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2004.07.DD - Q Magazine - Cash for Questions (Slash)

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2004.07.DD - Q Magazine - Cash for Questions (Slash) Empty 2004.07.DD - Q Magazine - Cash for Questions (Slash)

Post by Blackstar on Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:36 pm

Cash for Questions

How does the ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist feel when groupies rubbish his manhood? Or when his pet snakes try to eat his cat? And is there even the slightest chance of a reunion with Axl Rose? Good job Hampstead-born Slash hasn’t lost his British sense of humour…

It is just after 10 o’clock in the morning and, rather disappointingly, Slash has not been up all night. A pleasant dinner followed by quiet drinks with Ronnie Wood is a far cry from his old Guns N’ Roses diet of bourbon and hard drugs but, as the guitarist admits, he’s a little wiser now. His lifestyle might have changed, but as Slash stands in the lift of London’s swish Metropolitan hotel wearing cowboy boots, distressed leather trousers and, of course, sunglasses, his fellow guests are left in little doubt as to what this man does for a living.

Reunited with former bandmates bassist Michael “Duff” McKagan-sober since his daily two litres of vodka caused his pancreas to explode in 1994-and drummer Matt Sorum, Slash is preparing for the release of Contraband, the first album from his latest group, Velvet Revolver. Guitarist Dave Kushner and ex-Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland complete a line-up that rejoices in unalloyed rock. “I’m having a blast, just crazy fucking busy,” says Slash, fumbling with the first of many Marlboros. Hampstead’s unlikeliest son-his family relocated to Stoke-on-Trent before moving to Los Angeles-peers through his hair to ask what questions he’ll be facing today.

Well, some of them are quite cheeky.

“Quite cheeky! I like that”

I read an interview where you said you’d never go a bad blow job in Texas. Where’s the worst place for oral sex?

Probably in the hallway of a hotel… or Iowa.

What Guns N’ Roses video were you most dubious about doing?

November Rain. If not that, then Estranged. We got into doing these huge production videos and by November Rain it was too much, just too involved. At the end of the day it was a great video but that’s when I started realizing that it was getting out of hand. Was I ever worried about looking a bit silly? Well, yeah. For me personally, I like my own scene, so if we’re going to do this big whole thing I just want my part to be cool. In the video for Estranged, Axl and the director had come up with this one part where I come out of this fucking water and I’m just like, “I’m not doing it”. Of course Axl, as usual, threatened to quit if I didn’t do it, so I did it. Was my wedding anything like November Rain? No.

How much are your fingers insured for?

They’re not insured, as far as I know. My insurance just covers me as a person. What if I hurt my hand? Hey, don’t say that.

I hear Goran Ivanisevic is a big fan of yours. Do you like tennis?

Who is that? He sounds familiar. Oh yeah, I know the name. I watch tennis on TV. I’m compelled by sports in general, even golf, which I think is the most anti-rock’n’roll sport ever invented. Do I play any sports? No. I can’t really say that I actively do anything. I have a one-year-old son now, which means that every so often I get the shuddering thought that I might have to take him to a football game one day.

Have any of your snakes ever bitten you?

I got bitten on the face pretty good by a python. My old buddy Clyde, my anaconda that I had for years, had his moments when he’d get real moody and didn’t want to be fucked with so he gave me a couple of jabs that were pretty significant. Does it hurt? Yeah. I got rid of all my snakes when we had the baby. All my snakes were 10 foot and longer, so there came a point where…it was Murphy’s Law, like I almost lost a cat to a snake once. So as it got nearer to the birth I thought I’ve got to get rid of these. I gave them to all kinds of reputable people like the zoo, other snake collectors. Did I cry when I said goodbye to my snakes? No. It was heart-wrenching, but I didn’t cry.

What’s the secret to a happy marriage?

Sacrifice. When you get married, and especially when you have kids, you realize what a selfish motherfucker you’ve been all your life. It turns out that’s just the way you are. Lending an ear is usually the most important thing you can do, and spending time not thinking about yourself…and allowing them to go shopping. If I said I had it down I’d be lying, but I am aware of some of the rules.

In the Paradise City video you sign an autograph while taking a piss. Do you do this a lot?

It happens. Back then that was one of the first times something that left-field ever happened to me. I’ve gotten better at it now, I say, “Can you wait until I’m done?”

Are you still into guns?

I never was a really big gun freak. I think I went through a drug-induced paranoia stage at one point and had a lot of them, but I shot a hole in my ceiling one night and realized that guns aren’t for me. I could’ve killed someone. I still have some, but they’re collecting dust on a shelf somewhere.

Why did you name your son London?

