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2001.MM.DD - Snakepit.org - Slash Answers Fan Questions

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2001.MM.DD - Snakepit.org - Slash Answers Fan Questions Empty 2001.MM.DD - Snakepit.org - Slash Answers Fan Questions

Post by Blackstar on Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:17 pm

SLASH's Official Fan Site

Fan Questions/SLASH Answers


When SLASH was recovering from pneumonia, he decided that answering some more fan questions was a good way to stay in touch with fans. These are printed in the Current Events section then archived here.

Empact29 sent in a question to SLASH on playing for different performers. The question is, "What is it like to work with Rod and his singing style as opposed to Axl or Lenny Kravitz or Michael Jackson? Does it make a difference in your guitar playing when you work with a different singer, or do you just come up with the riffs and have him sing over them without your altering them?

SLASH replies, "Playing with Rod, Axl, Iggy Pop or Lenny Kravitz to Lemmy, etc. changes my approach to my playing so that my style of playing just compliments the musical goal we are trying to achieve.

Why is there no publicity of Snakepit? Is that a personal thing? I know that publicity depends on management and the record company, but here in Europe....it they'd had more publicity, they would have sold more records. There's lots of people without a clue about SLASH's Snakepit here. I've talked to some friends about it, and they all have bought the album. They think Rod is fantastic, and they are waiting to see the band rockin'. Thankx ---J. Levi, Spain

SLASH replies, "If there is a lack of publicity, it is the record company's fault. But I will remind them for sure."

Clint asks, "I have always wondered out of all the songs you have written, past and present, which one (or ones) are you most proud of?

SLASH replies, "I'm really proud of almost everything that I have recorded, in some way, shape or form - whether I wrote or made a guest appearance - if it is cool enough to immortalize the song, you have to be proud of it.

The first question is made up of 3 questions that had to do with beginning guitarists. The questions came from Jim Woods, CTIS Student and Laura in Memphis. Here it is:

SLASH, what is the best advice you can give to beginning guitarists? Do you recommend playing by ear or trying to learn all the scales and other beginner's techniques? How do you learn to improvise? What advice would you give to young aspiring musicians with regard to the business side of the music industry?

SLASH replies: The only real advice I can give to a beginning guitarist is pick up on everything: reading, writing, learning from records. Watching other guitarists play live is also a good way to learn. Whatever catches your ear and everything in between... Establish an idea of what you would like to hear yourself playing, and follow that concept. Try to learn bits and pieces of music you like amidst compositions that you don't necessarily like in their whole form. In short, be yourself. Do everything you can to establish that while digesting everything else around you.

Connan in France asks, "There are thousands of people who have learned to play the guitar thanks to you and who now dream of playing a song with you. Do you remember and how did you feel when you first played with Joe Perry? Were you totally flipped out and were you proud of yourself? Do you realize today that a lot of young but good guitarists would like to jam with you? Do you realize their dream sometimes?"

SLASH replies, "The first time I got to jam with Joe Perry was surreal. We played "Train Kept-A-Rollin' ". It was hard for me to believe that I was jamming with the same guy (and Steven Tyler, Brad, Tom and Joey) that I'd been listening to on record and in concert for years. Aerosmith has always been one of my favorite bands. The feeling was incomparable! To answer the other half of your question, I don't think I've played with anyone who is as big a fan of mine as I am of Joe Perry yet. But it's cool to know that there are lots of fans out there who might like to jam with me!"

Here's the guitar history question we promised last time. This comes from Nick in Buffalo, NY - direct to SLASH:

Nick asks, "I'm a Gibson Les Paul fanatic, and one of my favorite guitars in your collection is the tobacco 'burst Les Paul you used in the "November Rain" video. I was wondering if you could give me a brief history on this guitar. I've heard from one source that it's a '59, and from another that it's a '60. I've heard that it used to belong to Duane Allman and Joe Perry. I've also heard that you plan on giving this guitar back to Joe Perry. Are any of these rumors true?

SLASH replies, "The '59 Tobacco Sunburst Les Paul was brought to my attention in '88 or '89. Apparently it had been stolen from Joe Perry and sold a few times before someone called me and asked if I was interested in buying it. Once I found out it was the real thing, I bought it. Anyway, I kept it for a long time; but I knew that Joe really loved that guitar probably as much as I did. So I gave it to him for his birthday earlier this year.

SLASH answered a question from Rob in NYC: Would you ever do a straight up blues album? (Rob's aside, which SLASH saw was - if you can, let SLASH know how much we appreciate his blues playing, and how it has influenced a lot of us to pursue "Blues in the Key of SLASH")

SLASH replied, "One of these days I will do a blues record of some kind but it will happen when I least expect it. You know right at the right kind of time."

