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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.


1993.04.27 - Mexican TV - Interview with Matt

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1993.04.27 - Mexican TV - Interview with Matt Empty 1993.04.27 - Mexican TV - Interview with Matt

Post by Blackstar Mon Feb 28, 2022 7:50 am


Interviewer: Matt, I know you started in The Cult back in 1989 with Ian Astbury. When you entered Guns N’ Roses in August 1990, did you think… what did this represent for you?

Matt: Well, it was just a much bigger band, I guess. You know, my first show with Guns N’ Roses was in Rock in Rio, Brazil, about 140,000 people.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Matt: So that was a little bit different (laughs).

Interviewer: Actually, I’m sorry to correct you, there were 260,000 people in Brazil.

Matt: Oh my… (laughs).

Interviewer: I was going to ask you, that was my next question. Were you nervous in that?

Matt: Yeah, it was 260,000 because we played two shows.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Matt: But yeah, it was my first show with Axl singing – because he doesn’t like to rehearse. So, you know, I met him basically at the show and said, “Hi, how are you doing?” and we came on and played the show. And yeah, I was nervous, to be honest with you (laughs).

Interviewer: From back then in January 1991 until now, how do you think the group has evolved, musically speaking?

Matt: Well, we’ve been on tour now for two years. We’ve played Japan twice, Australia, Europe three times, the United States… So I think the band has gotten a lot tighter.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Matt: And the tour we’re doing now is called Skin N’ Bones, because before we did the stadium tour and we had horn players and background singers, and we’ve stripped all that down and now it’s six guys in the band, Dizzy, Gilby, Slash, Axl, Duff and myself.

Interviewer: Talking a little bit about that, you didn’t have time to rest between tours, it was just like you finished last tour and then started the Skin N’ Bones tour? Does this affect you musically?

Matt: No, just on tiredness, mainly (laughs). We don’t get much sleep. But no, it wasn’t hard to do. We rehearsed about three days and we changed all the songs from the last time we were in Mexico, when we played Mexico City. We’ve got a much different set now. We do an acoustic set in about the middle of the show, and we do a lot of stuff off the Lies record and a lot of older material, and then we do some different stuff off Use Your Illusion I and II.

Interviewer: How did you feel the first time you played in Mexico? What were your… did you think “Oh, come on, not Mexico” or you were, like, willing to do a Mexico thing? And that was, like, a year ago, and now why did you decide to return? Just a couple of questions here.

Matt: We love Mexico. I mean, the first time we played Mexico City, the fans were incredible and that’s the reason we came back. You know, we get chased down the street and we get mobbed, and it’s like, for us in the States that doesn’t really happen much – you know, there’s fans, but they’re not as passionate. And, you know, when we played South America, the same thing - basically, any Latin country that we played I think are some of the best crowds that we’ve ever played to. The two shows we did in Mexico City, I could say that those are probably two of the best that we’ve ever done.

Interviewer: That was what I was going to ask you then, but thank you for telling me.

Matt: That’s not any, you know… that’s the truth. I mean it. And the people were so incredible. You know, they sang every lyric… And Guadalajara also, that was really cool.

Interviewer: Well, I can bet my life on that Monterey is going to really astone you, because we are more cultural… musically speaking, of course, you have a lot of fans here. November Rain is probably one of the most requested songs here in Monterey. And I just wanted to ask you, a lot of the songs Guns N’ Roses write, they… was November Rain written especially for somebody?

Matt: Um, you have to ask Axl that one (laughs). That song was written a long time ago, before I was in the band, way back before Appetite for Destruction came out. It was a demo that we had laying around - and it was actually on a bootleg and you could get it, you know, out from bootleggers and things like that – and we decided to put music to it in the band. So we recorded it live in the studio and yeah, it came out. You know, I thought for when we first wrote it, it was kind of different for the band.

Interviewer: Yes.

Matt: You know, piano and all that. And it just became this big song, and, you know, there you go.

Interviewer: You won an MTV award for that video, November Rain. One question: do you know why does the girl die in the video?

Matt: (Laughs) That’s another one you’d have to ask Axl.

Interviewer: (Laughs) And there was this mention, I think it was in that ceremony, that you said, “This has nothing to do with Michael Jackson.” What was that about?

