do a solo record, and he had all these guys in mind. He was naming off names from different people — I won’t say who — and I was like, 'Cool. Do that.’ Because Axl has been branching into different areas for ages now....

Then all of a sudden, he decided that his next solo album would be Guns N’ Roses. And I went, ‘Whoa! Hello? What does that mean?’

I still don’t know what direction he’s headed in, but that’s the reason I needed to go and do this. I haven’t changed since when we first started, but Guns is obviously a lot bigger band, and there’s more pressure surrounding it than there used to be. and I think everybody's a bit concerned with that.

So I just went off and did my own thing, just to get a shot in the arm before I go back and deal with the next Guns situation. That way it’ll replenish whatever my enthusiasm is for Guns N’ Roses, so that I don't pull a Joe Perry and take off altogether.

And elaborate on the issue while being disparaging towards Axl's music:

At one point [Axl] said he was gonna a solo project, then he decided his solo project he could do with Guns, which I was like, after doing all those videos and this and that and the other, I was like: "No". [laughs] […] No, I don't wanna get involved in any kind of Stephanie Seymour ballads or any of that shit.

Later in the year, Slash would describe how he had gone back to writing music they had done in the beginning whereas Axl wanted to change the sound of the band:

I really haven't changed my point of view since we first started. So when the GN'R tour ended after two and a half years of being in this unrealistic environment of limousines and jets and playing stadiums and all that, I got home […]

So I went back to work. I built a studio in my house, I kept myself busy. I had the first multitrack studio I've ever had, so I was like a kid in a candy store, and I started playing and recorded all this stuff. At the same time, with Axl that whole trip that we'd just taken had really become a part of him, to the point where Axl is as much a rock star in his own mind as he is in the public eye. I didn't really understand all that.

So when I started writing material that was more or less back to roots Guns N' Roses... I didn't really have the chance to do that with "Use Your Illusion", because with that we were going through so much of a mish-mash of all kinds personal changes and this, that and the other. […]

So then we come home, and I'm writing material that's just the same as the kind of material I used to write in the old days, and Axl's whole trip was...

Everybody used to go, "What's gonna happen when Guns is no longer.. when a new fad comes along?" or whatever. And I'd be, "I don't give a fuck". And I watched it happen, and it didn't matter to me. With Axl it mattered a hell of a lot. Next thing you know, he wants to be Pearl Jam, right? Why? I hate Pearl Jam anyway, so what's the point? And it's great to watch Pearl Jam going through what they're going through, cos I'm going, "See Axl?"

We do what we do the best that anybody does. Let's just go out and do a club tour, a theatre tour, and fucking get back down to where we have some validity with an audience that we can relate to. But Axl was all fucking.. he wants to be on MTV, he wants to do Unplugged, he wants to be this, he wants to be that. So we didn't see eye to eye, and that's where a lot of that bullshit got started, and of course it was blown out of all proportion in the press.

I played him the material that I was writing, and he was like, "I don't wanna do that kind of music." The stuff that he was into, I couldn't understand. So I took the material back […]. And then I booked a tour, and at this point Axl turned around and wanted the material back. And that's where the big shit started, because I told him, "Dude, it's gone. If I remember correctly, it was turned down flat." And that's where we got threats of lawsuits and this, that and the other.


The differences between Axl and Slash two didn't only come down to musical direction:

Axl is – like I said, Axl is Axl. You gotta know the man before you can really pass judgement on the guy. The reason I’m not working with Axl at the moment, is only because he wants to do what he wants to do, and I want to do what I want to do; which, mine, is a more simplified just sort of a rock ‘n’ roll thing, where he’s got visions of videos and blah blah blah.

[Responding to interviewer saying that it seems like Slash spends the eternity of the November Rain video trying to sneak out of shot]: Uh, yeah. Well spotted. That wasn't a conscious thing, but I know what you mean. The concept videos I wasn't into. I wrote my own scenes. The car off the cliff, that was mine. Playing outside the church, that was me, because I wanted to get away from the wedding, ha ha. The only time I really lost a battle on a video was on 'Since I Don't Have You' where I came out of the water. That was something I had nothing to do with, but Axl refused to finish the video unless I did it. But those videos and all that stuff are Axl's way of expressing what's going on with him. I still look at Guns N' Roses as just being more or less a nasty rock'n'roll band, whereas he's got visions of grandeur I just don't relate to.

When I first started writing songs, I went to Axl with it and I said, “This is what I’ve been doing,” and he was, like, already thinking about videos that were just big huge movie type things. And I was like, “Oh great,” you know.

And Slash would again state his distaste for the elaborate music videos:

I don't give a fuck about doing epic videos and so on and so forth, or talking about my ex-wife or ex-girlfriend. It's part of Axl's trip - he sees what he's singing, y'know? If you asked me to recite the lyrics to, say, "Don't Cry", the only things I can think of are "Don't cry" and "Talk to me softly". I don't fuckin' know the words. I don't even know the words to the songs I fuckin' wrote in Snakepit!


Duff would later confirm that Slash had talked negatively about Axl's music, and say that the downfall of Guns N' Roses happened when Slash turned his back to Axl and called the music Axl was working on for "shit":

Everything started when Slash turned his back and said: “This is shit.” [referring to their musical differences.] He and Axl didn’t talk to each other anymore. It had become quite irrational. […] I was always in the middle, the one both came to see, and I got the impression I arbitrated little kids’ quarrels.

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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:28 pm


In early 1995, Slash would tell Kerrang! that despite what had been said earlier about there being songs on tape, everything that he had made after the last touring, was either meant for Snakepit or ended up on their pinball machine (Ain't Going Down) [Kerrang! January 14, 1995].

Other than that, Use Your Illusion is the last piece of original material, and that's three years ago.

With Axl and Slash in disagreement over the musical direction of the band, and angry at each other for various reasons, Slash went on tour with Snakepit.

Once the record was finished, and it came out really good, I thought, 'I might as well tour on it 'cause Guns isn't doing anything.' I'm gonna start touring in March and we're gonna do fucking clubs, man.

The plan was now to reconvene as soon as Slash was finished touring for Snakepit, and "if everything's okay, then I'd love to continue doing [Guns N' Roses]" [Kerrang! January 14, 1995].

We are going to meet in August after we've toured with Snakepit. Then we'll see what happens. We've been jamming a bit, but there isn't any actual songs.

Whenever I have a few days off from Snakepit, we rehearse and write songs. After I'm done touring, which won't be long, we'll start really formulating the basis for an album. Then record, then figure out a touring situation.

In March 1995 he would elaborate on this, saying the plan was to revive Guns N' Roses in the summer:

When the tour is over, we’ll see what we can come up with as far as Guns is concerned. [Axl] was pretty cool with it. We’re not really at each other’s throats as everybody thinks.

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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:04 am


In 1995, Gilby and his wife Daniella, gave birth to their daughter, Francesca [Trojan Daily, April 14, 1999].


It was great. The band was at the top. All I did was enjoy it.

I have a little luxury. I got to be in a big band. I got to do things like play stadiums. I got to be on MTV and all that stuff. So for me it’s a luxury, I can at least say that I did it.

What I did with the band was fun. […] I can't get away from it [being an ex-Guns N' Roses member]. As far as I'm concerned, until you do something that outshines what Guns N' Roses did, that's the way it is. Everybody wants to take a piece of that and to be a part of it in some way. But I don't have a problem with it. What are you gonna do? Life could be worse. […] I gig all year 'round; there's always some place that wants a little rock. I'm pretty content now. I produced both of the Beat Angels records, and Windigo for Pavement. I have a family, and I make a really good living playing guitar and putting out records.

It was quite a trip. Since (I was) a kid, I always said I wanted to play guitar in a rock 'n' roll band. Every time (Guns N' Roses) walked onstage, I appreciated it. It was great- it was everything I ever wanted. […]

It's really odd. Sometimes I look back and go, God, if I didn't get that GNR gig, where would (I) be right now?' It definitely was a boost for my life.


Gilby would finish his tour in promotion of Pawnshop Guitar in December 1994. In 1995 he released an EP, "Blooze".

In September 200 Gilby would answer what he remembered the most from the 90s:

Going from playing stadiums one year to playing empty clubs the next.

Some time after this Gilby would try to release his second solo album, The Hangover, but in an echo of Axl's rejection of the music Slash and Gilby had worked on in early 1994, Virgin balked:

We completely didn't agree on what the record should sound like. I wanted to do what I've always done, and [Virgin] wanted me to sound like Seven Mary Three. I turned in my songs and they said, 'That's not very current music.'

But Gilby wouldn't budge:

It's important to write and record what you’re comfortable with. What I like is very old-fashioned rock and roll. When my first solo record came out in '94, it still was a very '70s thing with lots of loud guitars.

Gilby then signed with the smaller label Paradigm Records to release The Hangover [Lincoln Star Journal, November 16, 1997].

Whether you sell a million records or five records, that's not the point. The point is to make a good record, that you would like to hear. I’ve done that.

In April 1997, Gilby was about to finish an acoustic tour with Ryan Roxie and was about to release the album [MTV, April 18, 1997], and in September it would come out in the US [MTV News, September 29, 1997].

In 1997, one song from Kills for Thrill, his pre-GN'R band, would be released on the compilation "Poptopia" [The Plain Dealer, November 7, 1997].

In 1998, Gilby was working on his third solo album, Rubber [Guitar, September 1998]. To tour this album Gilby drafted in Tracii and ex-Kiss drummer Eric Singer [Daily Trojan, April 14, 1999].


In late 1996 it would be reported that Gilby was playing with Steven for a new band tentatively named 'Freaks in the Room' [News Pilot, November 15, 1996]. The lineup included Coma-Tones guitarist Joel Soul and bassist Stefan Adika and allegedly the band sounded "kick-ass" [News Pilot, November 15, 1996]. But in January 1997, Gilby was apparently not part of this band anymore [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997].


In April 1997 it would be reported that Slash and Gilby had reconciled their differenced after Gilby sued Guns N' Roses [MTV, April 18, 1997]. Later in the year Slash was wrongly advertised to play on at least three shows at Gilby's tour (in promotion of The Hangover) [MTV News, September 29, 1997].

I see and talk to Slash and Matt all the time, I never talk to Axel [sic].

1999/2000 - STARFUCKERS

In 2000 or 1999, Gilby started a new band with Tracii and Slim Jim Phantom, Starfuckers, who would soon be signed to Atlanticc Records:

It started out as a jam band.It was an excuse to show up once a week and play your guitar through an amp as loud as you can. It’s something we’ve been doing for fun—getting signed is icing on the cake.


