APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash)

Go down

1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash) Empty 1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash)

Post by Soulmonster on Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:00 pm

IT'S DUSK in L.A. A neonpink moon rises slowly in the darkening coppernickel sky. Seated at a table in corner booth of a cavernous downtown Mexican restaurant, where the service is nervous and slow, but the drinks are served strong, Slash pushes the hair out of his bloodshot eyes and surveys the scene.

"Me and the band used to live in a garage down the street when we first started out, and we used to come here all the time.

"We always used to sit here in the corner, right where we are now, because it's the best spot to get a blow-job without anybody knowing," he says matter-of-factly.

"I know this place is kinda seedy and run down, but I like it here. I feel comfortable," he shrugs.

Guns N' Roses spent most of the Summer of 1988 feeling pretty comfortable touring with Aerosmith in America, where their 'Appetite For Destruction' album spent most of the Summer months jostling with Def Leppard's 'Hysteria' album for the Number One spot in the charts. The tour became one of the two hottest-ticket-in-town draws of the year - only Leppard's own tour did comparable business in America.

"Aw, man, it was great... Some funny shit went down on that Aerosmith tour. We were so similar, and yet we made such a contrast. They're all 'straight' now; clean. And their whole operation runs like clockwork; they stay in one place for four or five gigs, then when the tour moves a little further up the road they move to another place and make that their base for the next five gigs, or whatever.

"The whole thing is kept well under control... Which is exactly the opposite, of course, from the way we usually get things done. we travel the whole time, and very little of what we do is done, uh, straight..." he says, scratching his belly.

"But it didn't seem to matter. They were exposed to us the whole time, and we got to hang out together a lot. Which was really cool, because those guys have all been heroes of mine since I was a kid and first started listening to rock 'n' roll."

Did they preach to you about the evils of drink and drugs?

"No, not once. They don't do any of that shit any more, but it hasn't turned them into preachers. I used to drink around them all the time and nobody said anything - though I did use a cup! But that was when I was still carrying a bottle of Jack around with me the whole time.

"There was one time when Steven (Tyler) came into the room I used to use for tuning my guitar. I'd stepped out of the room for a minute and when I got back there was Tyler standing there looking through my tapes and stuff. I had one empty, one half-empty, and one full bottle of Jack lying around in there.

"Anyway, I walked in and we started talking. And he says, 'Did you drink all that today?' And I was, like, yeah, I did. And he just gave me this look. He started to say something, but then he changed his mind. He's been through some scenes of his own, I guess.

"I remember Steven (Adler), our drummer, was very disillusioned about just about everything at one point, and he sat down and talked to Tyler about it, and Tyler gave him some sound advice."

Did you get up on stage and play together at any point on the tour? "Oh yeah, when we came to LA. It was a gas! We did 'Mama Kin' together...

"It was nice, too, because we were told by the people that worked for them that they would never go to the side of the stage and watch any of the bands that opened for them, usually. But for us they were there just about every night. There was always one or two of them there, and sometimes even the whole band."

Did that freak you out at all?

"The first time I looked over and saw them all standing there watching us play, yeah, that f**ked with me. It was weird...

"All of a sudden I look over and Joe's standing there watching me, and I almost froze. It was like, 'Wow! What do I do now?" he laughs.

"In the end, it was a real family vibe going on between the two bands. They used to watch us, we used to watch them, and the rest of the time we'd hang out together.

"We managed to earn a little respect just by being a half-decent rock 'n' roll band, just really going out there and f**kin' trying to kick some ass, regardless.

"I did a guitar solo one night - one of those finger-pickin' slow blues things - and after the show, Tyler got me to one side and said, 'That was amazing!'. I just stood there and said, 'Well, thanks', and couldn't think of anything else to say. I was blown away.

"Seriously, that's something I'll never forget... That, and a couple of other things he did, which I won't mention because it would get us both into too much trouble..."

WHEN 'APPETITE For Destruction' went to Number One in America this year - 13 months after its release in 1987 - Slash says he was as surprised by the news as anybody.

"I mean, did that really happen to us? It's like, there's that, and then there's regular life. The rest is just words and numbers that don't really mean a thing."

Why did it go to Number One at all, do you think?

"I'm not sure. I think the only reason it could have possibly gone to Number One is we're filling some sort of void.

"That's really the only thing I can attribute it to. It's not because the songs are all huge hits - that's the last thing they are, they're just a bunch of dirty rock 'n' roll songs.

"So I figure, we're just like the resident down and dirty rock band in town at the moment. Everybody wants to have that record because it's not really that safe... and it looks cool next to George Michael records in their collection," he sniggers.

"I mean, it's really nice to be able to afford an apartment, and know what my financial situation is and all the rest of it. But I don't need any of that to help me write songs, and that's really all that really counts for me.

"I mean, don't get me wrong. This is not some dumb muso telling you he doesn't care how many records he's sold as long as he's got strings on his guitar - I'm not that f**kin' humble! I'm very business-oriented when it comes to knowing what all the figures mean and making sure we don't get ripped off."

THEY SAY a rock band is only a phenomenon once, no matter how long their fame and fortune endures. For some bands it can come and go over the lifespan of one hit single. For most, the glow of the 'new' lasts for one album - or for as long as it takes them to deliver a grossly over-hyped 'follow-up', which, with very few exceptions, almost invariably turns out to be a disappointment on all levels for everybody concerned.

"Our next album will come out, and it'll sell a lot, but I don't think it will be like this, the way things are right now; crazy," he says with a crooked smile.

"But it doesn't matter. What matters is whether the next album is actually any good or not. As long as the material is all there, I'm happy.

"We'll just make the best record we possibly can, as sincerely and as honestly as everything else we're ever done, and that'' it. After that, it's not our problem any more...

"I know damn well that the reason 'Appetite...' is going where it's going is because we hit certain f**kin' particular place and time and the sparks just flew.

"But I'm not gonna walk around with my nose in the air thinking I'm hot shit, because if you think about it rock bands on the whole - with the exception of the Beatles and Elvis - are pretty insignificant. You're only there while you're there, and when you're gone there's somebody else... you know what I mean?

"Compared to what goes on in the world, a rock 'n' roll band is no big deal really.

"So we'll just go out and do another record. In the meantime, I'm just a guitar player in a band that's doing really well right now, and I'm gonna have the best time I can have while I'm here... doing it."

EVEN UP to last year, Slash was still living out of a suitcase, staying in hotels in L.A. Recently, though, he wised up and took some of that extra drinking money Guns N' Roses earned him, and bought himself an apartment in North Hollywood.

"It's five minutes drive from the Roxy and the Rainbow and all those other cheap dives I often find myself in," he says. "And if I get too out of it to drive myself home I can always roll myself down the hill…

"Other than that, it's just a little apartment already furnished. It came with this f**kin' couch and cheap table and a refrigerator and stuff - like one of everything.

"It's the first apartment I ever lived in that actually belongs to me… It's a whole new experience. I can't live off everybody else forever; if I can afford to have a place. I can't just keep being, like, a total f**kin' gypsy all my life…"

Aren't you ever gonna go for the full rock star's mansion?

"Mmmm… Well, I'm gonna buy a house. I don't think I'm gonna buy a car for a while, though… I'm too psychotic behind the wheel, I'd kill somebody.

"I lost somebody's car the other night. I borrowed a car to drive myself home from a friend's, and I was so drunk that I parked it somewhere, but I can't remember where. It's just gone, kaput! I have the keys sitting on the table in my living room, and I don't even know where it is.

