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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.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:12 am



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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:12 am

LATE 1994/EARLY 1995?

With rumours flying about the band being in the process of disintegrating, Duff would return to Seattle to start up again his old band, Ten Minute Warning. In February 1995, Slash would be asked what this meant:

I know he went up to Seattle a while ago and played around with this old band of his or whatever, but it was nothing serious. Right now he's out in the country riding his bike, ha ha.

Duff would later tell what happened:

I'll tell you what happened. Stone Gossard came to my place in L.A. at the time I was involved in the Neurotic thing. A lot of people say 10 Minute Warning influenced their guitar playing. The guys in Soundgarden, for example. Kim Thayil says 10 Minute Warning were his biggest influence. We were some sort of "kings of trash" back in 1983. Stone said he wouldn't have started playing guitar if he hadn't seen me. We're the same age and all that. So Stone said "Would you make a record? I'm paying for it." It was a different story, I had just left Guns and was in Neurotic, so I said I'd call him. And I did, the band went there and we recorded a demo.

But our singer was in a federal penitentiary at the time, and he wasn't going to be out for a long time, so we needed to look for a different singer.


Bank robbery. Not just one, but several. So we found this guy, Christopher, and then Sub Pop got involved. We recorded for Sub Pop. We all got in the same room and the guys were like "C'mon, let's play". A lot of years had gone by, like 12 of something, and it was a lot of fun. It was like a fun thing again without so much of a trace of bitterness. I loved to do it. And so did the people at Sub Pop!

I should listen to that record more often. It was a good record. I don't think I even own a copy.

It is possible that Duff's involvement with Ten Minute Warning in 1994 was very small and that Duff's quote above refers to when he played with the band in 1997-1998 after having quit Guns N' Roses.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:13 am


As stated by Slash, one of the guitarists brought in to potentially replace Gilby when he as fired in June 1994, was Paul Huge, Axl's friend from Indiana. Axl, on the other hand, would suggest Huge as not brought in as a replacement, but as a temporary writing partner [see quotes below]. Later on, after Slash, Duff and Matt had recorded their parts for 'Sympathy for the Devil' in September or October 1994, Axl came in to lay down his vocals and brought along Paul again.

[Axl] brought with him a guitar player from Indiana he used to hang with, and that helped ruin what I thought was going to be a cool version of the song. In other words, it didn’t provide any vehicle for getting the band back together.

And then there was another guitar player that Axl wanted to use which I didn't like, I didn't like him. And Axl turned around and put him on the record as well and I was pretty pissed off about that. He is answering my guitar solos with his guitar solos. It sounds really bad but... whatever.

He won't be in the band, not as far as I'm concerned. He's just a friend of Axl’s - he brought him around after Gilby was gone to play on that song. But we didn't gel, to say the least! He’s just Axl's friend, nothing more.

[…] then Axl went in to do vocals... and the next thing you know, there's this 'answer' guitar going on during my guitar solo! It's Paul Huge!

I will probably never forgive Axl for that. But we've talked about it. We made a deal that if Paul ever plays on anything, then I should at least be told first, because it really took me off guard. I wasn't there when he did it.

Axl likes the song. I haven't listened to it since it was mixed. It's not like it was lousy guitar playing or anything; I think it's how it went down. If people like it, then fine. I haven't gone to see the movie again because I don't think I could bear it.

That's one of the biggest, most personal things that Axl and I have gone through. It really pissed me off that he brought in an outside guitar player without ever telling me.

I told Axl I refuse to play with this guy. That’s where a lot of the so-called fighting rumors that you’ve heard - which are blown way out of proportion - came from.

[Interviewer saying that Huge plays on the song]: Who sort of plays. That’s a better way to put it.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish

Media would report on Paul replacing Gilby and compliment the Paul's guitar playing, likely to Slash's frustrations:

Huge, Clarke's (temporary?) replacement, is an unheard of musician who has known Axl Rose from the years when the pair lived in Indiana. Axl is thought to be keen for Huge to combine with GN'R on a permanent basis, following a spate of successful rehearsals and the new man's tasty playing on 'Sympathy...', where his guitar lines twist together perfectly with Slash's.

The following quote would also indicate that Slash's dislike of Paul went beyond the fact that he had been included on 'Sympathy' without Slash's knowledge or consultation, but stemmed from when they first met and played together after Gilby had been fired:

I never liked that guy from day one.

And in January 1995, when referring to the band's effort to replace Gilby Slash would refer to Paul as "that idiot" [Much Music, January 1995].

I hate that guy. That’s Paul. That’s a whole another story. […] Paul is just a friend of Axl’s, and he brought Paul in without telling me. And I got really angry, cuz the main thing is the band, you know, and getting the band together. So it’s not like you hire a bunch of session people and make Guns N’ Roses. It doesn’t work that way.

I can’t stand that guy. I hate him (laughs). He sucks.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish

And later as a "fucking asshole":

Before [Zakk Wylde], we had this friend of Axl's, Paul, who basically couldn't play that well. He played on 'Sympathy for the Devil.' Fuckin' asshole. I hate that guy. He didn't work out, so I'm not really sure where the fuck that shit's headed. I'll deal with it when I get back off the road.

In a later quote from an anonymous friend of the band, it would be said that Paul simply wasn't good enough:

Nice enough guy. But they're Guns N' Roses for God's sake - great band, great players. He's not that good. Doesn't have the chop.

In 2002 Axl would discuss bringing Paul in to work with Slash:

The public gets a different story from the other guys – Slash, Duff, Matt - who have their own agendas. The original intentions between Paul and myself were that Paul was going to help me for as long as it took to get this thing together in whatever capacity that he could help me in. So when he first was brought into this, he was brought in as a writer to work with Slash. At the time those guys never suggested one name. Nobody else. Ever.

Paul was one of the best people we knew who was both available and capable of complimenting Slash's style. [...] But Paul was only interested in complimenting Slash, laying down a foundation of a riff or something. That would accent or encourage slash's lead playing. Now whether or not Paul was going to be officially on the album or on the tour that really wasn't an actual consideration at the time. It was in the air as a possibility but Paul was a friend trying to help us and he had a huge respect for Slash. He is and this is the bottom line a good man and that's the reality behind things. That doesn't change what took place with old Guns. I feel that some of the recordings we did in that limited amount of time had some of the best playing that Slash had done at least since Illusions. I was there. I know what I heard and it was pretty exciting.

And Goldstein would confirm what Axl was saying and chastise Slash and Duff for not working on finding a replacement for Gilby:

[...] the interesting thing about that, Mitch, is literally from the day Axl brought in Paul Tobias, his childhood friend, Axl would say, "He's only here until you find somebody to replace him." And I told Slash, Duff, Matt time and time and time again, because they would call me and complain, "This guy's a fucking shitty guitar player, we don't want him in the band," and I'd say, "Guys, he's stated hundred of times already, find someone else." And it used to baffle me that they never put anybody else in place. I was like, "I can't do anything, you guys aren't helping me. He's told you you have an open window to to put this guy out of the band," yet they weren't bringing anybody else in.

Gilby was only promised by Axl to be on tour and so when the tour was over, they started rehearsals and Axl said, "Hey, I'm going to bring my friend in, Paul," just realizing this, this is a part of great frustration for me, "Just tell Slash and Duff." He's only there until they find a replacement. That's it. No more. And I told those guys 50 times. Cause they'd call me, you know, "Screw Paul. We want him out of here." "Guys, I've told you now, this is the 30th time, just bring somebody else in." And they never did. Paul knew that he didn't have a permanent gig.

As for why they were so opposed to Paul:

o, he was Axl's guy, right? I don't think that they thought that he had the chops, but I, you know, I never got involved in what they did musically, because what, you're gonna repaint the Mona Lisa?

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:14 am


In 1995, rumors were flourishing and one was that Goldstein considered managing The Stone Roses and quitting Guns N' Roses [Kerrang! January 14, 1995]. Goldstein's stint with The Stone Roses turned out to be short-lived [Los Angeles Times, February 12, 1995; Spin, May 1995; Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1995; Louder Than War, October 4, 2011] and he continued to manage Guns N' Roses. One likely result of Goldstein's involvement with The Stone Roses was Slash possibly joining the band to replace John Squire [see: Slash and The Stone Roses].

Despite Goldstein not leaving Guns N' Roses, an increasing divide between Axl and Goldstein on one side, and the rest of the band seemed to have been building up. In an interview from 2000, Slash would perhaps shed some light on this when he blamed management for losing money during the Use Your Illusions tour:

The Use your illusion world tour was supposed to be the high point in our lives - when you’re one of the biggest rock bands in the world and you’re headlining with Metallica and doing stadiums, and you can do basically whatever the fuck you want. But somehow, some way, between management and Axl and whatever other elements that were involved, when the tour ended we had lost a ton of money.

This could also be colored by the fact that not long before this interview, Goldstein had filed a lawsuit against Slash and Duff, for monies claimed to be owed [see: Goldstein Sues Slash and Duff].

See later chapter about Goldstein's possible involvement in the breakup of the UYI lineup.

It seems like Goldstein was working with the band throughout the rest of the millenium, and studio engineer Dave Dominguez would mention meeting him at Rumbo Recorder in 1998:

I think it was Jess, I don't know if she was his assistant or actually one of the managers, Rhiann. I dealt with her more than Goldstein. But yeah, they were around. And then it was probably maybe halfway through... I don't even know when they got, when Axl just canned them. But he was nice enough guy. Yeah, I met him and came down, made sure everything was rolling. And then I never saw him again. Because you know, he had other bands. But yeah, Rhiann who was I think she was like the point person for GN'R. Yeah, at Big FD, she was down a lot. Yeah, that was a long time ago. Yeah. So, yeah. So very little contact with him personally, maybe a couple of times and that was it.

Based on the quote above it doesn't seem like Goldstein was much involved with the music creation at the time, and possibly focused on other clients. It can also seem that Axl fired part of the Big FD management team, somehow, more likely he made sure Goldstein kept them away from the operations.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:14 am


In December 1994, Slash would be confronted with a rumour that said that he would be fine if he never played with Axl again, to which he would prevaricate:

I'm very low key when I talk publicly. I don't say shit. I don't want to talk badly about Guns.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

And if the band is over:

No, it's not over. Nobody's quit or anything. The band is still together. Duffs working at his studio, Axl's out in Malibu. Halloween is the last time I saw him, but we talk. There's no bad blood between us, we just haven't figured out what we want to do and I'm a little concerned about the direction Guns goes in. We were supposed to do some stuff this month [=December] but we haven't done anything up till now and in March I'm gone [on tour]. Maybe in February, if we can come to some sort of an agreement as to what we're gonna do.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

Axl is in such a funny place, you know, because Axl is Axl, and no one will ever really understand him as much as he would probably like to be understood. So he really is on his own in that respect. But I've known him long enough where there's a certain amount of leeway with his outbursts that I can handle. They just don't affect me. […] But I feel sorry for him sometimes, if only because he's such a tough act to be: to maintain any kind of dignity with this public scrutiny and having all this negative press and so on...

I haven't left the band, and I haven't been fired. This album is a side project, an opportunity for me to not be sitting around. I didn't want to stop playing while waiting for Guns to record the next album, because sometimes the wait can be long, as you know.

When asked if it isn't natural that Axl would be pissed when Slash made a new band featuring Matt and Gilby, after Gilby had been sacked from Guns N' Roses, Slash responded and mentioned that he had "a rare, heated conversation" with Axl:

The Gilby thing did piss Axl off. But Gilby was pissed off too. He was shocked when he was fired, because there was no other reason behind it other than Axl had made up his mind. And of course I had to be the f**king messenger of bad news, which was f**ked for me because Gilby and I are really close. You don't play with people like that.

I hooked up with Gilby and rightly so, because Gilby didn't deserve that kind of treatment — especially when he covered our ass so we could complete the world tour when Izzy quit. I wasn't mad at Gilby. I can do what the f**k I want! And if he wanted to work with me after all of this shit...

We (Slash and Axl) just had a really rare, heated conversation a couple of days ago, where everything that I've had brewing — you know how quiet and laid-back I am — I just let everything out. He sort of listened to me. I said everything I could possibly say that I didn't agree with. So that's about it.

But it seems like things were relatively okay between Slash and Axl in January 1995:

We’re fine now. We're not fighting.

Everything’s fine, yeah. Relax.

But not long after, in late February, likely after having met again to jam with Zakk Wylde, the relationship between the two men seems to have worsened again. At the time they had a lot of disagreements and reasons to be angry with each other, including but not limited to disagreements on what the next GN'R record should be like, Gilby not being in the band any more, difficulties in finding a replacement for Gilby, Axl thrusting Paul onto the band, Slash using the songs he had written for Snakepit, and Slash's decision to tour with Snakepit at a time when Axl wanted to work on a new album.

The band is still together. There's a little bit of congestion going on, because I'm going on tour and Axl wants to do a Guns record right this second. Unfortunately, I can't back down from my situation because I have to drop the ball. It's too late for that. So there's a little conflict, but no one's quit and no one's been fired or anything like that. It's sort of dormant, and we just have to wait and see what happens.

Axl and I have our differences about the whole thing, but I told him I'm going to finish what I started [=the tour] and when I get back I'll see where Guns is at.

Now all of a sudden Axl wants to do a record and I’m like ‘Dude, I’m gonna be gone for five or six months. So, there’s a little bit of conflict there.

So I was sort of like, “Well, whatever, here’s my schedule and I’ll be back in August” and I’ve been gone ever since. But Axl and I did have a huge fallout where a lot of stuff came out in the open, and we came to an agreement, so it was really healthy – not really an argument, but a discussion about where we were at. […] And I still feel that we haven’t decided on a rhythm guitar player or haven’t picked the right guy. But I just don’t wanna deal with it right now, because it’s just too much pressure with Guns, going through that kind of stuff. Just let, you know, pieces fall where they may and it’ll just come together. That’s always been the way with us, you know? But Ax does want to do a Guns record right now, but I don’t know what that is, you know? (laughs).

Matt would later confirm that Slash's decision to leave on a tour with Snakepit had angered Axl and that this friction had lasted well into 1996:

Axl got pissed 'cause he wanted to work. Then there was a bit of a problem between the two of them. That's been sort of ongoing for awhile and then they just weren't getting along.

[Axl] hates Snakepit (laugh). It was hard for me to deal with it. Axl asked me not to go on tour with Slash.
hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

Slash would also later say he left to tour because his friendship with Axl was so poor:

So then when [the Snakepit album] was done, Axl and I were in no better shape as far as the relationship was concerned, so I booked a tour.

Nothing was happening with Guns still, and me and Axl were getting further and further away from the primary fucking focus or goal, as far as Guns was concerned. I just wanted to get better at doing what we already did pretty good, and he wanted to do something else completely different. After we found a singer, I said, 'Well, shit, we can go on the road.'

In an interview with Howard Stern from early February Slash would say he hadn't seen Axl since October 31, 1994, while "doing" 'Sympathy for the Devil' [The Howard Stern Show, February 1 1995]. It is likely that Slash and Axl met in mid-January 1995 when playing with Zakk Wylde, which would suggest the interview with Stern was taped in early January.

And whether Axl is doing okay:

The only thing he’s got going that’s a pain in the ass for him right now is the whole Stephanie Seymour lawsuit.

I defend [Axl] within reason. A lot of the stuff, like going on (stage) late and causing riots, it's just 'cause Axl's real explosive. There's things I don't forgive him for, but because I've known him for so long, I understand him. I don't judge him. That's why I feel that if you don't know the guy, just shut up.

Axl’s Axl. He’s an amazing front man, obviously, and an amazing lead singer. He just carries a lot of baggage that’s part of his personality, but it’s part of the tension that makes him such a great live performer. Also, we’re family. I don’t like to dwell on the negative stuff. […] We’ve been doing the Guns scenario for so long that I need to go out and clean my own system out so I can go back and deal with it with a level head. That’s how bands break up, because they’re forced to be together.

When asked if he had quit the band, Slash would indicate that he didn't get along with someone in the band but that he, Slash, would not quit over this:

Guns is fine. I learned from other people’s mistakes to not get so egotistical or so self-involved that you quit your band because you can’t get along with one of the other guys in the band. […] I’ll be the lead guitar player [on the next record], yeah. Unless I’m fired (laughs).

A little while later he would again reiterate he hadn't quit but that Zakk Wylde might be in the band and that he would have an issue with that:

I mean: is Guns still together? Yes it is. Is Axl in the band? As far as I know. Am I still in the band? I don’t know. (He shrugs) No, I haven’t quit. If Zakk’s (Wylde) gonna be in the band, that’s an issue which ... we were just jamming. There was never any decision when I left to do this. When I said, 'I’ll be back in August,’ we hadn't come to any definitive decision as to who was gonna be the rhythm guitarist. I love Zakk. He’s a lot of fun, but we don’t sound like Guns N’ Roses with two lead Heavy Metal guitar players. It just sounds different. But if that’s supposed to be the case when I get back, we’ll talk about it, so I have no idea where it stands right now.

In early 1995, Slash would tell Kerrang! that despite what had been said earlier about there being songs on tape, everything that he had made after the last touring, was either meant for Snakepit or ended up on their pinball machine (Ain't Going Down) [Kerrang! January 14, 1995].

Other than that, Use Your Illusion is the last piece of original material, and that's three years ago.

Around the same time he would say that they were working on new music but had just started:

We spent two and a half years on the road. That's a long time. We’re writing material and we rehearse from time to time. I join them and we play whenever I have a free moment. We’ve got some songs, but with Guns it’s like ‘a record is finished when it's finished,’ and at this point we're still just starting, plus I’ve got my own thing going. I plan to tour with my band from April to August and, meanwhile, I’ll try to continue working on the G N 'R album. Whenever I have a day off, I’ll catch a plane and fly here to see how things are going.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish

From the quote above it is also implied that Slash wasn't fully into Guns N' Roses at the time.

Much later, in 2005, Gilby would discuss the meeting he had with Axl in 2000 where Axl had mentioned how he felt Slash and Gilby had been against him when they worked on and later released the Snakepit album:

[Axl] also talked about Slash a lot and the Snakepit album that we did. He tried to make it sound like Slash and I were against him. And I said, “It wasn't like that. You have the wrong idea about that. I’m just speaking for myself. I didn’t talk to Slash about how I felt; I only told you. We wanted to make a Guns record, not a Snakepit record. But we weren't able to, so we did the Snakepit album.”

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:18 am


As 1995 came along, the band was still without a replacement for Gilby. The band had worked with Paul Huge (both in the summer of 1994 and then later when he came in and added guitar to the Sympathy for the Devil) but Slash was adamant about not wanting to work with him. They had also tested other guitarists, but so far nothing had really clicked.

Right now there's a big hole on second guitar.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994


Slash had previously expressed admiration for Zakk Wylde's guitar playing:

Something happened and [Wylde and I] met and kept in touch on the phone - through a girl, a mutual friend, sort of thing. 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. 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.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988

Zakk Wylde is cool.

It is likely Axl then thought Slash would appreciate the opportunity to play with Wylde after all the problems they have had with Paul Huge and difficulties in finding a replacement for Gilby Clarke.

Slash would later state something to that effect:

[Axl] was adamant that he didn't want to write with Gilby, and he wanted to explore some other kind of writing approach. He's always had this vision of teaming me up with a guitar player that's going to stretch my boundaries, whereas I still come from the old Guns N' Roses school where I do what I do and he does what he does. Getting two lead players to meet eye to eye is difficult, not to mention overflowing the record with self-indulgent guitars.
Guitar Player, May 1995; interview from December 1994


So in January 1995, Axl invited Zakk Wylde to come and play with the band [RAW, March 1, 1995] and possibly replace Gilby [Detroit Free Press, April 24, 1995].

We did that thing in Wembley, me and Slash, that Night Of 100 Guitars, and just recently Pride & Glory played the Troubadour in LA and Slash came and jammed there. So then the guys asked me if I wanted to come down and jam with them, get some tunes together, and I said, `Yeah, cool, man'!

Yeah - [Axl] said, `Dude, why don't you come and write some songs and we'll see what happens. If it works out, great, it'd be a blast'. He just said, `Hey, maybe we'll be in a band together!'. So we jammed together for just over a week, we jammed over a whole bunch of shit and came out with three pretty cool ideas. That was with the whole band: Axl, Slash, Dizzy, Duff, Matt and me. We were all just jammin' together and havin' a blast.

Slash said he’d only play with Les Paul or me, and Axl said, ‘I may be wrong, but I don’t think Les is gonna want to tour anytime soon. Let’s call Zakk. We did (Ozzmosis), and Ozzy asked me what’s up. Then, Axl called me up and said ‘Let’s do some jammin’.’
Ink 19, December 24, 1999

Wylde was excited about the opportunity:

When I talked with Axl I said it'd be way cool that Slash and I could do harmonies together, crazy shit that'd be fun to play, and the whole band ended up jammin'.

When I was asked about jammin' with the guys, I thought it'd be way cool because I love the band, I think they're great. And I love Slash as a guitarist, I really love listening to his guitar playing - him and (Alice In Chains star) Jerry Cantrell are my peers that I dig listening to.

[Axl] wasn't all, 'Financially, this would be a great move if the band does this and that...'. He just said 'I wanna play some f**kin' tunes and I like the shit you did with Ozzy. It'd be great to get together and jam with the guys'. And it was great.

Bottom line, [Axl]'s just a normal dude to me. Shit maybe happened in the past because things haven't been going great. He has downs, he wants to kick ass and gets pissed if something isn't right.

It wasn't like he's this 'weirdo', and the bottom line is that if someone gave me a weirdo head-case trip - and I wouldn't care if it was Robert Plant! - I'd tell 'em to go f**k themselves. I need that like a hole in the head.

Axl isn't like that. He just wants to jam and he told me he's bored as f**k and wants to jam.

Wylde was not sure if anything would come out of this one week of jamming:

That's where it pretty much stands right now-things are up in the air. I mean, I have crazy shit happening with my stuff. I'm also doing my work with Oz and there's no telling what will happen in the future. I think the guys in Guns are f**kin' awesome, and hangin' with Axl when I have, we've had a f**kin' great time talkin' and jammin'.

[Axl] said it sounded f**kin' killer. He's got a batch of good ideas, piano things that sound really cool. I have a bunch and I look forward to jammin' some more, seeing if they work out.

But it's all up in the air right now, I ain't a member of Guns N' Roses. Who knows what'll happen, but if the guys say after a record that it would be great if I'd do the tour then that'd be great, but who knows?

And discussing what the music sounded like:

A mixture of both [Metal and more Southern sounding], really. The stuff we've been dicking around with is just heavy hardcore stuff with the whole band jamming it. But I'm having a good time, and I'll tell ya, the only thing that'd stop me from doin' the Oz record, my own thing and jammin' with Guns is if I was a lazy asshole who watched TV and drunk beer all f**kin' day!

It sounds like Guns N’ Ozzy! [laughs] Zakk’s a great friend of mine. We play a lot alike.

I thought I was heavy, but he’s even heavier! That’s like an extreme - from Steven Adler and Izzy to Gilby and Zakk and Matt. It makes your head spin! It’s like one of those carousels in the park that you run with, and after it gets to a certain speed you can’t grab on!

Axl called me and asked me to jam, I have nothing but respect and love for the guy.  We jammed for a while, just take a Black Label album and put Axl's vocals on it, that's what it might have sounded like. As far as I'm concerned, Axl is one of the greatest front men and singers ever
Gibson Custom website, February 24, 2004

Duff would later also talk about the music they had worked on with Wylde in the band:

[…] when Zakk Wylde and Slash played together, there were a couple of songs in which there was a natural progression and they were very rocking. You can imagine, they were really hard songs. As hard as I like them, yeah! But I can't tell you what they sounded like, there was not a definite sound. […] I liked [playing with Zakk] a lot. He's a good guy. He's the funniest guy I know! You can't help but liking him. I worked with him and the guy is a genius. When he sits at the piano and starts playing, he can bring tears to your eyes. When he was 18 he was like the champion of his state playing the piano.

Interestingly, in early 1995 it would also be speculated that Axl considered Wylde a potential replacement for Slash, but that Wylde was not interested in it [Kerrang! January 14, 1995].

Slash would also cool the rumours about Wylde joining the band, saying it had been just a "buddy thing":

And then we jammed with Zakk. But Zakk’s, like – he’s a good friend, so he’d just been jamming. We haven’t made some sort of finalized decision as to who’s gonna be the new guitar player. […] [Wylde]’s in Ozzy right now, as as far as his relationship with Guns in concerned, it’s sort of like – it’s more like a buddy thing, where we’re just hanging and sort of jamming some stuff, so...

We even worked with Zakk but I have to say that we haven't made a decision yet. I don't know if we’ll go with him in the end. He’s very good but his style is too much like mine...

