Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


1995.02.DD - Popular 1 (Spain) - Interview with Slash

Go down

1995.02.DD - Popular 1 (Spain) - Interview with Slash Empty 1995.02.DD - Popular 1 (Spain) - Interview with Slash

Post by Blackstar Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:32 am

1995.02.DD - Popular 1 (Spain) - Interview with Slash 1995_p11
1995.02.DD - Popular 1 (Spain) - Interview with Slash 1995_p10
1995.02.DD - Popular 1 (Spain) - Interview with Slash 1995_p12
1995.02.DD - Popular 1 (Spain) - Interview with Slash 1995_p13
1995.02.DD - Popular 1 (Spain) - Interview with Slash 1995_p14
1995.02.DD - Popular 1 (Spain) - Interview with Slash 1995_p15

Translation by Blackstar



It's amazing how things change over the years. In 1991 it was almost impossible to interview the members of Guns N’ Roses. Problems, problems and more problems: they only talked to the most powerful media in the world; they required the journalists to sign a contract, according to which the articles would have to be approved by the band before publication; only their personal photographers had permission to take pictures; etc. Thankfully, time has mellowed them out a bit in this regard, and now they don’t make it so difficult for the fans and the press. Imagine, things have changed so much, that we were able to interview Slash in his own home and without any bizarre conditions or demands. The guitarist answered all the questions asked by Maria Miller, including those about Axl - a miracle! (Until a few months ago, Slash refused to talk about Axl in the interviews to avoid being misunderstood and dealing with potential anger attacks by the singer). For four hours, I was just Maria, spending time with the guitarist, chatting and making drinks! Four hours in the company of Slash, his wife Renee, his cats and his band. A unique opportunity to observe the Gunner in his natural environment, more relaxed and friendly than ever.
A few days earlier, I had visited Eddie Van Halen in his own recording studio, and now I had an appointment with Slash at his house – when work is like this, it’s a pleasure. I arrived late, but Slash overlooked that detail and welcomed me very kindly. His hair was hidden under a cap (as he told me later, he hadn’t slept and hadn’t washed himself for three days because he’d been travelling through America in a van, going from one radio station to another, to promote his solo album - so this is his look when he is dirty and tired). His house is in the center of L.A., very close to the clubs. There was a large 4x4 parked in front – exactly the type of car one would imagine Slash driving. As soon as I arrived, the guitarist invited me to a game on his new Guns N’ Roses pinball machine, featuring an unreleased song by the group, which he just launched onto the market. The atmosphere was unbelievable – it couldn’t get cozier and more comfortable. I didn’t feel any tension or that I was stealing the rock star’s time, a feeling that you usually get when conducting an interview. His wife, Renee, was walking around the living room in her pyjamas, twelve cats of all colours occupied the sofas and the floor, and his band was having dinner in the adjacent dining room. Slash has filled his house with dinosaur figures and arcade games -he’s like a big boy. I arrived around 7:00 in the afternoon and we didn’t say goodbye until 10:30 at night. During those four hours or so, we had a relaxed conversation about his 300 snakes (yes, you read correctly: 300), which he keeps in another house, his cats, and whatnot. It was all so casual that we didn’t start the interview until almost 9:00; neither he nor I were in a hurry to do the job. Slash was completely relaxed, he wanted to chat, smoke and spend the afternoon without feeling that he was working and doing promotion.
How did you start recording your solo album?
Well, I did the first recording sessions in my house - not this house, but the one I had before, which was destroyed after the last earthquake in L.A.. I had a studio there and I wrote most of the songs together with Matt (Sorum), Gilby (Clarke) and Mike Inez (Alice In Chains). We recorded the basis of the songs there, but the earthquake destroyed everything, so we had to get the tapes and move to a professional studio. I didn’t even have a singer still then, and I started auditioning to find one. Eric (Dover) was the 41st singer we tried, and as soon as we heard him sing, we said, ‘Wow, that's the sound we’ve been looking for.’ So then he started writing lyrics and everything took its course. This is a side project for all of us. We’re just a group of musicians who have come together to play. There are no rockstars here.
How long did it take you to make the record?
