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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

2000.MM.DD - Hard Rock (France) - Snakepit Sheds Its Skin (Slash)

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2000.MM.DD - Hard Rock (France) - Snakepit Sheds Its Skin (Slash) Empty 2000.MM.DD - Hard Rock (France) - Snakepit Sheds Its Skin (Slash)

Post by Blackstar Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:01 pm

What is the composition of the new version of Snakepit?

The singer is Rod Jackson. Bassist Johnny Griparic has been with me since Blues Ball, the blues band I toured with for a while. Drummer Malt Laug is from a band called Venice, and rhythm guitarist Ryan Roxie still plays with Glamnation occasionally.

The very optimistic title of the new album, Ain't Life Grand, should be understood as a statement on your part?

It's not a statement, it's the first song Rod Jackson and I wrote together. So when the time came to find a title for the album... it seemed fitting to me. I take this band seriously, but I'm not going to make a "statement of intent" and have the lyrics printed on the CD cover claiming that it totally explains who we are and what we do. Ain't Life Grand is just a humorous title that can be applied to a lot of situations. I worked with my brother, Ash Hudson, on the album cover. Ash has a graphic arts studio, and we had already worked together on the cover of It's Five O'Clock Somewhere, Snakepit's debut album.

Who produced the album?

We started pre-production on our own, and then Jack Douglas came along. We had the songs and the arrangements, but we were missing something to bind the album together. Jack had exactly what it took, he understands the dynamics of a rock band well and helped us there, resolving issues that, all of a sudden, seemed dramatic to us: "Twelve bars of coda or only six at the end of this track?". You sometimes have a hard time breaking out of the details to focus on the essentials. At one point, I was hesitant to record a riff at very, very high volume, thinking it might be a bit of a show-off on my part, and he said "Go for it; it sounds good that way". It was also Jack who introduced us to Raya Beam, a rapper who sings on the intro of "Mean Bone". He gave us the inspiration we needed and took away our inhibitions. It was great to work with a producer that we respect; Jack Douglas has produced many great 70s bands and also John Lennon.

We sometimes have difficulty distinguishing Ryan Roxie's guitar parts from yours. Is that on purpose?

I can distinguish them easily. If you have problems, I'll make your life easier. Jack Douglas' production style is to keep the guitars in stereo, left and right; that’s a first point of reference. The sound also helps to tell us apart. On the track "Rusted Heroes," I play a slide solo and Ryan's solo comes next. Generally speaking, my contributions come from feel, as Ryan plays well-developed rhythmic chord progressions on the left stereo channel and hasn't played a lot of solos.

What tuning do you use for the slide on "Rusted Heroes"?

I play it in open-G. When I have to play slide in open tuning, I use my Travis Bean. Before Kramer became an independent company, Travis Bean and Kramer worked together, but they didn't stay partners for very long. It was Joe Perry from Aerosntith who introduced me to the Travis Beans. The handle is made of aluminum, which is fantastic for slide. I used this guitar for all of the slide parts on the album, except on "Shine", which I played on a Les Paul set up to fairly high action just for the slide parts played in standard tuning.

The feedback on the intro to "Life's Sweet Drug" is pretty hellish. How did you get it?

The song was recorded live in the studio, but I couldn't find the feedback I needed. So I left it for later and then forgot about it. When the record was finished, we went to mix it in New York, and I noticed that the intro was missing. Thankfully, I had my guitar with me. I wanted the full feedback from the Marshall without using headphones. So I asked Jack Douglas to count the rhythm of the intro for me, I hit the note and waited for him to tell me when to stop.

Snakepit's musicians have changed several times. What was your idea when you formed the band?

You know that even when I was in GN'R, I always liked jamming on stage with other musicians and recording in the studio for outside projects. That’s because I love to play. When I formed the first version of Snakepit, it was just a temporary thing and our only aim was to play a few gigs. That happened during the hiatus between the end of the Guns N' Roses "Illusion" tour and the supposed start of the recording of the next album, which, because of Axl’s attitude, was left at the planning stage, as we broke up in the meantime. It’s for this reason that the first Snakepit album, It's Five O'Clock Somewhere, was made up of ideas originally intended for what was to be the Guns' new album. But Axl and I disagreed completely about what the new album should be like musically. I made him listen to the demos of my songs and he told me that he no longer wanted to do that kind of music, he no longer wanted to sing rock. I knew that my songs could make for a great Guns album, but Axl wanted an industrial style sound and songs that sounded like Pearl Jam.

