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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

21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: OH MY GOD
Albums:

End Of Days soundtrack, track no. 5, November 1999.


Written by:
Axl Rose, Paul Tobias, Dizzy Reed.

Musicians:
Axl Rose - vocals
Dave Navarro - guitar
Gary Sunshine - guitar
Paul Tobias - guitar
Tommy Stinson - bass guitar
Josh Freese - drums, percussion
Dizzy Reed - keyboards, synthesizer
Chris Pitman - keyboards, synthesizer

Live performances:
'Oh My God' was played live for the first time at the House of Blues, January 1, 2001. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {OHMYGODSONGS} times.
Lyrics:

It's not how you're thinking
or as you've imagined
to live in a shade of
beliefs that were fashioned
to leave you in slavery and drain out your soul
and What can I do when there's so many liars
That crawl through your veins
Like millions of spiders
That seek out their victims
And who is the wiser
Watch out
Gotcha

Oh my god
I can't deny this
I've been taught just to kill and fight this
don't bury it deeper where nobody can find it
Like nobody wanted to know

So give it away
Like they're not gonna fuck you
How much can you bear him
To come back and haunt you
To run past your demons
And cause you to suffer
You're starting to bleed
if the dont discover
Before its too late
What will you offer
In way of a healing
I'm so confused, confused, misused

Oh my god
I can't deny this
I've been taught just to kill and fight this
dont bury it deeper where nobody can find it
cuz nobody wouldn't know

Ooh, if it opens your eyes
This is better than a strong compromise
I was willing to be lost in the shuffle
If only you had let me know
Ooh, if it opens your eyes
This is better than the last compromise
I was willing to be lost in the shadows
If only you had let me know

And they wont give in
Cause they know what they're after
A kick in the face
Like its all that would matter
and Oooohhhhh

Oh my god
I can't deny this
I've been taught just to murder and fight this
dont bury it deeper where nobody can find it
Cuz nobody wouldn't know

Ooh, if it opens your eyes
This is better than a good compromise
I was willing to be lost in the shuffle
If only you had let me know

Ooh, well when we're done with the show
Like the tides down on the ocean
The waves already set in motion
The only one in the game who's lost is you


Quotes regarding the song



In connection with the release, Axl would release a statement:

So here's the story behind this music...

The chorus: OH MY GOD etc. deals with the societal repression of deep and often agonizing emotions -- some of which may be willingly accepted for one reason or another -- the appropriate expression of which (one that promotes a healing, release and a positive resolve) is often discouraged and many times denied. Emotionally the song contemplates several abstract perspectives drawing from personal expression as well as from the film (End Of Days) and its metaphors. The appropriate expression and vehicle for such emotions and concepts is not something taken for granted.

Musically the song was primarily written by Paul Huge over two years ago, with Dizzy Reed writing the musical hook of the chorus. Former member Duff McKagan as well as former employee Matt Sorum failed to see its potential and showed no interest in exploring, let alone recording the piece. When the demos were played for the new band, Josh, Tommy and Robin were as they say 'all over it.'

Once the opportunity was presented, the song was given priority in our recording process. As the verse, performance and lyrics were decided on, for us (that especially includes Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine) the choice became obvious. We were more than pleased Mr. Roswell (the film's music supervisor) agreed! Our thanks to Arnold and all for the consideration -- it is an association in which we have always felt honored.

Paul Huge, Gary Sunshine and Dave Navarro appear on the song as well as Robin Finck. Robin's part was written by Paul and extensively manipulated by our producer, Sean Beaven. Robin was not involved in the writing of the final recording though did participate in the arrangement. All lyrics were written by myself. Additional programming (jack boots, screeching tires, etc.) was by Stuart White.

The fight of good vs. evil, positive vs. negative, man against a seemingly undefeatable, undeterrable, unrevealed destiny, along with the personal and universal struggle to attain, maintain and responsibly manage freewill can be and often is frustrating to say the least. In America our country's constitutional right to freedom of expression gives us a better chance to fight for that expression than many in other countries enjoy. It can be a big gig, like kickin' the crap outta the devil!

Power to the people, peace out and blame Canada.


The song would feature a guitar solo from Dave Navarro [MTV, November 8, 1999] who had been drafted in since Robin had left:

Robin's departure was abrupt, sudden, you know, not expected but at the same time, it's turned out to be a good thing. We've been able to push some of the guitar parts a step farther, that had he been here, it's not something that would have been considered, and I wouldn't have been rude enough to attempt to do that. Robin did a great job, but we've been able to up the ante a little bit. Dave came in and did something great on "Oh My God," and we've had a few other people come in, so that was a setback for a while, but then it's turned out to be a good thing.


Robin would comment upon the track which he had had no part in writing and recording:

We recorded a lot of cool songs and potential tracks. I hope [Oh My God] not very typical of them.


Axl would talk about Navarro:

I've always been a fan of Dave Navarro, to the point that when we got signed, I had a Jane's Addiction demo tape [laughs] and was actually trying to convince the record company, "No, no, no, no, I suck. We suck. These guys rock!" And I was trying to get Tom Zutaut, at the time [at Geffen], to sign Jane's Addiction, and he was actually in negotiations to sign them at one point. I was just into Jane's Addiction.

[…]

That's really what finally got the public to find some interest in Guns N' Roses, and there was a lot less [interest] for Jane's Addiction. Where now, I think, we would consider Jane's Addiction one of the great rock and roll bands in the last however many years. They were a great band, they were a bit ahead of their time. I was a very big fan of them, and Dave.

Dave's a great guitar player. It's a different style. It's not like Guns N' Roses. It's not blues-based, and it's not all that Guns N' Roses is, and that was done on purpose. There will be elements of blues-based things on the new Guns record. It's a very diverse record. There's a lot of hip-hop beats, there's straight-ahead rock. But if someone says, "Hip-hop beats," what do you mean by that? Well, Radiohead uses beats that are similar to hip-hop beats. There's actual, "official" hip-hop beats and then there's "Radiohead-style" hip-hop beats, there's rock beats. Like I say, "Oh My God" has a disco beat in it. I read a review where somebody caught that. That made me laugh.


And Navarro would talk about the project:

There's no story. We didn't hook up at, like, The Rainbow and said, 'Hey, let's get together and do a song.' They just called me up, and I went down to the studio. I spent about an hour and a half there. I played a guitar solo, and that's it.

It was an existing track. I played a guitar solo on it. There really wasn't much direction to give me. I think that that's why they called me, because they figured they wouldn't have to give me any direction.

The truth is, I wish there was an interesting story, but it was honestly like just doing a session. Axl and I had been trying to play for years, and it just never worked out for one reason or another. He just called me and it happened to be a good time, so it worked out. But I just kinda went down there and I spent maybe an hour and a half in the studio, played some stuff, and went home.


Gary Sunshine, who had been working with Axl for about a year at the time, would talk about how he got to add to Oh My God:

And then [Axl] called, or Del, one of them called, and asked if I would do some sessions. And I said, "Well, yeah, sure." Of course I had done some session work. It's not my forte, as they say, you know what I mean? I can do it, but I play by feel mostly. So it's always a little exhausting for me, but I'm certainly going to give it a shot. So I did go in there. It was super professional and very cool. So it was the two songs. It was at least two songs. So I remember.... But it was, Oh My God, definitely, and there was one other one which may have been IRS and I can't remember. Not that I can't remember, it was instrumental and I never knew. There was no vocal on it. So that's the recruiting.


And Gary Sunshine

It's a crazy tune. It wasn't easy to learn. I listened to it the other day and I was like, "I don't even know what I played on that thing." I know I played.... I know I reinforced a bunch of chords and played the structure of the song. You know, it was really just to beef it up a bit. I remember that. I know Axl was in the session, me and the engineer, and maybe that was it. Maybe Del, I don't know. I did like two days, two different sessions with them. And all I remember is learning that because what I had was, I think they gave me a cassette tape of the two or three songs to think about for sessions and there was no vocal on them. So I didn't really know what they were going for. It was just an intense, like, crazy instrumental thing. And with very little instruction like, you know, "Here are the changes," or, "this is the part," or, "this is this," or, "this is that." So I just did the best I could. And, you know, a little nerve wracking, especially with a song that's so insane. But it's a great song. I know you have a real affinity for it, but it is a cool song. I agree with you on that. So the only thing I remember is recording the root of the song, you know, the basic rhythms. I was redoing certain parts of this and that. So I didn't do any of the... I think Dave [Navarro] did maybe that wahwah pedal solo and stuff like that and I think, I'm not sure. I think so much was added into those songs, or gone or changed, you never know what's going to end up when they start mixing things. So I am assuming that my chords are there. You know, somewhere, somewhere in that mix. And that's really all I knew. I knew it was for a film. [...] I never heard the vocals. I never heard the vocals at that point. Until, you know, when it was released. That was it. It was like, "Here's your session, talk to you later, let me know if you need anything." And then the record came out and I was like, "Holy shit!" [...] I would imagine there's all kinds of versions. I mean, it was, you know, layers and layers of things. But I never got to hear that until it was done. It was just interesting. That's a different perspective when you're playing without the vocal and the melody. Maybe it brings different things out. I've never thought of that, so anyway.


Sunshine would have liked for it to be on Chinese Democracy:

I mean, it seemed like it's only going to be a soundtrack, I was really disappointed, I wanted to hear it running around a little bit and all that. [...] Yeah, sure [I was disappointed]. Cause that was the one that was clearly stated that I played on. He had mentioned it in a story and other people had written it. So it was a clear, you know, nod that, you know, yeah, I did do this. You know, sometimes you do things and you tell people, "Oh, you know what I did?" and they don't believe you. You think they're not gonna believe you. It's nice when it's in print. It was in print. And then the other song, which I don't know for sure what it was, but I'm not credited with anything because maybe they didn't use it, you know, maybe it was just a layering of parts or whatever. I think that was IRS. Which is another good song. But I don't know. So yeah, I wanted to be on the record, sure, in some form. But I'm on that song, which is cool.


The song would represent a break with the classical sound of Guns N' Roses, and Axl would describe how it came about:

Basically, [I'm] listening to everything that's out there as far as music goes. That was a big difference between myself and Slash and Duff, is that I didn't hate everything new that came out. I really liked the Seattle movement. I like White Zombie. I like Nine Inch Nails, and I like hip-hop. I don't hate everything. I don't think everybody should be worshiping me 'cause I was around before them.

So once it was really understood by me that I'm really not going to be able to make the right old-style Guns N' Roses record, and if I try to take into consideration what Guns did on "Appetite," which was to kind of be a melting pot of a lot things that were going on, plus use past influences, I could make the right record if I used my influences from what I've been listening to that everybody else is listening to out there. So in that sense, I think it is like old Guns N' Roses as far as, like, the spirit and the attempt to throw all kinds of different styles together. If you get to the second guitar solo in "Oh My God," Paul's doing a very Izzy Stradlin-Aerosmith-type riff in the middle of the song, which is a completely different thing than everything else that's going on in the music, but yet it blends. There's a disco drum beat in the post-chorus, in the heaviest section of the song. We blended a lot of things.


Duff would later comment on Axl's statement that he and Slash didn't appreciate new music:

I want to say something against that MTV interview. He said the he likes the Seattle sound, but Slash and me hated the new music that comes out. It's stupid, but let me defend myself. I'm the one who brought ICE-T or Killing Joke etc. in the band and listened to other kind of music. I'm not a country boy from Indiana. I'm from Seattle!
Burrn! Magazine, December 1999; translated from Japanese


Slash would later comment on the song:

I’m not gonna pass judgement. […] Listen, listen. If that’s what [Axl] wanted to do and that’s why – the development of that is what made me quit. […] Whatever it is, it’s not what I was –

Yeah, I heard it when I went to see the movie End Of Days. And I don’t have any real opinion about it. […] And when I heard Oh My God, it convinced me that my departure had been a wise decision and that Axl and I were definitely no longer on the same wavelength musically.
Hard Rock (France), October 2000; translated from French


Axl would also mention that for 'Oh My God' as with other songs they were working on, Axl would write the lyrics after the music was finished:

I write the vocals last, because I wanted to invent the music first and push the music to the level that I had to compete against it. That's kind of tough. It's like you got to go in against these new guys who kicked ass. You finally got the song musically where you wanted to, and then you have to figure out how to go in and kick its ass and be one person competing against this wall of sound.

Why I chose to do it that way is that, you know, I can sit and write poetry 'til hell freezes over, and getting attached to any particular set of words... I felt that I would write to those words in a dated fashion, and we really wouldn't get the best music. "Oh My God" is a perfect example. When we finally got "Oh My God" where it needed to be, then I got the right words to it. With "Appetite," I wrote a lot of the words first, but in, like, "Oh My God," I wrote the words second, but the music was written like "Appetite." We kept developing it until it we got it right. [With] "Appetite," everything had been worked on, and worked on, and worked on. That was not the case with "Use Your Illusion."


Axl would mention a remix of the song:

There’s a remix w/lots of new vocals and a wilder guitar intro but it’s not taken all that seriously.


And when asked why it sounded like a demo:

Because that's all it was, only at the time having just got it together only Jimmy Iovine knew that who wanted it to sell their soundtrack. I saw segments of the movie which were good. As a whole later not so much but it wasn't ready yet then.



21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED - Page 2 Newbor11


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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

DADDY, CAN THE DEVIL DO MOMMY AND ME?

In 2008, Axl would say that after having seen parts of End of Days he wrote a piece of instrumental music called "Daddy Can the Devil do Mom and Me?":

I saw segments of the movie which were good. As a whole later not so much but it wasn't ready yet then. I did write an experimental piece inspired by the bits I'd seen called "Daddy Can the Devil do Mommy and me?"

The instrumental I wrote for End of Days that’s more a solo effort at least presently.


And talking about what an Axl Rose solo record would be like:

Much more experimental and instrumental.


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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 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 Wed Feb 03, 2021 6:10 pm

1999-2000
GARY SUNSHINE AND ROB HOLLIDAY

1999-2000: 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'm guessing '98-'99. One of the guitar techs with Guns N' Roses... I'm having trouble remembering his name. I was trying to think of it the other day. I was trying to jog my memory into some of this. I couldn't remember his name, but he gave me a call one day, but I knew him. Maybe he worked with us too at some point, I think so. And he said, "Hey, I have a pretty high profile guy, client, or somebody I work with, who might be interested in working on some guitar in like a lesson format, somewhat." And I hate to say that because they weren't that, so much, but I was hired to to work with him. First I was asked to, you know, come down and meet him at the studio, and I don't remember what studio it was. But I went down and Axl has been working on something way back.

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.
Personal communication, September 25, 2020


According to Sunshine, he would involved with GN'R for 6-12 months [see below] and he would also get to see Buckethead's chicken coop [Appetite for Distortion, December 31, 2018], which means that he was with the band at least into 2000.

Interestingly, Dave Dominguez would mention that Axl was taking guitar lessons "up at his house" when Dominguez was involved, which was between January and August 1998 [see earlier chapter]. This would either mean that Sunshine's involvement started already in 1998 and that he was working with Axl longer than those 6-12 months, or that Axl had a different guitar teacher before Sunshine got involved.

Sunshine's guitar would be featured on Oh My God but he would also be involved in adding guitar parts to at least one additional and possibly 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
Personal communication, September 24, 2020


Axl had a desire to move away from blues-based rock and wanted Sunshine to help him with that, more so than simply learning the technical aspects of guitar playing:

I figure in '99 he was starting the process of writing and recording, or he's in the midst of it. I don't know the timing of the whole project. So at that point he wanted to brush up on guitar and you know things like that. It was it was no real intense plan involved. It was just like, "Hey, come up." So I would go up to the house once a week for a while, you know for a few hours here and there, and we would bounce ideas and work on things. And I remember my focus was that I knew he was writing and he was, you know, in this period of like "What's next?" kind of thing where everybody had their eyes on him. And I knew it was about writing and being creative and that whole world and that's what mattered to him, not learning actual guitar things that may or may not be helpful. So I went with that angle and we were working on everything from like Beatles to Radiohead, kind of just other concepts that were non-blues related because, you know, they had exhausted the Aerosmith blues model somewhat, you know, they did it to the max with the first record. So he was trying to go in every other direction. I think, you know, he's a very creative guy. So he was looking at every way. I remember like up at the house working on like saying, "All right, well, these are like blues based things you could do," he goes, "Well, I don't really want to do blues." I remember that. And now I get it because he wanted to go past that, because he plays by ear. He's not trying to learn that. So he was just trying to get, you know, more comfortable on the instrument. And there's been a lot of like talk about why is he doing this? Why is he doing that? At that point at least. But we would just bounce ideas and work on tunes, this and that, and jam a little bit. I remember doing like certain Beatles songs. I remember Radiohead too, because it was just interesting chord changes and things and ideas. So it was mostly that. So I was working on, like a kind of guitar instructor in a sense, but it wasn't really that. It was talking and hanging out a little bit. I did that for anywhere between six months and a year. I'm not really sure.

I think everything [Axl] did was, as I remembered, it was all by year. You know, I would come in with, you know, I would spend like old this time trying to figure out "What am I going to work on with him? I don't know him very well and I want to do the right thing," and this and that, and it was a cool thing to do. So I would write out stuff and ideas and different ways to improvise stuff, you know, related to that. And then I'd get up there and we'd just play along and he would just go with it and it would be by ear. He wouldn't look at what I wrote out, really. It was of no value. It was more helpful for me probably. But we would jam little ideas. He would always have cool riffs and things. He's a really cool... He was solid, man. He was solid. I mean, maybe technically he didn't know all the details, but... I think he just wanted to brush up on what to do and have a better feeling for what he plays. I know he plays piano very well, but I just don't know... Is it by ear? I don't know. I don't know the deal with him. I know he's very well versed in a lot of different things.

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.
Personal 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.
Personal 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.
Personall 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:

Well, it was very personal. It was very friendly. He trusted me and I trusted him and we'd have good conversations because I came from a different, a similar situation almost. I guess he heard that I was an okay guy. That, you know, I'm not a fuck up. [...] [We bonded over] relationships in the world and politics, maybe politics, relationships, music and similar background kind of thing. We're both in bands and same period of time. I'm guessing it's in that world. [...] We had a lot of common interests and likes, but I don't remember them clearly. I just know it was a really good experience, that's all I know.

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.
Personal 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.
Personal communication, September 24, 2020



1999: ROB HOLLIDAY

Rob Holliday was the singer and guitar player from the band Sulphur and Curve and he was likely involved with GN'R in 1999:

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

This is so old now … this was about 4 years ago. It's a long story that involves Nine Inch Nails - Robin Finck, myself and various other people I know. Billy Howerdel from A Perfect Circle was working on it, Sean Beavan was working on it - all these people came and went. I ended up being asked over, yes it's true. It was a strange situation. I can't really go into any more detail than that. I'm not sure what Axl is doing right now but when I was there, he had around 40 songs ... I'm not sure this record will ever see the light of day.
Vagabond Hearts, September 2004


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 12:47 pm

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.



DISCUSSING THE OVERDUBS

Hey dudes! Yes, the live album is offically released on the 30th November here in the US. I did work quite a bit on it. It was great becasue I got to meet all the guys again. Slash was responsible for most of the work on the album. He and Axl worked the hardest. Stevie, Izzy and the others were all involved in one way or another. A lot of people who habe heard the Live Era sampler are complaining that it sound too overproduced with extra sound added. Hmm. It is true that we added extra sound to make the songs sound better on record. But I would not call it 'overproduced'. It has ended up with a very smooth, clean sound even to Axl's vocals but we were just trying to make the album as good as we could. That is why it doesn't actually say what shows the songs come from on the album. Loads of bands do it. Checkout Aerosmith's 'A Little South of Sanity', Cheap Trick's 'Live At Budokan' or any Kiss live album and they have all been tampered with. Otherwise, it would sound like a bootleg.



"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 Sun May 30, 2021 8:37 am

1996-2016
SLASH AFTER GUNS N' ROSES: VARIOUS PROJECTS; GUITAR HERO; SELLING OUT?

VARIOUS SMALLER MUSICAL PROJECTS

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.


The song would be Halls of Illusion from the album The Great Milenko. In 2003, Joseph Bruce from Insane Clown Posse would describe collaborating with Slash in his biography, "Behind The Paint":

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." [...] Then he started talking to me about how much he hated Axl Rose. "Yeah, fuck that cocksucker..." "Yeah, well, Slash, bro, this song ain't nothing to do with him," I said quickly. [...] "Yeah, well, he's a fucking asshole."
Behind The Paint, 2003

Next morning, Slash woke me up with a call to the hotel. "Hey, Joe, man, turn on the fucking radio; I'm about to do an interview. I'm going to plug you guys." I thought that was cool as fuck. Slash was cool as fuck. [...]  Then at the studio Slash called again, to see how the mix turned out. I told him we didn't have it done yet. Later, he called back just to chat, like we were these old pals. "Check this out, I'm doing this, blah blah blah." he'd say. Pretty soon, he'd just be going on and on about his life. "Man, Joe. I don't know what to put in my house." he said. "What are you talking about, Slash?" "I got a big, empty house, man. What the fuck should I put in it?" Like I was going to give Slash advice on interior decorating. We hung up. Then he called back ten minutes after that. "Hey, Joe, I want to be in the video." "I don't even know if this song is gonna be the single," I told him, "but if it is, helly yezzy we want you in the video, too!!!" "Well, when are you guys going on tour? I want to play it live." Like we were going to ask Slash to be in our band! Like we even had a band. Even though we didn't have a band, I still thought about asking him to join ICP. I turned to Mike E. Clark. "If Slash calls back, tell him I'm not there."
Behind The Paint, 2003


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].

Well, you know, I always talk about I'd like play with Stevie Wonder and he and I have actually talked about it before, but it's just never happened.


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].

Being asked if he has ever regretted any collaboration:

Not that I didn't wish I hadn't been involved with, but there was some that I wasn't happy with the end result, when it got to the point that it was out of my hands. Very rarely does that happen. You go in knowing that you're at the mercy of the producer and so on. When it comes out great, it comes out great. When it comes out not exactly how you wanted it to, you take it with a grain of salt...at least they made the record they wanted to make. I did a Rod Stewart session recently where one of the songs didn't come out the way I thought it should have, and one of the songs sounds amazing, so it's a give and take.


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].

Also around this time he added guitars the song God Bless America Again by Ray Charles which would come out on Sings For America (2002):

I was able to work with Ray Charles once. For the film Ray I recorded old standards with his band. I didn't even know some of the chords that were supposed to be played. Because everything had to be done quickly, they wrote them down for me and I went home to practice. When I came back into the studio the next day and played, Ray just said, "That's not your thing, is it?"


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].

On November 21, 2005, Slash was one of the artists playing at The Royal variety Show in England, where Slash got to meet Queen Elizabeth [Hawaii Radio, 2006]. Ozzy Osbourne, who had invited Slash over for the event, would later claim Slash had offered him $9,000 to moon the Queen [Blabbermouth, December 12, 2005].

Talking about his collaborations:

Usually it's probably somebody I know. In Derek [Sherinian]'s case, it was Billy Idol. And a couple people he's working with, Brian Tichy, he plays drums and he also co-wrote a lot of the material. They came to me with an idea of doing In The Summertime. I know these guys, so it's fun to go do. Sarah Kelly was something that Mike Clink called me up and asked me if I'd be interested. He sent me the songs, and one of the songs just blew my mind and I was really into that. Then he asked me to play on another one while I was there.

The Chris Daughtry thing, that was sort of like, no, I wouldn't have known to do that. It was a record company thing because we're on the same label and they just asked. I was reluctant at first because of the whole American Idol bit, but then at the same time, I wasn't familiar with him. He hadn't won, so I didn't know who he was. So they sent me the song before I had even met him. I was like, I could play on it. Then I went to the studio and met him, and I was like, He's a nice guy. Paulino Rubio is just this hot, Brazilian chick. That was fun!

[Talking about Sarah Kelly]: I was blown away by how much emotion and balls her voice had and how expressive it was… She has a sincerely pure presence in her voice.
Blabbermouth, February 12, 2007

Working with Ted Riley and old Dirty Bastard on a song called...Black Street was the band...I forgot the name of the song. That was a very cool experience doing that. Lenny Kravitz was a definitely a good one. We created a song from scratch. We went into his studio in Hoboken and he played drums and I played guitar and we kept it and that's all that it was. He put the bass and vocals on it later. That was a good track. Working with Michael Jackson the first time was a really good experience. The song was called "Give Into Me" that was on the record that was a single. It was supposed to be a single in the states but was never released here. That was a really cool song to play on and I really enjoyed it! All said, being in that kind of real super pop star environment and meeting Michael and all of that. I don't know, they are all different and they're all fun. Playing with Motorhead was a great experience. I did Insane Clown Posse a while back. [...] Paulina I did because I sort of like that whole Brazilian kind of thing. Even know it's for commercial pop it's still South American, Miami type of thing. I went in and met her after/when I shot the video. That was interesting. I mean, they're all fun! They're all learning experiences. Some are worse than others. The Rod Stewart one you mentioned was my first introduction to pro tools with engineers who didn't know what they were doing. It was like being in Japanese class. I had no idea what was going on. It was very tedious. It came out okay.

[Talking more about Daughtry]: We're on the same label, and the label asked me to do it. But I never met him before. I knew he was an American Idol guy, so I was reluctant to even get involved with him. But I did it as a favor to the record company, then when I went down and met him, I was pleasantly surprised. He's a really down-to-earth guy and a really good vocalist. A little bit too commercial for my tastes, but he's doing very well. That's what he wants to do. That's what the record company wants. So he's fine. We don't really relate on that level. [Laughs]


Slash would feature in Paulina Rubio's music video for "Nada Puede Cambiarme" [Blabbermouth, January 16, 2007]. And on February 8, 2007, Slash would jam with Black Eyed Peas on "Let's Get It Started" at Avalon in Hollywood [Blabbermouth, February 12, 2007]. In 2008, Slash would also collaborate with Edgar Winter [Blabbermouth, May 22, 2008], collaborated with and appeared in a video by Vasco Rossi [Blabbermouth, June 22, 2008], worked with Jonathan Pease [The Daily Telegraph (Australia), July 10, 2008], and with Alice Cooper for the track "Vengeance is Mine" [Blabbermouth, September 9, 2008] and played 'Sweet Child O' Mine' and 'Barracuda' on a show with Fergie from Black Eyed Peas [The Orange County Register, July 20, 2008]. Slash would also hold a two-night birthday bash in Las Vegas [The Vegas Eye, July 22, 2008; Las Vegas Sun, July 24, 2008; Las Vegas Weekly, July 25, 2008].

In late 2008, Slash had been working on a version of Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise" on "Les Paul and Friends: A Tribute to a Legend," played on Alice Cooper's "Along Came a Spider," Edgar Winter's "Rebel Road" and the upcoming album by Cypress Hill [Billboard, October 24, 2008].

Talking about playing with Cypress Hill:

It was great, I love those guys. I've played with them a lot and we just did this one song on their new record and it's really cool.


In April 2009, Slash would do a "Black Eyed Peas medley and Led Zeppelin cover with Fergie at the Cokefest in Detroit" and allegedly comment:

Fergie's the only way you'll hear Slash right now.


Also in 2009 he would guest Black Eyed Peas as they opened for U2 at the Rose Bowl and play 'Sweet Child O' Mine' with Fergie on the mic:

That was a first for me, to go out and pull out ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ in front of however many thousands of people at the Rose Bowl with a different group. I had never really played that song with anyone besides Guns N' Roses. Fergie asked me if I would do it with her, and she’s honestly one of the only singers I would trust that song to.


Also in 2009, Slash worked with Mark Lanegan [Twitter, March 5, 2009; Twitter, March 16, 2009], Diane Warren [Twitter, March 7, 2009] Escala [MySpace, March 14, 2009], Busta Rhymes [Twitter April 15, 2009] and Rihanna [Rolling Stone, November 2, 2009].

In 2010, Rihanna would release a music video for the song, Rockstar 101, with Slash, and dress up as Slash in it:

I was supposed to actually be in that video. I played on the song, and they called me up to ask me to play in the video, but my record was just coming out, and I was sort of worn thin," he explained. "She was really sweet. She sent me this pleading text to come do the video, but I couldn't make it work. I told her that me not being in the video wasn't going to make or break it.

[...]

The video is way better with her being me than with me being me. All things considered, it brings an element of sexuality to it that I probably wouldn't have been capable of. I think it's hot, and I sent her a text this morning telling her it was definitely hotter with her doing it than with me doing it. Everything works out the way it's supposed to.

[...]

I'm way more flattered that she played me in the video than her asking me to be in it," he said. "All things considered, she's pretty cool.




Rihanna channeling Slash
from Rockstar 101 music video



Slash would also be a mentor for "Rock Week" at American Idol:

Hey all, as you may or may not know, the producers for American Idol have asked me to be the mentor for "Rock Week" next week. I was reluctant at 1st, but they offered me the freedom to do it however I wanted.

More importantly, there are a few singers this year who are really impressive. Its the 1st time any AI line-up has really caught my attention.

The approach I'm taking is different than usual on the show, & I'm going to make this as Rock & Roll an American Idol as possible, wish me luck!


After the show, Slash would comment on his participation:

The American Idol adventure was quite an experience to say the least. I did my best to change it up by mentoring the singers at the Roxy & I brought some great musicians to play with me, Tommy Clufetos on drums, Keri Kelli on guitar & Chris Chaney on bass. Matt Rohdes, the keyboard player from the AI band also accompanied us & was indispensable in helping us navigate the key changes & edits that were necessary to perform the songs in the keys that the singers chose & in the time frame that fit the shows format etc. And, all in just a couple hours.