We recorded it in just 26 days, as if it were a jam. We called the project Snakepit, because I had my snakes in the room next to the studio at my old house. When Eric came, we wrote the lyrics and the melodies, and then he recorded his parts very quickly. Sometimes we’d write a song during the day, we’d record it at night and it was all done. Then we went to New York to mix it; we worked with the same people who had mixed "Appetite for Destruction.” And then, when we finished, we had to wait for months, because we didn’t want to put it out at Christmas when so many records come out. We are a new band, and we didn’t want the album to coincide with all the major releases. So it’s finally going to come out on February 14 – it’s a good date, because no band is expected to release anything. (Laughs) You know, if I put it out at Christmas, people would be like, ‘Oh yeah, look, he’s got an album – but hey, the new Aerosmith is out!’ (laughs) I'll wait till Gilby finishes his own tour around March so that he can tour with me, because I want to keep my band intact.
How would you define your album’s musical style?
It has only one ballad, but the rest of the stuff is pretty heavy. I don’t know, it's what we’ve been having fun doing. It sounds like my style, and it also has the other guys’ touch, especially Mike Inez’s. It’s a combination of our different personalities.
You’ve dedicated one of the songs, the one titled "Lower," to Kurt Cobain. Why?
I haven’t dedicated it to him. What happened was that Kurt killed himself a few days before Eric and I sat down to write the lyrics. And my ex-girlfriend, if you want to call her that, the porn star Savannah, also killed herself... When you write songs, you reflect what is around you, what’s happening, and we wrote about that. There’s a line in this song that goes, ‘How to keep the knife from inside of you’ that is about trying to prevent someone from doing this thing, because it’s very ridiculous. It’s not a song dedicated to them, but influenced by what happened. That's how we felt when we heard the news, and we reflected it in the song. All the songs on the album are very spontaneous, like something happened in the afternoon and we wrote about it at night.
Well, here comes the first question about Axl, who I usually call "Asshole" (laughter).
And he responds (laughs). But let’s keep it inside this room, just between you and me. (laughs)
Is it true that you and Axl almost went to Kurt's house to convince him that Nirvana should tour with you in '92?
That was ridiculous. I’ve always tried to keep the band together and I’ve wanted all of us to be friends: the band, the roadies, Axl ... And he wanted to tour with Nirvana, which was cool. But if Nirvana didn’t want to go with us, the best thing would’ve been to forget about it and leave it at that. But Axl insisted to the point where they had a fight. I have no idea what happened, I didn’t know Kurt, I only saw him in person once.
Since you mentioned your ex-girlfriend Savannah, tell me a little about her. Did her death affect you a lot?
I don’t know if we should call her my ex-girlfriend. She was a friend, someone I cared about. We went out occasionally, but then I met Renee, we thought about getting married, and I tried to avoid Savannah as much as possible, because I was freaking out with the idea of ​​marriage and all that. In the end Renee and I got married, and after a while Savannah blew her head off and the press started bringing up my name in the articles about her. I don’t think it’s right that they refer to me as if she and I had this great relationship, because our relationship wasn’t going anywhere. At the time I met her, I went out with many other women. Savannah was like a little girl, she needed someone to take care of her. But I loved Renee, who is a very different type of woman. Renee is not a rock chick, she’s not from my world, she’s got her own life. She understands that I have to go on tour, but she has her own thing. I felt sorry for what happened to Savannah, but we never had a serious relationship.
You also went out with Traci Lords for a while. Is it true that you played on her album?
(Laughs) Yeah, I played on one of her songs, and then we broke up. I guess the album will come out one day. Pornstars and musicians, what a great combo! (laughs) I guess it’s all a matter of ego: the bad boy and the hot chick, the sexy pornstar. It's good for a little while, but it doesn’t work after that.
Are you planning to do a world tour to support your album?
Yeah, obviously, I gotta do that. I'm going to take the same guys who play on the album, except for Mike Inez, since he's still in Alice In Chains and he has to stay here in case they need him. Layne (Staley), the singer of Alice In Chains, has a drug problem and has disappeared, but the band remains united. It’s the same thing that happens with Guns N Roses: as long as the band is still there, there's a feeling of security. So Mike has got to do whatever Alice In Chains’ managers tell him and he can’t come on tour with me. But the others guys will come.
