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

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

Registering is free and easy.


2004.05.13 - KSHE 95 St. Louis - Interview with Slash and Duff

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2004.05.13 - KSHE 95 St. Louis - Interview with Slash and Duff Empty 2004.05.13 - KSHE 95 St. Louis - Interview with Slash and Duff

Post by Blackstar Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:17 am

Thanks to @Surge for sending us this interview!


Interviewer: Alright, so I’ve interviewed Slash probably like five times. And this was right at the beginning, actually the first ever big date for Velvet Revolver at the Pageant. I sat on a couch between Slash and Duff, and it was Duff’s first visit back to St. Louis since the riot. As you will hear in this interview, he was a little apprehensive, but he found out that the crowd just – they loved Duff, and Slash already knew that it was cool to come back to St. Louis. And, as far as rock stars go, there aren’t too many guys that are bigger than those guys, so it was pretty cool.

Interviewer: Hey, it’s Favazz. We are at the Pageant, backstage for the opening night of Velvet Revolver. And, hard to believe, I’m sitting in between two great rock guys, Slash and Duff McKagan. Guys, how are you?

Duff: That’s a nice way to put it. “Great rock guys,” yeah.

Interviewer: Slash, how are you?

Slash: I’m good. I’m good.

Interviewer: So the question I’ve been wanting to ask is why St. Louis. Why St. Louis to start this tour?

Slash: I don’t think it was a matter of really why. It just ended up like we’re going to start up here, and then we’re going to work our way this way and go down here, and this just seemed like the appropriate place to do it.

Duff: Yeah. Basically, when you book a club, it’s all logistics – book a tour, sorry. It’s all logistics and it’s where you can get in and what next city is close - it works - and I think it’s a little bit poignant that we are starting here. I haven’t been here-

Interviewer: I was gonna ask you now. Slash has been through with Snakepit a couple of times, but is this the first time since ’91?

Duff: Yeah, and at the hotel we’re staying at, I got up early today and I walked around the neighborhood quite a bit, and, you know, I was ducking my head at first.

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Duff: But you know what, people here are so gracious and nice, and I ended up talking to a lot of people. I put some guy who is doing construction on a house on the guest list tonight. Everybody who just came up to me was very, very nice. People pulled their cars over and stuff. It was cool.

Slash: There is a sense of irony that it just ended up here, because that was like, what a great place to start the Velvet Revolver tour. It wasn’t pre-planned, you know. It’s cool, because I’ve been here a couple of times and I know all the people – at least all the people that I’ve run into – and it seems that, as nice and as gracious as everybody is, because of that particular evening it’s one of the most famous events. And they’re actually happy that it happened, even though that particular night it was so out of hand and chaotic, and it was a flu. But I think it gave them all an excuse to finally be rude for once (laughs).


Interviewer: Can you believe that was, what, 13 years ago?

Duff: Was it really?

Interviewer: 1991.

Duff: Uh, I blacked out for a bunch of those years, so it only seems like it’s a few. Yeah, I know. You’re right, it was.

Interviewer: So, Velvet... I know you’ve told the story a million times, but just in a nutshell, how did you guys all come together?

Slash: Oh man, this is a long story. We came together really because a friend of ours died, Randy Castillo; he was a famous drummer for Ozzy, Lita Ford, a bunch of other metal bands and so on. And I happened to run into Matt one night. It was – I run into Matt at his funeral. So Matt and I talked about it, there was this benefit concert going on in a week’s time that was going to be for Randy, and everybody was gonna show up and jam. So he said, “Well, do you wanna play?” and I was like – you know me, it’s easy to get me to play. So I was like, “Yeah, let’s go and play; and how we’re gonna do it, we’ll put together a small set.” We called Duff up in Seattle and asked if he wanted to do it, and I knew a couple of guys from Buckcherry, and we put this quick little band together. We showed up at rehearsal, and just Duff and Matt and I had this chemistry, which is to be undeniable – you know, “fucking there’s no way,” we just saw it happen. We went and did the gig, and it just was a blow out thing, and we decided we were gonna do this, and...