And later Slash would go in more detail about why it hadn't worked out:

Zakk is just a good friend we jammed with, because now that Gilby is not in the band, Axl was like, “What about Zakk? You like Zakk, right?” And I was like, “Yeah.” But we don’t sound right. It doesn’t sound right with, like, two heavy lead guitar players. There’s no, like, the off – usually Guns N’ Roses uses an off rhythm and a main lead sort of riff. So now me and Zakk just play the same thing; but that’s just because we’re both lead guitar players. So as much as I love Zakk, we haven’t made any decision. I told Axl I’m gonna be gone till August touring with Snakepit, and we’ll talk about it when I get back.

And we tried out different guitar players, did that whole bullshit thing with Zakk... Just to get that story straight, it's nothing against Zakk, it was just not the right... I love jamming with Zakk on his own, as a separate entity, but in Guns N' Roses it doesn't sound right.

So I took some time out from Snakepit and rehearsed with Guns, and Zakk Wylde was playing with us at the time. And that was fun, because I know Zakk really well and I like him a lot, he’s a great player, but we don’t sound like Guns N’ Roses with him in the band.

And Axl’s always wanted to get two high profile lead guitar players together, which is a great concept, except for it turns the band into an over the top, obnoxious guitar band. You know, it’s just too much, because I’m gonna play in the way that I’m gonna play and I would expect that whoever comes in wouldn’t hold back on how he plays. And so having a good rhythm guitar player letting me do my thing is probably the best way that Guns work. Trading guitar solos is cool between guitar players, but when it’s like two break neck guitar players clashing it out, it doesn’t leave room for the music or the songs, and I’m not into that, I think is boring. Anyway, for a guitar playing thing it’s great, but I mean as a whole guitar records bore the hell out of me, when it’s just nothing but diddly diddly diddly all the way through (laughs).

Zakk jammed with the band for a really short period of time and it just didn't work out.

Zakk Wylde was hanging with us for a while, and we sounded like Ozzy and Roses.

As far as Zakk goes, I think Axl wanted to write with him, but me and Zakk playing together in the band would sound like Ozzy N Roses. I love Zakk, but not in the context of the band.

As far as Zakk is concerned, he was there. I rehearsed with Zakk for like two days. I think he is a great guitar player. The problem is taking two lead guitar players and trying to get a lead-rhythm thing happening. We play the same guitar style at the same volume. There's no texture there.

Axl would also discuss bringing in Wylde:

I tried putting Zakk Wylde with Slash and that didn't work. It brought out some interesting things in Slash but it was a different approach that ended up being overpowering and didn't bring out the best in Slash. It brought out some interesting things and it would've worked to do some songs.

It's like when I tried to bring Zakk and Slash together. That didn’t go too well (laughs). [...] Yeah, that was... it was fun to watch. It was like, you know, watching a giant snake with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. So it was pretty exciting – I mean, we had a good time, I don't know if they did.

And in the end Slash faxed Wylde:

Man, when I was there, there was no synths or no bullshit, just jammin’, and it all looked good. But once you get the lawyers and that horseshit involved, they slow the process down like molasses in January. I got a fax from Slash saying they wouldn’t need my services, and Ozzy got Joe Holmes to play on the tour, so I wound up doing Book of Shadows.
Ink 19, December 24, 1999

This fax was most likely sent before Slash went on tour with Slash's Snakepit, so in late January or February 1995, or possibly after Slash returned from touring.

In May, Slash would say that Wylde have jammed with them "a couple of times" [Metal Edge Magazine, October 1994; interview from May 15, 1995].

It seems like the jamming with Wylde would be the last Slash would do with GN'R before going on tour with Snakepit, starting om March 1, 1995 [see later section].

Yet, just before Slash went on tour, Slash would indicate that Wylde may be a member of the band and that he had a problem with that:

If Zakk’s (Wylde) gonna be in the band, that’s an issue which ... we were just jamming. There was never any decision when I left to do this. When I said, 'I’ll be back in August,’ we hadn't come to any definitive decision as to who was gonna be the rhythm guitarist. I love Zakk. He’s a lot of fun, but we don’t sound like Guns N’ Roses with two lead Heavy Metal guitar players. It just sounds different. But if that’s supposed to be the case when I get back, we’ll talk about it, so I have no idea where it stands right now.

This could indicate that the fax was sent after Slash returned from the tour.

This also suggests that the band's interaction with Wylde wasn't over after the jamming in January,


Wylde's connection with Guns N' Roses lasted for about 6 months, and that he jammed with the band also after Slash had left to tour with Snakepit.

Yeah, I was jamming with them for about six months.
Classic Rock, April 2002

This sheds some light on the rumour that Axl had considered replacing Slash with Wylde.

This quote from Wylde is likely when Axl called him up again, likely after Slash had gone on tour, and implies that Wylde had talked to Axl earlier about missing lyrics:

Axl called me up and said, "Hey, you want to get together and do some jamming?" I'd say "Dude, did you come up with any lyrics yet?" And he's just like, "Dude, I got people suing me right now." He's on the phone with his lawyers 24-7. He was, like, "I can't come up with any lyrics right now-they'd be about every other lawsuit I got going."

Wylde would later talk about the state of the music in this period:

There were never any melodies. There were never any lyrics. […] The poor fuckin' guy's got every fuckin' cunt trying to sue his ass. I'd be on the phone with him. He'd be telling me about all these strategic moves his lawyers were making. I was listening to him playing Axis and Allies on the fuckin' phone.

And how he was drawn in different directions:

[…] Axl (Rose) called me up and he's like, "Dude, you wanna do some jammin'?" and all this shit. So I'd be writing and doin' demos over at Duff's house - basically, the stuff I was writing was pretty much Black Label. Then Ozzy was like, "Zakk, you gonna do the tour?" and I said, "Oz, I don't know the fuck's going on with the Guns guys." And I told Axl, "Dude, can't be dickin' Ozzy around. You guys gotta let me know what the fuck's goin' on?" Then, you know, once you get fuckin' lawyers and managers fuckin' involved, suddenly everybody's on the clock and everything takes fucking five trillion fucking years to get done. You know what I mean? So I finally told Ozzy, "Oz, I don't know what the fuck is going on with these guys" and he said, "Zakk, I gotta get somebody else" and I was "All right, dude, I understand" but after that, you know, the Guns thing kinda ... nothing, nothing really ... it didn't end ... nothing. I said, fuck this, I got all these fuckin' tunes lying around, you know what, fuck it! I'm just gonna do 'em. And that's pretty much how Black Label was born.
Rough Edge, 1999

I remember Ozzy was just like; “Zakk, are you going to be jamming with the fellas, or are we going to do this?”, and I said; “Oz, I have no idea. I’ve got to ask the guys, and I’ll see if I can get you an answer”. Then it kept going, and then it prolonged, and Ozzy was like; “Zakk, I’m just going to get somebody else, dude. I can’t be sitting around, because I’m getting ready to tour”, and I was like; “I completely understand”. That’s when Father Joe [Holmes] came in and was playing with the boss. And then I’d got all these riffs laying around, and I thought; “To hell with it, I’ll just do it myself”, and that’s when Black Label was born, and here we are twenty years later.

Talking about how it never happened:

I think what happened was you got all the lawyers and all those motherfuckers working together, and all that bullshit. I just saw [Axl] not too long ago in the studio when we were doin’ our BLS record, and Axl’s like, ‘Well, Zakk, I heard you wanted $5 million upfront and your own tour bus.’ And I go, ‘Fuck me, what do you think, I’m some kind of fuckin’ whore?’ I said, ‘At least $9 million, motherfucker!’ No, we’re still buds, and I hope everything works out with what he’s doin’.
L.A. Weekly, August 30, 2000

I saw Axl about a year and a half ago, when I was working on 'Stronger Than Death'. He was in the next studio . We were drinking beers all night, and Del James asked why it never worked out between us. Axl says: "Well, Zakk, I heard you wanted two million up front and your own tour bus." And I said: "Do you think I'm some dishrag whore, you motherfucker? I want nine million and two tour buses!" We were all laughing about it.

But it didn't happen because once you get lawyers involved, and managers and agents and all that bullshit going on... I looked at Axl and asked: "Who tells you this shit? If I get two songs on a Guns N' Roses record I make a million bucks. Are you out of your mind?
Classic Rock, April 2002

We jammed a bunch of things, but nothing was happening at the time with the fellas. It was Slash, Axl, Duff, Matt, Dizzy was down there; so all the guys, and then I just came in, and it was jamming. We did demos and stuff over at Duff’s house in the studio. We just had a bunch of riffs and stuff like that, but nothing was going on; it was in limbo, it was just laying there, and I was like; “I’ve got such an outstanding booze bill, I’ve got to pay this debt off”, so I said; “Fellas, I’ve got to get back to work, and just let me know what’s going on”.

It is obvious Wylde had a lot of admiration for Axl:

I'm friends with the guy, so I think he's fucking awesome. Like I said, Ozzy, Bon Scott and him are the three best frontmen that ever lived. I just hope he gets it together, as he's such a fucking talent it's ridiculous. I'm definitely on his side.

I ran into Duff a couple of nights ago in Tokyo and said: "Why don't you guys just make a phone call and get it on?" He said: "Zakk, I gotta be honest with you, we ain't exactly calling him, either." Ah, whatever.
Classic Rock, April 2002

Interestingly, in July 2000 Slash would be asked if he was good friends with Wylde, and reply:

We were good friends once.

This could indicate that something had happened between them.

In 2005, 2011, 2018 and 2019, Wylde would look back at his involvement with Guns N' Roses:

Actually, this is the way I look at it. Check this out. It was a little into 1995 when I helped Osbourne out with the recording of ‘Ozzmosis’. During the recording of that album, I received a phone call from Axl Rose, asking me if I wanted to get together and jam with him. I said sure, no problem. We ended up jamming, and that was when Ozzy decided to get Joe Holmes into his band as his guitarist. Of course, the jam sessions with Rose amounted to nothing because once you get the layers and managers involved, they just fucking ruin everything. There’s no fucking fun to be had when they’re involved. It was supposed to be a fucking rock band! I remember thinking to myself, even if we are making a shitload of cash, will everyone just shut the fuck up and relax! (Laughs) So it just went down the shitter. Ozzy had Holmes in his touring band while I was finishing up doing ‘Book Of Shadows’, but I joined back up with him for ‘Ozzmosis’. After that tour, I thought fuck it! I have all these fucking heavy riffs lying around, so I started doing Black Label Society. That was in 1998. That’s when it really started. We did ‘Sonic Brew’, ‘Stronger Than Death’, and we toured in-between those albums too. Then I got approached to do that ‘Rock Star’ movie in 2000. I ended up doing that thing, and then I did the guitar shit on the soundtrack alongside the movie. That was a blast. All I did was drink beer, lift weights and play guitar the whole time. After that we recorded a live album, and did ‘1919 Eternal’, and toured behind that. And then I got back together with Ozzy, and together we did the ‘Down To Earth’ album, then we toured behind that. After that we did ‘The Blessed Hellride’, toured behind that. Then came the D.V.D. ‘Boozed, Broozed & Broken-Boned’, and after that we fucking did the acoustic shit for ‘Hangover Music Vol. VI’. And now we’ve just pumped out this new album ‘Mafia’! (Laughs) That’s twelve fucking albums and tours since I jammed with Rose. And in the last ten years, he still hasn’t come out with that ‘Chinese Democracy’ album!
Blistering, March 2005

We were jamming stuff at the rehearsal place and at the complex. Nothing was really going on. I was playing with the boss at the same time, ‘cause we recorded Ozzmosis. Ozz was like, “Zakk, are you jamming with them? Eventually, I’m gonna have to know. We’re gonna start doing this tour.” I go, “Of course, I wouldn’t leave or do anything like that.” Ozz was like, “Zakk, I can’t blame you. If you wanna go jam with them, knock yourself out.” I’m like, “Of course, Ozz, I’m not gonna leave you hanging. Without you, I wouldn’t even be talking to the guys.” And without Ozzy, there’d be no Black Label. That’s just a fact. So the whole thing is, nothing was going on, and then Ozzy just got to the point where he was like, “Zakk, I gotta get another guitar player.” I’m like, “Ozz, I don’t blame you.” I’m like, I’m sitting around here, I don’t know whether we’re coming or going, or whether we’re gonna do this thing or not do this thing. So nothing was happening with the boss. That’s when Joe Holmes came in, and Joe’s a killer player. Joe came in, and then after that, nothing was happening. We were just sitting around.
Live-Metal, December 9, 2011

It sounded like the riffs I write and the way I write, mixed in with the way the guys write, you know what I mean. It would have been like, when I was jamming with Slash and all the guys, even if I’m in the band there’s only one guy that’s playing the solos to ‘November Rain,’ ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ and all those classic songs. I’m not going to do anything there. But the future stuff that we would have been writing, it would have been cool! Because I love Slash’s playing and I’m buddies with him. It would have been cool, but with those guys there was nothing happening, so we were jamming but it wasn’t going anywhere., January 5, 2012

Axl was telling me that him and the other guys were talking about getting another guitar player. He said they were just talking about guys and this and that, and Axl just said; “Well what about Zakk?” I know all the guys, but I’d never met Axl before, but I knew Duff and I knew Slash, so it was just kind of just throwing it around as a joke, and then it was; “Why don’t we just ask Zakk what he’s doing and have him come down?” So, I just went down to jam with the guys. It’s not even like an audition at that point; Jimmy Page is not going to audition for The Rolling Stones, it’s just like; “Jimmy, do you want to come down and jam with us?” It’s just like; “Yeah, okay, no problem”. So, it was more that; just a bunch of clowns getting together and jamming.

I'd known the guys, on and off, for years when I first came out here [to California] and I started playing with the Boss [Ozzy Osbourne]. So I met Slash and I met Duff and we became friends and everything like that, and that's when Guns was just starting to blow up. So I've known the guys, and, obviously, when I ran into 'em every now and then, when we were all drinking, it's always good to catch up with the guys and everything like that. And I knew Steven. So then, after that, I met Matt; he was playing with The Cult. It's a small group of people that you end up running into and you just become friends and stuff like that.

The guys were just talking one day, and Axl was telling me — I'd never met Axl before — and Axl was just saying, him and Slash were talking, like, 'Who else would you wanna get on guitar?' And I guess my name came up. 'Why don't we ask Zakk what's going on?' And Axl was, like, 'All right. I'll call him up.' So Axl ended up getting my phone number and called me up: 'Hey, Zakk, man. It's Axl. I just wondered if you wanted to get together and jam with the guys.' And I said, 'Yeah. No problem.' So we ended up jamming. We were recording [Osbourne's 1995 album] 'Ozzmosis' at the time. And so we were jamming on and off. We were recording the record, we were doing 'Ozzmosis', having a blast doing that, and then in between, when I'd come back out to L.A., I'd end up hooking up with the guys and we'd jam down at the rehearsal hall. So it was just ideas floating around. But nothing was happening there with the Guns guys. And then Ozz was going, 'Zakk, listen, we're gonna get ready to tour. Are you gonna jam…?' Ozz was, like, 'You can do both, but, Zakk, I've gotta have an answer, if you're gonna be jamming with them and me. This ship leaves twelve o'clock Monday. Are you gonna be ready to go or not?' I couldn't get an answer from the fellows, and everything was up in the air, and Ozz was, like, 'I've gotta get somebody else in here, man.' So that was it. So I was just sitting around, going, 'What am I gonna do? I've got all these riffs laying around. I'm not playing with Ozz right now. I'm not doing the GN'R thing. Fuck it.' And then I came up with Black Label Society. So that's basically how Black Label was born right there.

In 2019, Slash would look back:

You know, Guns N’ Roses was rehearsing at this place called the Complex in Santa Monica, and Zakk would come down. I've always been, you know, buddies with Zakk, but in the sort of context of Guns N’ Roses, it's a weird kind of thing, and it was just… But we jammed for a little bit and then it didn't really, it just - not because of Zakk, but just in general, it just wasn't working. And pretty soon after that I was gone.

And refer to it as a "desperate move":

I think it was one of those desperate moves at the time when something needed to happen and it was just some crazy idea that happened. But, you know, I think it would have been a little bit over the top, if me and Zakk were out there fucking grouping up (laughs). But cool nonetheless, you know?

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:19 am

FEBRUARY 14, 1995

Say, however many years down the line Guns N' Roses isn't happening then I'm going to branch out to something else and do that, you know, and at least now I have the financial situation where I can support myself if I'm not making enough money doing what I'm doing.

But if we take a long hiatus again, I'd like to put out, not really a solo record, but something with another band—a temporary thing that I'd control. It would be geared towards an almost heavy metal funk-rock concept—music with killer rock and roll vocals and the most awesome riffs. Almost like "Jungle," only a little bit tighter and heavier. A long time ago, Aerosmith got close; Beck has a couple of magic moments too. But I don't want it to be a guitar record where I'm off on some solo trip, 'cause I think that's really boring.

I always said I would never do a solo record, I said I didn't need to – but finally I found out I certainly do.



And doing something on his own outside of Guns N' Roses was not a new thought to Slash:

I plan on doing [a solo record] one day. I'm sure [Axl] does as well.

By August 1991, Slash would state that he intended to do a record with another band if Guns N' Roses experienced a long downtime:

I plan on doing [a solo record] one day. I'm sure [Axl] does as well.

In early 1992 he was asked about a solo record again:

Ha! As far as me doing my own thing, I haven’t given it much thought because I’ve been too busy concentrating on Guns. It’s kept me pretty occupied and I can’t really look at anything other than day by day, that way I don’t get any nasty surprises when things fuck up!

When asked again in July 1992 Slash would say that other than Duff's planned solo record there were no other solo record from band members in plan [Rockline, July 13, 1992], and in January 1994 he would dismiss the idea that he would make a solo record [Rockline, January 3, 1994].

At this point, you know, as we speak, I don't have any interest in it. 'Cause what would I do? Like, some dumb guitar record? So, I don't need to do that. I play with enough people and I got enough freedom within the confines of what it is all about. We don't really have any confines. Because everybody freaks out. [laughs] And, anyway. So, no I don't have any interest in doing it.

I don’t know. I mean, I play enough with other people, and then Guns N’ Roses is a vehicle for me to be able to be – more or less to do everything that I want to do. So it just seems boring to me. It’s like, nothing against Gary Moore or Steve Vai or... I’m not good enough to be one of those who, like, make a guitar record and it doesn’t interest me, so I’d have to start a new band, which I’m not gonna do.

I’m working on stuff at home, but I work with the other guys in the band on it. It sorta sounds like a cliché, but as far as I’m concerned, Guns is more or less a vehicle for doing my own thing. I don’t wanna do a Gary Moore type record or anything like that. I love Gary Moore and everything, but that’s all kinda dull. Guitar records bore me. I’m not interested in trying to express myself as a guitar player, other than the fact that I go and play with all these different people. I jam a lot and I’ve played on a lot of records. If I need to let off some steam somewhere, I can always go and play with whoever. But as far as doing a solo record is concerned, I don’t think I’ve got anything to prove.

I'd like to think that I wouldn't have to. Y'know, Guns is a great vehicle for me to do pretty much anything I want to do. But then, to keep myself playing all the time, when Guns aren't recording or touring, I go and I play with other people. So I pretty much do everything that I want, and I really would hate to do one of those guitar albums, like fuckin' Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, because it's really dull.


With Slash and Axl disagreeing over musical direction, Gilby being out of the band, Diff in rehabilitation, and Axl trying to get Paul into the band, Slash looked for another outlet for his music, the music that had already allegedly been rejected by Axl, and decided to use the songs in a side project. Gilby would first mention this in June 1994 when he was asked what would happen to the songs he and Slash had worked on:

It could be Slash’s album, this is what it could be, because Slash has been talking about making his own album. You know, because Duff did it, I did it, he can do it (laughs). He has some really, really good songs and, like I said, it’s gonna be a while before GN’R is gonna do a record, and this stuff isn’t really for GN’R, so he’s been talking about doing his own album. So he’s been working with me and Matt on it, you know, just trying to get it in together.

For Slash, this decision was likely fueled by a strong desire to get back on the road as soon as possible to avoid the lingering temptations of sedentary life in Los Angeles, but also frustration with not being able to see eye to eye with Axl on the direction of the band and wanting to do something with songs he felt were good and should be heard.

Explaining the contradiction between consistently saying he wouldn't do it, and then doing it:

Actually, I've been saying that I would never do [a solo record]. But in the back of my mind I knew that I was contradicting myself, because I knew I'd end up doing it.

I always said I had no intentions and no reason to do a solo record. In the back of my head I still didn’t know what direction Guns was going in, but with my positive approach to everything I was just hoping that this stuff would bring Guns back to a place where I felt more comfortable musically.

But I was turned down flat by Axl on the material - so it was like, ‘Okay, now what do I do with it?' […] F**k it, I’ll make a solo album.

Talking about why he decided to make his own record:

This whole idea came about because I was working on material for the next Guns album at my home studio - but then everything had to be put on hold, because Axl Rose was dealing with the lawsuits brought against him by his ex-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour and his ex-wife Erin Everly.

So I built a studio in my house since I started writing material. And what happened was, I had Mike Inez from Alice in Chains, and Matt from Guns N’ Roses, and Gilby who filled in for Izzy when Izzy was gone, and myself, and we’d just write. I had all these tunes and I was writing material for the next Guns record hoping to go back and do that. And at that particular point, Axl decided that that’s not the kind of music he wanted to do. So I was like, “Okay, whatever” - you know, I’m pretty pliable that way; I just deal with it. So I thought, “Well, let’s go in the studio and record all this stuff,” and we called the studio itself “Snakepit Studios,” because right next to the door where you entered the studio was a huge walk-in snake cage. [...] It was like a big zoo, kind of big exhibit. So we called it “The Snakepit Studios.” When we finished the record, we said, “What are we gonna call the band?” And this was all, like, high school fun kind of thing; it wasn’t that serious. So we called the band “Snakepit.”

Originally, it was just to fill the gap between Guns last tour and the next record. Izzy was gone, me and Duff were hanging out a lot, Steven was gone. So, the band was not necessarily the same band anyway, towards the tail end, as far as Guns was concerned. So I was hanging out with the guys that I hired to fill the positions in Guns, which was Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum, and Mike Inez was just a good friend of mine, from Alice in Chains. Basically (we were) just writing and recording and digging having a studio in the house. It was a demo, not even a demo, just a big 'cuz we can do it' record. The whole thing took two weeks.

And again without mentioning that he initially wrote the songs for Guns N' Roses but that they were rejected:

The band was off the road for a while, and everybody just kinda split up after being on the road for two and a half years. Everybody sort of did their own thing.

I built a studio (called Snakepit) in my house and started writing songs. The material that I wrote, like 17 songs or something, Matt played drums on and I played the arrangements and we recorded it. After all that was set and done I was like, 'Now what will I do with all this stuff?' We had so much fun doing it that I wanted to keep the momentum going and didn't want to sit around. This was a few months ago, and we recorded it really quickly.

Slash would even go as far as to say Axl had encouraged him to do a solo record with the rejected material:

At one point I was actually encouraged to do a solo record because this material was a little bit, as Axl put it, 'too retro.’ So I just took the material and said, 'It’s mine now.’ […] He got pretty upset about that but he did say do a solo record. But then two weeks later it was done. […] That sorta blew his mind.

I was hoping it would work with Guns. I was just writing at home, I built a studio, and I was experimenting.[…] It's a simple studio and Matt would be there to help me arrange the stuff. […] So I wrote all these songs and played the demo for Axl and he just wasn't interested. I said, "But this is really what I want Guns to do," and he wasn't into it. So I had all this material and Axl had all these lawsuits going on and he wouldn't have time to get into writing at that point anyway. So he sort of suggested I did a solo record.


In June it would be claimed the new band with Slash would be called "Gak", a slang terms for 'cocaine' [Hit Parader, December 1994]. It would also be reported it would be co-produced by Slash and Mike Clink [Kerrang! June 25, 1994].

In July, though, it would be reported it was Slash's new band that would be called "SVO Snakepit" [The Newcastle Journal, July 14, 1994], with "SVO" meaning "Slash's Very Own" [Kerrang! June 25, 1994], and that the project also featured Matt and Gilby [Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1994].

I have all the songs written now and I’m pushing on with recording the basic tracks, using Matt, Gilby and Mike (Inez - Alice In Chains’ bassist). But I still haven’t decided on the person to sing with me. I’ve narrowed down the choice to five guys. They’re all experienced and have had albums released. But I don’t want to name any of them at this stage. It would be unfair to raise anyone’s hopes, only to dash them. […] As far as my record’s concerned, I’m delighted with the way everything is going. It’s gonna sound heavy and ballsy, just wait and see!

Slash did not want to sing on the record:

I don’t have the personality for it. I did try it. I mean, some of the songs that I did write lyrics for in the album, I did sing at first, but only just to write them. But to go out in front of a microphone... For one, I can’t stand still that long; and for two, I mean, I can’t even look at the audience when I’m playing my guitar, let alone me standing up there singing, you know? (laughs).

Slash considered former Quire-boys vocalist Jonathan "Spike" Gray to sing on the record, along with 5 others [The Newcastle Journal, July 14, 1994; Kerrang! July 16, 1994]. Other singers who tried out for the spot were Michael Monroe (Hanoi Rocks) and Ron Evans (Little Ceasar) [Metal Hammer, February 1995]. Slash would also say he had been taking singing lessons, but that he doesn't think he has the "personality to carry it off!" [Kerrang! June 25, 1994].