Alice In Chains released an album last year...
I don’t know, I guess they would give them a few Grammys. (laughs)
They are a great band.
Yeah, they are awesome. This is why I told Mike that I understood if he couldn’t tour with me, because Alice is his band.
Is it true that you didn’t like the "Interview With The Vampire" movie and didn’t want to do the cover of Sympathy For The Devil for the soundtrack?
What happened was that the people at Geffen called me at home and asked me to do the song as a favour. So I went to see a screening of the movie, and I liked Brad Pitt’s performance, but Tom Cruise as Lestat... there was nothing gothic about that. I’m a fan of vampires and I love monsters, as you can see (Slash points at the dinosaurs that are part of his living room’s decor). I didn’t like the movie, but the idea of ​​putting the Stones’ version at the end seemed fine to me. The next day Axl went and saw it, and he loved it. Then I said, ‘Okay, if this can get Guns in a room together, then it's worth doing it.’ Duff, Matt and I went to the studio, but Axl didn’t show up. We did our thing and he came days later to record his parts alone. So I didn’t feel like the band had gotten together. It was just another cover for another movie. I didn’t get what I hoped for. But, anyway, the song came out good. I listened to it on the radio today and I think it sounds good.
You have to acknowledge that Antonio Banderas is good in his role.
The actors who played villain roles are very good, like the little girl, but something is missing... I’ve read the book three times, I've grown up with this kind of thing, and when I found out they were going to make the film I thought, ‘You’d better be careful with what you’re doing.’
Paul Huge, Axl’s guitarist friend, who plays on "Sympathy For the Devil"...
Who sort of plays. That’s a better way to put it.
Has he officially replaced Gilby in GN’R?
No, I can’t stand that guy. I hate him (laughs). He sucks.
Why was Gilby fired from the band?
One night, after I came home from a rehearsal with Gilby, Matt and Duff – we were writing new songs - Axl called me on the phone and told me that he didn’t want to work with Gilby anymore. I thought, ‘Fuck...’ From the way he said it, I understood that he was serious. For some strange reason, Gilby didn’t get to write any songs with Guns N 'Roses – I mean, he wrote with me for my album, but he never had the opportunity to write a single thing for GN'R. Anyway, from the way Axl talked to me about it, I realised that there was nothing I could do to fix the situation. He had made his decision, and I don’t even know the reason that led him to it. So I went out to dinner with Gilby and told him what was going on, because I didn’t want him to find out from third parties. He had already recorded his solo album when the problem with Axl came up. Gilby was the perfect guitarist for Guns N 'Roses, and now the void is evident, and I don’t know who his permanent replacement will be. But my band, Snakepit, is doing great. Gilby and I played very well together.  This whole issue with Gilby was typical Axl stuff, you know...
I heard you're going to work with Michael Jackson again, on his next record.
Yes, he asked me to. It was just when the controversy about Michael and those kids had broken out. I know Michael, and I know he's different, but he isn’t capable of doing that kind of thing. So he asked me to do it, and when I told people that I was going to record with Michael, they looked at me in shock and were like, ‘But have you heard about the children? Are you gonna put yourself in the middle of this?’ I told them that I’d heard the stories, but Michael was my friend and I wanted to play with him. So I did three songs for him, but I don’t know which ones will end up on his album, because he does things differently than I do.
Some time ago you played with Jackson in Oviedo.
Oviedo, Spain, yeah! I was on tour with Guns and they called me to play, so I asked, ‘Can I do that show in-between our tour dates?’ and we decided that I could. So I flew to Madrid and from there I went to Oviedo, and... there was nothing there! It was beautiful, but there was nothing! Just trees! We arrived in a small city and they told me that this was where we were going to play. I did the show, and then I went around the place. There was some kind of carnival. I drank a little bit and I went up on stage at a club to play with a Spanish group, and I had a great time. I don’t know, I'm crazy, I do these things sometimes (laughs). But it's fun. I'm not gonna sit by the pool thinking how awesome I am; I like playing with other people.
You just made an appearance as an actor in the TV series "Tales From the Crypt." What was that like?
