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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.


2011.08.10 - A4D - Interview with Gilby

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2011.08.10 - A4D - Interview with Gilby Empty 2011.08.10 - A4D - Interview with Gilby

Post by Soulmonster Sat Jan 15, 2022 7:02 am

Q: You have just returned from an acoustic tour in Italy. How was that? Any great stories to share?

i had a great time. it was an acoustic tour, so it was smaller venues.

Q: Do you write your songs with acoustic guitar or with electric guitar and how does this affect playing acoustic gigs?

most of the time, yes they are on acoustic. sometimes it's a jam on electric with full on amps, pedals, etc... every song is different.

Q: Why did you choose Italy? I know I would, but why did you?

i get offers from various promoters & this promoter has an excellent reputation.

Q: What is next in your life music-wise?

i'm working on a new solo record. i would like to have it out by the end of the year. i still love playing rock n roll.

Q: What is the situation with Rock Star Supernova? Are you guys on hiatus now or is the band dissolved?

we did the show, record & tour. i wanted it to be a real band & carry on. but when we started touring everybody had a different idea of what the band should be. so we folded up shop.

Q: I have read that you are waiting to have ten good songs before you'll release a new solo record. How many do you have now and can you tell us anything about them?

right now i have 6, so 4 more...

Q: It is always exciting to get to hear about coming music. Can you tell us a little, or a lot, about these 6 songs?

there's some hard rock riffing type tunes & there's some bluesier, groove songs. i always try to have variety, i hate when records sound like one continued song.

Q: Which guitarists are your heroes? Are there any contemporary guitarists that blow you away?

i still listen to jimmy page, billy gibbons. i think of the modern era, tom morello is king.

Q: I guess Morello got to showcase his talents more in Rage Against The Machine than in Audioslave, at least I found his guitar work more novel and interesting there.

i liked what he did with audioslave because he had to work with in a song with melodies. some of his textures were unique.

Q: What about all these shredders and really fast players, what do you think of them?

i think we need all kinds, it would be boring if everybody did the same thing. shredding is not my thing, but obviously there's an audience for it.

Q: What do you prefer in a guitarist, feel or technical prowess?

feel & tone. i don't care about the technical part. can a guitarist add his flavor to a song & make it better ?

Q: What is the last concert you attended as part of the audience?

coachella, i liked the black keys...

Q: If you could choose any historic concert to see, which would it be?

jimi hendrix or the beatles.

Q: What is your all-time favorite song by any band/artist?

that's hard, cuz i change my mind a lot. i love wild horses, something & ziggy startdust.

Q: Do you have any guilty pleasures when it comes to what music you listen to?

i love a great drum beat & how a record sounds sonically.

Q: Do you have any favourite records when it comes to how they sound sonically?

oh yeah... trex slider has some of the best guitar/ drum/ percussion textures ever...

Q: What do you think of Lady Gaga, the most selling artist in 2010?

i think she is a marketing queen, an average artist, not very original.

Q: When you write your songs do they start as riffs and then develop or from chord sequences - what is the general process?

yes, i'm a guitarist first... so it starts with a riff, then melody & lyrics. i try & come up with something original & expand on that.

Q: On your albums such as 'Pawnshop Guitars' which feature guest appearances, were those songs written with the specific guest in mind or was it a case of who will suit which song?

no, i didn't have a set band, so i had to put people together. i did try to match them to the songs.

Q: How do you feel about the direction the music industry is going in these days, with the lack of album sales but increase in downloads and the recording studios struggling in the face of increasing quality in home studios?

it's strange time. there's still a lot of creative music out there. but it's harder to find. i think quality has been affected the most by the change. anybody can make & put out a record. there's no filter anymore to tell the public, this is good or not.

Q: Of the many bands you have been in, which has been the most fun for you personally?

i love playing with the MC5, it's great guitar music.

Q: You played your first show with Guns N' Roses on December 5, 1991 (Worchester, MA). What can you remember from this gig?

yes, a lil... i was hungover. i met up with some friends the night before & had a yager party. it took the edge off.