Interviewer: How did you get Scott then?

Duff: One thing led to another. Well, first we got Dave – Kushner - and I want to say that Dave Kushner was a very integral part of this band. It’s hard to find a guy who can play and inspire Slash as another guitar player. Usually... it’s just tough. Slash is, as everybody knows, a very unique player, and to get another guy who can complement and play off of what he’s playing is extremely difficult, almost as hard as finding a singer. We got Dave in and then we kind of just – we didn’t know how to look for a singer, so we just went out like anybody else, you know, word of mouth, “Hey, we’ll find somebody.” Then it got into certain trades and radio stations, and we got literally over 1000 CDs or tapes or whatever of singers, and out of those we really auditioned maybe less than 20.

Interviewer: Really?

Duff: Yeah – and there wasn’t anybody there. Scott and I, our wives are friends, and Scott was still in Stone Temple Pilots, and the wives started to kind of collude on, and one thing led to another. Stone Temple Pilots broke up at the same time we had two movie soundtrack offers for the Hulk and...

Slash: Italian Job.

Duff: Italian Job, sorry. And [we asked] Scott, “Hey, do you want to come down and sing these songs?” He was like, “When, where? - I’ll be there in an hour,” because he had really been seeing what we were doing and then his band broke up, so it was kind of a no-brainer. And he came in and, you know, really the moment he walked in the room it was like... he wasn’t timid, he took the mic and kind of just swaggered, and his voice is perfect for this band. So that’s it.

Interviewer: So back – I know it was a long time ago when Guns started, but what’s the vibe about starting this band, the buzz that’s already out there compared to Guns?

Slash: Well the thing, the coolest thing is, that Duff was talking about a second ago, we started out the same way that we started out when we were 18. It was like, we had a whole garage band mentality. We all had sort of left this old career behind and as musicians we were just out there picking friends to play with us, picking situations where you could just go and jam with whoever, and it was really just very down to earth. So, as this band got together, it got together in a totally organic musician way, where just players get in together wanting to do the same kind of music, and that’s what inspired it. It wasn’t about anything else. So, basically, once the band – once we started writing songs and realized that we had the formula together, all the right five guys, then we went into it like any new band does. We just said, “What can we do next? Let’s make a record, let’s go,” and we were looking forward to getting to this point now where we’re doing tours and stuff. So, when you look back at the whole Guns N’ Roses hoopla that Duff and I went through, it’s pretty non-existent. You’re just proud of the legacy, but you’re starting out just as a completely new band. The vibe is great because people are into the idea of it; and now that they’ve heard a song, everybody is over the top. So, to make a short story long, that makes us just really thrilled from a level of not trying to have to prove ourselves from something else or from coming from somewhere, or anything like that. It’s just like, here were are, here’s the song; and if you like it, you like it, and if not, you don’t. So we just have to do it the way everybody else does it when they first start.

Interviewer: Now we’re talking to Slash and Duff from Velvet Revolver. What about all this FCC stuff that’s going on right now? I read that Scott was very upset that he’s been censored for the writing of this record. What’s going on? What’s your take?

Duff: It’s pretty ridiculous. I mean, it’s at a point... I mean, we ran across it with Guns a bit. But, like, there’s a line in Slither, “smell the poppies.”

Interviewer: That’s the one I read about.

Duff: And MTV wanted to change it. And, you know, “poppies”... whatever. I mean, he was using Wizard of Oz – you know, the poppy fields. My three-year-old daughter was rolling around on the grass emulating Dorothy, “I’m in the poppy field.” You know, it’s - whatever. You can take it any way you want. But it’s just a word and you can’t censor that, and... So he said, “Okay, how about ‘Smell the Nazis.’ How’s that?” and they said, “No, well, we prefer ‘poppies’.”