In the afternoons I was going for vocal lessons, because I thought I’d have to sing on it. But I realised that I don’t have the personality to be a frontman. I can sing - my voice is kinda gritty but it’s okay - but I’m too shy. When I sang that T Rex song on ‘The Spaghetti Incident?’, I put paper over the glass in the studio so the engineer couldn’t see me!

I took some vocal lessons because, you know, at the time it was for discipline. Just to do it. But I didn't really have... I mean, when we talked about me singing, it probably lasts about a quarter of a second [chuckles]. I don't like to be stuck to a microphone, for one, and...I can sing but, you know, depending on how I feel that particular moment I could sing one way or the other way and then I'd blow my voice out. In other words I'm not a survivor as a vocalist. […] Yeah, and the other thing is like if I was to sing it would be pretty much like very aggressive and I would get bored with it and I'd start walking around playing my guitar and forget that I had to do vocals, you know, I just don't need the pressure. And one of the reasons on top of that is the fact that Eric is a frontman for a band, alright? So in other words I don't need to sing at all because we have a band.

He would also say they considered many different singers, but that it would be impractical in regards to touring:

But I thought if we make a record, we should tour. I don’t wanna put out a record and waste it. So we can’t obviously take all these guys on the road. So I thought I’ll sing and I took some vocal lessons. I just don’t have the personality for it. It’s hard enough for me to sit here and talk to you guys.

Eventually Slash would choose the 41th singer to audition, Eric Dover [RAW Magazine, November 1994; The Gazette, January 26, 1995]:

Adam, my guitar tech, would take them up to the house, put a tape in and go, ‘Sing.’ Eric wrote Beggars & Hangers-On to a piece of music that was just called Song in D. And I heard the tape the next day and was like, ‘OK, that’s the guy’.

Talking about writing lyrics:

Axl’s such a good lyricist that I never really got involved. I had a good time doing it. I don’t have any f**king traumatic things going on in my life, so I don’t take everything so seriously. And I’m not so self-involved that I write real personal lyrics. Most of it was tongue-in-cheek.

Slash would later say he did the record in two weeks:

[Talking about how long it took]: Close to two weeks to record and another two to do the vocals, a couple of days to mix it, and a day to master.


By October 1994, the name had been reduced to just "Snakepit" with Slash explaining why he didn't want his name attached to the band name:

The reason it’s called “Snakepit” and not “Slash” something or “Slash” in general, is it’s really a band, so we collaborated a lot, because, for one, we were forced to, and for two because none of us have really all worked together as a band. So we all had a lot of input to get the basic idea across as to what we all sound like together.

He would emphasize that it was a band later, too:

Another thing is, I know I say my 'Snakepit' album, but it's really a band. I'm only doing the press because everyone else seems to know who I am at this point. Eventually I'd like to make it known as a band, actually. I don't want it to sound like it's Slash's little group. I don't know if this is just a one-off. We'll see what happens.

I always used to say I'd never do [a solo record]. But then I wrote a bunch of material and Guns wasn't ready to work. I had 14 songs so I thought I’d just go in and record them; real cheap, real fast. And I got a really cool band together. Snakepit isn't a solo record, it's a side band. I hate to think of it as a quote unquote solo record, and I hope we find the time to do another one.

Plus, let's face it, it's not a solo album at all. That bullshit term doesn't fit what we did at all. Sure, it's named after me because I started it, but it's really a group effort! At first, we even wanted to call this record "Wayward Musicians Suffering From L.S.D", ha ha ha!!!

In November it would be reported that the name of the record would be, 'It's Five O' Clock Somewhere' [RAW Magazine, November 1994]. It would also be said that Slash's plan was to release his record in February 1995 and then go on an "extensive" tour in support of it [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

Explaining the band and record name:

The name Snakepit came from the fact that we recorded the demos for this actual album in the room that’s right next to the snake pit, in my house, which is where all the snakes are (laughs). And we just called it Snakepit because it was the easiest thing to come up with. As far as “It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere,” that’s a whole another story. It’s got its obvious connotations, but, basically, I went to England one time with Guns and went to the bar. It was about 10:00 in the morning, and I said, “I know it’s only 10:00, but give me a Jack and Coke; and the bartender looked me dead in the eye and he goes, “It’s 5:00 somewhere.” So it stuck in my head ever since then, and so when we were doing this thing - basically that’s what the whole album is about, you know? It’s 5:00 somewhere, give me a break.

When we went to England, I think it was Donington, we were going to the airport and I was in a really bad mood. I went to the bar at the hotel and I said, "I know it's only 10 o'clock in the morning, but can I have a Jack and coke?" He said "It's five o'clock somewhere." and I've lived by that over since. The whole reason behind the title is it's really wide open. It's five o'clock somewhere, there's something happening going on. With all the pressures of everything I'm dealing with-Guns, the scene, the business-there's a way to get away from it. It's an attitude you take with you.

I picked that [=the name] up from a guy at an airport bar on the way to London to do the Donnington festival about seven or eight years ago. It was ten in the morning, and we were all shagged, beat to shit, and in bad moods. I went to the bar and asked for a double Jack and Coke. I said, "I know it's only ten o'clock." The bartender leaned over and goes, "It's five o'clock somewhere, pal," with a big smile and sincere eyes. All of a sudden it dawned on me, "That's the quest! Where is it five o'clock?" [Laughs.] I never forgot that.

And the cover:

My brother has his own graphic design company and he works with great artists. I had made a vague sketch of this cover on a piece of paper. I liked the idea, but as far as drawing goes, I'm not that good and that's when my brother told me to give him my sketch. He had it redone by a guy who knows his shit. The result is really cool!

I drew the actual snake thing – you know, the “S” - and then I gave it to my brother, who gave it to one of his employees who spray-painted on a wall, we took a photo of it. And then my dad helped me to art direct it – you know, to put the arrangement together.


In the end, the cover would say "Slash's Snakepit" and Slash would explain that this was a label decision and not his:

I'll show [the cover] to you. (It's a Slash-like snake wearing a top hat with a cigarette butt in its mouth on a red background). My brother Ash did it—he's younger than me so he lost two letters. He has a company called Conart that does street art. This was spray palmed on a wall, 14 feet tall. It says Slash's Snakepit because the record company, in order to boost any kind of interest in the record other than it being a totally new band, wants to put my name on it. If we keep going as a side project for all of us, I'd like to have it reduced down to Snakepit. I'm doing interviews now to get it started but come January well do it together.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

It would also be reported that Gilby would open the shows with his solo band [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

In December 1994, Slash would say he was allowed to do a solo record as per their contract:

So I did what I said I'd never do, which is a solo record, to get it out of my system. We'd been doing so many ballads and conceptual videos that I started to get a little concerned about where it was going. When you listen to everybody's solo albums you can hear the individual input in Guns. Mine sounds like the aspect of Guns that I am, Duff sounds like the aspect of Guns that he is. I didn't do this to try to knock anybody's socks off, it was more of a personal release. It's within our contracts to do one.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

In early 1995 Slash was asked why Duff wasn't also part of Snakepit:

It would be Guns without Axl if Duff were playing on it.

Slash's plan was to release his record in February 1995 and then go on an "extensive" tour in support of it [RAW Magazine, November 1994].

Talking about his decision to do Snakepit and tour:

A year ago when we came back from 2 1/2 years of playing stadiums. It was hard work, but I like touring, so that part wasn't so bad. But every time I get home from a long stint like that, I would get in a bad place. I wouldn't know what to do. I'm not good at sitting at home, so I would get into whatever drugs. So this time I thought, "I'm not getting strung out again." It's old. It's over. I'm not into doing that anymore.

And discussing how the record was basically how he would like Guns N' Roses to be:

I was hoping it would work with Guns. I was just writing at home, I built a studio, and I was experimenting. […] So I wrote all these songs and played the demo for Axl and he just wasn't interested. I said, "But this is really what I want Guns to do," and he wasn't into it. So I had all this material and Axl had all these lawsuits going on and he wouldn't have time to get into writing at that point anyway. So he sort of suggested I did a solo record.

So the songs are my representation of what Guns would sound like if I was at the helm. And it's probably good that I did it outside of Guns because I explored a lot of avenues I didn't normally get to. I had to write lyrics, and I had to get the melodies, and I had to get the songs into a cohesive state where they were worth showing to anybody. It's a real down to the bare bones kind of record, and I like that.

There's just two guitars, then a lead, and that's it. I've got Gilby playing on one side and me on the other – the same approach that I use for almost any Guns record. In fact I think Use Your Illusion was the most complicated I've ever gotten. I have gotten more into blending an acoustic with an electric lately, though, and there is some acoustic, some slide, some voice-box, some wah-wah pedal, some mandolin, but that's about it. I used the Les Paul, 12-string and the Martin acoustic and a Guild.

Summarizing how it came to be:

When Guns N’ Roses finished their two-and-half year Use Your Illusion tour, when we got home, I was like, “Now what?” I sat on the couch and I was like, “Alright.” So I designed a pinball machine. And then, you know, that got done and I had a studio built in my house, just a small – like, probably, about twice the size of this bed over here. And I started, you know, I had a 24-track little Mackie board and like a kid in a candy store, I’m multi-tracking. And then Matt started coming over and hanging out, and we started putting on these ideas on tape – you know, little riffs that I wrote here and there. Then Gilby came over – this is after he left Guns N’ Roses, and he came over, and he brought a couple of songs with him and we taped those, and then he put new guitars on the stuff I wrote, you know, rhythm guitars and stuff. And then Mike Inez showed up unannounced at a party - it’s a guy I don’t even know and he just shows up at my house one day – and he put bass on it. All of a sudden, I thought, “Wow, we have a good band.” You know, Guns really wasn’t doing anything, because everybody was sort of doing their own little vacation or whatever. I was the only one still working, because if I didn’t I’d probably get myself in trouble. So I put some time in the studio in Los Angeles and we just whipped these songs out. Then we started looking towards finding a singer, so we auditioned some 40 odd singers. And then Eric – we got a tape through a mutual friend from Eric, a guy named Mark Danzeisen, and I heard his voice and I thought, “Oh, that’s cool.” So I gave him a piece of music, which was a work tape called Beggars & Hangers-On, and he… well, it was called “Song in D” at the time, and he wrote Beggars & Hangers-On. I thought, “Cool, we got a band.” And then we just went on to write all the lyrics and the melodies for the rest of the material, and that was it.

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
February 14, 1995


In his biography Behind The Paint from 2003, Insane Clown Posse member Joseph Bruce would discuss collaborating with Slash on the ICP song Halls of Illusions and claim that Slash said It's Five O' Clock Somewhere was about Axl:

Then Slash turned to me. "I got a question, Joe. This song isn't about Axl, is it?" [...] "No, why would you think that?" "Well, 'Use Your Illusion,' 'Halls of Illusions' You guys are talking about people who beat their wife and kids; you sure this isn't about Axl?' [...] I realized then that Slash was a great guitar player, but he was completely out of his mind. Why the fuck would I write a song about Axl Rose? What? Slash explained, "Oh, well, it just seemed like it as about him. Shit I wrote a whole fucking album about Axl Rose, and he never even knew it."
Behind The Paint, 2003

Slash would also admit that the lyrics dealt with Axl in his own biography [insert quote].

This excerpt from a Slash interview in 2000, also supports this:

In other words, no use scouring the lyrics for references to the Guns n’ Roses days. The first Snakepit record “was just filled with innuendo,” Slash said, but no one seemed to pick up on it since the band’s singer at the time, Eric Dover, served as a kind of filter.


In addition it would be reported that the record had only sold 77,000 units by May 8, and had fallen out of top-200 [New York Daily News, May 8, 1995]. Rumours stated that Geffen was angry Axl had dismissed the material, concluding the material would have done much better if it had been released by Guns N' Roses [New York Daily News, May 8, 1995].

In 2018, Goldstein would discuss the album and claim that people around Slash had realized it was not good enough and that Axl had wanted it to succeed:

Tom Zutaut wouldn’t tell Slash that he didn’t like it. He called me and said, ‘You need to tell him, you’re his manager.’ I said, ‘You’re the A&R guy, what are you talking about?’ He said, ‘I’m not going to ruin my relationship with him, but we’re not going to put it out the way it is.’ The record company President [told me to talk to Slash], so I ended up having a conversation with Slash. I just said, ‘Lyrically, you might want to take a look at some of the songs. Musically, I like it, but the record company has an issue with it. Axl [Rose] wanted it to be a good record. The reality is it would have given Axl time to relax for a little bit, and not have to concentrate on Guns stuff, he could have had a life for a little while. [Axl] didn’t want it to fail, quite the antithesis. He really wanted it to be a great record. I don’t think he thought it was, from my recollection.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:19 am

MARCH 10, 1995

On March 10, The Joint - Hard Rock Hotel opened in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas was blown out of its britches Friday, March 10, 1995 as MTV hosted the Grand Opening of the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, billed as, "The World's First Rock N' Roll Hotel." The was led by our very own Duff McKagan and his all-star band, including Matt Sorum, Steve Stevens, Terry Andreadis, with special guest appearances by Iggy Pop, Gilby Clarke, Steve Jones, B.B King, Bo Diddley, Seal, Billy Idol and Melissa Etheridge. Other featured performers of the night included: Sheryl Crow, Duran Duran, Al Green and "Wayne Newtron and His Mutations." The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino also contains an awe-intensive, rock n' roll memorabilia museum to which GN'R have donated some of their motorcycles.
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995

B.B. King, Matt, Bo Diddley, Duff and Izzy
March 10, 1995

Duff would be involved in setting up the roster [source?], and when asked if he got everyone he wanted, he replied:

B. B King and, you know, Iggy. The guy who owns the Hard Rock is really cool— he wants to keep a level of integrity and not just let anyone play there. So, with the punk rock resur­gence going on and if you want to keep some of the integrity, let’s get Iggy, and Steve Jones is a good friend of mine, let's get them up there.
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995

Playing with Iggy was great, he didn't complain, he was happy to be wanted you know? Happy to come and play. He was so down to earth. Me and Slash played on his record Brick By Brick. I was like, "He wants me to play?" Now, we are really good friends. It's guys like that that are such a fuck­ing level above most people and musicians. When we played, Steve Jones was playing, Iggy was singing, I was up there and Johnny Rotten wanted to come up and do a song. Iggy can't see without his glasses and after the show he said, "A lot of people were telling me that Johnny Rotten was there and I saw this blond surfer looking guy. It wasn't Johnny was it?" It was. I mean Iggy was so down to earth. He was like, "Johnny wanted to get up with us?? Oh wow, he's gonna be bummed at you. You are too fucking God-like," you know?
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995


In the 2000s, Guns N' Roses would do residencies at The Joint making it the venue where the band has played the most live shows.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:20 am


After the album was released on February 14, 1994, Slash and his band would immediately embark on a tour from Mid-February that lasted until August 1, 1995.

Slash would be quick to say Guns N' Roses had not broken up and that he would soon return to get the band back on track, and that he had to tour the Snakepit record:

[Guns N' Roses'] currently on hiatus, but we haven't broken up! Eric [Dover] and I are heading back to the States shortly, we'll be there for a week before we fly to Australia, and I got confirmation yesterday that we'll be using those eight days to get Guns N' Roses back on track. Anyway, there was no way I was going to leave Snakepit in limbo after the album was released, and I made an arrangement with Axl Rose: I'll make myself available when I can for rehearsals, Snakepit will tour from April to August 1995, and then we'll all rejoin our respective bands to fulfill our commitments. We started Snakepit for fun, not because we were unemployed!

Slash had decided to tour when, according to him, nothing happened with GN'R:

Once the record was finished, and it came out really good, I thought, 'I might as well tour on it 'cause Guns isn't doing anything.' I'm gonna start touring in March and we're gonna do fucking clubs, man.

I'm waiting for the album to come out and then I want to play in small theaters and clubs, in front of 1,000 or 2,000 people, and explore that environment because, unfortunately, Guns can't play in that circuit. We could do it I guess, we've done it before, but Axl seems to be interested in other directions. So this is an opportunity for me, and we'll see what happens when the tour is over.

As far as Guns is concerned, we’ve played with one guy who I cannot stand, and then with Zakk Wylde who is a great friend of mine, but at the same time we don’t necessarily sound like Guns N’ Roses with two sort of heavy metal lead guitar players in the band. So, on that note, that’s when Eric, Matt, Gilby – you know, all of us decided to pursue a tour, and so I said, “Well, look, I’ll be back in six months and we’ll talk about it then.”

I can't wait to get out of here. It's been a year since we’ve been off the road. We did two years of touring, so I guess we deserve to be off the road. But you know me [smiles] If I’m not playing I get into trouble.....

Axl still wasn’t necessarily ready to start a Guns record, so I booked a tour for the record. We did the record in two weeks and then we toured for 108 gigs in four months and four continents.

Talking about why he needed to do this:

Because Guns is the original band where my heart lies. I’m a very loyal member and friend to the other guys in the band, regardless of whatever chaotic shit happens in the process. I just wanted to get this off my chest while things were looking a little confusing to me.

With Snakepit, I got away from all the absurd self-indulgence of Guns, it was a shot in the arm for me to be able to look at life from a perspective that I always thought was right anyway.

I love the whole ground zero approach this band has, having to start from the bottom again. I feel more comfortable on the street now, just hanging around. People don't seem to be as scary as they used to be when they come up to you.

With Guns, it had become this huge gargantuan machine. And there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s sort of depressing, you end up hiding away and hardly going anywhere. But now I don't feel any of that Rock Star persona. It reminds me of when Guns first got signed.

It’s great!

Guns is one of the most unpredictable bands but after months of playing stadiums I got tired of it. It was a hassle for the band, a hassle for the audience. You can’t see anybody and they can't see you.

But because this band is made up of more level-headed back line guys, I think we can keep it under control. Just because Snakepit is so simple, it's different from what Guns N’ Roses was by the end of the last tour. It’s a release for all of us from our respective careers.

I know for me that this may help when I go back to deal with Guns N’ Roses — after being so stressed out after the last tour.

Although Axl was not happy about it:

The problems between Axl and I... that’s a psychological thing between us. I don’t think I’ve ever not been there for Guns before. I’ve always been there for every tiny thing. For to just disappear all of a sudden — ‘Look, I’m gone, I’ll be back on such-and-such a date’ — threw him for a loop, I think.


Originally Matt was supposed to tour with Snakepit:

Obviously Matt and I come as a package - whatever I do with Guns or Snakepit he falls in with, because if I’m not there Guns can’t do anything - unless Axl makes some sort of stipulation that I have to get another drummer!

But in the end Matt did not tour with the band, and it seems like Axl made that stipulation:

Well, if Sorum had stayed with me, it would have made the conflicts between Axl and me even worse, because I would have taken the drummer. […] I knew that was gonna happen. I would have loved to take Matt out. But, you know, this whole tour thing and how long it's gonna go is sort of a thorn in Guns N' Roses's side, you know.

If Matt was touring with me, it would stop Guns 'n' Roses in its tracks.

If Matt went with me, the whole band would be dormant, and I didn’t want that.

With Matt, it was one of those things. He was gonna come, but because of finances and also because – the most important reason is that, with me being gone from Guns and sort of put Guns in a weird kind of like state of hiatus, and they’re still trying to write. And if you take the drummer, there’s nothing they can do and that would cause a lot more conflict than I would really recommend (laughs).

I had to get a different drummer because it would pretty much cement the bad feelings between Axl and me to take the Guns drummer.

Let's put it to politics, put it that way. I think that would have further accentuated the situation between Axl and I had I done that. It was financial reasons as well.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview from May 15, 1995

[Matt] had to stay at home to avoid more conflicts between me & Axl.
Folha De Sao Paulo Journal, July 21, 1995; translated from Portuguese

And Matt would comment on this, too:

[Being asked if it was a hard decision not to join Snakepit on tour]: Not too much. I didn't want to endanger Guns N' Roses. If I toured with Snakepit, it could have cause serious consequences. It could have divide GNR. And I have to be honest, the Snakepit album won't change the music world! So, if a band as important as GNR would have broke up because I toured with Snakepit, I would have flagellate myself! I was in between, there was Slash "Come on , man, tour with us", but I told him "Slash, for 4 months, we will fuck GNR up". So I stayed at home and I work a bit with Axl and Duff. I'm sure I took the good decision.
hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

Later, Matt would say he distanced himself from Snakepit because it "sounded dated":

It sounded a bit dated to me.

In 2012, he would say that Axl had threatened to fire him if he toured with Slash:

Axl said if I went on tour with Slash I’d be fired. So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll stay at home with you, Axl.’ And that’s what I did. Slash was gone for quite a long time. Me, Duff and Axl continued to write.

Slash's Snakepit, although Matt would not tour with the band


The plan was now to reconvene as soon as Slash was finished touring for Snakepit, and "if everything's okay, then I'd love to continue doing [Guns N' Roses]" [Kerrang! January 14, 1995].

We are going to meet in August after we've toured with Snakepit. Then we'll see what happens. We've been jamming a bit, but there isn't any actual songs.

Whenever I have a few days off from Snakepit, we rehearse and write songs. After I'm done touring, which won't be long, we'll start really formulating the basis for an album. Then record, then figure out a touring situation.

In March 1995 he would elaborate on this, saying the plan was to revive Guns N' Roses in the summer:

When the tour is over, we’ll see what we can come up with as far as Guns is concerned. [Axl] was pretty cool with it. We’re not really at each other’s throats as everybody thinks.

As for writing for GN'R when Slash comes back from touring with Snakepit:

I’m sorta hoping that Axl might start writing some material and for once have something for me to go and play as opposed to me having to initiate it all the time. It’s sorta like sex.

And when asked if this doesn't mean a new record is far away:

Not necessarily. The only thing I know at this point is that I'm gonna take the 'Snakepit' thing on the road in March. We'll be touring till summer and then we're off. What happens then I don't know.

I’ve always been 110 percent there for Guns. For me to take off (on tour) was sort of tripping people out for a while. But I’ll be back in September. They know that now.


During the touring Slash would run into problems when they intended to do a show in San Diego in May, 1995. The San-Diego-based band Snakepit obtained a restraining order against Slash's Snakepit prohibiting them from doing any shows in the area under the "Slash's Snakepit" name [North County Times, May 5, 1995]. A court date was set for June 19 [North County Times, May 5, 1995].

Later Slash would claim the case was thrown out of court but that because of legalities they had decided to not play in San Diego:

After the Snakepit record was done this band popped up. I'd already been calling it Slash's Snakepit. I had the Snakepit name for a long time. At some point after the album was finished I got a phone call from a friend of mine, "Do you know there's a band in San Diego, they call themselves Snakepit?" I had a demo sent over with five songs on it and it's a bunch of girls, it's dated 1994. I didn't want to get into it. But when Eric and I were doing the promo tour we went to San Diego and went to dinner with these chicks. Everything seemed fine. I didn't give a shit if they called their band Snakepit. But I think it was mostly financial. We went to court over it. The judge threw it out of court, there was no case. But they haven't totally gone away. We wanted to play there but the legalities weren't going to be finished in time. We'll be able to go back there at some point.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview from May 15, 1995

It was originally supposed to be called just Snakepit, but Geffen wanted Slash's Snakepit; they figured it would sell more records. Then there was this all-chick band from San Diego that popped out of nowhere named Snakepit. I drove out there to meet them, and they didn't want to give up the name. They were all in college and one wanted to give us a blow job. I was like, "My problem is Snakepit. You need to come up with a name." And she was like, "I know. Let's go to the bathroom." They had a three-song demo and they copyrighted it.


The Snakepit tour was ending in July 1995, but after having met Lars Ulrich in Paris in June while playing shows there, he decided to add a show at that year's Monsters of Rock festival at Donington, England in August 26, 1995. He still planned on returning to Los Angeles after the last show in July, but then head off again for three days to play at Donington:

Me and Lars [Ulrich] hung out in Paris and he saw the band a couple of times when we played there and he liked it and wanted us to be on the bill. I thought Donington a second time would be great, especially not doing the whole Guns N’ Roses type headlining thing. I said yeah, but I’ve extended this tour a lot longer than I was supposed to be because it’s been so much fun, and Gilby and Eric both have records they have to do. And it means three days to go to Donington — a day of flying, a day to play, a day to fly back.
Kerrang! July 1995; translated from Portuguese

[…] I’m going to go back [to Los Angeles after the tour's penultimate show] and the first thing I’ll do is call Axl and start working with Guns, then I’ll take off for three days — if I said I was going to spend three days at the beach they wouldn’t care! And for me a day at the beach is Donington.

Then it became August:

[…] I have every desire to go back in August and sort of reestablish my relationship with Axl, and try and just get some sort of like clear-headed point of view as to what we’re gonna do.

[…] when this Donington show [August 27, 1995] is over, my main thing is I have to go back and reconstitute the relationship between Axl and I, and obviously the other members of Guns N’ Roses, and try to figure out what the hell we’re doing. Because now that I’ve been out for a while and seen what’s actually going on since Axl’s been out there, I need to sort of communicate with him what actually goes on, and maybe he’ll understand me, maybe he won’t – who knows...