I talk to Matt every couple weeks, I see Slash, but never really hang out with him, and obviously, I haven't spoken to Axl in like four years. Occasionally I run into Duff - I saw him at a Prince concert, and we hung out for the rest of the night.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:29 pm


In December 1994, Slash would be confronted with a rumour that said that he would be fine if he never played with Axl again, to which he would prevaricate:

I'm very low key when I talk publicly. I don't say shit. I don't want to talk badly about Guns.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

And if the band is over:

No, it's not over. Nobody's quit or anything. The band is still together. Duffs working at his studio, Axl's out in Malibu. Halloween is the last time I saw him, but we talk. There's no bad blood between us, we just haven't figured out what we want to do and I'm a little concerned about the direction Guns goes in. We were supposed to do some stuff this month [=December] but we haven't done anything up till now and in March I'm gone [on tour]. Maybe in February, if we can come to some sort of an agreement as to what we're gonna do.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

But that he needed a break from it:

I had to get away from Guns for a minute just because it's such an institution. I want to get really inspired to do any now Guns stuff. Guns is big enough that it doesn't matter what year we come out with a record so much. I know that people want one to come out, but I want to make sure that it's a great Guns record, not churn it out just because. So I'll get away from it for a while, have fun dicking around in clubs and get toe to toe with the kids. I'm looking forward to It.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

Later, in 2000, Slash would look back at how Axl had changed:

When the 90’s rolled around, Axl got really, really into the whole trip and became a more exaggerated version of someone I already knew.

The Slash's Snakepit tour would start on March 1, 1995, and last until August 1, 1995.

In early 1995, Slash would talk about Axl:

Axl is in such a funny place, you know, because Axl is Axl, and no one will ever really understand him as much as he would probably like to be understood. So he really is on his own in that respect. But I've known him long enough where there's a certain amount of leeway with his outbursts that I can handle. They just don't affect me. […] But I feel sorry for him sometimes, if only because he's such a tough act to be: to maintain any kind of dignity with this public scrutiny and having all this negative press and so on...

When asked if it isn't natural that Axl would be pissed when Slash made a new band featuring Matt and Gilby, after Gilby had been sacked from Guns N' Roses, Slash responded:

The Gilby thing did piss Axl off. But Gilby was pissed off too. He was shocked when he was fired, because there was no other reason behind it other than Axl had made up his mind. And of course I had to be the f**king messenger of bad news, which was f**ked for me because Gilby and I are really close. You don't play with people like that.

I hooked up with Gilby and rightly so, because Gilby didn't deserve that kind of treatment — especially when he covered our ass so we could complete the world tour when Izzy quit. I wasn't mad at Gilby. I can do what the f**k I want! And if he wanted to work with me after all of this shit...

We (Slash and Axl) just had a really rare, heated conversation a couple of days ago, where everything that I've had brewing — you know how quiet and laid-back I am — I just let everything out. He sort of listened to me. I said everything I could possibly say that I didn't agree with. So that's about it.

A few weeks after Kerrang! published an interview where Slash would mention having fought with Axl just a few days prior, The Gazette published an interview where he would claim to not fight with Axl at the moment:

We’re fine now. We're not fighting.

And he would reiterate that everything's good between them at another interview in January:

Everything’s fine, yeah. Relax.

Yet in February Slash would admit that there was some friction between him and Axl due to Slash going on tour at a time when Axl wants to work on new music:

The band is still together. There's a little bit of congestion going on, because I'm going on tour and Axl wants to do a Guns record right this second. Unfortunately, I can't back down from my situation because I have to drop the ball. It's too late for that. So there's a little conflict, but no one's quit and no one's been fired or anything like that. It's sort of dormant, and we just have to wait and see what happens.


Axl and I have our differences about the whole thing, but I told him I'm going to finish what I started [=the tour] and when I get back I'll see where Guns is at.

Now all of a sudden Axl wants to do a record and I’m like ‘Dude, I’m gonna be gone for five or six months. So, there’s a little bit of conflict there.

Matt would later confirm that Slash's decision to leave on a tour with Snakepit had angered Axl and that this friction had lasted well into 1996:

Axl got pissed 'cause he wanted to work. Then there was a bit of a problem between the two of them. That's been sort of ongoing for awhile and then they just weren't getting along.

[Axl] hates Snakepit (laugh). It was hard for me to deal with it. Axl asked me not to go on tour with Slash.
hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

Slash would also later say he left to tour because his friendship with Axl was so poor:

So then when [the Snakepit album] was done, Axl and I were in no better shape as far as the relationship was concerned, so I booked a tour.

Nothing was happening with Guns still, and me and Axl were getting further and further away from the primary fucking focus or goal, as far as Guns was concerned. I just wanted to get better at doing what we already did pretty good, and he wanted to do something else completely different. After we found a singer, I said, 'Well, shit, we can go on the road.'

As for writing for GN'R when Slash comes back from touring with Snakepit:

I’m sorta hoping that Axl might start writing some material and for once have something for me to go and play as opposed to me having to initiate it all the time. It’s sorta like sex.

And when asked if this doesn't mean a new record is far away:

Not necessarily. The only thing I know at this point is that I'm gonna take the 'Snakepit' thing on the road in March. We'll be touring till summer and then we're off. What happens then I don't know.

In an interview with Howard Stern from early February Slash would say he hadn't seen Axl since October 31, 1994, while "doing" 'Sympathy for the Devil' [The Howard Stern Show, February 1 1995]. It is likely that Slash and Axl met in mid-January 1995 when playing with Zakk Wylde, which would suggest the interview with Stern was taped in early January.

And whether Axl is doing okay:

The only thing he’s got going that’s a pain in the ass for him right now is the whole Stephanie Seymour lawsuit.

I defend [Axl] within reason. A lot of the stuff, like going on (stage) late and causing riots, it's just 'cause Axl's real explosive. There's things I don't forgive him for, but because I've known him for so long, I understand him. I don't judge him. That's why I feel that if you don't know the guy, just shut up.

Axl’s Axl. He’s an amazing front man, obviously, and an amazing lead singer. He just carries a lot of baggage that’s part of his personality, but it’s part of the tension that makes him such a great live performer. Also, we’re family. I don’t like to dwell on the negative stuff. […] We’ve been doing the Guns scenario for so long that I need to go out and clean my own system out so I can go back and deal with it with a level head. That’s how bands break up, because they’re forced to be together.

When asked if he had quit the band, Slash would indicate that he didn't get along with someone in the band but that he, Slash, would not quit over this:

Guns is fine. I learned from other people’s mistakes to not get so egotistical or so self-involved that you quit your band because you can’t get along with one of the other guys in the band. […] I’ll be the lead guitar player [on the next record], yeah. Unless I’m fired (laughs).

A little while later he would again reiterate he hadn't quit but that Zakk Wylde might be in the band and that he would have an issue with that:

I mean: is Guns still together? Yes it is. Is Axl in the band? As far as I know. Am I still in the band? I don’t know. (He shrugs) No, I haven’t quit. If Zakk’s (Wylde) gonna be in the band, that’s an issue which ... we were just jamming. There was never any decision when I left to do this. When I said, 'I’ll be back in August,’ we hadn't come to any definitive decision as to who was gonna be the rhythm guitarist. I love Zakk. He’s a lot of fun, but we don’t sound like Guns N’ Roses with two lead Heavy Metal guitar players. It just sounds different. But if that’s supposed to be the case when I get back, we’ll talk about it, so I have no idea where it stands right now.

Before going on his own tour, Slash had a rehearsal with GN'R with Axl present. This was likely in very late January 1995 [Raw, March 1, 1995] and possibly when they played with Zakk Wylde.

Slash would explain why Matt wasn't on the tour with the rest of Snakepit:

Well, if Sorum had stayed with me, it would have made the conflicts between Axl and me even worse, because I would have taken the drummer. […] I knew that was gonna happen. I would have loved to take Matt out. But, you know, this whole tour thing and how long it's gonna go is sort of a thorn in Guns N' Roses's side, you know.

If Matt was touring with me, it would stop Guns 'n' Roses in its tracks.

If Matt went with me, the whole band would be dormant, and I didn’t want that.

I had to get a different drummer because it would pretty much cement the bad feelings between Axl and me to take the Guns drummer.

Let's put it to politics, put it that way. I think that would have further accentuated the situation between Axl and I had I done that. It was financial reasons as well.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview from May 15, 1995

[Matt] had to stay at home to avoid more conflicts between me & Axl.
Folha De Sao Paulo Journal, July 21, 1995; translated from Portuguese

And Matt would comment on this, too:

[Being asked if it was a hard decision not to join Snakepit on tour]: Not too much. I didn't want to endanger Guns N' Roses. If I toured with Snakepit, it could have cause serious consequences. It could have divide GNR. And I have to be honest, the Snakepit album won't change the music world! So, if a band as important as GNR would have broke up because I toured with Snakepit, I would have flagellate myself! I was in between, there was Slash "Come on , man, tour with us", but I told him "Slash, for 4 months, we will fuck GNR up". So I stayed at home and I work a bit with Axl and Duff. I'm sure I took the good decision.
hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

The Snakepit tour was ending in July 1995, but after having met Lars Ulrich in Paris in June while playing shows there, he decided to add a show at that year's Monsters of Rock festival at Donington, England in August 26, 1995. He still planned on returning to Los Angeles after the last show in July, but then head off again for three days to play at Donington:

Me and Lars [Ulrich] hung out in Paris and he saw the band a couple of times when we played there and he liked it and wanted us to be on the bill. I thought Donington a second time would be great, especially not doing the whole Guns N’ Roses type headlining thing. I said yeah, but I’ve extended this tour a lot longer than I was supposed to be because it’s been so much fun, and Gilby and Eric both have records they have to do. And it means three days to go to Donington — a day of flying, a day to play, a day to fly back.
Kerrang! July 1995; translated from Portuguese

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:51 pm


Slash would be quick to point out his musical limitations:

I'm not well-schooled technically compared to guitar players these days as far as patterns and scales and things like that. I think about what I am about to do and my fingers will be on that note. I have to hear it in my head first, and then go for it. It just takes experience to know exactly what every note on the guitar sounds like so you can pull it out of the hat.

A prerequisite for improvement is wanting to become better and back in 1992 Slash had indicated that he still felt limited by his own skills.

I’m very humble about what it is that I do, and I listen to my own stuff and I judge it accordingly. When other people give me compliments or give me praise about my playing I don’t really know what to say, because I still haven’t reached the level where I’m able to pull out of the guitar all the stuff I want to.

In 1995, he would say he had improved and was now a better musician:

It may not sound like it, but I think I have more of a grasp of where the notes I want to hit are. You know, on the Lies album there's all that punk stuff on the second side that was very spontaneous. When you're playing fast and you want to go somewhere and you hear it in your head, you have to be able to get there that quickly. It almost has to be instantaneous – from here to there. And so I think I'm better at that. I don't have any more technical knowledge now than I did in the old days. I really don't practise. I hang out with Steve Lukather a lot and I always used to think he was one of those technical, no-feel guitar players – but Luke played me his solo record at my house (Mr Candyman) when he came back from the studio one night and he'd done four or five songs that were all first takes. It was amazing. He incorporated feel with technical stuff too – I mean, you hear me and it's pentatonic forever! And maybe some minor stuff because I don't know what I'm doing.

One was to improve was to play with better musicians:

The only way I ever learned was by playing under somebody else. Even when I had my own band, I used to go out and jam with people. I don't know where I got the nerve from; I don't remember thinking about it too much, either. I'd just go out and play with people who are 10 times better that me... I'm still working at it. You can't accomplish the instrument to the point where you no longer have to have some sort of musical ambition. There's always something new to learn.

