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2000.08.25 - Indianapolis Star - Guns Free Zone (Slash)

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Post by Blackstar Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:22 am

2000.08.25 - Indianapolis Star - Guns Free Zone (Slash) 2000_055
2000.08.25 - Indianapolis Star - Guns Free Zone (Slash) 2000_054



Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash is making his own sounds

By David Lindquist

Rock ’n’ roll isn’t finished with Saul “Slash" Hudson, any more than he’s through with it.

The ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist flails away at the authentic stuff, even as his old band is held hostage by the scattershot whims and biblical procrastination of W. Axl Rose.

“I’m still working on it," Slash says during a recent telephone interview. “That’s probably one of the reasons I left Guns. It took a strange left turn somewhere. I’m still trying to get the raw, pure rock thing down."

So, while Rose puts the finishing touches on a years-in-the-making industrial/grunge/rap album to be called Chinese Democracy, Slash’s Snakepit will have its second recording in stores on Oct. 10.

To promote Ain't Life Grand, Slash’s band has hit the road with the godfathers of authentic three-chord detonation: AC/DC.

“It gives me newfound hope in the whole concept of staying true to your school," says Slash, 35. “It's not about making rock ‘n’ roll some sort of stupid kind of thing, but something that really has a point."

For the former, Slash could have spent his summer studying Tommy Lee's ridiculous new rap-metal band, Methods of Mayhem. That would have meant a tour of duty with Ozzfest, where mutated rock rules.

"If I had to pit the two tours against each other, I’d probably be playing with AC/DC than playing on that thing," Slash says. “We don’t necessarily fit in the whole rave-up kind of deal that’s going on."

The new deal

When AC/DC visits Conseco Fieldhouse on Sunday, Slash's Snakepit will open the show with 40 minutes of what the guitarist calls “slam-bam, in your face" music.

Ain't Life Grand includes blazing rockers, as well as sweeping epics and the traditional blues of its title track.

Unlike a mid-’90s incarnation of the Snakepit, this line-up has no ties to Guns N’ Roses aside from Slash.

Vocalist Rod Jackson wears his long hair braided and manages a fairly distinctive singing style.

Slash describes Jackson as a close friend who’s dedicated to the job at hand.

“He's one of the few vocalists who works as hard as the other band members," Slash says of Jackson. “That’s one of the magic things about him."

Bass player Johnny Blackout, rhythm guitarist Kerry Kelly and drummer Matt Laug round out the Snakepit.

After wrapping its dates with AC/DC, Slash’s Snakepit is scheduled to tour the world to promote Ain’t Life Grand.

The guitarist expects the shows to happen on time and without incident — in contrast to turmoil-filled excursions with Guns N’ Roses.

A 1992 concert in Montreal stands as a definitive example of what are perceived as the band’s misplaced priorities.

On the night Metallica cut its performance short because James Hetfield was hurt in a pyrotechnics accident, headliners Guns N’ Roses were asked to go on a few minutes early to appease the Olympic Stadium crowd.

Instead, the band played later than originally scheduled. Rose, complaining of throat problems, lasted just 15 minutes onstage.

In the aftermath, 2,000 fans vandalized the arena and looted a souvenir shop.

"It’s really one of the only regrets I have: any time fans have been disappointed," Slash says. “It’s not my fault, and it wasn’t a lot of other people’s fault.

“I'm not going to name names, but there’s definitely somebody responsible for that."

(Because of pending litigation in the Guns N’ Roses camp, Slash has been instructed not to make specific references to Rose during interviews.)

Indianapolis fans no doubt remember Guns N’ Roses' visit to the RCA Dome on the same 1992 tour. Thanks to a tardy start, the band didn’t finish playing until 2:30 a.m.

Slash sounds exasperated when revisiting the band’s record of unreliability.

"All you have to do is walk up there and do your thing,’’ says Slash, who parted ways with Rose in 1996. “It’s what you’re supposed to love more than anything else in the world, and it’s got to have a hitch in it."

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Post by Blackstar Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:46 pm

Segments from the telephone conversation on which the interview in the Indianapolis Star was based. Most of the segments heard are not included in the printed interview. It seems Slash talked about Axl but asked the interviewer not to print it.
There is also an interesting conversation between the interviewer, Dave Lindquist, and his guest on his podcast regarding the show in Noblesville, Indiana, on May 29, 1991.

I have transcribed the Slash interview segments and parts of the conversation in the studio:

Dave Lindquist: Hi, I’m Indianapolis Star reporter David Lindquist, and welcome to Dave’s Old Interview Tapes. A podcast that digs up musical conversations from an era when your cell phone wasn’t smart and being on myspace wasn’t dumb. Today’s episode revisits an August 2000 interview with Slash, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer known for playing guitar in Guns N’ Roses.  [...] Our in-studio guest for this episode of Dave’s Old Interview Tapes is Jake Query, co-host of Quarian Schultz on Fox Sports 97.5, one of the voices of the IndyCar radio network and an avid Guns N’ Roses fan.

