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1994.07.DD - Guitarist (France) - Two Shots Of Guns (Slash)

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1994.07.DD - Guitarist (France) - Two Shots Of Guns (Slash) Empty 1994.07.DD - Guitarist (France) - Two Shots Of Guns (Slash)

Post by Blackstar on Sat Mar 14, 2020 3:22 pm

1994.07.DD - Guitarist (France) - Two Shots Of Guns (Slash) 1994_074
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Translation by Blackstar:
--------------------------------

SLASH
 
Two shots of Guns
 
Saul Hudson can’t stop working. Saul who? For you, me and the twenty million fans who have bought a Guns n' Roses record, it’s Slash, the hero with the Jack Daniels. Despite the breakup rumours, the guitarist has gone back to work...
 
John O'Donnell
 
I guess you spent some time relaxing after the two years of the "Use Your Illusion" tour?
 
I'm totally unable to relax, it's not healthy... (mocking laughter)
 
You have often said that the previous tour had seriously shaken the group. So life on the road doesn't work well for you?
 
You know, it's even more complicated than that. It would be difficult for me to describe it in detail, because you have to put yourself in the shoes of one of us to be able to begin to understand. Any kind of normal lifestyle becomes impossible, and we felt very vulnerable. When this immense popularity came all of a sudden, it became even harder for us. At the end of the tour the band had reached its mass and post-tour inertia. I felt it this time, too, but I have more experience now and I’ve focused on working. That helped me turn the corner without much difficulty.
 
Do you sometimes wonder if it’s all too much, the horn players, the backup singers, the entourage?
 
Since the beginnings of the band we’ve always been evolving, step by step. It’s not a preconceived career plan. The only need is to move forward and we have come to the point where we say, "Since we can do whatever we want, let’s try this or that, can we get away with it?". Or, maybe, “Would it be better to not keep quiet about this or that or should we just forget about the critics?". And we ended up playing in stadiums, because that was the level we had reached, it was the next step. But I can tell you that I want to go back to indoor venues on the next tour. I feel like a dwarf in these big open air arenas.
 
Is Guns n' Roses a band you would go see if you weren't part of it?
 
This is difficult, because I am part of it and I feel responsible. But yes, this is the kind of band I would go listen to, the kind of rock sound I would look for.
 
I guess "The Spaghetti Incident?" allowed you to become fans again and show the public where your inspiration came from?
 
Mmm... it wasn’t intentional, but if it gives a better idea of our roots, that's cool. We didn't want to send a message, it was just a cover album...
We started it during the sessions of the two “Use Your Illusion” albums, just as a way to relax and forget the pressure, the directives and everything that had really nothing to do with music. We turned on the amps to warm our fingers, jam, and have fun with some of these songs. We recorded three or four of them that we knew well, without any intention to make an album or even a pirate cassette. But when we sat down and listened to the tapes again, everyone in the band really liked what they heard, and we decided to make it an EP. Then we went into the studio, and the EP turned into a full album. People often call it "the punk record," which isn't really the case, even if some of the original bands were punk. These are just the G n'R versions of songs we love. Punk is just a term for an attitude, not a musical style. It is a form of determination in order to end up doing things the way you want, in your own way. The music you play doesn't matter, as long as it goes against the grain. Mozart was punk, he had the attitude!
 
Is that how you see Guns n' Roses?
 
What I think is funny is that people can understand us better through this record than through the songs that we wrote ourselves. Really, the lyrics of "The Spaghetti Incident" are closer to our personal beliefs. You understand more clearly what Guns n' Roses is about than by trying to interpret a song like "Estranged" (on "Use your illusion II" - Editor's note). No one has thought of it yet, but "Ain't It Fun" is a great description of the band.
 
Duff McKagan has really come up front on this album, he sings three songs...
 
These are the the songs he wanted to cover. We decided to fully respect each other’s choices. I chose three or four songs, Axl chose three, so did Duff and these are songs that he liked. At the same time, Duff recorded his solo album, he sang a lot, and we let him sing "Attitude" and "It's So Easy" on tour.
 
Which songs were your personal choices?
 
There’s one that I had to sing myself for it to be on the album, a medley of "Buick Makane" by T. Rex and "Big Dumb Sex" by Soundgarden. Axl didn’t feel comfortable with this song and asked me to sing it. I did, but I hate singing and you won’t hear me sing this song often in the future. The Fear song, "I Don’t Care About You" has been my point of reference for a long time. It was the only record I had when the band started, the only tape I took on the road with me. "Hair Of The Dog", by Nazareth, is a song that Axl and I often played when we were in the band Hollywood Rose, before Gn’R. And "Since I Don’t Have You" by the Skyliners, it’s a doo-wop song from the 50s that Axl used to sing a long time ago and I wanted him to record it.
 