When confronted by a fan who referred to him as the best guitarist ever, Slash responded:

I appreciate the compliment about being the best guitar player, although that's definitely inaccurate, but I do think, in the current music scene good guitar playing is definitely overlooked as being an important element of rock and roll.

And talking about consciously trying to be better:

As much as Guns just kind of got pigeonholed into this bad-boy, sloppy circus thing, I was actually trying to hone in on the guitar playing. I wasn't trying to turn it into a Steve Vai, technical kind of thing. I was trying to play where my heart and soul were coming from. There was a conscious effort to play good.

Describing his playing style:

Everything I do is a mixture of everything else. I don’t think I even know what a bass player’s technique is. I play with a pick, and I have a weird way of slap­ping which I guess nobody else does, I’m doing some of that on the new Guns album [which was never released]. It’s not Flea or anything; I mean, I can’t pretend to do ‘white boy funk,’ and personally I’m not very into that. What I do is just an ... applied abrasiveness how’s that?

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:13 pm



After the earthquake of January 1994 [see previous chapter], Slash and Renee were now leasing a house in Hollywood:

When the earth-quake hit, my house was hit really hard. All the cages have plexiglas fronts so I didn't lose the snakes. but before that all the snakes were in the house, every room had snakes in it. But I had to move out of there. I still own it but it's not live-able. I'm back in Hollywood, which is nice. I'm leasing this one. Before I was on the cusp between the Valley and Hollywood. I hate the Valley. But Renee's from the Valley so I ended up hanging out there for the most part. The building where the snakes are is in the Valley.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

In August 1996, it would be reported that Slash had sold his house in the Hollywood Hills, and this was likely the house that was totaled in the earthquake, and bought a "Spanish-style house built in 1929" in the Beverly Hills [Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1996].

As for their marriage, they had their ups and downs:

[Renee is] wonderful, she's pursuing her acting career. She's done commercials but she's trying to get a good movie part. I drive her crazy. It's just the way I am. We've been married for two years and been together I guess five years. We've had our ups and downs. I told her we're gonna be on a tour bus. She'll come in and out, she's not into f.ckin' gigs and all that. She's not from that side of the fence, which is probably why I married her. I knew a lot of girls from my side of the fence. They're trouble.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

[Renee]'s pissed off at me now because this is all I do, and then I go out with my friends. She doesn't keep the same kind of crowd that I do, so we usually don't go out together. I'm hanging out with Matt. We're fine, but she's pissed off at me because I didn't come home until 6:30 yesterday morning! It's no big deal. She knows who she married and she deals with it.

You obviously learn from previous mistakes. Unless you're a complete fucking idiot. But having gotten married has changed me. But within reason. […] She hasn't tried to change me too much. There are certain limitations to what I can get away with.

[Renee] pops in and out — which is cool! She’s turned into one of the guys! The only thing is we go into a bunk, we do our thing, and then she kicks me out and she sleeps on the bunk and I sleep on the couch at the back! I get to stay in the bed at home — unless she’s pissed off at me!

Getting married has been great, cuz I love my wife very much. But, at the same time, I don’t change very easily, and so there’s a lot of, like, checks and balances in the relationship, where I have to adhere to certain needs she has, and she has to deal with me, basically (laughs). So we’ve been pretty harmonious. You know, it’s been almost three years, so we’re doing pretty good.

I love my wife dearly, but it's hard for me to measure this all out. She's my first and only wife. If anything should ever happen in this marriage. I'll never get married again.

After marriage, Slash claims to have become faithful:

I've been faithful since we got married and, you know what, it hasn't been too hard. Sometimes I'll look up a girl's skirt. I'm like a divining rod. But I wouldn't go any further than that. […] Now you can see how fucking evil women are. They want to fuck you just because you are married. Just to fuck the chick up. They want to see if they can conquer you. But I'm not stupid.

And whether Renee trusted him:

Yeah, she does now but it took a long time.

One issue that might have caused a bit of friction between Slash and Renee was a rumour published in New York Times that Slash had had to be rescued from his hotel room after having been handcuffed to his bed [The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 29, 1996]. Slash would mention this rumour in an interview with MTV [MTV, August 1996], and again in 1997:

That I was handcuffed to a bed that didn't even have a bedpost. It was in the New York Times. I had to call my wife to tell her, "Look, don't believe this, it was not... didn't happen." They said they had to get a rescue team to come get me from a room that does not have a bedpost. How could I possibly be handcuffed to it? And that's what people read.

As for having kids:

No. We have enough animals. The biological clock has stopped at this point. We have cats and dogs.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

I'm not exactly the marrying kind, so we have our ups and downs. She doesn't come on tour all the time. She's no fuckin' Yoko. We have an agreement not to have kids. We’re too busy. That's why if she tells me she’s forgotten to take her pill, I say, 'Well, get up an' take the fuckin’ pill.'

Not now but maybe someday.

Slash would also mention that they considered moving to "the outskirts of London or Ireland" [Kerrang! July 1995].

Slash's animal hobby had been gradually growing and in 1995 he would talk about the reptile conservation efforts he was involved in:

I have two warehouses [with snakes] now. I have a ton of snakes and I have some associates, we breed them. […] They're extraordinary. I used to name them but after it got to be so many I stopped. They can't hear anyway. We have a lot of lizards, too. We have a mail order thing going. I used to give snakes to all my friends. Mike Inez has one, Adam has one. Albino Burmese pythons. Axl's got one. […] I just have a couple of snakes at my house, little guys that were caught over by Matt's house. They're great. I love them. Snakes aren't that big a deal but it's an inbred thing, we've all been taught that they're evil.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

We're sort of like a very discreet mail-order business. I've got some amazing stuff, albino boa constrictors, exotic pythons, all sorts. You know the reptile house at London Zoo? Well, imagine an even more complex set-up than that. Mine isn't open to the public or anything like that, but there are other similar set-ups around the US that I keep in touch with, and we kind of buy and trade snakes, more or less to keep them from being taken out of the wild. We reproduce them ourselves, so if anyone wants to get hold of something really off the wall, you know, a left-field exotic snake, well, instead of some bushman going out and ripping one out if a tree, you can call us up and we'll get you one.

He would also mention one of his snakes taking one of his cats (he would later owning having twelve domestic cats [Online chat, October 16, 1996]):

We almost lost one of the cats to one of the snakes once. We try to keep them separated.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

And Duff would mentioned an episode with a poisonous iguana:

One night, I was over at Slash's house and Slash was at the recording studio doing a guitar part and one of his albino's got into the cage of a poisonous iguana. The iguana had a hold of the snake in its mouth and was in full on survival mode. I was freaking out. I am not a snake handler— they are not dogs, right? So, I got Slash on the speaker phone. "Okay, dude. Now I got the gloves on and I have the poisonous iguana and the snake, dude, what happens if this iguana bites me?"

"You will die," Slash said.

"I will die? Nah, he can’t bite through the gloves..." […]

I got them apart and got the one in its cage and the other in its cage. Never again. Never again am I going to fucking separate a poisonous iguana and a python.
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995

Cats and snakes are the two things I've had as far back as I can remember, and it's probably because of the fact that I never wanted what you'd call pets. You know, cats take care of themselves and snakes, for the most part, are very independent and don't want to be treated as pets. I mean, I love dogs, but… we have a dog now, and eight o'clock every morning she'll start barking at anything that moves around, you know, the gardener coming over or something like that. […] There's a certain sense of adventure to being around something that still has a wild side to it, that can't be completely domesticated. We have some interesting cats.

[…] When Renee, my wife, and I first started going out together… in fact, I think it was the first time we'd slept together, and we were over at my house up in the loft, and Ronnie, who's our tour manager for the Snakepit thing, was taking care of the snakes. We'd converted part of the bathroom into a snake room, see, and it was a walk-in room with a sliding glass door. So Ronnie was working with the snakes, and one of our cats, Sushi, who is fascinated with anywhere where she's not supposed to be, went into the snake room because she's never been allowed in there. And one of the bigger snakes came out from the ceiling and grabbed her, and it took three of us to get them separated. […] you use a chemical [to make a snake release a prey], like Chlorox, or bleach, and you put it up to the snake's nose, because snakes don't like chemicals at all. So that's how I did it. But, at the time, Ronnie didn't really have any idea about how to separate a cat and 15-foot snake.

And that he had recently bought some "stupid expensive" snakes:

Probably the most stupid expensive thing was just recently I bought two albino boa constrictors, a male and a female, for an impressive amount of money. Everyone’s like, you spent what on what? But then they do breed, and I can sell the babies to different breeders I know.

By October 1996 he had about 180 snakes:

I have roughly around a hundred and eighty permanent snakes, but we keep breeding them so it changes all the time. My most rare snakes to date are my albino boa constrictors.

After returning to Los Angeles after the tour with Snakepit, Slash involved himself in numerous projects, including an appearance at Florida Guitar Show on February 24, 1996 [The Tampa Tribune, February 21, 1996]. he also had a cameo in the movie "Private Parts" to be released in 1997 [The New York Daily News, July 24, 1996].

In July 1996, Slash would mention that Gibson Guitars was making a Slash signature Gibson Les Paul guitar, but that it was not in sale yet [Netscape Online Chat, July 30, 1996]. Slash would also tell that his private guitar collection now contained 87 guitars [Netscape Online Chat, July 30, 1996].

In 1996, Slash would also have a cameo in Howard Stern's movie Private Parts [The Howard Stern Show, September 30, 1996] that would premier on February 27, 1997.

The scene in Howard Stern's movie was a reconstruction of my appearance at the MTV Music Video Awards, so I just have a cameo as myself.


In July 1995, Dizzy would have to go to trial after pleasing not guilty to a misdemeanor case drunk-driving after having been arrested on February 9, 1995 [Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1995]. Dizzy's claim was that he had not been driving the car, and that it was Sean Riggs who had been driving [Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1995]. The jury's verdict was that Dizzy was guilty and he was sentenced to "five days of community service" and a fine of $1,515 [Los Angeles Times, July 21, 1995]. In addition, Dizzy was ordered to attend alcohol education classes [Los Angeles Times, July 21, 1995].


In 1995-1996, Duff was still recovering from his serious health issues in 1994 [see previous chapter], and would do kickboxing at Benny Jet's dojo [The Howard Stern Show, July 25, 1996; Hard Rock, August 1996]. By september 1996, he was finally ready to work fulltime on new music with Guns N' Roses:

I’m ready for this. I’ve been in training, mentally and physically, as opposed to a couple years ago. when I couldn’t have done this, no way. Now I look at life differently. I work out every day no matter what. I got my life back. As opposed to live-fast-die-young, I love life again.

Duff had also divorced his wife, Linda [The Howard Stern Show, July 25, 1996], likely in late 1994 or 1995. The marriage had lasted three years [The Howard Stern Show, July 25, 1996].

In September 1996, Duff would be asked if he was interested in a second solo album but state that he was too busy with other projects at the moment:

I have a studio in my house and, you know, I go down there and I always kinda put together songs. So, I'm kinda busy right now. You know, Guns is… is doing their thing and we're out touring with Neurotic. And that's… Our album's coming out tomorrow. So… I'm pretty busy right now.