What did you do then?

I started playing the songs on my demos with friends. I knew bassist Mike Inez from Alice In Chains. Guitarist Gilby Clarke and drummer Matt Sorum were from Guns – I had brought them in the band - and they now were in the same situation I was. We were totally unsure of the future of the group. The situation with Axl got so bad that we decided to record an album without being concerned with Guns anymore. And that's how we made the first Snakepit album, just to complete our project. We still didn't have a singer, and I arranged auditions where I chose Eric Dover from a large number of singers. We wrote the lyrics for the songs just before Eric recorded his vocals. It was really in the urgency of the moment, and we kind of liked that, even if there was an on the fly aspect to it.

What happened to the members of the first version of Snakepit?

The album was finished, the relationship between Axl and I was not getting better at all, and I decided to go on tour with Snakepit. Matt Sorum was under contract with Guns and he was forced to leave us at Axl's insistence. Mike Inez had to go back to Alice In Chains, so I had to quickly recruit a new rhythm section, drummer Brian Tichy and bassist James Lomenzo. We went out on the road, 80 shows on four continents for a period of four months. I wanted to keep on touring, but I was told by the record company to go back, because Axl wanted to record. We met a few times without being able to see eye to eye, and I ended up quitting Guns in October ‘96. Then I got a phone call from my manager telling me we had an offer to play in an one-week long festival in Hungary. But at that time I no longer had a band! I needed full-time musicians, and I first got Teddy Andreadis, who had played keyboards and harmonica with Guns. He introduced me to some of his friends and that's how I met bassist Johnny Griparic. So we formed a band that we first called Slash's Blue Balls for the festival in Hungary, and then we renamed it to Blues Ball, just changing the position of the letter "s". We kept on touring after playing the festival, so Blues Ball became a permanent entity, even though the drummer and rhythm guitarist changed at almost every gig. Finally I took stock of the situation and I thought Blues Ball was just a pastime thing. So I’ve decided to devote myself seriously to Snakepit.

How did you find new musicians?

I already had a bass player, Johnny. I met guitarist Ryan Roxie through Alice Cooper, who introduced him to me. The first time I played with him, I immediately thought that I had finally found the rhythm guitarist I needed. Ryan is like an improved version of Gilby Clarke and he also has a bit of Izzy Stradlin in him, that kind of rhythm guitar that I've never been able to play myself, but which perfectly complements my solo playing. The drummer was another problem; we changed a lot, but when we saw Matt Laug perform with Venice at Baked Potato, a Hollywood rock club, we were impressed. I jammed with him after the show and he agreed to join us. However, we were still missing a singer and Johnny Griparic introduced me to Rod Jackson, who turned out to be a great singer. Snakepit was finally complete, with four musicians and a singer. We started to write together, and in July 1999 we entered the studio to record.

Are you, of course, still loyal to your Les Paul?

I am a loyal Gibson fan, but I am very picky about the guitars I use. I consistently use the same guitar throughout a whole show. I don't need to have six guitars like Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick. I need a main Les Paul and a backup one. I’m the same way in the studio. Gibson built me a few Les Paul Slash models, which I returned because they did not suit me. It took many signature models before I found the one I really felt comfortable with.

What kind of guitar does Ryan Roxie play?

His main guitar is a GMP. He’s endorsed by the brand and has his own Roxie model, which he helped design. It's a solid-body between Gretsch and Les Paul with humbucker pickups, and the sound is thinner than my Les Paul. I also had a guitar made for him by GMP for his birthday, a Flying V Custom with leopard stripes and a sparkle finish.

Tell us about your Marshall Slash amps...

They are covered in snakeskin and stamped "Slash Model", but there is also the Snakepit logo. The sound is really superb. I have used Marshall Jubilee Silver Series for years. These are 50 watt / 100 watt with a switch to switch them back and forth. But there was this riot at a Guns N’ Roses show in St. Louis and all of our gear was destroyed. I didn’t know what to do. Then Jim Marshall came to see me and told me that I would be the first person they would endorse. He was going to build me amps to my specifications, based on the Jubilee Silver Series. When they gave me the first one, I was very nervous; what if he didn't sound right? I had no backup. Fortunately, the sound was exactly what I needed! I’m very proud of these amps, and they sold out immediately. Now I have amps stationed all over the world, Europe, Japan, New York and LA. Whatever happens, they're there!

