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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.


2004.03.DD - Rock Hard Magazine (France) - Guns and Velvet (Slash)

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2004.03.DD - Rock Hard Magazine (France) - Guns and Velvet (Slash) Empty 2004.03.DD - Rock Hard Magazine (France) - Guns and Velvet (Slash)

Post by Blackstar Sat Aug 27, 2022 5:32 pm

Original text in French:


Hello, it's Olivier from Rock Hard France for the Velvet Revolver interview...

Hey, I'm Slash. Are you alone? There' s no publicist with you? Okay, well, let's go! I'll get a Guinness. Oh shit, that's right! They only have it in bottles, it's not as good.

Would you like us to go outside and have a smoke to start with the interview?

Well, I’ve quit smoking, go figure! My wife and I are expecting a second child and we both decided to quit. I was smoking three packs a day and one day I said to myself, "Give it up, dude, it's useless!!!" I went to a hypnotherapist and I stopped smoking after two sessions. The first one was pretty typical: projection of damaged lungs, statistics on how horrible smoking is - in short, the kind of stuff you can read every two weeks in the newspapers. The second time, I was hypnotized and I haven’t smoked for seven months. Okay, it sounds quite unbelievable, and I'm the first to admit it, but I swear it works. So you go have a smoke and come back to chat. I paid $350 for those two sessions. Now all my friends are asking me for this therapist's contact information.

This interview is a bit impromptu. I don't know your new album, only the single released on the soundtrack of The Hulk, "Set Me Free", because the French record company didn't want to - or was not in position to - let the record be heard by small media.

I don't understand record companies. We've been promoting Contraband for some time and nobody knows about the album. But BMG has had copies of the CD for a long time. It will be released on May 11th.

We know that the album has been ready for a long time. What is the reason for this delay in releasing it?

Let's just say that when we started working on this first Velvet Revolver album, we didn't plan, as a band, to finish it so quickly. We gave dates to our label people and, of course, when they saw that we had finished it earlier than expected, they were confused. For us it wasn't a problem: "Alright, you're not ready, we'll take our time". But oddly enough, they had this bunch of journalists from all over the world come in last month and the poor guys had to write about a band that wouldn't be active until four months later. I think we made a mistake at the beginning; we told the A&R people that this was a huge record for us. But they didn't understand that "huge" was from was an artistic perspective. They immediately thought about the marketing aspect and were caught off guard when we were ready. At the same time, there's no resentment on our part; we appreciate that our record label wants to make Velvet Revolver something really big. It's just that in terms of planning, both parties screwed up.

Do you have confidence in the potential of the record?

Have you listened to it?


Oh yeah, sorry, you just said that... Confident, I don't know if it's the right word. You told me that you listened to "Set Me Free", but the mix of The Hulk soundtrack didn't work for us. We had the opportunity to do it again and the version we like will be released on Contraband. The term confident is very ambiguous. Will Contraband blow up the charts? Will it redefine the rock standards of the 21st century? Will we sell 60 million albums? Will we reinvent the musical landscape? Pff... I don't know and, to tell you the truth, I don't care. I just know it's a fuckin' great record!

I’m sorry, but your answer is really phoned in. It's a band with some famous musicians. Their names are Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Scott Weiland...

I know what you mean, but I don't know what to say. It's a fucking killer sounding rock n' roll record with modern sounds that don't overpower our old school influences. As far as guitar is concerned, I really let myself go, I tried things that I never had the opportunity to try before. The chemistry between us is enormous and... I don't know what to say... I'm happy and proud of this record. But nothing compares to the anticipation I have about playing these new songs in front of an audience.

Weiland is a singer with lots of issues, everyone knows that. After your experience with Axl, what was it that prompted you to seek out a guy like him?