Yet, not long after, in early December, he had started working on his second solo album [Online Chat, December 17, 1996].

By late 1996 Duff was still single and living a quiet life:

I don't have a social life. I don't even have a girlfriend. Maybe I will find one tonight! [because Duff would be going out to a Sex Pistols concert in LA]
Hard Metal, August 1996; translated from French

Well, you know, actually when I go back to... I live a pretty – I try to live a pretty normal life. I don’t really go out that much. I’m not interested in, you know, going out just to be out and be seen. You know, I do martial arts and I water-ski... […] And I do a lot of other things, you know? I had enough of the excess, I did that, you know? So now I just got my life together in my house, you know, so – And I go to basketball games and I go sit wherever, and if somebody comes up to me, I just talk to another human. I don’t try to run away, I just go, “Hi, yeah. Yeah, I am Duff. How are you doing, man?” You know, “I’m here to watch the basketball game, let’s watch it, man, come on.”
Rock & Pop Argentina, September 1996; translated from Spanish


By mid-1996, Matt had moved out of his house in Malibu where he had lived with his wife Kai until they divorced in 1994 [see previous chapter]. In February 1996, it would be reported that he was now leasing a home in the Hollywood Hills [Northwest Herald/L.A. Times, February 22, 1996; Metal Hammer, July 1996].

I moved out of Malibu after I had problems with the fires. My house didn't burn down, but it was just a catastrophe, and then I spent a year out there in mudslides. Then I moved back into the city. I've got a 360-degree view here. I can see the city, I can see the ocean, and I can see the 'Hollywood' sign. The whole house is built onto like a peninsula, almost like a cliff. But it's actually like twenty-five feet of concrete into the ground. There's a big wall that goes completely around the grounds. And not only that, but you have to climb straight up a cliff to get to the house - on both sides! Someone would have to really be like Spiderman to get in here.

The house contained a studio [Metal Hammer, July 1996].

My studio is a place where I can take bands. And I have drum kits down here. It's big. It's a full-size studio, 24-track, and it's got amps and guitars and everything anybody knows.

Matt had slo started producing other people's bands:

I've got my own production company, called One Gun Productions, and I've been producing. I just produced a girl named Poe. She's on Modern/Atlantic. I don't know if you've heard of her yet, but she's starting to do pretty well in the States and she's trying to make it over to Europe this summer. And I'm starting to look for unknown bands.

As for displaying his awards and trophies:

The only stuff I have that has anything to do with the band is all down here too. I don't like that kind of shit on the walls, really. Most of my albums and awards and stuff is where it should be - around the music, you know? And even when I did that I was kind of like, 'God, this is too much.' It's like 'Welcome to my achievement.' I mean, it's nice, I'm not complaining. I love all that shit that I've got. But it's like, 'Oh, I've got my million platinum up; and now I've got my two million; and then I've got to put my three and my four and my five' and so on and so forth. That's how it got with us. You know, every time another one came in it was like, 'Oh, that's great. What am I going to do with this?'

You go to Slash's house and there's not one of those things anywhere in sight. And then Axl's got them out in his garage. But he's got kind of a cool setup. He's got them in his garage hanging around an old car - he's got like this old '55 Chevy. And then you go to Duff's and they're everywhere! [laughs]. Duff's got them in his game room - but he's got a very big game room!

At the time Matt had a dog called Drac and a cat called Oscar:

My dog's name is Drac. I got him on Halloween and he bit me and drew blood, so I called him Drac. He was just a puppy then. But he can be pretty feisty. He will go after somebody now. He's pretty protective of me, you know, if they come into my area of the house, or near the car when he's in the car. But he's a really good dog. […] I've got a cat here too, a tabby named Oscar. He spends a lot of time outside. There's lots of lizards and little mice and all kinds of things up here for him to chase. Once in awhile Drac puts Oscar's head in his mouth, but they've known each other since they were little so they get along pretty good. […] I had more cats, but I had to let a couple of them go because two of them were very territorial and were peeing everywhere - like right on my best Persian rug. I almost had to throw it out it smelled so bad. I had it cleaned like three times by professional cleaners. So I'm cool with my one cat. He's a loner, anyway.


Since the end of 1993, Axl had not been doing any interviews [as far as we can tell], instead deciding to lay low. He might have been focused on the ongoing law suits at the time. In July 1996, it would be reported that he had taking guitar lessons [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996] and had cut his hair short [New York Daily News, July 11, 1996].

Duff would comment upon Axl's lifestyle and all the rumours about him:

You know what is the problem with Axl? He doesn't go out at all and then everybody starts rumors. But Axl Rose has a normal life!
hard Rock, August 1996; translated from French

Then, in August, it would be reported that Axl would be featured in the movie "The Underground Comedy Movie" together with people like Joey Buttafuoco and Anna Nicole Smith [Red Deer Advocate, August 1, 1996]. The finished movie which was released in 1999, did not feature Axl but did feature Slash in the sketch Miss America Bag Lady Pageant so it is likely the press got it wrong and that Axl was never intended for the movie.

In October 1996, the Malibu area was ravaged by wildfires and it was mentioned in the press that Axl's house was saved by firefighters [AP/The Press Democrat, October 23, 1996].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:25 pm


With rumours flying about the band being in the process of disintegrating, Duff would return to Seattle to start up again his old band, Ten Minute Warning. In February 1995, Slash would be asked what this meant:

I know he went up to Seattle a while ago and played around with this old band of his or whatever, but it was nothing serious. Right now he's out in the country riding his bike, ha ha.

Duff would later tell what happened:

I'll tell you what happened. Stone Gossard came to my place in L.A. at the time I was involved in the Neurotic thing. A lot of people say 10 Minute Warning influenced their guitar playing. The guys in Soundgarden, for example. Kim Thayil says 10 Minute Warning were his biggest influence. We were some sort of "kings of trash" back in 1983. Stone said he wouldn't have started playing guitar if he hadn't seen me. We're the same age and all that. So Stone said "Would you make a record? I'm paying for it." It was a different story, I had just left Guns and was in Neurotic, so I said I'd call him. And I did, the band went there and we recorded a demo.

But our singer was in a federal penitentiary at the time, and he wasn't going to be out for a long time, so we needed to look for a different singer.


Bank robbery. Not just one, but several. So we found this guy, Christopher, and then Sub Pop got involved. We recorded for Sub Pop. We all got in the same room and the guys were like "C'mon, let's play". A lot of years had gone by, like 12 of something, and it was a lot of fun. It was like a fun thing again without so much of a trace of bitterness. I loved to do it. And so did the people at Sub Pop!

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:35 pm

MARCH 10, 1995

On March 10, The Joint - Hard Rock Hotel opened in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas was blown out of its britches Friday, March 10, 1995 as MTV hosted the Grand Opening of the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, billed as, "The World's First Rock N' Roll Hotel." The was led by our very own Duff McKagan and his all-star band, including Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens, Terry Andreadis, with special guest appearances by Iggy Pop, Gilby Clarke, Steve Jones, B.B King, Bo Diddley, Seal, Billy Idol and Melissa Etheridge. Other featured performers of the night included: Sheryl Crow, Duran Duran, Al Green and "Wayne Newtron and His Mutations." The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino also contains an awe-intensive, rock n' roll memorabilia museum to which GN'R have donated some of their motorcycles.
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995

Duff would be involved in setting up the roster [source?], and when asked if he got everyone he wanted, he replied:

B. B King and, you know, Iggy. The guy who owns the Hard Rock is really cool— he wants to keep a level of integrity and not just let anyone play there. So, with the punk rock resur­gence going on and if you want to keep some of the integrity, let’s get Iggy, and Steve Jones is a good friend of mine, let's get them up there.
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995

Playing with Iggy was great, he didn't complain, he was happy to be wanted you know? Happy to come and play. He was so down to earth. Me and Slash played on his record Brick By Brick. I was like, "He wants me to play?" Now, we are really good friends. It's guys like that that are such a fuck­ing level above most people and musicians. When we played, Steve Jones was playing, Iggy was singing, I was up there and Johnny Rotten wanted to come up and do a song. Iggy can't see without his glasses and after the show he said, "A lot of people were telling me that Johnny Rotten was there and I saw this blond surfer looking guy. It wasn't Johnny was it?" It was. I mean Iggy was so down to earth. He was like, "Johnny wanted to get up with us?? Oh wow, he's gonna be bummed at you. You are too fucking God-like," you know?
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995


In the 2000s, Guns N' Roses would do residencies at The Joint making it the venue where the band has played the most live shows.

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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:20 am


In February 1995, just before heading out to tour with Snakepit, Slash had said there was no new music recorded on tape, and that all they had was already used, either on Use Your Illusions or on his Snakepit record, or their pinball machine [Kerrang! January 14, 1995]. In April, though, Slash would say they had started rehearsing and recording new music:

We've just been taping shit. and writing down ideas. It's not what you'd call completely focused, but still productive anyway. I'm on tour for the next five months. but those guys will still keep working. That's why Matt's not touring with us; he's gonna stay working with Guns. Axl wants to make another record — he genuinely does. In September when I get back, the first thing I'll do is try and really focus on the Guns project, or whatever we're doing, and take it from there. I'd like to get a record out by next year.

Later in the year Slash would again state that they had worked on music before he left to tour with Snakepit:

When I left town, Axl and Matt and Duff and I had worked on new material. I hadn't heard Axl sing anything, but he was there while we were fucking around jammin.

In an official newsletter that was probably sent out in 1996, but with content from some time in 1995, Matt would describe the new music in terms that would suggest they hadn't recorded much yet:

We are going to get back to being more simplistic, but then again we are going to be experimental as usual and kick some ass. We are headed in the vein of rocking a little harder.

In November 1995, Metal Hammer would release an interview with Slash that was likely done in August. In this interview, Slash talks about the music they had recorded:

Yeah! We've got tapes of what Axl considers great songs, which from my point of view is just me playing the guitar! I haven't heard any lyrics or any vocals, so I don't know what a song is until then. You know what I mean?

In June, Slash would say he hadn't talked to Axl in 6 months [Dutch TV, June 5, 1995], suggesting that the working on the next record took place in January 1995, at the latest. This coincides with Wylde jamming with the band, implying that those sessions were the last time Slash played with GN'R before leaving on his tour with Snakepit.

Despite having started making music again, the band had still not replaced Gilby:

Now that Gilby's gone, there is no other guitar player at the moment.

Although later in the interview Slash would express uncertainty on whether Paul Huge was still in the band or not, or perhaps what would happen to music they had created with Paul:

He didn't work out, so I'm not really sure where the fuck that shit's headed. I'll deal with it when I get back off the road.

Not long before, Slash had also expressed uncertainty in regards to whether Zakk Wylde was in the band or not [RAW, March 1, 1995], indicating that Slash was either out of the loop or that it was entirely run by Axl now. He would reiterate this uncertainty in April:

I don't know whether [Wylde is] going to be part of the band or not. Axl really wants to do a Guns record now. But there's a lot of debate over who's going to play guitar. Axl and I were having an argument about it yesterday.