"And the thing is, I always want to drive when I'm drunk. It doesn't really interest me as much when I'm sober. I get drunk and I want to drive fast, and I just know it's gonna get me into big trouble one day if I don't watch out…

"I've been through the experience once already of hitting somebody in a car… I hit a van, it was when we were recording the album. I realised pretty quickly then that one drunken night just isn't worth years in jail, or being responsible for somebody else's misery…"

WITH GUNS N' Roses now off the road for the first time in 18 months, Slash says he's going to be spending time sitting at home writing songs for the next Guns N' Roses album, in time for the recording to begin in 1989.

"In between all this other shit that goes on in my daily life I do write a lot. So I've already started writing. I've got an eight-track which I'm using to put down the best ideas on tape.

"I'm pretty productive, I work all the time. A typical day for me might mean getting out of bed at 8:30 or nine o'clock in the morning, going down to Geffen Records; talking on the phone to some radio stations that want interviews; doing all this other promotional shit… Then writing at night and, later, going out, maybe.

"One morning they woke me up at 5:30 am to talk to some guy on the phone from a magazine in Greece… But that's not every day. And it's a small price to pay, anyway - for not having to worry about your rent, and getting to work on time every day, and all these other horrors that our music has helped us escape.

"To pay for those privileges, you have to f**kin' be there for the few responsibilities you do have as a band member.

"Anybody can sit around all day just getting out of their heads… and I should know," he chuckles. "I'm still not very good at looking after myself in lots of ways, but I take the best care of my music I can, and my music takes care of me…

"Jesus," he grunts, reaching for his glass. "I'm starting to sound really f**kin' corny, man… What are you trying to do to me? Turn that f**kin' machine off!"

Click. Burrr
Attachments
1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash) Attachment
Why_Do_They_Lie_To_Us_Kerrang12-17-88.pdf You don't have permission to download attachments.(4.3 Mb) Downloaded 11 times
Soulmonster
Soulmonster
Stage manager

Admin & Founder
Posts : 10615
Plectra : 61413
Reputation : 816
Join date : 2010-07-06

Back to top Go down

1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash) Empty Re: 1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash)

Post by Blackstar on Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:14 pm

Longer/unedited version of this interview from the book:
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

--------


THREE
 
No Christmas for Drunkies
 
OCTOBER 1988
 
In the brief time that elapsed between that first interview with Slash and our next meeting four months later, a lot had happened to Guns N’ Roses; enough in fact to transform them from the rising cult stairs I had last encountered into a veritable household name, their infamy beginning to settle across entire continents. Appetite For Destruction had reached No. 1 in the U.S. album charts in August - exactly 57 weeks after its first entry into the Billboard Top 200. And ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ matched it by hitting the No. 1 spot in the U.S. singles chart shortly after. The fates appeared to be conspiring in the band’s favour again when straight out of left field - on Saturday, August 20, 1988 - tragedy struck.
 
The place was the eighth annual Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donington in the Midlands of England. Guns N’ Roses were fifth on the bill; above Helloween and below Megadeth, David Lee Roth, Kiss and headliners Iron Maiden, and the largest crowd in the festival’s history - over 90,000 people - was expected to turn up. Donington was, and remains, the largest, most prestigious outdoor event in the British rock calendar, and everybody in the band was looking forward with enormous enthusiasm to returning to England. Axl had all his voices back and the band’s engine was expected to be revving again after being nicely warmed-up with a fortnight’s worth of ecstatically received shows in America with Aerosmith. (The proposed Japanese tour in July had eventually been cancelled in order to give Axl's voice a proper chance to recuperate after his ordeal on the Iron Maiden tour. The Japanese dates would eventually be rescheduled for the end of the year.)
 
Forty-eight hours before they were to appear on the Donington stage, the band took a short break from their commitments on the Aerosmith tour and, just as Slash had predicted, caught a Concorde flight to London, where they connected with a domestic flight direct to East Midlands airport. The day of the show began blustery and cold, dark storm clouds looming ominously in the sky - traditional Donington weather, in fact. The first really serious downpour saved itself, with immaculate timing, for the precise moment the opening act, Helloween, took to the stage at 1.00 p.m. sharp. Rain continued to sheet down mercilessly throughout the duration of the hapless German outfit's set, and the fierce wind had blown one of the fifty-foot side-stage video screens from its moorings. Luckily, the screen fell harmlessly onto some empty ground and no one was hurt, but a shudder of foreboding swept visibly through the crowd, at that point in the after­noon still only 50,000 or so strong.
 
By the time Guns N’ Roses arrived on stage at 2.00 p.m. and began trawling out the riff to ‘It’s So Easy’, the rain had temporarily subsided and the sky was a sullen grey. The field the crowd was standing in had turned into a mudbath, however, and at first applause for the band seemed scattered, subdued perhaps by the cold, damp conditions. Then Slash swung a punch at his guitar and the band kicked hard into 'Mr Brownstone’, and suddenly the atmosphere started to pick up. Axl cantering from one side of the stage to the other in white leather Guns N' Roses tour jacket, white cowboy boots, waist-tied scarf flapping crazily in the icy breeze, mike-stand held horizontally like a knife, body swaying from side to side just like in all the videos, only much more manic, like a high-speed replay...
 
They followed that with the slowed down semi-acoustic version of 'You're Crazy’ that would later appear for the first time on the GN’R Lies collection, still some four months away from release at the time of the Donington show. Halfway through the number a disturbance appeared to break out amongst the crowd coiled like a snake around the front of the stage, and the music suddenly ground to a juddering halt. Axl stopped singing and started cursing at the crowd to step back and quit shoving each other. Several bodies appeared to be hoisted out of the mêlée by an assortment of security men and roadies. Confusion reigned as the crowd at the front tried to recompose itself and the band wandered around on stage pointing their fingers and yelling, looking as lost as the rest of us.
 
After what seemed like an eternity Slash eventually began stroking out the riff to ‘Paradise City’ and both band and audience attempted somewhat half-heartedly to carry on with the show. But bodies were still being pulled from the crowd and Axl stopped the band mid-song a second time. ‘Look!’ he yelled, trying to cajole the crowd into calming down, 'I'm taking time out from my playing to do this and that’s the only fun I get all day...’
 
The situation appeared to ease again and the Gunners wheeled shakily into ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. Black clouds reappeared in the sky above the stage and another torrential downpour threatened. After that the band tried to calm things down further with ‘Patience’, another new acoustic number receiving its first public airing in the UK and also destined for the GN’R Lies mini-album. However, unfamiliarity and the appalling weather conditions bred, if not quite contempt then indifference - at least for the majority of the crowd that didn’t have their bodies pressed fight against the security barriers at the front of the stage. The intro to ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ received the biggest cheer of the set and was preceded by a little speech from Axl thanking everybody for making it Guns N’ Roses’ first hit single in Britain. They crunched their way through it with the sensitivity of a mallet then left the stage, clearly relieved to escape their ordeal. There was no encore.
 
Ironically, Axl's parting words to the Donington crowd that day were: ‘Don’t kill yourselves!’ He did not yet know that two of its members - teenagers by the names of Alan Dick and Landon Siggers - had had the life crushed out of them when the crowd at the front had surged forward as Guns N’ Roses took to the stage, causing them to slip and fall. By the time their crumpled, broken bodies had been rescued from the mud and carried to the emergency centre backstage, they were both already dead - Siggers so badly disfigured his friends and family were only able to identify his corpse by the scorpion and tiger tattoos on his arms.
 