When this whole thing started, it was Duff and Matt and me. And honestly, Scott was the first singer I thought of. Duff agreed with me, which was kind of funny, because we didn't know him personally. We just thought he had a fucking great voice. We put the project together while he was still in Stone Temple Pilots. We just thought, "Fuck it, let's send him a tape and see what he thinks..," but, given the state of affairs at the time, we knew that nothing could come out of it. That's why we auditioned different singers. It lasted eight months and nothing substantial came up. At that point, we were asked to do The Hulk, but we didn't have a singer. Scott wasn't doing anything with Stone Temple Pilots anymore. So we asked him to come and jam in the studio with us just to record this track. And it was magic. I felt like I'd been playing with this guy for years. We gave him a tape with some riffs on it, and he took one or two of them, wrote some lyrics to them, sang them and wow! Damn, that was the real deal! A few days later, we played a show at a club in Los Angeles called the El Rey, as a way to consolidate the project, which at the time didn't include Scott, and we tore it up. I didn't know this guy, I had never seen him live. But what a kick-ass singer!!! We played six songs and I've never felt anything so strong. And I can guarantee it was unanimous, nobody had seen a band sound that good for years.

Sebastian Bach was the frontrunner for the job, though.

We auditioned countless singers and Sebastian was probably one of the most famous and popular. He kicks ass. He came to the rehearsals, he gave half of what he had in him, but he really killed it. Besides, I don't know if you know him, but he's an extravagant guy, completely crazy, full of energy - in short, he’s a killer frontman, the real deal. The problem is that aside from all these qualities, it just didn't work. It's hard to put into words, but Sebastian has such a charisma, such an aura, that he was eating away at the identity of the band. We enjoyed playing with him, the feeling was mutual, but there was a sense of shortfall on our side, as if his extravagant personality was going to devour the collective effort we were trying to put together.

Well, let's get to the root of the problem: Axl Rose is very difficult to deal with, so why would you choose Scott Weiland, who is just as difficult, in a different league, of course, but still...

So Axl is difficult to deal with? Thanks for letting me know! It's no secret that Axl is completely crazy. But was he willing [and motivated]? No. Scott is. He wants to work, he gives it his all. Sure, he's got problems, but who cares? We've all been there and dealt with those problems! Scott Weiland is a junkie? Okay, so what? We need him, he needs us, we're doing ourselves a favor by working together. We're behind him to get him through this and, honestly, I think we're the best advisors he can get. Do you think we are pointing the finger at him and blaming him for this or that behavior? Pfft... Duff, Matt and I have the right to put a guy with a drug problem on trial? Let's be serious! We’re trying to help him as best we can. We're not doctors, we're former patients.

Why did you decide to get together, Duff, Matt and you after all these years?

We didn't decide anything! Do you remember the death of Randy Castillo? He was a good fucking friend of ours and there was a concert here in L.A. at the Key Club in his memory, and as a way to raise money for his family and help pay for his cancer treatment before he passed away. Everyone was getting ready for the event and Matt called me and asked if I wanted to play with him. But we were like a couple of idiots, so we thought we'd call Duff. Okay, he was in Seattle, but it wasn't the kind of event he could stay away from. Then we called the singer of this band whose name I can't remember... Buckcherry. We rehearsed, we played, Steven Tyler showed up and we played a killer set. Then Duff, Matt and I went out for a drink and, after six or seven years, we thought the three of us were still doing it. So we made the decision to work together, but after three months it wasn't happening with the singer from Buckcherry. Nothing personal, really. It just wasn't clicking. But all three of us were into it, we felt the urge to work together.

Can we talk about Guns N' Roses?

Why are you asking this question?

Uh... we're lucky to be on our own. A lot of times publicists dictate things. I would imagine that in your case this person, who is fortunately not here, would have told me to avoid the subject.

