APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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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

2008.02.29 - SuicideGirls - Slash and Marc Canter on Reckless Road: Guns N' Roses

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2008.02.29 - SuicideGirls - Slash and Marc Canter on Reckless Road: Guns N' Roses Empty 2008.02.29 - SuicideGirls - Slash and Marc Canter on Reckless Road: Guns N' Roses

Post by Blackstar Thu May 13, 2021 7:51 am

Slash and Marc Canter on Reckless Road: Guns N' Roses

By Erin Broadley

It was the summer of 1976 in Los Angeles and the Ramones were playing second bill to the Flamin' Groovies at the Roxy. Across the pond, the Sex Pistols were still months away from achieving everlasting infamy by calling their host a "fucking rotter" while live on British TV. In a Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot off Third Street in L.A.’s Fairfax District, an 11-year-old Marc Canter caught his fellow classmate, Saul Hudson (aka, an 11-year-old Slash of Guns N’ Roses), suspiciously eyeballing Canter's mini-bike parked outside. “In those days there was a lot of bike stealing. I was one of the thieves, I know.” Slash laughs. “It’s quite possible I was thinking about taking off with it because I used to be like that back then. Anyhow, that’s how [Marc and I] met and we’ve been friends ever since.”

By high school, Slash was into guitars and Marc was taking pictures of local rock bands. With a few candid photographs of his best friend, Marc Canter unknowingly began to document the rise of the greatest rock band of its time: Guns N’ Roses. Over twenty years in the making, Marc’s new book, Reckless Road: Guns N' Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction, is a collection of exclusive interviews, rare photographs and original memorabilia including show flyers, magazine articles, ticket stubs, set lists, and hand-scrawled song lyrics. From the band’s first gig at the Troubadour in 1985, to signing with Geffen Records, to being dubbed “The Most Dangerous Band in the World,” Marc Canter was there, up close and personal, camera and tape recorder in hand. The result is a comprehensive account of the band’s early days, as well as a portrait of Marc and Slash’s friendship, still strong to this day.

“My goal here,” Marc says, “is to let everybody that likes this band – or even if you don’t like the band – see the making of one of the greatest records ever made.”

SuicideGirls met up with both Slash and Marc Canter at legendary rock and roll hangout Canter’s Deli, in the heart of Hollywood, to chat about Reckless Road and the stories behind the photographs. Even more, we got them both in front of the camera for their first-ever, joint video exclusive.

Reckless Road is in stores and available online now.

Erin Broadley: So, Reckless Road is a fascinating book.

Slash: It’s great. It’s probably the best rock and roll coffee table book I’ve ever seen.

EB: Slash, the story goes that in 1976 you and Marc became friends when you tried to steal his bike?

Slash: [Laughs] Was it 1976? I guess, yeah [laughs]. I didn’t actually steal it; I was checking it out. It was a mini-bike, and it was outside of Kentucky Fried Chicken on Third Street… he was inside and saw this kid suspiciously checking out his bike and decided to intervene before something happened.

EB: [Laughs] Little kids protect their bikes, man. It’s their livelihood. It’s all they’ve got.

Marc Canter: They call it a mini-bike but really it’s a motorbike. We went to Third Street School but I didn’t know his name; I just knew his face. So I had this motorbike and was parked at KFC and I’m in there, buying whatever, he was walking home, saw it and was thinking about stealing it. He looked inside to see who it might belong to or if anyone was looking and then he saw me and thought, “Oh, I know him from school.” So he went in and instead of stealing it, asked if he could ride it. We became friends from that point on and pretty much never looked back.

Slash: In those days there was a lot of bike stealing. I was one of the thieves, I know. It’s quite possible I was thinking about taking off with it because I used to be like that back then. Anyhow, that’s how we met and we’ve been friends ever since. After Marc and I hooked up in fifth grade, we were friends for a while though junior high school. Then somewhere in junior high school I took off and moved into deeper East Hollywood and I didn’t see him for a while. At some point in high school we reconnected and he’d turned into this mega rock fan, which I had too, but he was really serious. He had his cameras and shit and he would sneak them into concerts… his favorite band was Aerosmith. He used to buy all kind of photos. Aerosmith was one of the major bands that I was a fan of when I started playing guitar and they definitely influenced what direction I went. So we had that new thing in common. I had started playing guitar at that point, and he just started taking pictures of everything because that was his way, you know [laughs]. It’s funny because I look at the book now and all those pictures that he was taking all the time, as far as I was concerned he was just casually taking pictures of everything. I didn’t expect it to be something later on. I never would have imagined that him being around all the time just taking 35 mm pictures would amount to this documentation later.