[Conversation between Lindquist and Query]

Lindquist: One of the great things about Dave’s Old Interview Tapes is that we can drop in to different eras and different times, and Slash aka Saul Hudson in August of 2000 was kind of knocking around with a band he put together called Slash’s Snakepit. He left Guns N’ Roses in ’96 and when I spoke with him he was getting ready to play an AC/DC tour as the supporting act at Conseco Fieldhouse, now known as Bankers Life Fieldhouse. There was a record they were working on called “Ain’t Life Grand,” which was released in October of that year. The vocalist was a guy named Rod Jackson, a kind of a Steven Tyler knockoff. Axl was still holed up working on Chinese Democracy, an album that finally arrived in 2008, the first Guns N’ Roses record in 15 years. [...] When you’re working for a newspaper interviewing musicians, every time you talk to a musician it’s not the golden era. I’m not talking to Slash right as Appetite For Destruction is coming out and the Sunset Strip is on fire. Like I said, this is Slash’s Snakepit. [...] I had to spend a good chunk of this Slash interview talking about this Slash’s Snakepit album, “Ain’t Life Grand”, and, at the very least, I got an interesting back story about the title track:
Lindquist: I’ve read that originally the title track Ain’t Life Grand was maybe targeted for a different project?

Slash: No. I see you’ve heard something about that?

Lindquist: Yeah.

Slash: That’s interesting. A few years back, when I wrote the music, it was supposed to be for a Les Paul tribute.

Lindquist: Yeah, that’s what I heard. Les Paul, yeah.

Slash: And what happened was, they got all these guitar players together to do this record, so I did that particular song for my track with Iggy Pop, and Lenny Kravitz, and Duff from Guns N’ Roses, and Kenny Aronoff. It was called Burnout back then, and it was killer, it was [bleep] great. So I gave it to Warner Brothers and they sat on it for, like, years. And Les was really sick and nothing was happening with the record, and I thought maybe that they were trying to, like, wait for something to happen so that they would put out the record later. You know, because it happened to, like, Chet Atkins, myself, Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani and Les Paul himself – all these different guitar players on it. Anyway, so after nearly a couple of years, I was like, you know, something’s fishy is this whole project. So I bought the material back and when Snakepit started I just kept remembering how cool a group that was, because this band is so good. We rerecorded the music, and then me and Rod sat down and just wrote all new lyrics, because I wasn’t gonna use Iggy’s.  
Lindquist: Eventually Slash did work with Iggy Pop. Iggy sang a song called “We’re All Gonna Die” on a 2010 Slash solo album. As far as I know, that original Burnout song has never surfaced. In the big picture, Guns N’ Roses is where Slash belongs.  [...] Slash’s Snakepit was out with AC/DC and I asked Slash to kind of think about the next step, because he’s kind of wandered in the wilderness and eventually he would play Birdy’s in 2001. [...] So let’s ask Slash about what he envisions for future shows for Slash’s Snakepit:
Slash: I do like to have an intimate type of an audience. So now I’m playing arenas with AC/DC because it’s tailor-made for that, but for us headlining at this stage in the game, I’d like to go and really get people to, you know, more or less feel what’s going on and I want to be able to see the whites of their eyes.

Lindquist: I just asked Slash what kind of band leader he is:
Slash: My strange tenacity, probably (laughs). I’m very tenacious. Tenacious and determined, and very ambitious, you know? As far as, like, a band leader, I’m not really a band leader, we’re all (?) our own way. But I don't give up too easily - at all, actually.
Lindquist: I think the term is... benevolent dictator?


Lindquist: Alright, we’ve gone long enough. Let’s open the Axl Rose box. Guns N’ Roses, one of the biggest, if not the biggest band of the years bleeding from, like, ’87 to the grunge explosion. Two members of that band are from Indiana, Axl Rose/Bill Bailey and Izzy Stradlin. I don’t know Izzy’s real name. [...] With all this Indiana Hoosier-ness bumping up against Slash and in his life, I asked him what it was like to have all these Indiana people in his career:
Lindquist: You had a couple of old band mates from Indiana. What were your impressions through visiting and things that you have heard about our state?

Slash: What, about Indiana?

Lindquist: Yeah.

Slash: My impression.... (laughs). I’ve been in Indiana a couple of times. Being that, like, Izzy, Axl, Shannon Hoon and... what’s my other Indiana pal?

Lindquist: Oh, Kenny?

Slash: Oh yeah, yeah, Kenny. All [of them] being from Indiana, yeah. It’s like... no, it doesn’t really have a big impression, at least on me (chuckles) - you know, everybody’s cool. Sometimes I wonder about what’s in the water, only because Axl is so crazy (laughs).