And later in April, it would be reported that Wylde was indeed rehearsing with the band while Slash was on tour with Snakepit [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 28, 1995].

Slash would also describe the music they had been working on, in not so flattering terms:

Considering Gilby's not in the band, it's been sort of like random, kind of weird shit.

Slash would talk more about the work they had done:

Anyway, when I took off [to tour with Snakepit], we had an agreement, so we came to terms with the whole situation, but we did do some... like, off-the-wall kind of writing and recording and this and that and the other. And they're still trying to work on things […]

The guys left behind to work on the record would be Axl, Matt and Duff, and possibly Paul.

Guns is under extreme pressure right now. Everybody wants to make a record. Axl wonders what sort of record it should be. It was an interesting reality for me to throw [Snakepit] together and see what happens, as compared to overthinking it and worrying too much about what others think.

In an update from the band's fan club, sent out in mid-1995, Duff would excitedly say they were working on new music:

We’re writing tunes and looking forward to getting in the recording studio real soon!!
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995

After returning from his tour with Snakepit, Slash would be less excited about the amount of work that had been tour by the guys left behind:

Anyway, they were supposed to keep working while I was gone. That's why Matt didn't come on tour with us, because he was supposed to help keep that foundation for them to jam. Well they only jammed like twice since I was gone, so no one had really been doing anything.

It is unlikely that the band were able to get much work done together as a band in this period. Slash likely recorded new music in his own studio while playing with and rehearsing with Duff and Matt without Axl. This is corroborated by this quote from Matt in late 1996 where he said they "didn't really work" together:

I must agree with [Axl], because he's a visionary. He knows what GNR should be 2 or 3 years in advance. When we got out of the plane [in 1993], he said: "Guys, we'll see us again in 96". It was 3 years ago. And now, we work together and an album will be released in 97. […] I saw him! But we didn't really work.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:57 pm



It seems like Slash was not at all sure things would work out with Guns N' Roses. He decided to release the songs Axl at first rejected with Snakepit, and then, around the same time Axl wanted to make new music, he left for a tour with Snakepit. Despite numerous claims that GN'R was his main focus, slowly he started to admit that his mind was occupied with Snakepit and that he saw both bands happening simultaneously:

We've started writing [for a new Snakepit record] already. It's like my mistress, I guess.

Talking about the whole process:

Anyway, so we finished [the first Snakepit record], we had nothing to do and the record company was like: "This is a cool record. Why don't you go out and promote it?" I was like: "What do you mean?" They said: "You could go to like, England, Japan and Australia. I was like: "Really? Get the fuck out of the house. Ok, let's go!" […] So, in that process... We had the guitars, we started writing more material. And so now everybody's looking forward to just doing another Snakepit record, you know. On the side of whatever... Like, I haven't quit Guns, Gilby's got his own band, Mike Inez obviously has Alice [in Chains], Matt's in Guns. But we can sort of do this... It's sort of like a mistress band.

And talking about why he started a new band:

There's a lot of confusion as to what this is about. Did I quit Guns? No. Why am I doing this? Because I felt like it. […] I actually had no intention of doing a separate project. I was more or less just writing songs for fun like I normally would. And then I played some of the songs for Axl, and he didn't want to do them. The music was too retro for him or something.

Guns is just one of those long, drawn-out processes, you know, and that’s probably another reason why I’m doing things the way that I’m doing them, just to get back to where you’re desperate [laughter]. You know, Guns can sit around and make up ideas till the cows come home.

And on a second album, and contrasting it with making music with GN'R:

We’ve already started throwing ideas back and forth and I'm really excited because it’s such an easy writing process with this particular group.

After Guns is done with whatever it is Guns does, I can call up the other guys and say, "Do you want to make another record?," and we can do it in a couple months.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

When there’s a period where Guns N’ Roses isn’t working, like after the tour or whatever, then I’m gonna do another Snakepit record and come back and play clubs.

He would further indicate that already from the start he had envisioned doing a second album with Snakepit, somewhat undermining his claims that he was more or less driven to do a solo-project when Axl rejected the songs:

[Talking about the name of the band]: That was a record-company thing. When I finally delivered the tape, they wanted to put Slash on it, just to help people recognize what the band was. It's true I initiated it, because it was my studio, the Snakepit studio. But I told (the record-company) I didn't want the other guys in the band to feel undermined, because they have as much playing as I do. I said OK for this record, but the second one will be Snakepit only.

But that a second album wouldn't happen til after GN'R's next album, indicating a dedication to GN'R:

There won’t be a Snakepit second record until Guns next record is done.

And contrasting his experience with Snakepit with Guns N' Roses:

I’m talking to you to shed some light on what Snakepit’s about but that’s not a pain in my ass. Dealing with the Guns N’ Roses thing is. Like pulling f—ing teeth out. What’s going on with us? I really don’t know.

Guns N’ Roses is more or less my family; you know, that’s where I come from. Snakepit is definitely a little bit more personal for me, because I can’t seem to make Guns N’ Roses sound like that anymore, even though I do try. The Snakepit thing is nice for me, but at some point I do have to go back and focus on Guns N’ Roses. So in August that’s what I have to do.

Later in the year, there would be indications that Slash was preferring his mistress Snakepit over his wife Guns N' Roses:

But I have to tell you one thing: I do want to get a Guns N' Roses record out as soon as possible, so we can do a tour and so that I can then go back and do another Snakepit record afterwards. It's developing into being such a good band.

In 1996, when Slash hadn't played with Guns N' Roses in over a year and his future in the band looked dimmer and dimmer, Slash still insisted that GN'R was his main priority and that a second Snakepit album would have to wait:

I'll do a Snakepit cd hopefully after GNR's next record.

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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:43 pm

APRIL 1995-JULY 1996

As Slash went on tour with his side-project, he would do numerous interviews where he would discuss Guns N' Roses and Axl.

In April, Slash would reiterate that he would be back with the band as soon as the tour was over, in September:

I’ve always been 110 percent there for Guns. For me to take off (on tour) was sort of tripping people out for a while. But I’ll be back in September. They know that now.

I can’t tell you when the next record will be out or when we’ll be touring. I have no idea at this moment as to where Axl’s head is at.

In my heart of hearts, I’m hoping that while I’m gone they maintain a more or less simple rock ’n’ roll band kind of mentality. I’d be thrilled if that’s what I found when I got back.

And the future of the band:

When the Snakepit thing is over, and I've got that out of my system, we all seem to be pretty amicable about how we feel about each other as far as Guns are concerned. I just want to do a really cool Guns record, and I don't want to push it 'cause I don't feel like we have to rush it out to keep up with the Joneses. So when everybody feels comfortable doing that... I don't know exactly where [Rose's] head is at, as far as what that should sound like. It changes from month to month. […] But we talk. We're fine. All the rumors and all that kind of stuff, it's between us. It's sort of like getting involved in someone else's marriage: You don't know what's going on, but people love to write about it. Me and Axl and Duff are obviously way the fuck more close and personal than they can even possibly put out in some magazine. That goes back to when Guns started, before we even got signed.

Being asked if they will make another record:

Yeah, I just don't know what the fuck that is right now.

And whether he wants to make another record with GN'R:

Well, yeah. Guns is where I'm from. But it's such a big band right now and it's got so much attention — that's nothing to do with music — aimed at it, that's it's hard to exist comfortably in that kind of environment. People breathing down your neck. Managers calling every time you mention even the slightest thing in the direction of making music and it's not too conducive to being creative. I'd sort of like to get over that because I don't want to make a shitty Guns N' Roses record, I want to make a really good one. […] See, Guns doesn't have to do a record tomorrow or next year. And people say, What about your fanbase? The least of my concerns is trying to put together a body of work to try and please some kid I don't even know.

I've done everything in my power, to avoid the obvious lead guitar player/lead singer, Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, Steve Tyler/Joe Perry thing. That's why I'm getting away from Guns for a while and cooling down. People would love for me to start going off on Axl. But I have no reason to. He and I are still very close. It's a lot like a marriage.

Regarding his relationship with Axl:

The problems between Axl and I... that’s a psychological thing between us. I don’t think I’ve ever not been there for Guns before. I’ve always been there for every tiny thing. For to just disappear all of a sudden — ‘Look, I’m gone, I’ll be back on such-and-such a date’ — threw him for a loop, I think.

I don’t have any beef with Axl. We may not see eye-to-eye from time to time, but I don’t look at it like, 'Forget you, dude.’ It’s like, ‘OK, well that’s the situation we’re in.’ You know? The stuff I go through with Axl is the same kind of stuff that I go through with my wife. But unfortunately it gets blown out of proportion because of the fact that it’s in the press. Someone picks up a tidbit of gossip, and off it goes. […] Lead guitar players and lead singers get into these things where the lead guitar players just want to play, and the lead singers want to do... something. We're not sure what. [laughter] Sometimes it's anything but sing.

Despite this, Slash would admit there was still bitterness about how Gilby was fired, although he could be talking about Gilby being bitter and not himself:

Although there is some bitterness about the whole Guns situation, 'cause it didn't really make that much sense.

In a later interview, Slash would say he can't hang out with Gilby because "because it might upset the others" [Kerrang! September 21, 1996].

Talking about if he and Axl had changed and grown apart:

The original guys in the band, Duff and Axl and I, haven’t changed that much. Axl is just a bigger version of what he always was. Axl’s difficult in some ways, brilliant in other ways. Axl’s Axl. I accept that.

And on the evolution of Guns N' Roses:

The whole thing has been one long circus ride. From the beginning. Everything has been this huge trial and error, not knowing where we were heading because we didn't really care. For Axl, he probably had visions of `November Rain' all along.

In May 1995, he would state that he "really have to go back and focus on Guns at some point" [The San Francisco Examiner, May 8, 1995].

There's no cohesive concept between us as to what a Guns N' Roses record is supposed to sound like. Guns is something that's dose to my heart. I'm loyal to the day I die, I suppose. […] As far as Guns' material goes, I'm still very enthusiastic and loyal about doing Guns, but the band is such an institution at this point that I don't see any need to affect the creative process by adhering to the time schedule and pressures from the record company--and public, for that matter--and putting out a shitty record. It's not like Guns has to make a record next week. The band is already established. In August after I get back from tour, I'll go back and see where Guns is at and where our relationship as a functioning band stands. If we all missed each other and the music happens and the work flow is going and everything pours out, then we can make a natural record. I don't believe in anything other than that.

At some point I have to go back and help get a record together.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

And when asked if he is reluctant to go back to Guns N' Roses:

That's a tough question, Gerri, 'cause I don't want you to get the wrong impression.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

By May, Slash had not spoken to Axl in a long time:

Me and Duff are real close, we talk all the time. Axl and I haven't talked, I don't think we've actually come to terms with what we're gonna do.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

In early June, Slash would say he probably hadn't talked to Axl in 6 months [Dutch TV, June 5, 1995].

We go through these periods where I do my thing and [Axl] does his, and then eventually we come together, and that’s when another Guns N’ Roses record gets done. When this tour ends - which is a six-month tour – in August, I’ll go home and basically we’ll regroup, so to speak. Then Guns will probably spend a little bit of time in the studio and they’ll be on the road for a while, and it will be like family for a long time. And then when the tour ends, I’m probably just gonna go back and make another Snakepit record, and do another small club tour. We’ll just sort of play it that way. Of course, nothing is ever that predictable, but that’s the basic plan.

