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1989.02.DD - Song Hits - Interview with Slash

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1989.02.DD - Song Hits - Interview with Slash Empty 1989.02.DD - Song Hits - Interview with Slash

Post by Blackstar on Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:34 am

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1989.02.DD - Song Hits - Interview with Slash 1989_030
1989.02.DD - Song Hits - Interview with Slash 1989_032
1989.02.DD - Song Hits - Interview with Slash 1989_031


By Elianne Halbersberg
Speak with the members of Guns N' Roses and you'll hear stories of trying times, dead jobs, and initial snubbings from press and labels. Perseverance has paid off handsomely, however, as over a year into its release, Appetite for Destruction, is now quadruple platinum and Guns N' Roses are a radio staple, media darlings and veterans of a world tour. Guitarist Slash denies, however, that success has changed anything.
Song Hits: Are you comfortable being termed a success these days?
Slash: Lately, people ask us, "How does it feel to have made it?" What are you talking about? We're still work-king! We could split up tomorrow and be forgotten. My bank account has no bearing on my life. I never had money and when I get some, it just sits there. I haven't bought a car or an apartment. I own four pairs of jeans and some T-shirts. When we can headline big places, that will be an accomplishment. Once you sell a lot of records, you turn into an industry standard because people try to rip off what you do and pick up on your trip. Selling records doesn't make me feel I've arrived. It's just an easy way to give the finger to the industry. People were tapping their pens waiting for us to drop dead. They said we couldn't do it. What burns me up is those who didn't believe in us at the beginning are suddenly trying to be our best friends. I'm hip to it — I know that game!
SH: Did you expect, or suspect, this response would happen?
Slash: No. We were probably as naive when we did the album as when we formed the band. We had no expectations — just to play songs we liked and get gigs. When we recorded, we just wanted to make it good, put it out and see what happened. Suddenly there was this b.s. of no radio, no MTV, but that's not the final word in acceptance. Fans are the pinnacle of this business. They go to the gigs, buy records, spread word-of-mouth. Once you sell 100,000 copies in a week, there is nothing the business can do to ignore you any more. Then obviously, radio has to do something.
SH: Are you sensing changes in yourself or the band?
Slash: We've gone through hard knocks together. The only change is the over-exaggeration of each of us as a personality. Axl used to look 5'8". Now he's eight feet tall. It surrounds us all the time. But in the dressing room, it’s just the five of us. Personally, not really. I live for this and it makes me real happy to play night after night. I don’t get taken aback or threatened. I still play my guitar to maintain my level of accuracy. I’m still human!
SH: Is it hard to cope with people thinking you’re great?
Slash: That’s funny; I was thinking about this last night. Someone asked about our influences or something and I didn't give them a real answer. Later I thought about how I listened to music in the 70s and it wasn’t the kind of thing where we'd emulate their chords or clothes. But that's what people do now. Bands I got behind — Aerosmith, AC/DC, Cheap Trick — I could stick up for them because I really liked them. Choosing favorites has something to do with your personality. You wear it on your sleeve. I would have kicked someone's butt if they said my favorite group sucked! They were my heroes. It was like being in a gang, waiting in the rain for tickets and stuff. I see kids with Guns N' Roses on their jackets, tattoos. It's a little intimidating, but at the same time it makes me feel good because that sticks with you forever. You wear something as a trademark, it's yours, you never forget. It means a lot to be part of someone's life like that.
SH: What about balancing your creative goals against the industry’s commercial ones?
Slash: So far that hasn't been an issue. We signed with Geffen Records because of their no-holds-barred attitude. We weren't fishing for a deal so we weren't about to conform to get signed. Up to this point, we’ve proven ourselves. A million and a half records gives us the stamp to say, 'Don’t fuck with us because we don’t have to listen.’ There are no standards by which the business can tell me to do this or that. That’s why I’m so proud. We’ve gotten as far as we have and did at least fifty percent more to stay true to ourselves than anyone else.
SH: Does music mean as much to audiences today as it did to us?
Slash: Only a few bands can resurrect the vibe. When I was younger, there was a buzz around a concert. It was the most exciting thing, going through the front gate was so intense! The '80s got safe, predictable and real bland. A handful of bands are bringing the excitement back. From the stage point of view, our shows seem to cause total anarchy. It’s great! It takes me back to what turned me on in the first place.
SH: What does Guns N' Roses represent to fans?
Slash: An element of danger, not knowing what will happen, not feeling your parents allow you to do this because it's safe.  Fans get off because we're definitely anti-establishment, same as when rock and roll started. It should always be that way. Once you make it safe, nice and on an even keel, you do the same show every night. People grab a taco, hang out at the show, then go do their homework. It's not the same.
SH: Do you think some of the press is waiting for you to fail?
Slash: Oh, yeah! It's obvious from the hype they generated at the beginning. "So and so are eccentric junkie hellraisers." Then they turn around and say, "He got smashed by a car due to alcohol and drugs." Sensationalism keeps the press going. It's an extreme type of things. At this point, I don't keep up, but I still see things generated about us. Anything shocking in the tiniest sense gets printed and blown out of proportion. I attribute it to one of those inside-information mongers who make it up if they can’t find it out. It goes with the territory and doesn't bug me. For us, there's no good or bad press. Any press is cool.
SH: Musically, do you believe in limitations?
Slash: As a player, you've got to be smart and hopefully not get fazed by stuff going on around you, believing your own hype, feeling you're a star who doesn't need to concentrate on musicianship. I’m naturally conscious about my playing and what the band does. We’re all like that. The only limitation is in your personal playing, but if you love your instrument, nothing can keep you away from it, and you expand as you go along.
SH: Are you thinking about the next album?
Slash: A lot. It's turned into something that keeps me awake at night. I'm super excited about everything we do, jazzed like a little kid! I think about guitar licks, what to do live, and I write lots of guitar stuff geared to the next album. There's so much going through my head. During the two months we had off, we got a studio, worked on new songs, got basic formats to start and end. We finished ten, and I've written tour or five more since. Axl’s got a surplus of lyrics and ideas. It will be a natural progression. The only difference will be more ballads because we didn’t have the opportunity to do all we wanted on the first record. It will be heavier, more Involved In the guitar aspect. We'll probably experiment more, but it will be the same thing — an adolescent pissed-off album!
SH: Aside from the sensationalists, does public acceptance yield respect from press and peers?
Slash: l couldn't give a shit about the press when it comes to respect because that's subject to change any time without motive. So it's not like we're affected by it. If it were 100 percent bad, it would be a bit depressing, but to be at their (?) we don't take it to heart. Any respect we get from bands l appreciate, to be called a great rock 'n' roll band is nice. That's all we ever set out to be.

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