Matt: Well, the award we received was called the Video Vanguard Award – it’s for video achievement over a certain amount of years – and Michael Jackson got the award first, and then last year I don’t know who they gave it to, U2 or somebody. And we thought that the award really didn’t have anything to do with Michael Jackson. It’s a long, complicated story.

Interviewer: Okay.

Matt: But we wanted just to receive an award that said, “Okay, this is your Video Vanguard Award.” Why does Michael Jackson have to be on it? We have nothing to do with Michael Jackson (laughs).

Interviewer: Okay.

Matt: That’s basically it.

Interviewer: Oh, so the award said “Michael Jackson.”

Matt: Yeah, “The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.”

Interviewer: Oh! I got it. Okay. And Slash did some collaborations with Michael in the Black and White thing – you know, in the video. Do you think-

Matt: He’s the only one that has anything to do with Michael Jackson (laughs). Not the rest of us.

Interviewer: Okay. So do you think pop and heavy metal, this kind of music, can they merge together? Can they be together? Do you think, in the long run, pop music or heavy metal are gonna be like the same in the mainstream charts?

Matt: I hope not (laughs).

Interviewer: Really?

Matt: No, I think Slash just likes to play his guitar. You know, he’s constantly got it in his hand and he’s really serious about his guitar, and if he’s not busy and Michael Jackson is playing, he’ll go play with him.

Interviewer: Oh.

Matt: And he’s played with Bob Dylan and…

Interviewer: Yeah, Lenny Kravitz…

Matt: Lenny Kravitz… You know, he’ll get up and jam with people. I think it’s just about that he likes to play his guitar. It’s not about he’s trying to mesh with some pop guy like Michael Jackson now.

Interviewer: Oh.

Matt: Michael asked him, and basically begged Slash to play with him. You know, he called, [does Michael Jackson impression] “Hey Slash, will you please play?” (laughs).

Interviewer: (Laughs) Okay.

Matt: You know, so he said finally, “Okay, I’ll do it.” That’s the kind of person Slash is. He’s a really good-hearted person, and he finally gave in and went to play with Michael. And I guess he had a great time.

Interviewer: Have you collaborated in other things outside Guns N’ Roses?

Matt: Yeah, I’m getting into producing. I’m looking for bands to produce and as I tour the world, you know. I’m gonna do that later after the tour is over, and maybe do some other people’s records, and things like that.

Interviewer: Do you think the group, its longevity, has something to do with them staying together, or do you think in the long run the group is gonna break apart because Slash is doing things, you’re doing things, Axl is doing another thing? Do you think this is gonna affect the group, that you’re playing other gigs?

Matt: No, I think it keeps it fresh. Like, Duff did his own solo record, which will be out as soon as the tour is over. And Duff might even go out and do his own tour. But that’s okay, because, if you look at any major rock ‘n’ roll band like the Stones, you know, there was always a Keith Richards record or a Ronnie Wood record or a Mick Jagger record, and finally they’d broken up after what, 35 years or whatever. I think Axl has even talked about doing a solo record; he wants it because he likes all electronic keyboards and things like that. It’s just a way for us to do something separate from Guns N’ Roses, because once we get together, it’s the Guns N’ Roses sound, you know, just however that works. And to be able to go off and do something on your own, it could be just your vision. So I think it’s okay, it’s okay to do that. It’s fresh.

Interviewer: What would you think is the secret behind Guns N’ Roses? That’s a hard question, I know, but…

Matt: There is no secret. When I went in and recorded the Use Your Illusion I and II records, I had no idea what it was gonna be. You know, it was just all these songs we had. We recorded so many songs that I was like, “What are we doing here?” We recorded something like 37 songs for Use Your Illusion I and II, and I thought originally that it was just gonna be broken down to, like, 10 songs and be one record (laughs). But Axl came in one day and said, “Let’s make this two records” and we were all like, “What?” – that, you know, he was nuts. And then it worked and it just… however happens, you know. There’s so many different styles of music on that record, too.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Matt: We have stuff all the way from, like, November Rain to Perfect Crime, all the way to heavy metal to the most mellow ballad. But I think it was more of an experimentation than anything. I think the next time we go to do a record, we’re gonna do one record (laughs) and it’s just gonna be straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll, and that’s pretty much our plan.

