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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

2021.12.DD - Sweden Rock Magazine (Swedish) - Drugs, Death, and Dylan (Slash)

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2021.12.DD - Sweden Rock Magazine (Swedish) - Drugs, Death, and Dylan (Slash) Empty 2021.12.DD - Sweden Rock Magazine (Swedish) - Drugs, Death, and Dylan (Slash)

Post by Shackler Thu Jan 06, 2022 3:31 pm

Translated by me. Not complete yet but I'll add scans and translate more as I get to it.

Drugs, Death, and Dylan
December, 2021
By Niclas Müller-Hansen


In an extended conversation with Slash, the guitarist tells us about dead friends, being dissed by Bob Dylan, his new solo album and drugs.

Your first years alive were spent in England in Stoke-on-Trent, which means you must've spoken with an English accent when landing in Los Angeles at six years old, right?
- That's true, says Slash. When I was 15 or 16 I remember that my mother played me a cassette recording of me. I was probably around four years old on the tape and I had a very prominent british accent. When I first came to Los Angeles and went to public school I realized that I was extremely different from everyone else. I had a black mother and a white father, long hair, I wore jeans and t-shirts and talked with a different accent. I really struggled dropping my accent. I can't really explain how I felt at the time, but I was consciously working to get rid of it.

When you were a little boy in England you used to visit a park in Crystal Palace where you looked at big models of dinosaurs. Did that park spark your interest in animals?
- Crystal Palace in southern London, yes. I think I already had a great passion for animals before that, but it definitely made me more obsessed. I don't really know how my passion for animals, dinosaurs and whatnot started. Crystal Palace is an amazing place. The dinosaur models were the first of its kind and they're lifesize, they were molded using the actual bones, it's sort of a memorial for the first dinosaurs we discovered. It's really fascinating.

Do you think it's easier to interact with animals as opposed to people?
- I most cases, yes. In many ways animals can be easier to understand and more trustworthy, compared to people. But it's much more complicated than that.

Is it true that the first song you learnt to play was Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever"?
- I remember saying something like that. But it wasn't the first song I learned how to play, but it was the first song where I understood the combination of an amplifier, a distortion pedal, and a Les Paul-copy. When I combined it all, I played that song and it was sort of an indication of what sound I wanted and what musical direction I was heading. I remember playing it and thinking "Okay, things are falling into place now."

In February you're releasing your new album "4" featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. The intro to the last song "Fall Back to Earth" reminds me of Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle", but faster. Is there any truth in that?
- No, it definitely has nothing to do with that, haha! There's a completely different ambience to what I'm playing. It's pretty interesting how you mention that, because I can hear some similarities now that I'm thinking of it.

"Back in the saddle" is on their album "Rocks" (1976), a record I know means a lot to you. You were in love with a girl when you were 12-13 years old and she played the album for you in her room, which made you completely forget about her and instead focused on the music. What about "Rocks" do you find great, and does it hold up even today?
- That is, without a doubt, the most fundamental record for me. It has this great combination of different styles. The music is raw, aggressive and there's a certain groove through the entire record, very typical Aerosmith. It has a great mix of riffs, funk, blues and very loud, distorted guitars, but at the same time it's kind of untidy, and then there's Steven Tyler's vocals on top. There's this unique package for that record. A lot of aggerssive records tend to be loud and flashy. The attitude's there, but the music is lacking depth. "Rocks" in particular has a certain depth without the band being pretentious. The band's playing is amazing and very natural, but it's made in a way that almost makes it sound like garage rock.

Another song on your new record, "Fall Back to Earth", reminds me of the movie "The Man Who Fell to Earth" (1976) featuring David Bowie. He was part of your life when you were a child because your mother Ola worked with him and even had a relationship with him. Did you keep in contact with Bowie through the years?
- Yes, I did actually. I ran into him at different occasions up until he died in 2016. I had no idea he was sick, it just came out of the blue for me. It's not like we spoke on a weekly basis, but we saw each other from when I was a kid up until he died.

You kept in touch with Eddie Van Halen as well, up until his death in 2020, right?
- I felt very strongly for him when he was sick and going through all that. I supported him as best I could up until he died in the hospital. We kept in touch and texted each other. He was an amazing man.

The older you get, the more you tend to think about death. You're pushing 60, do you ever think about the end?
- I don't really think about age or care about getting old. I live in the now and just keep doing what I do. I keep fighting the endless battle, haha! I'm not much for taking a step back and analyzing where I am in the moment and where my future's headed.

Why did you choose to record the album live in studio, aren't there lots of problems doing it that way?
- What usually happens is that all instruments leak through the drums. That makes it a hassle to get a good drum sound. The amplifiers for all the instruments get picked up by the drum microphones, which is why a lot of sound technicians prefer to not record live. Back in the day, you had to do it that way because things hadn't advanced to the point where you had alternate methods. For this record I was looking for producers and I came across Dave Cobb. We talked about our passion for raw live recording and ended up talking about Glyn Johns (Led Zeppelin, Who, Eagles) who was an amazing audio technician who worked on many big albums. Dave really wanted to record live and all throughout my career I've been wanting to meet someone who wants to do live recording. We did our recordings at Studio A in RCA-Studios in Nashville. It's a big room, but it's also kind of dampened, so to speak. It worked really well because Dave could record live and still have enough control over the instruments to isolate them. In addition to that, we do these huge pre-production sessions and rehearse to the point where we can play through songs without any greater issues and that really makes it a lot easier. We recorded two songs a day for five days. Myles sang in a different booth where we could see him, but the rest of the band played live in the room.