EB: Right. There’s a part in the book where, Slash, you say that the first thing you did as soon as you could put three chords together was start a band. And Adam Greenberg said it was almost like going to a rock and roll school. What was the creative climate like in L.A. as teens, learning how to play music?

Slash: I was pretty much an outcast in school and as a musician I was an outcast… When I first picked guitar up it was during the summer time so I spent that summer learning how to play and I think by the next semester I started looking for musicians. At that time, Van Halen had come out so there were a lot of musicians in junior high. That’s where it all started. I met Ron Schneider and Adam Greenberg and that was probably the third throw-together band I had, but it was the first one that started playing keg parties and, you know, terrorizing people’s houses...

EB: Playing the senior citizens’ center.

Slash: Yeah, [laughs] all these bar mitzvahs. It was a cover band that could never find a singer. Which is, like, the story of my life. Still is, to this day.

EB: [Laughs]

Slash: It wasn’t a big, heavy-duty, rock and roll scene in high school. There were a few musicians I was friends with. I went to four high schools, so every one I went to had its little clique of Eddie Van Halen wannabes [laughs]. Marc was hanging out, keeping tabs on the whole thing. Marc was also the first guy, when Guns N’ Roses first started, before Guns N’ Roses was even a nightmare, Marc was probably the only person interested in what I was really doing, [laughs] for the most part.

EB: Duff said that Marc was a pillar of stability for the band. How so?

Slash: When Duff and I first met, we met at Canter’s Deli. I used to work there and Marc would always help me out. I always had a job but if I was in between jobs, I would work at Canter’s. He was financially stable and I wasn’t [laughs]… he was just a really good, loyal friend. I still, to this day, don’t have many loyal friends. So when Guns first started, he instantly took the job of marketing and doing all the promotion. We all did it but I was real fanatic about it, I never slept. [Laughs]

EB: Didn’t you get fired from the Fairfax newsstand for conducting band business on their hours?

Slash: [Laughs] Yeah, that’s where I used to sell tickets… to customers at work. People would come in and I’d sell Troubadour tickets.

MC: I used to feed the band. Not three meals a day, not every day, but when they were hungry they knew they could come to me and I could get them a pastrami sandwich or whatever was needed. And why not? They’re my friends. I would drive them places, I had a car, I had gas -- they didn’t. I’d buy them guitar strings, whatever they needed, little things… I was paying for some of the band magazine ads that were coming out. First we started with quarter page ads and they were like $288. It wasn’t a big deal. Then after two of those, we went to full page and it got to be a little bit more expensive. But, at that time, I knew that would work for the record company people, like, “What’s going on here? This band keeps selling out these Troubadour gigs and they’ve got full-page ads. It’s not just some flunky, fly by night band.”

Then they found someone to help them with the demo tape but that person gave out in the middle and didn’t put any more money in, so they needed a couple hundred bucks to get it out of hock. I did what I could. I didn’t do everything but I helped because they’d do the same for me if they were in my situation. I lived at home, I had a good job, I didn’t have any expenses and pretty much, if they did work, they had to support themselves. I always knew Slash would make it as a guitar player, even if he was just a guitar teacher, because there was such a talent there. His playing was very seductive; you’d feel goose bumps when he’d play because he just hit those certain notes.

EB: Slash, when you first hooked up with Axl, Marc wrote that you guys had an amazing chemistry and I think that this really comes through in a lot of these early photographs. What were those early days like when you and Axl first entered into each other’s lives?

Slash: When we first hooked up, it was pretty uneventful, the first time we met actually I answered an ad that Izzy and Axl had in the paper looking for a guitar player. I went down there to where they were staying, which were some little guest room off of a house above Sunset. It was real dark, it was one room, they had like a bed that took up 75 percent of it, a TV that took up another 10 percent, and there was like 15 percent walking space.

EB: [Laughs] Just a path.

Slash: [Laughs] Right. Axl was on the phone and Izzy was the one I did all the talking with. I’d already met Izzy because he had come into my music store looking for copies of this picture of Aerosmith that I drew for Marc. He showed up at my work one day… this little, scraggy Johnny Thunders comes walking in and he’s looking for Saul Hudson, right? That’s how we met and he played me a tape of his band later that night. It was really ratty, with a tiny voice in the background screaming at the top of its lungs. But it was in key so I was interested. He told me the name of the band was Hollywood Rose… so later on I answer this ad and it turns out to be Izzy and this guy Axl. The whole time I was there, Axl never got off the phone. Axl was in Mark Twain mode, Twain wreck, which was when he starts talking, ‘cause he won’t stop.