‘I saw the whole thing happen,’ promoter Maurice Jones later told noted Donington chronicler Jeff Clark Meads in an interview published in Kerrang! ‘The problems were created by idiots, absolute idiots. They were pushing stage right and the crowd compressed. They just couldn’t go any further, then about fifteen feet from the stage, a hole in the crowd opened and people went down. I went down to the front of the stage and I saw First Aid people and the doctors working and I felt so useless... I can’t describe how it felt. I saw five bodies on the ground and I knew somebody was dead.’
 
Despite the swift issuing of a statement by Chief Superintendent Dennis Clarke, of the West Midlands police division, in which he described the crowd at Donington that year as ‘otherwise superb’ and announced that there had in fact been no arrests, reaction in Britain’s notoriously tacky tabloid press was predictably over the top and the more scurrilous Sunday editions published the following day ran sensationalistic, wholly inaccurate stories claiming, amongst other things, that the stage collapsed and that Guns N’ Roses had refused to stop playing even after being informed of the plight of the injured fans.
'We even had very well known and supposedly responsible news­papers saying the stage had collapsed,' Maurice Jones complained to Jeff Clark Meads. ‘The stage didn’t collapse and was never in any danger of doing so! The one thing I did learn from all this,' Maurice went on, ‘was never trust a reporter. A lot of the press had absolutely no respect whatsoever for the kids who had died and I thought it was completely disgusting...’
 
The coroner’s inquest into the deaths returned an open verdict and concluded that there was nothing more that could have been done to guarantee the safety of everybody on the site that day. Indeed, the hearing conceded that it was virtually impossible to absolutely guarantee the individual well-being of every single member of a crowd the size of the one at Donington that year. (Official sources placed the total figure at 97,559, while privately some estimates put the figure at closer to upwards of 110,000 people - though it’s worth remembering that less than half that amount had actually arrived by the time Guns N' Roses were on stage.) Even so, straight after the inquest, the local authority, North West Leicestershire District Council, formally placed a crowd limit on all future events at Donington of 70,000, and it would be another two years before the Council would again grant Maurice Jones a licence to hold another festival there.
 
Meantime, Guns M’ Roses were back on the road with Aerosmith in America, and Geffen re-released ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ as a single to coincide with the September release of the latest Clint Eastwood movie in the Dirty Harry series, The Dead Pool, which featured the band in a cameo role performing ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ in a club in Miami. The sequence had been filmed earlier in the year during a break from touring.
 
By the time I found myself back in Los Angeles in October 1988, the single had already risen to No. 7 in the U.S. charts, and Appetite For Destruction was still bobbing like a fly glued to the web of the Billboard Top Five. By then the Aerosmith tour had finished and the band were left kicking their heels at home in LA until the re-arranged Japanese and Australian dates began in November...
 
Slash had called to suggest dinner and drinks and we set off at dusk, the moon rising slowly in the darkening copper-nickel sky, to a Mexican restaurant Slash said he knew of on Sunset where the drinks, he assured me, were served ‘strong and without the bullshit trimmings'. Dressed simply in off-white T-shirt, leather jacket and crumpled black jeans, showing three or four days’ growth of wiry black bristle on his chin, the dark matted curls cascading down his face even more of a bird’s nest than usual, Slash looked drawn, tired; a much older, more haggard version of the smart-talking know-something I remembered from our last encounter just a few months before.
 
Seated at a table in a corner-booth of the cavernous restaurant, Slash pushed the hair out of his bloodshot eyes and carefully surveyed the scene. ‘I know this place is kind of sleazy and rundown but I like it here, I feel comfortable,’ he said in his soft only-kidding Californian drawl. ‘Me and the band used to rehearse in a garage down the street from here when we first started out, and we used to come here all the time. We always used to sit here in the corner, right where we are now, because it’s the best spot to get a blow-job under the table without anybody else in the room knowing,' he mentioned matter-of-factly. ‘We used to bring chicks here all the time and get ’em to do that. Or take ’em in the toilets out back.’
 
‘Well, don’t think I’m going to stick my head under the table to pay for my dinner,’ I told him straight.
 
‘Fuck you, you’re too ugly!’ he chuckled. ‘The food here is so bad you probably wouldn’t notice the difference anyway...'
 
A surly crow-faced waiter with blood spots on his white coat and a pencil stub apparently grafted to his lips arrived to take our order. We chose the chicken fajitas and ordered up a pitcher of the house speciality - iced Marguerita. The tequila jug arrived on the table and Slash poured some into a couple of tall salted glasses and we drank greedily. Suddenly the atmosphere of the place, with its dingy red walls and fake gold trimmings, seemed much less oppressive, cheerful even. Slash poured a couple more. While we were waiting for the food I asked him how he was enjoying being off the road for a while.
 
‘Hah ...' he waved his cigarette dismissively. ‘I don’t like it, man. I’m bored already, you know?’
 
But surely, I asked, now was the time to sit back and start reaping some of the rewards of their enormous success over the last eighteen months, wasn’t it?
 
‘And do what?’ he replied innocently. ‘I don’t know... you’re talking about things... possessions,’ he rolled the word around in his mouth like a pebble. ‘I mean, I didn’t even have anywhere to live until, like, two weeks ago...’
 
The fajitas arrived with a thud and Slash eyed the dishes cautiously. Then he picked up a spoon and began heaping some of the chicken and sour cream and some of the other mush into a pancake. He rolled it between his fingers and thumbs like an old-style cheroot then forced the squishy end into his mouth. He worked away at it with his jaws slowly for a minute or two, swallowed, then washed what was left down with a slug of the Marguerita. ‘Man, these fajitas stink,’ he grumbled, still licking his lips. ‘I don’t know why I brought you here. You must think I don’t like you or something ...You want another drink?’
 
We pushed our plates away and I asked if we could pick things up where we’d left them four months before - with Slash and the rest of the band flying Concorde, to Donington. So, what was it like, I asked?
‘Too small,’ he snapped. ‘Nice, though. We crossed over fuckin’ Texas in about five minutes flat, and on the plane it’s almost festive, everyone’s like, yeeaaahhhhh... here we go! Then they have these, like, high-class meals, right? Which is just expensive microwaved shit - it's the worst! But you get all this food and they treat you very nicely and stuff. And the thing is it was only like a three-hour flight, so we were there in no time. I just drank - to compensate for the shitty food,’ he said, reaching for the pitcher of Margueritas.
 
And what of Donington - how had Slash and the band found the experience as a whole?
 
'The whole going to England thing was... weird.’ He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. ‘I was put into a situation where I was away from the rest of band, doing things like press and radio. Apart from when we were actually on stage, the only real time I spent at the gig was at soundcheck. The rest of the time I was busy either screwing or doing interviews, so I didn’t leave the hotel room...’ he deadpanned.
 
What about the incident that sparked the deaths of the two fans: how much did Slash actually see of what took place?
 
‘Well, it got a little bit out of hand and, I don’t know, we stopped cos we had to stop,’ he said, his voice lowered to almost a whisper. ‘We just looked out and it was like, oh fuck... From where we were standing, which was right above it, it looked really hectic. You couldn’t tell what happened exactly but there’s a certain amount of force which goes into the first ten rows. You could see that surge when we came on, you could see the force. And they’re just people...’ He stared at the food on his plate. ‘We stopped because we were scared,’ he said, at length. ‘Like, let’s clear this up. We didn’t find out two kids had actually died during our set until we got back to the hotel that night. Alan [Niven] was really bummed out about something and I sort of sat down with him and he told me about it. It just destroyed the whole thing for me...’
 
Did Slash feel in any way personally responsible for the deaths?
 
