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1989.10.DD - Creem Close-Up Metal - Guns N' Roses: An intimate chat with Slash

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1989.10.DD - Creem Close-Up Metal - Guns N' Roses: An intimate chat with Slash Empty 1989.10.DD - Creem Close-Up Metal - Guns N' Roses: An intimate chat with Slash

Post by Blackstar on Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:38 pm

1989.10.DD - Creem Close-Up Metal - Guns N' Roses: An intimate chat with Slash 1989_118
1989.10.DD - Creem Close-Up Metal - Guns N' Roses: An intimate chat with Slash 1989_119
1989.10.DD - Creem Close-Up Metal - Guns N' Roses: An intimate chat with Slash 1989_120
1989.10.DD - Creem Close-Up Metal - Guns N' Roses: An intimate chat with Slash 1989_121
1989.10.DD - Creem Close-Up Metal - Guns N' Roses: An intimate chat with Slash 1989_122

Transcript:
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GUNS N’ ROSES
An intimate chat with Slash

 
By Bob Garon
 
The following conversation with Slash took place just a little over a year ago, right before Appetite For Destruction exploded, transforming Guns N' Roses into one of the most important bands of the '80s.
 
Not really an interview per se, the discussion took place following a for­mal interview with the members of Guns N' Roses at a Hollywood res­taurant. Slash asked the writer if he'd drive him and his girlfriend at the time home (the guitarist was living in a motel in Hermosa Beach back then; he has since reportedly bought a home in the L.A. area).
 
Slash brought his ever-present fifth of Jack Daniels along for the ride. He was relaxed, pretty much just talking about whatever came to mind. The tape recorder was run­ning—he didn't seem to mind—and it captures the guitarist in an intimate environment just before success would turn him into the superstar he is today.
 
METAL: Did you start playing guitar when you were a kid?
 
Slash: I was 14. Steven — our drummer — actually got me started playing guitar. He owned one. Before that, I was just like a Hell's Angel on a dirt bike bicycle, right? And I met Stephen, and we used to hang out and ditch school together. We'd cut seventh grade together. He had a guitar at his house, and I got totally turned onto it. And I've dug it ever since. Aerosmith was the band that really got me started, though. When I was 14 and 15 years old, they were my very favorite band. They were sort of like the inspiration behind me actually going for it and doing it. So I've always been a big Aerosmith fan. And when Joe and Brad left that time, it wasn't Aerosmith anymore. But now that they're back together, and gone platinum, I'm really, really happy for them.
 
Speaking of inspirations, Holly­wood is very strange these days. If you look on the streets—any­where you look actually—every­one appears to be an aspiring heavy metal musician.
 
They must make up at least three-fourths of the Hollywood population right now. It seems that unless you graduated from college with the idea of becoming a lawyer or a doctor or something, that's one thing, but everyone else wants to be an entertainer because what could possibly be easier? You know what I mean? So there's like 50 million guitar players all wanting to be like Eddie Van Halen, rock gods and shit like that. And it's the same in any entertain­ment field. I mean, there's got to be 50,000 actors out there doing the same f**king thing. What's really sad is that there's so many bands out there that are going nowhere be­cause they're either not good enough, they don't have the right connections or blah, blah, blah. You know, I consider us really lucky. I mean, I think we're a good band, and I think our whole purpose is really good. But we could have fallen into that same trap. And it's just f**king depressing to think of how many musicians slum it all their lives just to get to certain points — but end up really getting nowhere. I feel sorry for them.
 
And it's such a dog-eat-dog thing. If you don't take the time to find out what's going on, then you get eaten alive by the business. Take Jetboy for instance. There's a band I know pretty well — and my old best friend who died used to be in that band. And the shit that they put him through because they wanted the band to "happen." Because he used to hang out with me and get drunk and stuff, but he was the coolest guy in the whole f**king band. He was the only real rocker in the group, you know, the living rock 'n' roll kind of thing. They ended up kicking him out and he passed away and all this other crap — and they ended up get­ting dropped from their f**king record label, which was Elektra at the time. It was when Elektra did that purge, getting rid of them and the Pandoras — so the records never came out, and they just got canned. So they had to start over doing showcases at S.I.R. and stuff. And I feel sorry for them. I mean, I'm not friends with any of them, but I sure sympathize with them because it's a f**ked situation. What happened is the guy who did all the signing at Elektra got fired — and so if you don't have the record company behind you, and the A&R guy gets fired, then you're history. And it's a real tough thing, because it's hard to pick it up.
 
If Guns N' Roses were to get can­ned from the label tomorrow, first of all, a lot of people wouldn't touch us because of our reputation. It's like anything that Axl or I have done affects the whole band, as far as rep­utation is concerned. So if we were to get dropped tomorrow, it could pretty much be the end of our career.
 
If you're lucky, maybe something will happen — but it's a very scary kind of thing. If all of a sudden the record breaks, then that's some sort of security. But like the band Black N' Blue — which is another Geffen act — unfortunately haven't managed to sell a lot of records. I think they're go­ing into their fourth album right now. If their next album doesn't do any­thing cool, chances are very good that they're going to get dropped because there's been too much money invested in them. So if they get dropped, what happens is you've got four or five guys sitting there without any money, trying to figure out what their next f**king move is going to be. The business of it all is a real f**ked up thing.
 
The other thing is, trying to deal or have any kind of dealings with the record executives is f**king hell. They've got to make a dollar, they've got to do the smart thing, they're pressured by whoever's above them in the company. They've got to make that person happy or otherwise it's their ass. And so you walk into one of these f**king kind of deals — it's like we just went to an Iron Maiden party, for their record release, and the record executives are all over the f**king place. They're there in their three-piece suits, and they all look so phony. They're trying to make small talk, but it's like you know it doesn't really concern them — this whole rock 'n' roll thing — but they have to be there. And it's just bullshit because they're such leeches and shit. Especially the guys from the big­ger companies. Fortunately for us, Geffen is cool because it's a smaller company and it's financed by Warner Brothers. So it's cool because the company itself is small and real per­sonable. There's a real home type feeling. But if you were to get signed to Warner Brothers itself, you have to cross your fingers and hope they f**king do something for you.
 
When we got picked up by Geffen, there was an instant good vibe. But, for instance, we got an offer from another record company — which I won't name to keep my ass out of trouble — and they were offering us everything to do it. Because they needed someone like us because they didn't have anything like Guns N' Roses. And we get talking to them, and they didn't know who Steve Tyler was! You know what I mean? So we went with Geffen, because they had a better idea. David (Geffen) liked us because we were louder than AC/DC and shit like that. He came and saw us at the Troubadour. That's why we went with them. And it's a cool company because I know everybody there. You can say "Hello," and actually know the person's name you're talk­ing to.
 
So you mentioned that your parents knew David Geffen when you were young. Your parents were involved in the music business, then?
 
Yeah. My mom used to do clothes for rock musicians — David Bowie and people like that. And my dad used to do album covers. He used to work for Geffen when he was at Gef­fen & Roberts, which was a manage­ment company. I've known David Geffen since I was a little kid. So it hasn't hurt any (laughs). I can actu­ally call him and say, "Hello, David, this is Slash. Can you help me out?" if it ever comes to that. So I've been around this business for a long time. Which is probably why I haven't lost my mind totally over some of the bullshit this band has gotten itself in the middle of. I moved out of my mom's house when I was like 17 or 18, and I have never lived anywhere since then (laughs). So how long is that? I'm like 22 now — so for like going on four or five years now, I've been a f**king vagabond. The only time I ever had what might be termed a permanent residence was when Guns N' Roses got signed—and we all got an apartment. There was also a management com­pany one time that was trying to hook up with us, and one of their ways of trying to convince us that they were happening — and that we were stupid — was by putting us in this huge house in the Hollywood Hills. Luckily, we never signed any papers with them or anything because when we fired them, they asked us to pay the bill after they told us it was free.
 
Anyway, that's the only times I've actually lived anywhere. So now when we get off the road, I have to stay in a hotel because I have nowhere else to stay.
 
You'd rather be on the road, though?
 
Oh, yeah. I'd rather be on the road. See, living in a hotel actually gives you that feeling of not being tied down. But I've just never stayed in L.A. for so long. That's the thing. Staying in one place for too long is uncomfortable for me, and I don't really know how to live in one place. I want to get going, and I end up get­ting f**king bitchy and stuff. The other nice thing about living in a hotel is that nobody knows where I am except for the people who I want to know. And I don't have to have peo­ple coming over all the time, and interrupting when I'm practicing, and I can get a lot of recording done. When I was living in Hollywood, I can't even begin to tell you how decadent it was. It was ridiculous.
 
Are you getting sick of doing interviews?
 
Well, it's sort of weird because you start feeling like a pop star, you know? And you start going to newsstands to see what magazines you're in and shit. It's like a habit I got now. Every week, I go by this magazine stand I used to work at, and check out all the magazines to see which ones we're in. It's still like a novelty to me at this point, you know?
 
Which newsstand did you work at?
 
It was at a place called Centerfold on Fairfax Avenue, near Melrose — the place with all the crazy letters on it. That was my last job. It's the only job I ever got fired from because I was on the phone all the time, try­ing to get band business done because I used to do all the business for the band in those days—the gigs, promotion. So I'd be on the phone all night long. I worked the late shift, so the boss usually wasn't around. But he started to call, and the phone would be busy for like half an hour. So I finally got canned, I moved out of this apartment I was living in with this girl named Alison. She also worked at the newsstand. She was this real cool chick, and she let me stay in her apartment for like $100 a month. Anyway, that's when I moved out, and moved into the studio with the rest of the band. Did we tell you about the studio?
 
You briefly mentioned it earlier.
 
We lived in this one-room studio that was literally about 20 feet long and — at the most — ten feet wide. The whole band.
 
All five of you lived there?
 
All five of us. We built a bunk in there. That was like the most deca­dent thing in Hollywood at the time. Guns N' Roses' f**king studio. We had all the equipment under the bunk, which probably would have fallen down if we'd have stayed there any longer. We stole wood from this construction site to build the bunk. Actually, Steven and Izzy are the two guys that built the bunk, and that's where we all lived. We had a telephone that you couldn't call out on. You could only get incoming calls. I lived most of the time at Den­ny's (restaurant) because you could get grits and a cup of coffee for a lit­tle over a dollar, which I'd always bum from somebody. It was really bad. The f**king bathroom was across the parking lot, and we had to go over to people's houses to take a f**king bath. And every time we played, everybody in Hollywood knew where we lived, so it would end up being these huge f**king parties in the parking lot. I mean, it was f**king insane. Day in and day out, it was f**king madness. It was amazing! We're lucky we all survived it!
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1989.10.DD - Creem Close-Up Metal - Guns N' Roses: An intimate chat with Slash Empty Re: 1989.10.DD - Creem Close-Up Metal - Guns N' Roses: An intimate chat with Slash

Post by Soulmonster on Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:49 am

This interview likely took place in May/June 1988. The interviewer mentions he did it about a year before it was published, before Appetite blew up and while Slash was living in his apartment at Hermosa Beach. It also took place after a proper interview with Guns N' Roses. Creem released a more formal interview with Axl in September 1989, and said that this took place right before Sweet Child was released (June 1988). This Axl interview likely stemmed from the proper interview, so likely this interview with Slash happened later in the evening when the interviewer drove Slash home (and thus right before Sweet Child was released. This fits with it being before Appetite became a success (which only happened when Sweet Child was released.

The question then is, was there a larger interview with the rest of the band released in 1988 that is now missing? And that the interview with Axl and this with Slash were leftovers that Creem decided to release in 1989 when the readers were craving for more articles on the band?
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