I didn’t have a thing in my mind about quitting the band, it was just the band wasn’t really functioning. Matt was still there, but Gilby [Clarke, the guitarist who replaced Izzy] had been fired, and Axl was... off somewhere.

I knew that nothing was happening with Guns, so I ended up doing, like, a hundred solo gigs, just clubs and shit. [The first Snakepit gigs in 1995]. Stuff I never made a dime off of.

In the above quote Slash puts a lot of blame on Axl being away. This is not entirely right, as discussed in earlier chapters, Slash himself had stopped attending rehearsals and him and Axl was engaged in heated discussions over the direction of the band including who to replace Gilby.

Snake Pit was the result of just wanting to get away from all that and just play for the sake of playing and not have all the red tape and logistic stuff going on. That was like a shot in the arm for me. So it really defined simplicity from unnecessary complexity.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:20 am


As described in previous chapters, there were significant incompatibilities in the personalities of Axl and Slash and these had been obvious from early on.

The volatile chemistry between [Axl and Slash] puts them in the highest class, yet their inherent passion and pyromanic personalities will inevitably blow the partnership assunder sooner or later.

At times Slash would try to minimize the seriousness of these, and suggest that opposites attract, at other times it was obvious it caused a severe strain on the function of the band.

Sometimes you go 'What the fuck is it for?' Then you try to look where to escape to and there's nowhere to go. We been doing it for so long that we really would all feel sorta lost and lonely if it fell apart and we had to go out and do solo records. Because it wouldn't be Guns. None of us could reproduce that. Axl's got so much charisma - he's one of the best singers around. It’s his personality. He can go out and do something. What freaks me out is if the band falls apart, I'll never be able to shake the fact that I'm the ex-Guns n' Roses guitar player. And that's almost like selling your soul.

No, my bond with this group is pretty much in my blood. What can I do? It's like if I have to put it down to, 'Well, do you want to keep playing? Or, 'are you gonna get out?' I want to keep playing and that's what keeps me alert and dealing with some of the really crazy shit that goes down.

The only thing that is really, really secure is the relationship between the members of the band and with the people that we work with.

With stories about Axl and Slash's deteriorating relationship in 1994-1995, and with Slash leaving Los Angeles to tour with his band Snakepit in February 1995, rumours were spreading that Slash was in the process of, or had already, left Guns N' Roses.

When asked if he had quit the band, Slash would indicate that he didn't get along with someone in the band but that he, Slash, would not quit over this:

Guns is fine. I learned from other people’s mistakes to not get so egotistical or so self-involved that you quit your band because you can’t get along with one of the other guys in the band. […] I’ll be the lead guitar player [on the next record], yeah. Unless I’m fired (laughs).

A little while later he would again reiterate he hadn't quit but that Zakk Wylde might be in the band and that he would have an issue with that:

I mean: is Guns still together? Yes it is. Is Axl in the band? As far as I know. Am I still in the band? I don’t know. (He shrugs) No, I haven’t quit. If Zakk’s (Wylde) gonna be in the band, that’s an issue which ... we were just jamming. There was never any decision when I left to do this. When I said, 'I’ll be back in August,’ we hadn't come to any definitive decision as to who was gonna be the rhythm guitarist. I love Zakk. He’s a lot of fun, but we don’t sound like Guns N’ Roses with two lead Heavy Metal guitar players. It just sounds different. But if that’s supposed to be the case when I get back, we’ll talk about it, so I have no idea where it stands right now.


When the Snakepit thing is over, and I've got that out of my system, we all seem to be pretty amicable about how we feel about each other as far as Guns are concerned. I just want to do a really cool Guns record, and I don't want to push it 'cause I don't feel like we have to rush it out to keep up with the Joneses. So when everybody feels comfortable doing that... I don't know exactly where [Rose's] head is at, as far as what that should sound like. It changes from month to month. […] But we talk. We're fine. All the rumors and all that kind of stuff, it's between us. It's sort of like getting involved in someone else's marriage: You don't know what's going on, but people love to write about it. Me and Axl and Duff are obviously way the fuck more close and personal than they can even possibly put out in some magazine. That goes back to when Guns started, before we even got signed.

I can’t tell you when the next record will be out or when we’ll be touring. I have no idea at this moment as to where Axl’s head is at.

In my heart of hearts, I’m hoping that while I’m gone they maintain a more or less simple rock ’n’ roll band kind of mentality. I’d be thrilled if that’s what I found when I got back.

The whole thing has been one long circus ride. From the beginning. Everything has been this huge trial and error, not knowing where we were heading because we didn't really care. For Axl, he probably had visions of `November Rain' all along.

Being asked if they will make another record:

Yeah, I just don't know what the fuck that is right now.

And whether he wants to make another record with GN'R:

Well, yeah. Guns is where I'm from. But it's such a big band right now and it's got so much attention — that's nothing to do with music — aimed at it, that's it's hard to exist comfortably in that kind of environment. People breathing down your neck. Managers calling every time you mention even the slightest thing in the direction of making music and it's not too conducive to being creative. I'd sort of like to get over that because I don't want to make a shitty Guns N' Roses record, I want to make a really good one. […] See, Guns doesn't have to do a record tomorrow or next year. And people say, What about your fanbase? The least of my concerns is trying to put together a body of work to try and please some kid I don't even know.

Slash was not overtly exuberant about ending Snakepit to go back to the drama and circus that was Guns N' Roses. In May 1995, he would state that he "really have to go back and focus on Guns at some point" [The San Francisco Examiner, May 8, 1995].

There's no cohesive concept between us as to what a Guns N' Roses record is supposed to sound like. Guns is something that's dose to my heart. I'm loyal to the day I die, I suppose. […] As far as Guns' material goes, I'm still very enthusiastic and loyal about doing Guns, but the band is such an institution at this point that I don't see any need to affect the creative process by adhering to the time schedule and pressures from the record company--and public, for that matter--and putting out a shitty record. It's not like Guns has to make a record next week. The band is already established. In August after I get back from tour, I'll go back and see where Guns is at and where our relationship as a functioning band stands. If we all missed each other and the music happens and the work flow is going and everything pours out, then we can make a natural record. I don't believe in anything other than that.

At some point I have to go back and help get a record together.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

And when asked if he is reluctant to go back to Guns N' Roses:

That's a tough question, Gerri, 'cause I don't want you to get the wrong impression.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

In July 1995, Slash would state that "GNR takes itself a little bit too serious" [Folha De Sao Paulo Journal, July 21, 1995].


By May 1995, Slash had not spoken to Axl in a long time:

Me and Duff are real close, we talk all the time. Axl and I haven't talked, I don't think we've actually come to terms with what we're gonna do.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

In early June, Slash would say he probably hadn't talked to Axl in 6 months [Dutch TV, June 5, 1995].

We go through these periods where I do my thing and [Axl] does his, and then eventually we come together, and that’s when another Guns N’ Roses record gets done. When this tour ends - which is a six-month tour – in August, I’ll go home and basically we’ll regroup, so to speak. Then Guns will probably spend a little bit of time in the studio and they’ll be on the road for a while, and it will be like family for a long time. And then when the tour ends, I’m probably just gonna go back and make another Snakepit record, and do another small club tour. We’ll just sort of play it that way. Of course, nothing is ever that predictable, but that’s the basic plan.

When asked if Slash doesn't feel a need to "call him and say, 'How are you doing, man' and 'How is it going?'", Slash responded:

At this point I’m touring, so – like, I have a hard time calling my wife.

We know Slash and Axl met at a rehearsal in late-January [Raw, March 1, 1995], indicating that since then Slash had neither met or talked to Axl.

The Snakepit thing is nice for me, but at some point I do have to go back and focus on Guns N’ Roses. So in August that’s what I have to do. […] First thing, we’ll just get together with Duff and Axl and Matt, and figure out who the fuck is gonna play guitar (laughs) - the rhythm guitar, because Gilby is not in the band anymore. So that’s my first priority after the Snakepit tour is over.

Later he would say he hadn't talk to Axl because Axl was busy with the Erin Everly trial [Kerrang! July 1995].
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:20 am


I defend [Axl] within reason. A lot of the stuff, like going on (stage) late and causing riots, it's just 'cause Axl's real explosive. There's things I don't forgive him for, but because I've known him for so long, I understand him. I don't judge him. That's why I feel that if you don't know the guy, just shut up.

Axl’s Axl. He’s an amazing front man, obviously, and an amazing lead singer. He just carries a lot of baggage that’s part of his personality, but it’s part of the tension that makes him such a great live performer. Also, we’re family. I don’t like to dwell on the negative stuff. […] We’ve been doing the Guns scenario for so long that I need to go out and clean my own system out so I can go back and deal with it with a level head. That’s how bands break up, because they’re forced to be together.

The original guys in the band, Duff and Axl and I, haven’t changed that much. Axl is just a bigger version of what he always was. Axl’s difficult in some ways, brilliant in other ways. Axl’s Axl. I accept that.

I've done everything in my power, to avoid the obvious lead guitar player/lead singer, Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, Steve Tyler/Joe Perry thing. That's why I'm getting away from Guns for a while and cooling down. People would love for me to start going off on Axl. But I have no reason to. He and I are still very close. It's a lot like a marriage.

I don’t have any beef with Axl. We may not see eye-to-eye from time to time, but I don’t look at it like, 'Forget you, dude.’ It’s like, ‘OK, well that’s the situation we’re in.’ You know? The stuff I go through with Axl is the same kind of stuff that I go through with my wife. But unfortunately it gets blown out of proportion because of the fact that it’s in the press. Someone picks up a tidbit of gossip, and off it goes. […] Lead guitar players and lead singers get into these things where the lead guitar players just want to play, and the lead singers want to do... something. We're not sure what. [laughter] Sometimes it's anything but sing.

Guns N' Roses has always been a very volatile band made up of a bunch of punks who hit it big. That can lead to a lot of problems, and I guess we've had our share. But there's also still a lot of love for the band from both me and Axl, and as long as we have that feeling, that musical bond, then Guns N‘ Roses will be strong. Axl has allowed some personal stuff to get in his way in recent months, but that hasn’t affected our relationship in any way. Once he gets those things out of the way the band should be getting on with things.

It’s real simple. Guns has always been sort of a volatile, stressed-out kind of unit, you know? There’s always been friction between Axl and I in some cases. It’s like a love/hate thing. We’re very close but we’re very distant just because we’re completely different people, and that’s what probably makes us more or less dynamic as, you know, performers together and musicians together. But we don’t always see eye to eye and it usually takes some time till we fall into a sort of niche where we’d agree, you know?

Despite this, Slash would admit there was still bitterness about how Gilby was fired, although he could be talking about Gilby being bitter and not himself:

Although there is some bitterness about the whole Guns situation, 'cause it didn't really make that much sense.

In a later interview, Slash would say he can't hang out with Gilby because "because it might upset the others" [Kerrang! September 21, 1996].

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:20 am


During 1995, Slash would also become more vocal about his misgivings with Axl and how it affected Guns N' Roses. When asked if Axl plans to do a solo record, Slash would quip:

Axl thinks that Guns is his solo-project.

In July 1995, Slash would again state that when they last talked, which was in late January 1995, Axl wanted to accomplish his solo aspirations within Guns N' Roses, possibly bringing in Trent Reznor to help him out [Kerrang! May 27, 1995]:

There was a point there when Axl was going to do a solo record, and he wanted to do it with Trent, Dave Navarro, the drummer from Nirvana and then he changed his mind and thought why do a solo record if he could do it with Guns N’ Roses, which is the last thing I heard.

This raises the question: Did Axl want Guns N' Roses to evolve in the direction of bands like Pearl Jam or bands like Nine Inch Nails? Because Slash would state both. From Slash's quotes it could seem like Axl wasn't sure himself and was interested in exploring various possibilities, or perhaps Slash simply hadn't understood what Axl wanted, except that it wasn't the music that ended up on It's Five O' Clock Somewhere.

Slash would again claim that Axl considered Guns N' Roses his solo project:

He [Axl] was supposed to do a solo record at one time, but he thinks Guns N’ Roses as a solo record for him; and, unfortunately, it’s not really that way. So we need to sit down and talk about it. But we’ve come to an agreement, where, you know, it’s very amicable what’s going on at the moment – as far as I know, last I talked to him.

I don’t know where Guns is headed. I mean, Axl at one point said he was going to do a solo record, and he had all these guys in mind. He was naming off names from different people — I won’t say who — and I was like, 'Cool. Do that.’ Because Axl has been branching into different areas for ages now....

Then all of a sudden, he decided that his next solo album would be Guns N’ Roses. And I went, ‘Whoa! Hello? What does that mean?’

I still don’t know what direction he’s headed in, but that’s the reason I needed to go and do this. I haven’t changed since when we first started, but Guns is obviously a lot bigger band, and there’s more pressure surrounding it than there used to be. and I think everybody's a bit concerned with that.

So I just went off and did my own thing, just to get a shot in the arm before I go back and deal with the next Guns situation. That way it’ll replenish whatever my enthusiasm is for Guns N’ Roses, so that I don't pull a Joe Perry and take off altogether.

Over a year later, Slash would again talk about Axl considering GN'R to be his solo band:

That’s what I told him to do [= do a solo record]. Get it all off his chest... Well, you're starting to pull stuff out of me now. In Axl’s mind, Guns is his solo project. He didn’t see any reason, as far as I know, why he should do a solo thing.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996; interview from early August 1996

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:21 am


At one point [Axl] said he was gonna a solo project, then he decided his solo project he could do with Guns, which I was like, after doing all those videos and this and that and the other, I was like: "No". [laughs] […] No, I don't wanna get involved in any kind of Stephanie Seymour ballads or any of that shit.

Later in the year, Slash would describe how he had gone back to writing music they had done in the beginning while Axl wanted to change the sound of the band:

I really haven't changed my point of view since we first started. So when the GN'R tour ended after two and a half years of being in this unrealistic environment of limousines and jets and playing stadiums and all that, I got home […]

So I went back to work. I built a studio in my house, I kept myself busy. I had the first multitrack studio I've ever had, so I was like a kid in a candy store, and I started playing and recorded all this stuff. At the same time, with Axl that whole trip that we'd just taken had really become a part of him, to the point where Axl is as much a rock star in his own mind as he is in the public eye. I didn't really understand all that.

So when I started writing material that was more or less back to roots Guns N' Roses... I didn't really have the chance to do that with "Use Your Illusion", because with that we were going through so much of a mish-mash of all kinds personal changes and this, that and the other. […]

So then we come home, and I'm writing material that's just the same as the kind of material I used to write in the old days, and Axl's whole trip was...

Everybody used to go, "What's gonna happen when Guns is no longer.. when a new fad comes along?" or whatever. And I'd be, "I don't give a fuck". And I watched it happen, and it didn't matter to me. With Axl it mattered a hell of a lot. Next thing you know, he wants to be Pearl Jam, right? Why? I hate Pearl Jam anyway, so what's the point? And it's great to watch Pearl Jam going through what they're going through, cos I'm going, "See Axl?"

We do what we do the best that anybody does. Let's just go out and do a club tour, a theatre tour, and fucking get back down to where we have some validity with an audience that we can relate to. But Axl was all fucking.. he wants to be on MTV, he wants to do Unplugged, he wants to be this, he wants to be that. So we didn't see eye to eye, and that's where a lot of that bullshit got started, and of course it was blown out of all proportion in the press.

I played him the material that I was writing, and he was like, "I don't wanna do that kind of music." The stuff that he was into, I couldn't understand. So I took the material back […]. And then I booked a tour, and at this point Axl turned around and wanted the material back. And that's where the big shit started, because I told him, "Dude, it's gone. If I remember correctly, it was turned down flat." And that's where we got threats of lawsuits and this, that and the other.


In the early 1990s Slash would talk positively about the band's ballads:

I love playing ballads, I have to admit. It gives me a chance to express a bit more of the subtle and slower side of my playing.

But when his fighting with Axl escalated, and after having left the band, he would change his tune and even talk disparagingly about some of the music he had helped make:

There's some material that Guns does that I don't like. But as a band we all work together. There are some aspects of Guns that I'm not too thrilled about, so this [=Snakepit] was a chance for me to do a simple, off-the-wall-it-doesn't-matter record, ha, ha.

One ballad for me is always enough. Zeppelin's records in the old days were filled with acoustic stuff--that's a style they're good at. I love to write music like that, but only one or two at the most on a record. I concentrate on the more aggressive approach.

I have a problem with [pianos and ballads of GN'R].... When Axl goes to the piano I used to be bored... Some songs are ok, like "November Rain". I think it's interesting recording a good guitar solo over a piano accompaniment, but it's something i don't wanna do too much... It pisses me off...But sometimes, it's ok.

After he released the Snakepit album, an interviewer would ask him if he and Axl had moved in different directions musically:

That's definitely part of it. As you can tell by listening to my album, I want to do heavy songs, to do rock music, whereas Axl would be more into ballad stuff like "November Rain"...

In a later interview he would go even further, referring to Axl's music as "piano-shit" and talking negatively about some of the piano-ballads the band had done:

And last but not least there was Axl with his piano-shit, the gospelsongs and a lot of Rose Tattoo, AC/DC and Nazareth. From these bands he also had the rage in his vocals.

There were never any problems really about the stylistic direction of the band, untill Axl started disagreeing with the rest of us at one moment. It clearly became harder for us to be ourselves, as long as we were working together with him. Can you imagine how sick we were, suddenly having to play ballad-sets with songs like "Estranged", "November Rain", or "Don't Cry". Duff was the first of us who didn't feel like doing that anymore and the whole thing became an essential problem for the band, because we, accomplished musicians, needed to be changed just because of 'stylistic self-circumcision'. At a certain point it was just a war, because Axl didn't like anything anymore that came from us, the others.
Hard Rock (Germany), March 2000; translated from German

Duff would later confirm that Slash had talked negatively about Axl's music, and say that the downfall of Guns N' Roses happened when Slash turned his back to Axl and called the music Axl was working on for "shit":

Everything started when Slash turned his back and said: “This is shit.” [referring to their musical differences.] He and Axl didn’t talk to each other anymore. It had become quite irrational. […] I was always in the middle, the one both came to see, and I got the impression I arbitrated little kids’ quarrels.


The differences between Axl and Slash two didn't only come down to musical direction:

Axl is – like I said, Axl is Axl. You gotta know the man before you can really pass judgement on the guy. The reason I’m not working with Axl at the moment, is only because he wants to do what he wants to do, and I want to do what I want to do; which, mine, is a more simplified just sort of a rock ‘n’ roll thing, where he’s got visions of videos and blah blah blah.

[Responding to interviewer saying that it seems like Slash spends the eternity of the November Rain video trying to sneak out of shot]: Uh, yeah. Well spotted. That wasn't a conscious thing, but I know what you mean. The concept videos I wasn't into. I wrote my own scenes. The car off the cliff, that was mine. Playing outside the church, that was me, because I wanted to get away from the wedding, ha ha. The only time I really lost a battle on a video was on 'Since I Don't Have You' where I came out of the water. That was something I had nothing to do with, but Axl refused to finish the video unless I did it. But those videos and all that stuff are Axl's way of expressing what's going on with him. I still look at Guns N' Roses as just being more or less a nasty rock'n'roll band, whereas he's got visions of grandeur I just don't relate to.

When I first started writing songs, I went to Axl with it and I said, “This is what I’ve been doing,” and he was, like, already thinking about videos that were just big huge movie type things. And I was like, “Oh great,” you know.

And Slash would again state his distaste for the elaborate music videos:

I don't give a fuck about doing epic videos and so on and so forth, or talking about my ex-wife or ex-girlfriend. It's part of Axl's trip - he sees what he's singing, y'know? If you asked me to recite the lyrics to, say, "Don't Cry", the only things I can think of are "Don't cry" and "Talk to me softly". I don't fuckin' know the words. I don't even know the words to the songs I fuckin' wrote in Snakepit!


axl and I are having a very civil relationship as we speak. Thanks for the concern. […] Axl and I have been meeting recently and everythings progressing

Later, in 2000, Slash would look back at how Axl had changed:

When the 90’s rolled around, Axl got really, really into the whole trip and became a more exaggerated version of someone I already knew.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:21 am


Talking about his guitar work in the beginning:

It wasn't until much later [=after Appetite] that I got recognized as a half-decent guitar player. But in the Hollywood scene, we were such a brash band that the whole thing was overwhelming. I just liked to play what I liked to play. As long as I thought I was playing well, I didn't really give a shit what anyone else was thinking. But I've always been very paranoid about the quality of my playing. I'm one of those guys who always asks afterwards, "Did I play okay?" But I wasn't judging my playing by anyone else's standards but my own. I didn't have any convoluted dreams about being a guitar hero.

Slash would be quick to point out his musical limitations:

I'm not well-schooled technically compared to guitar players these days as far as patterns and scales and things like that. I think about what I am about to do and my fingers will be on that note. I have to hear it in my head first, and then go for it. It just takes experience to know exactly what every note on the guitar sounds like so you can pull it out of the hat.

A prerequisite for improvement is wanting to become better and back in 1992 Slash had indicated that he still felt limited by his own skills.

I’m very humble about what it is that I do, and I listen to my own stuff and I judge it accordingly. When other people give me compliments or give me praise about my playing I don’t really know what to say, because I still haven’t reached the level where I’m able to pull out of the guitar all the stuff I want to.

In 1995, he would say he had improved and was now a better musician:

It may not sound like it, but I think I have more of a grasp of where the notes I want to hit are. You know, on the Lies album there's all that punk stuff on the second side that was very spontaneous. When you're playing fast and you want to go somewhere and you hear it in your head, you have to be able to get there that quickly. It almost has to be instantaneous – from here to there. And so I think I'm better at that. I don't have any more technical knowledge now than I did in the old days. I really don't practise. I hang out with Steve Lukather a lot and I always used to think he was one of those technical, no-feel guitar players – but Luke played me his solo record at my house (Mr Candyman) when he came back from the studio one night and he'd done four or five songs that were all first takes. It was amazing. He incorporated feel with technical stuff too – I mean, you hear me and it's pentatonic forever! And maybe some minor stuff because I don't know what I'm doing.

One was to improve was to play with better musicians:

The only way I ever learned was by playing under somebody else. Even when I had my own band, I used to go out and jam with people. I don't know where I got the nerve from; I don't remember thinking about it too much, either. I'd just go out and play with people who are 10 times better that me... I'm still working at it. You can't accomplish the instrument to the point where you no longer have to have some sort of musical ambition. There's always something new to learn.

When confronted by a fan who referred to him as the best guitarist ever, Slash responded:

I appreciate the compliment about being the best guitar player, although that's definitely inaccurate, but I do think, in the current music scene good guitar playing is definitely overlooked as being an important element of rock and roll.

It’s very surreal when somebody comes up and says [you’re my inspiration as a guitarist]. It happens every so often and you’ve got a myriad of emotional reactions to it. You can’t really pinpoint, but there’s a lot going on. When a kid walks up to you and he goes, “I started playing guitar because of this song” or “that song” or whatever, you’re like, “Wow!” – you know? And you can’t take it with a grain of salt, because it’s such a big deal. You don’t know how to react, so you just say, “Thank you very much” and try not to flip out over it, you know? (laughs) But it has a huge effect on you for the moment. It’s a big deal, because I know how I am about guitar players that I’ve met, that I’ve grew up listening to, and how over-the-top you get when you get to meet one of them. You don’t even know where to begin to ask questions, if you ask any at all, so you get sort of frozen in that time. So if somebody comes up to me, I sort of know what they’re feeling, and that’s probably one of the biggest compliments as a musician you can get.

And talking about consciously trying to be better:

As much as Guns just kind of got pigeonholed into this bad-boy, sloppy circus thing, I was actually trying to hone in on the guitar playing. I wasn't trying to turn it into a Steve Vai, technical kind of thing. I was trying to play where my heart and soul were coming from. There was a conscious effort to play good.

Describing his playing style:

Everything I do is a mixture of everything else. I don’t think I even know what a bass player’s technique is. I play with a pick, and I have a weird way of slap­ping which I guess nobody else does, I’m doing some of that on the new Guns album [which was never released]. It’s not Flea or anything; I mean, I can’t pretend to do ‘white boy funk,’ and personally I’m not very into that. What I do is just an ... applied abrasiveness how’s that?

I think, as soon as I got an electric guitar and plugged it in, whatever it is that I’m doing now started pretty much the same way back then. I knew what I wanted it to sound like and I knew, through trial and error, what to use and what not to use to get that, and I’ve been trying to – I don’t know, not necessarily perfect it, but I just try and keep that base for everything that I do, and, if I do anything above and beyond that, it starts from that base. That’s been like that ever since I was 16, 15-16 years old. I guess that’s a mixture of all the stuff. I have a real kind of defined sense of what I like and what I don’t like, and so it makes it easy for me to sort of pick my own sound, because it’s just what I want to hear. So I haven’t really had a lot of experimenting going on. There was a period there with amps, you know, trying to find the amp, trying to find the right guitar, but I knew – when I’d hear it, I knew exactly when I thought it was right, it would be instantaneous. I probably didn’t have the experience to say that back then, but now, looking back on it, I can tell how I got from that point to this point.