He thought about it for a bit then shook his head slowly. ‘Not personally, no. The way I see it is - too many people in one place, there’s no security, there’s no nothing. It’s not like doing, say, 80,000 people at Giants Stadium in New York, where there’s a line of security at the front and there’s a line of security that goes all the way around the entire thing. Donington is just like a stage and a huge field, and 100,000 people is a fuckin’ lot of people. When we get back I’ll show you the video. We have a new video coming out - it’s from Giants Stadium and Donington and you can see the difference.
 
‘Donington’s just like, here’s the tickets, have a great time...’ He lit a cigarette and hung his head, still disturbed by the memory. ‘What bums me out the most is whoever it was who was standing on top of somebody - you can’t stand on somebody and not know they’re there! They were so self-involved and selfish that they had to be as close to the stage as possible, and somebody was gonna suffer for it and have to lay under their feet in ten inches of mud. That’s what really sucked about it. It was front row security, then a huge fuckin’ field - further than we could see - and a bunch of kids who wanted to go out and see a good rock show. The craziest ones are always gonna be the ones in the first fuckin’ twenty rows - they’re the diehards. But you don’t fuckin’ have that much disregard for human life that you just have to see a show no matter what the repercussions are or what happens to somebody else during it...’ He sat there, quietly fuming for a moment.
 
I asked Slash if the band would ever consider playing Donington again. There was already talk of Guns N’ Roses being obvious Don­ington headliners at some point in the not-too-distant future...
 
‘I don’t know,’ he said hesitantly. 'It was a big fuckin’ rush for us to be asked to play it. But we won’t be able to do it next year, anyway. If it was the year after, maybe, and it was a good time, I’d like to do it. But if we were headlining I’d change a few things.’
 
Such as?       
 
‘I would change the way the whole thing’s run... Not the whole thing, but I’d change the way it’s set up. You’ve got to compile areas of people into sections and try to do your best to patrol them. A heavy duty English crowd - that’s impossible, I know, but if you’re gonna do it you might as well make the attempt at it. There’s a lot of money made from that gig and the promoter can afford it, right? ’Cos Don­ington next time... a lot of kids are gonna be scared of going. I mean, the kids that died, chances are they hitch-hiked from some way out place and saved up for a month to go; their parents probably didn’t want them to go but they had to go, you know how it is... And then they lose their lives in, like, fifteen minutes at some rock festival - which, all in all, is a really insignificant event. And it’s their entire existence gone! It just bums me out.
 
‘I’ve been worrying about whether we should write something to their parents or not. Nothing that comes out of our mouths is gonna sound right, though - some simple rock band they don’t even know, that are responsible, as far as they’re concerned, for the demise of their children...’
 
I gently moved the conversation on and asked about the Aerosmith tour: had that gone as well as Slash and the rest of the band had expected?
 
His face brightened. ‘It was great, some funny shit happened on that tour. Those guys are all clean now - Joe, especially - and they stay in one central place and do four or five gigs, then move on to another part. But they always have one central base. Even so, they were exposed to us for a lot of the time and they hung out with us.’
 
Had Slash tried to hide his own drinking from them?
 
‘I tipped it all in a cup,’ he admitted with a smile. ‘That was still in my walking around with a bottle of Jack stage, so I used to tip it in a cup before we hung out. So it was cool, you know. Although there was one point where Steven Tyler came into my dressing room - I have a dressing room apart from the rest of the guys to do my guitar stuff - and I had one empty bottle of Jack and one half full one in there. Anyway, I left the room for a while and when I came back Steven was in there, looking at tapes and stuff. I said hi, you know. He said, “You drink all that today?” I said, yeah. He just gave me this look and didn’t say anything. He started to then stopped... that’s the way the whole tour was as far as that kinda shit goes. Anybody who wanted to go to him for help, though, he was always available. But he didn’t push it. Like, Steven [Adler], who was a little bit disillusioned about - just about everything in general. He talked to Tyler about it and he gave him some good advice. In other words, he’s been there. They all have. And yet they were so much fun to be with. Oh, we had a ball! We got up and played together here in LA - we did "Mama Kin” together. And they used to stand at the side of the stage and check out our set just about every night...’
 
That must have been odd, I remarked, the first time he looked up and caught Joe Perry watching him from the side of the stage?
 
‘Yeah, it was weird,’ he grinned. ‘Also ’cos of the similarities - especially, like, me and Joe. Then all of a sudden to look up and see Joe standing there with Steven - it was just... wow, you know?’
 
Hadn’t Guns N’ Roses been intimidated at all, though, by the prospect of opening the show for one of the bands they had, in the past, openly admitted to having partly modelled themselves on?
 
‘We thought about it.’ Slash shrugged. ‘But the band just decided to really hang on to just being us, regardless of the similarities. So we never had any problems. We never really got too intimidated. I mean, I am a fan. We used to watch them from the soundboard every night. There was a lot of personal stuff happened, too, between the band, which I can’t really get into... It was just like no other tour that we’d done as far as being close to the people you’re touring with.
 
‘The only other band we’ve been that close to is Motley... I used to hang out with Nikki and Tommy. But this was different because it was like, we managed to earn a little bit of their respect just for being a half-decent rock ’n’ roll band. Just going out there to kick some ass, regardless. That was the one thing that they really appreciated. I was doing one of those slow blues guitar picking things one night and afterwards Steven took me aside and said, “That was amazing!” That really made me feel great. I mean, seriously. That and a couple of other things he did, which I won’t mention.’
 
It was while Guns N’ Roses were on tour with Aerosmith that Appetite For Destruction had finally gone to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts. Had it come as a surprise or had they been expecting it to happen?
 
It was a big surprise! When I talked to you the last time, I wasn’t expecting it at all. But it’s like, it’s just words and numbers, you know?’ he said self-effacingly.
 
Nearly a year and a half on from its release the album was still selling by the truckload - it had recently passed the five million mark in America alone. And even now the band were off the road it was still hanging like a claw to the Billboard Top Five. What was it about the album, in Slash’s opinion, that provided such huge appeal for people - not just teenagers, either, but kids of all ages?
 
‘I think the only reason it could have possibly gone to No. 1 is that we’re filling some kind of gap,’ he said, thoughtfully. ‘A gap that hasn’t been filled by this particular kind of music for however long it’s been. That’s the only thing I can attribute it to. It’s not because the songs are, like, huge hits. They’re not, they’re just rock ’n’ roll songs and fuck the Top Forty, you know? I figure we’re just the down and dirty Guns N’ Roses band,’ he continued. ‘Everybody wants to have that album because it’s not that safe and it looks good next to the George Michael album...’
 
Indeed, it seemed to me that Guns N’ Roses had almost single-handedly made the concept of ‘hard rock’ fashionable again.
 
’Yeah, I know,’ he said, wrinkling his nose. ‘But I’m not gonna take it to the point where it’s gonna have an effect on my personality. I'm not gonna let it turn me into one of those completely insecure rock star types who actually doesn’t know the limits of what a fucking pop star means. I deal with it my way, and my way is to treat it very fuckin’ vaguely. Like the money... I know it’s really nice to afford an apartment. I know how many records we’ve sold, I know all that shit 'cos I’m real business-oriented now. I know what I can and can’t do.’
 
And the fame, the money, had it brought happiness, too, though, the way it was supposed to?
 
'I’m a basically happy person, anyway,’ he sniffed. ‘Things still get fucked up and piss me off. But I don’t sit around getting depressed about it like a lot of people do. It’s like, I could be working at Tower Records again... I have nothing to complain about.’
 