Q: Guns N' Roses had been on a half-year break (last concert in August 1991). How were the rehearsals with the band leading up to your first gig? Did you feel welcomed by all the members in the band?

well there wasn't much rehearsal... the band knew the songs. so i had to learn them on my own & hope they would run through them with me. & yes, they all made me feel welcome & a part of the band.

Q: Are you saying that when you hit the stage for the first time you hadn't rehearsed the songs with the rest of the band?

oh yeah i did rehearse some, but not all the songs. the band wanted someone that could do the gig. they had already done a couple months of touring with Izzy & they weren't into rehearsing at that time.

Q: How was the reaction from the fans, both by having Izzy replaced and by your performances in 1991 and the rest of your tenure with the band?

the fans were great... at that time GNR was getting huge, so their were a lot of new fans & we grew together.

Q: It has been said that Izzy was functioning as a pacifier in the band, being the only one that could reach Axl Rose at times and calm him down. Did you have to do anything specific to keep on Axl's good side?

i don't know if that's true, but it was before i was in the band. i remained true to myself in & out of the band, axl treated me with respect while i was in the band. it was when we were off the road when things went wrong.

Q: The downtime between tours was always hard on GN'R. What happened after the touring?

that was the hard part cuz there was no direction. we started recording the spaghetti incident, but there was no tour. i started my solo record "pawnshop guitars" cuz i knew it was gonna be a long break.

Q: How do you think it was possible for Axl to get so much control of Guns N' Roses that he could call the shots, both by deciding the direction of the music and firing members?

i dont know, i wasn't in that meeting.

Q: What do you think of Slash's recent solo record? Has he still got it as a guitarist or has he stagnated as he's grown older?

i think he's been pretty consistent in all his records. i like the way he used different singers on his last, that was a nice change.

Q: He will only use Miles Kennedy on vocals for his next solo record which is due out in 2012. I would love to see you play with Slash on the next one, you guys share a lot when it comes to musical interests, you are both pure rock and rollers. Have you considered doing any collaborations together, either as part of your projects or his?

no actually i haven't thought about it, just cuz' i've moved on & i know he has also. but i do agree, we do play the same kinda music.

Q: Guns N' Roses during the Use Your Illusion tours was quite bloated and excessive. Did it ever feel like being part of some rock and roll parody rather than a real, serious touring band?

no, it was a serious touring band. it was axl's vision to have the back up singers & horns. on stage we were a great band that played loud & proud.

Q: Was it hard to cope with the drinking and drug use in the band?

no, when we wern't playing, we were partying. just like young fella's enjoying their youth should be doing. we had no responsibilities at that time. travel, gig & party.

Q: Guns N' Roses allegedly started falling apart years before you entered the band, and many consider it miraculous that it lasted so long at all with that much material released. With the tension between Slash and Axl steadily increasing, how was it to be attached to a ticking time bomb? Did you realize that it wouldn't last long before the band would implode?

i don't think the band started to fall apart until the tour was over & axl started to put the new plan in place. i thought the tour was very successful & obviously the illusion records sold well. but u can't have a dangerous band & not have the threat of implosion over your shoulder.

Q: Yeah, many insiders say it is amazing it lasted as long as it did. The strange thing is that it disintegrated slowly more than just blow apart, starting with Steven being fired, then Izzy leaving, then you, and so on until the almost anticlimatic moment when Slash and Duff silently walked out the door. There were no explosion when it all fell apart. And still it exists, although in a complete rewarped form. Do you have any comments on Axl both touring and releasing music under the name "Guns N' Roses"? Would it have been better for the legacy of GN'R it it had just exploded and completely died in 1994?

i said it before & i'll say it again... to me, what made GNR great, was the tension. the rythym of the guitars, axl's vocals, the groove of duff's bass & drums, & the songs. that relationship was magic... the new GNR is axl's band & it sounds like his vision. it's good, cuz he's talented, but it's not a band. GNR is a victim of what's happened to all of todays music: we'll never have another beatles, stones, GNR, metallica, etc.. cuz great bands need great people working together on a common vision. nowadays, it's always one persons vision & key pieces to accent that. if the beatles started today it would be 4 different bands, cuz they all can write. no one wants to collaborate, cuz people are selfish & want the glory to themselves & don't want to admit that they need anybody. it's just evolution, it's not american idol's fault.