You played with Guns and now with Snakepit, but you’ve also done your share of studio work as a sideman with Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop and Lenny Kravitz. How do you approach this kind of gig?

There are people that I love and admire; I would give my left arm to play with them! Producer Don Was had me play with Iggy Pop, but I already knew Iggy when I was a kid. He was friends with David Bowie, and my mom was dating Bowie. Bob Dylan was also introduced to me by Don Was. There are also people who call me and I think it would be cool to play with them. That's what happened with Chic, Nile Rodgers and the late Bernie Edwards; I was playing with him the night he died in Japan. We were on stage with Stevie Winwood, Omar Hakim, Simon Le Bon and Sister Sledge - a huge all-star orchestra. It was a fantastic experience. This all happens quite often through random encounters, like when I played with Bootsy Collins and James Brown on his birthday, just because I had met Bootsy at the Rainbow Bar!

Guns N 'Roses recently released a live double album titled Live Era 87-93. What was your role in the concept of this album?

I made a typical list of the songs that made up our set at the time and let them choose the best versions from the recordings of four shows, the Marquee in London, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and the Tokyo Dome. I knew the record company was trying to fill the void of new songs as a result of the band breaking up. But when it comes to the original band, I have to be there to make sure they aren't going to mess it up. But that happened anyway: a few photos on the booklet were reversed and I had to tell them that there was no one in Guns was left-handed. On early copies, disc 1 was actually disc 2, and vice versa. There was also a pressing error, a loop in "Paradise City" which repeated "Las Vegas" endlessly. There’s one in a million chance for this sort of thing to happen, and it has to happen to us! It became a collector's item, because I had those errors corrected on the second pressing. If you have that first pressing, keep it!

Your unaccompanied solo, "Theme From The Godfather" isn't included on the live album, although you've played it at almost every Guns show. Why?

I thought about it later, but I preferred not to put it on there because it was something completely impromptu, played differently each night to give Axl time to breathe. Putting it on the album would have meant "This is how I played it", although it was different every time. Besides, I was never really a big fan of the "big guitar solo" thing. Eddie Van Halen specializes at it, but not me. Basically I didn't think it was important to include that instead of another song.

What is Izzy Stradlin doing now?

He has just released a new album titled Ride On. His band is made up of Duff McKagan, Rick Richards and Tax Bentley. The record company probably banked on the rumor surrounding the release of the Guns new live record, but his album has only been released in Japan so far.

Do you have any news from Axl Rose?

He hasn't changed. His management company, Big FD Entertainment, just filed a lawsuit against Duff and me. They claim we should have paid them for the work they did on releasing Live Era, even though they didn't do much. They supposedly took care of the promotion, but their press campaign was in fact non-existent, at least for the period of time where we hired personal managers without going through them.

Do you think you will ever play with him again?

(Laughs) I am always asked this question. In the short term, the answer is no. In the long run, it would take a crystal ball! I want to play rock 'n' roll, and that’s not what Axl wants currently. He and I have nothing in common today, musically. Even if in the past the new directions in rock and metal were introduced by people like Van Halen or Metallica, obviously, but also Gn'R.

When will the Snakepit tour start?

As soon as Ain't Life Grand gets released on the first week of March. We’ll play in Europe, Japan, then in the States and South America. It took me a year to start the band, and this is the first time I have stayed at home for a whole year. Besides, even during this last year, I went to play a show in India before coming back to LA. I also played in England, Washington and New York, only one show each time, just to be in front of an audience. And, of course, I jam at Baked Potato every Tuesday night. It's the best way to meet other musicians, and that's how I found the guys in Snakepit. You can't just sit around at home expecting people to come see you!

------------------------------
Original article in French:

http://slashsnakepit.chez-alice.fr/biographie/interviews/lamuedusnakepit.php
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2000.MM.DD - Hard Rock (France) - Snakepit Sheds Its Skin (Slash) Empty Re: 2000.MM.DD - Hard Rock (France) - Snakepit Sheds Its Skin (Slash)

Post by Blackstar Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:04 pm

The interview is very similar to this one:

https://www.a-4-d.com/t4586-2000-03-dd-player-magazine-japan-interview-with-slash

But there are three additional quotes (about the lawsuit from Doug Goldstein's company, Izzy, and the possibility of a reunion).
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