Although the show itself was way out of my comfort zone initially, we definitely altered the show's routine, for better or worse. The show staff & crew were super professional & sincerely went out of their way to make everything as painless & expeditious as possible. It wasn't a big spaz attack like on some TV productions.

As important, if not more so, the singers were great to work with as well. Adam (who I was not scouting to sing in VR, btw) was amazing, as was Alison, who was unceremoniously voted off prematurely, in my opinion. Danny & Kris were out of their element this week, but did the best they could under the circumstances. The judges, although unnecessarily harsh at times, were like rockstars themselves & Seacrest is the consumate professional, no matter what. Very interesting dynamics, more so in person than on TV. All in all it was a good time. But, the way I see it, as massive as AI is, it could do with an infusion of Rock & Roll on a regular basis. Other than that, I have absolutely no complaints about the whole event.

At some point, someone said, ‘You’ve got to check out this guy who’s on American Idol’. So I casually watched it - my wife TiVos it - and this guy Adam [Lambert] and this girl Allison [Iraheta] were the first people that I’d ever seen on American Idol that I thought were inspirational.

[...] [After being offered a mentor post on the show] I said, ‘Nah, I can’t do that.’ But they really were persistent ... So I took the hit on the chin. And the only reason I did it was so that I could see Adam Lambert sing in person. He’s amazing.



2007: GUITAR HERO III


In 2007, Slash would be featured in the computer game Guitar Hero III:

I think it’s a huge honor to be part of this game. It’s like I actually represent electric guitar to a legion of kids that are into this game, which has got to be the most popular game out right now. And I’ve been asked to put my brand on it, which is very, very cool.

The first time I ever played Guitar Hero: I’d never seen it but I’d heard about it. I’d heard about all these people who were, like, raving lunatics with this thing and having parties… the whole nine. So I started playing it and got hooked on it from that point. Then I get this phone call about being involved with the new Guitar Hero game. I just told them how enthusiastic I would be to get involved in it and they seemed the same. That’s, basically, how it went from there.    

Guitar Hero was harder as a guitar player than if I’d never touched a guitar and all I knew I had to do was just touch these different colors on the neck. I’ve gotten pretty good at it so far.

My motion capture experience: you know, there’s a dozen people, and suits to put on, and little balls all over the place. Pretty much the goofiest suit that I can recall wearing. It’s weird that I have to do it without interacting with a band and stuff (laughs).

I’ll be interested to see what it looks like when it’s done. I know it’s gonna be very cool, so the last few hours of walking around and doing all these poses and stuff with this little suit on will probably all be worth it.

I'm one of the characters that you have to play in the game. [...] There's a thing called the “Boss Battle” and you get to a certain point in the game, you get to this point and you have to play me, like guitar solos back and forth and back and forth; and if you can outplay me, you can actually make me a character that you can pick to be, if you want to choose me as a character.

It’s one of those things I got involved with that I don’t consider a sellout, because it was so cool.

Activision [the game's publisher] came up with the idea to have somebody in the rock world represent the game and they chose me to be their rock legend guy, which I thought was really flattering. And I was really overwhelmed and excited about the prospect of doing it because I'm a huge fan of the game. So I met with them and we shot some ideas back and forth and we rolled with it and it came out great. I got to write some music for it, I put some guitar solos on it, and I got a caricature of myself in the game. It's way left-field for what I normally do, but at the same time it's very relevant, and I'm really honored to be on the box, so to speak. [...] there were plenty of hours spent outside my comfort zone to get this done properly. But, you know, it was an experience and it was fun as well.

That was a lot of fun. That was something I was really excited to do when I got the phone call. Now that it's finished, I'm really proud of the work that we put into it. I'm glad to be associated with it. You wear a motion-capture suit which has these little camera receivers all over it. These cameras take up from all angles what you're doing and record it to computer and it comes out actually as a physical moving thing. Then they paint that in with your likeness, which they got from 3D cameras at a separate sitting, and put it all together. It's very interesting how it's done. They do it in movies all the time. With the recent "King Kong" that came out, there's a character who acted the gorilla out and wore the same kind of suit. Then they painted the gorilla in with CGI.

I wish there were royalties! I tried to negotiate a royalty, but they were not going for it whatsoever. They were like, "Guitar Hero is an established game, and we want to incorporate you into it. We'll pay you a flat fee, or get someone else to do it." So I did it anyway, because I had just been exposed to Guitar Hero II, and I became extremely addicted to it. I had to bear the game - which took me a little while. When they called me for Guitar Hero III, I was over-the-top happy - a closet Guitar Hero junkie getting to join the team. [...] The first thing was a head-to-toe 3-D scan, which helps the artist form a 3-D image of you. Then, I spent six or seven hours in the motion-capture suit, covered in camera receivers, playing along to three different songs with three different tempos. Then, I had to go into this little rinky-dink digital studio and put the Boss Battle guitar solos together. I had a Les Paul and a Marshall, but it was one of the hardest situations to get inspired in. It was very uncomfortable. The whole design team and all these other people were standing around watching me, and the sound wasn't great. In those situations, you just have to go for it. That's one of the great things about doing a lot of walk­in session work - it really teaches you to go with the flow. Later, I went into a nice studio, and wrote and recorded the theme song you hear when the game first starts.

I’m not really what you’d call a “game head,” but I just kinda took to it. I have this office space near the back of my house where I hooked up Guitar Hero II. Next thing I knew I was swallowed up by it. I mean, I didn’t answer the phone, didn't take care of anything around the house—I didn’t even play my real guitars. For a solid week or two, I was all about beating the game. And I did beat it—but only on “Medium." Once you go into “Hard” and “Expert” modes, you’re off in another world. I started messing around in those levels and actually got through the first couple songs. But I realized at the rate I was going I was never going to make it to band practice with Velvet Revolver. So I unplugged the game, put it back in the box and hid it away. It was sort of like booze or drugs: I had to get it out of my sight [laughs]. And a few weeks after I weaned myself off it, I got a call from my manager, who said that [GH publisher] Activision wanted to know if I’d be interested not just in being involved in the next one but actually being in it.


In October it would be reported that a "Slash action figure" would be launched in connection with Guitar Hero III [LA Weekly, October 7, 2008; Artisan News, October 24, 2008].

In 2012, Slash would partner with BandFuse for a competitor to Guitar Hero [Artist Direct, February 22, 2012].


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.


On January 6, 2008, Slash would play Welcome to the Jungle at the end of Bill Gates' final Consumer Electronics Show keynote speech:

[...] the final set piece featured a Guitar Hero III battle between Gates and Microsoft Entertainment and Devices President Robbie Bach. Each brought in a ringer — Bach got a Guitar Hero champion who shredded the introduction to Guns N' Rose' 'Welcome to the Jungle'. Gates, never to be trumped, brought in Slash, who played the real thing on his Les Paul through a pair of Marshall half-stacks.


Also in 2008, Slash would be asked if "you feel that doing things like appearing in the VW/First Act commercial and in Guitar Hero III enhances your credibility, or is it a matter of extracting some cash from your established credibility?" to which he replied:

Let's be clear: The monetary thing had nothing to do with either of those projects. I am very picky about what I get involved with on a corporate level, and I turn down lots of offers. The Guitar Hero thing was a chance I took because I liked the game, and the VW/First Act thing didn't pay me enough to f"*k with my credibility, so to speak. I agreed to do that commercial when I found out it was being directed by my all-time favorite actor, director, and Spinal Tap member, Christopher Guest, and because I thought those stacks of Volkswagens were pretty cool.


And commenting on the Microsoft appearance:

I have to admit that I had a lot of trepidation about that at first. I mean, I don’t know what a keynote speech is, nor do I hang out in those types of corporate circles. But it was cool, and it was nice to meet Bill, who is someone I have a lot of respect for.

Plus, I’m a pretty easygoing guy. I'll do all kinds of stupid shit.


And on whether his involvement with Guitar Hero III was selling out:

When I got involved with Guitar Hero I did ask myself that question—whether it was crossing the line between art and commercialism. But I thought the idea was so cool that 1 just took the risk. I wanted to be involved in it. And I realized there was no reason to be concerned about selling out. The main thing that people want to do when they create music is to expose other people to it. Guitar Hero is a great way to get your music out there, and it’s also a cool game, you know? What’s better than kids picking up a guitar—real or fake— and learning your songs?


And getting criticism for becoming a mentor on American Idol:

A lot of people gave me flak for doing it, y’know, ‘conforming to the fucking corporate, commercial' whatever - but I think it was an okay call because it kind of changed the dynamic of what people expect of American Idol.


Despite himself having been a mentor on American Idol, he still criticized Steven Tyler for being a judge on the very same show:

It's really sort of disappointing to me that he's gone and done that, for whatever reason — a lot of it having to do with [that fact that] I just know the guy and the other guys in the band are bummed out and they've had a really rocky road for awhile. And then just because 'American Idol' is what it is, so it's hard for me to put the thing together.

I know the pay’s good for that kind of stuff but it’s just not my forte. [...] I have a considerable amount of disdain for all that stuff. I actually did ‘American Idol’ for a second - I was a mentor. They talked me into it, they twisted my arm and I ended up doing it. It was because, at the time, Adam Lambert was on it and I thought he was a great singer. The first time I saw him, I went down there because a friend of mine works at the studio and checked him out. Once I went down there I was captive. It was an interesting experience but I would never do it again.


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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 Sun May 30, 2021 8:37 am

1997-2016
DUFF AFTER GUNS N' ROSES
BUSINESS SCHOOL, STAYING SOBER, AND INVESTMENTS

BUSINESS SCHOOL

Duff was said to have done really well in school as a kid [see previous section]:

McKagan's bull in a China shop manner gives the impression that he doesn't put much thought into anything but he'll surprise you. For starters he's not stoopid. McKagan was an honor student before he dropped out of highschool to tour with various punk bands, opening for acts like Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys; he says he intends someday to pick up where he left off. "I talked with a counselour," McKagan says, "I have to take one year of junior college. But if I ace junior college, get up in the high threes or a four point figure, I can get into Harvard, because they like weird people at Harvard these days." McKagan says, he'd like study law; as hard as it is to picture him hobnobbing with the ivy leagers in his leather pants, it appears he's serious.
Rolling Stone, September 1991


Being asked what happened to his plans of going to law school:

I got accepted at Harvard just a couple of years ago. Actually, I was really good in school. I was like in the gifted program and shit. But I really see what lawyers are all about these days, so I really fell out of love. Because I was going to. I thougt, 'This is what I'm going to do. Mom - check it out!' But I'm not going to do it any more. I've been sued so many times - I might as well have just given all the money to you. Like I beat up two guys one time, okay? Two guys who asked for it, and they were stupid, and I ain't saying I'm a karate expert or nothing - I just know how to hold my own. And I broke both their noses, and BOOM! 400 thousand dollars later. You know, if I got in a fight and I lost, I wouldn't go around and suck dick and fucking sue the guy. That's so unmanly.


In 1997, it was reported that Duff was taking business college courses [Music West in 3-D, 1997].

I usually take night classes [at Santa Monica College]. So there aren't a lot of kids on campus. But a lot of kids wouldn't even [recognize me]. I've got short hair. I wear jeans and a T-shirt. . . . In a class, you're all equals.

I'm really overwhelmed by it! I'm going back to school. I took one year-and-a-half course in business management. We sold a lot of records and made a lot of money, but no one in Guns got their school degree. I didn't know what bonds or the stock market was about, or other financial terms. It all was part of rebuilding my life again and finding out the direction I should take. So I'm back to school and I'm a brilliant student, nothing but A's. It's really fun! If you are in your 30s, you better get an A or else what the fuck are you there for. I'm growing thanks to school.

Santa Monica College. Very impressing. I went to the evening class. Eighteen year olds were freaked to see me around. Everybody said, "We ain't telling no one you're here!" It was great, a wonderful experience.

After I finished rehab, I needed to find ways to fill my time, so I started going through the financial statements of Guns from the previous four years. I couldn't make sense of them, so I thought it might be a good idea to go back to school and learn how it all worked.

I didn't have any work to do and I had files of my personal and Guns N' Roses financial statements for the previous eight years. I wanted to learn how to read these but I didn't trust anybody. I just got a lightbulb in my head and said 'I want to go to school'. That began my journey, taking accountancy and business classes at Seattle.


He would later explain his reasons for attending business school:

When I got sober, one of the first things when I woke up out of this, I was in an emergency room and a lot of things were going through my head, first three days in that ICU, a lot of things. You can imagine. Pancreas have just burst. My mom's crying. She has Parkinson's, you know, she's in a chair. I'm the youngest of eight kids. It's, you know, you're just like, I should be the one taking care of her. The shame, it's just all kinds of things. But I thought about, "Ah, what if anybody's ripping me off?" Cause I don't know anything about my money. You know, there's a lot of like accountants and managers and all kinds of. Because there's no class, there's no how-to- [...] So there was all of that thought and that kind of spurred me to get into business school. I mean, it totally spurred me to get into business school and start to understand just money in general. And that helped me, like we all need to make money. Anybody who's listening here has got a job and hopefully they're making money, they're supporting somebody or they're paying a mortgage or they got rent, they got to pay for fucking gas, you gotta get insurance, you gotta... all these things. If you got kids, you gotta, there's school and there's clothes and there's doctors and there's et cetera, et cetera. So I understand it and it doesn't freak me out anymore. I know what my responsibility is.


In mid-2000, although studying, Duff would state he got no degree, just individual courses [Popular 1, July 2000]. Later he would talk about how great of an experience it had been and how he wished he had known this stuff before to prevent people ripping him off:

It’s a cool, okay – here’s the deal...right? I didn’t graduate high school, I moved to Hollywood...
I was playing. I’ve been playing since I was 13 years old. So, for me to get into a college I gotta start again... I got into Santa Monica college because I wanted to take this class –I didn’t have any, you know...they wanted my... [transcripts] So they kind of slipped me in the back door at Santa Monica, you know, I didn’t have to give them stuff. […]  I got the hookups! I did! So I took a couple classes that I just loved and I moved back to Seattle and thought, okay, I’ll just go to the University of Washington to see, you know, and they said “Well, we want your transcripts” ... we don’t give a F***, you know... I didn’t tell them anything, you know, – I just said I want to go to school and they said “we need your transcripts” and I said, well, I could go out and find you the transcripts, which weren’t complete, you know, which means I didn’t graduate and they said “Well, you’re going to have to go to a Junior College for two years and then come back and talk to us.” So I went to this private University, Seattle U. and they said “Go to this community college this quarter, get A’s, write us an admissions essay, you know... And a friend of mine, from the Presidents of the United States, is an English teacher! Dave Dederer, from Presidents ... and he… […] Yeah, he plays on the Loaded record and um, he helped me write this essay and went to this community college and I got A’s and they accepted me at Seattle U and... it’s just been awesome since, you know, it’s a great great school – they have a Law School, and a Business School, an Engineering School, Nursing School and it’s KILLER! And what brought me to this...*mumbles *, I read, you know, every night, I read constantly, but like in Guns, you know, we’ve actually had law suits and paid lawyers for everything – we could all put ourselves through Harvard Law School and saved, still saved tons of money. Or we could have, so finally I put the, and we always talked about this kind of stuff, you know, * whispers * God, how much are we payin’ our accountants, you know, financial advisors, business managers. So finally I said, you know what? I’m going to do it myself, you know? I’m going to go get this education that will help me with my own thing... am I going to go work for a corporation or something after this? You know? I doubt it. You know? But, if it were something cool? You know? If it was something cool? […]  if there was some cool – if somebody said “Hey, uh, you know, (pauses) God knows, you know,we’re thinking of expeditions to Antartica and we need, you know, we need somebody to do, you know? […] Or put together a business plan for it – tickets, funding – or something. I’d probably dig something like that. I pulled that right out a my ass. What’s that – that analogy there? […] I’m there because I want to go. And I have two midterms tomorrow. So, I’ve got all my books with me and shit, I’m like right up to here right now! Like before we go to wherever we go, I’ll study. […] And it’s like we went to Vegas yesterday and, you know, on the way over I’m just like “Can you guys quiz me on this?”

[Being asked if his professors know who he is]:  Well, yeah. […] Some don’t and then some find out and it’s kinda funny – you get treated a little differently and you know, I really like – I was in this band and it was huge, huge, huge...But there’s no, like thing, that helps you – all of a sudden you’re a public figure and it’s... you’re just a rockband, you know? And that’s what made us what we were. […] I just want to be a student, learning what everyone else is learning. I don’t go out of my way to let anybody know anything, you know? And if the professors don’t know, I prefer getting treated equally. I do get treated differently, I think, a little bit, if they know. Although the professors there are amazing, it’s anamazing school, so, maybe not... maybe it’s just something in my head.

I'm going to Seattle University, majoring in business and finance. I've still got eight quarters 'til I graduate. This quarter, because I went to Japan and we've got some shows, I'm doing my course on-line. They only let you do that for one quarter though. So I've got to figure out what I'm going to do. I might go spring quarter, and then not go summer quarter and tour North America and Europe in the summer. I really, really love school but I really, really love touring so I'll figure it out. You can always go to school, the way I figure it. I'm two years in and it's amazing. It's really killer.

You always want what you don't have. I wouldn't have been able to go to college back then anyway because our family was too big. Every kid couldn't go to college. Financially it was not possible. My dad was a fireman and my parents got divorced when I was a little kid. It was no big deal. It just wasn't an option. I've always read, even when I was really fucked up, trying to expand my knowledge. Guns N' Roses, financially, did a lot. Throughout the course of all that, it's either learn about it or get ripped off. In the course of learning about it, I actually started to like that side of things. A lot of people think that's really boring but to me it 's kind of like a crossword puzzle, I like it.

My mom always wanted me to be a lawyer, and my Uncle John graduated from SU in '48," he says. "And in the back of my head, I knew I always wanted to further my education. […] 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. […] I've been in a band, I understand working as a team. There's probably an accountant downtown somewhere who's dreaming about being a rock star. But I've already done that. I've grown up a lot in the last year, intellectually. For me, this is like a dream

Back when the band started, we all came from humble backgrounds. We got our first cheques for forty grand and it was like, whoah! We'd been living on a hundred bucks a week. None of us had seen anything close to that before. Then the next cheque came, and then the really big cheques came, and they just kept coming. We didn't know what anything was, what anything was for.

It was only later that I started tying it all together. I started wanting to know: 'Okay, the interest rates have just gone up half a percent, what does that mean for a mortgage? How does that affect my bonds?'

I'd like to write a book for musicians about that. Explain what a royality rate is, what a yield is, so that they know and don't get ripped off so much. It's not that it's not cool to know that stuff, you just don't understand it, so you cover up and pretend that you do. You can't let on. It's terrifying. You start out and you hand everything over to managers and accountants, and you hope that there's something left at the end.


In 2003, Duff would write a column for The Stranger talking about his education:

Why I Decided to Go Back to School After Being in Guns N' Roses

[...]

I went over financial statements from the previous tours and my personal income that had accrued because of them. Luckily, we'd been in fairly decent hands and I wasn't broke after all of that stupidity and financial ignorance. I realized that stupidity, while fun, has its limits. My next step was to get myself a real education.

After a few classes at Santa Monica College (beginning courses, a stock and bonds class), I realized I was ready for a full-time class schedule, resigned from my post as bass player in a dwindling version of what once was Guns N' Roses, and moved back home to Seattle with my wife and new daughter.

Now, enrolling in a school like Seattle University at age 33 with a 15-year-old incomplete high-school transcript is difficult. My good friend Dave Dederer (from the band Presidents of the United States of America), who went to Brown, showed me how to write an essay for my SU application. (The school liked the essay but insisted I first go to SCCC for a quarter, get straight A's, and then come back. So I did.) I got in.

Here I was, finally enrolled in a top university, looking at kids nearly half my age (with twice my IQ) and feeling the same ecstatic emotion I had felt after playing a sold-out Kingdome seven years prior.

Then classes started.

University is fucking tough. My study habits were so dusty that for the first year I spent at least eight hours a day doing homework that took other students a fraction of the time. By this point, we had two baby daughters, so I had to read Shakespeare while preparing baby bottles. I converted a backyard shed into a study and the kids learned that this was Daddy's quiet place.

I'm now three years into SU (with only my senior projects in finance left to complete) and I'm playing in a new band called Velvet Revolver (along with Slash, Scott Weiland, Matt Sorum, and Dave Kushner). The past couple of months have been a fast-paced ride right back into the intricacies of lawyers, business managers, and the details of another major-label deal. But this time around I can actually read and comprehend the contracts and financial statements. The leg up I have received from school has paid off immensely. I no longer have to feign interest at a corporate meeting or during a lawyer's longwinded explanation of a contract draft. All of this stuff is now within my scope of knowledge.

I'll eventually finish my BA in finance at SU and hopefully then an MBA. I suppose one addiction (knowledge) has supplanted another (drugs and alcohol), but this addiction I can definitely live with.


In 2004 Duff would talk about studying business:

I went to Seattle U. Nice Jesuit school there.  I didn't graduate high school. So to get into SU, I started going to Santa Monica Community College here. I took a securities class first.

I had a certain amount of money and I was starting to meet with financial advisors. I knew what a mortgage was at that point, but, really, PE ratios or yields on a bond or risk on the stock -- I didn't know what any of these terms meant. So I took this great securities class, with a great professor at Santa Monica. Great school. I excelled at the class, and he said, "You know, you're good at this."

And he said, "Why don't you take this business class?" So, I did. Guns was done, the rock was done. I had my house in Seattle. We had our first kid...

I got my accounting minor and I was only one semester from getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Finance… so I’ll get that at one point or another. But it really helps out, you know. The reason I started, [I’d] gotten-- I landed in the hospital in ’94, and it was pretty touch and go there, and as a result, I stopped everything. So I kinda got outta this stupor, this haze, and you know, I had a lot of time on my hands. You know? I wasn’t going to cop drugs or spending all my time in a bar, or whatever -- or both, you know? So, I… I started doin’ martial arts and I started going through my filing cabinets and I started looking at all the financial statements for Guns and stuff… and trying to read this stuff. And it was really impossible to read. So I went to Santa Monica Community College… and took like, just an overall business class. And in that, they had… they taught you how to read financial statements and balance sheets and stuff. And, ahh… so I went back to these huge financial statements and thought: “You know what? These things don’t make sense!” [Laughs] So then I took another class, and the professor in that class said, “You’re really good at this, you should pursue this.” I never graduated High School, so… [...] So, I moved back up to Seattle, and I got into a pretty fancy, high-falutin’ school. And it was tough. It was really, really tough. It was a Jesuit School, like Pepperdine, you know? [...] I hadn’t really… well, it was just the best business school in the Northwest. And… I got in and it took off from there and I really learned a lot. So, when we have business meetings at the record label… or anywhere -- people are aware of that. And I’m really surprised… sometimes -- a lot of times -- I’ll know more than the person we’re talking to. Maybe it’s because I’m fresh outta school, or because they never learned it. [...] you know I had cut my hair short…and, at this school, it was so hard -- this school -- that everybody was really on the edge of their seats and the kids were really respectful, of, you know… me and my privacy… [...] I got invited to some parties, you know? And it was funny when we had to go do some things off-campus, I’d go and pick up some of the kids from the dorms that didn’t have a car… I’d pick ‘em up: “I’ll give you a ride…” But, really, the school was so tough, and it was business, accounting, you know? You’re doing this very heavy, tedious kind-of work. You just don’t have time-- no one had time to go: “Hey, dude! Sign my record!” You know? But I did find out one thing: There’s a lot of 18-19-20 year-old kids who were really, really bummed ‘cause they didn’t have a rock band. You know, a rock band for their generation.

I actually took one year off from even dating, because I had to focus on myself. I realized a lot of stuff about my world. It was a lonely year, but it was time will spent. I even went to college! I didn't graduate from high school, and now I'm fucking hardcore, business school at Seattle University - a Jesuit university - taking classes with people who were Deans' List and Provosts' List. I did things that I would have never normally done, because I was disciplined enough to do them. I didn't graduate high school, but was able to have study skills twelve years later - I started in like '98, and was taking classes until about the beginning of this band.

[...] I'm one quarter short [of a degree], because this thing started, but this is my dissertation. I want to write it on the business of this band, and it's great, because I am taken very seriously at meetings with record company people and accountants.


Being asked if he finished his degree:

No man. But I didn't have much left at all. I was doing it online and I'd got as far as I could online. You can't do the last bit there. But I could do a dissertation on our deal with RCA maybe, and how the band performed as a monetary value thing. They might accept that. But no, it's not finished yet.


On June 20, 2012, Duff would tweet that he had finally gotten his high school diploma:

Finally got my high school diploma today. I did the not-so-popular 48-year plan.
Twitter, June 20, 2012[/url]

Duff McKagan finally got his high school diploma in Seattle, Washington earlier this week, more than 30 years after dropping out of Roosevelt High School in the 10th grade. The 48-year-old musician later went on to take his General Educational Development (GED) tests, which is widely accepted by employers as an alternative to a traditional high school diploma from an accredited high school. He returned to his hometown on Tuesday, June 19 for the Class of 2012's graduation ceremony, and he was given an honorary diploma after giving a speech at the event.


And in June 2013, Duff had become a distinguised alumni at Seattle Central [Seattle Central, June 24, 2013].


STAYING SOBER; 2005-2006 RELAPSE

I try to keep an eye out for it. I can't lie to you and say there aren't times when I feel like a drink. This tour has been brutal. We seem to have been everywhere, it's just non stop. When you get sick and have a high temperature; you're in Japan then have to fly back for the Grammy's and then New Zealand the next day; yes some narcotic would be nice but you just have to just keep a check on it and perhaps call a friend or something.


In early 2006, rumours would spread that the Velvet Revolver tour in 2005 had been cut because Duff needed to go to rehab; Duff would categorically deny these rumours [Blabbermouth, April 5, 2005]. Then in early 2007, Slash would indicate that both he and Duff, and Matt, had gotten into addictions again:

Everyone [in Velvet Revolver] is really good right now. But a few of us lapsed back into some old habits. The only one who stayed completely sober actually was Scott. Dave doesn't count because he has been clean for years.


Duff would describe how he had started abusing Xanax pills:

I was so fucking stressed out with all this shit. I couldn’t go fucking talk to my guitar player like I used to. [...] ‘I’m going to just take one of these [=Xanax pills], it’s going to chill me out.’ Next day: ‘Oh, one doesn’t feel like it did yesterday, I guess I’ll take two.’ [...] I’d been sober for twelve and a half years at that point. And I thought, ‘I’m good.’ I’m not good, I’m a fucking junkie, and I’m an alcoholic.

Well, I fell back into drugs. I’ve had panic attacks since I was a teenager and I have medication that I haven’t had to take for a long time. But one day on that tour, I took a pill for stress and soon I started taking those things every day. Within a week I was completely addicted.

I had a relapse on pills in 2005. It came out of nowhere. It was because of all this bullshit. Xanax was prescribed for me. I was supposed to take one if I had a bad panic attack. I had them in my bag and that was my first mistake. I took one, and the next day, I took two. In only nine days, I was up to 22. That is what guys like you and I do.

Yeah, 10 and a half years later [after getting sober]. It wasn't a relapse on booze or coke. It was on Xanax. I think I felt like maybe I was a little bit bulletproof. "I'm good -- I kickbox, I do martial arts, I've got a spiritual center, blah, blah, blah." I carried Xanax for panic attacks. I had them in my backpack for years. I was under a lot of stress. I was the guy from Velvet Revolver -- everyone was coming to me. I took one of these pills for the stress and it just opened up a can of worms. My tolerance just went straight up the roof in no time. I tried to cold turkey-it at home; it was not cool.

There was shame and I guess that's part of your whole recovery. I wouldn't do it again, but I learned that the monster's there. It's not like I love to be f**ked up. Drinking a gallon of vodka -- you're way past loving getting f**ked up. It's something that's there. It's just something that wakes up.


And on how it had affected his family:

My wife never knew me from the Guns N’ Roses days, so when this happened it was a wake-up call for her. She’d heard my friends talk about how it used to be, but she’d never witnessed it herself.


To get healthy, Duff went to Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and then to a rehab facility where Matt was also admitted [Rolling Stone, August 9, 2007].

In 2008, Duff would tell about talking to his daughter about being an alcoholic:

It was also asked if I had in fact filled my daughter’s in on my own past. I assume that this means my World Championship run at drugs and alcohol. The answer is, yes I have. In fact, in about the 3rd grade, my oldest daughter queried me on why I never drank wine with the other adults. I just sort of launched into my story with her. I told her that I am an alcoholic and that if I drank one beer that I probably wouldn’t be able to stop until I went crazy. We have this talk about once or twice a year now and I remind them both that they will have to watch themselves when drinking comes around them in their teen years. They are healthily horrified by my stories and I will keep telling them in more detail as the girls mature.



WEALTH MANAGEMENT

In 2005, Duff would talk about how his studying had increased his role in handling his own wealth and the Velvet Revolver's:

My own money I definitely do. The band's money, we have a good business manager, although I had to show our production manager how to use Excel. But everything's always a band decision. People might ask me questions, but, I'm not going to … there's a fine line. People know I have the knowledge, but I'm not going to try to dictate, this is good, this is not good. It's mainly tax issues. You go from state to state, there are different tax structures, and then you go overseas, and there are different tax structures over there. That's the main thing you have to deal with. Make sure people get paid, not overpaid or underpaid, that type of thing.


And how he manages his wealth:

I always handled it pretty well, even when I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I got a guy at Dean Witter back in '95. I interviewed all these guys from different companies, and they were talking a lingo I didn't understand whatsoever. I knew one guy was full of b------- when he said, 'We're a firm that's sensitive to the artist.' I'm like, money and artists have nothing to do with each other. He just tried to cozy up with me. Just because I didn't know about securities and stocks and bonds and real estate didn't mean I was stupid. So I went with a guy that one of my older brothers knew, and I've done well with that. Made a couple of good investments with a strip mall in Orange County and a medical center, and personal properties all over the place. It's all about real estate.

