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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.


2022.04.02 - NPR's 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me' - Interview with Slash

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2022.04.02 - NPR's 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me' - Interview with Slash Empty 2022.04.02 - NPR's 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me' - Interview with Slash

Post by Blackstar Mon Apr 04, 2022 2:36 am

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. Need a little color in your life? I'm Roy G. Bill - Bill Kurtis. And here's your host, 2022's most searched name on Google when Peter Sagal is doing the searching. It's Peter Sagal.


PETER SAGAL, HOST: Thank you, Bill. Thanks once again to our fake audience. Later on, we're going to be talking to the legendary rock guitarist Slash. We'll ask him about the burden of being confused constantly for a punctuation mark. You know, as in, I love everybody in Guns N' Roses - Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin.



SAGAL: And now the game where rock gods deign to spend a little time with us mere mortals. Even though his very first instrument was a one-string flamenco guitar given to him by his grandma, Slash still managed to become what many believe to be one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. He's got a new album out with his group, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. Slash, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!


SLASH: Hi (laughter).

SAGAL: Hi. How are you?

SLASH: I'm good.

SAGAL: I'm glad to hear it. I got to ask, though, about that thing that we heard. Your first guitar was a one-string flamenco guitar?

SLASH: Yeah, it's sort of a long story. Like, it was an acoustic guitar that was buried in one of the closets in my grandmother's apartment. And I knew absolutely nothing about guitar, so I started learning songs on the one-string.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

SLASH: And I learned "Dazed And Confused," and then I learned a couple UFO songs. And there was an Aerosmith song (unintelligible). Whatever I could learn on one-string, I started to do it.

SAGAL: So (laughter) when did you finally find out that guitars had more than one string?

SLASH: Well, I mean, I knew there was more strings. I - there was a local music school. The teacher over there, his name was Robert Wolin - still to this day, one of the best guitar players I ever heard play. But anyway, so he taught me how to put the other five strings on.

SAGAL: Oh, OK. He actually, like, said...


SAGAL: ...Oh, you know, these go here, Slash.

SLASH: Yeah, I mean, you know.

SAGAL: OK. I learned a lot of things about you this week I didn't know - for one thing, that your parents, both of them, were, broadly speaking, in show business. Your mother was a costume designer, right? And she worked with some really cool people.

SLASH: Yeah.

SAGAL: Like David Bowie, she designed for?

SLASH: My mom was a clothing designer basically. And so she did a lot of musicians in the '60s and '70s into the '80s. And then my dad designed album covers, and he worked for Asylum Records, which was David Geffen's first real record company.

SAGAL: Wow. So you grew up around these amazing musicians. Did that...

SLASH: In Laurel Canyon, no less.

SAGAL: Of course.

PAPA: Wow.


SLASH: So it was a really great, great...

SAGAL: So, like, you'd come home from school and wave to Joni Mitchell up on her balcony, that sort of thing?

SLASH: No, we - my dad did her album covers, and Joni was, like, a family friend.

HIGGINS: That is so cool.

SLASH: And my mom did her clothes, and I went to Joni's sessions and all kinds of stuff.

SAGAL: Did you ever - did your mother ever, like, design one of your onstage costumes 'cause that would make her, I imagine, very proud?

SLASH: Actually, no, she did make me one of the best pairs of leather pants I ever had, which - they were really, really cool. And there's a lot of pictures out there for me back in the day wearing them.

SAGAL: Yeah?

SLASH: And I wish I still had them, but I traded them with this guy...


SLASH: ...For stuff.


SLASH: I guess it's ridiculous, you know?

SAGAL: What? You traded away...

PAPA: Traded it for - traded it (laughter)...

SAGAL: ...The leather pants your mom made you?

PAPA: Yeah, but he got a hat out of it.

SLASH: And, you know, that's what happens, kids, you know?


PAPA: Trading it for a hat.

SAGAL: I mean, I've heard stories about hitting bottom, but that's a new one.

SLASH: Just say no to drugs.


