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2005.06.03 - News Letter - Slash Is Still The Top Gun

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Post by Blackstar on Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:58 am

Slash Is Still The Top Gun

By Phil Crossey

Slash doesn't really need an introduction.

You either know him - and are right now thinking top hat, curly hair, and the opening notes to Sweet Child O' Mine - or the name Guns n' Roses means nothing to you.

One of the last true guitar heroes, Slash is responsible for some of the greatest riffs ever to dance across a fretboard and is a rare musician who has evolved into a cultural icon. Few stars of the eighties rock era, with its hedonistic life of excessive alcohol, sex, drugs and permed hair, made it unscathed though the nineties, but Slash has remained a poster boy for everything that is cool about music.

There is a generation who bought bourbon, cigarettes and replica Gibson guitars because of this man.

It would be tempting to talk about 1988 and partying with Twisted Sister but, as Slash says, "There's not a lot of looking over the shoulder." The man who has inspired a thousand strained expressions, and countless bad imitations, in guitar shops across the world is a laid-back individual. He comes to Northern Ireland as one-fifth of Velvet Revolver. A supergroup featuring other former Guns n' Roses stars Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan. "I was in touch with these guys the whole time, the only one I never talked to is Axl," Slash says.

Throw in Dave Kushner, ex-Electric Lovehogs, and Scott Weiland of the Stone Temple Pilots on vocal duties, and you have one of the few bands carrying the torch for eighties rock into the new Millennium. "Everyone's heart's in the right place and that's a rare thing nowadays," says Slash.

"Given the energy that this band has, and its passion in general, you'd think we were a bunch of kids just starting a garage band.

"That dynamic, mixed with the amount of experience we have makes it special." The unapologetic joy of making loud music in front of thousands of people, all of whom think you're great, should be self-evident for most rock and roll bands, but it does need to be re-stated every so often.

Not that it's anything new for Slash though, who has been doing it for the better part of two decades.

Does the thrill of being on stage now compare with how it was 15-20 years ago?

"It's better," he says. "The energy level of this band, and the fact that we're not jaded, is really amazing." After that amount of time, most rockers usually re-emerge with some sort of epiphany about how they're now ordering 1,000 bottles of mineral water, a bowl of fresh fruit and some Ryvita backstage.

Not this band. "If you get one or more of us in a pub situation, you'll find out that we've been doing this for a while," says Slash of the hedonistic lifestyle, "and we know how to do it - we have our moments.

We had a night recently that was very over-the-top. It's very rowdy, but we're aware of the consequences of taking things too far.

"Everyone understands their own personal limitations, they don't want to go back down some of those dark roads we've been down before." When he says 'dark roads' it's quite a euphemistic term for the epic, and at times quite dangerous, hell raising this collective have been party to over the years.

Legend has it that Slash's career would have been over before it began if Motley Crue had not been round to revive him after a drugs' overdose. Duff 'the King of Beers' McKagan, as he was once known, didn't take the title lightly.

Singer Scott Weiland had to organise initial rehearsals around his court-imposed drug rehab programme.

People scale mountains and cross continents to stretch the limits of human endurance - it's safe to say this band has tested those limits in a hotel rooms across the globe.

"I used to go through life with this total nothing-to-lose attitude, which meant I could die tomorrow. I didn't care. Somehow, I'm still around.

"I have something that I'm responsible for that has nothing to do with music." Now a father of two, Slash says: "It definitely changes one's perspective on life.

"I'm not this completely selfish personality that I was, where it was all about being in the band and that's it.

But he's the man who kept six strings at pinnacle of modern music: "Other than that, it's the same old s***, I'm a guitar player through and through, that makes up more of who I am as a person, and we put the two together and here we are."

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