EB: [Laughs]

Slash: That was our first meeting. Nothing came of out of that. Nothing happened. Then I was another time when I was actually seeing my dad. I didn’t see my dad that often but one time we hung out and we went down to Harry’s Barbeque and I looked over and there was Axl and he was talking to this chick and, again, he was doing all the talking and she was just sitting there. That went on for the whole time I was there [laughs] so I didn’t approach him and that was that. At some point we all hooked up when Axl approached me about playing with Hollywood Rose, which I thought was a pretty good idea at the time. Axl picked me but never talked to Izzy about it so I came along one day not knowing that there was any of this drama going on. I walk into this rehearsal studio called the Fortress in Hollywood… this grungy little room and Izzy was there and, because Axl had made this decision without Izzy’s input, Izzy quit. So Steve Darrow and Steve Adler came in and we put a band together with the four of us. That was the beginning of me and Axl’s real relationship… it started with the Hollywood Rose band.

EB: So it was chemistry but was it a volatile chemistry?

Slash: Well, yeah, that’s what I’m getting at [laughs].

EB: Some people think volatile chemistry fuels creativity.

Slash: I don’t think volatility fuels anything. I don’t agree with people who think you need that controversy to make music. It’s not really conducive to writing songs. If you have chemistry, you don’t need all that other shit [laughs]. Anyhow, but it started off cool and I liked Axl… he came and stayed at my house but then the yin and yang of Axl’s personality started to present itself. One minute he was really, really cool and somebody that I liked a lot. You could spend almost two days with him like that. Then the smallest little thing would turn around and change his personality completely. I’m pretty even keeled; nothing really phases me. I’m probably like that to the extent that some people don’t understand how I can be so fuckin’ blasé about things [laughs]. So we had a real contrast going on, but the music was cool. When we had a good time, we had a great fucking time. But when it was bad, I couldn’t understand the origins of some of these issues and why they would be blown out of proportion to the extent that they were. To him, it meant everything. But to me, I could just never understand it.

So this band lasted for a little while. We did a bunch of gigs. Marc documented those gigs. They’re in the book. Finally, we had this one gig where Axl got into a fight with somebody in the front row at the Troubadour and at that point I’d already been through another thing with him jumping out of my car one night. It was just tedious. The good times were good but the tedious times were really trying. So at this particular gig, when he got into this fight with this guy, and the gig wasn’t going as well, I thought it was pointless. After that show I was like, “You know what? I don’t have time for this.” [Laughs] So I was in a couple bands during that period. I was very ambitious but, at the same time, there was a limit to what I would and wouldn’t do to get by in this business. I wouldn’t do a lot of conformist sell out kind of stuff.

When Duff came into town, we met at Canter’s. Steven, my girlfriend, Steven’s girlfriend, a bottle of vodka… Duff comes in and we went up to the men’s room and hung out up there and drank the bottle of vodka and formed a little unity. We wanted to start a band with the three of us but, once again, we couldn’t find a singer. That went on for like a month and finally that split up and Duff had, ironically enough, just moved into this cheap little apartment right across the street from Izzy’s apartment. So those guys met and the next thing you know, Duff ended up joining their band, which I think had become Guns N’ Roses at that point. They had Duff, Izzy, Axl, Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner who was the other drummer from L.A. Guns. I was working at Tower Video at the time and Axl and I sort of had a certain amount of animosity going on which was slowly but surely fading. Axl came into my work one day and goes, “Do you want to play with me and Izzy?” As much as I was really unsure about dealing with Axl again, I really liked Izzy and I liked Duff, obviously, so it seemed like maybe it’d be a cool idea. I went and jammed with Izzy one night and he had the song called “Don’t Cry” and we put the guitars together and that’s really what started it.

At that point Duff came in with this idea of doing a Pacific Coast tour and going up to Seattle. He put all the gigs together from his experiences with a punk rock band up there in the Pacific North West and so I said, “Sure, let’s do this.” Rob Gardner chickened out; he didn’t want to take this perilous, fucking road trip with no real exact future in it. So we called Steve Adler and he came down and we rehearsed one night and that was basically it. We set off on that tour and our car broke down, fuckin’ 100 miles out of L.A. so we ended up hitchhiking all the way to Seattle. That’s really what cemented the band. The chemistry just on a human level between the five of us… just as guys who stick to their guns with what it is they want to do. That trip really had a lot to do with it.