When asked if Slash doesn't feel a need to "call him and say, 'How are you doing, man' and 'How is it going?'", Slash responded:

At this point I’m touring, so – like, I have a hard time calling my wife.

We know Slash and Axl met at a rehearsal in late-January [Raw, March 1, 1995], indicating that since then Slash had neither met or talked to Axl.

The Snakepit thing is nice for me, but at some point I do have to go back and focus on Guns N’ Roses. So in August that’s what I have to do. […] First thing, we’ll just get together with Duff and Axl and Matt, and figure out who the fuck is gonna play guitar (laughs) - the rhythm guitar, because Gilby is not in the band anymore. So that’s my first priority after the Snakepit tour is over.

In July 1995, Slash would state that "GNR takes itself a little bit too serious" [Folha De Sao Paulo Journal, July 21, 1995].

Later he would say he hadn't talk to Axl because Axl was busy with the Erin Everly trial [Kerrang! July 1995].

As the Snakepit tour started to come to its end, Slash decided to add anther show at Monster of Rock at Donington on August 26, 1995. He was still intent on returning to Los Angeles after the last show in late July, though:

[…]  I’m going to go back and the first thing I’ll do is call Axl and start working with Guns, then I’ll take off for three days — if I said I was going to spend three days at the beach they wouldn’t care! And for me a day at the beach is Donington.

Then it became August:

[…] I have every desire to go back in August and sort of reestablish my relationship with Axl, and try and just get some sort of like clear-headed point of view as to what we’re gonna do.

[…] when this Donington show [August 27, 1995] is over, my main thing is I have to go back and reconstitute the relationship between Axl and I, and obviously the other members of Guns N’ Roses, and try to figure out what the hell we’re doing. Because now that I’ve been out for a while and seen what’s actually going on since Axl’s been out there, I need to sort of communicate with him what actually goes on, and maybe he’ll understand me, maybe he won’t – who knows. .

As for what the band had been doing since he had been away, Slash was not optimistic about the productivity:

I don’t think they’ve done anything yet. I don’t know what everybody’s thinking at this point but I know what the rumours are. All I know is I left and said I’d be back at a certain time. […] I’ve checked in on a daily basis to make sure everything is fine. I haven’t talked to Axl directly because he’s been in court — the Erin thing.

Slash was still unsure about whether Paul was in the band, and would again express negativity towards this scenario:

Paul is in my mind completely useless. I hate that guy. I’m sorry, I’m sure he’s very nice but in a rock n roll context he’s pathetic, and as far as his relationship with Izzy, they’re Indiana kids, I can understand he feels comfortable, but I refuse to ever play with him again. I have to go home and deal with that, but as far as I know he’s out.

Slash much more wanted Gilby back in the band:

As far as Gilby goes, if we were going to do a tour I’d talk to Gilby about it. He said he might consider it but there’s a lot gone under the bridge on that one between Axl and him.

Simply put, the missing guitarist was a big concern to Slash:

Right now as far as I’m concerned it’s a big open hole. I’m concerned with it in the back of my mind, which is where it will stay until later in August when I concentrate all my attention on Guns and try to see where Axl and I can meet eye to eye on something.

After having returned to LA, Slash would talk about Axl:

[…] with Axl that whole trip [=the UYI tour] that we'd just taken had really become a part of him, to the point where Axl is as much a rock star in his own mind as he is in the public eye. I didn't really understand all that.

In July 1996, and still haven't played with GN'R since returning from his tour with Snakepit, Slash would discuss his relationship with Axl:

axl and I are having a very civil relationship as we speak. Thanks for the concern. […] Axl and I have been meeting recently and everythings progressing

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:18 pm

MAY 2, 1995

On May 2, 1995, the movie 'Panther' would be released. The soundtrack featured a collaboration between Slash, Brian McKnight and the Boys Choir of Harlem, doing ' The Star-Spangled Banner'.

I did a soundtrack for a movie called The Black Panthers. It's not virtuoso guitar playing by any means. I played my version of "The Star Spangled Banner." I played it note for note, as opposed to trying to do the Hendrix version, although you can hear some influences of Hendrix in some of the note choices. There's some blues stuff in there, but it's very slow, and I played the exact melody from the original so I held a standard for the movie. It sounds really strong the way it is without any guitar dive bombs or all that shit. Everybody's tried to do that. I ended up adding a couple licks here and there that are very mellow, but they sound good. It's got a lot of vibe to it.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:29 pm


During 1994-1995, when Slash was preoccupied with Snakepit it seems Axl was wrestling with deciding to go with either a solo record or a modernized Guns N' Roses. Although Slash would be kept in the dark to what was happening (he didn't talk to Axl while on tour with Snakepit but did talk to Duff) and would state that he didn't think much work had been done [Kerrang! July 1995], Axl seems to have been working on new material with Dizzy and possibly Duff.

When asked what the situation was with Trent Reznor, Slash would reply:

There was a point there when Axl was going to do a solo record, and he wanted to do it with Trent, Dave Navarro, the drummer from Nirvana and then he changed his mind and thought why do a solo record if he could do it with Guns N’ Roses, which is the last thing I heard.

This quote indicates that when Slash last spoke with Axl in late January 1995, Axl was still interested in modernizing the sound of the band, possibly with help from Reznor.

In Dizzy's drunk-driving trial of July 1995, Sean Riggs would be said to be a studio drummer for Guns N' Roses, and had been so since at least early February 1995 [Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1995]. Later, Riggs would receive writing credits for the song 'Oh My God' that would end up on the 'End of Days soundtrack in 1999. This is likely the same Riggs that was the drummer in Dizzy's old bands Johnny and the Jaguars and The Wild, under the name Sid Riggs and the moniker Sid the Kid.

Matt had been left behind by Slash to work with Axl, and it is uncertain whether Matt was part of these writing and recording sessions.

In early 2000, Rolling Stone would indicate that Axl had also been working with his guitar teacher, Gary Sunshine [Rolling Stone, January 2000].

Billy Howerdel was a computer engineer/guitar tech that worked with the band but was out by May 2000 [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000].

I didn't plan on being there that long. You know there's goods and bads. I mean, Maynard and I were going to do this [A Perfect Circle] a long, long, time ago, and when I started with them I said, 'I'm going to work three days a week,' and they said, 'four.' Well, they said, 'five,' I said, 'three,' they said, 'four,' we compromised. And then I just said, 'This is just going to be for a month or two,' and it wound up being two-and-a-half years. So you know, goods: I got to learn a lot of stuff. Bads: I could have stayed there forever, and I was there a little longer than I wanted to be. And I believed in it at the time, but there comes a time where you have to follow your dream, I guess.

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:09 pm


In 1995, rumours would spread that Izzy had returned to the band [Folha De Sao Paulo Journal, July 21, 1995]. This might have been started after Slash played with Izzy in Chicago on April 27, 1995, during his tour with Snakepit [Kerrang! July 1995].

We played with Izzy in Chicago, that was a great gig.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

In May, Slash would be asked if Izzy was coming back to the band:

I don't know yet.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

Slash would be asked about the Izzy returning rumour again in July, and state that Izzy was interested in writing with the band but not touring:

Izzy agrees with writing stuff but he's not interested in touring... He doesn't want to deal with Axl y'know? The Rockstar thing... Like me, he just wanna play... We never thought GNR would become so big...
Folha De Sao Paulo Journal, July 21, 1995; translated from Portuguese

As far as Izzy goes, I’d love to have Izzy back, but Izzy’s attitude is the same as it always was, he’d love to write some songs, but he doesn’t want to go through the big over-produced, big-production bullshit that we went through on the last tour when he did quit, and I totally agree with him.

This would be reiterated later in the year, and Slash would state that Izzy had in fact been writing with Duff:

Izzy jammed with Snakepit in Chicago, and we did a Stones song, and it was great to see him. But Izzy quit Guns because of the same bullshit that sort of forced me to take off for a while.

He's been writing; he wrote some stuff with Duff. He wants to write songs, but he doesn't wanna deal with the whole thing. And it took me a while to finally get to the point where I couldn't handle it either, y'know?

He wants to write material, but he's not really sure what he wants to do. He's so laid back. He doesn't want to deal any pressure. Izzy does what he wants to do.

As much as has gone on, and as much as I resent Izzy for quitting and all that, and leaving me in weird spots where I had to find a replacement weeks before the next leg of a tour, or if he didn't play on the "Use Your Illusion" records - which is for the most part true - looking back on it, Izzy's Izzy.

Izzy would later talk about these sessions:

We recorded 10 songs in eight days. It got me excited about music again. I realized how easy the whole process could be. Those sessions were fun and painless. We just had a great time.

The fate of these songs are unknown, although some of them might have ended up on any of Izzy's later albums or possible some unreleased music from Duff.

Then, in late 1996, Slash would say that if anyone were to come in and replace Gilby it would likely be Izzy [Total Guitar, January 1997]:

It works that way. If you have someone who plays like Izzy and someone like myself, you play off each other. You have two textural things, a different mentality.

Apparently, in 1996 Izzy also sent a bunch of songs to Axl:

Two years ago, I gave him a cassette with around 20 songs on it and without any reply, I received a fax from his lawyer...
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

Media would also later report that Izzy had returned in 1995 to write with Axl [Kerrang! August 21, 1999].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:28 pm


In September 1995, Matt and Duff would form a new band called The Neurotic Outsiders [The Courier Journal, July 6, 1996; Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996]. The lineup featured Matt, Duff, Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), and John Taylor (Duran Duran) [The Courier Journal, July 6, 1996; Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996].

Just so everybody knows, Duff's playing guitar in this band. He's the bass player in GN'R. So, maybe some people were confused he's playing bass. John Taylor is the bass player for Duran Duran. So… you know, Duff's playing guitar on this.

Matt started it to get a bit away from Guns N' Roses:

Guns N' Roses is so big, with the journalists, the travels with 100 people, we all have bodyguards. My bodyguard found it difficult to follow me! With the Neurotic, I come back to my roots, something simple and fun. It's really cool for the fans who want to see us close.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

One of the reasons Duff joined this new band was to get his "life back in gear" after his serious health issues in 1994 [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996]. It would also be a way for him, like it had been for Slash and his Snakepit, to reconnect with fans after the stadium tours of Guns N' Roses:

Neurotic gave me back something. I dunno if I lost it, playing stadiums and arenas, but you’re so far from the people, the feedback from who you’re playing to gets lost. We toured for almost three years. There was something missing and you can forget what that is.

Duff also knew Jones from biking:

I met [Jones] riding mountain bikes, actually, that's how we became friends - riding mountain bikes together. Which was great because I completely emulated his guitar style and I'm glad we didn't meet through playing. […] we met at an Aerosmith gig and we were talking and...[…] I was up the next day, I was going in a race. He said, "really? I ride," and blah blah blah, so we started riding together […]

I used to put together my ultimate punk rock band when I was, like, 17 and 18, and Steven Jones was always in it. There wouldn't be rock 'n' roll now as it is if it weren't for Steven Jones. That's the way I feel, but that's just simply the way it is.