Billy sent in a good question for SLASH. He asks, "Would you ever do an album like Carlos Santana did with guest singers on each song and you playing your Les Paul on each song?"

SLASH answers, "If the opportunity arose to do an all-star solo record like Carlos', I would definitely do it. But it would have to be the right move at the right time.

Let's take an interesting question from Daniel. He asks, "If Snakepit (God f*ckin' forbid) does not become a success, where would you go from here, SLASH"?

SLASH replies, "If Snakepit does or does not become a great success, doesn't much matter. What matters is how much fun you're having at the moment. That you totally 100% enjoy what you're doing. Playing, touring, the music, the fans, etc. If all that is working, then you're successful and THAT you DON'T want to get away from".

Billy Sweeney asked this question, "Which of your songs do you consider to be the hardest to play?"

SLASH replies, "The hardest Snakepit song to play is 'Life's Sweet Drug'. That song is tricky and fast. Plus, it is the first song in the set which makes it twice as foreboding".

Here's a brief question from the webmaster. "SLASH, Joey Ramone passed away today. Did you know Joey? Would you comment on his contribution to music"?

SLASH replies, "No, I didn't really know Joey Ramone. We hung out a few times, and he was always quiet and cool. The entire rock & roll community is forever changed".

This is from Olivier in Canada who writes, "Do you remember that demo song you did with GNR called "Sentimental Movie"? Any chance of seeing SLASH's Snakepit playing that song one day, live or in the studio? I think the solos on it were just incredible.

I didn't have anything to do with "Sentimental Movie". Axl and West Arkeen plus maybe Izzy recorded that one night when we were all hanging out at "Hell House". That's a house we all used to squat at. I can't remember if I put a solo on it or not. But, no, Snakepit will never play that song. I don't even remember how it went it was so long ago.

Todd was thinking along those same lines, and here is his question. "I found a song called "Crash Diet" which apparently is an unreleased GNR tune. It sounds like Axl singing, but the guitar doesn't sound like your style. I don't think it is the 'new' GNR, so could you tell me what's the deal with this song? Thanks, man, you rock!"

SLASH replies, " 'Crash Diet' is a REALLY old song that was kicked around back in the old days. I don't know who wrote that, but it is definitely old".

This one is from Daniel who asks, "How does it feel being such a large icon of rock"?

SLASH replies, "I didn't know I was an icon of rock! It that is true, I feel pretty humble".

Here's a question from Sam to SLASH: "SLASH, I know you use the Cry Baby Wah Wah pedal, but during your live Use Your Illusion concert performances, what did you use to get that distortion at the start of 'Sweet Child O' Mine' and during the solo to 'Estranged' "?

SLASH replies, "The 'distortion' on the beginning of 'Sweet Child O' Mine' is just a Les Paul with the rhythm pickup at full - through a 100 watt Marshall, and that's it. 'Estranged' is the same except the tone on the Les Paul is turned down to taste".

"Hello SLASH! I've noticed that you have a cool fast riff that you sometimes play in different solos. You played it in the guitar solo in Paris 93 (in the beginning of the solo) and in the solo in "Double Talkin' Jive" in Tokyo (the times I've heard it anyway). I have tried to find out how you play it but no luck so far. You must have thousands of riffs like this; but if you know which one I'm talking about, could you give me a hint?

SLASH replies, "Daniel, I have no idea which riff or lick you are referring to. I am sure I probably play it a lot without realizing it, but then again, that's usually improv."

This question comes from Matt in Australia. Matt asks, "I'm thinking about a Les Paul Studio Gothic, but I am left handed. Would it be wise to have one custom made at enormous cost? Or would I be better off having it re-strung"?

SLASH replies, "Matt, I don't know what a Les Paul Studio Gothic is. So my best advice is, if you are left handed, and it has a single cutaway, don't re-string it. For a left hander, it would be a little awkward, but if it's not then use it as is. Whatever you do, find what is more comfortable for you".

This question is from Janet who asks, "When you are creating your fabulous music, which comes first - the lyrics, the melody or the instrumentals?"

SLASH replies, "Janet, music is written in so many different situations I can't begin to start to explain how. Sometimes just music and melodies, sometimes lyrically, sometimes by mistake. The end result is, more often than not, collaborative."

"Greg from NY here! SLASH, do you use just an EQ boost for live solos? Also, do you ever use your delay effect on any live solos? Do you strictly use the Les Paul's volume knob for increasing/decreasing gain? Or do you have another amp setup for clean tones and use an A/B switch?