Playing real fast for fast's sake is very irritating to me.

Slash in late 2000:

But I will say that I think my playing is more spontaneous now. At this point, I just go for the throat. I didn't work out any set solos for Ain't Life Grand--I just put them down live with the band. A long time ago it was harder for me to do that. I'd have an idea about what I wanted to do, but the time it took to apply that idea from my head to the fretboard was a little slower than it is now.

I'm very conscientious about my intonation these days. It was something that my old manager mentioned to me, because in the early Guns days it was so haphazard. He said, 'just keep your ear on the intonation', and it really stuck in my mind. So where I'm at now is just trying to get better and better at the original format in which I started, as far as rock ‘n’ roll guitar is concerned. I’m just a little bit more conscientious about things when it comes to bending, or when it comes to not playing too many notes and just relaxing.

As I’m a very aggressive player, I play really fast for no real reason except that the energy level will just take me there. Within reason, that's cool, but you don't have to go through this whole flurry of notes - just sit on the one, stay on the one note, it sounds good - and then start to branch out in the next couple of bars. I'm more aware of that now than I was back when I was 19, 20 years old.

Talking about other players looking up at Slash:

Scary! It's weird because, although I've grown as a player, I still feel like I'm just trying to get up to speed. I'm still going out there every night and making sure I play the licks right. So when kids come up to me and say things like, "I started playing guitar because of you," I just think it wasn't that long ago that/was doing the same thing they are. I feel flattered, but it's very humbling, When I walk onstage, I feel the pressure of people expecting so much from me.

And discussing where he would be in five years (from 2002):

Hopefully just touring. As a player, I’m in that process of discovering that I’ve learned a lot over the years, and it’s becoming a little bit easier to express myself on the guitar and know what I’m doing, as to when I used to do it and not know how the hell I got this sound or that sound and just went with it. Now it’s sort of becoming a little bit more second nature, and so I figure the next five years I’m just gonna be out playing and doing what it is that I’ve always been doing, just five years later (laughs).

And how he comes up with solos:

The most important thing is to be able to hear it in your head and apply it through your fingers to your neck in a split second. That’s what people miss out on. Instead of playing patterns, hear the melody you’re going for. You need enough experience to know where it is on the neck. I’m still learning this; it’s something that very few guitar players of my generation even paid attention to. You have a better chance of reaching your goal if you hear the solo before it happens, rather than just flipping around.

In 2004 Slash would talk about scales:

Although I was never properly schooled in scales, over the years I’ve learned what a scale is and how to put together a series of notes that sound harmonically correct. But there are a lot of players whose technical knowledge is far superior to mine – guys that have a good grasp of music theory and apply it to their playing all the time. I can’t do that, but I do know how to take a basic scale and change the notes around to suit my needs. I also know how to play major, minor and pentatonic scales all the way up the neck, but that’s about as complicated as I get.

And about his accomplishments:

The thing with me is I have a constant struggle every single night - even after good nights - where I’m just trying to express what’s going on in my head, with my left-hand technique, with my right-hand technique and just to make it all happen. You know, just trying to grow this thing. I don’t think you’ll ever get to that place... Well, I bet Chet Atkins has. But for me I’m still working on being, in my mind, what a good guitar player is or what it is, I guess, that I’d like to hear as far as my tastes are concerned.

I don’t really feel all that accomplished, so the notoriety I’ve picked up over the years as a guitar player is really fucking overwhelmingly flattering and it’s hard for me to accept it. There’s amazing guitar players all over the place that are capable of so much shit: voicings, melodies inside the chords, scales that fit inside certain chord changes. Shit that I don’t know anything about. So it’s very belittling to me, as much as I do know. I don’t walk around thinking I’m some kind of guitar hero. The only thing that I feel I’ve got a handle on is the passion for it, and a sort of god-given feel for a couple of different rock-blues concepts. Intonation and bends that are done properly and hit you in the heart, I have a feel for those too. Whether I’ve managed to pull it all off, technically and physically, is another matter altogether.

I think I’ve come to terms with my limitations as a guitar player. So I’m trying to break those boundaries, but I’m too lazy to study - to get into it technically. From the viewpoint of trying to break it down and analyse it, that’s never gonna happen. But I’m always trying to add to my repertoire.

The actual blazing part, when it happens, it’s not something that I sit down and practice per se, but when the part calls for it and you feel that energy in that particular section of the song, it just more or less happens. There’s a song on the [Velvet Revolver] record called Headspace that has a really quick solo. When I did that I had to go back and listen to make sure I’d hit all the notes. That was a spur of the moment solo and every time I play that live it’s still hard to do. And it’s not really that hard a lick: most blazing guitar players would be able to pull that off with one hand behind their back. But I do love having those little fits and flurries.

Being asked if there is some song he wanted to be able to play, but couldn't:

Y’ know, there isn’t really anything you can’t learn on guitar. I’ve heard some intimidating stuff over the years and you get so focused on it you think, ‘I gotta at least learn it, I have to learn it.’ That, for me, is just a part of my personality. If something gets the best of me 1 have to conquer it. I think I’ve managed to learn everything I’ve ever wanted to, but there are some things you just have to let go. Whether it’s a tonal thing, a really strange bend, learning some Jeff Beck stuff, or something that’s uniquely personal to that guitar player. You get to the point where you understand how that player did it, but you can't do it the same way as them

Comparing himself to when he was in the 20s:

My overall approach hasn’t changed - the only thing that’s changed is experience. I’m more in tune with what I’m doing than I used to be. I’ve always been able to pick up the guitar, know where the solo is and play something and feel it. Now I’m a lot more in touch with what I’m doing - I can sustain a note longer because I’m not as nervous a guitar player as I used to be. It’s hard to pinpoint exact changes, but playing live I’m more conscious of the relationship between me and my guitar than I was back in the day.

And being challenged to describe what makes his guitar playing unique:

What I was gonna say when I was talking about Van Halen was, you can take the same guitar and close to the same amp or the same amp and learn somebody else’s playing or technique or whatever it is, and actually realize that at least you’re starting off with the right gear (laughs). You can do that. If you’re trying to do the sound of somebody, it helps to have similar kind of gear and then basically it’s all about technique and stuff. But for me personally, I don’t know what it is that I do. I don’t know if I could stand back from it. I know there are certain things I do that are very identifiable to me – I hit hard or I attack hard; the vibrato thing is something I don’t know anything about. I’m very keen on intonation and stuff like that; it’s something I learned early on because I really hate bad intonation in lead guitars; it drives me insane. But I don’t know too many different combinations of things that I do that I could really stand back and go, “Well, you have to do this and this and this.” I’m way too insecure a guitar player to even go there!

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:22 am



In February 1995, just before heading out to tour with Snakepit, Slash had said there was no new music recorded on tape, and that all they had was already used, either on Use Your Illusions or on his Snakepit record, or their pinball machine [Kerrang! January 14, 1995]. In April, though, Slash would contradict this by saying they had started rehearsing and recording new music:

We've just been taping shit. and writing down ideas. It's not what you'd call completely focused, but still productive anyway. I'm on tour for the next five months. but those guys will still keep working. That's why Matt's not touring with us; he's gonna stay working with Guns. Axl wants to make another record — he genuinely does. In September when I get back, the first thing I'll do is try and really focus on the Guns project, or whatever we're doing, and take it from there. I'd like to get a record out by next year.

Later in the year Slash would again state that they had worked on music before he left to tour with Snakepit:

When I left town, Axl and Matt and Duff and I had worked on new material. I hadn't heard Axl sing anything, but he was there while we were fucking around jammin.

In November 1995, Metal Hammer would release an interview with Slash that was likely done in August. In this interview, Slash talks about the music they had recorded, and this must have been from before he went on tour:

Yeah! We've got tapes of what Axl considers great songs, which from my point of view is just me playing the guitar! I haven't heard any lyrics or any vocals, so I don't know what a song is until then. You know what I mean?

In June, Slash would say he hadn't talked to Axl in 6 months [Dutch TV, June 5, 1995], suggesting that the working on the next record took place in January 1995, at the latest. This coincides with Wylde jamming with the band, implying that those sessions were the last time Slash played with GN'R before leaving on his tour with Snakepit.

Slash would also describe the music they had been working on, in not so flattering terms:

Considering Gilby's not in the band, it's been sort of like random, kind of weird shit.

Slash would talk more about the work they had done:

Anyway, when I took off [to tour with Snakepit], we had an agreement, so we came to terms with the whole situation, but we did do some... like, off-the-wall kind of writing and recording and this and that and the other. And they're still trying to work on things […]


It is unlikely much was done in the period March-September 1995 when Slash was gone touring with Snakepit.

In an update from the band's fan club, sent out in mid-1995, Duff would excitedly say they were working on new music:

We’re writing tunes and looking forward to getting in the recording studio real soon!!
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995

In an interview published in mid-1995, Duff would say he couldn't do the interview earlier because he had been working on Guns N' Roses' new record [Gearhead Magazine, May 1995].

But in an official newsletter that was probably sent out in 1996, but with content from some time in 1995, Matt would describe the new music in terms that would suggest they hadn't recorded much yet:

We are going to get back to being more simplistic, but then again we are going to be experimental as usual and kick some ass. We are headed in the vein of rocking a little harder.

Despite having started making music again, the band had still not replaced Gilby:

Now that Gilby's gone, there is no other guitar player at the moment.

Not long before, Slash had expressed uncertainty in regards to whether Zakk Wylde was in the band or not [RAW, March 1, 1995], indicating that Slash was out of the loop and that it was entirely run by Axl now. He would reiterate this uncertainty in April:

I don't know whether [Wylde is] going to be part of the band or not. Axl really wants to do a Guns record now. But there's a lot of debate over who's going to play guitar. Axl and I were having an argument about it yesterday.

And later in April, it would be reported that Wylde was indeed rehearsing with the band while Slash was on tour with Snakepit [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 28, 1995].

Slash was not optimistic about what had been done while he was away:

I don’t think they’ve done anything yet. I don’t know what everybody’s thinking at this point but I know what the rumours are. All I know is I left and said I’d be back at a certain time. […] I’ve checked in on a daily basis to make sure everything is fine. I haven’t talked to Axl directly because he’s been in court — the Erin thing.

We met Brian [Tichy], and Brian is a great drummer. So I said, “Matt, deal with Guns N’ Roses.” Those guys are supposed to be working (laughs). They’re not working, but they’re supposed to be. But at least he is there in case they do decide to do anything.

Slash was still unsure about whether Paul was in the band, and would again express negativity towards this scenario:

[Paul] didn't work out, so I'm not really sure where the fuck that shit's headed. I'll deal with it when I get back off the road.

Paul is in my mind completely useless. I hate that guy. I’m sorry, I’m sure he’s very nice but in a rock n roll context he’s pathetic, and as far as his relationship with Izzy, they’re Indiana kids, I can understand he feels comfortable, but I refuse to ever play with him again. I have to go home and deal with that, but as far as I know he’s out.

Slash much more wanted Gilby back in the band:

As far as Gilby goes, if we were going to do a tour I’d talk to Gilby about it. He said he might consider it but there’s a lot gone under the bridge on that one between Axl and him.

Simply put, the missing guitarist was a big concern to Slash:

Right now as far as I’m concerned it’s a big open hole. I’m concerned with it in the back of my mind, which is where it will stay until later in August when I concentrate all my attention on Guns and try to see where Axl and I can meet eye to eye on something.

Guns is under extreme pressure right now. Everybody wants to make a record. Axl wonders what sort of record it should be. It was an interesting reality for me to throw [Snakepit] together and see what happens, as compared to overthinking it and worrying too much about what others think.

After returning from his tour with Snakepit, Slash would be less excited about the amount of work that had been tour by the guys left behind and say the band had only jammed twice during this whole period:

Anyway, they were supposed to keep working while I was gone. That's why Matt didn't come on tour with us, because he was supposed to help keep that foundation for them to jam. Well they only jammed like twice since I was gone, so no one had really been doing anything.

This is corroborated by this quote from Matt in late 1996 where he said he had seen Axl in the period but that they "didn't really work" together:

I must agree with [Axl], because he's a visionary. He knows what GNR should be 2 or 3 years in advance. When we got out of the plane [in 1993], he said: "Guys, we'll see us again in 96". It was 3 years ago. And now, we work together and an album will be released in 97. […] I saw him! But we didn't really work.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:22 am


Since the end of 1993, Axl had not been doing any interviews [as far as we can tell], instead deciding to lay low with less media exposure than before. This could be because he was busy with personal work like his ongoing legal battles, that he felt there was nothing to say since the band was fragmenting and with no clear future, or because he didn't like the press and doing interviews, or any other reason unknown to us..

The only thing he’s got going that’s a pain in the ass for him right now is the whole Stephanie Seymour lawsuit.

[…] with Axl that whole trip [=the UYI tour] that we'd just taken had really become a part of him, to the point where Axl is as much a rock star in his own mind as he is in the public eye. I didn't really understand all that.

In 2005, Craig Duswalt, Axl's former personal assistant, would explain that Axl "is not so great in public":

Axl is one of the nicest guys in the world. He's not so great in public but I think it's because he's uncomfortable with his fame and probably because he's pretty much "invaded" all the time. One on one, he's great - he loves to discuss, debate... everything. Yes he has issues, but we all do. During the tour he was a great friend to me and a great friend to my wife. I have total respect for him.

One exception to his avoidance of the public was the Elton John induction at the Hall of Fame in January 1994 [see previous chapter] where he came together with his girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Driver.

Jennifer Driver and Axl from January 1994
Driver would feature in the Since I Don't Have You video

In July 1996, it would be reported that he had taking guitar lessons [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996] and had cut his hair short [New York Daily News, July 11, 1996].

Duff would comment upon Axl's lifestyle and all the rumors about him:

You know what is the problem with Axl? He doesn't go out at all and then everybody starts rumors. But Axl Rose has a normal life!
hard Rock, August 1996; translated from French

Then, in August, it would be reported that Axl would be featured in the movie "The Underground Comedy Movie" together with people like Joey Buttafuoco and Anna Nicole Smith [Red Deer Advocate, August 1, 1996]. The finished movie which was released in 1999, did not feature Axl but did feature Slash in the sketch Miss America Bag Lady Pageant so it is likely the press got it wrong and that Axl was never intended for the movie.

In October 1996, the Malibu area was ravaged by wildfires and it was mentioned in the press that Axl's house was saved by firefighters [AP/The Press Democrat, October 23, 1996].

In 2002 Axl would explain why he became a recluse:

It didn't exactly come natural. I would say that originally, I was shy, and we would fight through it, and a lot of substance abuse would get you out there in front of those cameras. You get like, 'Hey, I can do anything.' And that was like in the past. But also… a lot of this has had to also do with… There's a lot of really difficult legal situations that have gone on over the years. I haven't been quite the recluse that people make it out - I just don't go places were people are taking my pictures, or I know that's gonna happen, or there's gonna be interviews, or looking for the public spotlight - I have stayed out of that. There is also talking in interviews… Anything I would say would then turn around and be used against me in these various, behind-the-scenes court cases and they're all very, very complicated - things lasted for years in all kinds of cases that the public doesn't really know about yet - and little by little there'll be more time to talk about those things, but I'm more interested in having the music talk first, and I'll say what happened later.

And explain that he wasn't so much being away from the public as not being recognized:

I get, like, the rap about the recluse and all that kind of crap, but the reality is that I just don’t really seek out any kind of media until I had something that I felt like, you know, then we’d want to go promote it or something. I’m not really into promoting myself for stardom’s sake or any of that. So it’s funny, because there’s areas in L.A. that I’ve gone to for the last nine years, and suddenly now there’s paparazzi taking my pictures. And it’s like, “Axl’s out!” and it’s like, “Well, I was here last weekend.” But now that we did the MTV thing it’s starting to turn into something again – you know, more like the old days.

I just don't go looking to promote myself on every little thing until there's some kind of product, or something to put out that I think is worth it. And we've been working on this band and trying to get things right for a long time. If I go to, like, do interviews or anything like that, it just gets turned around by so many people around the world who don't have anything better to do than to try to shoot anything down, and that was just too draining to deal with everybody else. It's interesting… In L.A., there's places that I go to all the time, but since I did the MTV thing, I go to the same place, and suddenly there's paparazzi, and it's like, “Axl's out!” And it’s like, well, I was here last weekend and you didn't care. You know? I just wasn’t going - I used to live behind Tower Records on Sunset and I lived right behind Spago. And if you wanted to, you could go down and stand there and all the paparazzi would take your pictures and stuff — it's just dependent on if you wanted to. I mean, I never did that, but you drove by it every day. There's other people there that would purposely go there to get their photos taken and stuff. It's not my world.

Vegas is a cool place. In the years when people thought I wasn’t doing much, I spent a lot of time in Vegas. Not partying or gambling – just walking around at night people watching.


Regardless of Axl's reasons for not doing press, this meant that the rest of the band members' opinions and statements would dominate, particularly Slash's.

Slash was doing interviews continuously and when asked if all the rumours about the band was allowed to run rampant due to their silence, he would say:

Well, I’m communicative. I’ll talk to anybody.

Later Axl would claim he purposely stayed silent so as to not help promote their projects:

There's a lot of misconceptions, because I wasn't gonna get in a one-on-one war with the old guys, because I felt that all that would do was gonna promote their albums and bring attention to that, and I didn't want to help that at all.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:22 am

JULY 1995

In July 1995, Dizzy would have to go to trial after pleasing not guilty to a misdemeanor case drunk-driving after having been arrested on February 9, 1995 [Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1995]. Dizzy's claim was that he had not been driving the car, and that it was Sean Riggs who had been driving [Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1995]. The jury's verdict was that Dizzy was guilty and he was sentenced to "five days of community service" and a fine of $1,515 [Los Angeles Times, July 21, 1995]. In addition, Dizzy was ordered to attend alcohol education classes [Los Angeles Times, July 21, 1995].

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:22 am


One of the going attitudes about [Snakepit] and about the whole concept - well, it’s not even a concept, just the way the record is – is that instead of looking at everything from oblique point of view, instead of everything being half empty, we sort of look at everything as being half full. So, a lot of the sort of downside to Guns N’ Roses, you just have to take it for what it is, and that way you look at everything with a sort of smile on your face. It’s like, “Whatever” and it keeps life from being too stressed, I think. You know, I never really thought about it till just now (laughs).


Despite numerous claims that GN'R was his main focus, slowly Slash started to admit that his mind was occupied with Snakepit and that he saw both bands happening simultaneously:

We've started writing [for a new Snakepit record] already. It's like my mistress, I guess.

Talking about the whole process:

Anyway, so we finished [the first Snakepit record], we had nothing to do and the record company was like: "This is a cool record. Why don't you go out and promote it?" I was like: "What do you mean?" They said: "You could go to like, England, Japan and Australia. I was like: "Really? Get the fuck out of the house. Ok, let's go!" […] So, in that process... We had the guitars, we started writing more material. And so now everybody's looking forward to just doing another Snakepit record, you know. On the side of whatever... Like, I haven't quit Guns, Gilby's got his own band, Mike Inez obviously has Alice [in Chains], Matt's in Guns. But we can sort of do this... It's sort of like a mistress band.

And talking about why he started a new band:

There's a lot of confusion as to what this is about. Did I quit Guns? No. Why am I doing this? Because I felt like it. […] I actually had no intention of doing a separate project. I was more or less just writing songs for fun like I normally would. And then I played some of the songs for Axl, and he didn't want to do them. The music was too retro for him or something.

Guns is just one of those long, drawn-out processes, you know, and that’s probably another reason why I’m doing things the way that I’m doing them, just to get back to where you’re desperate [laughter]. You know, Guns can sit around and make up ideas till the cows come home.

Slash with his new band mates

And on a second album, and contrasting it with making music with GN'R:

We’ve already started throwing ideas back and forth and I'm really excited because it’s such an easy writing process with this particular group.

After Guns is done with whatever it is Guns does, I can call up the other guys and say, "Do you want to make another record?," and we can do it in a couple months.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

When there’s a period where Guns N’ Roses isn’t working, like after the tour or whatever, then I’m gonna do another Snakepit record and come back and play clubs.

He would further indicate that already from the start he had envisioned doing a second album with Snakepit, somewhat undermining his claims that he was more or less driven to do a solo-project when Axl rejected the songs:

[Talking about the name of the band]: That was a record-company thing. When I finally delivered the tape, they wanted to put Slash on it, just to help people recognize what the band was. It's true I initiated it, because it was my studio, the Snakepit studio. But I told (the record-company) I didn't want the other guys in the band to feel undermined, because they have as much playing as I do. I said OK for this record, but the second one will be Snakepit only.

But that a second album wouldn't happen until after GN'R's next album, indicating a dedication to GN'R:

There won’t be a Snakepit second record until Guns next record is done.

And contrasting his experience with Snakepit with Guns N' Roses:

I’m talking to you to shed some light on what Snakepit’s about but that’s not a pain in my ass. Dealing with the Guns N’ Roses thing is. Like pulling f—ing teeth out. What’s going on with us? I really don’t know.

Guns N’ Roses is more or less my family; you know, that’s where I come from. Snakepit is definitely a little bit more personal for me, because I can’t seem to make Guns N’ Roses sound like that anymore, even though I do try. The Snakepit thing is nice for me, but at some point I do have to go back and focus on Guns N’ Roses. So in August that’s what I have to do.

Later in the year, there would be indications that Slash was preferring his mistress Snakepit over his wife Guns N' Roses:

But I have to tell you one thing: I do want to get a Guns N' Roses record out as soon as possible, so we can do a tour and so that I can then go back and do another Snakepit record afterwards. It's developing into being such a good band.

In 1996, when Slash hadn't played with Guns N' Roses in over a year and his future in the band looked dimmer and dimmer, Slash still insisted that GN'R was his main priority and that a second Snakepit album would have to wait:

I'll do a Snakepit cd hopefully after GNR's next record.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:23 am

MAY 2, 1995

On May 2, 1995, the movie 'Panther' would be released. The soundtrack featured a collaboration between Slash, Brian McKnight and the Boys Choir of Harlem, doing ' The Star-Spangled Banner'.

I did a soundtrack for a movie called The Black Panthers. It's not virtuoso guitar playing by any means. I played my version of "The Star Spangled Banner." I played it note for note, as opposed to trying to do the Hendrix version, although you can hear some influences of Hendrix in some of the note choices. There's some blues stuff in there, but it's very slow, and I played the exact melody from the original so I held a standard for the movie. It sounds really strong the way it is without any guitar dive bombs or all that shit. Everybody's tried to do that. I ended up adding a couple licks here and there that are very mellow, but they sound good. It's got a lot of vibe to it.

Soundtrack to Panther
May 2, 1995

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:23 am


In September 1995, Matt and Duff would form a new band called The Neurotic Outsiders [The Courier Journal, July 6, 1996; Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996]. The lineup featured Matt, Duff, Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), and John Taylor (Duran Duran) [The Courier Journal, July 6, 1996; Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996].

Just so everybody knows, Duff's playing guitar in this band. He's the bass player in GN'R. So, maybe some people were confused he's playing bass. John Taylor is the bass player for Duran Duran. So… you know, Duff's playing guitar on this.

Matt started it to get a bit away from Guns N' Roses:

Guns N' Roses is so big, with the journalists, the travels with 100 people, we all have bodyguards. My bodyguard found it difficult to follow me! With the Neurotic, I come back to my roots, something simple and fun. It's really cool for the fans who want to see us close.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

One of the reasons Duff joined this new band was to get his "life back in gear" after his serious health issues in 1994 [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996]. It would also be a way for him, like it had been for Slash and his Snakepit, to reconnect with fans after the stadium tours of Guns N' Roses:

Neurotic gave me back something. I dunno if I lost it, playing stadiums and arenas, but you’re so far from the people, the feedback from who you’re playing to gets lost. We toured for almost three years. There was something missing and you can forget what that is.

Duff was afraid that he might not be able to play well while being sober:

I was scared to death that when I became sober that I wouldn't be able to play anymore. When I was invited into a band called Neurotic Outsiders with Steve Jones, Matt Taylor and John Fulham they were all sober. Jones was one of my idols and had been sober for what seemed forever. He played better than ever and through that experience I found out that I could too.

Duff also knew Jones from biking:

I met [Jones] riding mountain bikes, actually, that's how we became friends - riding mountain bikes together. Which was great because I completely emulated his guitar style and I'm glad we didn't meet through playing. […] we met at an Aerosmith gig and we were talking and...[…] I was up the next day, I was going in a race. He said, "really? I ride," and blah blah blah, so we started riding together […]

I used to put together my ultimate punk rock band when I was, like, 17 and 18, and Steven Jones was always in it. There wouldn't be rock 'n' roll now as it is if it weren't for Steven Jones. That's the way I feel, but that's just simply the way it is.

