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1994.01.29 - The Calgary Herald - Interview with Slash

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1994.01.29 - The Calgary Herald - Interview with Slash Empty 1994.01.29 - The Calgary Herald - Interview with Slash

Post by Blackstar on Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:03 am

1994.01.29 - The Calgary Herald - Interview with Slash 1994_034



Rockin’ and shakin’ was all too real for Guns N’ Roses guitarist when California earthquake began to rumble

By James Muretich
Calgary Herald

There was a whole lotta shakin’ going on in the life of Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash recently and, for a change, it had nothing to do with rock 'n' roll or the tumultuous personal lives of his band-mates.

“Oh yeah. I was there when the earthquake hit L.A.,” says Slash during a telephone interview.

“It was major. That had to be the most shocking experience I’ve ever had. The house was devastated. And my wife was there and her cousin and I’ve like some 40-plus animals and t he whole thing was just a panic. Some of the cats were so freaked out, they were wedged in areas where you couldn’t even find them. And one of the major priorities after the initial shock was over was to check the cobra cages, but it was OK. They hadn’t gotten out.

“Besides, it was just a house. I can still play guitar and everybody close to me is still alive and all the animals are fine. So, I’ve got nothing much to complain about.”

The irony was that just before the quake rocked Los Angeles, Slash had been mixing songs for the new disc of original tunes by Guns N’ Roses.

“I’ve been working on the Gunners record ever since I got home after The Spaghetti Incident? (the band’s 1993 album of cover songs) was finished. I’ve built a studio in my house that the band can use and so far we’ve done 14 songs.

“The Use Your Illusion records, if you really knew, if anybody knew the whole story of what we were going through, they’d realize how important those records are to us and why they took so long — but you had to be there. When you read the lyrics, it starts to come out. It was a real period of turmoil. This time around everybody’s more stable.

“I mean, we had every reason to split up before those albums turned out as far as the obstacles we had to face. So as far as being able to pull off that tour and (Gunner guitarist) Izzy (Stradlin) leaving in the middle of it and this, that and the other thing and being able to go back into the studio and do The Spaghetti Incident? . . . well, we just wanted to go straight back to work and do something else. So, it shouldn’t take as long (for the next album to come out).”

And doubtless it will be a rocker in the Gunners’ tradition.

“No, no, it’s gonna be like, well, we have a new fusion jazz approach. We’ve been listening to Yes a lot lately,” he says, laughing.

“No, it’ll be rock ’n’ roll.

“I was talking to somebody else today about how everybody wants to put a label on things. Oh it’s punk-rock, it’s alternative. The whole thing about rock ’n’ roll and what I got turned on to — regardless of what kind of music it was — was the whole sense of abandon and rebelliousness and doing something that was against the grain.”

Interestingly enough. The Spaghetti Incident? with its versions of songs like Raw Power by The Stooges, Hair Of The Dog by Nazareth, New Rose by The Damned and You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory by Johnny Thunders, helped spark the spirit that has so far marked the new studio songs by Guns N’ Roses (though Slash is keeping mum on describing the songs in any detail).

“We started The Spaghetti Incident? without even knowing that we were going to finish it and have an album to put out. We started it just to alleviate all the pressure of doing the Use Your Illusion records. We’d just jam on songs that we grew up with, just off the top of our heads.

“They were a lot of fun to do and nobody in the business took it all that seriously so there was none of this outside business bull.... going on. It was a relief and it was also very grounding when the stress seemed so unbearable.

“It was like a real bonding thing for the guys in the band just to book a studio without asking anybody for the money or anything. I’d call up some studio, let’s say, in Boston and just go: Yeah, this is Slash from Guns N’ Roses and can we book the studio from such and such a time to such and such a time and record a song.’ And they’d go: Yeah, right.’ And then we’d all show up with borrowed gear. “It was just nice to know that the foundation of the band is still the same. It’s just that everything around us has changed so much. And it was probably one of the things that was most instrumental in keeping us going.”

And in true Gunners fashion, a bit of controversy erupted when the band placed an unlisted song at the end of the disc that just happened to be written by Charles Manson from his songwriting days before he orchestrated the infamous Hollywood mass murders of actress Sharon Tate and others.

“Other bands have covered his material, there’s even one band that did the same song we did, and it’s a little disturbing that just because of who we are we seem to be the pinnacle of media attention because of something that we thought was, well, funny.

“I can understand where the media is coming from in terms of trying to find something interesting in order to attract people’s attention, but at some point there’s gotta be a line where it becomes ridiculous. It’s like people have nothing better to do, nothing interesting going on in their own lives other than trying to keep the buzz going by talking about us,” says Slash.

“That’s the uncool part of success. Being scrutinized so closely all the time, the close-mindedness, the fact that I can’t hang out in the same places in Hollywood that I used to, being treated differently by your friends that you’ve known a long time, that general awkwardness, the business in general, expectations, you know, everybody taking the whole thing too seriously.

“I’m not really complaining. It’s wonderful to be able to do what we do and to make a living at it. It’s given me the opportunities to do all kinds of stuff and the chance to play all the time and with a lot of people I respect and admire.”

People like Lenny Rravitz and Michael Jackson, currently embroiled in the scandal of reportedly having sex with young boys.

“I was surprised to get the phone call. That was probably the most business-like session I’ve ever done. But I’ve gotten to know Michael since we first met in the studio and the guy’s just a bonafide amazing talent. Very rarely do you find yourself working with someone who’s that together. All the shit that’s going on with him now ... I just hope when it’s all said and done, that it turns out not to be true,” Slash says in his surprisingly soft-spoken manner.

‘You can never bury negative press whether it’s right or wrong. And that’s a drag. Especially considering that negative press is a lot more difficult when you’re a popular role model like he is.

“It’s not that way for us,” says the man whose band has been considered the reigning “bad boys of rock” since its 1987 debut full-length album Appetite For Destruction (a name they seemed ready to live up to at one point with their life-on-the-edge lifestyle, drug addictions, etc.).

“Not too much stuff that we do surprises many people.”

Slash has learned how to deal with being under the media microscope and it no longer fazes him. Besides, there’s only one reason why he is and always will be a rock ’n’ roll guitarist — performing on stage.

“It’s the only thing that makes all the bull.... that goes along with music worthwhile. Two to three hours of reality checking on stage. I don’t want to sound corny but it’s the love of music and what I do that keeps me going . . . because the rest of it is just a pain in the ass.

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