One of the actors in the series, Miguel Ferrara, is a very good friend of mine. He has acted in great films but never in leading roles. Another friend of mine, Steve Lukather, the guitarist of Toto, has also worked in the show. So they asked me to play a rock DJ. ‘Tales From the Crypt’ is my favourite TV show, so I agreed to do it in a heartbeat. I was supposed to wear leather and have my top hat on and stuff. I only uttered three sentences, and then I had to wait all day in the trailer... The studio people had hired a guy to watch me and make sure that I wouldn’t leave, so I had that guy looking at me and I couldn’t go anywhere (laughs). It was fun.
It was recently written in the press that Axl intended to sue you, because you took songs that were supposed to be on the next Guns N’ Roses album and recorded them for your solo album. What's the truth about that?
He's used to me taking care of everything. No matter whether he shows up or not, he thinks I'm going to be there taking care of writing new songs and setting things up for Guns N 'Roses. What happened was that he was confident that the material I was recording in my house would go to the next Guns record. I let him listen to what I’d been writing, and he didn’t like anything, so I said, 'Okay, no problem.' At that time he was preoccupied with the lawsuit from his ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Seymour. The songs I had written were very similar to Guns N 'Roses, but he didn’t like them, and I thought about doing my own record. I know I said many times that I’d never make a solo album, but I had those songs and I wanted to get them out. Then, after my album had been recorded, Axl came to see me and told me he wanted those songs. I told him that it was impossible, that the album was already done, and we had an argument. He tried to convince me that this material belonged to Guns N’ Roses, and I had to reply that it was done in my fucking house and it was mine. I’ve always been totally dedicated to Guns N' Roses and he’s now worried because he thinks that I won’t go back with the band. But that's not gonna happen, I’ll always be in the band. So he’s been a little paranoid over this thing, that’s what’s happening. It’s not right that Axl tried to sue me, because I've been his best friend for a long time.
Has Guns N’ Roses worked on anything for the new album or it’ll take you a year or two to start thinking about it?
We spent two and a half years on the road. That's a long time. We’re writing material and we rehearse from time to time. I join them and we play whenever I have a free moment. We’ve got some songs, but with Guns it’s like ‘a record is finished when it's finished,’ and at this point we're still just starting, plus I’ve got my own thing going. I plan to tour with my band from April to August and, meanwhile, I’ll try to continue working on the G N 'R album. Whenever I have a day off, I’ll catch a plane and fly here to see how things are going.
What kind of music are you listening to these days?
All kinds of music ... Do you mean what I’ve got in my car? I’ve got my album, to make sure it still sounds good (laughs). I’ve got the Stones’ latest, the Offspring, a new live album by Hendrix. I still listen to Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. Regardless of the problems Axl had with Kurt, Nirvana still sounds like a great band. Then there's that new band called Weezer that just came out. And my old Led Zeppelin records - I haven’t changed too much over the years. I also listen to ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ by Nine Inch Nails; I love that band.
Why didn’t you do a club tour when "The Spaghetti Incident?" was released? Is it impossible to see Guns N 'Roses playing in a club again?
Well, to begin with, there was the controversy over the Charles Manson cover that we did. That complicated things. But I suggested that we did a club tour - after we had played in so many stadiums, it seemed like a good idea to play in clubs, so I suggested it and Axl said, ‘No fuckin’ way.’ And I thought,  ‘Okay, fine...’ (laughs). That's why I'm doing this solo thing now, because it's good to be close to the people you play for, in the clubs, and see the expression in their eyes, and then go to the bar and chat with them instead of getting into the limousine, going to the airport and flying to another city to play in another stadium of 100,000 people a night, night after night, night after night... Where do you go after playing in stadiums of that size? You have to go back and find something to fill you in. Clubs are cool, because it's a more personal environment. The reason Guns N’ Roses doesn’t play in clubs is that Axl doesn’t want to do it.
Where did the idea of ​​Dave Navarro (from Jane's Addiction) replacing Izzy in G N'R come from?