The Michigan Daily would recount the start of the band:

The story behind the formation of Neurotic Outsiders is quite a simple one: A year ago, Sorum got a call from the manager of L.A.'s Viper Room about getting a band together for a charity benefit. He called Taylor to plass bass and McKagan and Jones to play guitar. Thus, Neurotic Outsiders was born. The band started playing covers of The Stooges, Sex Pistols and the Clash among others at the packed Hollywood hot spot. The chemistry erupted into the Outsider's war punk rock, and the band decided to continue playing together and record an album.

Duff and Matt would describe how it started:

[…] Matt Sorum from Guns got this call from Sal from the Viper Room to do this benefit for this guy who's got cancer, put a band together. So he called Steve and John Taylor to play bass and my to play guitar. And it was kind of a godsend, we got together... […]

Jonesy had a record he was working on and all of us had the tape. Matt had played on some of it, and it was my favorite tape of last summer, so we started playing the songs 'Nasty Ho' and 'Jerk.' We basically crushed the songs and said fuck the solo record. […] I'm as excited as I was when Guns was promoting our first record.

[…] it was 1 year and a half ago. This guy, Sal, called me et asked me if I could help him for that charity concert. He called me because he knows me. I like to hang out in L.A., I go to parties, I like to have a drink with everybody. So I called all the musicians that I knew. John Taylor and Steve Jones agreed immediately. Then I called a lot of people, Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Shannon Hoon (he was still alive), Ian Astbury (The Cult), but they weren't interested. The last I called was Duff. We already had a bassist, John, and I was uncomfortable to ask him to play guitar. He was enthusiastic when I told him he was going to play with Steve Jones. For this concert, there was Duff, John, Steve and me. Izzy Stradlin, West Arkeen and Steve Stevens (ex-Billy Idol) were also there. So we made $10,000. […] Two weeks later, John called me from London. He said: "It was so cool. We must do it again!". At this time, Guns N' Roses was in stand-by and it was before the Sex Pistols reunion, so we didn't had much things to do, so we said OK. During 2 months, we did the Mondays Nights at the Viper Room. It then started to be great. A lot of people wanted to play with us. We had Billy Idol, Iggy Pop, Brian Setzer (Stray Cats), a great musician, Simon LeBon (Duran Duran). Billy Idol even wanted to be a member of the band!
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

This started out as just a fun thing to do. And the best part is it’s still a fun thing to do. We all first got together a year or so ago to play a benefit concert for a friend of ours at the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip. We had such a good time that we started showing up there kind of regularly on Monday nights, and before we knew it, this band had taken on a life of it’s own. A number of out friends would stop by from time to time, including Billy Idol, Ian Astbury and Izzy Stradlin, but the bass unit always stuck together.

When we got onstage to do the first gig and did a soundcheck, we were like, 'Wow!' As a musician, you really do know when the chemistry is right--because it doesn't happen that often.

The charity event drew $10,000 and was for a friend of Viper Club's owner (Sal Jenco) who had been diagnosed with cancer [Calgary Herald, September 6, 1996]. But out of this humble beginnings grew a more serious musical project [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996]. In late September 1996, they embarked on a tour [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996]:

On this tour we're doing, Matt and I fly back from Toronto and then we do four days with Guns (recording) and then we go back out, so Matt and I are playing every single night with one or the other (bands) in September.

Matt would explain how this supergroup was formed in June 1995 at Johnny Depp's nightclub The Viper Room in Hollywood:

[…]it was all my idea. God, was that nuts. It started at the Viper Room… Umm, this guy named Sal, that runs the place, gave me a call for a benefit for a guy that had cancer, and asked me to call out all my celebrity friends, so we could raise some money for this guy. So, I called all my knuckle-head, you know, somewhat celebrity musicians that I knew, to come down and at the end of the night… uuh, Steve and Duff and John and myself got up on stage and played a few songs. And then we had such a good time we started playing there every Monday night for a couple of months. And then, before we knew it, there was record company people and all that stuff. And the rest is, you know… on record now.

[…] it was something fun for us to do, you know. We started out just playing down at this club in LA, just so we could jam, you know. And we had no intention of doing a record or anything. It just became like, a fun thing for us, and we're all friends and we had a good time.

Later, Matt would say they had struck a "multi-million record deal" on Madonna's Maverick Records that included one record and limited touring [Toronto Sun, September 4, 1996].

Basically our band is about no egos. All of us have been in bands with singers, lead singers, and they're difficult. Lead singers are just difficult. They just are. I'm sorry. If you don't hold an instrument in your hand, then you're just gonna be a pain in the ass.

Commenting on their album:

Certainly we didn’t set out with the idea of making an album. That may have been one of the last things on out minds, but when you play in LA and there is a buzz about your band and your music, it isn’t long before the labels find you. That’s just the way it is. So before we knew it a lot of labels were coming around, asking if we wanted to make an album. It put the seed in our heads, and we all started writing. John and Steve have written a few songs both together and alone, I came up with a few interesting things too. That’s when Maverick stepped forward with a very nice offer; we responded to them because they had the right vibe. They were part of Warner Bros., but they acted like they were an indie. That’s what we wanted. That’s when we really got to work. We polished up the songs that we had been working on and then tried to see how we should round out the album. We threw our original songs in with a few cover tunes we liked, and it turned into a pretty strong album.

We’ve all been in bands where it’s taken months to make albums and everyone has had to stand round waiting for things to happen. We wanted to create just the opposite feel here. We wanted to keep everything so loose and so free that there was no chance of anyone getting bored or the music getting stale. We have three different singers in Jonesy, John and myself, and that helps add to the diversity. When you hear Steve’s guitar blending n the songs themselves, for example, it can’t help but put a smile on your face. It’s just classic rock and roll, the kind of music we all love.

The band would release their eponymous album on Maverick Records in September 1996.

Apparently, Axl was a big fan of the record:

I came into (Guns N' Roses) rehearsal last night and Axl goes, 'Dude… this record … is amazing. It's so important.' And he was singing the words to every song.

I went into rehearsal one day and Axl was singing all the words to the songs. He loves it. And he’s very indicative of an American kid; he’s from the Midwest. I think that’s indicative of the excitement — this is the first white rock record in, like, five years that talks about chicks. It’s just pure, simple rock ’n’ roll, straight and to the point. We’re not trying to be politically correct. Everything’s got its place, but it’s time to rock again.

When asked what would happen if the new band became popular with Duff having to juggle two bands at the same time, Duff would respond:

If it takes off, that's kind of a quality problem.

In 1997 it would be rumoured that the band had cancelled a plan because Axl allegedly insisting on Duff and Matt focusing on Guns N' Roses [Rolling Stone, January 13, 1997].

Yet, even after Duff quit Guns N' Roses, it seems Neurotic Outsiders was dead.

If it happens again, it happens, and that's all it ever was.

[Being asked if they will release a new album some time]: Maybe. If the record company really asks for it, while leaving us alone, we could consider it.

Looking back at the band:

Playing with Steve Jones had the same impact on me of the time when Slash and myself played on Iggy Pop’s album, Brick By Brick. Those are guys who influenced me. Playing in the same band, recording an album and going on tour with Steve was pretty incredible. It feels great to think that Steve Jones is one of my best friends. Guns N’ Roses already played in Seattle, at the Kingdome Stadium, but it’s only when I came back with the Neurotic Outsiders that I felt I had succeeded, because I played in my hometown, with Steve, one of my idols. I always respected John [Taylor’s] bass playing. When I was a kid, Duran Duran was just starting to become famous and everybody told me I looked like him. It was quite funny. John impresses me not only by his style, but also as a human being. He’s a very open person.

I was still in Guns when the idea started to take shape, but we were idle. I used to go to our practice place, me and Matt would play for a while, but no one else used to show up. Slash was having trouble with Axl and, well, you know the story already. Axl would finally show up like at 4 a.m., oh well, fuck it! I realized I didn't want to wait until 4 in the morning to practice anymore. My life had changed. I'm not going to talk shit about anyone. Everybody does things for their own reasons. I've grown more reasonable, and I think I've always been, but now I do stick to it. I do as I say, and say as I think. I was not going to go "Ok, it's fine man, I'll swallow it again". No. I faced it and said no way, this is not fair. if it happens three more times I'm out. Well, it did happen. So Jonesy (Steve Jones) and I had been practicing and playing some gigs, because Guns were doing nothing. We were playing the Viper Room every Monday night. It was awesome! We did it for charity. Afterwards we got a record deal. Of course our interest was not beyond that, but as soon as you try to keep something quiet record companies start to pop up everywhere, all of a sudden. We didn't want to make a record, but we finally said "Fuck Maverick, make us a good offer!" They said "Hey, you don't have to tour, we realize you each have your own stuff to do". So we said it was OK and did the record. I love that record! I was going to work with Steve Jones and he's my friend. We wanted to play some gigs, which is something I hope I'll be able to do for a long time. I think the band fans realized what the whole thing was about. It was something we did once and for a certain time, so there was no pressure involved at all.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:35 pm


In September 1995, Slash returned from his tour with Snakepit, with the stated goal of working on the next GN'R record.

In November, Metal Hammer would release an issue where they asked Slash about  how long it might take to get a new record out:

Thinking about how people are gonna react, or how long we can be away and so on, is really only an afterthought considering just getting the band together to make what I consider a good record, and take it from there. If we have to start all over again, fine, so be it. I have no problems with that; I'm just doing it now, with another band. As long as the integrity and the quality of the band is naturally there, where we don't even have to sit there and think about it, that's what I'm into.

I'd love to be on the road right now doing my fifth album or whatever, but the way things are and the way Guns N' Roses has always been - which is that it'll be done when it's done - the most important thing is to do a cool record. And if we have to work that much harder to establish the fan base or whatever, that's going to have to be the way it is. If we were gonna be working on an annual basis - every year: "Here's a record" - and star turning out crap, that would be more disappointing.

But I have to tell you one thing: I do want to get a Guns N' Roses record out as soon as possible, so we can do a tour and so that I can then go back and do another Snakepit record afterwards. It's developing into being such a good band.

Being asked if there's a possibility there won't be a new record:

Er... You're talking just to me. If you were to have all of us sitting here, our different views on the next Guns record would all be very individual. But from my point of view, I just wanna do a brash hard rock record, with maybe one ballad on it. Ask Axl the same question and you'd get a completely different answer.

In all honesty, I think Guns is one of those bands that will just be around forever. It'll always be in some state of turmoil here and there, but because we're so close in a lot of ways - even with Izzy being gone; I've seen him, he replaced Gilby when he broke his wrist, and he played with us on the Snakepit tour - and we've gone through so much together, we naturally fucking feel like family. It's just the little bickering shit that goes on over ideas and this and that and the other, and it's something that's an obstacle that I think we've always conquered whenever it come up. So I think we'll be around for ever.

In the quote above it is clear that Slash and Axl still felt differently about the music on the next record.