SAGAL: It's like, hi, I'm Slash, and I knew I was in trouble when I traded away my leather pants...

ALONZO: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...That my mom made me. We got to ask - if we're talking costume, we got to ask about the hat, which is - has become your trademark. You - I've heard you made that hat, or you designed it.

SLASH: Well, I just - I - back in the day, you know, Guns, I think, was playing at the Whisky in, like, 1985, right? And I always wore hats, you know? I was always - like, that was always the complete thing, to have a - you know, a lid of some sort. And so we were playing the show at the Whisky, and I don't have any money or anything. So I went down to Melrose...

SAGAL: Yeah.

SLASH: ...And went into this store and saw that top hat. And I thought, that's cool, you know? And it was really crowded in there, and I just picked it up and walked out. And then I went next door, and I found a Concho belt in there, grabbed that. And then I went back to the apartment where Axl and I were staying, and I put the Concho belt - cut it up and put it around the hat and wore it that night.


SLASH: And it just became a thing, you know? It became, like, almost like my alter ego where I could, like, hide in that thing, (laughter) you know?

SAGAL: Yeah. I mean, it's...


SAGAL: It's kind of amazing but kind of cool that, like, the single, most-famous piece of headwear in rock and roll was stolen 'cause, of course, that's more rock and roll than, like, you know, buying it at Target, I guess.

SLASH: Yeah, well, I - yeah. I don't think we had Target back then.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know.


SAGAL: You know, one of the things I'm curious about is - you and your band became so iconic. I just can't - I don't know - I can't imagine what it's like. Like, if you ever walk into, like, a music store, do you know that some idiot is going to be in the corner just butchering...

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: One of your songs on a (laughter) - you know?


SAGAL: Or have you...

SLASH: You know, I've...

SAGAL: Go on.

SLASH: It's funny, though, 'cause I used to work at a music store at one time, and so I do know what that's like, for other - to have guys come in, sit down on an amp and plug in and play any number of Zeppelin or Van Halen songs (laughter). So I've been through that.

SAGAL: Right.

SLASH: But I don't - I've never actually seen anybody play a Guns N' Roses song in a music store myself personally. But I've heard that that happens.

SAGAL: I'm sure it does.


SAGAL: And have you ever been, like, in a Whole Foods and realized that the instrumental music is "Sweet Child O' Mine"?


SLASH: That happens a lot. There is a lot of...

SAGAL: Really?

SLASH: Yeah - Muzak versions of songs - of our songs.

ALONZO: (Laughter).

SLASH: But yeah, I've heard it in different places, and it takes you about five seconds to recognize what it is.

SAGAL: Yeah?


SAGAL: We understand you have some enthusiasms outside of music. One of them is the game Angry Birds?

SLASH: Oh, God. Where did you hear that? That was from years ago. When Angry Birds first came out...

SAGAL: Yeah?

SLASH: ...I thought, this is the [expletive] greatest game.

PAPA: (Laughter).

SLASH: And I did - I got involved with them. I actually recorded some music for them. And I used to go out to Finland and hang out at Angry Birds.


SLASH: Well, it was just sort of a fun thing that was happening, and...

ALONZO: (Laughter).

SAGAL: I'm just going to assume - I don't know much about the rock and roll lifestyle, but you can pretty much do anything you want. And you're like, there's this game in my phone where you throw birds at pigs, and I want to hang out with the guys who do that.

SLASH: Well, I thought the idea and the graphics were really, really original and great. And so the fact that they were in Finland, which is where we were playing, I had to go check it out, yeah. And...

SAGAL: Oh, sure. Well, if you're in Finland anyway, absolutely. Are there any games - as you say, that was a little while ago, Angry Birds' heyday. Are there any games you're really into now?

SLASH: No, no. I just...

SAGAL: No? You're over that?

SLASH: It was Angry Birds, and then I sort of - you know, that went away. And I just got sick of being addicted to my phone.

SAGAL: Sure.

SLASH: (Laughter).

ALONZO: Once you're angry at the birds...

SAGAL: Yeah.