My wife will tell you that it was because he was conceived here. Like Brooklyn Beckham? Yeah. Beckham’s got it tattooed on his back like I have London on my back the same way (stand and lifts up shirt to reveal large tattoo). Do I still consider myself British? Yeah. If you ask me where I’m from, I’m British. I like tea, I like pubs, and for the most part I like the genteel manner in which the English carry themselves.

A groupie website I saw rates you as “average in size and nothing to write home about”. Does that hurt your feelings?

No. I’m a little bit shocked that I made it onto a groupie website. I don’t think that would be… I’ve never been much of a groupie guy so I don’t know whether that would come from… (dismissively) average in size…whatever (laughs).

Apparently you like TV cookery shows. Are you a good cook?

I could cook, but I just don’t have the patience for it. Cookery shows are like AM radio background music-it’s something you have on, you can talk on the phone, play your guitar and you don’t have to follow the plot. What do I cook for my wife? Grilled cheese on toast.

Do you still have a GN’R pinball machines?

Yeah, it’s in storage. Last time I moved, my house was like a fucking arcade. That was 6 years ago, I guess. I was bouncing around from place to place so I just put everything in storage and when I finally settled down I just left it all there. One of these days, probably when London gets a bit older, I’ll pull all that shit out and he’ll have a field day. All of a sudden, sometime in the early ‘90s, I got really into pinball and came up with this idea to design a GN’R machine. There were only so many made. I think Axl bought 10 of them. I had 18 pinball machines, but I never got good at it.

Is working with Scott Weiland difficult for you as a former heroin addict?

That was a test for me to see how unaffected I am at this point by having that kind of thing around me. When Scott came into the band he was very open about his situation so we did whatever we could do to help him through it, because we’ve all been through it. Do I still do drugs? I’m no angel, I’ve tripped up over the years a few times. It was fun, and when it was really fun it was the best but after a while it becomes tedious and in recent memory I haven’t had a good high that was worth jumping off the wagon for. Coke? No. I always thought that was a lame drug anyway

If Axl rang and said, “I’m getting the band back together…”, what would you say?

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.

Do you own many records that aren’t guitar-based rock?

I have to say that the majority of the music that I have is guitar-based rock, but I have a lot of classical stuff, too. I love Erik Satie, that’s all piano.

Did you go out on the pull with Lenny Kravitz when you were working with him on his second album (1991’s Mama Said)?

Did I go into the pool? Oh, picking up girls. Actually no, Lenny and I just hung out. We attracted a lot of attention, but we didn’t actually go out looking for anything because he was going out with what’s her name… Lisa Bonet at the time, so he was very locked up. I do remember being in New York and having a lot of chicks hanging around looking on, but we didn’t do anything.

I’m trying to give up smoking. Any tips?

I just quit smoking for 8 months until I got here, so I was doing great. I went to a fucking hypnotist, and I didn’t go of my own accord-my wife talked me into it. We’d just had the baby and she said, “Every time I give you the baby he smells like cigarettes”. So she went with me and I sat and listened to this guy just verbally abusing the whole smoking concept, then he put me under for 15 minutes. I tried not smoking that whole day and it lasted 8 months. Now I’m back to a pack a day, so I don’t really have any tips, you know?

I know your mother made clothes for David Bowie. Have you ever employed a stylist?

I don’t want to make stylists look bad, but I hardly ever use them. They always come up with some shirt and go, “Hey, I think this looks great on you”. I’m like, “Fuck off”. There can be moments where you have to do a fucking video or something and you haven’t got any clothes you haven’t worn every day for the last two weeks…

Is Duff McKagan still “The King Of Beers”?

Duff McKagan is the king of health and fitness and fucking kick-boxing. He’s amazing healthy. He drinks Kaliber like it’s going out of style, God bless him. So he’s the King Of Non-Alcoholic Beers? Yeah.

Were you disappointed with the track listing for Guns N' Roses Greatest hits?

A little bit. More than anything, it’s like having your kids raised by somebody else because we didn’t have anything to do with it. Axl tried to stop the record coming out and we actually supported him - that’s the only time that we’ve ever agreed on anything in 10 years.

There’s all these fucking cover songs on there, which just seems kind of bland. What do I particularly object to? Sympathy For The Devil is worthy in my mind of being brought up because that’s when I knew I just couldn’t take it anymore. No matter how hard I tried to talk to him, Axl could never look me in the eye - he had this new guitar player that Axl was sort of forcing on us (Paul Huge), he went and put him on top of my playing so the two were going at the same time. I just fucking flipped.

Do you find it strange that Axl will have your face tattooed on his arm for his entire life?

I never thought about that. I mean if it’s worth mentioning, I’ve got tattoos of two of the bands I’ve been in and the first time we hit the road I’ll get a Velvet Revolver tattoo. It’s just something you do. It’s like a part of your life. So when he got the tattoo of all five of us, it was for the band. At this point in time, he’d better get over it.
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