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

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

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED - Page 2 Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:23 pm

NOVEMBER 1999
AXL REEMERGES


Then, in November 1999, Axl emerged for a surprise interview with MTV's Kurt Loder [MTV, November 8, 1999]. One of the first questions to Axl was, "What have you been doing for the last six and a half years?" to which Axl replied:

Trying to figure out how to make a record.


As for what he's been up to:

I pretty much stay to myself, and that's about it. […] [Laughs] I just, you know, I pretty much work on this record and, and that's about it. It takes a lot of time. I'm not a computer-savvy or technical type of person, yet I'm involved with it everyday, so it takes me a while.

The reality is that I'm not clubbing because I don't find it's in my best interest to be out there. I am building something slowly, and it doesn't seem to be much out there as in here, in the studio and in my home. So many times, I have come down here and I had no idea that I was going to be able to. If you are working with issues that depressed the crap out of you, how do you know you can express it? At the time, you are just like, 'Life sucks.' Then you come down and you express 'Life Sucks,' but in this really beautiful way.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999


He would also mention having a studio at home:

Yeah, I have a full studio, and that causes me great pain and pleasure. [The pain being] basically my inadequacy with modern machinery.


Goldstein would comment upon Axl's decision to stay out of the public eye:

[Axl's] world is very insular. He doesn't like very many people.


In November 2000, Axl would turn up at a benefit show put on by System of a Down to raise money for Armenian Genocide recognition [Radio Undercover, November 10, 2000].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED - Page 2 Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:42 am

1999-2000
GARY SUNSHINE, BILLY HOWERDEL, ROB HOLLIDAY, AND SEAN PADEN


In the period 1999-2000 quite a few musicians were loosely involved with the band in various capacities.


GARY SUNSHINE


In early 2000, Rolling Stone would indicate that Axl had also been working with his guitar teacher, Gary Sunshine [Rolling Stone, January 2000]. Sunshine got in contact with Guns N' Roses and Axl in likely 1999

I knew a guitar tech who was working with GNR and he asked me if I'd be interested, he recommended me to Axl. around 1999 I'm guessing.
Personnel communication, September 25, 2020


Sunshine would receive song credits for co-writing 'Oh My God' but also be involved in adding guitar parts to a second, unreleased, song:

I played on a couple of songs, one was on the End of Days soundtrack and did some guitar for another unfinished tune not sure what it was. There weren’t vocals on it. [...] I played on some tunes that Robin Finck played on. Dave Navarro also was on the song from the soundtrack. It was a cool time I miss those days
Personnel communication, September 24, 2020


On playing with Axl at his Malibu house:

I worked with Axl up at his house too. He was working on some guitar, brushing up on it and we bounced ideas around, talked for half a year or so.
Personnel communication, September 24, 2020

He was just writing for the record and wanted to brush up on playing I think, he has a great musical ear and sense. was a great time.
Personnel communication, September 25, 2020

I didn’t write with Axl I just did a little recording and a bunch of one on one “lessons”. The lessons were more jamming on songs, talking and working on things.
Personnel communication, September 26, 2020


Like other people who got to work with Axl in this period, Sunshine has nothing but positive things to say about Axl:

I don’t talk much about that time out of respect for Axl and his privacy. He was great to work with, a very good and creative guy.
Personnel communication, September 24, 2020


Sunshine would also audition to become the band's new guitarist, but lose out to Richard:

I was asked to audition and did back then. It was cool, stressful, but I loved it. Richard Fortus was better suited for the band, he’s really good.
Personnel communication, September 24, 2020



BILLY HOWERDEL


Billy Howerdel was a computer engineer/guitar tech that worked with the band but was out by May 2000 [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000].

I didn't plan on being there that long. You know there's goods and bads. I mean, Maynard [James Keenan] and I were going to do this [A Perfect Circle] a long, long, time ago, and when I started with them I said, 'I'm going to work three days a week,' and they said, 'four.' Well, they said, 'five,' I said, 'three,' they said, 'four,' we compromised. And then I just said, 'This is just going to be for a month or two,' and it wound up being two-and-a-half years. So you know, goods: I got to learn a lot of stuff. Bads: I could have stayed there forever, and I was there a little longer than I wanted to be. And I believed in it at the time, but there comes a time where you have to follow your dream, I guess.


The new band Howerdel would found was A Perfect Circle:

I saved up my money to start this band. I maxed out my credit cards, I quit my Guns N' Roses day job. If this band didn't work out, I was going to be flat broke.'