'The last time we had spoken, Slash had said the band would be back in the studio ‘sometime in October, November’, working on the next album. Plainly, that idea had long since been scrapped. But why? Had the sheer scale of their unexpected success triggered a sense of panic, perhaps, over the follow-up? When all was said and done, how did one follow a phenomenon? Many had tried, very few indeed had ever succeeded.
 
Slash remained nonplussed. 'I’m not going to sit around worrying about how good or how successful the next record is gonna be - I don't fuckin’ do that shit. We'll just make the best record we possibly can. As sincere and as us as possible. ’Cos I know damn well the reason this album is going where it’s going is because we hit a certain fuckin' particular place at a certain time. That’s fuckin’ great. But I'm not going to walk around with my fuckin’ nose in the air. If you think about it, rock ’n’ roll bands on the average - with the exception of gigs and albums - are pretty insignificant. You’re there, then you're gone and then there’s somebody else.'
 
They say there’s only ever one ‘first time around'...
 
'Everybody listens to it at the same time and everybody burns out on it at the same time. I mean, like the new Bon Jovi record [New Jersey] is great but I don’t see the same kind of excitement to this record as I did their last one. I saw it happen to a lot of bands... Zeppelin and the Stones, same sort of thing. I mean, the Stones died out real quick - well, they eventually died out to the point where no one was really that excited by them any more. Zeppelin put out shitty records, though, and people were excited by them. It’s a weird kind of thing. You can’t sit there and try to predict it and analyse it. We’ll just go out and do another record.
 
‘My attitude is I’m just a guitar player in a band that’s doing real well right now, and I’m gonna have the best time I can have while I'm here...’ Slash was starting to look bored. He tilted the frosted lips of the pitcher into his glass again and began talking about the new apartment he was then renting. ‘It’s just this funky little apartment, nothing fancy - furnished. It’s got this fuckin’ couch and refrigerator and stuff - it’s my first real apartment on my own. And if I can afford to have a place of my own then I should have one. I can’t live off everybody else forever. I can’t just keep being this total fuckin’ gypsy.’ But that didn’t mean Slash was quite ready for his pipe and slippers just yet. ‘The cops have already started comin’ by,’ he said with a hollow laugh. Slash’s new neighbours, it seemed, had objected to the sound of Motorhead being blasted at five in the morning from the apartment of their famous new tenant.
 
‘But I’m settling down,’ said Slash. Now it was my turn to laugh. ‘No, really. I’ve got a microwave, and I go to the market and buy those microwave burritos, hot dogs, hamburgers... everything. Everything goes in the microwave. Except the vodka - that goes in the freezer. Until Izzy comes round... Izzy’s classic when he gets drunk,’ he grinned, slipping off on a tangent. ‘Me, when I get drunk I fall over, I puke, I do whatever is stupid. Izzy is like one of those drunks you see in the movies. He’s so entertaining, he’s so un-Izzy...' Slash drew another cigarette from the pack. ‘So anyway, I got a place, it’s cheap. Next I'm gonna buy a house and stuff ...’ He was starting to look bored again. ‘So yeah, I'm gonna buy a house... I don’t think I'm gonna buy a car for a while, though. I'm too psychotic with them. I lost somebody’s car the other night,’ he said with a straight face. 'I was over at somebody’s house and I borrowed their car to get home. But I parked it somewhere and I don’t remember where it is. I lost it. It was towed away or something - gone.’
 
Had he been drunk when he drove the car home?
 
‘Ah...’ he lit the cigarette. ‘It’s like, cars, man, I get drunk and I just don’t know. I still haven’t learned,’ he wheezed, smoke pluming from his lips like a chimney.
 
How, I enquired gingerly, had the writing been progressing for the new album?
 
His reply was markedly less affirmative than it had been back in June. 'In between all the rest of the shit that goes on every day, I’ve been writing stuff,’ he said. 'I've got an eight-track machine at home, so I’m putting it all down on tape. I’m pretty productive.'
 
I asked Slash to describe a typical day in his present life for me.
 
‘A typical day? Some days I get up at eight-thirty, nine o’clock in the morning. Go down to Geffen - talk on the phone to radio stations. Do all this other shit...’
 
Slash up at eight-thirty in the morning? I raised an eyebrow scep­tically.
 
‘Sometimes.’ He smiled unconvincingly. ‘Depends on how hard I’ve been at it the night before. I’ve done phone interviews at five-thirty in the morning - talking to Japanese press and all that shit. Except I don’t get up for those, I just stay up... It’s a small price to pay for not having to worry about your rent and getting to work on time,’ he added. ‘You don’t have many responsibilities as a band member - you have to fuckin’ be there for the few responsibilities you do have.’
 
Didn’t he secretly enjoy it all as well, though? How often did you see the Motley Crue guitarist, Mick Marrs, or Bon Jovi guitarist, Ritchie Sambora, on the cover of a fan magazine? Whereas Slash was now starting to pick up covers in his own right on magazines all over the world...
 
‘Yeah, I do it. I’m up for it. If I don’t do it then I’ll just sit around and do drugs and get drunk,’ he explained sardonically. ‘There’s also a feeling of if I don’t do it no one will.’
 
Was this a pointed reference to Axl, who had sworn off giving interviews of late?
 
‘Axl's very involved - he does it and gets really into it, then other times he doesn’t want to do it. He’s very emotional, so I’ll do it. But if he wants to he could be talking to fuckin’ somebody from Trouser Press for three hours... Axl does this, this and this - and this, this and this, Axl doesn’t do. It’s not any particular thing, it’s just what his frame of mind is.’
 
What about the others; didn’t Izzy or Steven or Duff like to talk to the press occasionally?
 
Another slow shake of the mane. 'Izzy doesn’t wanna do it. He wants to stay very much in the shadows. Steven doesn’t do a lot of stuff because it’s never been his role. Duff likes to do stuff, but right now Duff’s at a wedding so I do it because this is like twenty-five hours a day for me...'
 
The Marguerita pitcher emptied, Slash switched to ordering triple vodka-and-oranges, and the conversation swung with the inevitability of an axe back to the subject of the next album. When, I asked again, would recording actually begin?
 
‘Some time in the New Year,' he replied wearily. ‘There’s talk of going to Japan and Australia at the end of the year, so there’s no point trying to go in the studio right now. Plus, we’re pretty burnt out right now. We were on the road for a year and a half... We’ll start rehearsing to go to Japan and I’m sure we'll start jamming then, ’cos we have the place block-booked. So we'll jam a lot, play Japan - which I’m really looking forward to, we’re playing the Buddokan, which is pretty legendary. But we'll actually go into pre-production right after we get back from Japan.’ Famous last words...
 
'I was thinking about spending Christmas in England,’ Slash announced suddenly, his thoughts drifting further than the next Guns N’ Roses project for a moment. 'I don’t know, it depends if it’s snowing and all that shit.’
 
Any particular reason, I asked?
 
'I don’t know... I still do have family there. I'm thinking of visiting them but they haven’t seen me since I was about ten or eleven years old. I don’t really know if they’re still there. We went through Stoke on our English tour. I could have stopped and gone over there - I knew exactly where it was. I couldn’t take the pressure, though. Can you imagine?’ he squirmed comically.
 
I wondered whether the idea he had talked of the last time we met - of going out and doing some outdoor festivals next summer - was now out of the window, with the recording of the album being put back.
 
‘No, I don’t think so,’ he said. ‘But we won’t open for anybody any more. The only band that I can think of that we would make a good double bill with is the Stones,’ he added prophetically - a fantasy that would become a reality less than twelve months later. Indeed, Slash told me that since the last time we’d spoken he had in fact ‘socialised’ with various members of the Stones.
 