I have mutual funds. I have a lot of individual stocks. I’m across the board, really well diversified. And then real estate has been a thing for me.


But as far as his bands go, Duff would claim he was not motivated by money:

Money's never dictated me. I came up at the time of punk. People like Iggy And The Stooges were my heroes. They were never about the money. They never sat down and said 'Hey, let's be rock stars' they were just like 'Fuck You', and that's always stayed with me.


In 2011 an interviewer would indicate Duff must be "loaded" with money:

Oh God. (Laughs) Yeah, I guess. But if you were to live my life, you'd see I have to work. I have a wife and two kids. Yeah, I've been very fortunate. But rich? People make huge assumptions about the guys in GN'R. They think I'm f---ing rolling in it. But trust me, you don't have any idea what I make.


In 2014, Duff would talk about the dilemma of selling his GN'R publishing rights or passing them down to his children:

I may [the publishing rights] when I'm 65 or something. I might. I don't know if it's something I wanna pass down [to my children]. I don't know if I want my kids to [have the attitude of]… 'Hey, cool, look at this. Free money coming in.' I don't know if that's the right way… That's a parenting query that I'm going through at this point. My kids are growing up way different than I grew up."


In 2015, Duff would talk more about his investments and strategies for investing:

I went to business school in my thirties. In '93, '94, Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft were new companies. I was learning about companies and paying attention. I travel and see in San Francisco, the Starbucks had a long line. Then L.A. and the one in Studio City [has] a line. And I go, OK, they’re expanding, it’s obvious people want this product. I was just at the right place at the right time. [...] I don’t go a lot for single stocks. There’s a couple I’ve got a little piece of. But I’ll do index buys and balance it with equities. I get bonds from around the world, and real estate… So yeah I spread it out, and don’t let one piece of pie get bigger than the others, adjusting for a good portfolio.


In 2019, he would suggest his returns had been exaggerated:

I didn't know that [my investments] were shrewd at the time, but I realised I had a business mind, and I was making investments for the future of my family. It was just Seattle companies I saw growing, Starbucks and Microsoft. But I’m not a main shareholder. That story has grown way larger than the facts.



2008: nuTsie

In June 2008, it would be announced Duff would join the Advisory Board of the company nuTsie [Blabbermouth, June 18, 2008]. nuTsie delivered solution for easy transfer of music from iTunes.

First and foremost, I'm a music fan and a musician. And nuTsie is all about the music. Getting your own music anywhere, anytime. Finding new songs that you like, which is a rush for me even after all these years of listening to and playing music.

I've seen a lot go down over the years with GN'R and now Velvet Revolver. Working with nuTsie is a great opportunity to put my experience to work for one of the most viable new digital music models. This is also a chance for me personally to get more active in the business world, which is one of my long-term personal goals.

In between Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver, I went to the Albert School of Business, and that's how Velvet Revolver started, and the first record took off. We toured for 2.5 years, and made our second record, and toured again until just April. And the opportunity came up a couple of months ago with nuTsie and Dave Deeder(ph), who is an executive there. He and I grew up together. He's from the band The Presidents of the United States. And I'm now on their advisory board and doing press for them.

[nuTsie is] a digital music service, that, basically, to break it down, you send them your I-tunes library. It's free to sign up. And you can access your I-tunes library or mine or anybody who has signed up to nuTsie from your mobile device, or any web account, really. And so you can basically take your phone, if it's MP-3 compatible, and listen to my I-tunes library or yours or whoever's while you're walking down the street.



2008: SEATTLE WEEKLY

I read a tonne, I just read a tonne and I started, I wrote a couple articles over the last couple of years for a couple of magazines and I talked to the editor of Weekly this last Summer and I tried a column, I did, I wrote one and it went great. It got a big, huge response so I started a weekly column there and it's a lot of fun. I mean, trying to think of something new to write about each week is either hard or it's too easy. Some weeks it seems really hard for me to write, like, "This is a really stupid thing to write about," and they're usually the ones that get the biggest response. It's great, it keeps my mind going.

Life just takes strange turns and a couple of years ago the Seattle Weekly asked me to write about my experience going to Seattle University. So I wrote this thing about it, and a couple of years went by, and a new editor at Seattle Weekly was going through all of their old stuff and he asked me if I'd be interested in writing a weekly column for them. I said, “I’ll try it, sure, yeah” and I started writing. It's just something I've really come to really enjoy. I use a different part of my brain to do it and I can make fun of myself and… yeah, so it's fun. I like doing it and it's kind of rewarding. People write back and… you know?

My newfound writing career for the Seattle Weekly and Playboy just kind of happened out of nowhere. It sure is a challenge having two deadlines a week and touring a record and having a family...there is never a dull moment for sure!

It started a couple of years ago. Seattle Weekly asked me to write about the experience of going to business school at Seattle U. I didn’t know I could write funny. I found that I could take the piss out of myself in print.



2009: DUFFNOMICS AT PLAYBOY.COM

In 2009, Duff would have his own economics section at Playboy.com:

If you're like me, you get kind of sick watching guys talk about market-to-market and aggregates and...'What the hell did you say to me?' I actually know what they're saying, but I know that 99 percent of us don't. We're getting all this information, and people don't really understand what happened to our economy, why it failed, what the credit crunch actually meant, what predatory lending practices were.

[...]

People ask me, 'Is now a good time to buy a house?' so, OK, I'll write about that. Or I'll get an email, 'Hey Duff, can you tell us about' this or that, then I'll write about those things. I just want to give people solid information so they can get some knowledge and get prepared for when this economy turns around.

My newfound writing career for the Seattle Weekly and Playboy just kind of happened out of nowhere. It sure is a challenge having two deadlines a week and touring a record and having a family...there is never a dull moment for sure!

Well I've been writing a music column for The Seattle Weekly since last summer which goes out everywhere, obviously. From that Playboy has asked me to write an article on the state of music business a couple of months ago for the magazine. Then they were kind of re-vamping Playboy.com and they offered me a gig. I'm the financial columnist for Playboy.

We all got carried away and thinking we were stock experts. But you have to understand what a stock is first, and what a price-to-earnings ratio is, and all the financial jargon they use. My first order of business is to explain those terms and what they mean, and educate the reader so we all can be informed. We need to invest for the longer term. Your house is not your bank, it’s your home. Don’t take second mortgages out, don’t take loans against your home. It’s not your own personal bank. It just basic, solid advice.

Then the editors at Playboy asked if I’d write an article about how to hold on to your wealth. I wrote a mission statement column, and my idea is break things down to the basics. You watch financial news and you don’t know what they’re talking about, so I’m explaining in really simple terms.



LITERATURE

I read a ton. Right now its non fiction. I’ve read so many books I have to go look for books I haven’t read. I’m reading a great book by Adam Hochschild who wrote “King Leopold’s Ghost” and there’s another one called “Bury The Chains”. It’s about the abolition of slaves.

After getting sober [in the mid-90s], I really started to read and reflect. I read the really great authors. I started playing in punk-rock bands and touring when I was 15, so I missed high school. [...] I played catchup. I read everything by Hemingway, everything by Upton Sinclair, a book on Ernest Shackleton. Ernest Shackleton got stuck at the South Pole in 1913, when the South Pole was like Mars. At the time, I felt like I was on a desolate little island myself, sober and alone in L.A. I didn’t know about A.A. or anything. I was just riding my mountain bike uphill.



2011: MERIDIAN ROCK, A WEALTH MANAGEMENT FIRM CATERED TO MUSICIANS

In early 2011, Duff would be about to found Meridian Rock, a wealth management company specialized in helping musicians manage their funds, together with Andy Bottomley, a banker and investor [Fortune Magazine, March 4, 2011]. Later in March, Duff was also invited to do a presentation at the SXSW conference called "Duff McKagan is Your Financial Adviser" [Toronto Star, March 17, 2011]. In May, it seemed like nothing was about to come out of Meridian Rock:

I'm not really talking about that right now. Fortune Magazine did a piece on us, which is fine. But we're not even up and running. But it was premature. This financial business is just so different than rock or putting out a book. You can't talk about it ahead of time. You have to have your clearance and everything. You can't just keep talking about it. You have to have your ducks in a row. You understand?


In August it was reported the company would be launched in October [The Sunday Times, August 21, 2011] and Duff would explain how it came to be:

One of the things I did [after quitting Guns N' Roses] was to go through my financial statements and I couldn’t figure them out. No one took the time to explain how money works, you know, simple things — the difference between gross and net, what a bond was, how a mortgage worked. [...] Even when I was taking my first math class, I started getting calls from friends of mine who were in the same business saying, ‘Duff, you’re in business school, can you help me invest my money?’ I realised there was great need for some kind of advice service. It wasn’t just me who was freaking out about being broke. [...] If you know anything about my profession and the history of it and how many of my peers have been ripped off, there is space for a service like this.


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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 Sat Jun 05, 2021 6:21 am

FORMER BAND MEMBERS' VIEW ON AXL CONTINUING WITH GUNS N' ROSES

I'm sure whatever [Axl] ends up doing will be brilliant. But it won't sound like what I would consider a fucking hard rock band that's all gritty and shit. But, you know, what do I know? I could be wrong.

[Axl] basically worked me out of the band and Slash out of the band, and now Duff and Matt have left. He wants it to be his band. We wanted a band where we play together.

So I left Axl to do whatever, and he’s still doing it. The rest of us quit, so that’s that. You have to ask him about what the future of the Guns N’ Roses thing is.

So now it’s Axl by himself. He's got a whole new band together. They’re going to do a record. It'll say ‘Guns ‘N Roses’ but it won’t be Guns N’ Roses.

Oh Axl owns everything, it’s his band now, why not… If only he’d release a record, maybe he’ll release a record, but we haven’t heard anything... Maybe one day he won’t have any more money and he’ll have to do something…
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

What’s left of the band has nothing to do with what we had created. I even think what’s left is not Guns N’ Roses.

But if I were Axl, in no way would I call that band Guns N’ Roses. The kids know GN’R. No need to explain to you, just listen to the albums we recorded. You can’t argue with that. For me, too much discussion would make the music lose its value. The kids have an idea of what that band is. My reaction? I thought, “This is not cool, it’s not the right thing to do.” But it’s none of my business. If he thinks it’s right.…

But [Axl's] got a problem - too many people around him confusing his mind. To be honest, he probably doesn’t live in the same world as you and me.

I hope Axl won’t feel like I let him down. I was just honest. I didn’t wish to go on that way. I don’t think it’s fair for our fans, and it’s certainly not fair for Slash and myself since we were the founders of this band too and contributed to its identity. But life is unfair, so I’m not gonna waste my time complaining.

Fans will be the real test. The group is likely to get away with it if they can go on a big tour, but I’m not even sure the public will come. When Led Zeppelin reformed without their bassist, John Paul Jones, I didn’t go see them. Page & Plant wasn’t Led Zeppelin. In my opinion, John Paul Jones played as big a role as the others and the band without him was worth nothing. I didn’t go see Aerosmith on tour with Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay [for the album Rock In A Hard Place]. It wasn’t Aerosmith to me.

I mean, it really isn't part of my life anymore so I don't think about it that much. Of course, it was a huge part of my life. I gotta admit, it was a magical time. [speaking softly] We really were an amazing band. The electricity in the room when we rehearsed was incredible. You could feel it! You can't match what we had. I love a lot of different music, and the guys Axl's got playing now are great guys, I know them all, but it's not Guns. Commercially, I think that's where it's going, that's the reason. What a shame. You and I can talk and remember the Beacon gig, or the Ritz gig, and say it was good. It was amazing, but big business rules all. I have to look at it now with that sort of cold eye. That's what it is and that's the way it's going. I've got to move on and I'm happy the way I am. I am so glad I'm not there. Axl's a good guy, but we tried and it just didn't happen. The timing wasn't right.

I want him to release his own record that shows what he really wanted to do. […] Anyway I want him to finish the album. Then I'll listen to it once and each one of us go on our own way. […] he records a different version of "Appetite for destruction". I want to know what the sounds like.

I don't know why he puts so much effort to renew a huge band from the root. That's our own fault why he needed to renew. Destroying the huge band and disappoint millions of fan breaks my heart. Millions of loyal fans were really counting on us. Actually I've met those fans. Destroying those things and he is thinking to release what he has already done before. I have no idea what Axl wants to do as a musician. Because he has nothing new released for many years.

Let me say like this, each of us had responsibility, and each member was one fifth of the band. I think GN'R has to be those five guys. Axl might not think so, and speaking of Steven, it's obvious that he was not thinking like I was. But Axl was counting on Duff, so was Izzy and me. Now I can picture it, but I don't care and want to talk about it. When we get together, we could create best thing, so we don't care the rest. Each part had strong power, so we might scared that one of us leaves the band. There's no way to play with that live [?], because that was the foundation of GN'R. I guess he might not notice that, cause we didn't hang out with him. He started first to insult me, so I did it back.

I don't want to say anything negative about what AXL is doing with new GN'R. He has his own idea and people would take his work for granted. I think he will make killer thing. Because he is brilliant.

There’s a lot of very loyal fans out there that think Guns is not Guns without the original members that started it and so on and so forth, and I can understand that.

I don’t know if I’ll be comfortable watching the other guys play, you know, Sweet Child O’ Mine. I don’t know how that’s gonna come off. But he seems to know what he’s doing. It’s taken him a while, but I hope it works out for him.

I just wish the fucker would get the fuckin’ record out so I could see why he took something so cool and systematically, destroyed it. I want to hear where he was headed, and what he was trying to communicate that none of us in the band could relate to.

If he puts out a record and it is good, he's gonna be alright. He's very scared about this.

But as hard as it is or as hard as it's been for me to get all my shit together on my own, he's (Axl) going through the same thing, because he's the only remaining member of Guns N' Roses left. So my heart goes out to him, because I know what a tough fucking job it is.

Everybody goes, 'Well, why didn't you take a percentage off the name?' I'm not going to do a Guns N' Roses band without the band. And Axl wanted to do that. So I was like, 'Go ahead, see ya.' I think it's sort of dumb. I think one of the easier ways of looking at it would have been along the lines of what me and Izzy and Duff did. Obviously, we're not all playing together. Put together another name, it's gonna draw attention based on the success of Guns, anyway. If James Hetfield were to do a solo record, we'd all know about it, regardless of what it was called--it's James from Metallica! If Axl had f--king taken on another name, and just split his way and I went mine and so on and so forth, then Guns would have been sort of like just, safe. Like Guns N' Roses was always there, and everybody just took off to do this that and the other, but the name wasn't tarnished. Now, the name's f--ked up.

Here’s how I feel: I’m dying to hear anything that Axl will release, these songs which more or less accelerated the split of GN’R. I won’t systematically say anything bad or reject something I wasn’t a part of. […]  I really can’t wait to hear what he has written since we split up. That’s his work, he lives for it and doesn’t do anything else. The other day, I met Izzy at my birthday party and asked him: "So, what’s up with him?". Everybody’s asking themselves the same question. (laughs) None of us has really changed over the years. Except Axl, of course....
Hard Rock (France), October 2000; translated from French

Everybody goes, 'Well, why didn't you take a percentage off the name? Or take part of the name, or whatever.' I'm not going to do a Guns N' Roses band without the band. And Axl wanted to do that. So I was like, 'Go ahead, see ya.' I think it's sort of dumb. I think one of the easier ways of looking at it would have been along the lines of what me and Izzy and Duff did. Obviously, we're not all playing together. Put together another name -- it's gonna draw attention based on the success of Guns anyway. If James Hetfield were to do a solo record, we'd all know about it, regardless of what it was called, it's James from Metallica. If Axl had fucking taken on another name, and just split his way and I went mine and so on and so forth, then Guns would have been sort of like, just, safe. Like Guns N' Roses was always there, and everybody just took off to do this that and the other, but the name wasn't tarnished. Now, the name's fucked up.

I don't pay much attention to all that. I know what some of the new stuff sounds like because of Napster … and [the sound] is exactly where he was headed when I left, which is all well and good, and I'm just glad that he's up and running. It's been like six years since I walked out the door. Just the fact that he's out there doing it is good.

I’ll believe it when I see it, but I’d go and see him if I was around.

I just wanted to see what caused the whole band to break up, see what the reason for all of it was, and now I know exactly what it is - because of the direction Axl really, really wanted to go. We could have never have made it. I'd be dead by now if I was still in the studio.

Axl is making the call for whatever his 3 percent of the band is worth. He's making the call these days. My life was just miserable then. I couldn't deal with it. So I just left. So when he wanted to use the name Guns N' Roses I said sure, I didn't want anything to do with it.


Being asked if he is worried that if the new Guns N’ Roses record is ever released - and if it does well commercially - it will validate all of Axl Rose’s musical ideas and kill the possibility for a reunion of the original GNR lineup?

I would love for the new Guns records to be successful, because it would validate the reason we split up. Everyone knows what I’m doing at this point. Izzy (Stradlin) and Duff (McKagan) and Steven (Adler) have slightly lower profiles, but they’re still around. We’re like the bricklayers. We all kept our original personalities and never went off the deep end, so we couldn’t relate to anything Axl was doing.

I’d like Axl to be successful at whatever it is he was trying to direct us toward. At the time, it was (expletive) frustrating, because I’m not the kind of guy who quits anything, but there was nothing I could (expletive) do about it. Leaving was kind of a relief. Now it’s a dead issue. I’m just waiting to hear what it will sound like, because I’m probably a bigger Guns fan than the average person. I still talk to the other guys (from GNR) all the time, except for Axl. With Axl, the only talking we had to do was through our lawyers to clean up old messes.

I think [quitting Guns N' Roses] was a healthy thing. Because at this point, now I sort of know where Axl was headed. And I’m still searching for, trying to protect, the original thing that that band was about, which was very organic and sort of very human. […] And I don’t think I’ll ever change. I don’t think, if I’d stayed in the band, it’d be even very healthy, anyway.

Well, it's obviously not Guns N' Roses. I think all the fans [know that]. It's not even right that he uses the name, because he's the only guy [left]. I think ultimately it's gonna work against him because people are gonna say fuck you, wanker - that's what they'll call him here, right? 'You fucking wanker, that's not Guns N' Roses!' Hopefully, the maniac's good, cos if the music isn't good then he's gonna get the double-whammy...

I don't even know those guys! I think as well that he should have changed the name. People going to probably say:" What's this stuff? This is not Guns!" Of course Axl was the singer, but it was as well four guys with him. It's strange to see him acting like that, but that doesn't really bother me. We will see how it goes. It is gonna be the fans who are gonna have to decide and to say what they think about it. If we are lucky, he will come up with a good album. I will go and buy it, just to see how it is. I know he is creative, intelligent, he is a good singer, but it took him so long to write and record songs. Yes, I will listen to it and send it back to him if it's crap.
Guitar Part (France), June 2001; translated from French

Well, when he brought that up...no, it didn't really bother me, because I can't see him using the name without the guys in the band. If that's what he wanted to do, I was like fine, whatever. I just didn't want to fight the issue. I mean, what am I going to do with the name, ya know (laughs)? I think it would have been wiser if he would have gone on to produce another record with another name and sort of left the Guns N Roses thing a little bit more....well, just leave it alone. None of the other guys decided to use the name Guns N Roses.

At this point, it's Axl's bag. I think it would've been cooler had he come up with his own name and left Guns alone. So in case we ever do get back together, the name Guns n' Roses wouldn't be tarnished. […] I'm a huge Axl fan - our musical direction just doesn't see eye to eye. In any case, I do want him to do well with what he's doing. I'm focusing on my own career now, and I don't keep up with what's going on with Guns anymore. It's like divorcing your wife - you're not expected to hang around and look at family photos. But I do run into Guns n' Roses fans on the street all the time. And that is what I miss most about Guns - the fans. They are so genuine! I feel disappointed in the sense that we sort of let them down.

[…] I’m still waiting for the [next] Guns N’ Roses record to come out to see what that was. That’ll be a huge relief for me.

What disturbs me about GN'R returning is that Axl's kept the name at all, when it's basically just him left. I hope they're great, I mean that, but it would be better for all concerned if Axl gave the band a new name.

[Being asked if he hates Axl for what he has done to Guns N' Roses]: Well, I don’t know if I hate Axl ‘cause we’ve done so much together, so, no matter what he does that’s the way he is, and I love him so I accept it. It’s easy to say he’s a moron asshole for doing what he did but I also know that if he didn’t do what he did, ‘cause he wanted to do that so bad, that if he didn’t do it, I don’t  think that we could go on to be as great as we can be.  So, yes it sucks, it’s fucked up, but him personally, he would be more of an asshole if he didn’t do this record, he thought Guns N’ Roses was him, instead of the five of us as a band complete. Obviously, it’s not - you know that John, I know that - but, like, he even got rid of Slash just so he could get totally away from Guns! I just hope he can get that out of his system, and we can fuckin’ rock already!

I hope for his (Axl’s) sake, it fuckin’ rocks, but it’s never gonna be Guns N’ Roses until the five of us are back together, and it would be really cool if everyone who checks this site and reads this let it be known that they, the fans, do want to see us back.

Poor guy, he's on his own. He shut himself off, but that's cool. I guess he's gotta do what he's gotta do.

I'm also interested to hear the new Guns record because so much has gone on since this whole thing started - I know he's got a lot to say. Even a lot of his stage performance is fueled by angst. And it's essential to have that sort of soul and energy for the music to come across as genuine; that's an integral part of rock 'n' roll. But if just depends on how far you want to take it. It's like, if you can get it all out of your system in the two hours you're onstage, great - as long as you're onstage [laughs].

It's not Guns. It's not anything that it started off to be… I could give a shit who's playing. It has nothing to do with me.

I just wish [Axl] would get this Guns N' Roses record done so I can see what this turmoil was all about. What was the point? Realistically, you have a situation where it was all centered around one person; you're going, 'What is it you want to do so bad that you forced everybody out like that?' I just want him to do what it is that makes him happy, because he seems so frustrated.

[referring to the new lineup]: Axl and his merry men.
UPI, November 19, 2002; unknown original source

You’re right to call the Greatest Hits ‘posthumous’ because in the same way that Paul McCartney and three session guys aren’t The Beatles, Axl Rose shouldn’t attach the Guns N’ Roses name to what he’s doing now. Commercially I understand where he’s at, but morally and artistically he’s desecrating what G N’ R achieved and stood for. It was five people in a band, not a fucking solo project. [...] [Axl]’s impossible to work with. Otherwise we would’ve tried to keep it going. There was nobody with more passion and stick to it-ness than Slash and I. Unfortunately, the heart and soul of what Guns N’ Roses was, the family vibe of the thing, was gone.

Guns N' Roses played their last gig eleven years ago.

i said it before & i'll say it again... to me, what made GNR great, was the tension. the rythym of the guitars, axl's vocals, the groove of duff's bass & drums, & the songs. that relationship was magic... the new GNR is axl's band & it sounds like his vision. it's good, cuz he's talented, but it's not a band. GNR is a victim of what's happened to all of todays music: we'll never have another beatles, stones, GNR, metallica, etc.. cuz great bands need great people working together on a common vision. nowadays, it's always one persons vision & key pieces to accent that. if the beatles started today it would be 4 different bands, cuz they all can write. no one wants to collaborate, cuz people are selfish & want the glory to themselves & don't want to admit that they need anybody. it's just evolution, it's not american idol's fault.

[When asked to give an advice to Axl]: not like he'd take my advice, but start over & call the band axl "fucking" rose & move on like everybody else did...


In September 2001 Slash would state he wasn't happy with Axl continuing with 'Guns N' Roses' at all, and that they might legally contest it:

You know, it pisses me off. What I think he should have done is - I mean, when basically everybody in the original band [left and] it’s depleted... It would have been cooler if he left the name Guns N’ Roses alone. And started up something different, got all these guys, did this thing that he wants to do, which inevitably caused the rest of us to quit... But instead he insisted on keeping the name. And what happened was, the guys in the band said, “If we’re not in the band, what do we need the name Guns N’ Roses for?” And so we very easily said, “Yeah, Axl, take the name. Anything, let’s just get out of our hair,” okay? […] But he chose to do it and we allowed him to do it, which at this point I think it’s come up a few times where we might contest that, because it doesn’t seem... […] People are walking around with new Guns N’ Roses jackets not knowing what Guns N’ Roses is (laughs).

That's actually a topic which we're trying to get to the bottom of. Originally, the other guys in the band gave it up. Now that I know a little bit more about this stuff, I'm trying to look for a loophole [to get some control back].


But later he would dispute having implied suggested he might contest the ownership:

You know, all things considered, how did that [the stories] happen? I’m not really that concerned with that. It’s nothing we all get together and talk about. It’s kind of been blown out of proportion. It goes around. I mean, I see Izzy all the time, I talk to Duff all the time, it's not a concern at this point. Some of that Guns name stuff, it might have come from an interview I gave. They tell me I said something to that effect; I’m like: ‘I did?'


Dizzy would later discuss how the transformation to the touring lineup of 2002 had been a gradual process and that it was still Guns N' Roses:

To me, having been there through the entire thing, it wasn't like Axl said, 'OK, everyone, you're gone and here's a new band and we're Guns N' Roses.' Everyone else from the old band chose to quit, and they quit one at a time, and they were replaced by someone else, so to me it still is Guns N' Roses.


In late 2002, after the disastrous Guns N' Roses tour, Duff would comment:

In all of our best interests, I always thought he should have returned as the Axl Rose Band or something like that. But there are things you just can't change, and so you move on.


Duff is here referring to the fact that he and Slash were still partners in Guns N' Roses Inc. and that they were afraid of damage to the brand name.

As Velvet Revolver was coming together the guys would receive more questions about Guns N' Roses:

It's not Guns N' Roses, you know? [Axl] should have probably done his own solo record. In saying that, also, I do wish him the best. We went through a lot together and I still have a lot of love for the guy. It's a shame that there's a...he's doing a lot to...there's a lot of bitterness... [...] But he's doing what he thinks is the right thing. You can't fault a guy for that, but it's not Guns N' Roses.

Does Paul McCartney go around calling himself 'the Beatles'? [Duff answers no]. There you go.

We got the shitty end of the deal, me, Slash and Duff. We got kinda kicked to the curb, you know? Not that we have anything to prove, but we do.

You know what, man? I’m just waiting for him to come out and do his record. It’ll just be interesting to see what we fucking tore that whole thing apart for. Axl definitely had his own agenda … and still does. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m having a real good time doing what I’m doing. I just want him to be happy too.

At the time when I… you know what, he probably would have done everybody a lot of good if he just named it something else and just left Guns N’ Roses alone. So that way it would still be credible, and he would not sort of drag it through the mud and do all kinds of stuff with it. And I just want him to fucking do it now, just do it and get it out there. And Axl is brilliant. It’s gonna be awesome when he does it. He just needs to do it. So the fact that he calls it Guns N’ Roses at this point, I don’t care. It’s been a long time.

And now, Axl is doing his own thing. That's cool. I mean: bitterness has nothing to do with it. Guns N' Roses really ended already in 1991/92.

A lot of people think it’s almost sacrilege, you know, to do it that way, but he doesn’t give a fuck.

Even today, at least for the most part, I do not care. But I think he should have changed the name when he realized that all the other members dropped out. That way, it would have been pristine if something happened in the future.
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

Guns N' Roses was a band, much like this band. The band wrote the music as a whole, and we fed off of each other. Once all the key guys were gone, [Axl's] in deep s---. And I guess his record company's taking quite a beating too.

If I was behind the scenes in his camp way back [when everyone else quit], I would have had him change the name, and not had the big moniker weighing him down. He would have had the freedom to make the record he wanted to make.


Duff being asked if he would go see Guns N' Roses if they had a show that day:

Well… [Pauses]… Noooo… I doubt it. No. I – I just, you know, really… especially once after I left and started going to school, I really put it all behind me. I haven’t really thought about it at all until I started doing all this press and been asked about it. So, it’s been kinda put in front of me. And, you know, I have a healthy past with Axl [Rose]. But Guns ‘N Roses was Guns ‘N Roses when it was Guns ‘N Roses. If that makes any sense to you -- does that make any sense to you? [...] Okay… and now, it’s -- from what I understand -- it’s… an ever-evolving line-up. And… it’s, you know, it’s Axl’s… he owns the name. And that’s… that’s where you get the Guns ‘N Roses thing. And that’s about… that’s kinda where it stops, too. You know? For me, at least. I wouldn’t go see it, myself. I hold nothing against Axl, it’s just… I have no interest in seeing it. You know? If you can’t do a record in a year or so…you’re working too hard on something, or something’s not there. Something’s missing. Unless, you know… watch it be just amazing. It should be after 9 years or something. It damn well better be!


And on the absence of Chinese Democracy:

You know, we don’t pay that much attention to it. Slash and I did this promotion tour where we went to Japan and Europe in March and that’s when we started to hear about Axl’s record. That’s the first I’d heard about it. I was going to school and then I moved down here and we just weren’t around anybody then. I guess, with that, I just kind of left it behind when I walked away.

So we went out on this press tour and people asked us, ‘What do you think about Chinese Democracy not coming out?’ We were like, ‘It’s not coming out?!’ (laughs)

Well, it might, but we know how Axl works and nothing’s surprising to us. I hope that guy finds happiness one day but right now, we’re fully focused on (Velvet Revolver).

Guns N' Roses was at one point a great band and I feel bad that it's turning into a bad joke now. I mean, how long has that record been postponed now? How much money has that whole adventure cost?