But fortunately, it did work out.
The Mercury News, June 4, 2004


Keenan would later indicate that Axl had been angry about Keenan taking Howerdel away from Guns N' Roses:

Axl, bless his heart, can't make a move. He thinks I'm the devil. I helped Billy Howerdel, who used to work with Axl and was very close to him, finally make it on his own. An Axl considers me the devil because of it. That makes no sense to me. But I'm sure there's a bunch of things about me that don't make sense to someone else
Guitar World, November 2003


Josh would later quit Guns N' Roses and join A Perfect Circle, too.


SEAN PADEN


Another guitar tech that was involved with the band in this period was Sean Paden who would be with the band from at least early 1995:

After those years I was tired and looking to go back to the shop and did for awhile until the day I got a call to go work for Axl Rose in the studio as “the” guitar tech for the new Guns-n-Roses. Here is where my career gets weird. I spent six years there working on a record that still isn’t done yet. The music is really cool and I liked it enough to stay for that long. To make a long story short - Zakk at one point in time was going to join G-n-R with Slash and Axl and that’s where I met Zakk.
proguitartechs.com, 2003


Six years would suggest he ended his tenure with GN'R in 2001, but there are other indication Paden moved from Los Angeles in 1999 [www.padenguitarservices.com, 2020].


ROB HOLLIDAY


Rob Holliday was the singer and guitar player from the band Sulphur and Curve:

[Rob Holliday]: Axl had been a fan of Curve and liked the Sulpher stuff he heard, so he invited me over to LA to lay a bunch of guitar parts down. He has had a whole load of guitarists involved from Dave Navarro to Brian May, so I don't know if any of my parts have survived. [...]Axl was really cool, genuinely a nice guy, very focused on what he wants.
Metal Hammer, December 2001


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED - Page 2 Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:43 am

NOVEMBER 23, 1999
'LIVE ERA '87-'93' IS RELEASED


This live album closed the chapter.
BURRN! Magazine, 1999; translated from Japanese

Guns N' Roses made it in the first place by being an effective live band. I'm really proud of the albums we made in the studio. But it was in our live shows that you could see the band's true colors.

____________________________________________

On November 23, 1999, the double live album, 'Live Era '87-'89' was released.


Live Era '87-'93
November 23, 1999


Slash's manager, Tom Maher, would discuss the double album:

The guys starting fooling around with this a few years ago, seeing if there was anything worth releasing.

Once the merger [between Interscope and Geffen Records] was over they starting working on it again, and the guys sent tapes back and forth between the different camps.

I think Slash got involved because it's been so long since they had a record out. When you listen to these tapes, you just go, 'Oh man, they were a really good band.'


Slash would also discuss the live album:

Believe it or not, it's still a very mutual effort. All things considered, it's as close as we ever got.

[…]

I have a standard for live records, because when I was a kid, I didn't have a lot of money, so rather than take my chances on buying a whole record based on songs that I liked or on hearsay about a great band, I'd always buy the live record. I think that's what established in my own subconscious what it was supposed to sound like. So I always got the live record before I got the studio albums. Aerosmith's Bootleg, Budokan by Cheap Trick, Get Yer Ya Ya's Out! by the Stones...and anything by Jimi Hendrix live is awesome. Bootleg is my favorite, because it's by far the most rock. And when I heard this one, it was like very little post-production work -- almost none, because there's no one that's going to show up to do it! [Laughs]

It's very honest, and it's like, 'What a f---ing bad ass band. It's one of the best live records I've ever heard. I'm proud of it.

[...] it was a contractual thing. Geffen were owed albums or somethin’, I guess. But I figured if it was gonna come out anyway, it might as well be as good as we could get it. I thought, it could be a great idea, there hasn’t been any great live albums since Aerosmith’s ‘Bootleg’ in 78. Before that, you’d have to go back to The Who’s ‘Live At Leeds’ album in the 70s.

So anyway, suddenly there’s lots of faxes and phone calls, everybody avoiding each other. But they sent me tapes, and the guy who was producing, I don’t remember his name, but he was pro-tooling it [a computerised system whereby raw analogue tapes can be expertly doctored]. I thought, no way! This is not the band I was in. [...]

Andy [Wallace] did a mix of like one song and I was like, ‘Oh, there it is!’

Because that first mix they sent me scared me, man. But I worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Andy, then Duff came down, and in the end there were only a couple of fixes where the drums dropped out, and we had to bleed the mikes, because Steven was gone by then.