The Michigan Daily would recount the start of the band:

The story behind the formation of Neurotic Outsiders is quite a simple one: A year ago, Sorum got a call from the manager of L.A.'s Viper Room about getting a band together for a charity benefit. He called Taylor to plass bass and McKagan and Jones to play guitar. Thus, Neurotic Outsiders was born. The band started playing covers of The Stooges, Sex Pistols and the Clash among others at the packed Hollywood hot spot. The chemistry erupted into the Outsider's war punk rock, and the band decided to continue playing together and record an album.

Duff and Matt would describe how it started:

[…] Matt Sorum from Guns got this call from Sal from the Viper Room to do this benefit for this guy who's got cancer, put a band together. So he called Steve and John Taylor to play bass and my to play guitar. And it was kind of a godsend, we got together... […]

Jonesy had a record he was working on and all of us had the tape. Matt had played on some of it, and it was my favorite tape of last summer, so we started playing the songs 'Nasty Ho' and 'Jerk.' We basically crushed the songs and said fuck the solo record. […] I'm as excited as I was when Guns was promoting our first record.

[…] it was 1 year and a half ago. This guy, Sal, called me et asked me if I could help him for that charity concert. He called me because he knows me. I like to hang out in L.A., I go to parties, I like to have a drink with everybody. So I called all the musicians that I knew. John Taylor and Steve Jones agreed immediately. Then I called a lot of people, Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Shannon Hoon (he was still alive), Ian Astbury (The Cult), but they weren't interested. The last I called was Duff. We already had a bassist, John, and I was uncomfortable to ask him to play guitar. He was enthusiastic when I told him he was going to play with Steve Jones. For this concert, there was Duff, John, Steve and me. Izzy Stradlin, West Arkeen and Steve Stevens (ex-Billy Idol) were also there. So we made $10,000. […] Two weeks later, John called me from London. He said: "It was so cool. We must do it again!". At this time, Guns N' Roses was in stand-by and it was before the Sex Pistols reunion, so we didn't had much things to do, so we said OK. During 2 months, we did the Mondays Nights at the Viper Room. It then started to be great. A lot of people wanted to play with us. We had Billy Idol, Iggy Pop, Brian Setzer (Stray Cats), a great musician, Simon LeBon (Duran Duran). Billy Idol even wanted to be a member of the band!
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

This started out as just a fun thing to do. And the best part is it’s still a fun thing to do. We all first got together a year or so ago to play a benefit concert for a friend of ours at the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip. We had such a good time that we started showing up there kind of regularly on Monday nights, and before we knew it, this band had taken on a life of it’s own. A number of out friends would stop by from time to time, including Billy Idol, Ian Astbury and Izzy Stradlin, but the bass unit always stuck together.

When we got onstage to do the first gig and did a soundcheck, we were like, 'Wow!' As a musician, you really do know when the chemistry is right--because it doesn't happen that often.

The charity event drew $10,000 and was for a friend of Viper Club's owner (Sal Jenco) who had been diagnosed with cancer [Calgary Herald, September 6, 1996]. But out of this humble beginnings grew a more serious musical project [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996]. In late September 1996, they embarked on a tour [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996]:

On this tour we're doing, Matt and I fly back from Toronto and then we do four days with Guns (recording) and then we go back out, so Matt and I are playing every single night with one or the other (bands) in September.

Matt would explain how this supergroup was formed in June 1995 at Johnny Depp's nightclub The Viper Room in Hollywood:

[…]it was all my idea. God, was that nuts. It started at the Viper Room… Umm, this guy named Sal, that runs the place, gave me a call for a benefit for a guy that had cancer, and asked me to call out all my celebrity friends, so we could raise some money for this guy. So, I called all my knuckle-head, you know, somewhat celebrity musicians that I knew, to come down and at the end of the night… uuh, Steve and Duff and John and myself got up on stage and played a few songs. And then we had such a good time we started playing there every Monday night for a couple of months. And then, before we knew it, there was record company people and all that stuff. And the rest is, you know… on record now.

[…] it was something fun for us to do, you know. We started out just playing down at this club in LA, just so we could jam, you know. And we had no intention of doing a record or anything. It just became like, a fun thing for us, and we're all friends and we had a good time.

The Neurotic Outsiders

Later, Matt would say they had struck a "multi-million record deal" on Madonna's Maverick Records that included one record and limited touring [Toronto Sun, September 4, 1996].

Basically our band is about no egos. All of us have been in bands with singers, lead singers, and they're difficult. Lead singers are just difficult. They just are. I'm sorry. If you don't hold an instrument in your hand, then you're just gonna be a pain in the ass.

Commenting on their album:

Certainly we didn’t set out with the idea of making an album. That may have been one of the last things on out minds, but when you play in LA and there is a buzz about your band and your music, it isn’t long before the labels find you. That’s just the way it is. So before we knew it a lot of labels were coming around, asking if we wanted to make an album. It put the seed in our heads, and we all started writing. John and Steve have written a few songs both together and alone, I came up with a few interesting things too. That’s when Maverick stepped forward with a very nice offer; we responded to them because they had the right vibe. They were part of Warner Bros., but they acted like they were an indie. That’s what we wanted. That’s when we really got to work. We polished up the songs that we had been working on and then tried to see how we should round out the album. We threw our original songs in with a few cover tunes we liked, and it turned into a pretty strong album.

We’ve all been in bands where it’s taken months to make albums and everyone has had to stand round waiting for things to happen. We wanted to create just the opposite feel here. We wanted to keep everything so loose and so free that there was no chance of anyone getting bored or the music getting stale. We have three different singers in Jonesy, John and myself, and that helps add to the diversity. When you hear Steve’s guitar blending n the songs themselves, for example, it can’t help but put a smile on your face. It’s just classic rock and roll, the kind of music we all love.

The band would release their eponymous album on Maverick Records in September 1996.

Apparently, Axl was a big fan of the record:

I came into (Guns N' Roses) rehearsal last night and Axl goes, 'Dude… this record … is amazing. It's so important.' And he was singing the words to every song.

I went into rehearsal one day and Axl was singing all the words to the songs. He loves it. And he’s very indicative of an American kid; he’s from the Midwest. I think that’s indicative of the excitement — this is the first white rock record in, like, five years that talks about chicks. It’s just pure, simple rock ’n’ roll, straight and to the point. We’re not trying to be politically correct. Everything’s got its place, but it’s time to rock again.

When asked what would happen if the new band became popular with Duff having to juggle two bands at the same time, Duff would respond:

If it takes off, that's kind of a quality problem.

In 1997 it would be rumoured that the band had cancelled a plan because Axl allegedly insisting on Duff and Matt focusing on Guns N' Roses [CyberSleaze, December 27, 1996; Rolling Stone, January 13, 1997]. IT would also be rumoured that Steven Jones would guest on the next Guns N' Roses record [CyberSleaze, December 27, 1996].

Yet, even after Duff quit Guns N' Roses, it seems Neurotic Outsiders was dead.

If it happens again, it happens, and that's all it ever was.

[Being asked if they will release a new album some time]: Maybe. If the record company really asks for it, while leaving us alone, we could consider it.

Looking back at the band:

Playing with Steve Jones had the same impact on me of the time when Slash and myself played on Iggy Pop’s album, Brick By Brick. Those are guys who influenced me. Playing in the same band, recording an album and going on tour with Steve was pretty incredible. It feels great to think that Steve Jones is one of my best friends. Guns N’ Roses already played in Seattle, at the Kingdome Stadium, but it’s only when I came back with the Neurotic Outsiders that I felt I had succeeded, because I played in my hometown, with Steve, one of my idols. I always respected John [Taylor’s] bass playing. When I was a kid, Duran Duran was just starting to become famous and everybody told me I looked like him. It was quite funny. John impresses me not only by his style, but also as a human being. He’s a very open person.

I was still in Guns when the idea started to take shape, but we were idle. I used to go to our practice place, me and Matt would play for a while, but no one else used to show up. Slash was having trouble with Axl and, well, you know the story already. Axl would finally show up like at 4 a.m., oh well, fuck it! I realized I didn't want to wait until 4 in the morning to practice anymore. My life had changed. I'm not going to talk shit about anyone. Everybody does things for their own reasons. I've grown more reasonable, and I think I've always been, but now I do stick to it. I do as I say, and say as I think. I was not going to go "Ok, it's fine man, I'll swallow it again". No. I faced it and said no way, this is not fair. if it happens three more times I'm out. Well, it did happen. So Jonesy (Steve Jones) and I had been practicing and playing some gigs, because Guns were doing nothing. We were playing the Viper Room every Monday night. It was awesome! We did it for charity. Afterwards we got a record deal. Of course our interest was not beyond that, but as soon as you try to keep something quiet record companies start to pop up everywhere, all of a sudden. We didn't want to make a record, but we finally said "Fuck Maverick, make us a good offer!" They said "Hey, you don't have to tour, we realize you each have your own stuff to do". So we said it was OK and did the record. I love that record! I was going to work with Steve Jones and he's my friend. We wanted to play some gigs, which is something I hope I'll be able to do for a long time. I think the band fans realized what the whole thing was about. It was something we did once and for a certain time, so there was no pressure involved at all.

And when asked if he ever thinks they will do a reunion concert:

Oh, I hope so. We played three songs at a charity gig here in Hollywood about… two years ago, I guess, two-and-a-half years ago? And it was great. We played three songs and I think we all wish we would have played the whole set. So, one day. I mean, Steve Jones is one of my idols, just guitar idol, and the way that he rolled and wrote songs, and everything. And John Taylor is a great bass player. And, of course, Matt Sorum.

I would, yeah. That was probably the funnest band I’ve ever been in, just because we didn’t give a shit, and we were in a band with [Sex Pistols guitarist] Steve Jones, and everything was sort of like The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle. We got a great huge record deal. We didn’t try, we weren’t trying, and going through all that experience with Jonesy who just didn’t give a fuck, and he’s one of my idols. Being in the navigator’s seat for that was a great experience in my life.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:23 am


In early 1995, Slash would continue to downplay Izzy's guitar-playing skills in a live setting:

And Izzy and I never had a great relationship. I played what I played on my side of the stage, he played on his. Izzy couldn’t really play guitar anyway — he’s a great songwriter. So I could do whatever I wanted, as long as we had a basic arrangement. Then when Izzy quit, Gilby was like a godsend, ’cause we had to put somebody in that spot.

But not long after this, rumours would spread that Izzy had returned to the band [Folha De Sao Paulo Journal, July 21, 1995]. The rumours might have been started after Slash played with Izzy in Chicago on April 27, 1995, during his tour with Snakepit [Kerrang! July 1995].

We played with Izzy in Chicago, that was a great gig.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

Slash would be asked if Izzy was coming back to the band and imply that it could be happening:

I don't know yet.
Metal Edge Magazine, October 1995; interview done on May 15, 1995

Slash would be asked about the Izzy returning rumour again in July, and state that Izzy was interested in writing with the band but not touring:

Izzy agrees with writing stuff but he's not interested in touring... He doesn't want to deal with Axl y'know? The Rockstar thing... Like me, he just wanna play... We never thought GNR would become so big...
Folha De Sao Paulo Journal, July 21, 1995; translated from Portuguese

As far as Izzy goes, I’d love to have Izzy back, but Izzy’s attitude is the same as it always was, he’d love to write some songs, but he doesn’t want to go through the big over-produced, big-production bullshit that we went through on the last tour when he did quit, and I totally agree with him.

Media would also later report that Izzy had returned to Los Angeles in 1995 to write with Axl [Kerrang! August 21, 1999].

In 1996, Slash would talk more about Izzy:

Last time I saw Izzy, he was on the way to Mexico. When I went to play with Alice Cooper [in June 1996], and I haven't seen or heard from him since. As far as I know, he's just doing donuts around the house with his motorcycle.

[Being asked if they are still friends]: As far as I know...actually, I wanted to get together with him to write some songs.

In 2018, Doug Goldstein would deny that Izzy had any plans of returning to the band:

No, Izzy never led anybody to believe anything like that. Certainly not me, and I don’t think Axl [Rose] either.


Slash would reiterate that Izzy wasn't interested in joining as a proper band member and state that he had in fact been writing with Duff:

Izzy jammed with Snakepit in Chicago, and we did a Stones song, and it was great to see him. But Izzy quit Guns because of the same bullshit that sort of forced me to take off for a while.

He's been writing; he wrote some stuff with Duff. He wants to write songs, but he doesn't wanna deal with the whole thing. And it took me a while to finally get to the point where I couldn't handle it either, y'know?

He wants to write material, but he's not really sure what he wants to do. He's so laid back. He doesn't want to deal any pressure. Izzy does what he wants to do.

As much as has gone on, and as much as I resent Izzy for quitting and all that, and leaving me in weird spots where I had to find a replacement weeks before the next leg of a tour, or if he didn't play on the "Use Your Illusion" records - which is for the most part true - looking back on it, Izzy's Izzy.

Duff would also mention having worked with Izzy:

Izzy lives in Malibu. [...] I'm good friends with him, and him and I actually recorded up here at my house about six months ago.

Izzy would later talk about these session and say that it had been Duff who had asked Izzy to come to Los Angeles and write with him, but that the music they wrote didn't go anywhere:

We recorded 10 songs in eight days. It got me excited about music again. I realized how easy the whole process could be. Those sessions were fun and painless. We just had a great time.

Then in ’95 Duff called me, we were recording and had a great time. […] In ’95, Duff and I were recording songs for the band. We did a tape that went nowhere.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

[...] I went back to Los Angeles after I’d got a phone call from Duff: “Hey man, get over here, we’re playing for the opening of a new casino in Las Vegas. I’m in charge of the bill; it will be Iggy Pop, Bo Diddley, B.B. King, etc.” I replied, “Whoaa! When do you want me to join you over there? If I can play with Bo or B.B., I’m coming.” He called me the next day: “Izzy, you’re going to play with both Bo and B.B.” How could I refuse such an offer? So I went there and had the time of my life. Two weeks later, in April 1995, Duff calls again: “I’m trying to write new songs for the next GN’R record. Come lend me a hand.” It’d been five years since I’d left Guns, but I told myself, “Well shit, after all, why not?” Duff and I wrote ten songs in one week, and also made demos of them. And I thought, “It’s so easy.” When you work with someone like Duff, who loves music in the same way you do, everything becomes simple.

Duff and Izzy

Duff, Matt and Izzy

The fate of these songs are unknown, although some of them might have ended up on any of Izzy's later albums or possible some unreleased music from Duff.

Dave Dominguez, who later worked as a sound engineer, would work in the studio when Duff, Izzy, Taz Bentley and Slash worked on new music, at some point after Izzy had left Guns N' Roses [GN'R Central, January 16, 2019]. It is not entirely clear when these sessions took place. Dominguez believes they happened before Juju Hounds, but that is very unlikely since Juju Hounds was Izzy's first project after leaving GN'R. Dominguez also mentions Slash being involved, but he doesn't seem to have been much involved in the sessions between Duff and Izzy in 1995. It is possible the sessions Dominguez talk about happened even later than 1995.

And then I ended up working with... Izzy was out of the band at that point. And so Izzy was writing new stuff for his record. So the chief engineer at Rumbo, Sean Berman, had worked on Spaghetti Incident. So Izzy booked time and it was Duff, Izzy, and Slash with a guy named Taz, I think was the drummer. [...] Yeah, they came in and recorded, they were just in for like three or four days and just jammed to write new stuff for Izzy's... I think this was before the Juju Hounds, if I'm not mistaken. It might've been around that time after, I think it was before it. So then I got to meet those all, all those guys. And I got to meet Izzy and Duff because I was assisting Sean on that. And I was like, "This is awesome." Like, "This is three-fifths of GN'R right in the room, same room." [...] Izzy was always my favorite. Yeah, Izzy, well, during that, yeah, it was just awesome. But Izzy was like the guy that I was like, that style, that's the kind of style I was going for. So Izzy was always my favorite. I'm like, "Oh," at that point you always say like, "Maybe they'll get back together?" "Maybe Izzy will come back?" And you know, after listening to the conversation, like, "Yeah, that's just not gonna happen." [...] and [Izzy] was a nice guy, very soft spoken, just polite. We didn't like, you know, the GN'R thing was just like that was all day. That was, I mean, that was on all night. We worked crazy hours. But like, it was like a normal workday for me come in, he'd do his thing, by eight o'clock, we were at nine o'clock, I think we were out. And then he's come back and do the same thing the next day, and just very like, come in, do his thing and then disappear for another few months. I think Sean ended up working on his, like, after the Juju Hounds, Sean Berman, I think he ended up like co-producing like a couple of the Izzy or one or two of the Izzy solo records he did. Yeah, but you know, it was awesome to watch them, three of them, just jam and then hear the stories about, because we were in the same room, Studio B, where they recorded a lot of Appetite. So you're like, you hear a little some of the stories and you're like, I just sat back and listened and like, "This is awesome." It was just crazy. It was like you said, I was a GN'R fan. So like you sit and listen to them and, and watch them and like, like, yeah, it was awesome. [...] Honestly, I can't remember [if they ever missed a beat], but I'm gonna say probably yes, because they'd been friends for so long that and just jammed. And I don't even think, I could be wrong. I'd have to ask Sean, but I don't even think things were written. They were just jamming and writing parts down or, and there's like, "Oh, that's a great idea." And then riff off something like, "Oh, that kind of works." And then Izzy took the tapes and kind of, I think, wrote from that.


In 1995 Izzy also visited Axl:

I'd moved back out to LA. I bought this old Norton Commando 850 and was riding around one day and I thought, fuck it, I'll go by his house. Bastard, he lives up in the hills, in this big house. I'll go and see what he's up to, what he's doing, you know?

And I go up and he's got security gates, cameras, walls, all this shit, you know. So I'm ringing the buzzers, and eventually somebody comes and takes me up and there he is. He's like, ''Hey, man! Glad to see you!' Gives me a big hug and shows me round his house. It was great.

I like to ride my motorcycle and I know where he lives. One time in 1995, I rang his doorbell and he answered. We hugged, he showed me around his house and we talked. He was cool, we called each other several times after that.

About a month after having reconnected at Axl's place in Malibu, they would talk on the phone, but this would not go so well:

Then, I don't know, probably a month later, one night he calls me [and] we got into the issue of me leaving Guns N' Roses. I told him how it was on my side. Told him exactly how I felt about it and why I left. And man, that's the last time I've talked to the guy!

But, I mean he had a fucking notepad. I could hear him [turning the pages] going, 'Well, ah, you said in 1982... blah, blah, blah...' And I'm like, what the fuck - 1982? He was bringing up a lot of really weird old shit. I'm like, whatever, man. But that's the last time I talked to him.

But, one day on the phone, I found the 90s Axl again. He was taking notes of what I was saying, and then I didn't hear from him again.

Still, in late 1996, Slash would say that if anyone were to come in and replace Gilby it would likely be Izzy [Total Guitar, January 1997]:

It works that way. If you have someone who plays like Izzy and someone like myself, you play off each other. You have two textural things, a different mentality.


Apparently, in 1996 Izzy also sent a bunch of songs, 18 [Expressen Fredag, March 14, 1998] or "around 20" [Rock & Folk, April 1998], to Axl:

When I left the band, I told him: “If you ever need me to make a record, don’t hesitate to call.” Two years ago, I gave him a cassette with around 20 songs on it and without any reply, I received a fax from his lawyer...

Every two or three years I'll put a call in to the office and say, 'Hey, tell Axl gimme a call if he wants to'.

Thereafter [Axl's] lawyers sent me a letter, they wanted me to give Axl the rights for these songs. Fuck you! Use the songs if you want, but leave the lawyers out of this.


In 2001 Axl seemed interested in at least one of the songs he had received from Izzy:

So, a few months ago I found a message on my answering machine: “Yo! It’s Axl, I need a copy of the songs you made.” There was one that was called “Down by the Ocean” or “Down by the Sea”, he might’ve used it, I haven’t heard anything.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:24 am


In Dizzy's drunk-driving trial of July 1995, Sean Riggs would be said to be a studio drummer for Guns N' Roses, and had been so since at least early February 1995 [Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1995]. Later, Riggs would receive writing credits for the song 'Oh My God' that would end up on the 'End of Days' soundtrack in 1999. This is the same Riggs that was the drummer in Dizzy's old bands Johnny and the Jaguars and The Wild, under the name Sid Riggs and the moniker Sid the Kid. The Jaguars later morphed into Johnny Crash and then to The Real McCoys [Krys Baratto, personal communication, August 29, 2020]. Another member of The Real McCoys was the bassist Krys Baratto who, together with Riggs, were also working with Guns N' Roses in the period 1995-1997.

Riggs and Baratto got involved when Matt and Duff focused on the Neurotic Outsiders and Axl wanted to keep working on new music:

I had a band at the time called The Real McCoys and Dizzy was playing in the band as well Actually all of us go way back. Duff and Matt Sorem (who had played with the McCoys when it was still called Johnny Crash) had went off to play with the Neurotic Outsiders with Steve Jones. Axle wanted to keep working on music so he ask Me and the drummer of The Real McCoys, Sid Riggs, if we'd jump in to write and record on the demos. So we did.
Krys Baratto, personal communication, August 29, 2020

The GN’R stuff I played bass on some of the demos after Duff left to do Neurotic Outsiders. This was a few years back, and I don’t believe any of those songs will make the new GN’R album.
Samantha 7 official website in 2000, unknown date

I did play on the demos that were being recorded for what I guess may be that record. This was back in like ’96 to ’97. I would like to hear it come out, I don’t think it will. If it hasn’t by now do you think it will?
Metal Sludge, December 7, 2005

Baratto would mention the players that were involved in these sessions:

The people involved were plenty...Slash, Zack Wylde, I think Izzy. At that time the music was kinda of in the way of Illusions but changed many times as players came in from like Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails....
Krys Baratto, personal communication, August 29, 2020

Well now, keep in mind Sid [Riggs] and I were recording on demos. Paul was involved. If you talk to him, tell him to call me too. He’s a great guy. As for the recordings, across the mixer were such people as Slash, Zakk, Matt, Duff, Dizzy, and a host of others. We were all a part of putting tracks down on the demos. So, it was never a “version” of the band. It was fun though.
Sp1at, April 15, 2005

We know Wylde was involved in 1995 and that Izzy returned to Los Angeles that year to write with Duff. The people from Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails would likely be Dave Abbruzzee and Chris Vrenna, who were drummers who came in to possibly replace Matt after he left in 1997 (see later chapter).

Despite the number of people involved, including such personalities as Paul and Slash, Baratto would claim everybody was cool:

Everyone was very cool
Krys Baratto, personal communication, August 29, 2020

When specifically asked about Paul and Slash:

Tobias ( when I was there he was still Paul Huge) was involved. Slash was in and out as he had other projects. I don’t remember a tiff between those two, however they were never there at the same time. So that could be true but I never saw it
Krys Baratto, personal communication, August 29, 2020

Although Duff was busy with the Neurotic Outsiders in at least parts of this period, and possibly on his way out of the band, he would still be around:

Duff would come in every once in a while and we sit around talking. He didn't mind. Hell he let me use all of his gear
Krys Baratto, personal communication, August 29, 2020

As for how much contact Baratto had with Axl:

I do not keep in touch with him. Actually, I never have. The only time I really talked to him was up at that particular Halloween party at his house. He was never there when I was doing any playing. He told me he liked the bass parts and asked if I was getting paid on time, gotta love that.
Sp1at, April 15, 2005

We would record songs, get them to Axle, he say "keep this, change that" then we would. After he got what he wanted then he'd do vocals
Krys Baratto, personal communication, August 29, 2020

When asked if any of the music they worked on ended up on Chinese Democracy, Baratto would reply:

[...] I liked that album. None of the songs, I don't think ended up on there,,,,I don't think. A couple did sound familiar but it had been sooooo long. I doubt it though
Krys Baratto, personal communication, August 29, 2020

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:24 am


In September 1995, Slash returned from his tour with Snakepit with the stated goal of working on the next GN'R record, although this quote from 1999 suggests his heart wasn't really in it:

And so, when the [Snakepit] tour was over [in August], at some point the record company told me, “You’ve got to come home now. You’ve turned the profit on the [Snakepit] record and you’ve got to make a Guns record.” So I said, “Well, do I have to?” (Laughter) And I was like, “I’m having such a good time.”

Axl was apparently also eager to get Guns N' Roses rolling again with Matt and Duff having formed the Neurotic Outsiders [see previous chapter]:

Matt would say Axl had wanted to work on a record after Duff and Matt put the Neurotic Outsiders together:

Finally, me and Duff put another band together called Neurotic Outsiders, and as soon as we did that Axl called us back into the studio. So we started rehearsing with Guns; we'd show up every night and Axl would come in at like midnight and we'd rehearse until six in the morning, seven, eight o'clock in the morning. It was ridiculous. My drug use was getting out of control. Everyone was just trying to stay up because of the ridiculous hours.

But that did not happen:

Six months ago, there was a rumour that we were all in the studio and we were all sober. That was f**king bullshit. Only Axl had been in the studio.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996, interview from early August 1996

In late 1995, Los Angeles Times would finally shed light on what was happening in the band:

Guns N' Roses' three principals--singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan--are separately writing new songs for the group with plans to convene in the studio in January [1996]. A new album could be out in the fall, with a world tour to follow.

