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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.


2001.MM.DD - Sound 420 - Interview with Slash

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2001.MM.DD - Sound 420 - Interview with Slash Empty 2001.MM.DD - Sound 420 - Interview with Slash

Post by Blackstar Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:19 am


Interview with Angela Thor

Angela: I understand you had to put a hold on touring for a little while due to illness.

Slash: I didn't take it all that seriously at the time, but for some reason, something, somehow, catching pneumonia, for me, doesn't sound all that realistic. But the doctors, apparently, did think so. That's the first time I've ever been flat on my back, as far as I can remember, because a doctor said so.

Angela: You're going to be touring the new Snakepit album, "Ain't Life Grand."

Slash: Either Europe or the states. I'm retooling as we speak and I'll know at the end of the week.

Angela: When you were getting the band together, did you go about it in a different way than when Guns 'n Roses were first formed?

Slash: Well, yeah and no. It's all so haphazard in the first place. It never just happens where you set out to do something in particular, with everything laid out in line. It just sort of happens. It's sort of spontaneous, in a way. You have one desire, one main concept of something that you want to be doing. But actually getting something as organic as a group and going out and pursuing it, pursuing a career, is something that sort of comes out of nowhere as it happens, and then you don't even realize it's happening until after the fact, really. So Guns happened one way, and Snakepit happened another way, and in some ways their similar, but at the same time, it wasn't a preconceived kind of building of blocks, it was something more or less fort of like the aftermath of some sort of a volcano. After the dust cleared you realized "oh, you've got something together here."

Angela: So there's really no right or wrong way, like producer groups vs. garage bands.

Slash: Well, I'm sure there probably is out there, I've just never been involved in experiencing one. I've been involved in playing with different artists which was definitely like a preconceived or preplanned thing, but very rarely. It's usually sort of bumping into each other somewhere, at a bar or at a club, and having mutual interests. But I know there are a lot of producers out there and a lot of record companies that actually, manually put bands together, or put individuals together to make bands. I've seen it on TV all the time, but I've just never really been a part of that.

Angela: They never seem to last very long that way somehow.

Slash: No. Usually it's a one album kind of thing, and then people actually discover themselves and move on.

Angela: When you were getting Snakepit together, did you already have in mind a lot of the songs you wanted to do?

Slash: Oh, no. That's one of the things, I mean, I play all the time, and there's always ideas here and there. But really, when it came down to the finished product of Snakepit it was really, once the band was more or less established some material sort of more or less came from there. And I did pull out some ideas that I had, I think there was two that I can think of off the top of my head, that came from before the band started, but that's all the were, just basic ideas. I never really complete to many songs before I've collaborated with who I'm playing it with. So a lot of the stuff evolved out of the combination of the different guys that are in Snakepit.

Angela: So you know what works with them and they know what works with you.

Slash: Right.

Angela: You're sound is very blues based roots of rock. Is there any pockets of sound today that seem to be going back to that?

Slash: Ask any musician who's rooted in blues and he'll tell you the same thing, more or less, but everything has that sort of base, that sort of blues base. Even if it's real contemporary pop, that doesn't have a shade of soul to it, there's still that base there. So everybody still works from that. As far as what's going on right now, and as far as what I can tell that's going back to sort of more grittier, sort of a more old fashioned sort of thing. I know a lot of older rock bands have been coming around, have been getting back together lately. And I know that there's sort of a buzz going on, underneath, behind the scenes, of little bands that haven't really gotten discovered yet. But other than that, it's really hard to tell because it's such a synthetic period right now, that it's hard to see what's going on there, besides the actual sort of discovery, rediscovery, of the computer generation.

Angela: The circle goes round and round.

Slash: Exactly. And I don't see that changing. Even back in the day when Guns started, we were sort of an entity onto ourselves because, what was going on around us was the beginning of the whole MTV invasion. And that was definitely the antithesis of what we were doing and vice versa.

Angela: Eric Clapton has just done that collaboration with B.B. King. Are there any of the old blues players that you'd like to be working with?

Slash: Well, you know, I always talk about I'd like play with Stevie Wonder and he and I have actually talked about it before, but it's just never happened. As far as old guitar players and stuff, the Eric Clapton record, I thought that was sort of cool because it's great for guitar players to listen to that. I didn't really get into the record so much because it was Eric and B.B., it was just because it was two great guitar players. I don't really have any aspirations as of this minute of any guitar players that I want to get together with, and make like an old blues record. I've had a bunch of different blues bands playing old blues material, old standards and stuff, but as far as collaborating with an old guitar player that I was raised listening to, those are the kind of things that you just sort of, if they happen, they happen. And that's usually through getting to know each other or something like that. And I'm so focused on working on touring and on that kind of stuff, that I really haven't had that much time to think about too much collaborating with outside people.

Angela: Are you looking to do a combination of clubs and festivals?

Slash: Yeah. I'm thinking anywhere from clubs to theaters to arenas to festivals. The first leg of this tour that we did went from clubs and theaters to arenas. And this next leg, we should hopefully make it to festivals. And that should be a lot of fun, especially because it's summertime.

Angela: You have a huge collection of guitars. Have you ever written a song for one particular guitar, for the way it sounds?

Slash: That's a funny question, I've never been asked that. I have instruments, I have guitars that aren't necessarily "guitars," you know, like mandolin or I have an electric sitar, I have a banjo, a lot of stringed instruments, you know, basses and six stringed basses, and this, that, and the other. I always write on a regular guitar, which I only keep two around, my acoustic and an electric, for the most part. And then, if I think of an idea that would involve, incorporating something else when it came down to recording it, I usually write it on a regular guitar, because when it comes down to it, I don't break out too much off the wall stuff when I'm playing live. And everything that I write is more or less focused on the finished product, which is live in front of an audience.