Interviewer: I was going to ask you a little bit about that. Have you collaborated – have you written songs for the group?

Matt: Well, what we’re doing now, as what we’re writing now, is we’ll be on soundcheck or something, someone will play a riff and we’ll just kind of go along and we’ll all play a beat. It just kind of happens like that – you know, one person picks up on the next person and we all just all of a sudden are having a groove and that’s part of a song.

Interviewer: Oh.

Matt: And then we just kind of piece these things together, and Axl comes down with a piece of paper, writes down the lyrics, and there you have it.

Interviewer: Okay.

Matt: It’s not that complicated. But, you know, it just works for us. That’s the way we work.

Interviewer: Do you have, like, training? You were a professional trained drummer? Or did you start by yourself?

Matt: Well, yeah, I studied in school and I had teachers, and stuff like that. But, basically, I learned how to play rock ‘n’ roll drums by having bands – you know, I always had a band from when I was 12 years old, I was with a band, and that was the only way for me to really learn how to play rock ‘n’ roll. I listened to a lot of records, like Led Zeppelin and, you know, everybody that was in the 70s and stuff. So that’s kind of what I learned from Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, and all the great rock ‘n’ roll bands, Queen…

Interviewer: Okay. Besides yourself, who do you think is the best drummer out there?

Matt: (Laughs) Hmm… The best drummer out there…

Interviewer: Dave Weckl?

Matt: Dave Weckl (laughs).

Interviewer: Neil Peart…

Matt: (Laughs) Hmm. You know, there’s a lot of good drummers out there. I really like Matt Cameron from Soundgarden, he’s great. And I’m still a big fan of the old school guys, John Bonham, Keith Moon, you know…

Interviewer: Yes.

Matt: Ginger Baker, all those guys… Um, I couldn’t really say (laughs).

Interviewer: Okay. And I’m talking a little bit about older people, but we learn a lot from them. Is it true you all asked Brian May as an opening act?

Matt: Yeah, we did. We went and did the Freddie Mercury tribute – it must have been about a year ago, I guess – and that was, for me, one of probably the best gigs I’ve ever done that I’ll remember in my career, I mean, playing and hanging out with David Bowie, and Robert Plant, and all these people. And just Axl became really good friends with Brian and we talked a lot, and we were really big fans of Queen anyway. And when we already had a record out, we said, “Hey, why don’t you come along with us.” Because we sit around all the time and we try to think who’s gonna open, “Who’s gonna open?” because there’s so many bands that some of them won’t open for us (laughs). And then there’s some that are busy or whatever, and Brian happened to be available, so he said yeah.

Interviewer: Okay, so when is he gonna start?

Matt: Well, he’ll be in the United States with us and he’s gonna do Europe with us again.

Interviewer: Okay. When you finish your concerts here and the U.S. on the 6th of May, are you planning to go back to the studio? Do you have any plans for a new record?

Matt: Well, we’re gonna go home and, like, sleep in our beds for a couple of weeks. Then we’re gonna go out to Europe for two months and then, after that, we’re all probably gonna just disappear for maybe a while (laughs).

Interviewer: Okay.

Matt: And then start on another record.

Interviewer: Okay. So can you give us, like, an approximate…

Matt: I could say, approximately, in fall we’ll start.

Interviewer: Okay. And do you have, besides that, for, like, a film with Guns N’ Roses or something?

Matt: (To someone) Can I say that? (laughs) Yeah, I think I can. Yeah, we are. We’re doing a documentary movie. We’ve had a film crew with us for well over a year now.

Interviewer: You brought it here in Monterey?

Matt: They’re here, yeah. They follow us around and there’s a guy with a… you know, one of those.

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Matt: One of those (laughs). And we basically film whatever is going on backstage and who’s around or whatever, and, you know, just anything. And then we’ll wag it all together and you’ll have it turned into something.

Interviewer: I hope we get to be on that film.

Matt: (Laughs).

Interviewer: Monterey, I can bet it’s going to be one of your best concerts here. Is there anything you would like to say to people in Monterey?

Matt: Just come out and have a good time, you know, and just be safe and all that kind of stuff.

Interviewer: Remember, in the beginning there was nothing. And now we have Guns N’ Roses. Thank you very much.

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