I don't give a shit about Guns N' Roses! You can ask me all the questions about that, but I'm not sure I can satisfy your curiosity. For me, Gn'R is a thing of the past. I was part of a great rock n' roll band that is dead now. It is only normal that I get asked about it. Well, I understand the interest from the press: fuckin' Duff, fuckin' Matt and fuckin' Slash are all in Velvet Revolver... But there's really not much in common between the two bands. Dave Kushner plays guitar with us, Scott sings and he really brought something that makes us totally different from Gn'R.

You'd think that with Velvet Revolver everyone would be expecting the real Guns N' Roses.

I'm sorry, but we're going to disappoint all these people. There is nothing in what we do that is anywhere near Gn'R. What is clear is that there's no desire on either Duff's part or mine to resurrect Guns. We talked about it from the get-go: we hadn't played together for so long and Gn'R was already well behind us. We knew that there was going to be a lot of it anyway: "VR is the new Guns N' Roses". We wanted to get away from that trap as much as possible. I don't know, imagine you're working with a buddy and you lose touch with him. When you find him again, do you want to rehash the past? No, you can draw on that past, but you can't use it as a basis for a musical project. Velvet Revolver has absolutely nothing to do with Guns N' Roses. Axl didn't give up, he's still in the Gn'R trip. Not us.

You are aware that Gn'R is a trademark. The rock band of the 90s.

Well yeah, I think that's true! But honestly, do you think that back then, in our shitty rehearsal room, we were thinking about something like that? Did we think that we would create this monster? Never, not for a single moment... And neither did Axl, I can assure you! When Gn'R started, I was the youngest, the shyest, the quietest one, the guy in the corner, with no real ambitions. Do you think I ever imagined for a second what this band would become? But now I'm happy, because I'm not sure that people care about Gn'R as much as you do, but I'm acknowledged as a guitar player. I think I'm a bad guitarist. But some people think otherwise. It's a big sham that I'm happy with.

A few years ago I talked to the members of Insane Clown Posse. I asked them how they managed to get a riff and some Slash solos on their first album. They told me they paid you with a case of Jack Daniel's!

I like playing guitar, I can't help it. I get asked to play and if my schedule allows it, I go for it. It's not so much the case nowadays, because I get busier and busier. I'm not the "session player" that I used to be. I don't have the time anymore. And especially lately, I've been too busy with Velvet Revolver.

Let's face it, Snakepit was a big flop. How did it feel?

You're too harsh. The first album did pretty well. And I really enjoyed it because I had to get out of the Guns N' Roses machine. I was still part of Gn'R but I needed to breathe. On the other hand, I agree, the failure of the second Snakepit when I was no longer in Guns N' Roses was very hard to live with. I was besieged by all these people who saw this record as a stand-in for Gn'R, a way for me to capitalize on the band's demise. I found myself with a billion so-called managers trying to tell me what to do. Shit, it was just a fucking rock n' roll record and everyone was looking at it as the eighth wonder of the world! I really wasn't ready for this onslaught of corporate roaches! But that experience was a good thing for me: Geffen, my record label, was about to be bought out by Interscope on the back of Gn'R, which I was no longer a part of, and the industry wanted to grab Slash the [rock 'n' roll] monster, while in my mind I was still the same little guitar player I'd been fifteen years ago. The second Snakepit album is an album that I enjoy, it's a learning experience from a business perspective. I have no regrets other than having all these sharks around me. I'm much better now as far as business is concerned.

European dates for the Velvet Revolver tour have been recently announced. What's really going on?

I have to admit it's a bit of a mess. Scott's legal problems are hard to deal with and there have been dates posted on the internet that were just plans. The fact is that we're going to wait until Scott gets his shit together, and eventually he will, before we commit to a real tour. Scott is currently doing everything he can to deal with it, and he's getting there. But he is a victim of this typically American legal relentlessness that is keeping us from moving forward. He's in rehab, he's clean, and he was supposed to get out last month, but for some reason his sentence was extended. We're waiting for his next court appearance. Everyone is waiting for him to appear in court, because this case has been blown out of proportion.

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