I had a big role. I hired the original mixing guy, and I sat in on the mix to make sure it was honest and accurate, and got across that, yeah, we were actually that good.

I'm very proud of that record. I was raised on live albums back in the '70s, when if you didn't have any money, you had to beg borrow or steal the live records, because they were the ones that had all the cool songs on them. […]

I get a reaction [when listening to the songs], in the same way that I get a reaction listening to anything. I don't listen to any of my own records. My girlfriend has a couple … excuse me, my fiancé … has a couple tracks I've played on, and sometimes she'll play them when she doesn't know I'm here, and ... well, I won't call it a misty-eyed reminscence but it's just like, "That was cool."

I recently listened to Guns’ live record (Live Era ’87-’93) for the first time since it came out (in 1999). I didn’t realize how much I soloed in Guns! It was mostly because of the absence of Axl; he would go offstage, or just need a break, which was all cool – as long as he was coming back (laughs)! All those licks were totally in the moment.


And Duff would recount how it came to happen and indicate it was the label who wanted the album out and not the band (Slash confirms this in a quote above, saying it was a contractual thing):

Let me explain this. At first Geffen Records was bought up. Axl, Slash, and I were still partners of GN'R. Seagram was buying up everything and put them together. Contract, master tapes, everything. I still had one live album to release in that contract. I had the tape in my hand, but I was expected that somebody will use the right. And now is the time. That's great. Me and Andy Wallace were in the studio and mixed the album every day in last August. He is great. Slash called me up and asked me how the sound like, because he was busy working on his record. This album is supposed to be sent to Axl. It's funny thing that guys from "Universal/ Interscope" or something said they won't release the album unless I decide the title of the album. I said that's fine. I said "You are the people who want to release the album". But they were giving me mental pressure.
Burrn! Magazine, December 1999; translated from Japanese

A year ago [since I talked to Axl]. That means we haven't talked since he was putting live album together. Our managers talk to each other or FedEX it back and force. It was not like Slash. I told Izzy to check out mixing. "You are in that album also. Come check it out." He said, "I might as well check it."
Burrn! Magazine, December 1999; translated from Japanese


Slash would confirm it was the label who wanted to release the live album:

Well, the concept of the live record came up and, from a business point of view, I know it was the record company trying to fill the quota for the simple fact that there's been no new, original material from the band since we all broke up. But as far as the "band of old" is concerned, I'm always there to make sure that at least somebody's paying attention so things don't get messed up. Back then, we only had mobile [recording] trucks at certain shows, and we had some board tapes from '87 - like from when we played at the London Marquee, which was one of our first road trips that we ever took. So we just picked out like an average night's set list-those certain songs that we played all the time.

Once that was done, rather than sit there and analyze each individual take of a particular song, I just said, "Just grab this song, this song, and this song from whatever shows you feel like," because I wanted it to be as honest [a representation of the band] as possible. And I've never listened back to anything we've ever done after it was recorded and mixed, but [after listening to the tapes], I realized how good the band was. For the most part, it's one of our almost three-hours-long shows, just assembled from different places and different years.


Being asked if some of the songs were from shows in Tokyo:

I know there's three, but I don't know which ones they are. We didn't put any details on [the CD]. I know there are songs that were recorded in Las Vegas, Minneapolis, England, Japan, but I don't know which ones. There's a photo inside [the CD sleeve] from Tokyo Dome too.


Talking about 'Coma' being included on the Japanese and European version of the album:

We only played [Coma] probably two or three times that whole tour, because it was just so involved. Izzy used to have a "cheat sheet" for the chord changes on it - like the size of a table-onstage when we played that song. It's got a mathematical chord structure at the end, where the chord progression stays the same, but it's transposed to different keys. You have to pay attention because the chords are skipping all over the neck. So Izzy would follow it by reading the chords off his sheet. And I think the version of "Coma" that's on the record is the first or second time we ever played it live. We'd just go out there and go, "Let's try this!" And then Izzy would bring out the big piece of cardboard and tape it to the stage [laughs]. So it's not perfect, but it's got attitude.