Some of these tunes are older than you. How did you get to hear them?
 
I was more or less born in the show business. I was exposed to music very early on and for the most part it was rock ‘n’ roll. I lived in a rock environment, besides what my parents listened to. I was very young when I started to decide what I liked and what I didn't like.
 
Many of these songs were recorded by bands who had no money and often didn’t know how to play...
 
Most of them still have no money. To tell the truth, if they aren’t broke it’s because they’re dead.
 
Guns n' Roses was successful and you learned to play tight. Did you think that this could take anything away from these songs?
 
We didn’t try to recreate the sound of the original versions, because we create our own vibe in the studio. We just took what we liked in each song - sometimes it was just the fact that we loved them and we had fun playing them. This is the cornerstone, the spirit of "The Spaghetti Incident?"
 
Guns n' Roses has pretty much become a big business today. How do you communicate? Do you always call Axl on the phone?
 
Yes. We no longer live in the same room like in the early days, but we’re in constant contact for all the important decisions. I have a recording studio at my place, where Gilby (Clarke) and Matt (Sorum) come to play. We already have nine songs set for the next G n'R album.
 
Really? How do they sound?
 
I can't describe them verbally, but they’re very cool... and very heavy. I’ve also started working on my solo album and Gilby is making his own [album]. They’ll probably come out before the next Gn’R record.  
 
Can you tell us about your solo album?
 
...
 
How does the the band deal with pressure? There was Axl’s therapy during the “Use Your Illusion” tour, the riots at the show in St. Louis. What effect has all this had on your relationships?
 
You’re talking about my family. Rather than complain, you’ve got to move forward, be practical and reasonable about everything. I always try to communicate with the other guys in Guns, both on a personal and on an emotional level. I think you’re asking me this question because of the breakup rumours that have been flying around, but there’s no truth in any of that. We’re still working together.
 
You jammed with Billy Joel recently. Why?
 
I like to jam, and Billy is a cool guy. We got drunk together, that's all it takes for me to get my guitar. There are people I can’t imagine myself on stage with, but they’re not too many. If I like the music, I can play it. I have some difficulties with jazz fusion, hehe! But I never listen to jazz fusion anyway.
 
Do you ever think that playing with Billy Joel could affect your credibility with the public?
 
No! That’s anal retentiveness. If I were to sit down and try to guess what other people are going to think, I’d never do anything and we’d be a very different band. The worst thing in the world is to judge someone because they’re playing with so-and-so rather than with someone else. That’s stupid and pretentious. Instead, the public should focus on the fact that I’ve led my life in such a way that I can still play.   
 
As always with Guns n' Roses, there’s controversy, this time about the song "Look At Your Game, Girl", which was originally written by Charles Manson.
 
I don’t care. Nobody cares in Europe; the controversy exists only in Los Angeles and in the Deep South of the States, where the preachers shriek every time we breathe a bit too loud!
 
What does the cryptic “JYE / ZQSinscription at the bottom of the cover of "The Spaghetti Incident?" mean?
 
There is a meaning, but I’ve forgotten it.
 
Come on, you worked on the album cover...
 
It has nothing to do with the title, but I’ve forgotten [what it means], it’s been a long time.  I’ve since  worked on my solo album and the next Guns n' Roses album. I haven’t even listened to “The Spaghetti Incident?” since we finished it.
 
You should. It's a good album...
 
(Laughs) Bye bye...
 
***
 
The big, mean sound
 
Slash’s recognizable big mean sound didn’t occur by chance. “I played in a band from the start. At that time I worked twelve hours a day, I didn’t feel able to do anything other than force myself to learn how to play. What? I didn’t know. The first teacher I went to asked me if I wanted to play bass or guitar, and I replied, "What's the difference?" Since I didn’t have an instrument yet, I chose the one that had more strings and shabbier sound. I tried to take lessons, but it wasn’t for me. I ended up working by replicating stuff from records, Jeff Beck for example. I learned all the licks I found cool in Wired, Truth and Blow By Blow. This guy amazes me. I was picking around whatever I liked from Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin or Ted Nugent, because I wanted to be as good as them. I still work now, but not in the same way; I'm trying to translate what I hear and it's not the easiest thing.”
 