Angela: You mentioned MTV before, and you have, is it two videos out for the new album, "Mean Bone" right now and "Shine" coming next. Do you get much into the whole concept and treatment of the videos?

Slash: Well, the Snakepit videos were really low budget, sort of live footage. After the director's done with it, you look at it and go "Oh, that's cool. Can we change this or can we do this.," real quick off the editing floor. In the Guns days, I've never been into really big concept videos, even though I've been a part of a whole bunch of them in the Guns days. I would just write my own part, or give the director an idea of my own part, as far as if there was any concept involved. And hopefully leave it up to the director, who you hopefully admire and respect enough to do the majority of the writing for you. In Snakepit, I would imagine there would be some sort of overall concept of the song. And then maybe get a sit-down with the director, an understanding of what that's all about, and see if we can bring it to some sort of an image in our minds as how to go about it. I'm talking about something that hasn't happened yet, I'm imagining a perfect scenario. And then come to some sort of meeting of the minds of a concept, and then sort of go from there. But for the most part, I don't like to get involved with all that stuff. It's sort of slow and dramatic and whatever. It's like I don't watch MTV that often, and I don't really get into that whole big concept stuff.

Angela: Are videos just a necessary evil of marketing?

Slash: To tell you the truth, they don't really play us much anyway.

Angela: I've heard that from a lot of heavier rock bands.

Slash: I think the majority of rock bands aren't really that concerned with the epic video per se. I mean Metallica does it, and that's one of the few sort of hard rock bands around that gets into it all that much. I've seen, I think Tool did a pretty bizarre video some time back, and there's always Marilyn Manson and stuff like that. But I think the majority of rock bands just want to be see as a live act and not like bring a whole bunch of girl friends into it. We just play and this is how I look when I play.

Angela: And come out and see us live, which looks even better.

Slash: Right. But if it means promoting the record, sure, we'll shot a video.

Angela: You made a comparison to how when MTV first started out, nobody knew what it would become, and now artists get no compensation for videos, to Napster and MP3 giving access to the music without the artists getting compensated. Do you have any ideas how these could be reworked to satisfy both the artists and the public?

Slash: I've been asked that a lot lately. I try not to get too political when it comes to the industry, which I think has always been, more or less, more record company favorable than the artist. I think it has always been very one sided. But now, a lot of people are starting to speak out about it. As far as changing the face of what the record industry will be in the next ten years, I don't know if I have the fucking balls to tell you "this is the way it's going to be." Because just with me, just one out of millions of musicians who are recording artists, it's a bitch to get your, to get a grasp on how everything is working on a regular basis. And whether you're being treated fairly. And whether you're getting paid the way you're supposed to be getting paid. You know, keeping everything from falling through the cracks all the time. And the more you get into that, the less time you spend being an artist. It's really hard to be a politician and a creative artist at the same time. And the more into I get, the more I realize that. So then you start trusting to attorneys and managers who are all on the same page, which is fucking unreal, it's an unrealistic kind of thing. The way I see it going for me personally, is just having to keep abreast of what's going on and what the possibilities are, to have more control over my own material. And that's obviously going to be a process that's ongoing. So I hope for the best, but at the same time, MP3 and Napster, and that whole thing I said about MTV. MTV is over with, it's a done deal, you can't really change that. The fact that nobody ever really paid much attention to that in the first place was real odd. But I think Napster is great because when I was a kid, I used to love getting bootleg stuff, or getting stuff you didn't pay for over the counter, so to speak. But at the same time, I though Napster, that subject was brought up at a really good time, before it got completely out of control and there was nothing you could do about it. Until it becomes such an establishment that there was no questions asked. I think there should be some sort of a cap on that thing. I don't think they should cease to exist, but there should be some sort of rules and limitations as far as what they can do. Otherwise, if they kept doing it, everybody would be doing it and it's like "Why bother?" Recording out of your own pocket and just handing stuff out or selling them at the concerts is the best way to do it.

Angela: You were part of VH1's "Below the Waist: A History of Music and Sexuality." Care to share some of your thoughts on that?

Slash: There wasn't really much to say. That's sort of, especially being caught up in the midst of all that. Music and sex almost come hand in hand in some way shape of form, whether it be romantic, passionate, whatever, or if its sort of animalistic. Some how they seem to tie together no matter what. Even in jazz, there's something about music, food, drugs, and sex that all sort of fit together. I'm sure the media would rather focus on the sex and drugs and music part than anything else. My opinion is really not, I'm not of any real opinion about it. Just sort of take it for what it is. Try not to analyze it too much. Everything is so overanalyzed as it is that I tend to just shy away from trying to break everything into little tiny pieces and try to analyze them.

Angela: You got to play with Spinal Tap recently. How did this come about?

Slash: I recorded with them once. That was sort of an experience for me. It was real short, just went in and did some guitars on their record. The producer was a friend of mine, and got to meet the actual individuals who were Spinal Tap, which, when I walked in the room, I had no idea for the most part who any of these guys were, because they didn't look the part. And to find out, to be introduced to them and go "I know you from somewhere else. I know you from "Saturday Night Live" or from "Laverne and Shirley" or from this movie or that movie." I was like "Wow!" so this is the image. I mean really, because that movie does hit close to home, the first Spinal Tap movie, for any of us rock, anybody in the rock industry.

Angela: Everybody seems to say "It was model after me."

Slash: Yeah. You guys really are, that whole thing, that's the image as a, that rock and roll musicians give off. That's really pretty fuckin' accurate. Anyway, it's just one of those things where I just got a phone call "You wanna go jam with Spinal Tap?" and I was like "Yeah!".


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