And the absence of Slash's 'Godfather' solo:

I've had a couple passing thoughts about that, after the fact, because when we were making the record, it didn't even occur to me to use that. But a little bit later, I was going, "I wonder if we should've put that in there?" But there are so many different versions of it. It's so inspired by the night, and it's such an impromptu thing-you never knew how long it was gonna go, it wasn't like a "set" thing. So, it being that spontaneous, I was like, "If you were there at that time, then it meant something to you at that moment." But to put it on the record would signify "that's how it went," and none of them were the same. And also, I never got into that big "guitar solo" thing. Eddie Van Halen's great at it, but I just never got into that. The only reason that I ever did it was to give Axl some time to cool out, basically. I didn't think it was more important to put on there-and kill time on the record-and have to lose another song.


Talking about the record:

It's not pretty, and there are a lot of mistakes. But this is Guns N' Roses, not the fucking Mahavishnu Orchestra. It's as honest as it gets. All the other bands in the mid Eighties were trying to have Top 40 hits—even bands like Motley Crue. We didn't care about that. We just wanted to kick some ass.

The live record was cool. It was one of those things that came out of nowhere and I got involved with it because, regardless of any kind of, you know, rumoured animosity having to do with myself and the Guns guys, that's still my family, that’s where I came from. So when I heard that that was going to happen, I got into the whole mixing of it and all that kind of stuff. I was surprised we were as good a band as we were! (laughs) I was sort of amazed! But it's a really good honest representation of our shows. That's like about as in-your-face, blatant fucking Guns N' Roses as it gets. There's no fixes, no fucking bullshit.

[Being asked if he was happy with the result]: I had to be. I was there for the whole thing. A lot of people think (it's) over-produced, or over-mixed; that's what I heard. No, that's what the band sounded like. I was surprised, I didn't know the band was that good!

I stand behind it proudly. It's the best fuckin' live record released in years. I think the last good live album I heard was Aerosmith's Live! Bootleg [1978]. Not many bands put out live records anymore. When I first got into listening to rock & roll before I even started playing guitar, I used to buy live records because I couldn't afford to purchase a band's entire catalog. I figured the best way to hear a band would be through a live album. So Live Era '87-'93 was really important to me. I really didn't know we were even that good a band until I heard the live stuff.

[I played on] 21 out of 23 [tracks] actually. None of those songs were recorded before 1991. So that album, saying 87 to 93 is a complete farce. There are two songs on that album recorded before 1990. But the rest of it was 1991, 1992. The big tour that we did. All of that record was recorded then. At three shows specifically... Joe Robbie Stadium, some of that stuff came from Tokyo and I believe the show in Paris, and the Patience track on that album was actually from a board tape. Recorded by our soundman, who passed away, called Dave Care. He recorded that. But we did not have a version on tape that was any good. But I wasn't involved in that record.


The first pressing of the album was "mislabeled, [had] flaws in the accompanying booklet artwork, and [had] a serious 'skip' (which is actually a 'loop'), apparently a factory error", but this was to be corrected in the second pressing [MTV News, December 15, 1999].

Slash would discuss the various mistakes:

Now you have to be a really fuckin' fanatic to find some of this shit. But, originally, we had guitars going in the wrong direction. I said, "There's no left-handed players in this band!" I mean, it was really that green. I was looking at the picture of the Tokyo Dome in the CD sleeve, and I was going, "I could've sworn the red tapestry was on the other side of the Dome." But it's been a long time, so I let it go. Someone got a magnifying glass and found out that Marlboro and Coca-Cola signs were spelled backwards [laughs]. And I was like, "I knew the blue tapestry was on my side of the stage!" Other than that, there's this picture of Axl that's the other way; someone brought to my attention that his tattoo is on the other side of his body. But the only problem I could relate to was which direction the guitar necks were going. Other than that, everything else is flyers from the old days, most of which I made. I remember poster-boarding those things all over the place when we were doing gigs, and going out and handing them out [laughs].

But the main problem on the first version of the live record was that the sequence was backwards. And when it came out-800,000 of them went out-Disc 1 was Disc 2, and Disc 2 was Disc 1. And then there was a loop on "Paradise City," where it just kept saying, "Las Vegas." [Laughs] And I found out about it when I was in Miami. I get this phone call, and I'm like, "You're kidding me!" A one-in-a-million shot that that would ever happen, and it happens to us [laughs]. But it is a collector's item, because when they made the new one they changed the new cover around a little bit, so anybody who has the old one, hold on to it.


Later, Slash would imply that the live albums could have been better if the band had been together when they made it:

As far as I'm concerned, the cool thing about it was that it sounds good and it's real. Everything they did after that was between Ax and Interscope and all the kind of s--t, as far as shoving it down the toilet is concerned. It would have been great if Guns, at that particular point in time, was together and we were touring. That album would have been amazingly huge but there was no reality to that so I mean, how to work a Guns N' Roses record when the band's not together and Axl's on some trip-- I can't really give you an answer.