EB: There’s something special to these Guns N’ Roses photographs. Band photos today are so heavily retouched and photoshopped together. There’s something about how raw these photos are that really captures the band’s gritty nature. Like the Reckless Road cover…

MC: The cover is them, the day they came back from their “Hell Tour” in Seattle. They had a gig booked at the Troubadour on June 6, 1985… it was on a Thursday night, and there was something really special there. But it wasn’t enough to solidify the band. Then a day or two after that, they went on that Seattle tour. The car broke down, they ate onions in the field, they hitchhiked…

EB: That’s where the real camaraderie formed.

MC: They had each other’s backs after that. When they came back to Los Angeles they wanted to do a photo shoot to make flyers for the next gigs that they had. They booked a bunch of gigs and said, “Let’s go fuck up L.A. We can do it now. If we lived through this we can do anything.” So if you look at the look on their face, they’re a gang. This is a gang now.

EB: They had their road warrior experience and now they’re ready to take it to the streets.

MC: Yeah. If you fucked with one of them, the other one would jump on your back and kill you. It was like they were a gang. And they started writing songs; each gig they came up with a new song, pretty much. And it was a great song. Just boom, after boom... There were no what they’d call “dead songs”... No fillers or throw always; every song they wrote was perfect. In fact the leads for the songs, the first time they ever played them are the same leads that you hear on the record. It was pretty much self-produced in that way because it worked. There was something special there. But anyway, back to the photos, yeah, my friend Jack Lue started taking pictures before I did and he would sneak his camera into concerts. Jack always did that and what happened was, to be honest with you, Eddie Van Halen was going to play at the Roxy and Jack Lue couldn’t make that gig so he gave me his camera, showed me how to use it and said, “Take pictures.” So I took pictures and I had fun and when I got them back, I was freaked like, “Whoa, these are really cool.”

From that point on I started taking pictures at every concert we went to. That was in 1982. Right around that same time was when Slash was playing gigs everywhere. And now that I knew how to shoot, and I saw that it works, of course I was going to shoot him. I was already tape-recording his shows. Now I had a tape, and photos and the flyer. So I just kind of kept everything because I saw something that was special. If you don’t tape-record it then it’s just gone. After awhile we met Axl and then it was like, wait a minute, now there’s not only Axl, there’s Izzy, Steven and Duff… there’s like five Jedis working together. It wasn’t just Slash anymore. Now it was just like all of them together made a chemistry. Now, I was not only documenting Slash, but I was documenting...

EB: All these other big personalities as well.

MC: Right. And it just became so much fun. I used to get butterflies in my stomach before the gigs. I wasn’t going to be surprised; I knew what I was going to see. But it was just so exciting. So here I am taking pictures and I'm hearing “Rocket Queen” for the first time. It’s one thing when you do some covers and a couple of originals but all of a sudden you start writing these new ones that are just really, really, good songs. You’re taking pictures going, “What am I hearing?” Then you get home and you listen to the tape and you go to that song and you hear it two or three times and you’re like, “Wow, we have a Led Zeppelin here.” They could do no wrong. It all worked! The vocals, the melodies, the lead guitar, the drums – it was the first attempt and it didn’t even need tweaking, it was there. Every now and then you’d hear a song for the first time and Axl, the next time they’d play it, would change a couple lyrics, or some of the lyrics weren’t completed. The first time they played “My Michele” there were some verses simply missing. They went without vocals. But, other than that, pretty much, they knew what they wanted.

EB: In Reckless Road, Marc, you write, “My goal here is to let everybody that likes this band – or even if you don’t like the band – see the making of one of the greatest records ever made.”

MC: It’s interesting, I’ve met some people that when I told them that I did this book they take a look at it and they’re the least likely Guns N’ Roses fans just because they’re into different kinds of music like jazz or whatever, but they respect what’s there. They’re glad it’s there to be documented and to watch history in the making. It’s the making of one of the greatest records ever made. I’ve met a couple people that really, not that they hate the band, they just don’t like that kind of music at all. But they can appreciate that it’s been documented. Like at Canter’s, a lot of the employees got books and they have never even heard of Guns N’ Roses. Some of the older waitresses, they’re 65-years-old and how could they possibly know what this is? But because I'm involved in it, they’re interested in it. I have a book all of a sudden and they want to read it. So they take it home to read it and they’re sucked into it and can’t stop.