Axl wanted Dave Navarro in the band. He was determined, he had that idea, and I didn’t want to confront him again, so I said okay. But Navarro never showed up for any auditions and Axl was quite pissed off. Then Navarro joined the Chili Peppers. I remember seeing Jane’s on TV once and Navarro wore a woman's dress. (laughs)
Jane's were a great band. I first saw them live in ‘87 and they were fantastic.
In ’87? Wow, that’s a long time ago.
An old acquaintance of yours, Tracii Guns from L.A. Guns, was greatly offended because you didn't consider him as a replacement for Izzy.
Did he really say that?
Yes, he said it in an interview.
Tracii and I always hated each other. He was in Guns N’ Roses before I joined and I replaced him after Axl sacked him. I've known Tracii since before he played the guitar. I remember that he had a guitar when I didn't have one yet (laughs). We've never been friends, and I'd never in a million years have thought of him for GN'R. I didn't know he had made that comment. Oh God, Tracii would be better than Paul Huge (laughs). I saw Tracii with his band, Killing Machine, at the Troubadour a long time ago. It was a good show.
It’s time to talk about the pinball machine.
It all started when I was building my recording studio. My wife introduced me to pinball machines. I had never played pinball before - there were some pinball machines at school, but I never played on them. I bought an Adams Family pinball machine to my wife for Christmas in 1993, and then I kept buying more - two, five... until I ended up having thirty of them. I started reading books about them and designed a Guns N’ Roses one, which is something that the Stones, Kiss and other bands had done before. I contacted a company and they manufactured it. Pinballs are rock ‘n’ roll, the kids love them. I don’t like video games, they are cold, but pinballs are more physical entertainment.
I’d like to go back to the Charles Manson issue for a second. You sold Guns N 'Roses t-shirts with Manson’s image during the tour. I assume it was Axl’s idea. Did it bother you?
Those weren’t GN’R t-shirts. They were from a company that made them, and they were sold on the tour, but they weren’t official band t-shirts. This Manson thing... there’s a dozen bands that have covered songs by Manson, and now everyone is picking on just us. Axl wore that shirt, but it wasn’t designed by Guns N’ Roses. It bothers me that people can think that we made those shirts.
What do you think of grunge?
I never put labels on music. For me rock n’ roll is a comprehensive whole with the same attitude. We have labels like heavy metal, grunge, the new post-punk that is emerging now... But it all comes down to a series of bands that have one thing in common: a rock attitude. Grunge is just another stupid word. Everyone from Gene Vincent to Led Zeppelin and The Who are different approaches of the same thing, of an attitude: take risks, live on the edge... So grunge, grunge, grunge... (laughs)
Aren’t you afraid that Guns N Roses have fallen out of fashion and become outdated compared to bands like Nirvana or Pearl Jam?
No, the truth is that no (laughs). We do our thing and that's it.
Did you see the impersonation of you that Kiefer Sutherland did on...?
Yes, on Saturday Night Live (laughs). I mean, I saw it... (laughs). I had something worse happen to me recently. I was in New York mixing this record when the MTV Awards took place. I got an invitation but I didn’t feel like going, plus I had work to do, so I didn’t go. So, the next morning, a guy that I’d been working with in the studio all night phones me and he’s like, ‘I saw you and Renee in the newspaper, at the MTV Awards.’ I go, ‘What are you talking about? I was with you all night!’ and he goes, ‘But there’s a picture of you in the newspaper’ and I didn’t understand anything. Then Renee came with the paper, and there was that picture of a guy disguised just as me, with a top hat and a bottle of Jack Daniels, and with his arms around a blonde woman. I contacted the newspaper right away and asked them to correct their story, because it wasn’t me in the photo. It was embarrassing, that guy could ruin my reputation. Then, a few days later, they sent me a letter with an interview with the impostor, who had been arrested. It turned out he was an MTV employee who had been fired and wanted to get attention. The guy was copying my movements until he got to look a lot like me. There are people who are crazy. How can they take things so far? That was worse than Saturday Night Live. SNL is fine, because it's entertainment.