‘I’ve met Ron Wood a few times. I met Charlie Watts. Keith I met, and Bill. I’ve never met Jagger, though. Did you read what Keith said about us in Rolling Stone? They asked him, what do you think of Guns N’ Roses, and he goes, “Not much.”
 
'He said me and Izzy looked like Jimmy Page and Ron Wood, and he said we were very poseurish. Then they asked him, have you heard the album? And he said no.’ Slash frowned, his feelings obviously hurt. 'I, like, I didn’t take it personally, though,’ he said, refusing to buckle. ‘And I don’t look like Jimmy Page. I saw him on TV today...
 
'I can see where Keith’s coming from, though. Having been around some of the greats, like Chuck Berry - it must be hard to see upstarts like us and take it seriously. He needs to hear the record or hang out, I don’t know. We’re not poseurish... It’s just that we-don’t-give-a-fuck rock 'n' roll type of thing.' He continued to mull it over. ‘We’re just us, trying not to get carried away with being us. We're just the huge fuck-ups that made it big. It’s like... there’s this new movie starring John Hughes, right? In one part he’s talking about this guy who is really unsavoury, and he says, “Just tell your mom he listens to Guns N’ Roses.” It’s in the script! It’s funny... At the same time, it’s like, a lot of girls I hung out with, it really screwed them, ’cos we do take things to the hilt. The one cool thing about it is we don’t take that shit to the hilt to be bad on purpose. When we party we’re probably some of the worst, but then we work really hard, too...
 
'We do have integrity and we’re very conscientious about what we do. None of us are dead, and there’s a lot of new material and it’s like, it's all human. It’s just that we have a lot of experiences, just being extreme.'
 
Nevertheless, I pointed out, the band’s reputation had already started to assume mythic proportions. Not a month seemed to go by without a fresh new bit of Guns N’ Roses dirt.
 
‘Yeah, I know. “Axl’s dead...’’’ he sneered sarcastically.
 
Or ‘They’re all junkies...’ I suggested.
 
'Fine, fine,’ the voice was impatient suddenly. 'I saw this thing on MTV the other day. They did a ten-minute spot on the fact that I did not kill Axl... Axl is not dead! I went, what!? They ran these pictures on the screen: “AXL - NOT DEAD”... “JIMI HENDRIX - DEAD”. Then a picture of me and the band: “NOT DEAD” then “JIM MORRISON - DEAD”. Then they showed a picture of the band again: “NOT DEAD”. Then they showed a picture of Elvis - “DEAD?” with a question mark.
 
It was a classic!’ he chortled. 'I mean, when it gets to that level, you just can’t take it seriously any more.’
I told Slash that in the Kerrang! office they had an annual sweepstake at the start of each New Year and laid odds on who out of the rock fraternity were most likely to snuff it in the coming year, and that as far as the Kerrang! boys were concerned Guns N’ Roses were already odds-on favourites to suffer at least one fatality before 1989 was out.  
 
‘I know a lot of people think that,’ he said, unfazed. ‘But when we really start going over the edge I have a lot of self-control. I don’t often fuck up that hard. Alan will send me out to some ungodly place to clear my head. Or Steven, or whatever. Other than that I don’t see anything really happening to us.’
 
How many times had Alan Niven sent him away?
 
'Once. I got sent to Hawaii...’
 
To clean up?
 
‘Something like that. But he can't beat me,’ he smiled. ‘I had a girl fly out.’
 
He brushed the subject off, as if getting whisked off against one’s will for an enforced week of ‘relaxation’ was something that could happen to anybody. But how long could it go on for? Could Slash imagine what he’d be like at forty?
 
‘No. That’s something that’s really against my whole beliefs in life. No, I got... I’m here now and there’s a record to do and by the time we start the next tour I’ll be twenty-four. That’s as far and as long as I’m gonna look at it. To me it’s like, album-tour, cut into sections. We did the first album-tour, now we’re doing the next album-tour, and I’ll worry about twenty-five with the album-tour after that, you know what I mean?’
 
Before I could decide an eight-piece Mexican band suddenly struck up a storm in the corner of the room; guitars and trumpets blaring like car horns, voices mewling and keening like cats on heat. Suddenly we had to shout to be heard. Listening back to the tape, it’s hard to make out much of what we were saying; for long stretches, as I recall, we just gave in to the Mexican boys and sat there working on our drinks. When the band finally took a cigarette break, Slash started to tell me a story about meeting Zakk Wylde, a young New Jersey guitarist who was then just starting to make a name for himself as the new gun-for-hire in Ozzy Osbourne’s band.
 
‘Something happened and we met and kept in touch on the phone - through a girl, a mutual friend, sort of thing,’ Slash explained coyly. ‘So when he was here in LA with Ozzy I went to see him at his hotel and we hung out for a while. I had one of my surplus bottles of Jack with me and we went up to his room and got fried,’ he chuckled. ‘We had a good time, we jammed. He plays Les Paul like I do, and he plays sort of like the same kind of stuff that I’m into, but, like, four times as fast... He’s a good guy, a good guitarist. That’s what I like in people - at least in my so-called peers and stuff - is just real people.
 
‘I can’t deal with that rock star bullshit, which just permeates this whole fuckin’ business. Even in the new bands, who have no business acting like that,’ he went on. ‘You know, like, “We’ve got our three chords, ’cos some of the guys in Poison taught ’em to us..." He was getting spiteful again. But at least his sense of humour was returning. 'I just don’t care any more, I really don’t care. Somebody made a T-shirt for me with POISON SUCKS written on it...’
 
Had he ever worn it on stage?
 
‘No. Axl wore it on stage. ’Cos I’d just gotten it, this was with Aerosmith, and I was like, shall I wear this? Then I thought, naw, and Axl was like, “I’ll wear it!” And off he went...
 
Wasn’t it getting just a little petty, though, all the Poison-baiting? Wouldn’t it be better to bury the hatchet once and for all and let the whole thing drop - before it got boring?
 
'Yeah, but there’s never gonna be a relationship there ’cos it’s like, even if they come up and say hi and this and that I still have a fuckin’ deep hatred for what they’re all about.’ Slash launched into a long involved story about running into Poison vocalist Bret Michaels one night at the Rainbow in LA. ‘Izzy was the one who grabbed him. That was so funny. I was drunk, there was a whole table of us, and I was sitting at the head. The next thing you know Izzy’s got Bret Michaels to sit down. So there’s Bret in between the two of us...’
 
It didn't take much imagination to see how that might have added a certain nervous edge to the hapless singer’s evening.
 
‘Scared shitless,’ Slash beamed. 'I was so fucked up and it was like, me and Izzy sitting either side of him, so he’s getting it from both ends. In stereo! I mean, I wouldn’t like to sit next to a couple of Poison guys like that.
 
‘Another time I had Bobby [Dall] in my apartment,’ he grinned wolfishly. ‘I was staying at the Franklin Plaza and Steven brought him over. I was in the bedroom dealing with some other shit and Steven had just gone back to his apartment for a second and was coming back, but I didn’t know. So I came out into the living room and I looked and Bobby was on the couch. I was, like, what is this fucking guy doing in my apartment?’
 
I said I imagined Bobby was pretty startled himself.
 
'He was tripping over himself just trying to make amends. That’s when I first decided, OK, fine, we’ll leave it. Then they came out with their next video and it’s awful!’ he cried. ‘It’s an insult to my intelli­gence for them to do what they’re doing. What we’re doing has nothing to do with that.’ He scowled. ‘Like, I can say hi and hello, I don’t have anything against them as people. I just hate what they play.
 