EB: The band is as seductive in this book as the band was on stage. The book also states, “Launching a successful rock band in the ‘80s required three ingredients: a dream, some talent, and die hard ambition.” Were those really the three most important things back then?

Slash: Well, because of the climate of what was going on in Hollywood at the time, which was really excessive, commercial glam-metal kind of deal, everybody was getting signed. Motley Crue had already gotten big and famous and Ratt was coming out and then there were all these fuckin’ offshoots of that, cruising up and down Sunset Boulevard. We were sort of like the ugly ducklings of that whole thing. We didn’t fit in with any of it. We were the black sheep and we enjoyed that; we loved the fact that we were the scary band out of the bunch. We hated the rest of them and we provided a kind of entertainment that was very seedy. If you asked us if we were extremely talented, [laughs] I don’t think we would have looked at it that way. Really, when it comes down to it, I’d say blind ambition, desire, and the integrity and the passion for the music was probably the most important thing. There was a lot of integrity in the band and there was a lot of really focused passion for what every individual did… everything about the songs was really driven from the heart.

Looking back, there was definitely something unique going on which turned out to be a lot bigger than what most of our peers were doing. We were a gang of five that was a force to contend with. We were a 24/7 experience. We lived with each other and were together all that time. Everything we went through, which was a lot, we did together and that’s what strengthened that bond. It was really important as to what the band sounded like… it was a collaborative effort, every single song. Then we became very successful at that time but we were this vagabond bunch of drunken gypsies that sort of stuck together. But we were still pretty naïve really in a lot of ways.

MC: You want to hear the funny part to that? Jason Porath actually wrote that part in the book. And, in the manuscript I have, the third thing was “Slash” [laughs]. He actually wrote the word “Slash” but he changed it on his own before the book came out because he though it was a little bit too much Slash serving. Plus, the rest of the band had plenty of talent so he changed the word to "talent". The truth is, Izzy would be the backbone of a lot of those songs but Slash tweaked those songs… if Slash weren’t there, who knows? Slash would put the funky punch into it. Like “My Michele,” he added those four little jerky parts to change the song. Plus, you already know what he could do in the studio with his leads. Even if he had nothing to do with writing the song -- like “November Rain,” that was Axl’s song -- Slash comes in and puts the leads in that just rip you to pieces. So, he wasn’t far off when he put “and Slash.” It’s a good ingredient to have in the mix [laughs]. Slash will always call me after a gig and I’ll always tell him what I thought of it, good or bad, and he always gets exactly the truth out of me. He’s always very modest about it. Whenever I say, “That was great, that was great,” he’s very modest about what his talent is. He never wants to reveal how good he really is. After doing the Use Your Illusion tour for two years and playing big stadiums, there’s a certain amount that goes to your head that puts you in a rock star mode and on a pedestal. But as far as the actual talent, they were always modest about it.

EB: Another part in Reckless Road states, “The eventual merging of the Appetite lineup of Guns N’ Roses can be more easily attributed to chaos theory than a straight forward chronology.”

MC: Yeah, that’s pretty much the way it went down. There was no loyalty. Like Vicky Hamilton says in the book, they were trying on band members like clothes. You hung around people that were into the same music you liked and you jammed together. You found a garage and you jammed in that garage and if it worked, great. If it didn’t work then you moved on. Eventually, these five musicians found each other and, on top of finding each other, they went on that little road trip to Seattle which made them a little bit closer. At the same time, they knew they were the best at what they did. And the music industry sucked; there was nothing going on. Motley Crue was really the only band left and that wasn’t enough to make a whole scene. There was really nothing going on and Guns N’ Roses just came by and changed everything, putting the f-word on the record… it was really ballsy [at the time] and a lot of it has to be credited to Tom Zutaut for allowing them to do that because Axl was at the point where he was going to change the lyrics. Tom said, “No, leave it alone.”

MTV had a lot to do with it. The band had sold like 200,000 records underground and it was kinda dying out and MTV wouldn’t play the video. David Geffen pulled a favor and called in an executive at MTV and they said, “No, we can’t do it because we don’t want to lose our commercials because they’re known as drug addicts and they look like they’re going to rape my daughter” … that kind of thing. They didn’t want bad press out of it. So, they played the video on a Sunday night at like six in the morning Eastern Time and the switchboard blew up. Then, that next week, they got put right into Top 10 rotation for “Welcome to the Jungle” and from that point on they started selling records, like 200,000 a week. So, they went a whole year before the record even went to number one. Appetite For Destruction wasn’t just one song; the whole record is good. That’s why it’s going to stand the test of time. And another reason why is because its so raw and natural. And another reason why is because they were living on the streets. It’s the fact that you’re getting the raw energy and it wasn’t tampered with. What they wrote was ready to go.