ALONZO: ...That's when it's time to stop.


SAGAL: Right. Yeah. Hey, this is great, but we have business to do. Slash, we have invited you here to this time play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: (Singing) Here she is, Miss America.


SAGAL: What do you ask Slash about? Well, obviously, sashes - namely, the sashes...


SAGAL: ...Worn by beauty queens. We're going to ask you three questions about beauty pageants of various kinds. Get two right, you'll win the prize for one of our listeners, the voice of anyone they may choose from our show on their voicemail.

Bill, who is Slash playing for?

KURTIS: Matt Herman (ph) of Los Angeles, Calif.

SAGAL: All right. Here's your first question. Winners of the Miss South Carolina beauty pageant back in the '50s and '60s, in addition to the sash and the crown, also often won the privilege of doing what? - A, serving as governor for any one day of their choosing during their year-long reign, B, getting to walk on the grass anywhere, even if the sign says stay off the grass or, C, getting to marry Senator Strom Thurmond.

SLASH: The only one that sounds even realistic is the first one. I mean, 'cause - I mean, I'd feel sorry for the grass if it - you know. And marrying a senator - that's just not happening. That couldn't be right.


SLASH: ...Except for in South Carolina.

SAGAL: Yeah.

SLASH: So that's probably the right answer.


SAGAL: When in fact it is the right answer.


SLASH: Yeah.


SAGAL: Strom Thurmond married two different Miss South Carolinas in his lengthy career, each when they were...

SLASH: Oh, so that's a joke. OK. I get it.

SAGAL: No, it's - yeah, it's - but it did happen. Strom Thurmond married two different Miss South Carolinas, who were both 22 years old at the time. And he did that 20 years apart. He was...

PAPA: Whoa.

SAGAL: He got around, ole Strom. All right. If you're not into Miss America, there are other titles a pageant contestant can vie for, including which of these - A, Miss Neurotoxin, B, America's greatest cyber ninja, or C, the armpit queen?

SLASH: And this is a real thing you're asking.

SAGAL: Real thing. One of these things, only one, actually happens every year.

SLASH: I have to go with the cyber ninja.

SAGAL: The America's greatest cyber ninja.

SLASH: I don't know what the [expletive] I'm doing. I'm just saying.


SAGAL: Slash, neither do we. And yet here we are.

SLASH: It just was the coolest name. I mean, the neurotoxin one was pretty cool. But cyber ninjas is pretty cool. So...

SLASH: Yeah, I know. It is a cool name. I'm just going to sound like - Cristela, you're the super fan here. Do you want to help him out, if you can?

ALONZO: I don't know.

SLASH: Yeah. So then I have to go for the first one, because if it's the armpit thing, I'm just - I'm not playing anymore.


SAGAL: Well, Slash, it's been great having you on the show because it is, in fact, the armpit queen.

SLASH: Yeah.

SAGAL: There's a town called Battle Mountain, Nev. And it was named The Armpit of America by Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post officially, so they decided to embrace it. All right. People sometimes criticize pageants, beauty pageants for just encouraging women to care about their looks. Well, in Venezuela, they kind of embraced that. They hold an annual pageant to honor what? A, the best plastic surgery, B, the most attractive Barbie doll, or C, the blondest blonde.

SLASH: Most attractive Barbie doll.

SAGAL: You're right. You nailed it.


SAGAL: Did you do it by reverse psychology, thinking of what it can't be?


SAGAL: It is true. They have a Miss Barbie doll contest. People dress up their Barbie dolls they have at a very tiny stage in Caracas, Venezuela, every year. Bill, how did Slash do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Got two out of three, so he is a winner. Squeeze one in.


SAGAL: Absolutely. That's Bill. He decides. You win. Congratulations.


SAGAL: Slash's latest album is "4." Slash, thank you so much for joining us. You thrilled us all by sharing some time. Thank you, man.

SLASH: It's been really fun and different talking to you guys.

SAGAL: Take care.


PAPA: Bye.

SLASH: Bye. Have a good one, you guys. Cheers.


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