"ADDITIONAL MUSICIANS"


When Axl and Slash put the live album together and mentioned me only as an “additional musician”, and then they didn’t mention me at all in the Greatest Hits album... that was something that really hurt. I didn’t like that at all. It wasn’t fair. Just so the fans know, I played on almost all Live Era. I'm on almost every song on that album. It’s not fair to put Steven Adler as a member of the band, and put me and Matt as “additional musicians” and pull our pictures from the album. That was an Axl and Slash thing. To me, it made it very cheap.

Additional musician? Suddenly I’m the tambourine player.



RE-RELEASE OF MUSIC VIDEOS


In connection with the release of the live album, Geffen decided to release updated music videos for 'It's So Easy' and 'Welcome to the Jungle' [Rolling Stone, November 9, 1999]. The video for 'Its So Easy' "was a mildly modified version of an old but rarely seen video shot at the Cathouse in Los Angeles in 1988, with original footage of ex-wives and naked women replaced with still photos from a Robert John Guns N' Roses photo book" [Rolling Stone, November 9, 1999].

Doug Goldstein would comment on the new video for 'Welcome to the Jungle':

It's very 'end of the Millennium' based. Waco, Columbine, Nike shoes, Rodney King… anything newsworthy.

We just decided to put out another video, the idea came along, (video director) Jeff Richter did a great job cutting it, and we went for it.
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED - Page 2 Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Wed Feb 03, 2021 6:10 pm

1996-
SLASH AFTER GUNS N' ROSES; VARIOUS PROJECTS, DRUGS AND BOOZE


In early 1997 it would be reported that Slash was doing a collaboration with Insane Clown Posse:

Things just pop up all the time. As long as you're out there, you take advantage of whatever cool opportunities there are.

There's so many things out there that you can do, if you just make yourself available to go check out what they are.


Some of the other projects Slash was involved with, but not a complete list: a soundtrack for a Nickelodeon pilot called Fathead, a solo on the song Fix by Teddy Riley and BLACKstreet [MTV News, July 11, 1997], a collaboration with Roger Daltrey, a cover song for an Alice in Chain tribute [Metal Hammer, August 1998], and a collaboration with Graham Bonnett [Guitar, September 1998].

In 1998, Slash was working on a Snakepit pinball machine [Metal Hammer, August 1998].

Talking about his jamming with other artists:

There are certain people that you just admire and love, and you'd give your left arm to play with them. Michael Jackson calling you up in a hotel room one day going, "Would you play on my record?" It's like, "Yeah! I'll play on your record!" Producer Don Was hooked me up with Iggy Pop, but I knew Iggy Pop when I was a little kid because he was friends with David Bowie, and David Bowie went out with my mom. Bob Dylan was a Don Was thing as well. Or somebody calls you up and you're like, "Oh yeah. Your music's cool. I'd love to do that." I just did a bunch of stuff with Chic, with Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards-I actually played with him the night he died. He is the "big daddy" bass player of all time, rest in peace; I love that guy. But we did three shows in Tokyo, and it was cool because I got to play with those guys, and Omar Hakim, Stevie Winwood, Simon Le Bon, and Sister Sledge-all together. It was like a big, huge "pop star" orchestra. That was a great experience.
     
But these are all things that happened by chance, just because I'd hook up with somebody that I like playing with. Like after I jammed with Bootsy Collins, I ended up playing with James Brown on his birthday - and that's just from meeting Bootsy at the Rainbow [laughs]. That's how these things happen; that's how you get the gigs. There's really no one "rule" on how it happens, it just happens by chance. Either someone likes you or you like somebody else, then one day you both meet, and then you pursue working together.


In 2000 he also worked with Rod Stewart:

That's where you draw the line. It was all Pro Tools. I sat there playing guitar for, like, 28 hours and then they'll just use what works for the song.
Allstarmag, July 20, 2000

I go in and jam, but then it was all edited on computer, so it was one of the weirdest experiences. But Rod sounds great. That was just one of those phone calls, I was like it's Rod Stewart, f--k yeah. He's a hero of mine. Rod Stewart's bad.

I did a recording with Rod Stewart and it was the first time I ever recorded in a ProTools situation. Rod's really cool, but the process-- it took two days to do two songs and it would have taken me seven or eight hours. It was very un-spontaneous.