[Commenting on Axl saying the album will soon be released:] He has probably said that since -93. What does he have - two songs with vocals?
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

I didn't even know he (Axl) had a band anymore. He had a great band, those guys are amazing players, still couldn't play those songs the way they should sound. You can't go wrong having great musicians, they're gonna sound great. If that album [=Chinese Democracy] was gonna come out, I think it would have come out already.

There is no new Guns N’ Roses. There is just Axl Rose. He is just using the name because it is successful. I have my own band, Slash has his, Duff had his and Izzy has his. They all called it something different. Axl is just using the name.

It's not Guns N' Roses!

And I gotta tell you, honestly, [watching the new Guns N' Roses] made me feel really bad. What happened there was that he took a very important part of my life and turned it into something meaningless. It’s great to be in position to say you played guitar in Guns N’ Roses. Now I don’t even know how many guitarists have come and gone in Guns N’ Roses. [...] But I’m sure that the new album will be amazing, musically. Axl is very talented as a musician. I’m sure it will be a very good album.

I know some of those guys that are playing with [Axl]. They're nice guys and good players. [...] So what he's doing now, I hope he's happy doing whatever he's doing, and it's all good. I know I am.

I really wish that he had used a different name. But things are as they are. Unfortunately neither Slash nor I have any contact with him, and that's a bit sad.

I'm just glad that he (Axl) is out there doing his thing again. We didn't know what was happening with him for a long time, but I'm looking forward to hearing this album.

It's cool. He's doing his own thing and we do ours. I really don't have any bad feelings about it, it's been so fucking long already.

As far as what is happening with Guns N' Roses, when I quit the band, or when I left the organization, so to speak, and Axl was keeping the name, I sort of wished that he'd let the name go and done something on his own and kept the name sort of intact, but him using it and going out and doing his thing, it is what it is — I don't necessarily support it but I don't condemn it either. It's what he wanted to do.

It's flattering and at the same time surprising talking about Guns n' Roses, specifically only because as soon as that band became so fascinating to everybody, when I actually split the band it didn't seem to me like it was that big a deal, at least publicly. And nobody actually believed that I quit and a lot of people still to this day are not sure what they're seeing when they buy a Guns N' Roses ticket because it's never been marketed as a new Guns N' Roses or anything. So, I'm really amazed to meet people that are like, "Yeah, I went down to see Guns N' Roses the other day and you and Duff weren't there." It's funny, it's like the band is so sort of surreal -- it almost seems like the band physically in real time isn't really what they're really after. It's really bizarre. It's interesting to watch it all and actually be able to have a perspective to check out how things are.

I guess I probably didn't have an inkling that anybody would take the name Guns N’ Roses and move on - with the name. That was a little unnerving to me.  You know, it's a name that I helped create and give wind in the sail of that name. But I've been over that for a good ten years.

[...] Axl should have named the band W.A.R., for W. Axl Rose and I think that would have been much better.

He should have called it ‘WAR.’ W-A-R. W. Axl Rose. [Chinese Democracy] only went gold, and that’s not Guns N’ Roses. They go double platinum in the first week.

I'm not saying I'm an original member, but I understand the core of the band is Slash and Duff and probably Izzy. This goes back to a Paul MCCartney thing. Does he call himself The Beatles? I'm not saying we were as big as The Beatles, but... Does Sting call himself The Police? No. Does Jimmy Page and Robert Plant go out there calling themselves Led Zeppelin? Nope.

That's not Guns N' Roses. He should have called that W, dash, A, dash, R. W-Axl-Rose, W-A-R. I think it would have worked out much better for him. Because Guns N' Roses is five guys. The last song I recorded was "Civil War" and tell me if I'm wrong, but I know I'm not, after that song it's a completely different band.

He's driving the name Guns n' Roses into the toilet. He should've called his band W. A. R: W. Axl Rose, which would've been perfect for him.

[...] Axl ended up putting together the Guns N Roses with whoever was in it. There was so much bitterness at that point that it never really phased me; I didn’t really care. We had already done the whole deal with him taking the name and being really downright nasty. From that point on, I didn’t really care what he did. At this point, 15 years later, I am like have it at. “Do that thing, dude.” I am just glad he is out there.

Because Axl did this record, Chinese Democracy, he didn’t call it what he should’ve called it which was “W-A-R.”—W. Axl Rose, not Guns N’ Roses. It would’ve’ been much better for him. Look at Sting, when he does his solo stuff, he doesn’t call it the Police. Phil Collins doesn’t call it Genesis. That’s how you’re supposed to do it. He’s being a total baby, fuckin’ grow up already.

It doesn’t have too negative an effect on the original Guns, so it doesn’t bother me. If everybody was looking at the old Guns and lumping the two together and the history got blurred, then I might have a different opinion.

Well, knowing Axl and knowing Axl 20 years ago and knowing what he wanted to do, I would assume that he's a happy guy. This is, what he explained to me, what he wanted the band to be. When we had our, what I call a disagreement, he wanted to take the band in a new direction. He wanted to bring in lots of people and this is what he envisioned. I assume he is happy. Is it the kind of music that I enjoy? Some of it, some of it! I think it's creative and I think it's what music is supposed to be. It's supposed to be original and creative and I think it is all those things. It's just to me, when I think of Guns N' Roses, it doesn't sound like Guns N´Roses to me! But as I say, if this was an Axl Rose album, it'd be fantastic, because it's good music! It is! I can't say it's not good music.


In March 2012, Steven would attack the current lineup and refer to it as "Axl and his Hacks":

[Axl] wants to do [play at the RRHOF]. I want to do it. Just from what I hear, Izzy [Stradlin]'s not gonna show up and Axl will probably want to play with his hack band -- his band of hacks. 'Axl and His Hacks' -- it shouldn't even be Guns N' Roses. He's just driving that name into the freakin' ground. 'Axl and His Hacks.


The very next day, Steven offered an apology through a press release:

Sometimes my emotions get the best of me when talking about my former band. It’s hard to see your ex in bed with somebody else. We created one of the biggest selling debut albums of all time and it’s no secret that I want to finish what we started 25 years ago and play together at the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame.  The guys that Axl has put together are all great players.  They’re not hacks in the sense that they can’t play, they’re all incredible musicians.  I just meant that they are not the original lineup.  I would like to apologize to Axl, Bumblefoot, D.J., Tommy, Dizzy, Richard, Frank, and Chris for my statement.


A few months later he would apologize for the "hacks" and "scabs" and compliment Axl:

I’m not angry with Axl anymore. I love him and I feel blessed that I got to work with him and achieve what I achieved with him. I guess time does heal all wounds. [...] I shouldn’t have said that [=scabs]. I’ve grown up and matured. Holy crap! I’ve matured in the six months since we last spoke!


Being asked if he feels resentment towards the Guns N' Roses that was touring in 2012/2013:

No, I just want to get on with what I’m doing. It’s been a long time. I’m really happy that Axl seems to be happy. He’s probably at the same place that I’m at. Whether he calls it Guns or something else I don’t care. I signed that name away a long time ago.


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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 Fri Jul 02, 2021 8:13 am

1998-2009
IZZY'S SOLO MUSIC

LOOKING BACK AT TRANSITIONING FROM GUNS N' ROSES TO A SOLO CAREER

I started tracking and I signed a two album solo deal with Geffen Records, and we did the Ju Ju Hounds, and then we did 117°, which we did later - I think we did that around ’95. So there was a three or four year space there. We did two solo records and I just took up where I left off with Guns N’ Roses. But the big difference was that you go from the stadium superstar band situation back... you’re playing in Amsterdam, you’re playing in Brussels, you know, you’re in Europe, and they’re like, “Oh yeah, this guy,” but you’re back to a theater. So we start the tour, we do a round of clubs... cool stuff, you know? Then we do the second round of the same tour, same year on the Ju Ju Hounds record, and we branch into theaters. And it didn’t take long. We’re right up into the 5,000-6,000 seater range, and the crowds are rocking, everything’s on time, it’s fantastic. And, you know, we put in seven or eight months doing that, and...


Comparing touring with Guns N' Roses to his solo bands:

No, it was a totally different game. I mean, for one, all the guys in my band had never been in that sort of situation, so they never became spoiled or jaded, or just, you know, delusional about their status. So, you know, it was totally different. And it was, actually, pretty easygoing. I mean, it was really just fun. It was really a lot of fun – a lot of hard work, but it was fun.


And solo song writing vs writing songs in Guns N' Roses:

Each song that I've released since I left Guns N' Roses is the same type of song that I used to write when I was in GN'R. What happened then was that I wrote a song, and then Slash added his part and Axl added his part, and that became Guns N' Roses. Whereas, what you hear when you put on one of my CDs, is the same ideas and the same inspiration that I had in Guns N' Roses but without Slash or Axl. It's the more basic version.



MARCH 1998 - 117 DEGREES

In April 1995 Izzy reconnected with Duff and started writing music again:

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.

Once I was [in Los Angeles], I was like, 'Hey, this is OK'. I met some new people and that's when I got back into the idea of making another record. [Me and Duff] wrote 10 songs in a week. I had such a great time....

In April 1995, I started working with Duff again in Los Angeles. Duff was the bassist for Guns N' Roses (ed: Izzy gives us this precision in all seriousness!) At this point, I felt good in LA. However, when I started working on my second solo album, 117°, things were weird with my record label, Geffen: I didn't know anyone anymore! In three years, all the employees changed.

[...] 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. After that, I left L.A. once again and didn’t return until months later. Curious coincidence: I currently have the same urge to get away from Los Angeles and go live in Paris, for example, or in southern France. I remember, when we were in middle of the process of writing River, I suggested to Duff that we rented a small house somewhere in France, in the countryside. “Bring an acoustic guitar, maybe also an electric one. We’ll focus on a new solo album.” In a few weeks, we completed five songs that we recorded in a mobile studio, and in that way, we finished this new album.


Explaining the long period between Juju Hounds and releasing his next album which would be 117°:

Well, I guess that I was mostly driving a lot of motorcycles. After the first tour, I spent four months in Spain. When I was in Barcelona I went to a motorcycle shop, Bordoy, I think it was called, and I bought a European bike… Then in ’95 Duff called me, we were recording and had a great time, so he played on the second album “117°”. It was recorded very quickly.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


This led to him establish a solo band with guitarist Rick Richards, Duff and drummer Taz Bentley [Los Angeles Daily News, March 20, 1998].

Explaining why he changed from "JuJu Hounds" to make it a solo project:

On 117°, I changed the rhythm section so naturally, I thought it was logical to change the name of my band.​

Rick was in Ju Ju Hounds and he is still with me. I started playing with Duff again in the rhythm section together with Taz, a Texan[?] that deals with the drums. I have been working with them on the last two or three discs, I only used the Ju Ju Hounds for the first album and later I stopped doing it.
Kerrang! (Spain), June 2001; translated from Spanish


Prominent on the record would be guitarist Rick Richards who also played in JuJu Hounds [Guitar, September 1998], drummer Patrick Taz Bentley from Reverend Horton Heat [Rock & Folk, April 1998], and Duff [Press Kit, January 1998]. The original bassist had been a friend of Izzy's, but Duff was drafted in to re-record his parts [Press Kit, January 1998].

I never have to tell [Richards] anything. He plays what I would play if I could. It's like having an extra pair of hands.
Guitar, September 1998; original source unknown


An obvious missing piece from the Juju Hounds was Jimmy Ashhurst who seems to have had a falling out with Izzy [see above]. Ashurst would also claim he was a co-writer of some songs off 117 Degrees:

The stuff I left the studio with was all on cassette, and I haven't the foggiest idea of where that little bastard is now...I've moved a few times since then...who knows. I think Izzy ended up using probably the best stuff from those sessions. I remember being really upset when I saw 117 Degrees for the first time. That was the first time I realized that he was going to continue to put out albums without me, and that he had used some of the tracks and never even printed my name anywhere on the album. To add insult to injury, there was even one of our songs, "Gotta Say", that was a collaboration between me and him... just like Shuffle and Somebody and few others...and there's just no credit for me at all. I've taken the position all these years that it was just a mistake, a memory lapse on his part, and not done out of malice. I'd like to think of it that way...its a more pleasant memory than the alternative. I would never have considered legal action, its just not the way I choose to do things.
ChopAway.com, June 2005


The record would be titled "117 degrees" and was released om March 10, 1998 [Press Kit, January 1998; Guitar, September 1998].



117 degrees
March 10, 1998



The record would contain songs from the Ju Ju Hounds sessions, including 'Gotta Say' (recorded in England) and 'Good Enough' (recorded in Trinidad) [Press Kit, January 1998]. In 1996, Duff would indicate that Izzy had a record ready to be released but had been sitting on it for one year - this is likely 117°:

Izzy's a strange cat. You know, he's had this record done since, well, a year now, and he's a very private guy, and I respect that about him.  He doesn't need to put out a record to feel justified about himself, I think.


Talking about the new record:

We went to the Complex, in Santa Monica [Calif.], and recorded this really aggro stuff, all thrashers. Then Duff came in and re-recorded all the bass parts. The songs sounded amazing.

In the beginning, I'd really wanted to put out a screamin'-fast, 100-mile-an-hour record. But after Duff got involved, we decided to work on some slower stuff to give the album more depth and variety. So we went to Rumbo [Recorders, in Canoga Park, Calif.], where Guns did Appetite for Destruction, and cut a few more tracks.

Last year I had delivered to my record company an album with ten songs of pure rock and two instrumentals. But they didn’t like it, so I had to start writing ballads like “Gotta Say” or “Bleedin’", but I kept them simple, no keyboards or anything like that.
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

The album is totally random. It's just about situations I've been in over the past few years, mostly in Lafayette. That's always how I approach songwriting - no big statement, just telling it like it is. Otherwise, you take all the fun out of it.

We started it in like '93, '94. There were no slow songs on it, it was all thrashers like [the instrumental] 'Grunt'; real hard rock, fast stuff. The label said no go. I said, 'Okay, fine.' They wanted some old, slow stuff from the earlier sessions, so it was a compromise, this record, to get everything out and on it, so... it worked out okay. […] Yeah, I was pissed [about the label not accepting the first track list]. Just for like five minutes. It's like... I don't know what to say about it. At the end of the day, it all worked out.
Guitar, September 1998; original source unknown


Being forced to go back into the studio to record new songs pissed Izzy off, and resulted partly in the lyrics to the song 'Ain't it a Bitch' [Rock & Folk, April 1998].

But although he had been inspired to create music again with Duff in 1995, by 1998 he was tired of it again:

The music has no attraction, it feels like a job.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998; translated from Swedish


Izzy ended up doing only a few interviews to promote '117 degrees', didn't tour at all, and "didn't care a shit" how the album did [Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998]. In 2001, he would describe his exasperation with journalists:

But when I first did press, it was like, 'I didn't hear your record but I heard you did heroin.' I'm like, yeah, I did heroin. Next guy, same thing. It was the Jerry Springer Show. I said, let's take a break...

I did a few interviews in Europe and Japan, everything was going well, but when I started talking to American journalists, who are really bad compared to the others, I said to myself, "Hey! I'm not gonna speak to the press anymore. I'm not interested anymore."


When asked why he did so few interviews to promote 117 degrees:

By the time the album came out, the company guys started to question the music that I was doing. Throughout the time I was with Guns N’ Roses, nobody got into what we were doing, and now I found out that the guys from the company didn’t like what I was doing, which was very annoying. I then did some promotion with Japanese and European journalists, and then the first time in a long time I spoke with an American journalist, the first thing that he says to me is: “You know what? I didn’t listen to your record, but I know you did heroin.” The first time! It went like this: “I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I know you were doing drugs”. I don’t know… I just wanted to do what I really liked, and all those people in the company didn’t like the songs.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


After releasing 117 degrees Izzy spent more time travelling:

I decided to visit California on my motorcycle. For two years. There are many beautiful things in this state. Sure, maybe it's not as beautiful as the Alps, but I had fun. Alone with my backpack, my tent, my bike, and my maps.​



1998/1999 - RIDE ON

Despite seemingly become tired of music last year, in 1998 or 1999 he would release a new solo album called 'Ride On':

Also Izzy is releasing a brand new record on his brand web page very very soon.

It was only 1998 or 1999, I don't remember, that we started Ride On. It came out only in Japan and we played a few shows there.​




Ride On
November 1999



Explaining the limited release:

[…] we sent it to some companies in London and UK. and they did not answer with very much enthusiasm, they weren't crazy about it, for that reason we weren't able to publish it in Europe. We are trying to put it out this year through Sanctuary.
Kerrang! (Spain), June 2001; translated from Spanish

[…] when we recorded “Ride On” no company wanted it, because they didn’t see any singles, so I decided to release it in Japan.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

Universal Japan was the only label who told me that they liked the album. I had contacted other record companies in England and the U.S. and none wanted to release it. It’s true that I only reached out to major labels. I would have definitely had more success with independent labels. At least they are not necessarily looking for the next Britney Spears.


Talking about his solo records:

These records I've been putting out, it's painless man. We just have some fun, get the songs going, work on 'em a bit and there's really nothing to it after you've done it a few times.


Slash, being asked what Izzy is up to:

He has just released a new album titled Ride On. His band is made up of Duff McKagan, Rick Richards and Tax Bentley. The record company probably banked on the rumor surrounding the release of the Guns new live record, but his album has only been released in Japan so far.
hard Rock (France), 2000; translated from French


In April 2000, Izzy would do a four-show tour in japan to support 'Ride On' with Duff joining the band [Japanese Radio, April 19, 2000].

[…] we went to Japan and had a great time playing there. We went with Rick and Taz…
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

It was nice, because now we don’t drink and we remember everything now. It’s nice to play with him. Yeah, we had a great time.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


When asked if they had played any Guns N' Roses songs during this mini-tour, Duff responded:

We played 'Attitude', which is not a Guns N' Roses song, but we made it popular. "Made popular by Guns N' Roses" [says in a joking tone].

In the 80's, the band just struck a nerve. But since I left, I've never played any Guns N' Roses songs. I played in Japan one time with Duff and we tried 'Paradise City' but we couldn't do it and keep a straight face.



2001 - RIVER

In 2001, Izzy would release yet another solo record, River.



River
May 21, 2001



As for Ride On, he struggled to have the record released but eventually ended up on Sanctuary:

[…] when we recorded “Ride On” no company wanted it, because they didn’t see any singles, so I decided to release it in Japan. With the latter, “River”, the same thing happened until it reached the hands of Sanctuary Records, a company from England. I received a call and they told me: “Hey Izzy, we love your album”, so they released it. So now we’re with a small company, which is better than being in a gigantic company.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


For the US release, Izzy would end up using the independent Bilawn Records label and the album would be available on the Bilawn's website [CDNow, August 11, 2001].

Talking about the record:

It was only 1998 or 1999, I don't remember, that we started Ride On. It came out only in Japan and we played a few shows there.  Then I started this new album, River, right away. The shows in Japan really invigorated us. We composed a few tracks there, others in Seattle - where Duff lives -, and a reggae track in Los Angeles.​

[Explaining the album title]: On River, there's a track called River and it happens to be my favorite on the album.

[…] we've been together since 1995. There is Rick Richards of Georgia Satellites who plays the guitar with me. He plays all slide parts and solos. He is very strong and we perfectly completes each other. He's been with me since 1992 and played on all my disks. There is Duff who also plays on my disk. He plays on all titles except on the reggae. This is not a style that inspires him but me, I love it. To the percussion there is Taz who comes from a psychobilly group of that has been badly marketed in the States. It is a type of rockabilly played knew steroids, in depth the case. It would be necessary that I send you a CD. He plays on my last three albums. There is also Ian McLagan that is also a precious help to me. I am very attached to the human rapport and rather of the faithful kind. These types are extra and I am very proud to have them with me. They will be also present on the next tour.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

I don't have anything against writing jointly; I wrote most songs for River alone, but there are some exceptions, like the first piece of the album, where it is Rick who came up with the music. When it was pointed and that he played me this riff, I found it so good that I made it the starting point of a new song and I don't regret anything when I listen to the final result. I only had to put lyrics over it. All was held perfectly with a lot of spontaneity. The remainder has been made in a very simple manner, I write in my corner with acoustic and I unload to repeat them to show them that that I made. Then, we arrange that all together, each is free to bring ideas and to play parts as he feels it on his instrument. I'm not a dictator. Rarely, I compose on the electric but I find that it is easier with an acoustic. Sometimes, we even play all together with the acoustic before passing to the big electric sound. It is maybe a question of resonance. It is as when you sing while accompanying on twelve-string acoustics. It would be necessary besides that I buy myself one. I have an excellent six string, but it is going to be necessary that I think about finding me one of those.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

There were five days of work in Seattle and five days in Los Angeles. The majority of the songs were written before, but much of the arrangements were made in studio on the fly. There is only the reggae that was written directly in the studio. We were alone, Taz and me, and we left on this idea to go until the end, he did the percussion and I undertook the remainder. All the remainder was recorded with the whole group. With regard to the words, I must confess that I arrived at the studio with quite a lot of holes but we finished everything there. Generally, I am satisfied with only one verse and only one chorus to start to work on a title. Thereafter, I finish with the will of inspiration. Ian McLagan did all the keyboard parts in only one day when we were in Texas. I believe that all really was in the box in three weeks, which is not enormous since the mixing is included.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

[…] there are three or four songs on the album which I had written during the tour that we did last year in Japan. The rest was made up when I was in L.A. There's also a song which I had already worked in 1992 with Ju Ju Hounds. I had to record it at least five times, there's even a version where Slash does the lead guitar. It was a good song, but there was something which didn't stick. I changed full with things and I also changed the lyrics, it finally became the reggae which is reproduced on River! The title-track, "River", dates from at least a year ago, I recorded it on my 4-track and I revised it a good package of time before arriving at the final result. I can leave an idea in a corner for six months or a year before returning there, I created a kind of musical bank for myself where I can draw ideas according to my desires or of my inspiration.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

This is more like my first solo album, it has a lot more piano. I went back to Ian McLagan, that’s why there’s a lot more piano and organ. I’ve also worked with Rick Richards again, so it’s very similar to the first one.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


Talking about his collaborations with Duff:

I actually just spoke with him on the phone yesterday. He has worked on all my albums. We love working together, we always have had a great time, since Guns N’ Roses.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


And Duff would talk about collaborating with Izzy:

I’ve gone and played with Izzy over in Japan. Izzy puts a record out a year over there, and uh, tours there once a year. And it’s great, you know, he has no interest in putting a record out any where else, at all. […] He doesn’t like the stardom part of playing - he likes to play, and he likes to make records. […]  Guns sold so many damn records that, you know, nobody really has to do anything for a living – you know what I mean? That’s not part of the equation. I don’t want it to sound anything more than just absolutely truthful. He doesn’t have to do it for a living, you know. So he just does it because he wants to all right? It’s very cool, you know? Izzy’s Izzy, you know?


And on touring the band in the summer:

I’m very content with [The River]. Now that it’s done, I hope to reunite the band to rehearse the songs and carry out a small tour in the summer.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

Yes, obviously. But I hope to come back to Europe this summer and play some shows. I’ll have to manage to get my band together for that. The drummer lives in Texas, Rick lives in Georgia, Duff in California. See, it’s a mess. “Can we hope that we’ll be able to rehearse sometime, gentlemen?” (laughs)



2002: ON DOWN THE ROAD

In early 2002 it would be reported that Izzy would collaborate with both Slash and Duff on his next record, and that Slash would contribute with three songs he had written himself [KNAC.com, January 15, 2002]. According to Slash, he had written five songs with Izzy in November 2001 [MTV News, January 23, 2002].

The thing with Izzy's [solo] record is that I got involved with him because we talk on the phone a lot, and he's just always doing these anonymous projects in his own quiet little fashion. It's just nice to get together and write again.

We got together to work on songs, and they sound like Izzy, like Izzy and Slash, so they're easy to recognize that way. They have a sense of humor about them, but they're loose and laid back. They're not heavy-duty, arrangement-oriented songs. They're just basic ideas that we thought were cool, so we threw it down.

Me and Slash are just the session guys, man [laughs]. I just went in and did bass tracks for the first three songs in an hour and kept at it.

We were in the studio last week. He called me up and asked me if I’d like to play on some stuff he’d written. And we really don’t know what we’re going to do with it. It’s the [Thanksgiving] holiday this weekend, and I guess we’ll meet next week and figure it out from there. It was good playing with him again. It was like that getting on a bicycle thing...
Classic Rock, January 2002; interview from 2001


But in June it would be stated that Slash would not contribute to the record [Blabbermouth, June 14, 2002]. The record was also slated for an August release in Japan [Blabbermouth, June 14, 2002].

Taz Bentley would later talk about having worked with both Slash, Duff and Izzy, and this was most likely the occassion:

There was a time when Slash, Izzy, Duff and I got together a few times and recorded some stuff. I think it was Duff who called it Four Wheels, No Axl. But none of that stuff ever got released. It's kind of fun to sit around, be a fly on the wall, playing the drums with these guys and say, "How did I get here?"
Dallas Observer, February 15, 2012




On Down the Road
August 21, 2002



Sometime in 2002 Izzy was asked if the record would be released in USA and Europe:



And when asked about release date and touring:

Possible summer release and tour.....will keep you posted........



2003-2005: LIKE A DOG

In June 2003 it would be reported that Izzy had recorded a new album, Like a Dog, that would tentatively be released later in the year followed by a tour [Rolling Stone, June 6, 2003]. Rick Richards and Taz Bentley would be back on the record with Izzy playing guitar and bass [Rolling Stone, June 6, 2003].

Duff would talk about Izzy:

But Izzy leads a pretty charmed life, he does what he wants to do when he wants to do it and he doesn’t get caught up I any sort of huppla, he refuses to go there, he’ll make a record on his own, he’ll license it to Japan and maybe some where in Europe, and he’ll do a little tour, I’ve toured with him over in Japan, and he’s just this very pleasant country gentleman you know [...]

Izzy is a good guy, my birthday was last week and he drove eleven hours from Baja, to get to this birthday party.  He's just a straight up good dude.


And Slash would describe Izzy's release approach:

The thing is that Izzy was so shattered by the whole Guns N' Roses experience that he'll never go back to being in [a band] situation again. He does music at this point, but that's just for the love of doing it, and recording stuff on his 8-track. When he makes records, he makes them real quick and just puts it on the Internet and moves on.


Dizzy, though, would be less complimentary when discussing Izzy's songwriting current capabilities:

And... just as a musician... Izzy used to be a great songwriter- his contribution to Guns N' Roses first album are phenomenal. But, its almost like the guy has lost the fire... I mean I saw the guy a couple years back in the studio... and he was showing me a song he had just written called "Toothpuller" - it was literally about him visiting the dentist and getting a tooth pulled out. [...] I mean... this is a guy who wrote some badass songs and now he's writing about getting his tooth pulled... I mean come on... can you imagine Axl singing that live?


Being asked about his favorite song among his own:

You know what, my favorite is the last one we’ve done, Like A Dog, the actual album, and I like all the tracks, I don’t have a favorite. I mean, I like them all. But that’s my favorite, the last one we did. I suppose it’s the most fresh and, you know, it’s a new approach.


In 2005, Jimmy Ashhurst, Izzy old bandmate from the Juju Hounds, would express bitterness over Izzy leaving the Juju Hounds and instead release music as a solo artist:

For me looking to put together a band is the most painful process in music. It just gets more and more difficult as time passes, and I was so happy to know that I would never have to do that again. There are only a handful of players on the planet who seem to understand this kind of music...I mean really understand it and who can play it...and just about all of 'em are involved in great bands already. What we had was the perfect combination of players and leverage in the business. Izzy already had a reputation and a great dedicated fanbase...its not like we had to start from scratch, y'know? I still have a hard time understanding how he could have just thrown it into the toilet and let his friends down like that. It would have been one thing had he decided to quit music altogether. I mean, I could respect that (almost)...but the fact that he continues to put out records...and continues to just allow 'em to fade away...I have a hard time respecting that, and I can't understand it at all. Seems like kind of a pussy way to do things to me...and very selfish.
ChopAway.com, June 2005


The record was released in October 2005.



Like a Dog
October 2005



SEPTEMBER 2006: GOING DIGITAL

In September 2006, Izzy would release the albums Ride On, River, On Down The Road, Like A Dog on iTunes:

The future looks a bit digital at this point in time but we will have to wait and see.... They are closing down the "Tower Records" stores in America as we speak and it feels like a big hit to the whole system. It was a rock monument......no more!? [...] today I am just happy to finally have my last 10 years of solo work made available [through "i tunes"] to people who may have an interest....

This is what I... you know, you see this internet thing coming and you go, “Wow, things are changing fast.” Same gear, same rooms, and we did a lot of the tracks off records in Rumbo, some in Seattle... The last record we did, Like A Dog, we did that in Dallas, Texas at Nomad Studios. That was on Pro Tools, 24- track into Pro Tools, and I gotta say the time to do the record was cut down by about a quarter, maybe half. [...]  I think we might have taken it down to ¼’’ tape and we finally did the mastering, but everything was done to Pro Tools and I gotta say it was fun and it was fast.