Interviewer: (Laughs) I mean, isn’t it just – this whole thing has just exploded.

Slash: It’s the one thing that is very reminiscent of the 80s, the early 80s, when Tipper Gore was around. So, we’re just sort of like, the one thing is we do everything on our own, we make our own decisions and we’re not gonna be dictated to as to how we do our stuff, you know? And so we stand on our own ground.

Duff: We do kind of have this very unique position to see that everything goes in cycles. It’s gonna turn like everything else does, you know? Like, in the same subject matter, now is a great time for this band apparently, because everybody wants to rock again. We didn’t plan it that way, we just came together because really a friend of ours died and that’s how we brought it together, one thing led to another and we have a record deal, and we’re out touring.

Slash: The important thing about that, though, is none of us as individuals have ever catered to the fickle market, so to speak, the ever-changing taste of - especially - the industry, the industry side of it. So it’s like, we’re just doing what it is that we love to do, and all of a sudden the tides change and now it happens to be popular again. So, the one thing I’m grateful for is that I never latched on to any bandwagon; I stuck true to who I am. So this band is perfect for us as individuals because this is us. It just happens to be in vogue right now, but if we’d ever change, it’d be sort of – it’d be... I don’t know what’s the best way to explain it – we’d feel like idiots if we’d all donned a bunch of different clothes and started trying to play different things, and it’s like, “Oh rock is back,” and I was like, “How would you explain that when ‘Oh well, I’m gonna go back to wearing my jeans and leather pants because it’s popular again’.” So we never had to do all that.

Interviewer: I had Joe Satriani in the studio with me yesterday, and he played and blew us all away, and I was asking about musicianship, and it just seems like a lot of the bands today – you know, there aren’t a lot of great players anymore, man; and you guys, all of you guys, are such great players. Is the day of the musician gone in rock for a little bit?

Duff: I think, again, it’s gonna be a cyclical thing. I think kids are listening to guitar players again and they’re gonna start playing like guitar players, you know? It’s all gonna – I don’t think it’s gone forever. No, there’s no way, because they’re still selling guitars and a kid is gonna start learning their scales and their... you know, whatever. And it’s going to, probably, go back to Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen thing or something, and then they’re gonna find Slash again, and then, you know, just go all the way around.

Interviewer: Do you feel this way?

Slash: Yeah, basically. I mean, the way I see it is that everybody’s been relying on trying to get away with it without learning how to play. When we started it was a try, and we were not the best players in the world, but we’d try. Then somehow some people got away with making a lot of records and making a lot of money without doing that at all. We sort of bring it back around to, like, okay, it’s not that complicated, it’s still four chords, but try and play them well, you know?

Interviewer: (Laughs) Very true so.

Duff: Yeah.

Interviewer: Was there any hesitation – I know you guys are friends with Scott and everything, but, you know, STP couldn’t tour a lot because of Scott’s problems and things like that. Was there any hesitation at all or were you worried about that at all?

Slash: No. When we first hooked up with Scott, the whole thing with Scott was, like, he needed some support from people. He really wanted to do this, but he just needed some friends to help him do it. So we went through a lot with Scott just to get us to the point where we were completely functional as a band. But because Scott came in, into this thing, and Scott needed us and we needed him, we were – you know, we’ve all been through it, so we just all bonded together and helped him get through it. And now his whole thing is he just wants to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band that is touring all the time and sort of dispel all this past. So it’s all good, you know - and it gives us a common bond, too.

Duff: The only real way we can dispel all that is just, really, at this point – it’s cliché, but let the music do the talking.

Interviewer: Well, Velvet Revolver, the record Contraband in stores June 8th, and tonight at the Pageant. It’s the most anticipated show of the year, I just feel it. So it’s great to be with Duff and Slash. Thanks guys.

Duff: Thank you very much.

Slash: Yeah, thank you.

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