Q: Did being in Guns N' Roses open up new opportunities for you?

yes & no, yes i was in a popular band & people wanted to be associated with it. no, that i was just a rhythm guitarist.

Q: Have you ever come to terms with the song 'Since I Don't Have You' which you didn't like at the time of its release?

of course... i'ts a good song. i just didn't think it fit with the original idea of songs that influenced the band. it didn't rock.

Q: Do you keep in touch with any of your former Guns N' Roses colleagues or Izzy?

some... i see duff & his family a lot. i see & talk to matt. & i jam with dizzy every now & then.

Q: Have you seen Guns N' Roses live since you left the band and if so, what did you think?

no, i'm not making a statement, just haven't seen them.

Q: Were you surprised when Chinese Democracy saw the light of day and would you have liked to been part of it?

no, i knew it would come out eventually... & no, i think it's better i stayed out of it.

Q: If you were to offer any advise to Axl, what would that be?

not like he'd take my advice, but start over & call the band axl "fucking" rose & move on like everybody else did...

Q: I am hoping for GN'R's to still release their equivalent of Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours", you know, a new record with a new band incarnation playing new style of music (compared to their blues music with Peter Green, which was also great) which will be so great that people will stop comparing everything they do to the Appetite and Illusion era. Do you see it happen? Is Axl such a musical genius that he will be able to create an epic album that put all criticism to rest?

yes, but he would need to let his bandmates contribute & trust them.

Q: Some fans keep dreaming about a reunion with the classic lineup, perhaps with Matt if Steven is too unstable/alienated. Do you ever see that happen and would you accept if you were asked to join?

maybe, it's a great idea & while everybody's alive & can still play. yes, they should & i would if they asked.

Q: The 1992/1993 lineup of Guns N' Roses with you is considered one of the best the band ever had by many fans. Two brilliant guitarists and a competent drummer. Are you bitter that you never got to record another album with the band and leave an even stronger mark on the band's history?

i'm not bitter, but i thought we could still make some great music together. it's rare that 5 guys have the same musical vision & the chops to back it up.

Q: But that shared musical vision ended after the tour?

apparently while the tour was happening, i just didn't know it.

Q: You've said earlier that you, Slash and Matt were writing songs for a new record in 1994 but that Axl and Duff rejected them and wanted to take the band in another direction. Can you tell me what music you guys were working on? Was it the songs that would later end up on Slash' albums or were this songs that have never been released?

yes, it was what ended up being the snakepit record. not all the songs, but some. i thought the were good ideas that axl & duff could really help develop.

Q: Did they reject them because they wanted to create a different style of music or because they felt they just weren't good enough to be on a GN'R record?

i don't know, but assume not good enough. axl never personally said anything to me. slash told me axl, didn't like em.

Q: What musical direction exactly were Axl and Duff heading in?

i don't know, chinese democracy ?

Q: Being a bike fanatic, do you not get bored riding on those long straight American roads when you could come to Britain and ride on some fantastic country lanes, especially in Scotland where you have some very dedicated fans?

we do have some wonderful roads & scenery here in the states, but yes one of my dreams is to tour europe on a harley.

Q: You have a passion for the music of Marc Bolan and T. Rex. How did you first hear T.Rex, and how big an influence has Marc had on your playing?

i first heard TRex in the late 70's. i had an english girlfriend & she loved trex & the bay city rollers. i thought marc bolan did what i always wanted to do. great guitar songs with luscious melodies.

Q: What music do you currently listen to?

i still listen to the goodies, beatles, stones, bowie, etc... but i've been on a zz top kick lately.

Q: What do you enjoy the most, being in the studio or on stage?

i love connecting with an audience. watching people get off on great music & sharing a moment that will stay with them forever.

Q: Is your daughter still playing guitar and singing? Will you advise her to enter the world of rock and roll or music in general if she asks you?

yes, she play & sings... she's going to college next year & she may study music. whatever turns her on is ok with me...
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