Well, let me put it this way: since ’96, you know, for ten years, I’ve been recording these albums and going all over the place. I travel a lot of time anyway, when I can. The music has been piling up and I’ll do a licensing gift for Japan. One record went there for distribution, licensing... But then I’ll get fans, you know, all the fans in Europe or South America or U.S, they’re looking for the record and they can’t get it. It’s expensive, it’s prohibitive, because you got to pay 30 or 40 dollars on Amazon, because, you know, they’ll have to print that kind of thing. This has been going on over the years, and then we do another record, I think we put out one record in Europe, European and South American distribution, same thing: the Japanese, you know, “Hey, we can’t get the record, the CD...” And over the years I’ve sent stuff around. I’ve talked to people, I’ve given... I’ve even given to John Kalodner one day - he looks like John Lennon, you know, the white suit, the beard, the hair... and I know this guy from the old days. I was like, “Holy shit, I know this guy from the label, Geffen,” and I had a CD and I said, “Hey, there’s my CD.” But nothing ever happens, you know? You know, “We don’t hear any hits. We don’t hear any singles.” I was like, “Well, this is it,” you know? “That’s what I do, this is what it is, you get what you get.” So nothing happens. But here we are, in 2006, and I’ve been looking at the net and trying to get this thing up for a long time. The way it came about was, Glend Miskel, who’s an attorney up north, sent me an email back in May and Bruno’s email was in there and an another guy. I sent those guys an email and they said, “Yeah, it takes a long time to get on iTunes.” They said, “Contact these guys, Jeff at TuneCore,” and that’s how I got to you guys. And once I got to you guys - I mean, you’re talking, like, four or five months of efforts. Once I hooked up with you guys, it was a matter of two weeks and the stuff is up, and it’s incredible. It’s incredible, right?

I’ve done licensing deals in Japan and Europe, but I’ve never been able to get my music out globally so everyone could get it. When I got in touch with Jeff [Price], it was literally two weeks and my stuff was up—that’s 10 years of work. [...] It was so simple. I kept waiting for the catch, but there was no catch.


Being asked if it bothers him that people can just listen to selected songs now and not albums in their entirety:

No, it doesn’t bother me at all, man, I’m in. I’m in. I grew up in Indiana as a kid and the only access I had to music was Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. You had a magazine, Creem and Hit Parader – Rolling Stone, you know, as a teenager I didn’t give a shit about; it wasn’t on the list. You had those two outlets and that was it, and that’s down at the Village Pantry 7-Eleven; you know, we got to ride our bike to the snow in the winter just for that. That was the access and that’s what we lived for, to get the music, get the information, get the photos... And you’re talking 8-tracks – this is back in the 70s, it’s 8-tracks. You’d go to Woolworths, Woolco... I had some hooligan friends and we’d go in, you know, a pack of five guys, and these guys showed me how to actually steal 8-tracks out of those cases. Remember those plastic cases with a hole? You had to stick your (?) (laughs). These guys were always up to no good – I’m sure they still are. But it was all about, you know, making that connection, getting the music, getting those magazines... but this took days, weeks, months to get that stuff. Now it’s boom, touch of a button and there you have it.


Then being asked if it isn't a problem that the artwork of an album is lost through digital music:

Well, I gotta agree with you on the artwork. That was one of the joys of the music, I loved the artwork. And I come from an artistic background as far as drawing. I loved drawing in school and I still like to do cartoon stuff. I really, really loved the artwork and having the lyrics, and the pictures... I mean, that was actually a big, big part of it. So I do think the people today, for example younger people that are maybe discovering stuff and pulling it up, I think the experience isn’t... It could be better. I think it could be better if, maybe, we could offer the songs digitally, but then, as a bonus or as a perk, or some way, maybe there’s a way to access this cool artwork, and download it and print it, and make a poster, you know, for your room – something cool. It was a huge part of it. Besides that in the 70s you could roll your reefer on it, you know, on DC, all that thing.



TALKING ABOUT WRITING MUSIC AND HIS SOLO CAREER

Well, you know, I’ve always got a guitar somewhere. If it’s not - you know, in my cars, in my closet, there’s always a guitar. So the songs come now and then. You’re sitting on the couch, you’re on your bike, you’re walking on the street and you get a melody, you get some phrase, something happens and you get this idea. So I’ve always been doing that since I was a little kid, just making up stuff, you know, and kind of jam along. I did the last Geffen record, I think it was in ’95 or ’96, so around that point, when my second album was finished, I think I knew that I was going to be free of any record company influence or deals, and I actually was looking forward to that; and as soon as I turned in the last record, I was on it. Also I was free of management at that point. You know, you gotta understand, I went through a period of ’84, ’85... you end up doing these management deals and you need a manager when you’re starting out. And then, you know, I think I had management for ten years, and then... Anyway, ’95, ’96 is when I started on the solo stuff again and there was no label involved. My intention was really just to do the record, and see what’s gonna happen and see where I can go with it. And the internet, I’d heard of it and I was kind of interested just because of the obvious advantages: ease of distribution, you know, you can stay in California, you can stay in New York, you could stay in London or whenever you want to be, you could stay there and do what you’re going to do. But I didn’t really plug in. I was like, “I don’t know, it’s new a way to see,” you know? So I did these records and we ended up doing, I think, one licensing deal for Japan on one of them. We’d go over there, we’d play, like, a couple of weeks of shows, [and] come back.


And who he likes playing with:

It’s Rick Richards on lead guitar... actually Duff, from GN’R, played bass on the Japan tour, for that particular tour, and the drummer was Taz from Reverend Horton Heat and Burden Brothers – that’s his band now, they’re really great. So it was the same guys that I’ve always been hanging around and playing with. Duff and I, even when I left the band, Guns N’ Roses, we still talked on the phone for a while, and I’ve done a lot of stuff with him and he’s done a lot of stuff with me over the years. We’ve always been kind of on the same wavelength and we still do a lot of stuff together. The two main bands that I’ve had are the guys that I play with now, Rick and Taz, and then, you know, the Guns N’ Roses guys. I keep a pretty small circle of musician friends that - you know, once you find some guys that are great players and you get along with them, that’s really... you want to stick with that.



2007: MIAMI

In early 2006, Izzy would say he was working on a new solo album:

yeah,still workin on it......should be ready soon.


He would also be interested in releasing a box set of solo material spanning his entire career:

.i`m thinking of releasing entire catalog of solo materials,1993-2006,plus out takes and some bonus material.looking for a cool label to make this happen.


When asked about a new tour:

possibly.....would like to do a few europe dates soon ,and south america is a possibility......promoters should contact us with offers at [removed].


And later in the year he would be asked again:

I will let you know if any future stuff comes up....


He would later say he might tour depending upon the popularity of his digital albums:

[...] if this thing takes off and people start pull the downloads off the net, then yeah, maybe I’ll just go out and do some shows to back it up. You know, until now I’ve never had a format to tour on, because if I went to Japan I’d have to play the record that was released there, and if I went to Europe I’d have to play the record that was released there. It’s all been splintered, you know?




Miami
May 30, 2007



Miami would feature Taz Bently, JT Longoria, Rich Richards, and Joey Huffman, although in contrast to previous albums where Richards would contribute in song-writing, for this album Izzy had brought in the songs in a completed state [Chopaway.com, 2007].

I did write the songs on Miami but its the group that makes them sound like they do.... Its a unique chemistry that’s stuck for 15 years with Rick and I and 12 years with Taz... JT’s new since the Like A Dog cd and he’s also a very talented musician..... They each bring their own special sound and style to these recordings and that’s what I love about the music we end up with at the end of the day.... Rick Richards came up with the line ‘our ministry needs your money" during a band’s “piss take” session that we recorded live. I thought it was brilliant .... we used it as a main line in ‘FSO Raga’ aka "Fuck Straight Off"...

I wrote 1⁄2 of the material prior to the sessions and the rest during the time we spent in Miami....... the place itself inspired a few tunes.......... ‘Buildings In The Sky’ came about from these big high rise buildings that spring up out of the beach... they’re imposing......... Huge contrast to the palm trees and the beautiful turquoise colored ocean.... Some pimped out Rolls Royce cars, street girls walkin’ by at lunch time in heels..... it’s a trip....................’TJ’ aka Tijuana is about this guy I know who kept goin’ down to TJ to get clean......... but the detox is not an FDA approved treatment...... You could only get it in Mexico..... He said he would hallucinate for about 6-12 hours, sleep for about 48-72 hours and then wake up and feel pretty good, considering................and he was on the methadone program in America for almost 4 years prior to these treatments! I think he just liked the hallucination/tripping part of it because he ended up goin’ back a bunch of times..... He’s clean last I heard 06/07

Every year I record material. The album "Miami" - I recorded it years ago in Miami, Florida, in an old studio. People like James Brown, The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac had recorded there, a fantastic place.



2007: FIRE

Later in 2007, Izzy would also release Fire, an acoustic album.

It was recorded in California this Summer [07]. Its all acoustic.... very basic recordings, 2 guitars with one playing slide..... Rick and Taz play on some of it. JT played bass on it, and percussion. He also mixed it in Dallas at Nomad Studios. Gary Long mastered it at Nomad as well. It was a fun album to make. There are 2 songs i co-wrote with an old friend of mine.... Timo Kaltia [guitarist/songwriter] He lives in uk, the songs are "Box" and "Seems To Me"... The writing started with those 2 songs and I took off from there. I`ll send in cover photo...........enjoy. cheers. izzy

After that album [=Miami], I recorded "Fire" in a very short period of time. This one is a simpler more basic version than what I usually do.




Fire
November 2007



In April 2008, Duff would mention he was playing on one song on Izzy's new upcoming album:

I got to play on Izzy's new record [on Tuesday, April 22] in Ojai [California]. Another stellar outing by that dude, I must say. Always a pleasure hanging with that guy; a true gentleman.



2008: CONCRETE

On July 17, 2008, Izzy would release another solo album directly to iTunes, Concrete [Blabbermouth, July 18, 2008]. Duff would contribute to the song Concrete [Blabbermouth, July 18, 2008].

In late 2008, Duff would be asked about Izzy:

Izzy lives in California. He just put out a record. But he's a very low key guy. He puts out his records straight on Itunes. That guy lives right. Just because you are thrust into the limelight doesn't mean you want to stay there and he is a great example of that.

Right now I am in contact with people in Argentina that want us to tour there, and I would really like to do that. And I've just released another album called Concrete that you can get through iTunes.




Concrete
July 17, 2008



NOVEMBER 2009: SMOKE

In December 2009, it was reported that Izzy had releaseed a new solo album, Smoke [Blabbermouth, December 6, 2009].

The effort, which features Stradlin, bassist J.T. Longoria, Ju Ju Hound guitarist Rick Richards, ex-Reverend Horton Heat drummer Taz Bentley and Timo Kaltio (who co-wrote "Seems to Me" and "Box"), will be made available via iTunes mid-December 2009.




Smoke
NOVEMBER 23, 2009
[/i]


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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 Nov 22, 2021 8:40 am

1998-2010
DUFF'S LOADED, PART 1

A bass player, like I play guitar in Loaded, play rhythm guitar, which is the best instrument to play, period. You know, because you got big open chords and, you know. You can go thrashing around. [...] You can hit a chord and run. You know, and it keeps ringing. Base, there's no ringing.

------------------------------

'BEAUTIFUL DISEASE'/"1999: LIVE EPISODE"

In 1997 it would be reported that Duff was working on a new solo record with Al and Kurt Block, from Wool and Fastbacks, respectively [Music West in 3-D, 1997; MTV News, May 22, 1997].

In the summer of 1998, Duff was working on his second solo album, Beautiful Disease [Allstarmag, June 27, 1988; Guitar, September 1998].

I was working on my record, "Beautiful Disease", every day, six days a week. That's what I did. I left [Guns N' Roses] in August and worked on the record from August to January.


The album would feature Slash and Izzy Stradlin, Faith No More/Ozzy drummer Mike Bordin, Seal drummer Abe Laborio, and Seattle-bred musicians Kurt and Al Bloch, and Michael Berrigan and his band, Plexi [Guitar, September 1998].

Talking about his band which would later be revealed to be called 'Loaded' [Hard Force Magazine, June 1999]:

My band consists of Paul Roessler, Michael Barragan and Dez Cadena. I met Michael through mutual friends. Dez [now rhythm guitarist] and I met when we sang a song with the Melvins, but I'd seen him in bands before. I remember when he joined Black Flag. We're brothers. He's a good guy. Paul [keyboards] was a recommendation... Michael played in this band the Morning Glories and Paul was the singer, plus Paul was in Twisted Roots, DC3 with Dez and he played with Nina Hagen for the last eight years.


On why the band name 'Loaded' and not just the 'Duff McKagan Band':

We’re more than that, we’re a real band. As I told you, the name Duff McKagan can only open some doors and allow us to play in bigger places. And I prefer to find a name for the whole band, it’s more representative than just one musician. I’m not the only one involved, and you’ve got to keep that in mind.

[Talking about the band name]: When we formed [in 1998], I thought, “Oh, that’s a funny name,” because I had just gotten sober. Actually, Sober was on the list, too. [Laughs]

I thought [the name] was really cute in 1997 when I had 3 years of sobriety under my belt. I was recording some music and I didn’t want to call the band “Duff McKagan.” I wanted a band not to be a solo-artist-guy. So I thought Duff McKagan’s Loaded, that’s cute. Looking back it’s not that cute or funny, but here I am!

I went for just Loaded myself, when the band first started, I guess to distinguish this Loaded from all the other Loadeds touring around.


And talking about the record:

It's a song about kind of losing it, snapping for a second, but being healthy about it. I'd just been freed from so many things -- a shitty marriage, I got sober. It was like, 'Fuck, I want to live.'

It's hard, but it's not Guns N' Roses-like music. There aren't a lot of guitar solos, more like slammin' parts. Michael uses an Echoplex, and guitars through a Moog, and screams in the pickups. It's really cool.


One of the songs, 'Who's to blame?', would deal with the break-up of Guns N' Roses [Allstarmag, January 1, 1999].

To support the forthcoming release, Duff was supposed to go on a tour in late 1998 together with guitarist Dez Cadena,  keyboardist Paul Roessler, and drummer Walter Earl [Los Angeles Times, November 27, 1998].

The album which had been scheduled for a January 26, 1999, release, was later delayed to February 9 (international release) and March 9 (US release) due to restructuring at Geffen Records [MTV News, December 3, 1998].

It's been 4 1/2 [years since I've been clean and sober]. This is still new to me. Just going to bed at midnight and getting up at eight in the morning and reading a book is still thrilling to me. [...] I'm not in the spotlight, which is a bonus. I'm the front man now, but it's not like I'm in this mega-band. It's back to where it was [before Guns]. It's just fun.


Due to the big music label consolidation in late 1998 [see later chapter], it meant that Duff's album was put on hold [Sonic Net, February 1, 1999]. Duff would recount his feelings when he heard of the consolidation:

My first instinct was, Oh shit! I've done all this hard work and now what? You're not going to work here? This is not going to be a company? This building is not going to be here? […]  I'm just going to keep moving forward and pretend nothing is going to happen. Until I'm told differently, [Beautiful Disease] is coming out in March. I've got people reassuring me that it's going to be fine and that Interscope [the label that will now decide the fate of his Geffen album] wants to put it out. [...] Then again, I know the record industry. I might get a call tomorrow saying they're passing on it. There's nothing I can do about it. I worked too hard to let a corporate merger get in my way. I've got a band together and I'm ready to go.


In March 1999, Duff would be part of an online chat and discuss the record:

My release date was feb. 9th however, Geffen Records was bought by Seagrams Corp. My record now sits in a vault somewhere in Corporate BASTARD LAND. […] My record will be coming out on a different label, not sure which, but I have a kick ass band and we start tour tomorrow night in LA, than in Austin TX saturday night. […] I'm making a live record at Al's Bar tomorrow night that you can get through my web page, to get past the corporate bull shit. […]  the live album will be mostly new with a little cool old songs, Izzy did the pics for the album today.


Then it was revealed that the label had decided to not release the album [Hard Force Magazine, May 1999].

Last December, the album was recorded, mixed and mastered. I met the Geffen staff and everybody was really enthusiastic. I started the promotion and tons of magazines reviewed the record. Then Seagram [the company that owns Universal] came, bought Polygram and fired everybody at Geffen in less than a month. So I had another reunion and I just wanted to know if the album was going to be released or not. The only answer I got was that it was impossible to answer me! I was out of my mind. I had a band, we had started the promo, the tour, everything was ready and the only thing they could tell me was, “Maybe.” Finally, the album was supposed to come out on the 9th of February and that very day I discovered it wouldn’t.


Loaded then went on a club tour:

The people in the band, who were going to be out with me on the road, after the record was not released said "Fuck it, let's tour anyway". We did the tour under the name Loaded, and it was like a punk tour, always in punk clubs, and it was a lot of fun, something I really needed to do.


Duff then decided to release the songs as an independent live album:

Yes, but nothing happens without reason. One week later, I still hadn’t recovered, especially when I thought about all this fucked up work. I had worked every day, except on Sundays, for one year. Put yourself in my shoes. I got this phone call, I had to face the situation, and the ones who helped me the most were members of my band. I used to pay everyone, and spontaneously they told me they felt involved and didn’t want to get paid anymore. Michael, the guitar player, owns a loft in the center of Los Angeles and he proposed to rehearse there. It was really cool. Then we launched a website, with no publicity at all, but the kids found it nevertheless and started sending us tons of messages like “Where’s the album?” So I launched a live chat on the Internet and I received hundreds and hundreds of questions. Most of them dealt with the album. I explained the whole situation with Seagram and suddenly that idea came up to me. The only way to get around Seagram was to turn the album into a live one. I asked kids their opinion, and the response was so straightforward that we adopted that solution. A live album shall thus soon be released with most of the songs present on Beautiful Disease. We recorded sixteen tracks at two shows in LA. We mixed the whole thing and the result sounds very convincing to me.

It won’t be on a label, because we don’t want the kids to spend too much money. We’re gonna make the cover ourselves, very independently. Cargo records will distribute the album in Europe but it’ll also be for sale on the Internet. I’m also thinking of pressing a limited edition for the fans. The idea is there’s a request from the most die-hard fans and I really want to satisfy it.




Episode 1999: Live
May 1999



As for the original album:

We’re rerecording it, but the version with Slash, Izzy and Mike Bordin will never come out. Currently I have four offers from labels who are interested in Loaded. We’ve already started the rerecording and we’ve done half of it. We’re gonna choose the best label and go on tour throughout the world. We want to be a big band.


Looking back and discussing the status of the record:

Well there was the record that was going to come out on Geffen that didn't, that was going to be Duff McKagan. After that thing with Geffen going under and then Interscope not releasing the record, it took quite awhile for me to get my wind back. That was fucked up. It was so corporate and so bullshit. It had nothing to do with music. So I just wanted to start fresh with something new. It doesn't matter; what's in a fucking name? I'd go out as Duff McKagan. But I wanted to start a band. I wanted to be with guys who felt a part of it. I know people will figure out that I'm in Loaded and those people will come to the gigs. But I hope new people will come to the gigs too.

[Being asked if people would hear the songs]: I don't know. I own the songs, they own the tapes. It's such a shame. I put so much work into that. The first single had already gone to radio, and Geffen was behind it. They had a whole marketing plan. I was going up to Geffen every day for a couple of weeks doing press, all the photos, the artwork, everything. I go up there one day and everybody's crying and kicking the walls and shit. I'm like, what the fuck's going on? Everybody lost their jobs; Geffen had been bought. So for me to get those tapes back, I would have to get a lawyer and go through all that bullshit. I don't know what I'm going to do.

I was doing my finance major, and I was playing with some guys in my spare time. I had a bunch of songs and I was laying them down in this little studio, called Jupiter Studios, in Seattle. It's run by this guy called Martin Feveyear, who's from Sussex. He kept telling me it was going to work. He helped me find my voice. He encouraged me and pushed me, and it worked without me really trying. I started working with Geoff Redding. I played guitar and he played drums, and I laid bass over the top. It was a real simple process. I had two kids, I was going to school, and I just put things around that. The next thing I knew, the record was done. That was the killer. It was an organic thing. I had fifteen or sixteen songs. We went out and played in Japan. It rocked. It was cool.



2001: 'DARK DAYS'

In July 2001 Izzy would say that Duff was about to release a new album:

He called me on the phone yesterday and told me that he had just recorded a new album and hat he was going to edit it. I don’t know when, but he’s doing to get it out. He had an album years ago, but he didn’t release it, there has been a huge change in the Los Angeles industry and almost all of the companies have been bought out by a big one, so he had problems and it didn’t come out. But now he’s going to release a new one.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


Izzy likely refers to a new Loaded album, 'Dark Days', that would be released in Japan in July and that the band was looking for a US label to have it released in USA [CDNow, August 11, 2001].



Loaded's Dark Days
July 2001



The lineup for Loaded would now consist of drummer Geoff Reading (New American Shame, Green Apple Quickstep), guitarist Mike Squires (Harvey Danger and Nevada Bachelors), and bassist Jeff Rouse (Alien Crime Syndicate and Shoveljerk) [KNAC.COM, November 15, 2001]. In 2002 Squired and Rouse left and Stuart Dahlquist and Dave Kushner joined the band [L.A. Weekly, June 21, 2002].

On November 19, 2001, Loaded were joined on stage by Slash at the House of Blues in Hollywood, playing 'It's So Easy'.



Duff and Slash
November 19, 2001



And on January 28, 2002 Duff was joined on stage by Matt, Steve Jones and Billy Duffy [Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2002; CDNow/Allstar (Miss Truth column), February 1, 2002].


2002-2009: VELVET REVOLVER TAKES PRIORITY; LOADED ON HIATUS

Loaded would cancel their planned UK tour "for financial reasons" [Metal Hammer, July 17, 2002] while media would speculate that Duff was more interested in the "reunion" band that was brewing. With Duff being part of the emerging new band Velvet Revolver in 2002, Loaded would be taking a break [Loaded Online, October 7, 2002].

Looking back at Loaded after Velvet Revolver had started:

I had a band, Loaded, but I was really focused on my degree. Loaded were a good band and it was fun - we'd go to Japan and play, LA and Seattle. It fullfilled the part that wanted to play music. But I'd played away from Matt and Slash so long I'd forgotten about that chemistry thing.



MARCH 2009: 'SICK'

In April 2008, Duff was working on a new Loaded album, to be released in the summer and a tour was being planned [Blabbermouth, April 10, 2008].

With Scott Weiland being fired from Velvet Revolver, Duff returned to playing shows with Loaded:

We’ve never really been away, but then I suppose we’ve all but fallen off the rock radar. I formed the band when I went back to school in Seattle 10 years ago. [...] It was a real college band and had a cool vibe. In the spring break we’d fly out to Japan to play a few gigs and suddenly we became popular. Big in Japan, I think the cliché goes. [...] In terms of albums, Loaded has been on the back-burner ever since [Velvet Revolver was formed]. But we always play Seattle at Christmas and we’re pretty big there these days. It’s just time to put out a new record and tour with this band again because it’s a very special thing we have here.

I started my college band in my 30s. At spring break, we'd go play Japan and sh*t. Then Velvet Revolver started, but Loaded kind of kept going. We play charity events every Christmas. More and more people are coming to see us play, so we decided we'd make a record.

(In) probably '98. I think the first inception of Loaded had Taz Bentley from Reverend Horton Heat, Dez Cadena from old Black Flag and this guy Michael Barragan from this band Plexi. And we went and did a tour of the states, just a club tour. [...] I had a rehearsal space here in Ballard, and I would go in and play. But ... my wife and I, our family was starting. And I was going to school (at Seattle University), so I didn't really have a lot of time to do gigs or anything. But I was playing music ... with Geoff Reading, the drummer. And we'd go in and just kind of jam, and eventually we made that first record that "Dark Days" record. And the band sort of started to form. We got (bassist) Jeff Rouse and (guitarist) Mike Squires in. We'd go to Japan, like, on my spring break. [...] Velvet Revolver started. Velvet Revolver definitely took precedent over everything else. But we'd still do gigs. We'd do a charity gig for Christmas. And this last Christmas just seemed like the right time to re-explore what Loaded is.

Loaded has been something I've had for years. When Guns N' Roses ended, the first thing I did was return to studying and Loaded started then – we'd be going off and touring Japan during spring break! When Velvet Revolver started and took off, that became my priority, but Loaded would still do charity gigs at Christmas. I didn't think there'd be time for any more but, with the Scott Weiland situation, it's worked out amazingly good. It gives Velvet Revolver time to make sure we pick the right guy and it's given Loaded time to record an album.


As indicated above, the band was about to release their proper debut record, and it was planned to be out in early 2009 [Billboard, August 7, 2008]. The band also intended to release an EP in September 2008 [Billboard, August 7, 2008].

These are purely my songs. It's probably more derivative of my earlier years of punk rock. It's a good rock'n'roll band. It's fun, is what it is. There's no real business and no real drama. I'm really into no drama right now.

The full-length is done. It's all done. And we wanted to have some music out in Europe and the U.K. for this tour. So that's why we're kind of rushin' the EP out there.

Even while I was playing with Velvet Revolver, Loaded would play every Christmas. I knew VR would be done from April and I'd written a bunch of material. It just seemed like the right time to do another record. It's a fun thing to do.


Talking about the new songs:

I had a great bunch of songs which were different from Velvet Revolver and, I'm not kidding, it's the most inspired album I've been involved with since I was in my 20s!


And his voice:

As a singer, I don't have a massive range, but I know where that range is and how I can use it without being repetitive. I did a lot of damage to my sinuses in the late 80s, but after I had surgery to fix it, it really helped my voice.


In October, Duff would talk about writing songs:

Songs just happen and I’ve always mainly written on a guitar, for Guns, for everything I’ve done with the Velvets. I don’t really write songs well on a bass. I’ve written some heavy riffs but not full songs. It’s a bit difficult for me so I’ll take a guitar with standard tunings or weird tunings that inspire something…so it’s not really about control. I don’t wanna go down that road. In Loaded, it’s more purely my songs I suppose. In Velvets and Guns there have been purely my songs, like ‘It’s So Easy,’ but the more you have other guys to feed off…I had some songs that I brought straight into Loaded that were basically done, but what’s different about this Loaded record as opposed to ‘Dark Days, the first one, is that we did it as a band and the production. Mike Squires [guitarist in Loaded] brought in this amazing riff and vocal idea on ‘The Executioner’s Song’ which is just killer, like wow! Yeah! It all sounds like Loaded and Rouse [Jeff, bass player for Loaded] brought in some great things…I had a song I couldn’t hear a vocal melody for and Jeff wrote some lyrics and a melody for this song, it’s called ‘Sleaze Factory’ and will be the first single off the album.


Comparing Loaded to his other bands:

I’ve enjoyed in my career so far the ability to do all the stuff, you know. I have Loaded, with which I get to play small places and it’s packed and it’s more punk rock, if you wanna call it that. Punk rock to me is an ethic, it’s a way you carry yourself and do things, it’s not about fast music and stuff. But, I don’t worry about…I don’t think I’ve ever had to worry about writing a hit song. I don’t worry about ‘Is this gonna get on the radio?’ I don’t care.

We have a really quirky sense of humor as a group and the type of music we do and like is a little left of center. We can take maybe more chances that Velvet Revolver can. We don’t have people depending on us for an income so we can kind of do whatever the fuck we want. We don’t have to go through a bureaucracy to make a video. We’ll make a video for 3,500 bucks, man, in a day and there’s no craft services and there’s no star wagon and we make a video at a place we find that we can get for free and we shoot it punk-rock style.


And comparing playing stadium to smaller venues:

Well, ok, I’m in this nice cushy seat where I can go ‘well, would I prefer a stadium?’ I’m sure if I was playing some stinky little club I’d be going ‘fuck that! I wanna play big stadiums!’ You know, it’s just different. Stadiums are great because there’s a huge roar. Great because you can make an awful lot of money and that doesn’t hurt anybody, you know. But you’re sometimes fifty yards away from the front row and because of the lights in your face, you can’t see anybody, you’re so far away you can’t see them, the lights cut you off and it’s dark out there. All you hear is this roar. It’s surrealistic. You’re just playing on this big stage, and here’s your band, and OK, well, you kinda get used to it [...] I have my band Velvet Revolver and we play big theatres and arenas, so this is great, but I have Loaded which I can get into some really small places with and get back amongst the fans. All the things I’ve ever done, I don’t prefer one over the other really. Right now, I’m loving the fuck out of Loaded and having one of the best times I’ve had in my life of playing music.


In early 2009 it would be announced that the band would release its next album, Sick, shortly [Billboard, April 3, 2009].



Loaded's Sick
March 30, 2009



We didn’t think it was going to take seven years for our next record. That’s just the way music happens, I suppose. Maybe if we would have tried to put the record in there between the two Velvet Revolver records, it might have seemed forced. Everything happens for a reason. After all the drama and stuff the whole band (Velvet Revolver) went through at the end with the things we went through with Scott (Weiland) and all the things twirling around that band, I was really questioning why I was in music anymore. I have to deal with this b.s. all the time? It’s not worth it.

The guys in Loaded are some of my best friends, and it’s fun all the time. I had some levity in my life again. We started sending bits and pieces of songs to each other via MP3, one thing led to the next, and we got together in Seattle and put the songs together. It was a really inspired bunch of songs, from beginning to end. I still think in terms of making a record, it being a journey that you listen to from the beginning to the end. We’re really not in that culture much anymore. People buy singles and stuff. I like a whole record.


Discussing the name of the album:

I think Sick would be a good album title even if we didn’t have a song with that name. We wrote "Sick" back in 2002. We knew even then it would be a good album title because it reflects the way the band views life. This band has a really sick sense of humor. There is actually a very high level of intellect in the band, me not included. Mike Squires has probably got an IQ of 160. We talk about politics, the economy and art.

We got together and these songs started coming, and we were having such a good time. I was saving myself, really, and it worked. I didn't know if Loaded was going to be the thing to save me or not. I was just kind of swimming around, but this was so much fun, and ('Sick') is one of the most inspired records I've been a part of.


In April 2009, Duff would talk about what bands he would like to tour with in Loaded:

I’d love to go out with Alice in Chains ’cause they’re my friends. We’d bring motorcycles out like we did last time, and those guys’ sense of humor is a lot like the sense of humor in Loaded. It’d be pretty fucking funny. I love watching them. You [want] to tour with somebody you like. It’d be great to tour with Prince cause I’d love to watch him play every night. The guys in Green Day are really good guys. Played a couple dates with the Stones, Guns opened back in ‘88, and that was fucking killer.