SLASH replies, "Greg, I use a Boss EQ for a boost during solos in live situations and my guitar's volume knob to control certain subtitles. Also, I have a Boss delay for solos as well. Plus I switch between two Marshall heads, one for dirty and one for clean".

Paulo Jose asks, "How do I know if I'm better suited to be a lead or a rhythm guitar player"?

SLASH replies, "I think, in my humble opinion, one should learn to play rhythm and lead. But if an individual wants only to play rhythm, that's personal choice and maybe only learn rhythm. But if an individual wants to play lead, it comes in handy to learn rhythm as well".

This one comes from Antti in Finland who asks, "I just wanted to know, what is your favorite species of snakes? Keep on rockin, SLASH!"

SLASH replies, "Antti, all snakes are my favorite, but I have a special affinity for Anacondas".

Here's another Q and A with SLASH. This question is from Simone in Italy, and several others submitted a similar one. Simone asks, "Hi there. Why in many songs do you tune 1/2 step down (as Jimi Hendrix did)"?

SLASH replies, "Simone, sometimes we tune down a half step for vocals. For some singers (especially rock & roll singers), it's easier [for them] to reach the notes. Sometimes it makes the tension on the string and drum heads a little bit looser. Mostly bands tune down to sound heavier. The lower the lowest note (within reason), the heavier, e.g. Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Metallica".

Craig asks, "Besides other musicians is there anyone else that you looked up to during your childhood? Anyone that made an impression that perhaps helped you with your music abilities even though they didn't play any musical instruments?

SLASH replies, "Great movie directors who used great music for their films was and is a huge influence on me. There's too many to name all of them but here's a few: Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, John Carpenter, David Lynch, Sam Peckinpaw, Francis Ford Coppola and the list goes on and on...".

This SLASH question is from Diana who asks, "One of the most memorable moments in rock videos was when you left the church in "November Rain" and played your brilliant guitar solo. I understand the actual photography was done from a helicopter. The results were spectacular, with many cuts of you from amazing angles. What are your recollections from the making of that remarkable scene"?

SLASH replies, "Diana, the most memorable moments during the shooting of "The Church" scene were the helicopter "dive bombing" toward me at full speed almost knocking me off my feet. But the hard part was doing it take after take after take from all different angles. The propeller blades were so close I figured one more pass and "November Rain" would have been my last video. Thankfully, "no harm, no foul"!

LuAnn asks SLASH, "Which guitar would you recommend to a 15 year old aspiring guitarist"?

SLASH replies, "LuAnn, I recommend any guitar that you feel comfortable with. What I mean is: the one that sounds good, feels good, looks good, etc. Sometimes the right guitar can take a long time to find. Sometimes it's easy, but it's magic when it happens. Most important - be patient!"

This is from Serrin, "Of all the crowds you've played for, which crowd was most favorable to you? And have you ever thought of doing vocals on one song? Because I've heard you sing and I think you have a great voice."

SLASH replies, "South America so far is the going favorite audience to play live for. Why? Because they are insanely passionate about their music!" As for Serrin's second question, "Anyway, thanks for the compliment about my voice, but I don't really enjoy singing very much. I don't have the personality for it."

Alejandro asks, "SLASH in the 'Rocket Queen' solo you do on the 'Live Era' CD, you use like a mouth piece distortioner, could you tell me what it's called, and how does it work...do you blow into it or what?"

SLASH replies, "Alejandro, the effect I use on 'Rocket Queen' live is called a voicebox. The guitar sound travels through the amp, then into the voicebox, then through a rubber tube into my mouth and is picked up by a vocal microphone, then the sound comes out direct via the PA.

The question comes from Santiago in Argentina. "I started playing a Spanish guitar until my dad bought an epiphone made in Korea (it has the shape that Chuck Berry used in "Lucille")with the strings not precisely near the fretboard so it makes it hard for me to play some stuff. It also happens that when I put the gain of my Marshall Valvestate VS 30R all the way up and put the volume at 4 or 5 (of course the guitar is also at the max), it starts to make an increasing horrible and annoying feedback. This feedback is like the sound when you point a voice mic at the speaker. I was wondering if you had any problems playing in your first years due to an instrument and if someone can improve his playing no matter what instrument he's got."

SLASH replies, "Santiago, your problem is the guitar pickups are probably too close to the amp at such high volume. Also, a hollow body always resonates with a high pitch feedback at such a gain level because it is hollow. The guitar resonates much more than a solid body. Also, the pickups could be wound single coil which causes high frequency as well. You have to be patient and try different combinations of volume and amp distance, etc. Difficult but not impossible."