Lindquist: (Laughs) Well, but I’m sure that you’ve heard a rant or two about...

Slash: Nothing major.

Lindquist: Alright. Really?

Slash: I mean, we had good gigs here. That’s the only thing I care about.
Lindquist: Slash is not really feeling like he wants to wade into a big Axl throwdown in the press in 2000 (laughs).


Query: Here’s what’s interesting about him mentioning Indiana, Axl Rose actually being a little bit crazy. I remember, when I went to the Use Your Illusion tour in 1992 – excuse me, 1991, so this was June of 1991.

Lindquist: Was it two nights at Deer Creek?

Query: Two nights at Deer Creek, and I was at the second night. And, Dave, I kid you not, I mean, here I am, an 18-year-old kid, and I said - you know, my last final for high school is the next day, and we’re waiting, and we’re waiting, and we’re waiting... So they play the Roadrunner cartoon on the Deer Creek big screen.

Lindquist: No kidding!

Query: To entertain everybody.

Lindquist: Okay.

Query: And I’m like, okay, this is cool. And I’m still, like, as naive as it gets. I mean, I haven’t really ventured out on the world yet. I mean, I’m convinced that the entire world lives between 71st & Allisonville and 86th & Ditch in Indianapolis, Indiana. So I’m watching this and all of a sudden – and this is, like, a 20-minute cartoon they’re showing and I’m like, “Well, this is an odd thing to show,” but, you know, they’re delaying time. And then rumor starts floating around at Deer Creek that they’re waiting because Slash has passed out, Slash has drunk a bunch of Jack Daniels and he’s passed out and they’re waiting for him to wake up, and so we’re gonna watch the Roadrunner. And then, towards the end of the cartoon, which I’ve watched a million times as a kid - suddenly, in this particular version of it, which was remarkably real looking, all of a sudden the Coyote catches and beheads the Roadrunner, and barbecues him.

Lindquist: Oh wow! (laughs)

Query: And I’m thinking, “This is clearly not approved by Warner Brothers.” And now Jake Query is in a completely different world here courtesy of Guns N’ Roses. And it was only years later that two different people that worked on that tour from the Indianapolis side, that had worked in the promotion of it, have told me the reason that was delayed was because Axl Rose was sitting in his hotel room in Indianapolis, and all of the things of his childhood, you know, the evil stepfather – I’m not saying this flippantly...

Lindquist: Sure, sure.

Query: Some of the, you know, alleged and apparent very bad things that happened to him as a young person came back to him, and he was sitting in his hotel room, on his bed with his legs folded, saying, “I can’t do it. I can’t go out there, I can’t go in front of... I can’t do it again.” And it took a team of people to convince him and rally him to go out there. And I remember when Axl Rose came out on the stage in that particular night, night two of that tour, he started out with kind of a diatribe against Indiana and authority in Indiana –

Lindquist: Was that the Auschwitz rant?

Query: I don’t remember exactly what it was that he said. I remember him saying... it might have been, yeah. Something about – because I remember him talking about, like, the police and etc. But at the end of the concert – and this is what struck me, because I was still a very impressionable 18-year-old kid – I remember him saying, “Good night, thank you” and “Thank you, homeland.” And at that moment I remember thinking, “I think it’s pretty cool, even though the dude is really weird and I just watched the Roadrunner being decapitated. I think it’s pretty cool that the lead singer of my favorite band has something in common with me.”

Lindquist: Yeah.

Query: Not the upbringing, but simply where it took place. I thought it was cool.

Lindquist: That’s a gem! I didn’t know very much of that at all. And I’ve never seen Slash with Axl on stage. I did see Axl in Columbus, Ohio in 2002. Again, this is one of the pre-Chinese Democracy...

Query: Right.

Lindquist: And they were 40 minutes late to arriving on stage, and I think you mentioned the show at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2011 that I was at, and they were right on time. They were supposed to start at 11:00, which is a late start in the context of when concerts start, but they were scheduled to go on at 11:00 and played for 2 hours and 53 minutes. He could not have been more gracious that night.

Query: Totally agree.

Lindquist: Yeah.

Query: Totally agree, and I think that... Look, maturity is part of it, I’m sure. Necessity?

Lindquist: (Laughs)

Query: You would think that – let’s face it...

Lindquist: “Let’s throw the goodwill...”

Query: Yeah, pretty much. And, you know, not only that, but it’s kind of like the old saying of the guy that in his prime goes to the tailor every day, and then twenty years later he goes back to the tailor and the suit doesn’t cost this much, and he says, “The price changed,” and the tailor says, “Well, yeah, I mean, I don’t need as much material. You’re not as big a guy as you used to be.” I mean, I’m not saying Axl Rose is not a big star, but he’s not 1990 Axl Rose. But the Las Vegas show that I went to the first night, they started like two hours late. But it’s Las Vegas, right? I mean, nobody has any concept of time.