EB: On a personal note about your friendship, it says in the book that in 1985 Axl asked Marc to talk to you, Slash, about not getting drunk before a show. Was it unfair of him to put Marc in that kind of position as a mediator?

Slash: Yeah…

EB: Or was he just the only one you would listen to?

Slash: Well, no I think there’s been many times that Axl has reached out to different people like my mom or my dad or girlfriend or Marc or something like that. But nobody wants to try and tell me what to do so it is very uncomfortable.

EB: No one wants to be the middleman between you and Axl!

Slash: Yeah, it’s never worked. If somebody like Marc or my dad actually does approach me just to sort of follow through with carrying the message, it’s done very delicately [laughs]. It’s not really effective [laughs]. That’s funny though.

EB: What do you think has enabled you and Marc to stay friends after so many years of chaos?

Slash: Well, because the chaos never had anything to do with Marc so our relationship has always been intact. He never really had to deal with the out of control me… he never put himself in that place. He never was judgmental; he was real objective. That always made me feel like he never crossed that line with me and so I’ve always had a respect for him and I would never rub him the wrong way because of that mutual respect. I never did anything to take advantage of him or make him overly uncomfortable or expose him to the darker stuff that was going on behind the scenes. He was never forced to be around that. So we’ve always had that mutual thing for each other.

EB: That’s once in a lifetime, man.

Slash: Yeah. And to this day, if he calls me, he can ask me for anything. He called me this morning all freaking out trying to get all this stuff done. I said, “Marc, don’t worry about it.” [Laughs]

MC: The thing about me, any friends that I’ve made over the years, I still have. If they need something, I’m there. And if I need something, they’re there. I’m a good person to be friends with because I'm an easygoing guy. Slash has always kept in touch. The friendship has always been there.

Video Exclusive Part One:



Video Exclusive Part Two:



https://web.archive.org/web/20080304193316/http://suicidegirls.com/interviews/Slash+and+Marc+Canter+on+Reckless+Road:+Guns+N'+Roses/


Last edited by Blackstar on Thu May 13, 2021 7:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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2008.02.29 - SuicideGirls - Slash and Marc Canter on Reckless Road: Guns N' Roses Empty Re: 2008.02.29 - SuicideGirls - Slash and Marc Canter on Reckless Road: Guns N' Roses

Post by Blackstar Thu May 13, 2021 7:52 am

There are more quotes in the videos. I'll transcribe them later.

EDIT: Transcription of the videos:
------------------------------------------

First video:

Erin Broadley: I'm Erin Broadley for SuicideGirls.com and I'm here at the legendary rock ‘n’ roll hangout Canter's Deli with Slash and Marc Canter. Marc Canter owns the place and he's also a photographer who has a new book out: Reckless Road: Guns N’ Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction. So that's what we're gonna talk about here today and kind of compiling all this history that you put into this book, the photos, the audio and the video that's available in the enhanced books portion. One thing you said is that your goal here is to let everybody that likes this band, or even if you don't like the band, see the making of one of the greatest records of all time.

Marc Canter: Yeah, that's… You know, I was lucky enough to be there and document it, and I did it as if I wanted somebody to do it for me. Something like that. That's what I would ask for somebody else to do for one of my favorite bands. Actually they were one of my favorite bands, but they were also my friends, so I had that opportunity to capture it. But I'm glad that I was able to do that.

Erin Broadley: Slash, you said that there's no better person than Marc to have been able to put all this together and put it out there.

Slash: He was the proverbial fly on the wall, you know?

Erin Broadley: In the best sense? (laughs)

Slash: No one was really paying attention and he was… we were really good friends, and he fit in with everybody, and it was just like no one was really, you know, acting, or being conscious of a camera being around, or any of that kind of stuff. So that's probably what makes the book so good, because it's so candid. It was more like… we were the only five guys in L.A.  that could have made that particular band. And we just happened to come together because that was sort of fate, something was supposed to happen with it and we just sort of… I mean, me meeting Duff fresh from Seattle. At the time that I met him it was very sort of like something's got to happen; and, you know, the same thing with Axl and Izzy and I when we first hooked up. It's like, we kept getting drawn together. There was nobody else really in L.A. for me to, you know, form a permanent bond with musician wise. It's just that it had to be that way (laughs).