I guess there’s a place for it and it works...’ But - the message was clear - not for Slash.
 
Perversely, it occurred to me that Guns N’ Roses may even have owed their popularity, in some measure, to the fact that bands like Poison did exist. Wasn’t that, after all, what made the whole concept of Guns N’ Roses so thrilling, so unexpected - the band that really didn't give a fuck?
 
'Like I said, we filled a void which someone had left a long time ago. Aerosmith used to do, I think, what we do. But even Aerosmilh isn’t the same thing any more,' said Slash, careful not to commit himself too much. ‘Even though they’re still around, because they’re older and experienced, been through the mill and this and that, they’re on another plateau now where they’re not gonna fill that gap that they left. So along come these guys... us, right? And we’re, like, fuckin’ ... just going for it.’ He waved the waiter over for one last triple vodka-and-orange.
 
Could Slash imagine the day, though, when he would walk into the support band’s dressing room on a Guns N’ Roses tour and might see the young guitarist swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels, and actually say to him: “Wait. You don’t know what you’re doing...”?
 
'I don’t know, you never know,’ he replied vaguely. He looked restless again, tired, ill, bored. 'I wouldn’t do that, though, because I’ve never listened to anybody. That was the cool thing about the tour with Aerosmith, ’cos they know that mentality... Like, fuck you when you start to preach to me! It just goes in one ear and out the other. It doesn’t even make it through one ear. Aerosmith were aware of us and what we were like, but they didn’t feel they had to tell us all about it. The cool thing is the guys in our band are aware of it too. I know where my access is. I know where they’re gonna take me if I don’t at some point...’ he trailed off ominously.
 
‘You just gotta keep the shit in check. I’ve been drinking a lot for a long time and I’m only twenty-three years old, and I know that, right? It’s not something that I’m just so ignorant about that I’m going on this major blow out, until all of a sudden something stops me physically. I’m more aware than that, but I’ll do it anyway,’ he insisted. ‘So if anything does happen, I won’t be complaining about it, ’cos I knew, you know? I knew... But I have a great time so, to me, my whole philosophy is, like, go out there and fuckin’ rage. If I can’t, who can?’
 
He had a point there. You had to hand it to him. Millions already did...
 
Some weeks after this interview took place, Geffen Records issued their first ‘new’ Guns N’ Roses product for eighteen months: an eight-track collection, half live, half studio out-takes which they mar­keted as a mini-album, designed in the absence of any new material to meet the demand for more Guns N’ Roses product.
 
It was originally slated for release on 11 October but eventually appeared worldwide on 5 December 1988. The original title was Guns N’ Roses: Lies! The Sex, The Drugs, The Violence, The Shocking Truth! but this was shortened to the more dealer-friendly GN’R Lies.
 
Side one featured the original four tracks from the 1986 Live?!*@ Like A Suicide EP; while side two included four of the tracks from their acoustic sessions with producer Mike Clink in Los Angeles almost a year before: ‘Patience’, ‘Used to Love Her’, ‘You’re Crazy’ and ‘One in a Million’.
 
For their devoted fans, however, GN’R Lies was as new as things were going to get for some time to come and they cherished it in their millions. Which is exactly what the chief execs at Geffen had in mind when they first conceived of the idea - only no one could have predicted the extent to which the ‘new’ Guns N’ Roses ‘mini-album’ would take off, selling more than five million copies in America and going on to become a Top Ten hit all over the world over the coming months. And why not? After all, very few of the 1988 buyers of Appetite For Destruction had access to the original limited-edition Uzi Suicide release of Live?!*@ Like A Suicide. (Secondhand copies of the original EP had in fact been changing hands for up to a $100 a throw.)
 
The design and layout of the sleeve for GN’R Lies deliberately parodied that of the British tabloid newspapers that had so unfairly castigated them after the shoddy debacle of Donington. ‘It’s supposed to be like the Sunday Sport meets the Sun kinda thing, you know, with a Page Three girl on it and stuff,’ Slash tried to describe it for me.
 
Beginning with the familiar hair-raising cry of a crazed and anony­mous MC, ‘HEY FUCKERS! SUCK ON GUNS N’ FUCKIN’ ROSES!!’ Steven kick-starting the band into the brutal faster-than-the-speed-of-night riff to ‘Reckless Life’, Axl leering like a jester, ‘It’s my only vice!’ then scurrying like a rat through Rose Tattoo’s cheesy hymn to the depraved and the dispossessed, ‘Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock 'n' Roll)’, followed by their own early autobiographical stab at much the same thing in ‘Move to the City’, and ending, of course, with the best version of ‘Mama Kin’ Aerosmith never recorded, side one of GN’R Lies at least served to demonstrate to the millions of fans around the world that still hadn’t had a chance to see the band play live yet what a raw, lurid entity Guns N’ Roses actually were in the flesh, right from the very beginning.
 
For longer-serving Guns N’ Roses aficionados, however, the acous­tic set on side two was where the real interest lay. Opening with the unmistakable sound of Duff’s voice lazily counting in the beat, 'Patience’ was the first song Guns N’ Roses had ever recorded that didn’t have razor-edged electric guitars and bludgeoning two-fisted drums all over it. In fact there were no drums at all, or electric guitars. Instead there was just the sound of Izzy, who wrote the song, and Slash and Duff on three sweet acoustic guitars, Axl whistling the melody like a moonage Fred Astaire strolling beneath an artificial sky, the collar of his coat turned up, cigarette in hand, before stooping before the mike to croon like a sheep-killing dog: ‘Shed a tear ’cos I’m missing you ...'
 
‘We did this EP for the same reason as we did the first live EP,’ Slash explained. ‘It’s material that we wanted to get off our chests but without taking up too much space. And it’s real simple, real sloppy. You can hear us talking, there’s guitar picks dropping. Real off-the-cuff stuff...’
 
‘Used to Love Her’ (‘...but I had to kill her!’ squalled Axl) followed: a tongue-in-ear slice of misogynistic black-humour worthy of Lou Reed’s Velvet Underground era or the Rolling Stones’ ‘Dead Flowers’ period in its enviable ability to make one laugh out loud. As Axl wrote on the liner notes: ‘“Used to Love Her” is a joke, nothing more. Actually, it’s pretty self-explanatory if you ask me!’
 
‘I think it’s pretty fuckin’ funny,’ said Slash. 'I don’t know anybody who hears it and doesn’t find it funny, except for the people that never find jokes funny...’
 
‘You’re Crazy’, however, was definitely not a joke. Slowed down from the amped-up methedrine-fuelled version on Appetite For Destruction the guitars - both acoustic and electric - belly-crawl like snakes through the quicksand of Axl’s claustrophobic search for love in ‘a world that’s much too dark...
 
‘It’s a lot bluesier, which is the way me and Axl and Izzy originally wrote it. I think I prefer the slower version, it’s got something,’ said Slash. ‘And... I don’t know, but every time we do “You’re Crazy” in that slower style something weird happens, something magical. We’ve never done it the same way twice...’
 
However, it was the final track, ‘One in a Million’, which would truly deliver the storm of protest and controversy promised by the album’s psuedo-provocative sleeve. Originally titled ‘Police and Nig­gers’ and set in the same hazardous time and territory in Axl’s life that had inspired earlier, if less downright savage, precursors such as ‘Move to the City’ or ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ - poor urban white boy from the sticks arrives in the big bad city of his dreams only to discover the streets really are paved in slime - ‘One in a Million’ took that premise to its bug-eyed and snarling apotheosis. Once again the jagged blend of acoustic and electric guitars shunted the whole thing along like a freight-train on greased rails, Axl raving bitterly about ‘immigrants and faggots’ coming to America and thinking they can ‘do as they please... like start some mini-Iran, or spread some fuckin’ disease’. It wasn't pretty, what the poor white boy straight off the bus from Indiana had to say and many people were shocked by what they saw as a racist, homophobic and all too public attack on the already heavily stigmatised minority groups that were forced to survive in the crumb­ling ghettoes of America.
 