And played with Tom Jones:

There are things I would turn down in a heartbeat, but are you going to turn down playing with Tom Jones at the White House? What are you, high? Even though I did put my vodka in an Evian bottle.


As well as worked on a soundtrack for the movie Rated X [Snakepit.org, May 1, 2000], and guested on Doro Pesch's album [Metal Edge, July 2000].

But by 2001 he still hadn't played with Stevie Wonder, despite "dying to play" with him [Getsigned.com, December 11, 2000; Livewire, July 10, 2001]. In 2005, this finally changed, though:

Well, I’ve got an album coming out with Stevie Wonder, so there’s some sessions I’m gonna do with him, which was one of my all-time goals. I’ve been on the road so long and every time I come home it’s only for a second, so we haven’t actually done it yet. After this European tour I’m gonna take a hiatus and start pre-production on it and work with Stevie. I was raised on his 1970s stuff. I love Stevie. I was fortunate enough to work with him for the Grammy awards. We all got up there - Bono, Steven Tyler, Stevie, Norah Jones, Alicia Keyes and Brian Wilson - and sang a Beatles song [Across The Universe] for the Tsunami fund. That was really cool because it was the first time I’d worked with Stevie.


In mid-July 2001, Slash was working on a soundtrack for a Billy Bob Thornton movie [Livewire, July 10, 2001].

And in late 2001 Slash played with Ron Wood in London and there were rumors about him joining Wood for a March 2002 tour in Japan [The Guardian, December 14, 2001]. The tour with Wood in Japan didn't happen, but they played together again on October 30, 2002 [Launch, November 1, 2002].

In February 2002 Slash was invited to join a supergroup with Sammy Hagar and others, but eventually declined [Melodic Rock, February. 3, 2002; MTV News, February 22, 2002].

Right before starting Velvet Revolver, Slash was working with Steve Gorman from Black Crowes:

I was actually getting ready to start a band with Steve Gorman from Black Crowes. We did some auditions for bassists and I wrote a load of new material. But then I got this call from Matt (Sorum), saying that Randy Castillo (Motley-Crüe- & Ozzy-Drummer) died, and that was a really big thing.


The death of Randy Castillo and the resulting benefit show would be the starting point for Velvet Revolver [see below and separate chapter].


SELLING OUT?


Slash was willing to play and collaborate with many different artists and in many different contexts. In 1998 he turned down an offer to work with Puff Daddy [Guitar, September 1998].

For one, I don't like him. I think he's flying on borrowed wings as it is.


Yet the very next year, in October 1999, he would perform "All About the Benjamins" together with Puff Daddy at a show in New York City [Rolling Stone, October 1999].

Puff Daddy was one of those phone calls where I just wanted to go play. It’s very spontaneous. I live for experiences.


As a side note, this rock version of 'All About The Benjamins', had been co-written by Tommy Stinson and released in 1997. When Slash played it live in 1999, Tommy had become a band member of Guns N' Roses.

Later he would turn down an offer from Britney Spears:

There’s cool, and then there’s that real fine line, and then there’s un-cool.


Accusations of selling out was levied at Slash in 2000 when he was featured in a commercial for Volkswagen [The Heights, October 16, 2006; The Ball State Daily News, October 19, 2006]:

I don't know if you've seen it or not, but Volkswagen has launched a new commercial ad campaign. The new "V-dubs rock" campaign has started, and the company's flagship commercial is airing constantly. The thirty-second or so commercial features former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash playing a customized VW guitar, using six black Volkswagens as amplifiers. It may very well be the most ridiculously arbitrary and inane commercial that has ever ran on television.

It really makes no sense when you think about it. Why Volkswagen? Why Slash?

It is clearly an attempt by the Volkswagen advertising team to hip-ify their image. They want to appeal to a younger, cooler audience. If that's the case, though, why would VW choose an endorser who hit his peak of popularity fifteen years ago?

Looking back, I've never seen Slash playing a guitar and thought, "I need to buy a tiny car." Inversely, I've never seen a Jetta driving down the street and thought that now would be an appropriate time for "Sweet Child O' Mine." The connection between Slash and Volkswagen seems totally phony and arbitrary. These two entities share no common link, and putting them together for the sake of marketing is stupid and contrived.

[...]

And I'm not calling Slash a sellout. It's way beyond that. Michael Jordan sold out when he did Gatorade and Nike commercials; these were products that he was already using, so he struck a deal that put money in his pockets just for using the products that, to him, were already a mainstay. Jordan, during the peak of his popularity, was endorsing products that he could very easily be associated with. He didn't use the products any more often; he just smiled for the cameras when he did. That's selling out.