As far as gear is concerned, the influence of Slash’s first heroes can be felt, but not necessarily where one might think. “I started with a BC Rich Mockinbird because I saw a poster of Joe Perry with that guitar. It took me a while before I could afford it and it was my only instrument for a long time. After that I stayed loyal to the brand, but I played on a Warlock, the guitar I had in the early days of Guns. Then I endorsed Jackson and I got a Firebird with my tattoo on the horn; but it didn't really suit me, I couldn't find my identity. And then, just before the recording of Appetite For Destruction, really at the last minute, our manager brought me this Les Paul flametop 59 with these Seymour Duncan Alnico II microphones, and it excited me. It was a gift from God (Slash actually uses a handmade Les Paul copy in the studio, as well as a real Les Paul Gibson 59, whereas he generally uses Les Paul Standard Gibson on stage - Editor's note). It changed my life.”
 
And the Marshall amplifier that is inseparable from the Guns sound? “I had to try tons of them before our first album. But my guitar in this f**in’ amp, that's all I need. Mainly no effect, except for a Cry Baby wah wah and a Dean Markley voice box. That's enough to make me happy. "


Last edited by Blackstar on Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Blackstar on Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:36 am

The question is when this interview was conducted. It definitely sounds like it was sometime in the first months of 1994, and most likely before the failed writing sessions in the spring, and even before March. Slash mentions that Gilby was still working on his album at the time, and in the Gilby interview published in the same magazine and conducted in March, Gilby says that he had finished recording his album and the band had just started rehearsing in the studio.
Moreover, the interviewer asks Slash about a recent jam with Billy Joel. Slash jammed with Billy Joel on December 13, 1993:

1994.07.DD - Guitarist (France) - Two Shots Of Guns (Slash) 1993_181

(The Star Gazette, Dec. 16, 1993)

If this is the case, the interesting thing is that Slash had decided to do a solo album already in February/early March, before the band entered the studio trying to write the next album.
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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:12 am

I decided to put interview down as being done in March/April 1994. The reason was mostly that Slash said he had now 9 songs for GN'R, but had started writing on his solo record. In interviews late January he would mention 14-15 songs but not that he had started on his solo record. What I think happened, is that at some point after January, Axl (and possibly Duff) rejected the material, or some of it, resulting in Slash focusing on some of the songs for GN'R and took the rest for his solo record. This fits with a Q Magazine interview from March 1994, where he again refers to these 9 songs.

But of course, it could be that both the Q Magazine interview and this interview is from early to-mid January when they only had 9 songs ready. And that already this early, Slash had decided to work on a solo record.

It is hard to choose between these two scenarios, but for now I slightly believe the former scenario over the latter.
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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:13 am

The first references to songs being rejected, come from late April.
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Post by Blackstar on Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:24 am

Duff's "Believe In Me" tour lasted until late February 1994 (his last show, according to setlist.fm, took place in Australia on February 25 - he toured Asia and Oceania in January-February), so he wasn't involved with GnR and what had gone down with Slash's songs up to that point.

According to Gilby in the Kerrang interview from May 1994, when Duff returned he sided with Axl regarding the songs, so the disagreement between Axl and Slash (and Gilby/Matt) had started earlier.
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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:57 am

@Blackstar wrote:Duff's "Believe In Me" tour lasted until late February 1994 (his last show, according to setlist.fm, took place in Australia on February 25 - he toured Asia and Oceania in January-February), so he wasn't involved with GnR and what had gone down with Slash's songs up to that point.

According to Gilby in the Kerrang interview from May 1994, when Duff returned he sided with Axl regarding the songs, so the disagreement between Axl and Slash (and Gilby/Matt) had started earlier.

Gilby doesn't say that Duff's siding with Axl over the new material happened immediately when Duff's tour ended. Gilby just states, "and then Duff came in". It could be that he meant that Duff came in from his touring, or that he simply came into the discussions, or came in from a vacation after touring. So I wouldn't say it is conclusive. But yeah, it is likely the disagreement started earlier. In the Rockline interview from early January, Slash talks about sending in a tape to Axl for review, and I am sure Axl already then expressed some reluctance over the new material. In either way, I feel confident saying that the disagreement over new material started at the very least in February, but likely to some extent earlier, in January, and that there were probably some discussions, back and forth, over the material and specific songs, and that only later (April-May) did Slash accept that none of the material would be used for GN'R. This fighting over the material and direction of the band also resulted in rumours about the band splitting, and Slash would refer to this in interviews from March (likely done in late February or early March). The rumours mostly seems to have been published in July, though.
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