At the time of speaking to Slash in the El Compadre, however, I hadn’t heard any of the new songs on GN’R Lies, and so Slash and I agreed to can any further serious discussion on the subject until I had a chance to listen and make up my own mind.
 
The cheque for the mostly untouched meal came and we left the restaurant and walked out into the cold refreshing night air of West Hollywood, the neon of the Strip easily outshining the stars in the sky. We climbed into the car and Slash, who I hadn’t seen anywhere near a Jack Daniels bottle all evening - unusual for those times - explained out of the blue that he had in fact called a temporary halt on his Jack-swigging ways, in favour of the warm inner glow of neat vodka, kinder on the breath (and kidneys). Stolichnaya was best, he said.
 
'It's just that my tongue got black stripes on it. It’s a mix of the tobacco in cigarettes and the Jack, which has charcoal in it. That’s what was making these black stripes on my tongue. The first time I noticed it I was like, what the fuck! My teeth were really getting stained, too. Then I started drinking it with Coke, thinking that would help, but that didn’t work either. Then eventually I thought, fuck it, and Duff talked me into switching to vodka. Duff always drinks vodka. So then I started drinking vodka and my tongue returned to a normal colour and my teeth are clean again.’
 
The moral being, if you want to keep your teeth looking Colgate bright... drink plenty of vodka?
 
‘Uh huh,’ Slash granted, punching the cigarette lighter on the dash.
 
And don’t drink Jack for five years straight. A bottle a day for five years, that’s what I was doing.’ He looked puzzled by the thought for a moment. ‘Plus, you have really bad breath in the morning - you know, you can't have sex in the morning till you’ve brushed your teeth, which is a real fuckin’ drag,’ he mumbled, his eyelids drooping.
 
The car started and we moved off.
Blackstar
Blackstar
ADMIN

Posts : 2840
Plectra : 19212
Reputation : 88
Join date : 2018-03-17

Back to top Go down

1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash) Empty Re: 1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash)

Post by Blackstar on Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:57 pm

‘I’ve met Ron Wood a few times. I met Charlie Watts. Keith I met, and Bill. I’ve never met Jagger, though. Did you read what Keith said about us in Rolling Stone? They asked him, what do you think of Guns N’ Roses, and he goes, “Not much.”

'He said me and Izzy looked like Jimmy Page and Ron Wood, and he said we were very poseurish. Then they asked him, have you heard the album? And he said no.’ Slash frowned, his feelings obviously hurt. 'I, like, I didn’t take it personally, though,’ he said, refusing to buckle. ‘And I don’t look like Jimmy Page. I saw him on TV today...

'I can see where Keith’s coming from, though. Having been around some of the greats, like Chuck Berry - it must be hard to see upstarts like us and take it seriously. He needs to hear the record or hang out, I don’t know. We’re not poseurish... It’s just that we-don’t-give-a-fuck rock 'n' roll type of thing.' He continued to mull it over. ‘We’re just us, trying not to get carried away with being us. We're just the huge fuck-ups that made it big.
The Keith Richards interview Slash is referring to (Rolling Stone, October 6, 1988):

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/the-rolling-stone-interview-keith-richards-72372/
What do you think about Guns n’ Roses?

Richards: Not much. I admire the fact that they’ve made it despite certain resistance from the radio biz. I admire their guts. But too much posing. Their look – it’s like there’s one out of this band, one looks like Jimmy, one looks like Ronnie. Too much copycat, too much posing for me. I haven’t listened to a whole album to be able to talk about the music.
Blackstar
Blackstar
ADMIN

Posts : 2840
Plectra : 19212
Reputation : 88
Join date : 2018-03-17

Back to top Go down

1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash) Empty Re: 1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash)

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:49 am

It is interesting to read these more expanded versions of Wall's interviews with Slash, and compare to the Kerrang! interviews that came out of them back in the day.

He obviously rewrote parts of what Slash said, likelt to make things more concise and thus fit into shorter Kerrang articles, or to make things clearer. Take the following quotes as an example:

It was a big surprise! When I talked to you the last time, I wasn’t expecting it at all. But it’s like, it’s just words and numbers, you know?
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988


I mean, did that really happen to us? It's like, there's that, and then there's regular life. The rest is just words and numbers that don't really mean a thing.


This must be from the same passage. I will trust the book, since it is more likely it will contain the unabridged, unaltered versions, although I am really not sure at all since it could be that for some passages Wall might have done a bit of post-revisionistic alterations to make himself himself look better.
Soulmonster
Soulmonster
Stage manager

Admin & Founder
Posts : 10615
Plectra : 61413
Reputation : 816
Join date : 2010-07-06

Back to top Go down

1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash) Empty Re: 1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash)

Post by Blackstar on Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:58 pm

@Soulmonster wrote:It is interesting to read these more expanded versions of Wall's interviews with Slash, and compare to the Kerrang! interviews that came out of them back in the day.

He obviously rewrote parts of what Slash said, likelt to make things more concise and thus fit into shorter Kerrang articles, or to make things clearer. Take the following quotes as an example:

It was a big surprise! When I talked to you the last time, I wasn’t expecting it at all. But it’s like, it’s just words and numbers, you know?
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988


I mean, did that really happen to us? It's like, there's that, and then there's regular life. The rest is just words and numbers that don't really mean a thing.


This must be from the same passage. I will trust the book, since it is more likely it will contain the unabridged, unaltered versions, although I am really not sure at all since it could be that for some passages Wall might have done a bit of post-revisionistic alterations to make himself himself look better.
Yeah, I think Mick Wall takes a lot of liberties with the interviews, so probably the quotes in neither the articles or the book are faithful transcripts of what was said.

Same with his descriptions: it seems that his description of Axl's outfit and moves at Donington was based on the Paradise City video, because Axl didn't wear the white leather outfit at Donington but at Giants Stadium (the other gig which footage was used from in the video). So it can be concluded that Wall didn't witness the events at Donington and his description was probably constructed from what was written in the press and maybe from listening to the bootleg, plus some "liberties".
I only included that part of the book chapter for the quotes from the promoter and the police chief.
Blackstar
Blackstar
ADMIN

Posts : 2840
Plectra : 19212
Reputation : 88
Join date : 2018-03-17

Back to top Go down

1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash) Empty Re: 1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash)

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:35 am

I have noticed the posts with text from Wall's book are numbered, this being THREE. Is that chapter numbers from the book or something else?
Soulmonster
Soulmonster
Stage manager

Admin & Founder
Posts : 10615
Plectra : 61413
Reputation : 816
Join date : 2010-07-06

Back to top Go down

1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash) Empty Re: 1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash)

Post by Blackstar on Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:39 pm

@Soulmonster wrote:I have noticed the posts with text from Wall's book are numbered, this being THREE. Is that chapter numbers from the book or something else?
Yes, it's chapter numbers from the book. Chapter One is introductory, it doesn't contain an interview.
Blackstar
Blackstar
ADMIN

Posts : 2840
Plectra : 19212
Reputation : 88
Join date : 2018-03-17

Back to top Go down

1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash) Empty Re: 1988.12.17 - Kerrang! Why Do They Lie To Us? (Slash)

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


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