Slash's Volkswagen commercial completely supersedes the notion of selling out. It goes above and beyond. This commercial takes selling out to a whole new level. In essence, Slash is saying, "I'm old and washed up and rather than doing something productive by using my natural talents and abilities and working on something artistically worthwhile, I'll just make a quick buck by hawking German-made cars that have absolutely no relevance to my body of work because I'm lazy."

That's not simply selling out; that's a whole new exciting level of being a corporate whore.



DRUGS AND BOOZE


After quitting Guns N' Roses, Slash's addiction seems to have gotten worse to the point where he was admitted to the hospital:

When I inevitably quit the band, I went through some real hard times sorting that out, and I almost died after that. Then all of a sudden I came out of the hospital clean, and I had a year sober. Now I drink, but not as much, and I haven’t had the desire.


The drinking seems to have been his largest problem, although occasional drug use was also part of his life style as it had been for many years:

I'm not really what you'd call a drug guy, you know. I have a drink (laughs). Drugs are around all the time, and it's not that big a deal. I always keep a bottle of Jack and a bottle of vodka around, though.

You know what, I've slipped a couple of times over the last ten years because I've run into the wrong person at the wrong time. I've ended up in a hospital a few times. And you know what, while I was in the hospital I thought, "It wasn't even a good high." So I'm really over it now. Its too much bother and too much of a pain in the ass. It's too non-productive. Especially if you're like somebody like me who has a lot going on. I have too much I want to do. You can't sit in that funky kind of place for too long a period of time and expect anything good to happen your way. You just get tired of it after a while. If it doesn't get tired of you first.


Being asked how long it's been since he last took heroin:

I went through a long-term (expletive) thing with that, but it just became nonconducive to getting anything done. As soon as my music starts to deteriorate, I had to stop whatever was hurting it. And I don’t miss it at all.


About his current drug use:

While I'm still no angel, I'm a lot cleaner than when I was younger.

I have my own personal maintenance kind of thing, which is not necessarily the healthiest way to live.


The first show of the Snakepit tour with AC/DC, in March 2001, had to be cancelled when Slash got ill [Press release, March 26, 2001]. Slash would first claim it was due to pneumonia:

I apologize to the fans and to AC/DC, but I don't want to get up there and do a half-ass show. I hate to let people down, but it wouldn't be right to give them a performance that's anything less than our best.

[…] I had pneumonia. It hit me at a bad time. I was doing the shows but I just wasn't feeling 100 percent. So a hospital just happened to be next to where we were doing a sound check, so I went in and they said, "Jesus Christ!" They didn’t let me leave. I was pushing myself too hard and I guess what I had was walking pneumonia, and the doctors said to me that I have to slow down. I didn't want to because I was right in the middle of a tour, but the doctors said I had to. It was unfortunate, because this all happened right before we were supposed to go on tour with AC/DC. The timing was just wrong. […] I'm feeling great now. I just needed a little bit of time off. Now we're retooling and we'll be going on tour this summer right through next year.

[Being asked to comment on rumours he had overdosed]: People keep asking me this question, and - considering all the serious stuff I’ve done in my life - it’s funny that this time it was just a natural thing. I got sick. I didn’t realize how sick I was until we got to Pittsburgh, and the venue we were playing at was right around the corner from the hospital. I thought I should see the doctor because I didn’t feel good. I walked over to the hospital with the tour manager, and I ended up staying in bed for a week. But it had nothing to do with any of my drugs (laughs).


In September, though, Slash would admit the AC/DC shows had been cancelled when he had suffered from issues because of his drinking, and that he had given up drinking as the result:

[Smoking is] my last real good vice. […] You know, there just came a point there where it just sort of came up and bit me in the ass. […] And I had a little - I spent a week in the hospital, you know, so... (laughs). […] Somewhere in Pittsburgh. […] Just excess, let’s leave it that. […] This was a physical – this was the real deal. It was in the middle of the tour, right? And I wasn’t feeling good, but knowing me, I just kept going and kept going, kept going... And my tour manager at the time was like, “You should go get yourself checked out.” So I went to – I thought, “Well, I’ll go to the doctor, then I’ll do soundcheck. Or I’ll do soundcheck and then go to the doctor.” (?) So I went before soundcheck and once I got in, there was all she wrote. It was like, “You’re not going anywhere, man.” So I was on my back actually for a week in Pittsburgh and for another week in L.A. But so I got all completely cleaned out.

