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SoulMonster
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

2000.09.28 - Launch - A Rose By Any Other Name... (Slash)

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2000.09.28 - Launch -  A Rose By Any Other Name... (Slash) Empty 2000.09.28 - Launch - A Rose By Any Other Name... (Slash)

Post by Blackstar Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:27 am

A Rose By Any Other Name...

By S.L. Duff

Forever and ever known as the top-hatted, cigarette-smoking shroud of curly black hair that manned lead guitar for Guns N' Roses, Slash has in fact notched up many other accomplishments. One only needs to hear Lenny Kravitz announce the guitarist's impending solo in "Always On The Run," their joint effort: "Slash!" Lenny hollers, the excitement in his voice readily apparent as Slash's lead comes barreling in.

Slash loves to play and is open to any and all recording challenges, having recorded with Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Rod Stewart, and even the self-appointed King Of Pop, Michael Jackson. And Slash loves talking about it, just as he seems to enjoy talking about anything relating to making music. "Everybody's different. That's why I like doing it," he says, referring to those who've sought out his playing on various recordings. "The amount of experience that I've got at this point in the game, out of just being out there and being totally dedicated to what I do, [has made me] very f--kin' pliable now."

It's the morning after his new record company, Koch, feted the guitarist and the press at the legendary Sunset Strip rocker hangout the Rainbow, and Slash is gently nursing a bottled water. Dressed in a casual gas station work shirt topped with a black leather backwards ball cap, he emphasizes both his relaxed nature and star status by arriving to this interview an hour late and offering no apologies. Despite his packed day of interviews, he talks as long as I want, about whatever I want. He's matter-of-fact and unaffected, friendly and, for a guy who has witnessed firsthand rock excess beyond your imagination and mine, very down-to-earth.

We take some more time to yak about sessions--the Kravitz one is his fondest--but the big news on the Slash front is the release of Ain't Life Grand by his band, Slash's Snakepit, and the coinciding tour opening for none other than AC/DC.

"It's a good bill," reckons Slash. "There's definitely not that many rock 'n' roll bands around. I think as far as bands that are signed that have a record coming out, sort of the arrow going this way, we're just going to stick to this. This is how we do it," he says, referring to the new album's chiseled hard rock, which sits comfortably alongside past work such as Use Your Illusion by Guns N' Roses. "We happen to be coming out at a certain time when a whole big rock surge is going to happen. Everything's really f--ked up right now, people are getting bored. I'm bored sh-tless with most everything that's come out since, since we started, since Guns started. I say 'we' because Guns is still family to me."

Slash sees a correlation between the present and a time some 15 years ago, when Guns N' Roses were the talk of Los Angeles, the flag-bearers of a mid-'80s rock resurgence. "When we had to go up against whatever was going on at the time, there were no gritty rock bands at the time, and we were sort of a breakthrough rock band, sort of a fluke, in a way. As far as Snakepit's concerned, I'm not kidding around, this is a band. It's called Slash's Snakepit because that's what the record company wanted way back when I was still at Geffen."

Slash does have a tendency to bob and weave in and out of topics, but he will focus when you least expect and bring it all back around. "[Snakepit is] my primary focus. Originally, it was just to fill the gap between Guns' last tour and the next record..."

It seems that Snakepit had to happen, because Slash truly is a man possessed with the need to play guitar, and as a member of what has become the most notoriously inactive band in music, Guns N' Roses, Slash needed a working, functioning band. "Nothing was happening with Guns still, and me and Axl were getting further and further away from the primary f--king focus or goal, as far as Guns was concerned. I just wanted to get better at doing what we already did pretty good, and he wanted to do something else completely different. After [Snakepit] found a singer, I said, 'Well, sh-t, we can go on the road.' So we did 80-some-odd shows, on four continents, in four months.

"When I came back, me and Axl had grown so f--king far apart--as far as what we thought we should be doing--that I inevitably ended up quitting. At that point, I quit my band and got divorced, one big clean sweep. So, I started doing a lot of sessions and trying to reevaluate what it was I wanted to do."

Being the most visible member of the invisible band, Slash began to get offers from promoters for any kind of live performance centered around himself. He formed the loose-knit jam band Slash's Bluesball to play covers and have fun. The gigs ended up lasting a full year. "In the back of my mind, I was going, 'Snakepit's still the thing I'm going to do.' So this time around, it was like finding a band, one that's going to be permanent, and that's why it took so long to do."

Slash and his former Guns N' Roses partner Axl Rose seem about as estranged as any Hollywood couple could ever hope to be, yet according to Slash's very in-depth website, it would only take a phone call to reunite him with his old band. "I can say that, because that's easier said than done. In order to get an original Guns N' Roses band together, it'd be almost impossible. But, if the situation happened to arise where we all just happened to magically come to a meeting of the minds and just wanted to do a show, or two shows, or something like that...But doing a record, I'm not going to drop what I'm doing now, it's been too f--king long. I had too much of a bad time with Guns at the tail end, anyway. We had offers to do so many shows that kids missed out on--we didn't do them because Axl didn't want to do them."

It would seem that during the glory years of the infamous group, no one was closer to Rose than Slash. Yet they went in polar opposite directions, with Slash jamming and recording nearly nonstop, and Axl immersing himself in a rehearsing/ recording environment wherein new players came and went with clock-like regularity from the new-regime GNR. Why did Axl become so reclusive? Slash is upfront, but admittedly puzzled. "I have no idea. I have not talked to him in five years. Last time I talked to him was on the phone. I think he was going to sue me at the time."

Another point that has got to get under his skin is the fact that every GNR expatriate has started up a solo project with a new name, while Axl, producing but one officially released song, has steadfastly hung on to the brand name Guns N' Roses. "Everybody goes, 'Well, why didn't you take a percentage off the name?'" Slash says. "I'm not going to do a Guns N' Roses band without the band. And Axl wanted to do that. So I was like, 'Go ahead, see ya.' I think it's sort of dumb. I think one of the easier ways of looking at it would have been along the lines of what me and Izzy and Duff did. Obviously, we're not all playing together. Put together another name, it's gonna draw attention based on the success of Guns, anyway. If James Hetfield were to do a solo record, we'd all know about it, regardless of what it was called--it's James from Metallica! If Axl had f--king taken on another name, and just split his way and I went mine and so on and so forth, then Guns would have been sort of like just, safe. Like Guns N' Roses was always there, and everybody just took off to do this that and the other, but the name wasn't tarnished. Now, the name's f--ked up."

With Ain't Life Grand and the AC/DC trek under his belt, and GNR well behind him, Slash is only interested in looking forward. He recorded the new release in his home studio, in a (rare) California basement in Beverly Hills. With the album done, however, there's no real reason to hang onto the real estate. "I just sold the house," he shrugs. "Record's done, I don't have any use for the house. I actually sold the [studio's control] board to Billy Bob Thornton with the house. It's one of the best studios in L.A. The only reason I left the house was because, being that I'm like the consummate bachelor, even though I have a girlfriend and I've been married, whatever, my lifestyle's the same. I don't need a house. I just need a place to go jam and I need to have a bar and a strip bar and Carl's Jr. and a Jack In The Box nearby. I need to be in the city. As soon as I knew we were going to go on tour, I said, 'F--k it, I don't need a house, sell it.'"

Spoken like a true rock 'n' roller.

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Blackstar
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