Talking about why doing Loaded is healthy for him:

It’s healthier for my soul. I’m not saying that Slash isn’t healthy for my soul, but it is a thing that happened during the journey thus far. There was just a ton of drama, things I couldn’t contain or put my finger on. So you become a little lost. For me, being a sober guy, it’s either me sober or me six-feet underground. I become lost and I start swimming around, and that’s not healthy for me. This is something that, number one, is containable. Number two, there is a lot of humor in this band. VR is very serious. When things started getting heavy with Scott, things became more serious. There was no joking. We would get on tour buses and it would be silent. So I really needed this to happen. I didn’t try to make Loaded happen – it just did happen again. We would play a couple times every year during the whole VR time anyhow, and we always knew we were going to make a second record after Dark Days. We didn’t think it was going to take eight years, but things happen for a reason. I think last summer we started writing new songs for this record and just kept hanging out together back home in Seattle. We would come up here every summer, and if I’m on tour then my family is here anyhow. That makes me feel better. I think it’s a better place for my daughter. I feel more secure up here in Seattle. I feel smarter in Seattle. It’s a more intellectual and cultural town than Los Angeles by far. In a coffee shop here, people are talking about books. They read, for example. It’s just being with these guys. It’s funny all the time. Mike Squires, the guitar player, he has an IQ of something like 160. He’s an extremely smart guy. We talk about politics and the economy and discovery and esoteric things, and it’s great. We do crossword puzzles. We’re nerds, man! But I like being a nerd, and it’s really who I’ve always sort of been. I think maybe I’m kind of a cool nerd. I grew up in punk rock being here in Seattle, and that really nurtured forward thinking. It’s okay to think differently, and you don’t have to do what everybody else is doing. You don’t have to play Journey songs in a bar. You can write your own songs.


And the history of the band:

I think people have really gotten excited about this record, which I’m really happy about. We made a really, really inspired record last summer and last fall. You know, Loaded held an important place with me, musically, for the last ten years. It's a musical safe haven for me. It’s, you know, my really good friends that we haven't had to deal with a lot of business, so it hasn't been… it's very stress-free. And we went out and played a bunch of gigs in Europe and England and stuff last fall, and then went to Japan. And it seems like in the absence of Loaded the band has gotten bigger than it ever was when we were active. So it's a lot of fun right now. We’re getting a lot of really good press and that's always good.

[...] then we decided to make our second record. “Let’s do it.” That was two Christmases ago when we played that charity show in Seattle. By Spring of ’08, I knew that the VR tour was going to come to an end. So last summer, we simply got into a room to start hashing out some songs. Out of nowhere, out of left field, inspiration happened within the band. It became really exciting and really great. We wrote melodies and these really hard songs and really heartfelt songs like “Mothers Day” and “Wasted Heart,” and kick-ass rock songs like “I See Through You,” “Sleaze Factory,” and “Flatline.” It was just like, “Wow, all this stuff is happening and it’s really great.” We did a little record deal, and we just thought we would make a little record and go to the UK and play some gigs in the States and go back to Japan. Loaded is actually big in Japan. We were big in Japan from the Dark Days record. We’ve gone over to play there a bunch of times. It got up to where we were selling out every place we played. It was great. So we really thought small, though. We did a little record deal. We made this record for 20 grand. We didn’t need anything more to make it. We were ready to go and went into the studio. We just went in. The record sounds more urgent, I think, as a result. We don’t got time to fuck around. We don’t even have time to have lunch. We don’t! We’ve got to get this drum track and everything down that day. I think that the record is healthier because of that limited budget. We decided to put out the EP in Europe and go tour there last fall. The tour was just amazing. We sold out and did our own club tour and small theater tour in the UK. I wanted to go to the UK because that’s where Guns broke first and where Velvet broke first. I thought, “Well, if they like those two things, then they’ll like this thing. We can get solid ground underneath us.” It’s hard to break in the States as your first thing, simply because you’ve got to travel so far between cities, number one. Radio here – well, you know the politics of radio. It’s so tough. So we decided to start over there, and we went back to Japan in October. It was great. The record is coming out now, and it seems like things are picking up. There’s really, really, really good reviews on the record. It’s like, “Wow, no shit? Q Magazine likes it? They hate everything in rock.” It’s pretty great. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen, but we’re playing Download. We’re playing Rock-am-Ring and Rock-im-Park. We’re playing some great radio festivals here in the States. The things we have booked so far have been really great. People want us on their festivals, and it’s so cool.

We signed with a small, indie label which was really cool. There's not a lot of pressure like you get from a major. Major labels are becoming a thing of the past.

People call it my side project or my solo project, which it just really isn’t. I started the band back in ’98 and solidified this line-up in 2000. But I was going to college full-time; and I didn’t even graduate high school, so full-time college was an endeavour. I had no study habits. I had to work four times as hard as the kids who’d come straight out of school.

I formed this band after I started hitting my stride at college. We did a record called Dark Days in 2001. And since I was still in college and I was practising my business degree, I did my own licensing deal with EMI in Japan. I did a deal with Locomotive Records, which is a Spanish label. But right around then was when Slash and I met and we did that gig [a benefit for drummer Randy Castillo]. And that was really the beginning of Velvet Revolver. The importance of Slash and Matt and I playing together again overshadowed Loaded. The guys in Loaded understood, they totally got it. It wasn’t something I planned to do, it just happened. But Loaded we still had on the back burner. We planned on making a second record; we didn’t plan on it taking so many years. But everything happens for a reason, and it’s well-documented with your magazine – the drama and shit we went through last spring. That’s when we started making this record. It’s really a musical lifeboat for me.


And the lyrics:

You know, lyrics I wrote for Guns or Velvet or stuff even before that, were always just right on the nose, something that happened to me or an observation of mine. On this record, there are definitely a lot of observations, like “Mother’s Day,” I took three stories of three friends of mine who passed away because of drug overdose and I made it about a woman. So I try to get at least twice removed or once removed from the actual story and not have it be so “on the nose.” But there are songs like “Wasted Heart” and “IOU” that are kind of direct odes to my wife. And there are songs that are playful, like “Flatline,” it’s the single, it’s a classic breakup “f*ck you.” It’s nothing that happened to me directly, but we’ve all felt that way about a chick or if you’re a chick you’ve felt that way about a guy.


Gilby, talking about Sick:

I think it’s awesome! I think it’s incredible! It’s so amazing. I actually played a couple gigs with him. They played a Viper Room gig – Matt (Sorum, ex GN’R/VR drummer) and I went down and ended up sitting in. Then around the holidays, they did a big radio show up in Seattle and Duff flew me up to play with them. I think this band is amazing. It really is just simple rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s got a nice twist to it. I’ve always liked Duff’s singing. I understand why he wouldn’t be the singer of Velvet Revolver, but I really love his voice. Even the GN’R stuff he does, are always some of my most favourite songs.


And whether Duff had written them all:

I did not, no. Loaded is a band that I did start ten years ago. I guess I set the tone for what the band was going to be like, with some of the songs I wrote back before the first record. But, it's definitely a band band where most of the songs are written as a band. In my experience the stronger songs that I've ever had a part in have been written with band.

I started the band ten years ago and I set the initial tone that the band has gone into, and now evolved into. I don’t write all the songs anymore. I wrote "Wasted Heart" and "Forgive Me" on my own. I also wrote "No More" on my own. The rest are all band written songs. People bring in their own songs and we play them but the rest is all a band effort.


And as a musician being influenced by those around him:

I think anybody would be lying if they said they weren’t influenced by the people they played with. In saying that, I certainly haven’t tried to mimic anything. I probably have learned the most about rhythm guitar playing from Izzy. He was probably the ultimate rhythm guitar player. I probably learned most of my guitar playing from my earliest influences. My style is more Steve Jones from The Pistols and Johnny Thunder. That’s what I gravitate towards. I don’t even know what Slash does on the guitar. He and I warm up together before gigs. We’ll play the different songs or whatever. We’ll play riffs. So I’ve seen him play for years and I know how he plays, but it’s all what comes from his brain. God knows what goes on in there. Slash, when I met him we were 19 years old. He already had this old soul to playing guitar. He’s a freak of nature, that dude. He’s so talented. He’s one of those guys that is good at anything he does. If he decided to play basketball tomorrow, he’d be good.


Being asked what he expects will happen to Loaded now:

I don’t know. One thing that I’ve learned is that I don’t know what is going to happen. I know in the next three months, I’ve got dates booked that I’ll be playing. Where am I going to be at six months from now? I couldn’t tell you. I don’t try to figure it out anymore. I’m secure enough in my own skin now that I can let things happen. I know I have to take care of my daughters and my wife. Other than that, musically I let it happen. I’m really, really happy now musically. I’m having one of the best times that I’ve had in a long time with my music in Loaded. I don’t want to wait another eight years to make a record. I want us to make a record every couple years now. I hope this is a band that I go into my 60’s or 70’s with. You can’t say that’s too old anymore because you’ve got the Stones and Iggy leading the way.

I think Sick is one of the most musically inspired records that I have ever made in my life, and that is saying a lot. I am not saying that to sell this record or to convince anyone to go out and buy it but it really is one of the most inspired times of my life. I would like to get this band to the point to where we can play 1000 to 1200 seat clubs in the USA. We already do that in Japan and the UK. If it got to that size then it would pay for itself and everybody would make money. I really love playing in this band and I love the guys that I play with in this band. I don’t love Slash any less, but VR is a big business. There is management and merchandise companies and there are agents. VR will get back up and running but I will never let Loaded go. I will be really busy for the next few years.

The great thing about this band is that we just don't give a f---. We'll play anyplace, and it's refreshing. It is kind of rewarding when you become the buzz of a town when someone sees you and finds you are playing. We sell records at the gigs. Who knows? By July this could be an underground summer record.


And what songs they are playing live:

There's no covers on the album, not even for a B side, but when we play live there's a few covers. We do the odd JuJu song, we've been known to do 'Purple Rain', throwing it in randomly in the middle of a song, or 'T.N.T' if you see us playing 'T.N'T' or 'Purple Rain' you know we're having it pretty good.


On May 19, 2009, Bumblefoot would join Loaded on stage at the Gramercy in New York on the songs Stone In Love (Journey), Tush (ZZ Top) and Living After Midnight (Judas Priest) [Blabbermouth, May 20, 2009].

We were joined onstage by Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, a virtuoso on guitar and a first-class all-around guy!

[2014] was not my first time playing with Duff. When Loaded came to New York in 2009, when they were touring, I jammed with them.


In September, Loaded's drummer Geoff Reading had to leave the band due to health issues and was replaced by Isaac Carpenter for the rest of the tour dates [Blabbermouth, September 12, 2009],

Describing the band:

I think Loaded is its own standalone band and I think a really good band, from my experience, is the greatest sum of all of its parts. Every guy brought something to the table and we took the best of those parts and made it a whole. Same thing with Velvet Revolver: You still had Slash and I, you had those elements, but you got Scott Weiland in there and Matt [Sorum] as a song writer and even Dave Kushner -- you take the best parts of them. With Loaded, we’ve always been sort of left of center; we’re not a straight up commercial rock band. People are saying it’s [Sick] more punk rock, but punk rock to me was something that I experienced and I played in a lot of punk rock bands, but that was a long, long time ago. I’m certainly not going back; I’m not harkening back to those times.


Looking back at Sick:

After a few starts and stops we made a group effort in 2008 to write and record Sick. We said to ourselves, we’ve been a band for eight years, let’s see if we can find a something that’s a culmination of those shared years. I’m really proud of the song writing on Sick. It was really fresh. We made it in two and a half days of preproduction.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri Dec 22, 2023 6:30 am; edited 6 times in total
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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 Fri Apr 15, 2022 6:05 am

1997-2016
DUFF AFTER GUNS N' ROSES
- VARIOUS MUSICAL PROJECTS

MINOR PROJECTS

In May 1997, Duff was having a role in the TV series "Sliders" about rock and roll vampires [The Vancouver Sun, May 8, 1997; MTV News, November 25, 1997].

From his home studio, Duff was also producing other studios artists, including Butt Trumpet, Betty Blowtorch, and the Ya-Yas [Guitar, September 1998].

In 2000 he would guest on The Presidents new album 'Freaked Out and Small' [Sonic Net, June 29, 2000] and would also play with them on The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn [Launch, September 19, 2000]. Together with The President's Dave Dederer, Duff would form the guitar-duo band The Gentlemen [North By Northwest, August 26, 2000].

Talking about what he had been doing for the last five years:

[...] I think the overwhelming thing since 5 years ago, is I’ve got two kids and I go to Seattle University, you know, I’m a business major. […] so anyhow, I have two little girls and I’m married to a beautiful woman, Susan, and um… […] [They are] 4 and 1 and a half.


He would also play on the album by the band Mad for the Racket (featuring Wayne Kramer of MC5 and Brian James of the Damned) [Billboard, September 29, 2001].


1997-1998: TEN MINUTE WARNING

In late 1997 it would be reported that Duff would release a debut EP with his old Seattle band, Ten Minute Warning [MTV News, December 31, 1997] on the label Sub Pop [Guitar, September 1998]. Duff had played with the band back in 1995, too [see previous chapter], but now being out of Guns N' Roses he probably had more time to release something with them.

Jonathan Poneman [of Sub Pop] said he'd really love to have the real history of Seattle. Ten Minute Warning was two years prior to Green River, and before Sub Pop, and we toured with the Dead Kennedys and Black Flag. We were the biggest band in Seattle.

The guys from Sub Pop [an underground label of punk and grunge bands] called and told me, “We’ve got all the Seattle bands since 1985, but you were there before and we’d like you to record an album.” Ten Minute Warning was quite a legendary Seattle band and Sub Pop would have completed their collection of the city’s music history with our album. We talked about it, we played together and it felt right. So we recorded an album. Afterwards, we didn’t think, “Let’s go on tour, let’s form a real band.” We recorded this album just for fun.




Instagrampost from Duff
December 9, 2023



THE GENTLEMEN

After returning to Seattle after having quit Guns N' Roses, Duff would play in a due called the Gentlemen together with Dave Dederer of the Presidents of the United States [The Seattle Times, April 17, 2005]. They wore suits and ties and played mellow songs while sitting down [The Seattle Times, April 17, 2005].


PLAYING ON IZZY'S SOLO ALBUMS

In 1998, Duff would be featured as the bass player on Izzy's solo record 117 Degrees [see previous chapter for more information on this].

In 2000 Duff would also tour with Izzy in Japan after Izzy had released Ride On [see previous chapter].

Talking about how it was to play with Izzy again:

Awesome! We are real fast friends. By the way, when my pancreas fucked Izzy phoned too. We've always been friends and our friendship has gone beyond music. We've been through a lot of things together. I play in his records, which usually takes no more than two days. It's like "Here's the song, play, thank you". For this last record he wanted to go away and play some shows with me. We were rehearsing in Hollywood for a week and then we wanted to play some shows, which were really fun. It was so easy! In Japan everybody was around us freaked, seeing the two of us together. It was exciting. We are recording a new album in two weeks time. Rick [Richards, guitar] is coming from Atlanta and Taz [Bentley, drums] will come from Dallas. The same guys that were in Japan. It's nothing but that - things are pretty easy with Izzy. The songs are not very hard actually, they are based in good old rock roots. That's what I like about Izzy. I think he's keeping something essential - rock roots. They are slowly being lost and no one seems to do what he's doing. He's mixing country and rock and roll, and he's good at it.



1998-2000: MARK LANEGAN

In April it was reported that Duff was collaborating with fellow Seattle musician Mark Lanegan [Allstarmag, April 1998]. Together they completed 15 songs and were considering founding a band [Allstarmag, April 1998].

It's a totally new entity, and it's really bad-ass, with a stylistic range from funk to Burt Bacharach. And Mark loves Burt Bacharach.

Nothing is done yet, but it’s very likely to become a reality in the future. We’re friends. I think I’m gonna play on his solo album first. Actually, right now he’s downstairs [in Duff’s house in Seattle] so I don’t want to talk too much about him. He would become big-headed....no, I’m kidding.

Well, like I said before I'm in a new band. It's me, Mark Lanegan, Mike Johnson and a drummer from Seattle. We are going there tomorrow to do some playing. Mark, Mike and me are demoing stuff with a drum machine. He's the drummer in New American Shame. This is a project Mark and myself have been planning for a long time now, and it is the first time I tell anyone, because it's been quite secret. There was even a rumor in MTV News that we denied, because we wanted no one to know about it. When you are in the music business you need to keep some things surprising, so that people will say "Wow, this and this guy together!". Though the truth is, the fact that we come from different bands does not affect us in any way. We knew each other already, because we actually come from the same place and we grew up listening to the same music - The Saints, Bad Company, Stranglers, and I could go on and on about our common influences. I wrote a record for Geffen, "Beautiful Disease", and when it was about to be released Geffen was absorbed and the priorities changed, so in the end it was never released, and never will. However Mark loved some of the songs. Maybe all this was bound to happen. We're gonna record three cuts from that album, so now we're working on the songs. Like when the Neurotic Outsiders thing, which was not anything too serious for any of us. We never rehearsed the songs with Neurotic. We just wrote them in five minutes or Steve Jones had already done. We were not into in 24/7. This is what we are doing now.

I'm playing both guitar and bass in the current sessions. We're thinking of looking for a bassist, with me and Mark on the guitars, but who knows. I offered myself as the bassist, but Mark likes my guitar playing a lot so that's what it's gonna be.

We're gonna record a demo and play live like everybody else does. But we're going to record a demo that no one will be able to reject, so we'll choose whatever label we please. That's the plot, world domination and all the stuff! (laughs). I'm very happy to be working on something that's going to redefine me to the audience.

Our goal is to sound as good as Pink Floyd in "The Wall". Is it going to sound like Pink Floyd's "The Wall"? No! Everybody knows what Mark Lanegan's voice sounds like and the darkness it hides. All that is going to be in there, but regarding the songwriting this is where Mike Johnson and I come in. The songs are oriented to places where Mark would be likely to feel attracted to. The common influences are the same, like Burt Bacharach, Badfinger and the list goes on.

We've written some 30 songs […].


For unknown reasons nothing came out of this, although Duff would feature on some of Lanegan's later releases: the drummer and bassist on the song 'Fix' off the 2001 album 'Field Songs'; together with Izzy as background singers on the song 'Strange Religion' off the 2004 album 'Bubblegum'; and the bassist on the songs 'Deepest Shade', 'Brompton Oratory', and 'Autumn Leaves' off the 2013 album 'Imitations'. It is possible that some of these songs stemmed from their 1998 collaboration.

Lanegan talking about Duff and Izzy contributing to Bubblegum:

Having them singing on the record is like having Keith Richards and Ron Wood singing with you. I’ve known Duff and Izzy for quite a while. I was sort of a houseboy for Duff and his wife for a long time.
Rolling Stone, September 11, 2003

It was like having Keith Richards and Johnny Thunders both singing on your song. They looked at the words [to the song Strange Religion] once and did it, and it was perfect. Then they spent a couple hours telling stories.
MTV News, June 6, 2004


Duff would later briefly mention transitioning from working with Lanegan to establishing a new lineup for Loaded:

Geoff [Redding] and I started playing. We started playing. We were going to do this thing with Mark Lanegan, who was the singer from Screaming Trees. But Geoff and I started playing a lot and Geoff kinda pushed this thing like “Hey man, let’s, you know, let’s pursue this, you know, with Mark or not because him and I were Jello --– it was just guitar, I was playing guitar and he was playing drums. You know, would I love to play bass with him? Yeah, but it just didn’t work out that way because we were writing the songs – I’d write ‘em on guitar...


Talking about musicians overcoming their addictions:

People like Mark Lanegan (ex-Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age) should be celebrated. He's gone through hell. He's a really good friend of mine. He may not be as popular as Scott, but he is a really good fucking singer.



VELVET REVOLVER AND LOADED

These bands will be discussed in separate chapters.


2006-2007: ALICE IN CHAINS

In April 2006 it would be reported that Duff would join Alice in Chains for live shows in 2006 [Rolling Stone, April 25, 2006].

These guys are my bros from way back, and for me it's kind of a dream come true to play with Alice in Chains. It's a band I've always wanted to play in. I played with them in their first gig in L.A. I got up and played 'Man in a Box.'

This tour is the best tour, bar none. I mean, I just was in, before we did this - Alice In Chains have a jam room and I just went and played with them. It’s like, it’s a real brotherhood out here, you know, and they’re a band I’ve always loved, guys I’ve known for a long time, for almost 20 years. The last tour that I was really, like, into all the bands that were on it was when Guns took out Soundgarden and Faith No More. I got to play a heavy hand in choosing those two bands. You know, Soundgarden were friends of mine from Seattle and they were just breaking, and Faith No More had The Real Thing record that just broke or sort of breaking in. That world tour was killer - every night, you know, it was killer. And this tour is really reminiscent of that.


LOoking back at having played with the band:

A couple years ago I received a call from Jerry Cantrell to see if I would be interested in playing rhythm guitar for the revamping Alice in Chains. I had become very good friends with all the guys in the band since they came to Hollywood in 1989 for their first gig in L.A. I knew first-hand of the utter heartbreak these men had gone through (and continue to feel) at the tragic loss of their singer and brother, Layne Staley. If I can do anything, I thought to myself, I can at least show my support for these guys who had become close friends not only to me but to my family. I jumped at the chance to play with them.

[...]

I dove headfirst into a crash course of the whole AIC catalogue. My critical peek inside these songs, riff by riff, opened my eyes to what truly amazing song craftsmanship went into all of them. I began to feel truly honored to be included and connected in any way to this lush musical history. Playing the songs live with them are some of the most treasured moments that I have experienced as an artist, PERIOD!



2007-: NEW SOLO RECORD

I still want to make my solo record — and Duff is working on his own stuff too.



2008: PRACTISING HIS PLAYING

In 2008, it would be reported Duff was taking bass lessons:

I mean I’m really confident with my bass playing. But I just got this new six-string guitar and I’ve just been sitting on my couch playing it finding all these new grooves I never knew I could get. I’ve been in punk bands all my life but never really took lessons.

As a matter of fact two months ago I got completely re-inspired bass wise and I started taking lessons from really heavy and legitimate jazz fusion guys and I've been listening to a lot of bass players.

I’ve actually started taking bass lessons for the first time in my life. I’d never played with my fingers, I’d always used a pick. F**k it, I’m not ashamed to say it.

I actually started taking bass lessons about a year ago. Out of nowhere, I really got re-inspired as a bassist, and I was listening to a lot of Duck Dunn… Some of the older stuff, just getting back to the roots of where modern rock came from, Jamerson and Duck Dunn. You know, it all stems from them. [...] And, you know, if you listen to them, you then obviously see John Paul Jones, okay, well, he's a Jamerson guy (chuckles). But it kind of all come… modern rock bass playing. I think it's been dumbed down since then, unfortunately. I would encourage any aspiring bass player to listen to any Booker T. & the M.G.'s stuff and definitely Jamie Jamerson, Motown. Go in order, so you understand where it's coming from, because I think that really… and then listen to what McCartney did with it, and listen to what John Paul Jones did with it. Yeah, I was really kind of just studying bass players, and getting really inspired to become better at my craft, and started taking some lessons from Reggie Hamilton here in L.A. It's a session guy, he's amazing, and he really showed me some killer things to do, warm-ups with some great techniques and stuff. So I warm up like I've never warmed up before, I play scales all the way up the neck, I do finger stretching exercises between my… more my index in my middle finger, and my middle finger in my ring finger, so I play ascending and descending scales with just those three fingers, just some sort of like finger twister riffs that I make up that helps your dexterity.


Looking back at taking lessons:

You know, I play with my fingers a little bit now. I really got into base about 8 to 10 years ago. I started taking lessons. I got reinspired on the base and really wanted to learn like some theory and stuff. So I learned some theory and I kind of threw it away. But I started playing with my fingers and kind of expanding my knowledge. You know, I play a lot.

[...] I was taking lessons with [legendary session bassist] Reggie Hamilton. [...] I wanted to know more about the neck. My playing was fine: I felt comfortable, and whenever I play live I play in anger and I dive in, but I wanted to dive deeper into playing with my fingers on my right hand a bit more, and seeing what that’s all about, so I listened to Booker T & The MGs and Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn and James Jamerson and Larry Graham. I’m a huge Prince fan, too, and I wanted to know how to play like that.



APRIL-SEPTEMBER 2010: JANE'S ADDICTION

In early 2010 it was reported that Duff was working with Jane's Addiction after their original bassist, Eric Avery, had recently quit (again) [GN'R Daily, January 24, 2010]. According to Jane's Addiction fansite Xioalo.org, Duff was writing and recording with the band and it as rumoured he would join the band [The Rock Radio, January 29, 2010].

In April, Duff would address the rumours and announce he had joined Jane's Addiction:

I think people sometimes actually believe that because I was in Guns N' Roses, I must have a money tree growing in my backyard! Daddy (that is what they call me around here) has got to go out and earn a living just like most anyone else!

Something like a chance to write, record, and perhaps even perform with a band of the quality of Jane's Addiction does not come around every day. I have a lot of respect for this band and the guys in it. The music that we have been writing is an extension of that mutual respect.

[...]

I have been a huge fan of [JA founding bassist] Eric Avery since the mid-'80s, when I would go to see them play at clubs down in L.A. This is not, in my mind, about me replacing him, in any way shape or form. I have a lot of respect for this band and the guys in it. The music that we have been writing is an extension of that mutual respect. AND it's a blast! Perry Farrell is an absolute visionary. Dave Navarro has always been a guitar player who I have had a lot of respect for. Playing in a rhythm section with Stephen Perkins is almost trancelike. Kick-ass for sure. I also want to make it clear to JA fans that I really appreciate all of the kind words and sentiment directed to me.


Guitarist Dave Navarro would comment:

We’re from the same musical time, the same town, the same era. It was a natural fit.


And Duff would comment upon the novelty of joining an existing band:

I’ve never been in a band I wasn’t in from the beginning. So to play songs like ‘Been Caught Stealing’ is pretty fucking kickass.


When Duff joined, the band was focused on writing new material:

That’s 97 percent of what our time is geared towards. When I first sent some songs to Perry they were the in the usual style that I write music — verse, chorus, chorus, bridge, double chorus, etc. If you listen to a great Jane’s Addiction song, though, there’s no chorus! It’s just riff, and then it goes into some psychedelic jam. I’ve had to learn to sort of adapt as a songwriter. I just have to bring in a riff. Some snarling, mean, dark and dismal riff, that’s going to be our thing.

I went in and wrote with Jane’s [...]. We were done writing the Loaded record and there was a space of about three months where between writing the Loaded record and recording it, I had freed up to help Jane’s with their new record. I started just sending ‘em my weird fuckin’ songs and they loved ‘em. You know, Dave Navarro plays guitar weird and he’s fuckin’ great. He was like, “Dude, this is great. These are fucked up chords; what the fuck are you doing? This is how I play.” I didn’t really grow up with the kind of G, A, B major chords. I mean I know ‘em but it’s more about inventing stuff.


Perry Farrell and Stephen Perkins from Jane's Addiction would comment upon Duff joining the band:

We came up together. We had the exact experience in the same city, being in a rock band that was breaking big. We came up through that, all the seediness and the debauchery, so it's all there. I couldn't have asked for a better partner, I'll tell you that right now.

[...]

He writes, he's cool, he's considerate, he's respectful, he gives space, he's positive, he's intelligent. He's a star.
Spinner, April 23, 2010

The idea of having Duff in the band struck us as fucking cool. He's a great guy. He plays in his own way. I think it's an interesting hybrid. I don't like to use the word 'flashy,' but Dave and I are inspired by a lot of notes, whereas Duff comes from more of a straightforward punk-rock school of playing. It's a cool clash of styles, I think. We feel really together now as a band, very unified, and there's a lot of fresh energy.

[...]

The work ethic has been fantastic. He's definitely here for us when we need him, no question. He gets in the room with us and works out songs, then he takes tapes home - he's there. He's been a nice shot of vitamin B.

[...]

It's been really cool and a lot of fun. Yeah, I'm more of a spastic kind of Keith Moon-type player, and Duff is very rough and tough. There's less notes but he plays with authority. It's like sandpaper on sandpaper, but it's working out fine. He's got great ears and he knows how to hook in with me. We're finding ourselves again, and it's exciting. Even playing older songs like Mountain Song, it feels new again. Duff approaches it more like a rhythm guitar player. It's going to sound different to a lot of people, but maybe they'll appreciate it on a new level. I know we are.
MusicRadar, April 7, 2010


In June, Duff would discuss being in Jane's Addiction:

Perry and I went to dinner with my wife and Etty [Farrell, Perry's wife] and at the end of dinner he said, 'So what are you up to?' I said, 'Well, I have Loaded working, writing songs.' He says, 'Well, that's kind of what I wanted to talk to you about, writing some songs. Would you be interested in coming in and checking it out?' I was like, 'Yeah, I'll check it out, [but] everything's gotta work great.' [...] Things did feel right. We recorded three songs a couple weeks ago and it sounds huge, dynamic. [We] went and played a couple of shows in Europe and it was really fun. I had a great time playing with Perry. [They're] really good guys to travel with. I'm having a f---ing blast. [...] This is like rock royalty, Jane's. People want that old-school original because a lot of rock music right now is so paint-by-numbers. It's bland, really bland. I've heard some s--- on the radio. I'm like, 'You gotta be f---ing kidding me.' At least where I come from that's not good. That's not f---ing good.


But in September it was announced that Duff was out of the band:

Hey we wanted to thank Duff for helping us write songs for our new record. We love the songs we worked on with him -- and the gigs were a blast -- but musically we were all headed in different directions. From here Duff is off to work on his own stuff so we wish him all the best.