That Axl, Duff and Slash was working separately was an ominous sign, considering that Slash and Axl had not been on the best of terms. The reasons for this separation could be that Slash had given up:

Then Slash didn't want to come down to rehearsal, and he and Axl were having some differences in the musical direction.

Although this quote from Matt could also be about the period in 1994 when Slash focused on Snakepit.

In November 1995, Metal Hammer would release an issue where they asked Slash about how long it might take to get a new record out:

Thinking about how people are gonna react, or how long we can be away and so on, is really only an afterthought considering just getting the band together to make what I consider a good record, and take it from there. If we have to start all over again, fine, so be it. I have no problems with that; I'm just doing it now, with another band. As long as the integrity and the quality of the band is naturally there, where we don't even have to sit there and think about it, that's what I'm into.

I'd love to be on the road right now doing my fifth album or whatever, but the way things are and the way Guns N' Roses has always been - which is that it'll be done when it's done - the most important thing is to do a cool record. And if we have to work that much harder to establish the fan base or whatever, that's going to have to be the way it is. If we were gonna be working on an annual basis - every year: "Here's a record" - and star turning out crap, that would be more disappointing.

But I have to tell you one thing: I do want to get a Guns N' Roses record out as soon as possible, so we can do a tour and so that I can then go back and do another Snakepit record afterwards. It's developing into being such a good band.

Being asked if there's a possibility there won't be a new record:

Er... You're talking just to me. If you were to have all of us sitting here, our different views on the next Guns record would all be very individual. But from my point of view, I just wanna do a brash hard rock record, with maybe one ballad on it. Ask Axl the same question and you'd get a completely different answer.

In all honesty, I think Guns is one of those bands that will just be around forever. It'll always be in some state of turmoil here and there, but because we're so close in a lot of ways - even with Izzy being gone; I've seen him, he replaced Gilby when he broke his wrist, and he played with us on the Snakepit tour - and we've gone through so much together, we naturally fucking feel like family. It's just the little bickering shit that goes on over ideas and this and that and the other, and it's something that's an obstacle that I think we've always conquered whenever it come up. So I think we'll be around for ever.

In the quote above it is clear that Slash and Axl still felt differently about the music on the next record.

And talking about a future tour:

I'd love to do it. I just wanna change things a little bit; that's why I wanted to do the club tour for "The Spaghetti Incident?". But I don't where Axl's head's at, so I can't give you a real answer as to what it'll be like. I really need to sit down and talk to the guy about how we're fucking gonna find some common ground here. I don't mind going back and playing the odd stadium, but I would like to keep us more of an indoor kind of thing. We need to figure out how to establish more of a common ground with the kids that we're playing for, because I feel the same now as I did way back when, where you just go out and hang out with 'em and you feel so comfortable. This "above ground" kind of rock star status that say, Bon Jovi enjoys, I don't really get into it.

But the one thing I don't wanna do talking to you is come across like I feel depressed or pessimistic about the whole thing; I feel very optimistic, I'm just not sure what's gonna happen. I just wanna be able to go and do it and know that the spark is there, because when the spark's there it just flows.

Doug Goldstein would talk more about the future tour:

There are no tour plans set. And at this point I'm not even sure they'll tour America. It depends on how the record is received here. Though given what I've heard, we'll be touring America.


The entire band is clean and in great shape. They all look better than since I've worked with them and I'm going, 'Come on guys, it's a great time to go and show the world.

Early in 1996, Entertainment Weekly talked to Bryn Bridenthal about the work on a new record and she would say that a new record would be released by the end of 1996 and that the band members are working on new songs and occasionally play together:

People are saying that music’s changed since their last album. But they’ll do whatever they want. […] In their world, they’re right on schedule.

It is unlikely that the band were able to get much work done together as a band in this period. Slash likely recorded new music in his own studio while playing with and rehearsing with Duff and Matt without Axl. This is corroborated by this quote from Matt in late 1996 where he said they "didn't really work" together:

I must agree with [Axl], because he's a visionary. He knows what GNR should be 2 or 3 years in advance. When we got out of the plane [in 1993], he said: "Guys, we'll see us again in 96". It was 3 years ago. And now, we work together and an album will be released in 97. […] I saw him! But we didn't really work.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:24 am

AUGUST 31, 1995

As discussed previously, on September 1, 1992, Axl, Slash and Duff had signed a partnership agreement to regulate the legal and financial aspects of Guns N' Roses [see previous chapter]. The agreement also contained provisions for ownership of the band name, "Guns N' Roses", and stated that if Axl was to leave the partnership, or otherwise be terminated from the partnership, he would own the rights to use the name [Partnership Agreement, September 1, 1992].

From Article 4 of Partnership Agreement
September 1992


In November 1994, it would be speculated that Axl owned the band name and logo and could in theory continue the band with a new lineup [Kerrang! November 5, 1994; RAW Magazine, November 1994]. These speculations probably arose as a result of people close to the band leaking contents of the partnership agreement.

Later it would be claimed that Axl had forced Slash and Duff to sign the Partnership Agreement by stating he would refuse to go on stage if they didn't sign:

On the eve of the tour, Axl told the rest of the band that the only way he would play was if they'd give ownership of the name to him. They were looking at canceling the tour and losing millions and millions of dollars, [so] they capitulated.

In his mind, the name belonged to him and, if something disintegrated, you know, he wanted to ensure Guns N’ Roses ultimate survival even if this version of the band broke up.

Marc Canter would also suggest that Slash and Duff got tricked into signing something they shouldn't have singed, and imply that Goldstein had a role in this:

[...] [Goldstein] was yessing Axl, and Slash and Duff sort of got the raw end of that stick and got tricked into signing things they probably shouldn't have signed.

Zutaut would further state that the agreement had been written by their lawyer Peter Paterno to prevent the band from breaking uop:

Basically Axl issued an ultimatum. That whole concept was dreamed up by Peter Paterno, who's still the band's attorney. And it was written in a way where no-one ever thought the band would break up, because if the band broke up Axl would keep the name, but Axl would lose his say-so on the board of directors of original Guns N' Roses Incorporated. Peter Paterno told me he wrote it that way because he thought it would keep the band from ever breaking up, because he never believed that Axl would give up control of anything to do with Guns N' Roses and it would keep the band together. But, in spite of that, the band broke up anyway.

According to the quotes by Zutaut, this blackmailing by Axl happened on the "eve of the tour". Slash and Duff signed the partnership agreement on October 15 and 21, 1992, respectively, at a point between the North American fall tour in 1992 and the South American tour (which started with a show on October 25, 1992, in Caracas, Venezuela). So if Zutaut is correct, Axl had informed his band mates that if they didn't sign the agreement, he wouldn't be doing the South American shows.

Slash would later suggest this could be correct by saying the show where Axl presented them with an ultimatum took place in 1992:

Before a gig one night in ’92, [Axl] hands us a contract saying that if the band breaks up, he’s taking the name. Unfortunately, we signed it. I didn’t think he’d go on stage otherwise.

[Axl] made some idle threats while we were touring and wouldn't go on stage unless we signed a piece of paper. We opted to go on stage and not let everybody down so we signed the piece of paper. I didn't want to be involved with the name if the band's not together anyway. Even to this day I still don't care.

If we didn’t sign, the band was gonna break up right then and there, so we just did what we’d always done, just kept the [bleep] thing going.

[Axl] came with threats when we were on tour and refused to go on stage if we did not sign a contract. In order not to disappoint the fans, we decided to carry out the gig and signed that damn paper.
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

In the quotes above, Slash makes it seem like him and Duff was handed the contract mere hours before showtime and that they were essentially forced to sign on the risk of a riot. Obviously, by looking at the dates of signing (Slash signed on October 15 and Duff on October 21), this representation of what happened can not be true, the agreements was signed about a month before the first show of the South American tour (Caracas Venezuela, November 25, 1992).

In either case, both Zutaut and Slash claim that Axl presented them with an ultimatum, either sign or Axl want go on stage.


In 2012, Marc Canter, on the other hand, would suggest the band manager, Doug Goldstein, had very much been the root of the problem by being the one who claimed Axl would refuse to play unless Duff and Slash signed the agreement:

[Axl]’s also angry about some things Slash said [...] regarding signing the name of the band over.  It’s really a story of miscommunication more than anything because they’re both really, honestly telling the truth but unfortunately there’s two different stories and therefore two different truths. That’s partly because there’s middle men involved that people really don’t know. For instance, if you read Slash’s book, in regards to signing over the name he says that the manager told him that he and Duff had to sign the paper or Axl wouldn’t go onstage and there would be a riot. Now, if you ask Axl he’ll say “100 % false. I never said that, I never said I wouldn’t go on”. You know what? Because of Doug Goldstein, their manager being that middle man they are both telling the truth. Axl didn’t say that, Doug said that and pushed that on Duff and Slash in order to get Axl off his back, and they bought it. I’m not even sure what was said or when it was said but it might have been along the lines of Doug saying “Come on guys, just sign it. You know Axl, if you don’t deliver this signed he won’t go on and there’s going to be a riot tonight.” Axl maintains that yes, he did want them to sign it, he wanted that control in case something bad like a death should ever happen so that control of the band would not go into the hands of wives or girlfriends but he never, ever stated he would not go onstage. Slash maintains, as does Duff, that it happened so I am sure that it did, Doug said that but Axl is upset that Slash went to the media and everyone else and spun it that he wouldn’t go on if he didn’t sign away the name or that he pressured or tricked them because he didn’t. Like I said, in a way they are both telling the truth, it just comes down to Axl being unable to forgive Slash for spinning it that way and saying that he tried to blackmail them. Axl called Slash a liar but in his mind Slash is not lying, that’s really what he was told by management because if you talk to Duff he will tell you the exact same thing.

So according to Canter, Goldstein had lied to Slash and Duff that Axl would refuse to go onstage if they didn't sign, and Slash and Duff had believed Axl was really behind the thread.

Doug Goldstein, on the other hand, would deny having been involved in this at all, and say it was the tour manager, John Reese, who had presented the ultimatum to Slash and Duff:

And that day my son was born, we weren't even on the same continent, they were in Barcelona and I was in California, they confused me with the tour manager because they were drinking a lot at that time and they don't remember.
Rolling Stone Brazil, March 25, 2015; translated from Portuguese

Interestingly, Zutaut said this happend at the end of the tour, and Duff [Biography] and Goldstein claim that it happened when the band was touring in Barcelona, which would date it to July 1993, and not 1992, but the agreement itself is dated to September 1992 (with Slash and Duff signing in October). In 2015 and 2018, Goldstein would again state that he was not there when Slash and Duff were handed the papers, and specifically date the incident to July 5, 1993:

They never came to me. And here and here's why, Mitch. The reality is back then, the date was July 5th, 1993, and they're both - I'll tell you what their belief is and then I'll tell you what reality was - their belief is: I get summoned to Axl's room and Laurie Soriano [= GN'R legal counsel] happens to be in Barcelona to watch those shows. So Axl knows that, so he purportedly tells me to draft an agreement with Laurie that day, saying that the band, Slash and Duff are giving up their name in Guns N' Roses, and if they don't sign it, he's not going on stage. So purportedly, I walk in and get Slash and Duff to sign it. Okay.  On July 5th, 1993, I'm in Mission Viejo, California, at the birth of my first son, Jacob Samuel Goldstein. I completely had no fucking clue what was happening. Nobody was able to reach me. My wife was in 14 hours of labor. I found out about it post fact. But the reality was I know because of all my experience and litigation, if you say, "Sign this or I'm not playing and we could potentially have a riot," that's signed under duress. [...] So A, it wasn't me. I would never have done it, they're my fucking family and I love them. B, I'm on a different fucking continent. C, I know the validity of the contract is moot because it would be thrown out under duress. So it wasn't me. I mean you can certainly figure out by process of elimination who it would have been. At that point the tour manager's next up. [...]  it was John [Reese].

The band is under a misconception, huge misconception. The biggest date in the history of the band is July 5, 1993. And I'll tell you what they think and then I'll tell you reality. They've been told by Niven, right? I'm over in Hawaii being a dad, thinking that I'm going on up on the Mount Rushmore of rock managers with Peter Grant, right? And so I'm losing weight so the sculpture looks good on the Mount Rushmore, right? And so my legacy of course is, "Oh yeah, managed that deal [?], thanks." So while I don't know it, Niven circles back with Slash and Duff and convinces them of the following, on July 5, 1993 the band's in Barcelona, Spain, and Axl tells me, "Come to my room," and so I go to his room - and again, this is what they still believe - I come to this room and Axl says, "Doug, I had the name Guns N' Roses in the beginning, so today, today before the concert, you're going to have Slash and Duff sign a contract, give me back the name, and if they don't I am not going on - and we're no longer in St. Louis, this is Barcelona, Spain - there's going to be riots and those deaths are going to be on those guys' heads." So I then peel off and talk to Lori Soriano, the band's attorney, and she draft the document, I go to soundcheck, present it, those guys sign it, and in an inebriated state, and the rest is history, okay? The reality is July 5, 1993, is the day that my son Jacob Samuel Goldstein was born in Mission Viejo, CA. I wasn't even on the same continent and my wife was in labor for three days. I wasn't communicating with anybody. It was John Reese who ends up to be Judas in my life. John Reese presented it. I had nothing to do with it. I didn't even know it existed. And more importantly, I'm not his own guy, Mark, you can't in that position. If you present that contract, it's under duress. Wipe your butt with that contract. It's null and void. And they're inebriated. They're not competent to sign the contract. So when they sued each other to fight over the name, I was mesmerized that I wasn't brought into court to say, "Hey, did this happen?" I would have said, "Guys, look, it's ludicrous!" The only way that I if, in the fact, that was what was going to happen, if Axl would have asked me that, I would have said, "Dude you can't do it under duress, wait for a week break." And more importantly, they didn't even have legal representation. They just signed it. It's ludicrous that they would operate under the assumption that that's reality, particularly now that they're sober. But they won't listen to me. Maybe, maybe, maybe somebody who's listening to this will go, "Hey guys, just take a look at it."

Goldstein would also speculate that Reese probably wasn't aware that presenting the agreement to Slash and Duff under threat of Axl not doing the show, would make it legally void because of duress:

I think John didn't have any knowledge of things like 'duress'. I mean, John certainly wasn't involved in all the litigation that I was. I think John was merely following the orders of Axl and thought that he was doing the right thing. I'm not calling John out on this, at all. [...] I in no way shape or form fault John because he was merely following what he thought were Axl's orders. He had no idea what duress was.

Goldstein would be asked if he had "kicked the fuck out of that dude [=Reese] that gave Slash and Duff that contract":

That guy, former tour manager, everybody's afraid of him. He's a big stoic, mean guy who comes off as a badass and he knows and I know that he should never cross that line with me. And I had a recent conversation with him within the past year and I just said, "We will run into each other and I'm gonna take you out." So, but you know, I mean, that being said, I won't. I mean, it is what it is. You can't put the genie back in the bottle. And what, am I going to go to jail for beating up somebody for what they did in '91 or '92? That wouldn't make any sense. At least I certainly wouldn't announce it on the show.

So the question remains, did Axl direct John Reese to present an ultimatum to Slash or Duff? Was this Reese's own idea without Axl's involvement? Or perhaps Goldstein suggesting it to Reese, possibly days or weeks before it took place? And maybe it wasn't even Reese but Goldstein himself? In any case, the agreement was signed by Duff and Slash in October 1992, long before the Barcelona show in 1993.

Then there is also the possibility that a new partnership agreement was worked out in 1993, making the one signed in 1992 void, but we have no corroborating evidence suggesting this to be the case. In the lawsuits that were to follow in the 2000s, the 1992 partnership agreement is referenced; and in Axl's resignation later from 1995 [see below], he also refers to the 1992 partnership agreement.


In 2008, Axl responded to the allegations that he had threatened Duff and Slash and pointed out, similar to Goldstein's reasoning above, that if this story had been true, it could have resulted in devastating legal litigations:

the whole Axl wouldn't go on stage yada yada... is complete and utter crap.

Never happened, all made up, fallacy and fantasy. Not one single solitary thread of truth to it. Had that been the case I would've have been cremated years ago legally, could've cleaned me out for the name and damages. It's called under duress with extenuating circumstances. In fact the time that was mentioned the attorneys were all in Europe with us dealing with Adler depositions.

He also possibly explained that the reason he had not vocally opposed the story before, was due to how that could have hurt "whatever nonsense was going on", likely referring to other concurrent legal processes:

Couldn't talk sooner as it could have jeopardized whatever nonsense was going on.

Although this comment above from Axl might have been towards a different topic.


On August 31, 1995, Axl sent a letter to Slash and Duff stating that per December 31, 1995, he would withdrawn from the partnership.

Axl's resignation letter to Slash and Duff
August 31, 1995

The practical implications of this would be fought over in three lawsuits in the 2000s [see later chapters], with Slash and Duff's position being that because of this Axl had no commercial rights over the old Guns N' Roses assets, while Axl's position would be that the resignation from the partnership had not been fully executed and that besides, Slash had withdrawn, too [see later chapters for more discussion on these lawsuits and their arguments]. All of these lawsuits were dismissed with no legal conclusions.

The timing of the resignation letter is likely important, it came at a time where relationship between Axl and Slash was particularly strained, and it did suggest that Axl could continue with Guns N' Roses without Duff and Slash. The letter even stated that Axl was interested in discussing how Slash and Duff could become members in the new group (the new Guns N' Roses). This was likely to further sour the relationship between Axl and Slash and Duff, and further drive Slash away.

In Slash's 2007 biography he would talk about the partnership agreement and how Axl had the right to start a new Guns N' Roses:

This time it was directed at Duff and me—the only two remaining original members of Guns N’ Roses. And it was very strategically presented: the contract stated that Axl would retain rights to the band name and was allowed to start a new band that he could call Guns N’ Roses. Of course Duff and I could be members …but only on his terms, which felt to us like we were being defined as hired hands. Axl had hired an attorney to push this through, so Duff and I did as well, and the three of them started haggling, having those attorney fests that do nothing but cost their clients money. Doug Goldstein was also there helping “facilitate” the whole thing.
Slash & Anthony Bozza, Slash: The Autobiography, 2007

Furthermore, Slash would also reveal that after Axl sent his resignation letter on August 31, 1995, they signed an agreement that would be put in escrow (and thus ineffective) until certain terms were met within a specific date. If these conditions were not met, the agreement would be rendered terminated. But if the conditions were met, and the agreement in escrow became effective, Axl "would be "officially at the helm":

I didn’t really know what else to do after Axl sent a letter on August 31, 1995, saying that he was leaving the band and taking the name with him under the terms of the contract. After that we tried to put it back together. He pushed this contract issue on us with so much pressure to the point that Duff and I just gave in. We signed some document that we’d agreed to have put in escrow for a certain amount of time to see if we could work things out. But if we didn’t agree to put the terms into effect by a certain point, the contract would be null and void, so I signed it and let it go. I just wanted to move forward if we had anywhere left to go together.

Needless to say, my trust in Axl was gone. That entire contract situation was the antithesis of Guns N’ Roses in my mind. I was forced into a secondary role, while Axl was now officially at the helm if I officially let the escrowed contract become effective.
Slash & Anthony Bozza, Slash: The Autobiography, 2007

Unfortunately, we don't have access to this escrow agreement, but it does sound like the implications of it becoming effective would grant more control to Axl and thus that preventing those certain terms to be met could be an attractive course of action for Slash. It is also possible that the unspecific terms were connected to the making of a new album, and thus that Slash had less incentive to work on new music within the time frame and rather have the time-limit for the escrow agreement expire.  

It is also not clear why Axl decided to resign from the partnership, the partnership agreement granted him the rights to the name if Slash and Duff left the partnership. Perhaps Axl realized that things would not move forward with the current lineup and wanted to start a new immediately, something which would not be possible if he remained in the partnership?

Axl himself would discuss leaving the partnership and that he did it to "salvage Guns", indicating that he perceived Slash (and possible Duff) as impediments or direct threats to the future of Guns N' Roses:

I still didn’t grasp any other issues until long after I’d left and formed a new partnership which was only an effort to salvage Guns not steal it.

[Q: Can you detail any of the legal battles, if any, surrounding the name GUNS N' ROSES following the break up of the original band?] The details are that my attorney shit when I made the move. He was very against it fearing long litigation but even then no one talked about brand names or individual interests in a brand name. I look back and have no idea why. Not my people, not his people, no one. No one pressured me, everyone was afraid and no one including myself wanted to break up Guns or the relationship.

Axl would also allude to an attempted takeover from Slash that would have destroyed the band and driven him (Axl) "to bankruptcy":

[Q: I would ask what the catalyst was to originally motivate you to seek ownership of the name? Looking back, do you still feel it was a good course of action to have taken?] It wasn’t so much that it was a good course or that if looking back I could do something differently it’s that for better or worse it was the only course and had I not done this Slash would have succeeded in destroying me publicly much more than he, others or myself have so far and I would have gone bankrupt.

I would think it fits into not feeling I shouldn’t be forced to throw away possible opportunities in a hostile attempted takeover.

[Q: Were you in, any way, legally obligated to carry on with the name Guns N' Roses? To keep your (current, at the time) record concract etc.] I wasn’t legally obligated but we probably would have gotten dropped and I would have been driven into bankruptcy.

[Q: Where would you be now, had you not obtained the rights to the name? What would you have called the current line-up of GN'R?] I don’t know where I’d be but there’s clearly no happy ending there and with everything else that had gone on in every other area of my life the devastation isn’t something I feel I would have overcome at least to any real degree publicly. Hopefully I would’ve been able to pick myself up enough to get a job or sing somewhere else but I doubt anything that significant.

As Slash would also refer to in his biography, the outcome of Axl's powerplay was extensive legal negotiations in 1995 and 1996, which eventually resulted in a "trial period" in late 1996 when Slash came back to work with the band again:

The [legal] battles were during the breakup. Our people and my individual legal basically forced me to go thru the motions with everything I had to make things work for over 2 years in the sense that if they felt I wasn’t making every effort 110% and with all the sincerity and all above board I wouldn’t have their support which I wanted, couldn’t afford to lose or risk losing. Which led to the trial period where Slash played the key bits of Fall to Pieces but once I showed some interest that was over.

As discussed in later chapters, Slash came back to these rehearsals without any real enthusiasm, suggesting he had no internal motivations to create a new record with Guns N' Roses, possible due to the legal ramifications this would have when the escrow contract became effective.


Axl did not deny wanting control of the band and would emphasize that the other partners had initialized the section with ownership of the name and that the intention for Axl was to protect himself if he was fired from the band:

When Guns renegotiated our contract with Geffen I had the bit about the name added in as protection for myself as I had come up with the name and then originally started the band with it. It had more to do with management than the band as our then manager was always tryin’ to convince someone they should fire me. As I had stopped speaking with him he sensed his days were numbered and was bending any ear he could along with attempting to sell our renegotiation out for a personal payday from Geffen.

It was added to the contract and everyone signed off on it. It wasn’t hidden in fine print etc as you had to initial the section verifying you had acknowledged it.

Now at that time I didn’t know or think about brand names or corporate value etc. All I knew is that I came in with the name and from day one everyone had agreed to it being mine should we break up and now it was in writing.

I still didn’t grasp any other issues until long after I’d left and formed a new partnership which was only an effort to salvage Guns not steal it.

The manager that Axl is referring to in the above is Alan Niven, who was outed before the tour started in 1991 [see previous chapter], suggesting that the agreements were being negotiated for a time before they were signed.

Niven would comment on Axl's claim:

Good ol’ Axl. No one ever did anything good for him. We all fucked his life up, right?


The public did not get to know about the practical implications of the amendment to the partnership agreement until 1994 when the press started writing about it in connection to the fights between Axl and Slash [Kerrang! November 5, 1994; RAW Magazine, November 1994].

Slash would later express bitterness over Axl getting the ownership through the amendment:

As far as contractually - and this is a discrepancy between myself and our attorneys - apparently Axl owns it. Now I should have known that, because I could have then said: "Okay." I don't give a fuck who owns the name. But I find out later that Axl legally owns it - apparently.

Slash would also vent frustration with Axl being in control of the band:

It's like everybody is on Axl's side from the business point of view, y'know? Everybody's scared that they're going to get fired. Because if Axl decides that he can't work with you you'll get fired, no matter what I say! I can fight till I fucking turn blue, but I won't be able to get anything done with the band if Axl won't work. And that's how the latter part, from "Use Your Illusion" till now, has been.

In early 1997 it would be reported that Axl had actually purchased the rights to the band name, "Guns N' Roses" [Addicted to Noise, January 30, 1997]. Steven would say that the band members were approached one-by-one and offered money for the name:

[Axl] went by person-by-person. First I was out of the band, and I said, "I am not in the band, go ahead, give me some money." […] "Show me the money, you got it." "Show me the money, you got anything."