Lindquist: (Laughs)

Query: But a guy behind me did say, “Can somebody tell this dude that I’m 50 and not 30 anymore, and I need a nap?”

Lindquist: Right?

Query: And then every other show was on time, Dave.

Lindquist: There was an infamous show at old Stade Olympique, Olympic Stadium in Montreal, where Metallica was performing, and James Hetfield inadvertently walked into a flash pot pyrotechnics situation and was burned, and I believe there was a riot. A lot of this was talked about in the great Behind The Music episode on VH-1 a few years ago, obviously before this interview with Slash, where Jason Newsted of Metallica really put the blame on Axl.
Lindquist: I think Jason talked about (?) could have been made when your band could have stepped up and say (?). Shouldn’t that...

Slash: It should have been. I mean, unfortunately, not only did those guys end their set early and we got the phone call and asked sort of to save the day. But we headed up going later than we were supposed to, and then left the stage earlier than we were supposed to, and so we had the riot. I’m not gonna name any names, but there’s definitely somebody responsible for that. But I’m not gonna get into it (laughs).

Lindquist: (Laughs) Does it bug you that maybe that’s part of the legacy of your live performances in the past?

Slash: Well, it has nothing to do with – really, it’s... one of the only regrets that I have is that any time any fans have ever been disappointed, and it’s one of those things, it wasn’t my fault.

Lindquist: Right.

Slash: And it wasn’t a lot of other people’s fault, too. The thing that’s irritating about it is that it’s so [bleep] – I mean, it’s so [bleep] easy to go up there and do what it is that you do. And you have all the [bleep] blueprints more or less laid out, and you go out there and put a show together, and all you have to do is just walk up there and [bleep] do your thing, which is what you’re supposed to love more than anything else in the world, and it’s got to have a hitch in it.

Lindquist: ... This era in 2000 was the heyday of – what did they call it? - nu metal bands. When Korn was riding high, and Limb Bizkit, and Linkin Park was right around the corner, and Papa Roach... This is real agitated metal that had a flavor of hip hop to it. And this was August of 2000, and I asked Slash – I set this question up, I remember I said, “So Ozzfest is out and I wrote the other day that they call it Ozzfest but they could call it Fred fest or Zach fest, because every band seems to be a rip-off of Limb Bizkit or Rage Against The Machine.”:
Slash: If had to pit the two tours against each other, I’d rather be playing with AC/DC than playing on that thing, only because I don’t think we necessarily fit in that whole rave up kind of deal or anyone like that, you know? (laughs) So when AC/DC came around, I was like, “No, it’s the AC/DC tour.”  

Lindquist: Typically when I’m talking with iconic guitarists, I kind of my angle in to hopefully get them to talk about their craft. I ask what makes a great riff, when do you know that you’re working on a riff and it’s one you’re gonna save and commit to a song, and recording, and touring for years and years. I didn’t ask that of Slash.
Lindquist: What is it about the authentic (?) of rock ‘n’ roll that keeps you so passionate about it?

Slash: That was just what turned me on when I was young, and I’ve been around music pretty much all my life. That’s sort of the direction that I went in when I decided to be a musician, and I’m still working on it (laughs). And probably one of the reasons why I left Guns is that it took a strange left somewhere. And so I’m still trying to get that [bleep] raw, pure rock thing down, you know? And I’ll probably be doing that till I’m pushing daisies. But, at the same time, we’re playing with AC/DC, which is great because it just means a newfound hope in the whole concept of staying truly old school and trying to make rock ‘n’ roll and not out to be some sort of stupid kind of thing but something that really [bleep] has a point to it.

Lindquist: So in the year 2000, every time I got a musician on the phone, I asked one question every time, and the question was, “What’s the best career advice you ever received?” And Slash might not surprise you with what he said:
Slash: Actually there’s a few pieces of advice that were handed to me, either from observation or from experience, you know, or from talking to season veterans, so to speak. And one of the main ones is never leave the stage (laughs). Don’t do too much of that because it’ll kill you (laughs). And always [bleep] keep your heart first and foremost for your music.

Lindquist: Alright. Anyway...

Slash: And just don’t be a [bleep] fool (laughs).

Lindquist: The first thing you said was “never leave the stage”?

Slash: Yeah.

Lindquist: Meaning “always play”?

Slash: Yeah, just, you know, always be there. Always make sure your band can rely on you.

Lindquist: What was the second thing you said?

Slash: The second thing I said was, “Don’t do too much of that stuff, it will kill you.”

Lindquist: Okay, that can apply to a number of things.

Slash: Yeah.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:10 am

Great podcast!
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