Duff would tell what had happened:

Last year at about this time, I was asked by Perry if I wouldn't want to come in and lend a hand in the writing of a new Jane's record. I was and AM indeed honored.

We started that process, and the rumors started to swirl, ebb, and flow to the MAX! I was just trying to keep my head down the whole time and do that band as much service as I could. They are great and gentle men, all of them. A nicer group of dudes would be hard to find.

Alas, the time came for me to depart and get back to my thing, which is Loaded all the time, writing my book, developing a new business, and the ever-present hunt for a VR singer. The press blew the whole thing out of proportion to begin with, and in the end I was left to try and explain my way out of a situation that was just so simple. Creative guys . . . getting creative.

Eric had just left and Perry [Farrell] was pretty crestfallen about the whole situation. He asked me if I could come in and help them write a record. I said we could try, so we went into Perry’s garage. [Original Guns N’ Roses drummer] Steven Adler and I used to go watch Jane’s at the Music Machine in L.A. There wasn’t a lot going on in L.A. back then.

Flash forward 25 fucking years, and here I am. I talked to Eric on the phone, and he said, “You have my blessing. Go.” So I went. I like trying new things and I love Perry. I’ve known the guys for a long time. I tried to do my best to help them out. They’d become my comrades, and Eric’s departure hit them hard. We wrote some really great songs, but when I started recording with Loaded in August, I really discovered I can only do one or the other.

OK, here's the deal with that: I was writing with Jane's Addiction. I never joined the band, though, and that was the biggest misconception. I saw it starting to happen, and I told the guys, 'Look, I'm just here to help you with the record. That's my deal. That's what you asked me to do, and that's what I'm doing.'


And on whether he had planned to become a member of the band:

I wasn't planning on it. If it would have happened naturally, I would have considered it. [pauses] They have to make a great record, or else… See, they're poised. They're poised to make a huge comeback. There's a need for a band like that. So, basically, I was there to help them in whatever way I could.

I've been a fan of Jane's Addiction for many years. I really respect them. But I didn't want it to become this thing, like, 'Oh, the guy from Guns N' Roses is now in Jane's Addiction! The joining of two scenes!' None of that shit. I know it happens, and I've been around. I'm not a dummy. That whole thing could've really gotten in the way of making a great record.


And if questioned if this meant he had left exactly when originally planned:

Yes! You just got it right. I went in help them write and recorded some songs with them. But I had a Loaded record to make, and I told them that. They were cool with it. Nobody was mean or anything.


Still, apparently Farrell seemed annoyed with Duff's decision to leave:

I couldn’t really tell you what his problem was. You can ask him. He’s calling it ‘creative differences.’ I know he didn’t like the idea of electronics at all. That was his complaint. We’ve got our gripes too, but what’s the point?
Rolling Stone, January 12, 2011


When mentioned that Farrell had stated in an interview that Duff had been annoyed with them, Duff did not believe that quote was correct:

I know something came out in the press last week about Perry Farrell, but I don't think he said that - [...] Oh, you know…something about me leaving Jane's because I was annoyed with them - I'm paraphrasing. These things happen. But the most important thing is that I had a wonderful experience with those guys. I got to play a couple of gigs and played all of those amazing Eric Avery bass lines. That was great, and it made me a better bass player.


And on how Loaded was his main focus:

[...] I was never in [Jane's Addiction]. I was just writing songs. I played a couple of gigs with them. We were making our record, so that’s my focus and in no uncertain terms have I been unclear to any parties I played with that Loaded is my focus.

I just went into write with them. My main band is Loaded and I think things got a little out of control and especially on the Internet and on the sites. Not that I go and visit all the sites but I do interviews so I know what’s said on the sites. So I was left to answer some of these questions like, “What? So Loaded is not a band?” And I’d have to answer it and explain it over and over and over. I write a column for the Seattle Weekly and I wrote a column and said, “OK, for all of those that are questioning whatever I’m doing, here’s the final story.” I simply went into write with them; there were a couple gigs booked that were booked when Eric [Avery, former bassist] was still in the band and I played with ‘em. I talked to Eric first about it like, “Hey, here’s the deal; they want me to play these gigs.” I respect Eric way too much just to go,” Yeah, fuck yeah, I’ll go play” without talkin’ to him. So they are guys I’ve known since the ‘80s and I’m friends with them and it was a great experience for me.


In 2012, Duff would be asked what the real reason was and the interviewer would say Duff had previously explained it with "creative differences":

I didn’t actually say that. I never did the “musical differences” thing, because I don’t think it was. It was more to service that band … for a minute. And I’ve known those guys for a long time, and I got to play a couple of gigs with them, and help them write some songs. They were back on their own feet, and it’s weird for me, a guy who’s always started his own bands, it’s kinda hard to come into a band with a 20-plus year history and try and fit in. They were really trying to make me feel like I fit in, but I did my service and I knew when it was time to say, “I’m good. Are you guys good? I’m good.” It wasn’t musical differences at all, it was just an unexplainable thing.


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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 Sun Aug 07, 2022 6:57 am

1996-2001
SLASH AFTER GUNS N' ROSES: BLUES BALL AND SNAKEPIT

1996: SLASH'S BLUES BALL

Immediately after leaving Guns N' Roses Slash would return to playing with his blues band, Slash's Blues Ball and would embark on a five-date tour [Associated Press/The Daily World, November 13, 1996]. Slash would describe the band as "really just a good-time band" and:

It's mostly all covers--and not necessarily a lot of blues. There's a lot of old-style rock in there as well. […] this isn't like the traditional blues cover band you see in clubs these days. There's definitely a hell of a lot more decibel levels going on. Nobody should be expecting a nice, quiet B.B. King type of thing. It's more of an approach of, say, like a Johnny Winter.

And no two shows are ever the same.




Poster for show at The Tramps, New York
December 5, 1996



Slash would be occupied with Slash's Blues Ball throughout 1997, touring the USA.

Looking back at Slash's Blues Balls:

I got on the phone to put together for a particular gig, so I made phone calls to all the local musicians that I'm good friends with and I ended up... one of the guys was the bass player, Johnny Blackout...so we did six months of touring, having a great time doing Slash's Blues Ball, which was really just a glorified cover band. We covered everything from John Lee Hooker to the Stones to Joe Walsh. We did all kind of different material. It was all very cool. We had our own approach to doing the material the way we did it.



1996-2001: SNAKEPIT

At first it was a side project. But once I parted ways with Axl, it became a career move.


Immediately after the announced break between Slash and Guns N' Roses it would be reported that he would now focus on Snakepit [Philadelphia Daily News, November 1, 1996] and that he would be rehearsing new singers for the band [The Orlando Sentinel, November 1, 1996]. A source "close to Slash" would say that Slash wanted to "collaborate this time, instead of the way he made the first Snake Pit album with Eric [Dover], where Slash basically laid down all the music and then Eric came in and sang afterwards" [Addicted to Noise, January 13, 1997]. Early in January rumours were spreading that Sebastian Bach would join Slash's new band, after having jammed with Slash at a Slash's Blues Ball gig in Philadelphia on December 7, 1996 [Rolling Stone, January 12, 1997].

Sebastian Bach would seem exciting about the prospect:

Slash invited me to stay at his place for three weeks back in '92 or something and he put me in a room with a bunch of snakes and shit and a black velvet Aerosmith poster. I mean he's just a great guy! You wouldn't have to twist my rubber arm, I'm ready to sing.


But then a source "close to Slash" denied that Bach would be involved [Addicted to Noise, January 13, 1997].

It would also be stated that Slash would likely change the lineup and moniker of the band [The Hollywood Reporter/The Record, November 2, 1996].

In 2018, Slash would shed light on why the lineup was changed:

Eric [Dover] was great, and I love [bassist] Mike Inez, and it was a cool little unit. But then, there was a point when we were on the road, and Eric really wasn’t comfortable. He’s a guitar player, and he can sing; he’s a good singer, but he wasn’t comfortable as a frontman. And there was a point there, during the tour, um, where I became aware that he really was not; he was out of his comfort zone, having to go up and front the band, so that was sort of that.


He intended to release the second Snakepit album as soon as his home studio was finished [Addicted to Noise, January 30, 1997].

Slash would later say that Soundgarden's singer, Chris Cornell, had an open invitation to play with him:

I fucking think he's awesome. If he wanted to sing for a band outside of Soundgarden I would play with him in a heartbeat.


In August 1998 it would be reported that Slash was coming closer to find a singer and that he was now working with guitarist Ryan Roxie:

For a while, I've been getting all band members together, looking for singers. At this point, I'm not saying I have found one, but I'm pretty close. What we do is go upstairs during the week and write ideas, tape 'em, and the next day we go downstairs and record them. There's a couple of the Blues Ball guys in the band, and I'm s till working with Teddy Andreadis, although we don't use a piano for hardly anything. I'm using Ryan Roxie, who used to be in Alice Cooper's band, and that's it. We start at 1pm and play until one or two in the morning. I'd like to have a Christmas release and a pre-summer tour.

But I'm going to do a small tour before I do the record, just to break the material in, let it sweat a little. Right now, we're doing just demos, but all things considered, they're really good-sounding demos. The band sounds great; I haven't been in a band like this since Guns started.


The other members of the band at this time were drummer Matt Laug and and bassist Johnny Griparik [Guitar, September 1998].

Then, in late November 1998, Slash debuted his new band, including the new singer Rod Jackson, at the club the Barfly in Hollywood [MTV News, December 2, 1998]. The new record was expected to be out by the summer of 1999 [MTV News, December 2, 1998].

Talking about the new band and record:

The band is still hard rock band. The music is the kind of stuff that I've always played and always want to do. We wrote about 50 songs, and we've been picking out the 12 that we are going to be on the record. It's been an interesting process. I've been writing with different guys, so some of the songs are really heavy-heavier than anything Guns ever did. Some songs are more pop. There are a lot of different influences because I'm working with a lot of different individuals. Everybody meshes really well and the chemistry is great. We all get along-everybody is humble and appreciate everyone else's input.

I'm going with my gut feeling. Everybody is confused right now, but I think people are really hungry for a good hard rock record and we're one of the only hard rock bands who are about to put out a new record. Plus, the reaction has been great when we've played the new songs live. As far as I am concerned, a record shouldn't be recorded until the songs have come together through being played live. Songs develop so much better after you've played them in front of an audience. The songs really kick ass, which is what a hard rock song is supposed to do. But you can't think about these things too much. Rock and roll is best when you recognize it for what it is and you don't try to make it into something that it shouldn't be.


In February 1999, it would be reported Snakepit was without a record contract [Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1999]. In December the name of the album was revealed as "Ain't Life Grand!" and that it would be released on February 22, 2000, on Geffen/Interscope [MTV News, December 15, 1999]. In March 2000, Slash would say he had broken ties with Geffen/Interscope and would release the record on another label [knac.com, March 7, 2000]. That label was later confirmed to be Koch Records and the release was scheduled for September 2000 [Billboard, June 30, 2000], then delayed to October 10, 2000 [Los Angeles Times, July 16, 2000]. In July 2000, it would also be reported that Slash's Snakepit would open for AC/DC's US tour from August 1 to September 23, 2000 [MTV News, July 14, 2000]. To be accepted on the tour with AC/DC, Angus and Malcolm Young had to approve of Snakepit's new record [The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, August 23, 2000].

The producer of the record, Jack Douglas, would describe working with Slash:

Great guitarist, total pro and really great to work with. Slash was really computer un-friendly at first, but after a while, I couldn't peel him away from the screen when we were tracking he'd ask, "Have we totally loaded the disc drive, is it backed up yet?" But deep down, he liked the good old stuff, so we cut with the best set up, 16-inch, two-track tape.
KNAC.COM, February 28, 2000


While recording Slash would have to work with ProTools:

I had this thing on a song called "Speed Parade" where I wanted a car sound on it. So where do you go and find a car sound? For me, it's go to the video store, pick out a Clint Eastwood movie and just loop or dub it in there somehow.

And they said, "No, they have these books of nothing but sound effects." ... So it took a while to find it, and the way they applied it was using ProTools. Once I saw that I would just sit behind the computer, I couldn't stand to look at it. It was just so f---ing tedious. That was my first--and pretty much last--introduction to ProTools. [laughs]


Going on tour and opening for AC/DC:

I can't wait, are you kidding me? Just getting (our new) record done and having it come out, but then getting the chance to play with AC/DC, that's like one of my all-time favorite bands, so I'm really excited about it. I'm totally star-struck by this thing. I've seen them a million times, but I've never played with them. I've never even met them actually.

Opening for AC/DC constitutes the fulfillment of a dream. We had signed for a deal with Koch, had finally managed to agree on a release date (our album was originally supposed to come out in February), and we were all eagerly waiting for a tour to begin. First, I split with all my former business relationships: manager, lawyer, agent, etc… I detached myself from all the people I had been working with for years, in order to definitely sever the bond I had to Guns N’ Roses. I didn’t want to work with people who would have an idea at the back of their mind. That’s why I hired new employees and the first thing I asked them was to create a concert schedule. Shortly after, our agent gave me the list of bands who had planned to tour in the States this summer, and I was almost petrified when I noticed the name AC/DC. I sent our album to their management and they liked it, so they proposed the opening slot to us. It’s amazing! In Snakepit, we all practiced on AC/DC’s songs when we were starting to play!
Hard Rock (France), October 2000; translated from French


For the touring in support of the record, Snakepit would play two Guns N' Roses covers, 'It's So Easy' and 'Mr. Brownstone' [Toronto Sun, August 14, 2000].



Slash's Snakepit



In May 2001 Slash would talk about his next record:

The new songs are kind of similar to the ones on Ain't Life Grand, but they're newer, so they're different. The next record will be an evolution, hopefully, but it will still totally be the kind of bluesy, ballsy rock I love.


Sometime in 2001 a fan would also ask Slash why there was little publicity for Snakepit and Slash would blame that on the label:

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


Discussing fans who only wanted Guns N' Roses merch signed:

I sign the Guns N’ Roses stuff. The other guys sort of, you know, they go, “I wasn’t in that band.” The coolest thing to do as far as just good etiquette is concerned is, you know, whatever Guns stuff you have it’s cool and I’ll sign it, but always bring a Snakepit thing with you, so that the whole band can sign that. It means you have actually bought a Snakepit record. To anybody who goes, “Well, I didn’t buy a Snakepit record”: they have them at the record store (laughs).


Discussing how Snakepit came to be:

[...] I thought that I'd like to be doing new, original material. So Johnny and myself started getting it together to look for another guitar player to see if we could start a band. Slowly but surely, we started to piece the band together. I met Ryan Roxie when I was doing events with Alice Cooper. I thought he was a great guitar player, so I talked to him about it and he came into the picture. I met Matt Laug jamming in a club and me and Johnny thought he was a great drummer, so we talked to him and we got him into it. The only person we had to find to complete the picture was a singer. That was the hard part. We auditioned some 200 singers. Johnny actually knew this one guy with the most amazing voice. After 200 singers, he goes "let me borrow that audition tape you've got", which had some instrumental stuff that the band had recorded, and he gave it to Rod to put a vocal on. Johnny gave me the tape back and said "listen to this. See what you think". I was just blown away. I was like, this is the shit! This is the guy! So, we called Rod up, he came down and we started working together. We came up with a song called Been There Lately, which is a song about a certain time and place where we should have known each other. We all used to live in the same place called Hollywood Billiards. The only thing that separated us is just different times that we all lived there, but we had mutual friends and all that kind of shit. That was kind of a bonding period...that song. That was where we started and it just kind of went from there.


In the quote above, Slash doesn't mention the first lineup and record at all. When the interviewer asked about the first lineup, Slash responded:

It was a completely different set of guys. It just goes to show how sensitive that line is, how tiny that margin is from one group to the next. [...] That was just a bunch of friends of mine, all sort of putting their two cents in on material that I was working on. Some of the guys had some material and I had a studio called Snakepit Studios...that's where the name Snakepit started...so, it was basically a glorified demo tape. I just kept pushing it one step further by making an album out of it and then going out on the road with it, which was at the time a huge eye-opener for me because I had been in the Guns N Roses umbrella for so long that to break away from that and be able to go do something else, I had a real good time at rediscovering why I do what I do for a living. It was almost as if it were meant to happen. So, once that was over with, I went back to my former band and that didn't work out so, I did a whole bunch of different stuff until this ended up happening. To make a short story long (laughs).


In early 2002, it would be reported that Slash had disbanded Snakepit and was without management and label [CDNow/Allstar, January 8, 2002].

It was more of a selfish thing to go back into doing dates in clubs. It was just something I had to get out of my system. If I tried to verbalise what that was, I don’t think I could. I was just seeing if this thing was the same as it was in my mind. It had been so long since I’d done it with a band - and I’d had all the jets and the stadiums and all that with Guns. It was about doing something raw, about keeping that feeling alive. And it was... it was all that. Then it was time to clean up some legalities that were hanging on and to put the band to rest. Making everything right on that score.

There’s no need to reinvent things any more. You can’t reinvent the start of Guns or Snakepit. This was my little thing, and it was a blast, seeing all these guys kind of doing it for the first time, but I was kind of carrying everybody [in Snakepit] through that.

With the first album [1995’s ‘It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere’], I’ve got such a short attention span and I get so impatient, I just got it out there. It was never intended to be a new band with a new album. Then with the second one I got screwed up with the legalities. I left Guns, I left my management, I had record companies screwing me left and right... Geffen, Interscope... It has changed me. I’m more guarded now. It’s a learning experience. I wouldn't do it the same way again. I’m more defensive. When I pick up the phone now, if it’s someone I don’t know, I’m like: ‘Who the fuck are you?’


Later he would be critical of the last incarnation of Snakepit and his own drinking during the period:

The last incarnation of Snakepit was just a huge mess; as much as I liked it, I was all fucked up - I almost killed myself drinking too much - and I had a lot going on. And I did this record [2000's Ain't Life Grand] with a bunch of guys who'd never been around the block before. For me, it was like revisiting what it was like to go out and start your first band; for them, it was their first band! One was strung out, blah blah blahs; we were always getting guys out of jail for stupid shit [laughs]. It had its moments, but it was like, John Lennon had his lost fuckin' summer, right? For me, it was like my lost four or five years!

Well, it was just difficult, you know, it was just difficult. I mean I didn't realize how much experience I got over the years and how much. How professionalism really makes it a lot easier in this business. Everybody in the band has to have the same amount of experience. We can't have one guy that's been doin' it for a long time and a bunch of kids cos it just... (laughs). All have to have the same level of experience. And I remember when GN'R first started it was totally crazy, we were all basically on the same level. So we could all deal with each other. being insane. But if I been, you know, 35 or somethin' in GN'R and everybody else was 19 (laughs) it would drove me nuts. So that's what Snakepit II was like. But we managed to get the job done and do all the dates and all that kinda stuff but after that it was over, I was like: OK, I need to. need to regroup to basically figure out what I'm gonna do. And what I did after that was I started putting together another band before VR just came out of nowhere, so I was already planning on doing that whole Snakepit thing again (laughs). So the whole VR thing came out of nowhere.

And to be honest: that was one of the worst parts of my life. Cause when I left Guns N' Roses, it took very long before I even knew again what I really wanted. That was simply because I had so much political shit going on, it wasn't funny anymore. And while I knew deep inside that I did the right thing, everyone was giving me the feeling that I had gone totally crazy. Even worse: really everyone tried to take advantage of me. I had problems with my management and my lawyers, and everyone tried to make a profit out of my situation. It was a really horrible time. That I landed at Koch Records was simply the result of me running away from the whole Geffen / Interscope record label machine, which I didn't want to do any business with anymore. I recorded the album at my home studio and was very happy with it - also with the band. But the rest, the whole business part of the deal, was a nightmare. Especially when Koch didn't do any promotion for the album. I went on tour, played in some town, and it appeared to me as a Spinal Tap-movie: I did signing sessions in record stores that didn't even carry the CD. And the kids who did have the album, had to order them on the internet, cause it wasn't available anywhere else. That was crazy. You're playing sold out shows, and no one knows your record.

[...] the shows were all we had. There was no other support from the label. Of course it was fun to be one of few bands who managed to open for AC/DC and not be boo-ed off the stage. That was really cool. But there wasn't even something like a break in the tour schedule - and the point was to play some club shows in a row - when I got sick and even had to go to the hospital. From there I had to cancel the second half of the AC/DC tour. And when I was finally ready again to start anew and put a new band and crew together, I ended up with a bus filled with fucking little cowboys who wanted to do the whole 'Rockstar' circus - they basically wanted to be more wild than they expected me to be. And that's something you have in you - or not. But you don't fake it. It's something that's forced upon you and it's guaranteed to cause trouble. And that's what happened. Two of them did the whole circus every night and created a big chaos. I tolerated it at that point, but for myself I closed the door for it very quickly. After the last show in San Francisco I went straight to the airport and I've never talked to them since. I was so powerless, empty and frustrated. I knew at once how lonely you can be in this business, no matter how successful you once were.


Around the same time an interviewer would refer to Snakepit as a "big flop" (translated from French), prompting Slash to respond:

You're too harsh. The first album did pretty well. And I really enjoyed it because I had to get out of the Guns N' Roses machine. I was still part of Gn'R, but I needed to breathe. On the other hand, I agree, the failure of the second Snakepit when I was no longer in Guns N' Roses was very hard to live with. I was besieged by all these people who saw this record as a stand-in for Gn'R, a way for me to capitalize on the band's demise. I found myself with a billion so-called managers trying to tell me what to do. Shit, it was just a fucking rock n' roll record and everyone was looking at it as the eighth wonder of the world! I really wasn't ready for this onslaught of corporate roaches! But that experience was a good thing for me: Geffen, my record label, was about to be bought out by Interscope on the back of Gn'R, which I was no longer a part of, and the industry wanted to grab Slash the [rock 'n' roll] monster, while in my mind I was still the same little guitar player I'd been fifteen years ago. The second Snakepit album is an album that I enjoy, it's a learning experience from a business perspective. I have no regrets other than having all these sharks around me. I'm much better now as far as business is concerned.
Rock Hard France, March 2004; translated from French
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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 Tue Apr 09, 2024 10:29 am

1999-2010
SLASH'S THOUGHTS ON REUNITING WITH AXL IN GUNS N' ROSES

1997/1998? - SLASH RETURNED BRIEFLY?

As previously discussed, initially Slash considered the breakup between him and Axl to possibly only be temporarily. And interestingly, in late 2000 Slash indicated he had briefly returned to the band 2-3 years ago:

I went back two or three years ago. They called me up, but nothing much had really changed. No one knew what was going on...



1999-2003: SLASH IS OPEN TO IT UNDER SPECIFIC CONDITIONS

And in early 1999, Slash would again reiterate that he could join Guns N' Roses again if Axl would just ask him [Sonic Net, February 1, 1999]:

If Axl was to break down and finally realize what the meat and potatoes of Guns N' Roses always has been, I'm only a phone call away.

When Axl’s head is together and he decides to put the band together, I’ll be around. It’ll be a lot more fun then.

I still play with Duff, with Matt, and with Izzy from time to time. I keep in touch with pretty much everybody. And I don't want to say that I don't miss working with Axl. I just miss working with him under the circumstances that I would consider optimum.

Basically, there’s been so many offers to do gigs that I would have done, but it’s just when he decides to either finish his version of Guns N’ Roses at this point, because there’s not any members of Guns N’ Roses in the band. [...] but him. He needs to finish that, because, I mean, we’re all sitting back going, “So what was it that you broke the real band up for?”

(Laughs) I am always asked this question. In the short term, the answer is no. In the long run, it would take a crystal ball! I want to play rock 'n' roll, and that’s not what Axl wants currently. He and I have nothing in common today, musically.
hard Rock (France), 2000; translated from French

I can say that, because that's easier said than done. In order to get an original Guns N' Roses band together, it'd be almost impossible. But, if the situation happened to arise where we all just happened to magically come to a meeting of the minds and just wanted to do a show, or two shows, or something like that...But doing a record, I'm not going to drop what I'm doing now, it's been too f--king long. I had too much of a bad time with Guns at the tail end, anyway. We had offers to do so many shows that kids missed out on--we didn't do them because Axl didn't want to do them.


And Slash would say he was open to a one-off but claim that Axl would never do it:

We broke up, period. It's different story if we agreed to reform for only one show in the future, but we will need huge effort to make it happen. There is a chance if it happens like that. That's OK with me if that will be next week. I don't care about the timing, because those shitty things fucked up us. And it has to be original members. But I think AXL would rather shoot himself than reforming with original members. He has hatred to ex-members. I hope he wakes up and smell the roses. Even if he wakes up, he needs huge change to make me and other members understand.
BURRN! Magazine, 1999; translated from Japanese


In July 2000, Slash would be asked if he would be willing to play on one song on Chinese Democracy and not rule it out:

I doubt it. (tension and not having a clear picture of the overall kind of music the band is working in. Snakepit is busy right now.).


And respond to rumours about the Appetite lineup being back together and secretly working on a new album:

Guns N' Roses has ended. The rumors you hear about the band getting back together are just rumors. There is no official truth to a new GNR album being made. While some of us are willing to get back together for a show or short tour, not all of us are. So it won't happen without all of us. Even a show does not look very likely right now


They had already been offered millions to reunite:

If someone comes up to me and asks me if GN’R is going to get back together, I say that if it was the original band and if everybody could straighten their heads out enough to be in the same room to do it, then I would do one show if the situation was right. We’ve been offered millions of dollars to re-group. Originally, I thought, ‘Shit! A couple of days of rehearsal and then go out and play in front of a really excited, enthusiastic audience? Might be fun.' But when we recorded a Stones song (Sympathy for the devil for the Interview with a vampire soundtrack), Axl didn’t even show up. So everybody lost interest. If it was the original band, and Steven Adler could get his shit back together, which I know he’s been trying to do since time began, since I still talk to him all the time. But, the chances of that happening are pretty much nil.

I wouldn’t quit what I’m doing now to go back to Guns for any amount of money. It’s not about the money.

We've had so many offers to do gigs, and none of us has done it for the money. But if the band wanted to get together and go, 'You know what? Let's just hash it out for a second and then see where that takes us,' I would go and do a show. F--k, yeah. I mean, what would it take to go into three, four, six, 12 hours of rehearsal for one, two, three, four, five shows with Guns, with guys I f--king basically lived with for God knows how long. I would do it in a heartbeat. […] The underlying thing is that we have to be straight [with each other]. That's the only reason why we did it in the first place--we were clear on why we were doing it.

I would come for a reunion of GNR if it were the original band.

I don’t see it in the foreseeable future.

[Being asked about working with Axl again]: Probably not.

You know what? Everybody keeps talking about it. Chances are, I don't see it in the foreseeable future (laughs). There's too much bullshit. I mean if somebody goes, “Hey, you know what? There's a weekend here, or a weekend there. You guys want to all get together and fucking go and do these two shows here at such and such a place or whatever”, I'd be like, well, first things first. It's got to be the original band and then you've got to get us all into one room and, schedules permitting, I have no fucking intention of slowing down what I'm doing with Snakepit. I'm saying that, but, more so than anything, I think the person that would rather not have that happen would be Axl. That's the whole reason this all started in the first place.

For the fans and for the excitement of the whole thing, if it was the original band and we all had some sort of meeting of the minds and we were going to do one show and schedules permitting . . . you know, I’ll be around. It’s not like I’m going anywhere. But I don’t have time to wait around for it for any reason other than just doing it for fun.

[Being asked if all it would take was a phone call]: I can say that, because that's easier said then done. In order to get an original Guns N' Roses band together, it'd be almost impossible. But, if the situation happened to arise where we all just happened to magically come to a meeting of the minds and just wanted to do a show, or two shows, or something like that… But doing a record, I'm not going to do drop what I'm doing now, it's been too fucking long. I had too much of a bad time with Guns at the tail end, anyway. We had offers to do so many shows that kids missed out on, we didn't do them because Axl didn't want to do them.

A reunion? I wouldn't do a Guns gig unless the entire original lineup was there and it would be one show -- yeah, cool. Reunion gigs are... What's the word I'm looking for? Uh, it's cliché. For me to quit anything is a big thing in and of itself. So when I quit, I quit. As far as I'm concerned, I quit when it was still cool -- [with] still some semblance of cool left. I did what I had to do. We just went in different directions.

It would probably take a couple of months of psychotherapy just to get us into a room together. [...] No, actually it’s not on a bad note. We just don’t seem to agree on anything. It’s simple as that.

Um, not in the foreseeable future. I don’t think anybody in the band is really interested, except if Axl’s doing it, you know? But I just saw Izzy, and I just saw Duff, and I just saw Steven. And it was like, we all had to, like, just move on. It wasn’t a matter of, “Oh, come on man, let’s get the Guns N’ Roses thing back together.” It’s not even really an issue. When I quit, which is hard for me to quit anything - when I quit I wasn’t kidding, so it was five years ago and it’s like... anyhow. I hate being reminded about it, because (?) I don’t know what to tell you, I left.

If I was still in that band I'd be dead by now. I couldn't handle the no activity... whatever it is that is going on that takes this long, I couldn't handle. I'm way too hyper - got to go out and rock, got to do something. […] One of the reasons I left was because it wasn't the same band as I got into. I might get a sort of twinge of passion if the band was playing something I used to love to play, that's human. But the whole essence of what Guns is about and the whole reason for getting onstage together - the camaraderie, that gang like mentality that makes a band is so gone that I don't see myself going 'Wow - I miss this'. There's not one other fucker in the band I even know.

Nah... I mean, in the foreseeable future, no. Cuz it’s been so long since that was even really a concept. And I see all the other guys in the band all the time. I haven’t seen Axl, but I’ve seen Izzy, and Duff, and Matt, and Steven...