THis one is from Aaron in West Des Moines, Iowa. "SLASH, I play guitar, and I am having a little trouble deciding when to use the bridge pickup on my Les Paul. I have a Duncan Pearly Gates in the bridge, but when I play stuff you wrote, I always keep it in the neck position. I assume for some solos you would switch to the bridge pickup, e.g. Mr. Brownstone, for some more treble? Thanks, SLASH and please come to Iowa".

SLASH replies, "Switching pickups positions on a Les Paul is totally personal style and taste. Always experiment!" Thanks, SLASH, and Aaron!

J. Ray asks SLASH, "The title song from Ain't Life Grand is one of my favorites on the album as it shows your great range in style. I particularly like the orchestration. Did you have the horn and sax parts in mind when you wrote the song or add them in later? Who did the arrangements? They really make the song".

SLASH replies, "J. Ray, I wrote the music for "Ain't Life Grand" on guitar and bass first. Then I had the idea for the horns afterward. When we recorded it, I had Jack Douglas (Producer) bring in some great session guys to play the horn bits. The arrangements came naturally in my head, and the session guys interpreted Jack's and my direction and wrote them down and played them great".

Here's a question from Gregg who writes, "SLASH, I noticed that you played the banjo in Use Your Illusion II, and I know that you have played bass on a track or two. How many instruments can you play? Was the banjo hard to learn? Can you play drums"?

SLASH replies, "Gregg, I can play most stringed instruments that don't require a bow. I cheated with the banjo and tuned it like a guitar to make it sound like I really knew what I was doing in one take".

The question comes from Simrin who asks, "SLASH, your guitar is tuned half a step down from "standard settings", in other words, it's tuned to sound 1 fret lower. How does this affect the bass and rhythm guitarists? Do they also have to tune their guitars down half a step so the music fits well, or do they just tune to the standard settings as normal? Wouldn't it be hard for the others if your guitar is tuned down half a step?

SLASH replies, "Simrin, we (the band) tune down a 1/2 step because it is easier on the vocals. That's really the whole reason, but for rock and roll it sounds a little fatter, heavier."

"Are you ever bored with fans that always ask for photos and autographs, even if it's another side of your work?"

SLASH replies, "I like to sign autographs for fans. Sometimes it is work depending on the situation, but still, to be appreciated is worth the effort."

Ambra in Milan who asks, "Of course you usually receive a lot of compliments from fans, and in some way they are the ones that allow you to do what you've been doing since 1987. What do you feel when you see the happiness in their eyes because they are meeting you?"

SLASH replies, "Ambra, I love to play guitar, but I love to play the guitar for people who want to hear. It's the people's positive reaction that makes everything magical."

"Is it hard to travel to other countries where they are so different than you are used to? Do they act different?"

SLASH replies, "I love to travel to different countries and play for different peoples, cultures and environments. That is why touring is so much fun!

Alex in Australia who asks, "SLASH, I read a while back in an interview that you did some jamming and/or writing with another guitarist you seem to admire and respect - Jerry Cantrell. Is this true? If so, what came of that?"

SLASH replies, "Alex, I have never really jammed with Jerry Cantrell; but I do ad

Michel, "When I listen to your great album (SLASH's Snakepit's Ain't Life Grand) with my headphones, I can hear two different guitars - one at the left and one at the right 'phone. Can you please tell me which side you play? Thanks!"

SLASH replies, "Michel, I should come out of the right headphone speaker. The lead guitar in stereo (left, middle, right) comes out the right headphone.

July in LA, who asks, "Hey SLASH my name is July. I'm from Los Angeles and am currently playing lead in a metal band playing local venues, Whisky, Coconut Teaser, etc. My question is, I am currently in a disagreement with the band. I want to incorporate a more melodic sound and get out of the rut of playing the same licks over an E5 for a hundred measures, but each time I venture out of the typical 'shred' I get called on it. I am learning all these cool things in theory class and no one else gets it. What should I do?"

SLASH replies with some advice you know he's given himself, "All you can do is play from the heart and hope it sounds good. Don't listen to what everybody else says."

Poo asks, "About 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door', I need to know about guitar effect tuning in this song. Please tell me what guitar effect you used in this song. Thank you very much for your help."

No effects, just a Les Paul and a 1958 Gibson Flying V through a Marshall and a little delay."

The next question is from Greg who asks, "Other than your own albums, would you ever produce someone else's work? Have you ever been asked to do so?"

SLASH replies, "I might produce someone else's record way down the line, but right now it's enough to get my own records done."

Andrew in the UK. He asks SLASH, "Coming from England, do you visit England often; and do you miss living there?"