Marc Canter: Actually, there was an almost Guns N’ Roses before Guns N’ Roses in Hollywood Rose. You had Slash, Axl and Steven, and you had this guy Steve Darrow on bass. But the missing figure was Izzy and Steve Adler's double bass drums. And, you know, when they came back a year later to try again, this time Steven had one bass drum and they had Izzy.

Slash: We hid it – he went to the bathroom, and I think Izzy and Duff took it and stashed it-

Erin Broadley: (Laughing) Stashed it in the storage closet.

Slash: And he came back and he didn’t realize something was missing (laughs).

Marc Canter: I think Izzy musically was, like, right in between Slash and Duff. Duff was, like, the punk rock and Slash was, like, blues and hard rock. Aand Izzy was, like, you know, that Rolling Stone figure, Hanoi Rocks type, and he fit right in the middle, and his songwriting added; or he would start something, and Duff and Slash would jump on it and change what he added, and mold it all into what became Appetite for Destruction.

[Break]

Slash: There was all these incarnations of what ended up being Guns and it's like, we kept just getting thrown back into the pot together. And so, finally, that particular version came out and it was the band that worked.

Marc Canter: Also there wasn't much loyalty. You know, if you jam with a band for 3 or 4 months and you're gone, and you get in a fight and broke up, that's it. But I think when they went to Seattle, and they made it through that hitchhiking and eating onions on the road or whatever they did-

Erin Broadley: Yeah, eating onions on the site (?) in Bakersfield.

Slash: Oh yeah, I forgot about that (laughs).

Marc Canter: By the time they came back, it was more than just they were five musicians and fit.

Slash: We were like-

Marc Canter: They were now, like, this gang.

[Break]

Slash: We’d been thrown into those kind of situations with any group of people that you didn't feel that kind of camaraderie with. Then you wouldn't feel comfortable and it wouldn't happen, but there was a sense of-

Erin Broadley: The trek breaks down…

Slash: … oneness with the band that it was, like, us against everybody else, and we just  sort of… that's how we rolled.

Marc Canter: Well, if somebody screwed with one of them, let's say they were hanging out-

Slash: They had to deal with the whole band (laughs).

Marc Canter: Yeah, somebody would jump on their back. I mean, literally. Somebody is swinging away at Izzy or whatever, and the next thing you know, Steven comes running over and jumps on their back, and then before you know it Axl is kicking him in the side. It's just, you know, “You screw with one of us, you screwed with all of us.” I just couldn't believe what I was seeing it and hearing at the same time, and I knew right then and there that now they got it. They just need to play more gigs, and get a bigger following, and, on this pace they're gonna make it. And before… you know, like, that was the first gig, they had some originals that Izzy and Axl had put together, but then Slash… the first song they wrote together for Guns N’ Roses was Welcome to the Jungle, and that was a killer song.

*

Second video:

Erin Broadley: I’m Erin Broadley for SuicideGirls.com and I'm here at the legendary rock ‘n’ roll hangout Canter’s Deli with Slash and Mark Canter. Mark Canter owns the place and he's also a photographer who has a new book out, “Reckless Road: Guns N’ Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction.”

Erin Broadley: It says, “Guns N’ Roses were more like orphans than professional artists, outsiders and runaways who found sanctuary in music.”

Slash: The only expression I can think of is just completely out there. Very, very unstable. You know, there was absolutely no security in anything that we were doing except for the relationship that we had amongst each other, and the drive to create music and to perform, and all that. That's the only real thread of, you know, any kind of semblance of security that we had, and that's what we thrived on.

Erin Broadley: Right.

Slash: That was it. And we were vagrants, and we were, you know, sort of outcasts. We were definitely, like I said another time, the black sheep of what was going on in L.A. - you know, that whole big scene that was happening. So it was, like I always said - like I said before, it was just us against them. But there was no guarantees of anything. There was no sort of like, you know, yellow brick road that we were on or any of that shit (laughs).

Erin Broadley: No, just people sleeping in cars-

Slash: We didn't have any friends in the industry helping us out. It was totally us on our own, but we had that bond, which was about music and also, like I said before, the camaraderie of the guys in the band. It was very simple and very complicated at the same time. There was this place, the café, L.A. café, café L.A. on Sunset, and I would take my… I had a job at Tower Video as well as Axl, and I would go there and sit down and look at the menu, and they'd bring you these garlic balls, you know, as an appetizer for free, and I'd sit there and eat all those and keep looking at the menu, and then put the menu down and take off.