Listen, anything you can imagine, it’s already come up, OK? Three years ago, while we were sitting round trying to make a connection, there were offers to do things for incredible amounts of money. I mean, so much money where anybody would have taken them on.

Or you’d get that thing: why don’t we just play some clubs? And you know me, I’ll try anything. But from an emotional level, we just weren’t ever coming down on the right page.

[...]

That was three years ago. At this point, not for any amount of money, man. I love what I'm doing now. And I want to keep it grounded, with other guys who know me from my bullshit.

It would be fun on a weekend, maybe. But it would have to be the original band. But it's not gonna happen. Axl and I haven't talked for five years. I avoid the whole thing now. I don't want that huge low, where nobody is doing anything, it's one of the major dangers for me.

[...]

We get an offer to do Guns all the time. But who wants to do one of those 10-minute rehearsal things? It would be like when Page and Plant did that Zeppelin gig on TV [the infamously untogether Atlantic Records anniversary show in 1990]. It could all go... blah.

It’s like [a reunion of GN’R] wouldn’t happen. If it were going to happen it would be for a second, just so that the guys -- all sort of being more or less still friends -- could go "Hey! Hi!" and then play like a song. But it’s so not that. […] The thing is, when it ended, it was a series of events that made it end. When I got out of it I was just like, okay that’s a chapter done! I can’t foresee it all coming back together and being what it once was. That’s my whole attitude.

When I split, it was like getting divorced. It was like, OK — that's over. It was never even a consideration. The only regret I have with GNR is that there were a lot of kids sitting around going what the fuck happened? I can't see it ever coming back. Nobody's that interested.

Without a couple of years of psychotherapy, I don't see it coming. It's been six years for me, and longer for others. Izzy -- I won't even bring Izzy into the whole thing (laughs).

I should never say never. But it would take a few solid months of psychotherapy just to be even able to do an impromptu jam. I'm good friends with all the guys in the band, and I keep in touch with them regularly. But when I was forced to quit that band, it was like a divorce. I haven't talked to (lead singer) Axl (Rose) in six years.

[Being asked if he thinks he will ever play with Axl again]: Is this a Guns N’ Roses interview, or is this a Snakepit interview? […] I’ve answered that question a million times. I don’t have any foreseeable plans to work with Guns N’ Roses again. And that’s not just me talking; that’s everyone in the band talking. That’s the bottom line.

Now, I would never say never. If I got a phone call and they told me all the original members were going to cut one song, and everyone else had agreed to that and I was the last guy who needed to answer, I’d say, ‘OK, but what’s the real deal? Because I’m not gonna quit my (expletive) day job.’ And it would have to be all the original guys, and it would have to be really short term. But I wouldn’t want to make a terrible Guns N’ Roses album, and that’s where we were headed. To me, that would have been a lot worse than the fact that we broke up.

I don't like to talk about Guns in a bad way. I'm sorry it's not still there. We could have tweaked around the edges and tried to make it work, but we'd have spent 24 hours a day, seven days a week doing only that. [...] Without a couple of years of serious psychotherapy, I don't see it coming [laughs].

Well, that's the question everybody asks. I suppose if it were one show or one project, maybe. But it's hard to say. I'm happy right where I am.

It's not really one of those things....I'm the kind of person that says "never say never". I don't see it in the foreseeable future, but all the guys as individuals, myself included, there's just no real interest in going that route. If it was the original band and we were going to do one song, that's a possibility I suppose. If I told you no, it'll never happen, then something would happen (laughs).

Well, this is my answer for that: if he all of a sudden... First things first. He’s got to get this Guns N’ Roses record. It’s been six years since I quit. If I’d never quit, I’d be pushing daisies right now. I mean, I just can’t handle not working for that long amount of period of time, whatever you want to call it. But if I was to get a phone call going, you know, “Axl wants to make a record,” I’d be like, “You get all the original guys together and then we go through six or seven months of therapy [laughter] and get rid of all this baggage, not to mention get rid of the whole Guns N’ Roses sort of business entourage that’s so screwed up. Then it’s possible, let’s maybe do a song for a movie or something like that. […] And there just got to a point where there’d be like, we get huge dollar amount offers to do one show in Budapest or something like that...


Jack Douglas, Slash's producer on 'Ain't Life Grand', would also comment:

Enormous pressure, like 100 million dollars worth. And [Slash is] not against it, if Axl goes back to being the Axl that he loves.
KNAC.COM, February 28, 2000


In late 2001 Slash would try to attend a Guns N' Roses show and say he would be happy to play a song with the new band [see later section]. This happened around the same time it would be reported that Slash had disbanded Snakepit, and it is hard to not interpret this as Slash making a move to possibly reunite with Axl.

In mid-2002 Slash would again reiterate that he would do it with the original band:

I have no regrets about anything. If all the original members wanted to do it again, I'd do it.



2003-2005: VELVET REVOLVER IS HAPPENING, SLASH CLOSES THE DOOR TO A REUNION

With Velvet Revolver becoming a reality and Axl having moved on with his new version of Guns N' Roses, Slash closed the door to reuniting:

There will never come a time when we all get together and play under the name Guns ‘N Roses because it’s too f—ing tainted. If he’d done the solo thing, then we could have gotten together and jammed for one show. Now it’s like, over with. He screwed that up.

To be honest, I don't [think GN'R will reunite], but I'd be and idiot if I said that it'll never happen, because if it ever happens I'll be seen as an idiot. But it is not something in which I pay much attention to at the moment, I'm very busy with Velvet Revolver and I hope this keeps me busy for a long time. Besides, I don't think Axl will ever change his attitude, so I don't know. One of the reasons why I left the band was because it had become a weightload more than something I enjoyed.

I don’t think that’s ever been for me to say. That’s a question that should be directed at Axl. I haven’t even spoken to him in about eight years, so I have no idea where his head is at right now. All I know is that I’m very excited about Velvet Revolver, and that’s where my total focus is at the moment. It’s gonna have to be something very special for me to change that focus - even for a short while.

I haven't talked to him since I quit. I don't really see a reunion happening. The things that are keeping us apart are so much tougher than money. [...] But now ]Axl]'s dragged [the name] through the mud so much that even if he said, 'Look guys, I've been to therapy and I'm a better person now, let's get back together and do a show,' we'd all be like, we don't want to be in that band. [...] No amount of money will make that happen. It's a relationship that's too human, too delicate and too volatile to have money manipulate it. There was a period where people said, 'Why not do one show?' And I'd say, when you get him straightened out, then we can talk about doing a show, but right now it's just not my priority. I'm not really waiting around for Axl to get his head together.

I don’t think it’s an issue between – I don’t think Axl would do it. I know we wouldn’t do it. [...] The money’s been unreal.

Basically, it’s not something that’s going to happen. If Axl wanted that to happen, there’s no way I’d respond in a positive way. We’re in for the long haul with Velvet Revolver. I’m happy, man. I have everything I need. Why would I need GN’R back in my life? I don’t need the grief.

No matter how much money they stick in our face, there’s no reason for us to get together to do anything, unless we have some sort of mutual understanding or respect, and we’re way, way far from that (laughs). So I don’t see it any time in the foreseeable future.

But now [Axl]'s dragged [the band name] through so much mud that even if he said "Look, guys. I've been in therapy and I'm a better person. Let's reunite and do a gig", we would never want to be in that band again. It is completely destroyed.
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

[Talking about what it would take to reunite:] I probably have to stop talking shit about him (laughs). I'm not thinking about it anymore. It's not on my list. I know it's on many other people's lists, not least for financial reasons. [...] Everybody could need that much money. But it is not the money that decides. It is a relationship that is far too human, too delicate and too sensitive for it to be manipulated by money. [...] if you fix him, if you get him on the right keel, make him behave ... Then we can talk about ONE gig. At least that's how I felt before. But now, after Velvet got started ... It simply does not exist in my sphere of mind anymore. I'm not waiting any longer for Axl to capture his senses.
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

The thing is, Axl’s never going to ring me (laughs). You think that’s a shame? You know, it seems like all of a sudden the falling out happened, but we started having a really fucking hard time of it after the Appetite For Destruction tour was over and we started to regroup to make another record.

Axl established in his mind a certain kind of… what’s the best word for it? ...he established a distance from the bare bones, blue-collar guys that everybody else was. He’d become some other entity and we could never bring him back to earth and it just became such a difficult thing that the whole making of that record and the whole fucking tour was just such a chore. We made the best of it, but it got to the point where it was just too fucking far gone to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

There’s no part of me that wishes that the original Guns N’ Roses could or would reform but I can say that the original GN’R line-up was probably one of the best rock ’n’ roll bands that’s come over the years. It was a classic fucking time.

When I left Guns I was very resentful about some of the shit that another human being put me through,. Then a few years later people were saying, 'Oh, they'll get back together, like Aerosmith'. But it wasn't like that. The animosity was such that he'd have to go back and really change, and make me think there was something redeemable - which I don't see happening.

There was also a point where the big money offers started coming in. And I was like, 'You know what? Go talk to him! He might care about the money but he's not going to right all of the wrongs he's done. He's not even going to admit it, so until that happens I don't care if someone puts six million dollars in front of me. You go talk to him'. And they all went over to Axl and never got any response and I was like, 'That's what I'm talking about!'.

And now we've got this going on and it feels better than anything I've done since the first two years of Guns, so it's not even a remote possibility any more.

Everybody asks me [about a reunion]. I left Guns N' Roses in '96, six years before this band started. And never in a million years gave that a thought. So at this point, it's almost insulting.



2005: GILBY SUGGESTS SLASH WANTS TO REUNITE

In June 2005, Gilby would suggest that Slash wasn't as into Velvet Revolver because he really wanted to be back in Guns N' Roses:

Well it's just...(laughing) ah man, well I get the feeling they aren't really into it.. like Slash and Duff, mostly Slash. I mean Slash is playing, but he's not really PLAYING. Listen to the record dude, is that really Slash? I just kind of feel at times his heart isn't really into what that band is doing, like he's going through the motions. Man I'm gonna get myself into trouble (Laughing)

Shit... (laughing). Look I'm sure if they could both sit down and talk and smooth things over it would happen, but the chances of that happening are slim and none, and slim just left the building. But yeah, I mean.. in the back of their minds they BOTH want to get the thing back together. See Axl and Slash hate each other, at the same time I think they know they... uhhh.....complete each other... wow that sounded lame, but yeah.



2006-2007: REUNION RUMOURS; THE DOOR IS AJAR

When asked about a reunion, Axl would imply it was unlikely but take the opportunity to say nice things about Slash:

I haven't spoken to Slash in ten years. I love the guy, I always wanted everyone to know how great he was, but.... I was just talking to Izzy the other day though.


But in 2009, Axl would state that he had been misquoted and that he had said he had "loved" Slash before:

No. I said "loved," as in past tense. It was a misquote by a writer I mistook as a fan.


In the first half of 2006 there was numerous rumours about Slash rejoining Guns N' Roses, with Slash having shown up at Axl's house in Malibu, Axl and Izzy hanging out, and Izzy allegedly checking out the state of Steven, and it is likely that Axl did look into the opportunity to do at least a few shows with a reunited lineup [see later chapter for more details and information].

In early 2007, with Velvet Revolver about to release their second album, Slash would talk about a reunion:

There’s no real easy, positive answer for all of it. There’s been a lot of negative stuff bandied around over the last ten years, but I’m way past saying anything negative. As far as the band ever getting back together, it’s so far-fetched. I think Izzy’s gone and jammed with them a couple of times, but I don’t think anyone has any interest.

I’ve obviously moved on and have a lot to do with Velvet Revolver, so that’s where my head is. Obviously it’s not an idea that I’m entertaining in any way, shape, or form at this point. I think the more time that passes, the less likely it will happen – and it was pretty unlikely five years ago.


But a few shows would be cool:

It's been 12 years now… 11 years… and it just doesn't seem like one of those things that any of us are really thinking about doing. And I'm not saying never. I would say it would be a good idea to get, just for a couple of shows, to get the original STP [Stone Temple Pilots, former band of Velvet Revolver singer Scott Weiland] and the original Guns N' Roses just to do a couple of shows for the fun of it.


In 2007 there would again be rumours about the band reuniting the following year (2008) but Slash would again deny this was happening:

I really seriously doubt it. A lot of people are living out some crazy fantasy. It's weird. There's never been one word spoken between he and I or our camps about that. Ever. It's a lot of people talking when there's no truth to it whatsoever.

I think it’s been harder for other people to leave the past in the past. It’s a normal thing; it’s like moving out of a house. There’s certain stuff that goes with you, but you are consciously making a move and you move on. It shouldn’t be more complicated than that, but I think there’s a certain kind of… With Guns N Roses there’s a phenomenon about it where people are so obsessed with what happened with it that they’re having a hard time letting that go.

And as prevalent as it is in the media and on the Internet and all that other kind of stuff, there hasn’t been any kind of discussion between the original members of getting that band back together.

You know, I can’t really tell what goes on in the future. I’m sort of more in the now. I’m not really dwelling on how that’s all gonna happen. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t… It’s been 11-12 years or something since I quit the band.

I always say ‘never say never’ but it’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future.


He would also be confronted with apparently going back and forth between saying there is a possibility for a reunion and saying there isn't:

Well, the thing is, you know, I try to be as positive – I’ I'm not necessarily trying to be optimistic about something that I don't think any of the guys in the band is thinking about. A reunion idea for doing a tour is a great idea, but if you can get everybody together in one room to do that with the right kind of spirit, you know, and without me and Axl having issues - then I never would have quit. So the concept of Guns playing together is as great now as it ever was. It's just the sort of difference of opinion about a lot of different things, and this and that and the other; and some of the other more private stuff is such that I don’t see it happening.


After Scott Weiland was to reunite with Stone Temple Pilots:

The relationship between Scott and his former band mates is much less controversial and a lot more amicable than those guys in Guns N' Roses. A Guns N' Roses tour like that would be fuckin fun. But I think whatever it would take for us to be able to do that, if everybody were in that frame of mind, we never would have broken up in the first place.


In mid-2008, a reunion was unlikely:

I don't think a Guns reunion is on the cards. That seems to be everybody else in this world's concern, but it's not mine. We've been offered millions of dollars to tour this whole time, but it's never been about money. (Brightens and changes tack) You know Duff and I were joking around the other day that we should do a Guns N' Roses/Stone Temple Pilots co-headliner. If it happens, it was my fucking idea, OK? It would be great for the fans, I think. There's a whole legion of kids out there that were too young to see us first time around.


Although it would be cool if done correctly:

And I would like those kids to see a decent version of Guns. If it was the original line-up it could be great. But I won’t do it if it's going to be Axl and his merry men going on-stage three hours late. Straighten that one out and then call me. No cancelled dates. No sitting in one airport in one city when you're supposed to be on-stage in another.



2008: WITH CHINESE DEMOCRACY BEING RELEASED AND VELVET REVOLVER ON HIATUS

You know what everybody asks the same question. But how the f*** would I know?



2009-2010: WITH HIS SOLO RECORD ABOUT TO BE RELEASED AND AFTER AXL'S ABRASIVE COMMENTS

I just feel for people that don't seem to get it. All things considered, it's been a really long time, and everybody's moved on.

At the same time I appreciate that I was part of a band that had such a huge impact and touched so many people, and I feel bad for them that it's not around - but it is what it is...

I think that's all gone by the wayside now. I am a pretty realistic kind of person, and don't expend energy worrying, "What if?" If I hear great music we did together, I respect it for what it was and appreciate it. But I'm not like everyone else around the band who wants to somehow try to recreate it because there's so much money to be made.


And after Axl had referred to Slash as a "cancer" and derided his playing after he left Guns N' Roses:

It’s never been a question. It’s never been a possible thing. It’s not just a question of 'Oh, can’t you just put aside your differences?’ Nobody gets it. And I can understand that - why would it be so hard to get a bunch of guys together and make tons of money and get them to play some fucking songs? What’s the big deal? Well, it’s a bigger deal for him than it is for me. But at the same time, it’s not possible. It just won’t happen.

Under different circumstances I’d be the first one to do it. But if that were the case I’d never have quit [GN’R] in the first place. Axl’s been spewing out all this vehement stuff against me, and he picked on a couple of other people and shit, and it's just like... It’s just sad.


And discussing whether questions about reuniting with Guns N' Roses had ended after he discussed the topic in his autobiography:

It slowed down considerably when I put the book out, yes. It really does spell it out. You'd have to be an idiot to not get it, but there's still obnoxious people who insist on perpetuating that myth. All things considered, I'm really flattered the band has this stigma, this ongoing mystique attached. I try not to get too agitated. There's this newer generation of Guns N' Roses fans who never saw the band - it'd almost be nice to get it together to do some shows for them, but it's just not logistically going to happen.


Later in May Slash would compare the situation in Velvet Revolver with Guns N' Roses, and refer to the latter as "fucking deep and nasty":

I still love the guy [=Scott Weiland] and there's not really any hard feelings about the whole thing. I even hung out with him recently. It's definitely not like the Guns N' Roses situation, which is f---ing deep and nasty, this is no big deal.


Angry Anderson from Rose Tattoo, who was friendly with both Axl and Slash, would talk about Axl and Slash reuniting and suggest how that could be achieved [Triple M, June 7, 2010]. Unfortunately, Anderson's thoughts on the matter have not been found, but we have Slash's respond to them:

He's got a valid point. But we just haven't talked, Axl and I, and no efforts have been made on either side to get that together. I figure, if something's supposed to happen it will and if it's not, it won't. [...] I appreciate Angry's take on it because he's a sensible guy. From his perspective getting back together seems reasonable. And he is friends with both of us. [But,] what it really needs is a lot of expensive therapy [laughing].


After Duff reconnected with Axl in October 2010, Slash was again asked about a reunion:

It's been a long time. So, all things considered, if he [Axl] really decided he wanted to do it and the other guys all wanted to do it... I mean, I know everybody's around, but there has been no conversation, like, 'Let's get the band back together.' If everybody wanted to do it and it was very clear amongst us, which means we would have to clean up some personal stuff, which we haven't even begun that. So then the biggest and most important part of it was... 'cause it seems like it would be a lot of fun to do, just go back out there, and it seems like a relatively simple idea and there's a ton of fans out there that would love to see it. It'd be cool. But we'd have to do things way differently than we did in '91, '92, '93 and whatever... And I don't think that's changeable. That whole production would have to tighten up and be like a real working band, and I don't think that's salvageable.


In early 2011, Slash was asked what he would do if Axl called your cell tomorrow morning and apologized for everything and promised to do whatever it takes to make a reunion work:

All things considered, that would be a call I would be surprised to get. If that really happened, I would have to clean out my junk drawer, too, but I don't see it happening. But if it did happen, I would do whatever it takes to at least have a conversation about 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 Tue Apr 09, 2024 7:19 pm

1996-2001
AXL AND SLASH

After Slash left Guns N' Roses a public spat between the two former friends would develop.

In Axl's first interview since Slash left in October 1996, Axl would criticize Slash:

I never said that I was bitter. Hurt, yeah. Disappointed. I mean, with Slash, I remember crying about all kinds of things in my life, but I had never felt hot, burning tears...hot, burning tears of anger. Basically, to me, it was because I am watching this guy and I don't understand it. Playing with everyone from Space Ghost to Michael Jackson. I don't get it. I wanted the world to love and respect him. I just watched him throw it away.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999


Slash would follow with by pointing out that they never had much of a personal relationship:

I haven’t spoken to Axl in almost five years, and I have no interest in talking to him. He wouldn’t talk to me. No big deal, it just would be a waste of time. ... If Axl and I hadn’t been in a band together., we'd never have been friends. ... With Axl — even though we looked like the two frontmen — we really didn’t have that much of a personal relationship.

[Being asked who he would eject from a Bond car]: There is one guy I'd like to eject. I can't tell you his name, but I think you know who it is.

Me and Axl never got along, but I never really disliked him. It was always the camaraderie of the band as a whole that kept us together.


And that Axl held sole responsibility for the dismantling of previous lineups:

[Axl would] systematically eliminate or alienate everyone so Guns N’ Roses wasn’t fun anymore. […] I’m a huge Axl Rose fan. I’d love to hear what it is that he decimated a band of that stature for. ... There has to be some sort of method to the madness.

What was the point? Realistically, you have a situation where it was all centered around one person, you're like going, 'What is it you want to do so bad that you forced everybody out like that?'

It’s disappointing. It’s a little bit… One of the few regrets I have in life is having a band get to a certain point and then having a fall apart. But it wasn’t necessarily my fault, you know? (laughs).

The most important thing to me are the fans that we’ve screwed over. And it’s not because of us, and we sort of go along with – you know, they look at all of us. When one guy screws everything up, it’s a whole band, you know? So I felt really bad leaving, because of the fans.


Being asked when thing fell apart between him and Axl:

It was before Guns even started! I mean, he’s a brilliant man. I’m a huge Axl fan, but he’s got one way of doing things which I just don’t understand.


Slash would also repeatedly take swipes at Axl when talking about his new bands:

The guys in the band are great—there are no rock stars. Everyone’s very levelheaded, we have the same aspirations. Everyone’s just so enthusiastic and moving in the same direction, including our singer, which I’m not used to.


Yet Slash would consistently compliment Axl as a musician:

You know what? Alright, okay, okay, okay. We’re not at war. It’s not like – I’m not, you know -. I’m the hugest Axl fan in the world, because the guy’s great. We don’t see eye-to-eye on stuff, but – […] he is great. He can sing and he’s a great performer.

Axl's brilliant. He's one of the overall best performer/singer/writer guys, in my book.

I think there are a lot of complicated issues with Axl. Axl is a fucking awesome guy -- awesome personality and talent. My big problem is I just wanna fucking jam, man. I wanna fuck around. I can't handle all this drama. And I don't want to go into all this really intricate stuff and spend six years doing it.


And defend Axl against other people:

It’s like, ‘Don’t talk [badly] about Guns or about Axel [sic] or about any of that stuff, because that’s where I come from.

I don't like people talking shit about Axl behind his back. He's still a brother. I stick up for him.


By the year 2000 it would be five years since Slash last talked to Axl [The Howard Stern Show, June 7, 2000]:

I just haven’t talked to Axel [sic]. I think the split-up between [us] was a little more bitter. But it wasn’t so much personal as it was a disassociation from what I thought he was doing and consequently what it was that I wanted to do. So we just parted ways and I haven’t talked to him since.


Slash would also continue to put the blame for the break-up squarely on Axl, and indicate that it was Axl who didn't want to continue with the band:

The only reason the band broke up was because it was not what (vocalist Axl Rose) wanted to do.


And he would put the blame on the riot in Montreal on Axl's shoulders:

It’s really one of the only regrets I have: any time fans have been disappointed. It’s not my fault, and it wasn’t a lot of other people’s fault.

I'm not going to name names, but there’s definitely somebody responsible for that.

All you have to do is walk up there and do your thing. It’s what you’re supposed to love more than anything else in the world, and it’s got to have a hitch in it.


At the time of these last two quotes, Slash allegedly was not allowed to name Axl in interviews:

Because of pending litigation in the Guns N’ Roses camp, Slash has been instructed not to make specific references to Rose during interviews.


Talking about whether he is at peace with Axl now:

I guess so. I haven't spoken to him since (laughs). I see Izzy and Duff and Steve Adler and Matt, those guys. I haven't talked to Axl for a long time. Five years ago.


In October 2000, NME would ask Slash about his "heroes and villains", and Slash would list Axl as a "villain":

He’s the closest person I’ve ever worked with that was as villainesque as they get. You know, in a sort of harmless kind of way, but not totally. All that is sort of self-explanatory as well. I definitely gotta put him on the list cos as much as I love the guy he’s definitely way up there. I don’t know how familiar you are with Guns history, but I quit the band five years ago and haven’t looked back since. Axl’s probably still in them, but I haven’t seen him. He’s just a really fucking huge mindfuck. He has a sweet side to him and a nasty side to him, if memory serves. He would be very, very violent and have very wicked thoughts and sore points.


A bit later he would discuss bumping into Axl at a club like the Cat Club:

When I got up [to play at the Cat Club] last Thursday, Gilby was there and I got up and played with him and Tracii Guns, Matt Sorum, Johnny, and Jim [Phantom] from the Stray Cats. I mean, Gilby sued us, it wasn’t as deep as what went down with Axl, but it was, like, a noted thing. But I still got up...

Had I been there the night Axl showed up though, I don’t know. It would have been interesting. One of us would have walked out or the heavens gates would have opened up.


Talking about singers in general:

Everybody is different. You have to have a disorder to sell your soul to rock ’n’ roll in the first place. To really be a dedicated entertainer 24-7, you’re already f- up. You have an ego problem or something. When you go out in front of an audience and want people to buy your records, something must be going on in your head. Singers have to go out there without having to hide behind the top hat and guitar, and they have to talk about s-they’re feeling. You couldn’t even get me to write a letter, let alone go out there and do that. Everyone has got their own dysfunctional reality, so it comes out in their public appearance. Hence, you’ve got a lot of whacked-out singers, but they’re all very sweet people. They’re just a little complicated.


In November he would say the fans got fucked over by the band's break-up and indicate that he was carrying the torch and playing the type of music that GN'R should be playing:

I think the only issue having to do with GN'R fans is all the fans that got fucked over because the band broke up -- and they didn't deserve all that. Under the circumstances, well, someone is out there fucking rocking. We do, more or less, what Guns... It's a sensitive issue. What Guns was best at -- hard rock and guitar playing -- that's what I do now. I don't wanna say anything bad about the other guys; they're doing their own thing. But as far as going out as hard rock band and doing it, we're the only ones that are doing it.


In December he would recount a warning he had received from his father when things got crazy in Guns N' Roses:

The other thing was my dad telling me, during the Guns crazy days, “Watch out, don’t let that guy take you down.”


At another time in 2000, Slash would call this the best advice he ever got:

"Don't go down with the ship". My dad gave me that.


In early 2001, Axl would claim that Slash had been fighting with Izzy over control of the band:

Everybody hated each other in the band, with the exception of me. Slash was fighting for power with (the guitarist) Izzy (Stradlin) because he wanted to take control of the band and destroy it.
O Globo, January 16, 2001; translated from Portuguese, possible paraphrased


And that Slash was all about negativity:

Nothing about happiness and love made sense to him. That was the reason why he hated "Sweet Child O' Mine". He only wanted to write songs about drugs and sadness.
O Globo, January 16, 2001; translated from Portuguese, possible paraphrased


Slash, on his side, would say that his problems with Axl started with the 'Sympathy for the Devil' recording in 1994:

It really started when we covered "Sympathy for the Devil" for the "Interview With a Vampire" movie. […] at least it'll bring the band back together, because we were going through another one of those periods when we weren't hanging out or talking. Sometimes it takes a particular vehicle to put a band back together. But then when we were recording that song, he never showed up! (laughs).


Beta Lebeis would say it started when Slash wanted the band to release the music he had written [and which ended up on the first Snakepit album] and that Slash didn't go to rehearsals:

The problem was that Slash, at that time, said he already had the new Guns N’ Roses album ready, which would be the next one, right? That "next" album was the one he would then release, which was terrible. Slash's last two records were terrible. Axl wanted to do something more advanced for the new generation. You can't stay on the same thing, like the same kind of music that he played 15 years ago. […] Slash wanted to keep doing the same thing. And then drugs was another reason. Axl could never count on Slash. For example, Slash didn’t go to the rehearsals, it wasn’t going well. The drummer was drunk. It didn't work.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese


Beta is likely pointing to the period 1994-1996 when she says that Slash didn't go to rehearsals, this was a time when Slash was more focused on Snakepit [see previous sections]. Whether she is conflating Steven's drug problems here or are suggesting Matt was always drunk, is unclear. It is also interesting that she claims Slash was suffering from a drug problem in this period, this is not likely and she could be thinking about the drug problems earlier in the band's history which caused a rift between Axl and Slash [see previous sections].

Being asked what he would say to Axl if they got trapped in an elevator:

We've been trapped in a room before and we really didn't have much to say to each other. But if it were to happen right now, I don't know what we would say. I would be pretty relaxed and just say, "hi" and just see what his reaction would be. Everything from there on would be up in the air. I don't know how it would go to be honest. […] My guess is the elevator would be very quiet. Then you would find us three or four hours later, sitting across from each other playing jacks.


In 2001 Slash would again talk more about his relationship with Axl:

I haven't talked to him since I left. So it's probably been 5 or 6 years. […] it's not [any ill feelings]. It's just, once that decision was made - where I finally decided that I was going to leave - I don't think either one of us really had much to talk about. It wasn't the most amicably split, but then again it wasn't fire and brimstone, either.


And in July 2001, Fernando Lebeis would discuss the relationship:

They haven't talked to each other for years. But it's a relationship in which people see Axl as the villain. If something went wrong, whose fault is it? If Slash does something, nobody even gets to know, like Snakepit, and what's so special about this album? It's not on any MTV charts, nobody buys it, but "Slash is the key of GNR," "GNR is Slash and Axl"... He was a good guitarist, but it's not like that, Axl doesn't have to be blamed for everything. Slash has used drugs and has been in the hospital because of an overdose, and that's no big deal, but if it was Axl... For example, one of these days I was home when I saw someone running in the garden. Axl's room is above mine, so I thought the person might have jumped through Axl's window and run. I went to his room and knocked the door but Axl was in the shower and didn't hear it, and I called the police. When they arrived, the paramedics came along and said they were here to help someone who OD'd. I never mentioned anything about an overdose, they just assumed the emergency was an overdose because it was Axl's house. Slash wanted to end Guns, take the band to clubs. Axl told him it wasn't possible, they couldn't play for 1000 people when they attracted crowds of 200,000. But if Axl had agreed with Slash, people would blame him for the failure of the idea.
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