And Steven's rationale for accepting this was that Axl wouldn't be able to monetize on the name without the rest of the band:

It's not doing [Axl] any good! Unless it's the five of us together. […] It ain't gonna happen. I mean, look at the solo projects. It was just... I mean, Axl thinks it's just him. He is Guns N' Roses and... […]  It's a team effort. We all worked together. We made something happen. He wanted to do it his own way and look what happened.

Slash, though, would indicate it didn't go down like that and that he wasn't able to prevent it from happening:

That's something that happened. I was blindsided by it, more or less a legal faux pas. I don't know what he's gonna do, as far as that goes. But I'd be lying to say I wasn't a little bit peeved at that. It'd be one thing if I quit altogether. But I haven't, and the fact that he can actually go and do that without the consent of the other members of the band...

In 1997, with Slash out the band, Alan Niven would also scathingly castigate Axl for taking control of the band and would claim that the only reason Axl continued with the band Guns N' Roses was to collect a large windfall from Geffen:

The perception I have of what Axl's doing at the moment is that he's basically making a solo album but retaining the GN'R name so that he can get at the major contractual advance that's waiting at Geffen for a new Guns N' Roses-titled record. I can't give you the exact figure but I will tell you it's in the multi-million-dollar range. This renegotiation was effected just before I was fired.

Also, it seems to me that he's deluded himself into foolishly thinking that he is Guns N' Roses and that the fans will buy that. Axl's just a very, very difficult guy to be around, and one day I think he's going to be painfully, pitifully lonely. […]

Ultimately Axl Rose's basic agenda is one of megalomania and a certain amount of greed. I know he thinks he's moral but he has a very serious difficulty when it comes to trying to place himself in someone else's shoes.

In late 2000, Slash would admit that Duff and him hadn't wanted the name:

When Duff and I quit, we were the three last partners in that group. When Duff and I quit, it was a question as who wants to deal with the name. And me and Duff were like, “We don’t want it. What are we gonna do with it?” you know? (chuckles) And Axl chose to keep the name and go on, and promote it as such, so...

We had a revised contract stating that if the band breaks up, Axl could keep the name. Izzy and Steve were already gone, so Duff and I said, "Yeah, go ahead - we don't want it. If Guns n' Roses breaks up, what are we gonna do with the name?"

And in 2003, when asked if they would have wanted "Guns N' Roses" if it was handed to them, both Matt and Duff said no [Riki Rachtman Triple R, June 27, 2003].

In 2008, Axl would present a theory explaining why Slash had considered contesting that the ownership was transferred to Axl and why in the process Axl had been painted as basically getting the name through strong-arming Duff and Slash, with Slash trying to save face when it became clear to the public Axl had ended up with the name:

In my opinion the reality of the shift and the public embarrassment and ridicule by others (which included a lot of not so on the level business types he was associating with at the time) for not contesting the rights to the brand name, were more than Slash could openly face. Also we aren’t lawyers or formally business educated so it was just a matter of all of us being naïve and doing what we thought was right at the time. Slash was imo being on the up and up in agreeing I had the rights and I wasn’t trying to be some snake in the grass pulling a fast one. The others could’ve cared less.

But when the reality of the breakup hit and the strategy to have me crawl back was put into play Slash had to save face and get business team and public support. Painting me as the one who held a crowd hostage forcing the others to sign over the name worked out pretty well in that regard. I’m the bad guy and Duff, the fans and most importantly himself were the victims. Oh and they had actually made the sacrifice for the crowd, the people, the fans at the show. But again…. IT NEVER HAPPENED.

Media and others ignorantly, wrongly and falsely harped on about it at mine and the fans expense for years and Slash has hoped to use all that to continually sue and have some sort of legal nonsense going on behind the scenes in an effort to reverse things. He wouldn’t have been able to get the support and action on the part of his various team members over the years to do so if the truth were out there especially when the statute of limitations had run out years ago.

Axl would also talk about why it had been important to him to continue with Guns N' Roses as other left:

Why keep the name? I’m literally the last man standing. Not bragging, not proud. It’s been a fucking nightmare but I didn’t leave Guns and I didn’t drive others out. With Slash it’s been nothing more than pure strategy and saving face while manipulating the public like he used to me. I earned the right to protect my efforts and to be able to take advantage of our contract I’d worked hard for where Slash’s exact words were that he didn’t care. I get that some like a different version or lineup the same way some like a specific team line up or a particular year of a specific car but because you and I are getting played I’m supposed to throw the baby out with the bath water?

The name is something I take great pride in as I feel anyone who’s been a part of it should, the same as other bands or teams etc. The burden when it is such is a nightmare but not as much or as hopeless as I’d imagine without it could have been.

And Axl would not deny that a sense of entitlement to the name by the others wasn't completely off, but that it has also been a strategy on Slash's name more than a feeling of genuine ownership:

The others having a sense of entitlement to the name isn't completely off but has more to do with how Slash dealt with things and his particular strategy and I say strategy because that's what it's been. But since I managed to hold out that didn't play out so well for him in regard to the name.

As for Slash's strategy for obtaining the name:

Slash never had ANY arguments for keeping the name until long after and again I feel that had a lot to do with seedy biz types and him feeling he had to save face.

Despite Axl's letter of resignation, there was still a partnership in effect as evidenced by the quote below from Duff in 2002, and this ongoing business as if nothing had happened would also be an argument Axl would use in court.

Business is a natural for me. I'm still a principal in GNR Corp., we still sell a million CDs a year. It's something that seems practical to me.

In 2004, Slash would still say he didn't care about the name:

One of the biggest mistakes I apparently ever made was giving up the name Guns N' Roses. But I couldn't care less. Axl is doing exactly what I assumed he would do with it, which is run it into the ground.

He would repeat this in 2010:

In the 90s when Axl presented the band with his desire to have the name, we let it happen in order to keep going. It was an ultimatum – give me the name or we’re not going to finish the tour. So I accepted back then he was going to have the name. It’s no skin off my back.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:25 am


In 1995, Slash would claim that Axl was separate from the day-to-day business of the band:

But when the band's on the road, you know, Guns N' Roses on the road, you know, there's Duff who… you know, we have all our different little gigs where we take care of. If something needs to be taken care of, we take care of it. And then Axl sort of just does Axl. That's his thing, whatever. But the band is always together, you know. So like, on the last tour, like Duff, Gilby, Matt, myself, Dizzy we always hang together real close and we know what's going on. While Axl's on a different thing, you know.


[Axl]'s always been like that. You see, it's hard to... you'd have to been through this many years of dealing with Axl to understand what I'm saying, you know? In other words, he sings and he relies on the band to be there, so we take care of the band. Make sure the band is functional. When Axl walks off stage or does whatever, we keep jamming [chuckles].

Slash would also, probably in 1997, claim that Axl considered him and Slash the most important parts of Guns N' Roses:

For some reason there's just that strange front man situation where everybody thinks [Axl Rose and I] are supposed to be like Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, which is not the case. And Axl seems to think the same way, like this is supposed to be some unprecedented lead duo thing. Where as far as I'm concerned it's supposed to be about where the music's coming from, where the band's at, who the members are, and a whole fucking tight kind of group -- it's not just the front guys. Axl just sees it as nobody matters but he and I, and that's not the case for me.

In late 1999, Axl would claim the other band members had been against him:

When we were in airports and people are ignoring Duff and asking for my autograph, that didn't go over so well. The guys would say, you know, 'What am I? Linoleum? What am I? Wood?' There was an effort to bring me down. It was a king of the mountain thing.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999

Matt would later shed light on this and imply that could be one of the reasons Axl would fight for Paul Huge's involvement:

I guess there were times when Axl felt outside the band - and Paul told him what he wanted to hear.
Q, July 2001; interview from November 1999

Slash would also refer to how Axl isolated himself and how Slash was unable to communicate with him:

And by the time I'd come back from [touring with Snakepit], Axl had built this impenetrable cocoon around him. I can't knock the guy - he's an incredibly complex character and that's what makes him who he is. But I never could understand how we couldn’t continue doing what we'd set out to do in the first place. There was so much animosity between us, so little communication because of my personality faults and his.

Goldstein would look back and suggest that Axl wasn't good at communicating:

But, you know, one of the things that's been frustrating for me, Mitch, and he does this with his own band members, Axl loves Slash and Duff and Matt. Izzy, obviously, because of growing up with him. He loves those guys. He doesn't really know how to communicate. So, you know, whenever we'd have some shit go down, the band was kind of left, not really understanding why things were happening. I would try and communicate Axl's position, but it's always been pretty frustrating to me that Axl refuses to stick up for himself in any situation.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:25 am

NOVEMBER 30, 1995

On November 30, 1995, Gilby sued Guns N' Roses for "commercial misappropriation of his name, likeness, photograph, voice, and performance." [Billboard, December 16, 1995]. Gilby would later say he didn't want to sue, but that no one in the band would return his calls [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000].

More specifically, the band had used a picture of Gilby on the pinball machine released in 1994:

The game was designed after Izzy Stradlin left the band and Gilby started playing with us. It’s obvious that it was a forgone conclusion that Gilby would be in the band for keeps, as his picture was included on the big mural of the band on the game. Ah, but rock bands can be a fickle bitch, and Gilby, in a flash of confusion and a hiccup of GN’R growing pains, suddenly wasn’t in the band anymore.

Gilby, pissed off for sure, sued us for using his likeness on the machine.

The defendants in the suits were the band members themselves and not Geffen [Billboard, December 16, 1995]. According to the suit, Gilby had not given the band permission to "use or exploit his name, likeness, photograph, voice, and performance in a commercial manner in the absence of a contract regarding royalties from sales of albums on which he performed." [Billboard, December 16, 1995].

Gilby's manager, Mike Hall, would comment:

A contract was never completed, and that is the heart of the issue.

As a response, Guns N' Roses counter-sued. In the end, the cases were settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money paid out to Gilby [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000].

I never really had any problems with Axl. It was just business. It was an issue that wasn't getting settled: I wasn't getting paid, I wasn't getting a response, so the attorneys got involved. It was settled in a few weeks.

In September 1996, Slash would talk about Gilby and indicate they weren't on friendly terms anymore due to the lawsuit:

[Being asked if he is still friends with Gilby]: He and I no... He's suing us so... Normally we would be but...[…] The situation with Gilby is like... um, after the particular time we got involved with him he wasn't doing anything, really, and so we brought him into a situation where he had all, you know, like the obvious, I mean, it was a great position to be in right to be in. So then he turns around and sues us so I'm a little pissed off at him.

Which is a shame, because in July 1994, right after he had been fired, Gilby said the following:

Slash is my best friend. I can sit in my studio and jam and Slash will come and play.

And not much later Slash, Gilby and Matt would play together in Slash's Snakepit.

In 2015, Duff would look back at how the lawsuit had affected their relationship at the time:

I remember thinking back then that this was a point when Gilby rightfully could have written me off (for life) for not standing up for him, and I could have just carried on without him in my life ever again as well. I think we both did that for a while.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:25 am


In July 1996, Duff would state that the new record would be released "at the very latest, nest spring" [St. Cloud Times, July 28, 1996]. Duff would also say the band had quietly started working on the new record two months ago with "a really cool genuine air of excitement" [St. Cloud Times, July 28, 1996].

We're writing new songs. […] Yeah, [Axl is] totally [into it]. And actually today I was gonna have to fly back right after this.

Apparently, they had written a song that was intended for a Jackie Chan movie:

We're gonna start recording for this Jackie Chan movie, the next one.

According to Duff, Axl was a "huge fan" of Jackie Chan [The Howard Stern Show, July 25, 1996].

The band would not end up having any songs in any Jackie Chan movies. In 2008, Axl would state that the band had a song with the working title Jackie Chan and this song would later be released as Hard Skool in September 24, 2021. It was speculated that Hard Skool must have been the songs Duff referred to, but a verified source close to the band would later deny that the band was working on a song intended for a Jackie Chan soundtrack and state that the working title was simply Jackie Chan because Axl was into a Jackie Chan movie at the time [Personal communication, September 24, 2021]. It is still not clear if this is the song Duff and Matt talked about and whether Hard Skool thus dates back to 1997 or earlier.

Slash didn't seem to be part of these sessions because in July 1996 he would take part in an Internet chat and not sound very positive about the work on the next record:

Gun [sic] has been trying to get the next record together […]

And on whether GN'R was breaking up:

No, GnR are not breaking up!!

He would also indicate he was out of the loop in terms of what was going on with the new album and that he hadn't played with "them" yet [since returning from the Snakepit tour in 1995]:

I really have no idea what's goin on with the next GNR cd. I still haven't played with them yet.

In early August 1996, he would state that he still hadn't played with them, or even been in the same room since before the Snakepit record was released [Kerrang! September 21, 1996; but interview from early August 1996]. This means that if Slash had been involved in working on new music, including the Jackie Chan song, it must have been from his own studio and not together with the rest of the band.

Slash would also deny that Izzy was back in the band [Netscape Online Chat, July, 1996] and Slash would later, according to Kerrang! indicate that Axl still intended Paul Huge as the replacement for Gilby [Kerrang! September 21, 1996; but interview from early August 1996]. This is odd, because around the same time both Duff and Bridenthal would say Axl would be playing rhythm guitar [see later chapter] - so maybe this is an indication of how far out of the loop Slash was and had been?

In July 1996, Bryn Bridenthal would be asked about the progress of a new record, and indicate that a new record this year was possible but unlikely:

It’s possible to have a Guns record this year. But it’s also unlikely.

In early 1997, after having left Guns N' Roses, Slash would claim he had rehearsed with the band after returning from the Snakepit tour:

When I came back from the last Snakepit tour, I did go back to rehearsals [with Rose] to see if we could rekindle any kind of flame, but it just didn't work out.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:26 am


In connection with Gilby's lawsuit against the band [see separate chapter], a Geffen spokeswoman, likely Bryn Bridenthal, would say that a new record was due in late 1996 with an unnamed new guitarist [Billboard, December 16, 1995]. In July 1996, the press would report that this unnamed guitarist could be Axl [New York Daily News, July 11, 1996].

Bryn Bridenthal would comment:

Axl figures he’s going to play some guitar on the next album. Though I don’t think he’s up to lead-guitar quality.

Axl at a guitar show
July 1995

Guitar was not new to Axl, he had previously played guitars on Shotgun Blues and Dead Horse from the Use Your Illusions, and Duff would suggest he had learnt guitar as part of writing Shotgun Blues:

I love Shotgun Blues, that was one of my favorite songs. Where Axl's playing guitar. I love that song. [...] And his guitar playing style. I just love cause it was so dirty. So simple and dirty and then you need that kind of thing once in a while, especially in such an epic big record. And he's like, "I got this thing." And that's how he learned to play a guitar, I think, was writing Shotgun Blues.

Other band members would confirm that Axl had been taking lessons and was now playing guitar on his own songs:

[…] Axl is rythym guitar on his own songs for the time being.

He’s really rockin’ — and it’s great. It brings a whole new element to our writing process; now we’re all there together.

For the last couple of years, he started to go, 'Okay, I'm going to play guitar and actually learn what these notes are.' It's an innocent guitar, not unlike Izzy was, but Axl's got a lot more musically than Izzy ever did.

Axl is playing second guitar. […] He taught himself. He knows what he wants to play, so that makes the difference. Otherwise it’s still up in the air. But it’s not detrimental, as far as the writing goes, not to have a rhythm guitar player. That’s coming along real well.

That tripped me out when I first came back. I figured 'Okay, that's where his focus has been. I haven't really talked to him about it, to tell the truth. I guess he's just been sitting at home, figuring out chords or something. Maybe he's been taking lessons.

[Being asked 'How is he?']: How's Izzy? [laughter] I'm avoiding the question. [Being asked if he is better than Mick Jagger]: I've never paid attention to Mick Jagger playing guitar, so I couldn't compare them. Rose's sound is a lot more synthetic than anything I would get anywhere close to. That's about all I can say.

Some of the lessons apparently came from Paul Huge:

We rehearse every night and I play bass! Axl is playing the rhythm guitar, and it works very well! We work from Monday to Friday, ha, ha! There's me, Axl, Slash, Matt, Dizzy. There's also a friend of Axl who helps him to learn to play guitar. But we play, and it works! […] Believe me man, it kills!
Hard Metal, August 1996; translated from French

In September when the band was back in the studio working on the new record, Duff would be asked about Axl playing guitar:

Oh, he’s great, man!
Rock & Pop Argentina, September 1996; translated from Spanish

In an interview likely from September 1996, Duff would also confirm that the entire band was rehearsing, but that they also included a "friend of Axl":

This friend was likely Paul Huge, and it seems his role had been reduced to teaching Axl how to play.

In October Slash would say he didn't think Axl intended to be the rhythm guitar player:

As far as I know, Axl's intention is not to be the rhythm guitar player.
Online Chat, October 16, 1996; translated from Spanish

And when asked who would be playing rhythm guitar:

[…] we don't know.
Online Chat, October 16, 1996; translated from Spanish

From the answers it can be alluded that Slash was somewhat in the unknown regarding the plans of the band.

Later, after Slash had left the band, Duff would be asked if Axl intended to replace Slash on lead guitar and whether Axl would be interested in that

In 2008, Chris Pitman would discuss Axl's guitar playing in the period of 1999-2000:

[Axl] was playing a lot of lead guitar back then. [...] Most people don't know that but I want to give him props up for it because he was just astounding, really. He approached guitar like he does his vocals where, you know, you can't think of anyone in the world doing what he was doing. And I shocked. He was doing, you know, like, Blue Oyster Cult double lead type things. I was like, "Whoa!" you know. He's an amazing fella.

Despite the praise from Chris, when asked what stops him from playing guitar at gigs, Axl answered:

Dave Dominguez, studio engineer who was with the band from January to August 1998, would mention that Axl was taking guitar lessons at his house and would record himself after the band had moved into Rumble Recorder in 1998:

[...] [Axl] was taking guitar lessons up at his house at that point and then... I don't know if you knew about the setup. So Rumble was huge, a huge live room, and it had a lot of iso booths. So there was a Pro Tools room which was in the lounge. There was a MIDI room for Dizzy with a bunch of keyboards. And then they had a live setup, like a live PA with amps. So they had Paul Huge at the time when he was still in the band. They had his set up and then they had... This is gonna drive me nuts cuz I saw him at NAMM a couple years ago. Robin Finck. Robin's set up and then they had Tommy Stinson set up. And then they had enough iso booths so they had the exact same set up and an iso boot. So they had the exact same apps, same settings. So if they decided, "Hey, we like this part, record it," I can record it in isolation. So we didn't have to have the live set up and everything coming through those apps. And then they, all of a sudden one day they show up and I look over and they're at the piano was where Axl's world was and they had an amp there, like, "What's going on?" And then... what was his name? Sean [Paden], Sean was the guitar tech. He's like, "Oh yeah, Axl's gonna play guitar on some of this. He wants to come in and play jam." So he would come in just before the band sometimes. Like he was actually getting there a little early and recording, or just not recording, but just practicing guitar. And then he would sometimes kick the band out at 2 a.m. and just sit and play guitar until 5 a.m. Yeah, so he was definitely playing guitar at the time. And he would every so often, like, "Hey, can you record this?" And have an idea. And I'd record it.

It is not clear who was teaching Axl at this point. Gary Sunshine would become his guitar teacher in 1999. It could possibly have been the band's guitar tech Sean Paden, who came in in 2015 [see later chapter], or Paul Huge [see quote above], or someone else.

Being asked if Axl was a shredder:

Oh, it was more chords, just a lot of chords. Yeah. Just kind of like that.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:26 am


In 2006, a few articles would mention Slash almost joining the English band The Stone Roses in 1996 to replace John Squire who officially left in April. Singer Ian Brown would confirm this but say they didn't think Slash would fit:

Slash offered to play guitar for us, through Doug Goldstein. I wish we’d taken him on, but at the time we were like, ‘No, we hate Guns N’ Roses, fuck off! Is he going to bring his python with him?’ and all that. But now I think it would have been amazing.

Mani, the band's bassist, would confirm the story and explain that Goldstein at the time wanted to become the Stone Roses' new manager:

Mental, isn’t it? We’d been close to shaking hands on a deal with G N’ R’s manager Doug Goldstein to look after the Roses as well, so when John (Squire) copped a walk Slash was in the frame for a while.

How would it have worked out? Who knows? It could’ve been great or it could’ve been shite. Personally, I love to play with anybody who’s going to bring something to the party, and Slash is cool, man.

The eventual replacement for Squire, guitarist Aziz Ibrahim who joined in August 1996, would confirm the story:

There had been auditions. Slash had offered to play. There was a lot of bitterness and anger and so forth, maybe they wanted to piss [Squire] off, so they thought, ‘Let’s get the greatest rock icon of all time.'

Slash was in England and his manager wanted to manage the [Stone] Roses.

They thought, ‘Yeah yeah, we’ll get this big rock icon, that would really annoy John.’ Then they said something to the affect of, ‘We’re not going to work with a guy with leather pants, are we?’ So Slash wasn’t in.

In 2010, Slash would downplay the story:

I'd heard of the Stone Roses, but I'd never met them. I think I was probably too busy in Guns N' Roses at the time. Maybe it might have been a good idea. Someone told me we tried to recruit the lead singer into Velvet Revolver. That's not true either.

It is not likely Slash had felt too busy with Guns N' Roses in the first half of 1996 (Squire was officially out in April) considering that Slash had recently toured with Snakepit and only did a few weeks of working with Guns N' Roses in August - he had more or less checked out of the band at this time.

In 2013 Slash would tweet about the story and claim he never attempted to join The Stone Roses:

I don't know how or where the rumor originated, but I never attempted to join @StoneRoses. They are, however, an awesome band. iiii]; )'

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sun May 05, 2024 6:28 am; edited 10 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:26 am


Matt had been interested in producing other artists for as long time:

Yeah, I’m getting into producing. I’m looking for bands to produce and as I tour the world, you know. I’m gonna do that later after the tour is over, and maybe do some other people’s records, and things like that.

By mid-1996, Matt had moved out of his house in Malibu where he had lived with his wife Kai until they divorced in 1994 [see previous chapter]. In February 1996, it would be reported that he was now leasing a home in the Hollywood Hills [Northwest Herald/L.A. Times, February 22, 1996; Metal Hammer, July 1996].

I moved out of Malibu after I had problems with the fires. My house didn't burn down, but it was just a catastrophe, and then I spent a year out there in mudslides. Then I moved back into the city. I've got a 360-degree view here. I can see the city, I can see the ocean, and I can see the 'Hollywood' sign. The whole house is built onto like a peninsula, almost like a cliff. But it's actually like twenty-five feet of concrete into the ground. There's a big wall that goes completely around the grounds. And not only that, but you have to climb straight up a cliff to get to the house - on both sides! Someone would have to really be like Spiderman to get in here.

The house contained a studio [Metal Hammer, July 1996] which allowed Matt to start producing other's music.

My studio is a place where I can take bands. And I have drum kits down here. It's big. It's a full-size studio, 24-track, and it's got amps and guitars and everything anybody knows.

Matt had started producing other people's bands:

I've got my own production company, called One Gun Productions, and I've been producing. I just produced a girl named Poe. She's on Modern/Atlantic. I don't know if you've heard of her yet, but she's starting to do pretty well in the States and she's trying to make it over to Europe this summer. And I'm starting to look for unknown bands.

As for displaying his awards and trophies:

The only stuff I have that has anything to do with the band is all down here too. I don't like that kind of shit on the walls, really. Most of my albums and awards and stuff is where it should be - around the music, you know? And even when I did that I was kind of like, 'God, this is too much.' It's like 'Welcome to my achievement.' I mean, it's nice, I'm not complaining. I love all that shit that I've got. But it's like, 'Oh, I've got my million platinum up; and now I've got my two million; and then I've got to put my three and my four and my five' and so on and so forth. That's how it got with us. You know, every time another one came in it was like, 'Oh, that's great. What am I going to do with this?'

You go to Slash's house and there's not one of those things anywhere in sight. And then Axl's got them out in his garage. But he's got kind of a cool setup. He's got them in his garage hanging around an old car - he's got like this old '55 Chevy. And then you go to Duff's and they're everywhere! [laughs]. Duff's got them in his game room - but he's got a very big game room!

At the time Matt had a dog called Drac and a cat called Oscar:

My dog's name is Drac. I got him on Halloween and he bit me and drew blood, so I called him Drac. He was just a puppy then. But he can be pretty feisty. He will go after somebody now. He's pretty protective of me, you know, if they come into my area of the house, or near the car when he's in the car. But he's a really good dog. […] I've got a cat here too, a tabby named Oscar. He spends a lot of time outside. There's lots of lizards and little mice and all kinds of things up here for him to chase. Once in awhile Drac puts Oscar's head in his mouth, but they've known each other since they were little so they get along pretty good. […] I had more cats, but I had to let a couple of them go because two of them were very territorial and were peeing everywhere - like right on my best Persian rug. I almost had to throw it out it smelled so bad. I had it cleaned like three times by professional cleaners. So I'm cool with my one cat. He's a loner, anyway.

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sun May 05, 2024 6:28 am; edited 8 times in total
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