It’s nice to be recognized in the entertainment world. I’m not gonna complain about the success Guns N’ Roses has had, but there comes a point when it feels like Disneyland and the sense of reality disappears. Some people confuse you with Mickey Mouse. I go down the street and people shout at me, 'Uuuhhh, uuhh, uuhh!' (laughs) It's fun, but sometimes it's hard to have to go through all that in order to make music. But, like I said, I'm not complaining. I love working, despite the fatigue. I like to get up in the morning, meet people on time, be prompt, go to a radio station, talk to the kids that call and carry out commitments. I prefer that instead of being out of sight and acting like a rock star.  The communication between the band and the public is very rewarding. It’s worth the effort.
And I suppose playing with your cats for a little while is worth it, too, because you have 12 damn cats in the room right now.
Yeah. I love cats, especially that one. (Slash points at a huge cat that looks like a wild beast)
No, excuse me, but this is not a cat. I know what cats look like, and this is another thing. (laughs)
The gardener came the other day and he got scared to death (laughs). He told me, ‘Hey, you’ve got a fucking lion in the garden. What is that?’ He’s is a good cat, he’s an orphan. We’ve had some incidents with him. He’s a bit violent, he attacks people, but he's fun.
Having cats in Los Angeles is a problem. A friend of mine left his cat with me for a few days, and on a night when it rained a lot of coyotes showed up, and they ate it. It was terrible. I didn’t know how to explain to my friend what happened.
I've already lost two cats, and one of my snakes was about to kill another. I really like snakes, I have many of them. I'm also drawn to knowing stuff about dinosaurs. I read a lot about them, it's my little hobby. I studied their way of life when I was a kid. I saw ‘Jurassic Park,’ too, and I liked it. Look, there’s a lot of information about dinosaurs in this magazine...
(Slash shows me some magazines and books about dinosaurs, and we spend ten minutes looking at illustrations).
OK, let's go back to the interview. Do you enjoy doing stupid and overbearing videos like "Estranged" and "November Rain"? Many fans don’t understand why you do that kind of videos.
Oh God, this is one of the typical questions. To tell you the truth, no, I don’t enjoy it.  I usually just write the scene of my guitar solo, that’s all. But that thing in 'Estranged,' all that scene with me emerging out of the water playing the solo, I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t like it. It's a long story, Axl asked me to do it. I never have anything to do with the concept of the videos and with Axl’s reasons for filming all these scenes. (laughs) Hey, I have a photo album here. Do you want to see it? It’s pictures of my family, friends, people I know from the business...
Yes, great.
Look, I put it together recently. Here is my brother. This is Lenny (Kravitz), we went to school together. I played with him on one of his albums, ‘Mama Said’. We also a did very cool video together. And here’s a picture of Keith (Richards) - I met him not long ago.
Was it when the Stones played in L.A. at the end of last year?
No, it was while they were working on their last album. I went to dinner with him, and we hung out for a couple of weeks. I can tell you that he’s quite a character.
You have collaborated with Carole King and played on her latest album. Since when have you known her?
I've known her since I was a kid; it’s like she’s part of my family. She’s got a lot of talent. I played with her at a jazz festival, then I played on her album, I also played with her at a show that was filmed for a live video, and I think we’ve played together in two or three other places. She likes the way I play and we understand each other well. She is a strong, powerful woman. There was a long period where she wrote everything! (laughs) She wrote many songs for other artists.
To conclude the interview, I’d like you to tell me a bit about the tour with Soundgarden and Faith No More in 1992. I’ve heard that it didn’t work out so well as far as the relationship between the bands was concerned.
With Soundgarden everything worked out well. But we did have problems with Faith No More. They’re a bunch of brats. We had to talk to them because they started messing with us in the press. They were opening for us and at the same time they insulted us in the press. We didn’t know how they really felt. Axl gathered them in a room and told them, ‘What’s your fucking problem? If you don’t like it here and have any kind of dignity, don’t go bitching to the press, just leave,’ and they shut up for a while. They were being naughty (laughs). If you don’t like being somewhere, the best thing to do is leave.
Are you going to tour in Spain?
When we start the tour we’ll go everywhere, from Amsterdam to Australia, anywhere. We’ll have to take pills to sleep on the plane, and pills to wake up on time and play. (laughs)

Posts : 13735
Plectra : 89955
Reputation : 100
Join date : 2018-03-17

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum