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1997.11.09 - The Press of Atlantic City - Power Surge! (Gilby)

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1997.11.09 - The Press of Atlantic City - Power Surge! (Gilby) Empty 1997.11.09 - The Press of Atlantic City - Power Surge! (Gilby)

Post by Blackstar on Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:17 pm

Staff Writer

Nearly everyone who picks up an electric guitar fantasizes about joining a big-time rock 'n' roll band and playing in sold-out arenas around the world.
The dream came true for Gilby Clarke, who was a member of the notorious band Guns N' Roses from 1991 to 1994. He performed all over the world as part of the "Use Your Illusion" tour, and in 1993 he played on 10 of the 13 tracks on the CD "The Spaghetti Incident?" that featured the group playing cover versions of punk and hard rock songs.
"It was great. The band was at the top. All I did was enjoy it," said Clarke, who was interviewed by phone late last month from Omaha, Neb.
On Tuesday, the Cleveland native will perform at 9:30 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City in the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, 1000 Boardwalk and Virginia Avenue. He will perform as part of a power trio with drummer Eric Singer, formerly of the rock groups Kiss and Badlands, and a bassist.
Clarke was in two bands that released albums before he joined Guns N' Roses, Candy in 1986 and Kill For Thrills in 1988 and 1989.
The official announcement that Clarke was replacing original Guns N' Roses rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin was made in November 1991. He joined arguably the most popular rock 'n' roll band in the world at that time. Guns N' Roses debut CD, "Appetite For Destruction," has sold more than 14 million copies since its release in 1987.
Clarke had to learn 50 songs in one weekend. He said he didn't get any sleep.
"If I wanted it that bad, I had to do it, 16 songs a day," he said.
Clarke said the high point was playing in South America where Guns N' Roses and hard rock in general has a huge following.
The low points occurred when the band lapsed into controversy. For instance, mercurial lead singer Axl Rose left the stage after less than 10 songs during an August 1992 concert at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. About 10,000 of the 57,000 people in attendance went on a rampage, looting concession stands, smashing windows, starting fires and overturning cars.
Clarke played rhythm guitar on most of "The Spaghetti Incident?" CD. It was a turn towards the briefer, stripped-down songs of punk and hard rock bands coming after Guns N' Roses' own bloated "Use Your Illusion" CDs.
"I picked the T. Rex song 'Buick Makane.' I helped pick 'Hair Of The Dog' (by Nazareth)," he said. "I really liked (The UK Subs) 'Down On The Farm."'
Guns N' Roses haven't released original music since 1991. Clarke parted ways with the band in 1994 after he put out his first solo CD "Pawnshop Guitars." He said his leaving was a mutual decision because Rose wanted the guitars to be less prominent in Guns N' Roses music.
"I haven't spoken to him (Rose) in four years," he said. "Axl came to me and explained he wanted to make music that was Nine Inch Nails meets Pearl Jam."
Clarke moved on and released his second solo CD this year while Guns N' Roses is still missing in action. No one is sure when new music by the group will be released. Last month's issue of Icon Thoughtstyle magazine said the only members from 1991 who remain in the band are Rose, keyboard player Dizzy Reed, bassist Duff McKagan and producer Mike Clink.
"The Hangover' is the title of Clarke's new CD, which he co-produced. Paradigm Records, out of New York, is distributing it.
"I've my own home studio where I recorded the album," he said. "Through my Guns N' Roses work and my first solo CD, I earned money for the home studio."
Clarke's solo work has more overt pop influences and more of a ramshackle feel to it than typical Guns N' Roses songs. He sings, plays guitar and bass, and wrote nine of the 11 songs. He does cover versions of David Bowie's "Hang On To Yourself" and The Beatles' "Happiness Is A Warm Gun." He said the inclusion of songs written by others allows the listener to hear how your own style developed.
"'Happiness Is A Warm Gun,' is my favorite Beatles song," he said. "In regards to Bowie, we used to play (the song) 'Diamond Dogs' live."
Clarke said he met ex-Kiss drummer Singer when both of them watched former Candy guitarist Ryan Roxie perform with Alice Cooper. Roxie plays on the new CD and joined Clarke for the live shows to support "Pawnshop Guitars."
Three days before the Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City performance, Clarke is scheduled to play at The Agora Ballroom in Cleveland.
"The Agora holds about 800 people. ... I love it," he said about returning home to play. "I always run into people I haven't seen in 15 to 20 years."
Clarke, 35, says he still sees three people who were in the group when he was a member: McKagan, drummer Matt Sorum and lead guitarist Saul "Slash" Hudson. He runs into Stradlin in Chicago occasionally. He finds it "highly doubtful" that he will ever rejoin Guns N' Roses.
"My part of the band was with Matt, Slash and Duff, but you can never say never."


*ROCK - Gilby Clarke 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City, Boardwalk at Virginia Avenue. No admission charge.

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