When you settle for a producer like Dave Cobb, do you usually go back and listen to his previous work or do you not care about that at all?
- Yeah I really care about that. Dave is known for recording a whole bunch of country music. We're not a country band, but his recordings have this certain rawness to them that I really appreciate. He has worked with a band that I really like, named... What's their name?

Rival Sons?
- Yes exactly, thanks! I really like their sound and that was before I knew Dave had produced them. So I knew I was in good hands.

"Whatever Gets You By" begins with a drum intro, and then it sounds like someone's hitting a glass. What's going on there?
- That was my idea. I recorded demos of every song and also played the drums. Usually, I have a faint vision that we sort of work towards, but due to the pandemic I was recording demos that I later sent to the band. For the demo, I used a clock for that song, but in studio we used a cymbal and then Brent Fitz played some triangle on the recording. Dave and Brent didn't understand why I wanted it that way, but I was very particular about it. I think there's a photo of the triangle in the booklet of the album.

You're on tour a lot and you seem to enjoy it. In your autobiography from 2007 you say that touring is like "The Langolians" by Stephen King, where the past is biting your ankles as you're trying to stay a step ahead. What did you mean by that?
- Basically that the past is constantly being swallowed and you're always struggling to stay one step ahead and if you stall too much you'll end up being swallowed whole, too.

By the way, "The Langolians" (1999) is an awful movie.
- It really is. That's usually the case when Stephen King's books are made into movies. Poor Stephen.

In a new book about Eddie Van Halen, "Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen", he mentions a party at producer Ted Templeman's in 1979. Eddie picked up an acoustic guitar and played it for an hour, to the point where he was so focused on the guitar and music that he didn't even notice Ted watching him the entire time. Do you ever get those sort of moments when you're just playing at home?
- Quite frequently, actually. You always pick up a guitar and strive for something to carry you away. You try to put together something musical that takes you on a journey. You try to find a melody or combine things that inspire you and that's one of the beauties of music and playing live. One of the reasons I tour so much is due to spontaneous playing, which is what live playing allows for. You could do it in the studio or at home, but nothing beats that enclosed environment where you can just drift away. It's a really spontaneous feeling that even occurs when playing a song I've played millions of times. You always find something in the song that takes you someplace else.

When you started playing, you didn't really pick apart guitars or build new ones in the pursuit of finding something unique, like Eddie Van Halen did?
- No, I only experimented with loads of guitars. I did what normal people do, haha! I tried out many different guitars, different pickups, I tried out many different types of strings and picks, too. I always kept coming back to Les Paul, even when I experimented a lot. I don't think I actually landed on Les Paul until 1985 when it became my standard, and it stuck with me since.

Through the years you've played with many different artists on many different records. In 1990 you did studio work with Bob Dylan on "Wiggle Wiggle" on his album "Under the Red Sky". How did that happen?
- That was a really great experience. At the moment, I had started working a bit with Don Was, a producer. Me and Duff McKagan had played on Iggy Pop's "Brick by Brick" (1990), we played on multiple songs which was a lot of fun. It was an amazing experience to work with such an icon and someone we really admire. Don said he was working on a record for Bob Dylan and they needed a guitar solo. I didn't ask any questions and I'm pretty sure Don told Dylan "I know this guy Slash, maybe he's able to come by and record a solo?" and Dylan probably went "Yeah, yeah sure!" Don called me up and the thing is that I grew up with Dylan. He was one of the most important artists during a certain period of my life, specifically during my first years in the US. There was a lot of "Blonde on Blonde" (1966) and The Rolling Stones during 1970-1972. I told Don it would be a pleasure to play! I was pretty inexperienced and naive at the time, but also unafraid. I headed down to the studio during the middle of the summer and it was 45 degrees outside. Bob was there, and so was George Harrison (1943-2001, Beatles). For some odd reason, Kim Basinger was also there, I still don't understand why.
- Anyway, I got to the studio and the song was pretty simple. I did a take and thought it turned out really good, I mean, I was just doing what I usually do. I remember Bob telling me I should try and play it like Django Reinhardt (1910-1953) would, which was a bit ironic to me. I did my session work and headed out. The reason I mentioned the heat is because Bob was wearing a really thick cotton hoodie, shades, and leather gloves, which I thought was really odd considering the weather. The next day he sent me a rough mix of the song. I listened to it and I had recorded an acoustic track for the entire song but when it got to the solo it was just my acoustic track for 16 bars and none of the solo. I called up Don and asked what was going on and he said Bob thought it "sounded too much like Guns N' Roses." It was a fun session and I learned a lot.
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Post by Blackstar Thu Jan 06, 2022 3:45 pm

Thank you, @Shackler! Great job.
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