And talking about a future tour:

I'd love to do it. I just wanna change things a little bit; that's why I wanted to do the club tour for "The Spaghetti Incident?". But I don't where Axl's head's at, so I can't give you a real answer as to what it'll be like. I really need to sit down and talk to the guy about how we're fucking gonna find some common ground here. I don't mind going back and playing the odd stadium, but I would like to keep us more of an indoor kind of thing. We need to figure out how to establish more of a common ground with the kids that we're playing for, because I feel the same now as I did way back when, where you just go out and hang out with 'em and you feel so comfortable. This "above ground" kind of rock star status that say, Bon Jovi enjoys, I don't really get into it.

But the one thing I don't wanna do talking to you is come across like I feel depressed or pessimistic about the whole thing; I feel very optimistic, I'm just not sure what's gonna happen. I just wanna be able to go and do it and know that the spark is there, because when the spark's there it just flows.

In late 1995, Los Angeles Times would finally shed light on what was happening in the band:

Guns N' Roses' three principals--singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan--are separately writing new songs for the group with plans to convene in the studio in January. A new album could be out in the fall, with a world tour to follow.

That Axl, Duff and Slash was working separately was an ominous sign, considering that Slash and Axl had not been on the best of terms. Doug Goldstein would talk more about the future tour:

There are no tour plans set. And at this point I'm not even sure they'll tour America. It depends on how the record is received here. Though given what I've heard, we'll be touring America.


The entire band is clean and in great shape. They all look better than since I've worked with them and I'm going, 'Come on guys, it's a great time to go and show the world.

Early in 1996, Entertainment Weekly talked to Bryn Bridenthal about the work on a new record and she would say that a new record would be released by the end of 1996 and that the band members are working on new songs and occasionally play together:

People are saying that music’s changed since their last album. But they’ll do whatever they want. […] In their world, they’re right on schedule.

Slash would later refer to rumours from this time about the band working together, as bullshit:

Six months ago, there was a rumour that we were all in the studio and we were all sober. That was f**king bullshit. Only Axl had been in the studio.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996, interview from early August 1996

In July 1996, Slash would be asked about status and not sound very positive about the work on the next record:

Gun [sic] has been trying to get the next record together […]

And on whether GN'R was breaking up:

No, GnR are not breaking up!!

He would also indicate he was out of the loop in terms of what was going on with the new album and that he hadn't played with "them" yet [since returning from the Snakepit tour in 1995]:

I really have no idea what's goin on with the next GNR cd. I still haven't played with them yet.

In early August, he would state that he still hadn't played with them, or even been in the same room since  before the Snakepit record was released [Kerrang! September 21, 1996; but interview from early August 1996].

Slash would also deny that Izzy was back in the band [Netscape Online Chat, July, 1996] and Slash would later, according to Kerrang! indicate that Axl still intended Paul Huge as the replacement for Gilby [Kerrang! September 21, 1996; but interview from early August 1996]. This is odd, because around the same time both Duff and Bridenthal would say Axl would be playing rhythm guitar [see later chapter] - so maybe this is an indication of how far out of the loop Slash was and had been?

In July 1996, Bryn Bridenthal would be asked about the progress of a new record, and indicate that a new record this year was possible but unlikely:

It’s possible to have a Guns record this year. But it’s also unlikely.

Whereas Duff would state that the new record would be released "at the very latest, nest spring" [St. Cloud Times, July 28, 1996]. Duff would also say the band had quietly started working on the new record two months ago with "a really cool genuine air of excitement" [St. Cloud Times, July 28, 1996].

We're writing new songs. […] Yeah, [Axl is] totally [into it]. And actually today I was gonna have to fly back right after this.

Apparently, they had written a song that was intended for a Jackie Chan movie:

We're gonna start recording for this Jackie Chan movie, the next one.

According to Duff, Axl was a "huge fan" of Jackie Chan [The Howard Stern Show, July 25, 1996].

The band would not end up having any songs in any Jackie Chan movies. Interestingly, in 2008, Axl would state that the band had a song with the working title "Jackie Chan." A version of this song from 2000 leaked in 2019, under the name "Hard School". It is possibly this was the song that was intended for a Jackie Chan movie in 1996/1997, at the very least it existed in a complete state in 2000.

Together with Slash saying he had not played with the band in July, this would indicate that a new push for a new record had been started in around May 1996 with plans of featuring a song in an upcoming movie, but that up until July Slash had not been involved.

It is unlikely that the band were able to get much work done together as a band in this period. Slash likely recorded new music in his own studio while playing with and rehearsing with Duff and Matt without Axl. This is corroborated by this quote from Matt in late 1996 where he said they "didn't really work" together:

I must agree with [Axl], because he's a visionary. He knows what GNR should be 2 or 3 years in advance. When we got out of the plane [in 1993], he said: "Guys, we'll see us again in 96". It was 3 years ago. And now, we work together and an album will be released in 97. […] I saw him! But we didn't really work.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

Yet in early 1997, after having left Guns N' Roses, Slash would claim he had rehearsed with the band after returning from the Snakepit tour:

When I came back from the last Snakepit tour, I did go back to rehearsals [with Rose] to see if we could rekindle any kind of flame, but it just didn't work out.

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:37 am


According to Tom Zutaut, Axl had refused to go on stage during the end of the touring in 1993, unless ownership of "Guns N' Roses" was transferred to him:

On the eve of the tour, Axl told the rest of the band that the only way he would play was if they'd give ownership of the name to him. They were looking at canceling the tour and losing millions and millions of dollars, [so] they capitulated.

Slash would later express bitterness over this:

As far as contractually - and this is a discrepancy between myself and our attorneys - apparently Axl owns it. Now I should have known that, because I could have then said: "Okay." I don't give a fuck who owns the name. But I find out later that Axl legally owns it - apparently.

Slash would also vent frustration with Axl being in control of the band:

It's like everybody is on Axl's side from the business point of view, y'know? Everybody's scared that they're going to get fired. Because if Axl decides that he can't work with you you'll get fired, no matter what I say! I can fight till I fucking turn blue, but I won't be able to get anything done with the band if Axl won't work. And that's how the latter part, from "Use Your Illusion" till now, has been.

In early 1997 it would be reported that Axl had purchased the rights to the band name, "Guns N' Roses" [Addicted to Noise, January 30, 1997]. Steven would say that the band members were approached one-by-one and offered money for the name:

[Axl] went by person-by-person. First I was out of the band, and I said, "I am not in the band, go ahead, give me some money." […] "Show me the money, you got it." "Show me the money, you got anything."

And Steven's rationale for accepting this was that Axl wouldn't be able to monetize on the name without the rest of the band:

It's not doing [Axl] any good! Unless it's the five of us together. […] It ain't gonna happen. I mean, look at the solo projects. It was just... I mean, Axl thinks it's just him. He is Guns N' Roses and... […]  It's a team effort. We all worked together. We made something happen. He wanted to do it his own way and look what happened.

Slash, though, would indicate it didn't go down like that and that he wasn't able to prevent it from happening:

That's something that happened. I was blindsided by it, more or less a legal faux pas. I don't know what he's gonna do, as far as that goes. But I'd be lying to say I wasn't a little bit peeved at that. It'd be one thing if I quit altogether. But I haven't, and the fact that he can actually go and do that without the consent of the other members of the band...

In 1997, with Slash out the band, Alan Niven would also scathingly castigate Axl for taking control of the band and would claim that the only reason Axl continued with the band Guns N' Roses was to collect a large windfall from Geffen:

The perception I have of what Axl's doing at the moment is that he's basically making a solo album but retaining the GN'R name so that he can get at the major contractual advance that's waiting at Geffen for a new Guns N' Roses-titled record. I can't give you the exact figure but I will tell you it's in the multi-million-dollar range. This renegotiation was effected just before I was fired.

Also, it seems to me that he's deluded himself into foolishly thinking that he is Guns N' Roses and that the fans will buy that. Axl's just a very, very difficult guy to be around, and one day I think he's going to be painfully, pitifully lonely. […]

Ultimately Axl Rose's basic agenda is one of megalomania and a certain amount of greed. I know he thinks he's moral but he has a very serious difficulty when it comes to trying to place himself in someone else's shoes.

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:33 pm


Tentative chapter, may be deleted, moved, merged or entirely changed.

In 1995, Slash would claim that Axl was separate from the day-to-day business of the band:

But when the band's on the road, you know, Guns N' Roses on the road, you know, there's Duff who… you know, we have all our different little gigs where we take care of. If something needs to be taken care of, we take care of it. And then Axl sort of just does Axl. That's his thing, whatever. But the band is always together, you know. So like, on the last tour, like Duff, Gilby, Matt, myself, Dizzy we always hang together real close and we know what's going on. While Axl's on a different thing, you know.


[Axl]'s always been like that. You see, it's hard to... you'd have to been through this many years of dealing with Axl to understand what I'm saying, you know? In other words, he sings and he relies on the band to be there, so we take care of the band. Make sure the band is functional. When Axl walks off stage or does whatever, we keep jamming [chuckles].

Slash would also, probably in 1997, claim that Axl considered him and Slash the most important parts of Guns N' Roses:

For some reason there's just that strange front man situation where everybody thinks [Axl Rose and I] are supposed to be like Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, which is not the case. And Axl seems to think the same way, like this is supposed to be some unprecedented lead duo thing. Where as far as I'm concerned it's supposed to be about where the music's coming from, where the band's at, who the members are, and a whole fucking tight kind of group -- it's not just the front guys. Axl just sees it as nobody matters but he and I, and that's not the case for me.

In late 1999, Axl would claim the other band members had been against him:

When we were in airports and people are ignoring Duff and asking for my autograph, that didn't go over so well. The guys would say, you know, 'What am I? Linoleum? What am I? Wood?' There was an effort to bring me down. It was a king of the mountain thing.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999

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Post by Soulmonster on Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:06 pm

NOVEMBER 30, 1995

On November 30, 1995, Gilby sued Guns N' Roses for "commercial misappropriation of his name, likeness, photograph, voice, and performance." [Billboard, December 16, 1995]. Gilby would later say he didn't want to sue, but that no one in the band would return his calls [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000].

The defendants in the suits were the band members themselves, and not Geffen [Billboard, December 16, 1995]. According to the suit, Gilby had not given the band permission to "use or exploit his name, likeness, photograph, voice, and performance in a commercial manner in the absence of a contract regarding royalties from sales of albums on which he performed." [Billboard, December 16, 1995].

Gilby's manager, Mike Hall, would comment:

A contract was never completed, and that is the heart of the issue.

As a response, Guns N' Roses counter-sued. In the end, the cases were settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money paid out to Gilby [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000].

I never really had any problems with Axl. It was just business. It was an issue that wasn't getting settled: I wasn't getting paid, I wasn't getting a response, so the attorneys got involved. It was settled in a few weeks.

In September 1996, Slash would talk about Gilby and indicate they weren't on friendly terms anymore due to the lawsuit:

[Being asked if he is still friends with Gilby]: He and I no... He's suing us so... Normally we would be but...[…] The situation with Gilby is like... um, after the particular time we got involved with him he wasn't doing anything, really, and so we brought him into a situation where he had all, you know, like the obvious, I mean, it was a great position to be in right to be in. So then he turns around and sues us so I'm a little pissed off at him.

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