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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

1992.01.27 - The San Diego Union - Guns N' Roses' Slash Knows His Limitations

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1992.01.27 - The San Diego Union - Guns N' Roses' Slash Knows His Limitations Empty 1992.01.27 - The San Diego Union - Guns N' Roses' Slash Knows His Limitations

Post by Blackstar Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:57 am

Guns N' Roses' Slash knows his limitations

By GEORGE VARGA
Pop Music Critic


As the lead guitarist in Guns N' Roses, the most successful and notorious hard-rock band now performing, Slash could be expected to toot his own horn as long and loud as he pleases.

After all, in the U.S. alone his band has sold 14 million copies of its 1987 debut album, "Appetite for Destruction," 6 million copies of its 1988 EP, "G n' R Lies," and (in just four months) 3 million copies each of its two new albums, "Use Your Illusion I" and "II."

But while the soft-spoken guitarist with the menacing name is understandably proud of his band's accomplishments, he seems keenly aware of his own musical limitations. Those limitations came to the fore when he jammed at a New York nightclub with Les Paul, the father of the electric guitar on whose next album the Guns N' Roses guitarist will perform.

"It was a real humbling experience," said Slash, 26, who performs with Guns N' Roses today and tomorrow at the Sports Arena. "Between him and his rhythm guitarist, my whole existence as a player was belittled. He's such an awesome technical guitarist; he plays in a style way beyond my years, to the point where I hardly even know where he's coming from.

"When you're around players like that, you're influenced constantly, even if it's subliminal. I jammed last year with (Irish blues-rock guitar hero) Rory Gallagher, and that was definitely an influential experience. These are all positive things that you retain, just because they're so worthwhile."

When asked how he hoped to be regarded by future rock fans, Slash replied: "I hope to be remembered as a decent guitarist, which is the hardest thing, probably, because of all the sensationalism surrounding us. But I think we're getting away from that."

Rage and urgency

If so, it won't be a moment too soon for Guns N' Roses three remaining members (Slash, singer Axl Rose and bassist Duff McKagan), whose appetite for destruction has taken the band to the heights of superstardom and the depths of drug and alcohol abuse in what seems like a single motion.

In the process, Slash (real name: Saul Hudson) has seen Guns N' Roses weather one storm after another as the band went reelin' and rockin' from city to city, and controversy to controversy, like rebels without a pause.

Driven by a undeniable sense of rage and urgency, Guns N' Roses has been hailed for embodying the true spirit of rock's youthful passion and rebellion, and reviled for a variety of alleged and substantiated misdeeds that include racist and sexist song lyrics, slovenly behavior, inciting violence at concerts and worse.

As is often the case with mega-bands whose every move is reported in great detail -- and with wildly varying accuracy -- the charges against Guns N' Roses don't all hold up to scrutiny.

"It's the fans and the band against the media; they'll never understand what this is about." said Slash, speaking from a Minneapolis hotel. "We've always been one of those bands that never really made an effort to be any particular way.

"It wasn't till people started writing about us that we realized we were against the grain. But as far as rock and attitude, we've always taken it to the limit, not because we wanted to shock anybody but because we thought it was cool.

"There are so many bands out there that are dangerous for 45 minutes (on stage), and then go home and read the paper and have tea. You can't worry about (going too far). You can't sit there and analyze it. I guess we're one of those bands that's learned everything from our mistakes."

Late-night band

Citing one example of the schism he perceives between the press and the band and its fans, Slash pointed to recent media reports berating Guns N' Roses for the late starting time of its concerts, where delays of 90 minutes or more have been common. (Tickets for the band's two shows here with Soundgarden read: "Showtime around 9 p.m.")

"We always get attacked as (being) irresponsible and not considerate to our fans and stuff," he said. "It's not that. We're a late-night rock 'n' roll band, always have been and always will be, and we always got (upset) that we went on at 9. (Now) we go on at 10:30 or 11 and put on the opening act later. It's 'stay out late' and part of the rebellious thing."

Surprisingly, in a field where inflated egos are the norm, Slash also rebels against the media-fueled notion that Guns N' Roses is the biggest band in the land.

"People keep saying that, but luckily -- from the small wealth of knowledge I have from growing up in this business (both of Slash's parents worked in the music industry) -- I know that's all a crock. To me, if you start to believe it or even dwell on it, then it's going to slip out from underneath you.

"So, since no rock band is ever perfect -- and we're definitely far from it -- we haven't done everything that we want to. I want to keep going until I feel uninspired or I feel like we've gotten into a rut, and then let it go for a bit ... The thing is, I still don't think we've achieved that (biggest band) status; I don't think any band does.

"The 'rock star' trip can be a little bit overwhelming, but -- at the same time -- I really don't give a s---about the label, because I know it's a real fickle one; the 'flavor of the month' kind of thing. We happen to (be) the flavor of the month for a little while now, you know."

Learning experience

Slash spoke favorably of Gilbey Clarke, the former Kill For Thrills guitarist who replaced Izzy Stradlin last fall, and of new drummer Sorum and new keyboardist Dizzy Reed. (For its live shows, the new-look Guns N' Roses has recently been augmented by two backup singers and three horn players, all women.)

"I don't think this band could survive any more personnel changes," Slash said, when asked if the Guns N' Roses monicker should be retired if one of the band's three remaining original members left.

"The situation with Izzy was that he just didn't want to make the effort, all the way around. There's a lot of work involved; it's not a gig where we show up and cruise through it. With (fired drummer) Steve, the whole 'sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll' thing is great, but there comes a time where you have to concentrate on the craft. And Steve could never swallow the idea that he had to get his life together."

And what has Slash learned from his experiences over the past four years?

"That's really hard for me," he said. "Getting closely involved in the business end of stuff has been positive. Knowing how things work and being able to sit in a room with business executives, and with the other guys (in the band), and construct our strategy and not be shot down. We make all our own decisions.

"Then, of course, there's the drug situation. It's something I don't regret; I had to go through it. I still have a great time, I'm just not as physically abusive. It's been two and a half years since I cleaned up and I can still have a drink, but nothing like before. And, to an extent, I can be around people who are doing it and not be triggered by it ....

"I think that going through my drug situation at such an early age and getting in and out of it can be attributed to seeing different kinds of excesses when I was younger. I managed to clean up my act at a relatively young age, as opposed to getting into my 30s and then realizing I couldn't handle it.

"So that was an experience and a test, if you will. And then the different media trips that we've gone through, the personality things -- the whole thing has been an experience."

Guns N' Roses, with Soundgarden 9 tonight (sold-out) and tomorrow. San Diego Sports Arena. $22.50. 278-TIXS

Blackstar
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