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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

2005.01.15 - The Telegraph - Slash: Alive And Riffing

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2005.01.15 - The Telegraph - Slash: Alive And Riffing Empty 2005.01.15 - The Telegraph - Slash: Alive And Riffing

Post by Blackstar Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:34 pm

Slash: alive and riffing

By Neil McCormick

The former Guns N' Roses guitar hero has cleaned up his life and resuscitated his career with his new band Velvet Revolver. He talks to Neil McCormick. The record company representative is looking wobbly. "I made the mistake of going for a quiet drink with Slash last night," he says. "I woke up this morning face down in my garden." Sympathy is tempered by the fact that anyone familiar with Slash's form should really have known better. A guitar hero of the old school, for Slash, the words "quiet" and "drink" simply do not belong in the same sentence.

Slash: 'A gypsy road guy'

The culprit slouches in 10 minutes later looking completely untouched by the previous evening's
proceedings. Slash describes himself as "a gypsy road guy" and he certainly has the look down pat. His trademark curtain of curly locks is tied back in a pony tail and firmly lodged under a scruffy cap. He has a full range of body piercings and tattoos, with rings dangling from ears and nose. He is wearing scuffed jeans and a black T-shirt bearing the quaintly old-fashioned legend: "Die yuppie scum". A perpetual cigarette dangles between his thick lips and he spends our whole encounter wreathed in smoke.

He considers ordering a beer from room service, then decides it is too early (it is noon) and settles for a pot of tea. Slash's new band, Velvet Revolver, are in Britain on a sold-out tour, playing to 80,000 hard-core rock fans. Their brand of speed riffs, punk attitude and shrieking metal is not the kind of music you hear on daytime radio, but last year, their album, Contraband, became the fastest selling debut ever in the US. Interest stems from the fact that three members – guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum – were once the engine room of Guns N' Roses, arguably the archetypal US stadium rock band prior to the onset of grunge and Nirvana.

Perhaps the most hedonistic rock band of a particularly self-indulgent era, they released only three albums between 1987 and 1993, while consuming heroin, cocaine and alcohol on a gargantuan scale. Legend has it that Slash once overdosed, was pronounced dead, revived, then checked himself out of hospital because he had a show to play.

"It's interesting that I'm still alive," says Slash, who looks disconcertingly healthy for a 40-year-old
with his history of excess. "The drugs killed me a dozen times and for some reason they always
resuscitated me. Eventually I thought, 'Somebody's trying to keep me here so I shouldn't take advantage of it so much.'"

This apparent realisation of divine purpose did not entirely curtail his indulgences, however. Rather, he says, "That sort of slowed me down. And then I just drank myself almost to death. They told me I only had three months to live, if I was lucky. So I cleaned myself up, got my health back, and now I just drink a glass a night." Having seen the state of his press officer, I express scepticism. "Maybe I have a few shots and a couple of glasses of wine," revises Slash.

Although it would be impossible to discern from his appearance or accent, Slash was born Saul Hudson in Hampstead, north London, and spent the first years of his life in the un-rock and roll environs of Stoke on Trent. His father, Anthony, was an English album cover designer who worked with Joni Mitchell, among others. His mother, Ola, was a black American clothing designer who worked for "everybody in the entertainment business, Diana Ross, Sly Stone, David Bowie, Ringo Starr, Curtis Mayfield, the Pointer Sisters."

They moved to LA when Slash was 11. "I was exposed to neurotic musicians ever since I was a little kid. I used to love the look of the equipment, the concerts, getting into the venue and seeing the place filling up with people, the stage, the lights, the whole thing." He picked up a guitar at 15, formed his first band at 16. He claims hedonism was not the attraction. "I already had the lifestyle down. Guns N' Roses just kicked it up a notch. It was always the music that made me focus and persevere."

Therapy band: Velvet Revolver

Slash is a hugely gifted if not particularly individual guitarist. His style has a bit of everything about it, reflecting how he taught himself. "If it didn't turn me on listening to it then I wasn't interested," he says, offering up a huge list of guitar heroes, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Ted Nugent and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. "I might learn one particular solo off one song on one record, maybe even just one section. I don't like playing scales and I hate the word 'practise'. What I do is play all the time. I'm a really neurotic guitar player. Before shows, I'm obsessive about having picked up the guitar that day. I can't just walk out on stage and go 'I'm great!' I'm afraid I'll forget how it works."

He is also a fan of guitar interplay, naming Keith Richards and Mick Taylor of mid-period Rolling Stones as "the ultimate guitar team". In Velvet Revolver his foil is Dave Krushner, an old LA scene friend. "What's important is the difference in texture and style," says Slash.

Since leaving Guns N' Roses (who never actually broke up, they just ceased trading), Slash has been leading the life of a journeyman musician, involved in solo projects, blues bands and collaborations with such stars as Lenny Kravitz, Michael Jackson and Iggy Pop. Velvet Revolver sprang out of a reunion of the core GN'R members at a benefit concert for ex-Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo, who died from cancer.

"The first rehearsal, the minute we kicked in, playing the Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen, it was just this powerhouse sound, dynamic, impactful, heavy, loud rock and roll," recalls Slash, with a sense of animation in contrast to the world-weary boredom with which he discusses drugs.

Rock-hop: on stage with Puff Daddy

The trio so much enjoyed playing without eccentric control freak singer Axl Rose (the source of most of the friction in Guns N' Roses), they decided to find a new frontman. There was a collective intake of breath in the music business when they linked up with Scott Weiland, who had just quit his own hugely popular rock band, Stone Temple Pilots.

"Scott has all the qualities and different personal nuances an individual would need to front this band," says Slash. He was also a notorious junkie, whose massive heroin habit has led to spells in prison and rehab. Indeed, Weiland recorded his vocals for the Velvet Revolver album under police supervision and had to return each night to a lockdown detox centre.

None of this worried Slash in the least. "We'd all been there before. Scott needed to straighten his life out, he was on a downward spiral and hit the bottom, lost his family and his band. We rallied behind him and he came through."

If Guns N' Roses were prime examples of '80s rock hedonism, Velvet Revolver represent that peculiarly modern phenomenon, the therapy band, full of recovering addicts. Yet Slash remains steadfastly dedicated to preserving at least a semblance of his old bad habits.

"The other guys do what they do. I like to have a glass of wine before I play to take the edge off," he says, even if it means the tour manager has to remove traces of alcohol consumption from the backstage area lest his band mates should fall into temptation. "I've given up a lot of things, but I wouldn't be me if I was a complete f***ing saint."
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2005.01.15 - The Telegraph - Slash: Alive And Riffing Empty Re: 2005.01.15 - The Telegraph - Slash: Alive And Riffing

Post by Soulmonster Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:29 am

The last headline suggests that the article misses some section on Puff Daddy?
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Post by Blackstar Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:17 pm

@Soulmonster wrote:The last headline suggests that the article misses some section on Puff Daddy?
I got the article from this source:
https://web.archive.org/web/20051123015210/http://www.belowempty.com/vr/articles/2005/050115_Telegraph.php

I found it in the Telegraph website and I see it's the same, except there are no headlines. Maybe there were at the time of the publication and they were removed later because they didn't correspond to the content - or maybe they were not headlines, but image captions.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/rockandjazzmusic/3634949/Slash-alive-and-riffing.html

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