(Laughter)

Erin Broadley: Yeah, like “I changed my mind, I don't like your entrées, sorry. But the garlic balls are great” (laughs).

Slash: Yeah (laughs).

Erin Broadley: Well, I have to ask, there are photos in this book from a UCLA frat party that you guys performed, where Axl is even in assless chaps.

Slash: That was a funny gig.

Erin Broadley: So what is the story of how you guys got to a UCLA frat party?

Slash: I don't know how we got that gig. Someone asked us to do it. I think the Joneses might have had something to do with that. And, you know, we just showed up. That was basically the long and the short of it.

Marc Canter: That gig, they were asked to do that the night before that. They had a gig at the Troubadour, and that night backstage somebody said, “Hey, we're having a party tomorrow, do you want to play?” So there was really no notice.

Erin Broadley: “Bring your assless chaps.” A necessity at any frat party.

Marc Canter: They played for 35 bucks and some beer, and basically… It wasn't a matter of the money. It was a matter of just, you know, having a gig. It was more about the gig.

Erin Broadley: Right.

Slash: Yeah. That was the one thing that gigs provided; it was a destination, somewhere to go.

Erin Broadley: A schedule. Something to do.

Slash: You know, and “we can play” and it's like, “we have free booze and…” I remember that particular afternoon really well. I remember Izzy was locked in the bathroom with Desi most of the time. You know, it was just one of those kind of crazy little gigs, so we’d just do what we do and throw ourselves into situations where we were in such sharp contrast to everything going on around us. I think that's why we made such a big impression, because we were always us no matter where we were at,  even in the UCLA fucking frat party (laughs).

Erin Broadley: Well, at one point in the book you're talking about the synergy and how you guys hadn't really had many rehearsals, but it felt like you'd been playing together for years.

Slash: It just clicked. It's a feeling that you get when you have a certain chemistry with other musicians where pretty much anything that you do is going to work with the other and vice versa.

Erin Broadley: Well, yeah, that's the one thing, Marc, you and I were talking about earlier, how this album, Appetite for Destruction it's like, from the first song to the last song, you know-

Marc Canter: It's all good.

Erin Broadley: It's there.

Slash: It’s really, like, the background music to what our life for that whole from ‘85 up until ’87. You know, every song had a significant meaning to it and it represented something that was going on with all of us - one of us and all of us at the time.

Marc Canter: Also it was a band effort. They were, like, living in a little hamster cage studio that wasn't even - it wasn't meant to be lived in. There was no bathroom there, it was just like a six by nine studio that they rehearsed in.

Slash: I fit my trunk there, though.

Marc Canter: So at least four of them were living there. Duff, I think, always used to live with a girlfriend somewhere.

Slash: Yeah.

Marc Canter: Something like that. And Slash every now and then would stay at his girlfriend’s or whatever, but pretty much the home camp was there. So when somebody would come up with some kind of a riff or whatever, the rest of the members were there to say, “Oh, play that again” and then they could throw their little thing on it. So it was really a band effort. I'd say that's what makes Appetite for Destruction so special, because it was really a collaboration.

[Break]

Marc Canter: This [the book] is the making of Appetite for Destruction. I didn't realize that until after it was all designed; we had no intentions of what we were going to call it. And really that's what it is, because it documents 10 out of the 12 songs from Appetite the first time they were ever performed.

Slash: And so, when I first saw the book and its, like, unfinished form, I was like, “Oh wow!” I mean, it's really a cool history of where the band came from in a way that pretty much nobody else has.

Erin Broadley: Well to kind of wrap things up, you guys, meeting in grade school all the way to now, probably have one of the strongest and longest lasting friendships over the course of a lot of turmoil rock ‘n’ roll years, you know?

Slash: I actually stay in touch with, you know, like maybe a handful of people that I've known for a very long time, but nobody as long as Marc.

Marc: Whenever he's playing a gig and he knows I'm at it, he always calls me the next day to find out-

Slash: What was that (laughs).

Marc Canter: What does it sound like, because he knows that I won't bullshit him and I'll tell him the truth. And half the time I criticize you, right? (laughs)

Slash: Yeah. My worst critic.

Erin Broadley: We love you guys, and hopefully you guys love us.

Slash: Nice to be associated (?)

Erin Broadley: (Laughs) Yes, you heard it.

Slash: That’s the kind of girls I like being with.

Erin Broadley: Marc Canter and Slash love Suicide Girls (laughs). All right, well, thank you.

Marc Canter: All right, thank you.

Slash: (?)

Erin Broadley: Thank you, darling.
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