I destroyed myself. I drank so hard around the clock for so many years that I ended up in the hospital. I woke up four weeks later and was clean. After that I took a year where I was completely white. [...] I had too much alcohol in the system. [...] No. [it wasn't the liver], heart problems. It did not affect my liver as it should have, but it still almost took my life.
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

I woke up in the hospital at the end of the last Snakepit tour and was told that I had between three weeks and six months to live. Apparently, my heart had expanded to about ten times its normal size. Just from drinking. All day, every day.


The sobriety lasted for about 6 months before Slash started "sneaking in whiskys":

[Asked what he would have ordered if he were in a bar]: I've been sober for the last six months, but how about a shot of good whiskey? Actually, I've been sneaking a few of 'em in lately.


In 2003-2005 Slash would again discuss his drinking and say he had stopped drinking during the day:

The coolest rock stars I'd ever seen in pictures always had a bottle of Jack Daniel's. There is a picture of Keith Richards getting out of a limo with Patti Hansen - bottle of Jack in his hand. There is a great old picture of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page on an airplane looking really stoned, with Page holding a bottle of Jack. And there is a picture of Aerosmith in their heyday - a bottle of Jack Daniel's on their drum riser. When you're a kid, you look through rock magazines, and if you see somebody you like doing the same thing you're doing, you go, "Oh cool, I'm doing the right thing." I started drinking Jack as soon as I could afford it. I'd get to the studio at noon and have a Jack and coffee. Then it was straight up at night. Eventually, it was just shots. There was actually a point where all I needed in my life, besides my guitar, was cigarettes and Jack Daniel's. Even to this day, it's on my tour rider, and every year for my birthday that's all I get from everyone: Jack Daniel's and cigarettes. I don't drink as much anymore; I've sort of eliminated the whole daytime drinking thing. But I still like my Jack and Coke at night. Jack's great. But remember one thing: Qaaludes and Jack Daniel's really don't mix.

I don't usually start at noon, but I came in your office and it was sitting there. I have toned it down a little. It's one thing to do it casually, it's another thing to fucking live on it, like water and air. Drink put me in hospital in 2000. It was my heart so I'm very conscious of it now. I watch myself now.

I do not drink near what I used to pour into me. [...] My health is okay. It's just beer. And I do not drink near what I used to.
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

But I mean, all things considered, I’m still the one guy in the band that needs to have a little bit of something going on, like a drink, or some sort of a party, or something after the show, or whatever. But, you know, if somebody comes up and goes, “You wanna go do a line?” I’ll think twice.

And then I just drank myself almost to death. They told me I only had three months to live, if I was lucky. So I cleaned myself up, got my health back, and now I just drink a glass a night.


In 2004 a fan would comment that Slash looked healthy:

I don’t spend time chasing dealers around anymore. After a while that kind of lifestyle becomes a drag. For me, it became a burden and a pain in the ass rather than something that was fun and exciting, so I just stopped. As a result, I spend more time focused on guitar, and I have more energy to devote to it.


Slash would also say that having his first baby had straightened both him and Perla out:

But when my wife first announced that she was pregnant, it straightened us. Because she and I were, like, a pretty crazy couple. Anybody in Hollywood that knows us will tell you we were that sort of couple. But when she told me she was pregnant, I was actually in the beginning of another binge - I could see it coming - and she was doing what she was doing, and it just straightened us out. So that whole nine month period was a whole completely different focus. I was also trying to start another band, and somewhere around the time that this band first-first started is when he was born, so then I had the band thing. You know, it’s one thing if I’m not in a band and I’m not working consistently, and I’ll be out there trying to work; but it’s like trying to keep it cool, too, trying to keep clean and all that. So the baby sort of helped, and then it helped my focus as far as trying to get this group together, even though I didn’t know it was gonna be this group.

I don't drink anything like I used to. Having kids made a difference. It happened at the right time, when I'd turned the corner. I was at the births and I was stunned. At my two-year-old's birthday party, I watched him play and this overwhelming wave of love just hit me. I was like, whooah.

Obviously I'm a lot more aware of the consequences of my actions now, especially now I've got kids. You won't find me down in the basement with a needle hanging out of my arm any more. I'm prepared to admit I'm still a heavy drinker, but it's nothing compared with what I used to be.



VELVET REVOLVER


This band will be discussed in its own chapter.
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