SLASH replies, "Andrew, I visit England rarely just to visit. If I'm in England, I'm usually playing and touring".

Tatiana in Brazil. She asks, "A friend of mine told me once that you and Richie Sambora have played together once, is that true!!? He said that you played "Father Time" which is a song of the first solo album of Richie, Stranger In This Town".

SLASH replies, "Your friend might be right, but I'm not really sure. It would have had to have been a long time ago."

Chaz asks, "SLASH, why did you pick a Gibson over a Fender? Have you ever played a Fender? What do you think of Fenders?"

SLASH replies, "Chaz, I own a couple of Fenders, i.e. strats, teles, acoustics. I use Fenders in the studio on occasion. I think Fenders are looking and sounding hot, but I feel the most at home with a Les Paul.

Jeff from Oregon asks, "This is a question for SLASH. I know he used to have an 'old' Corvette, like a '63-'67. Does he still have it? What year is it? And does he want to sell it? (I'm thinking of buying one.)

SLASH replies, "I have a black '66 vette which is currently in the shop, but it's not for sale.

J. Lopez of Amsterdam. He asks, "I have a question. Have you ever flirted with other guitar styles? I mean, like flamenco, or is that like a no-go area for rock guitarists? What's your opinion on flamenco? Are you interested in it or just admire it or doesn't it do much for you at all?"

SLASH replies, "J. Lopez, I like a lot of different guitar styles. Flamenco, some jazz, blues, funk, classical, etc. I subconsciously incorporate them into my style a lot. I played flamenco style for a while when I was first learning how to play guitar."

Sarah asks, "SLASH, we all know who your musical influences are, but what CD or tape do you have in your player right now?"

SLASH replies, "Sarah, Jimi Hendrix and the Band of Gypsies".

Marcos who writes, "I'm writing from Portugal (ya know, small country on the edge of Europe... Smile ), and my name is Marcos. I need your help because of the chords in Guns N'Roses song "Shotgun Blues". The problem is that, for example, I don't know how to fret the A/E (just to name one...). Could you explain to me how it works? I really wanted to play the song but because of this I simply can't. I would be very pleased if you could help me. Thanks for any help attempts".

SLASH replies, "If memory serves, "Shotgun Blues" frets on #10 to #7 to #5. Also, the whole record is tuned to E(flat)440".

This funny question comes from Pierre in France. (Remember that SLASH did not tour France with Snakepit much to the dismay of our French fans). Pierre asks, "I'm a fan since 1988. I was at the 'Elyssee Montmartre' on June 29, 1995. I've got 1 question for SLASH. 'Do you remember where is France?' (Go get him, Pierre!)

SLASH replies (a funny reply), "Yeah, I remember where is France! (Is that a trick question? I might have to come there and find out!) Uh-oh, Pierre, you're in trouble with the Big Guy!

Ravi who writes, "I heard that with GNR you guys jammed with the Stones on several songs. This was at some shows in LA where you opened for them. During their show (we think), you and ??? came out and jammed with them. Can you tell me which ones in their set that members of Guns guested on?"

SLASH replies, "GNR never actually jammed with the Stones. Izzy and Axl jammed a couple of songs with them in Atlantic City in 90-something. Ron Wood came on stage with GNR a couple years later."

This is from Krishna who says that Adam was the source on "custom made" and asks, "Where do you get your guitar straps? I checked the equipment part of your site and it says "custom made". Where are they custom made from? Any information regarding the straps would be totally appreciated...as specific as possible."

SLASH replies, "I forget who makes my straps. Adam Day would be the guy to ask."

Odge who asks, "SLASH, I have bought one of your signature Marshall JCM 2555SL and have had great fun cranking it up and tearing through "Appetite..." tunes, but I've noticed that I can't get the sound on "Don't Damn Me" and "Locomotive". They seem to have more gain. Did you use anything different on those tracks"?

SLASH replies, "Odge, the only main difference is on "Don't Damn Me" I used my Les Paul's rhythm pickup for the solos and on "Locomotive" I used a Gibson Explorer (1958)".

This one is from Nick, and is something we've wondered about, too. Nick asks, "SLASH, I just started playing guitar about 2 years ago. Your guitar playing amazes me. What I find even more astonishing is how you play while running around on stage and while holding your guitar way up in the air in front of you. Is this something that cam naturally to you when you first hit the stage or through practice and experience playing live shows?"

SLASH replies, "Playing while running around, etc. comes from energy and enthusiasm while playing in front of an audience. It does come pretty naturally.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200115044016/http://www.snakepit.org/answers.html
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