The Gospel According To Slash

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Back in Metal Hammer issue 231, Slash gave us the gospel: his view on everything from starting Guns N' Roses to playing at the Superbowl. The guitarist, whose World On Fire album is to be released as a Classic Rock fanpack (for details, see the foot of the page), starts off by explaining...

SEX AND DRUGS AND ROCK’N’ROLL GO TOGETHER…

…because they always have. For some reason, girls are attracted to guys playing rock’n’roll. Which is great, because everybody wants to take advantage of that opportunity, from the band side of view. As far as drugs are concerned, they play a lot of different roles. But one of them is to mask the insecurity of being put on a pedestal like that, and having to deal with the pressures of pretending that you’re not this insecure, fucked-up individual. It masks a lot of things, and it also kills the boredom between gigs. Having said that, there’s an amazing number of great albums that were made by people on drugs. There’s a period during all that abusive activity where there’s an uninhibited freedom that musicians get, alleviating some of the pressures of reality, being able to just carry on in their almost fantastical kind of way. There’s a lot to be said for that and I can appreciate how that all works. Then of course it all burns out, which is the sad part of it. At first you think you’ll never write again but it comes, because that’s your talent. That’s something that is part of you, though I do think it is possible to carry on taking drugs and at such a pace that you can’t come out of it, even when you stop. Or you can’t gather all your faculties and get your head back together, and check out what your original purpose was. Fortunately that didn’t happen to me; I got out of it just soon enough. Leading your own band is different from just being the guitar player because there are a lot of things I want to do and a lot of ways that I see how to do things, that I can just follow my own lead and I don’t have to answer to, or negotiate with, anybody. I can just do as I see fit. That’s one of the biggest freedoms about doing your own thing.

Sweet Child O’Mine

**WHEN WE STARTED GUNS N’ ROSES I THOUGHT… **

…it would be a sort of cool, you know, underground, cult, hard rock band that had a certain amount of followers and steadily stayed at that level indefinitely. I certainly never saw it becoming as big as it did. It never even occurred to me.

November Rain

FIRST TIME I HEARD CHINESE DEMOCRACY

…I thought it was the Axl record I could tell he wanted to make from way before I left. So I thought it was the perfect Axl Rose record statement, sort of thing. If it had been released as the Axl Rose solo record I think everybody would have gone ’Wow’.I’m sure it was debatable in his camp as well, as to how he was going to continue on after the original band was all completely gone, you know? But he chose to go the way that he did. But, you know, to each his own. I think when I sort of gave up the name I gave up any interest in… just… subjects like that, you know?

WHEN I LEFT GN’R, I DIDN’T REALLY THINK…

…at all about what kind of a band it would be now. I just sort of left and left it all behind me. I didn’t feel like it was the end of the band or anything like that. In essence, I didn’t necessarily leave, if you know what I mean. I just didn’t carry on with it any more. There’s a difference.

**THE THING THEY DIDN’T TELL YOU ABOUT BECOMING FAMOUS IS… **

…pretty much everything. It was different then. Nowadays they make such a huge deal out of being famous and everybody wants to be it. So I don’t think there’s anything about being famous that they haven’t covered at this point.

Set Me Free

I KNEW VELVET REVOLVER WOULD WORK…

…when we were writing the first record. There were a couple of songs that I thought were really effective and I knew that they were gonna hit a nerve. If it hits a nerve with me, I think I’m usually a good judge of what is effective musically. And I knew there were a couple of tracks in there that were really cool, like Slither and Fall To Pieces. Set Me Free was cool too, plus another song that I can’t fucking remember the name of right now. But yeah, there was a handful of songs that I thought were really cool and unique. I didn’t know it would be big. I didn’t really get that kind of perspective early on. I never look at it from that angle. It was big before I knew it was gonna be big.

I KNEW VELVET REVOLVER WAS OVER WHEN…

… we cancelled Australia for the second time in the dressing room of the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. I knew that was it. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We managed to carry on and do a UK tour, which is probably infamous at this point. But we all knew – at least the four of us besides Scott – t was over before that tour even started. We were just fulfilling our commitments. Scott didn’t have anything to do with that, Scott didn’t know that, but the rest of us did. But as a group Velvet Revolver is not over. All it’s gonna take for us to get started again is for the right guy to come along and set that spark alight, you know? It just hasn’t happened yet. A lot of people [in the band] don’t want to wait around for that to happen, which I don’t expect anybody to. But when it happens, all of a sudden it’ll be like, ‘OK, we’ll put some music together’, and it’ll comes out and everyboyd we be like, ‘OK, that’s interesting. That’s that band, remember those guys?’.

Starlight

**THE FIRST TIME I MET MYLES KENNEDY I THOUGHT… **

…he was just an extremely pleasant unassuming individual and a fucking from on-high vocal talent. It’s very hard to find a frontman who is not only talented but fits right in. And is such a good guy, you know? So, there was definitely a feeling that, after years and years of chaotic stuff [with singers], I really began to think it was totally the norm. So, when Myles and I first started working together, I thought of him as some kind of a Godsend. Like, I paid my dues finally. I thought I paid them a long time ago, but I guess I had a few more to pay over the years. But you know it really was an experience as well with the other guys in my solo band, Brent [Fitz] and Todd [Kerns], and doing the whole world tour together. And then making the new record [Apocalyptic Love] together.I thought, ‘Well, it makes sense that it won’t be as difficult as it has been in the past. Because everybody wants to play and just get on with things. And we’re not dwelling on unnecessary bullshit all the time’. And I thought, ‘Maybe this is my comuppance for all the stuff I’ve dealt with over the years’. So, that’s how I’ve taken it.

The Making Of Apocalyptic Love

THE FIRST TIME I LISTENED BACK TO THE APOCALYPTIC LOVE ALBUM…

…I can’t remember what I thought, because I’ve been listening to it on a regular basis all the while it’s being made. Lately I’ve been there while we’ve been mixing it and… well, I don’t even like answering questions like that, about what I think of it. I don’t like to pat myself on the back or tell people whether I think something I did is really good or whatever. I just sort of leave it for them to decide. But I’m really, really happy with how it came out, and everything that’s on there, I’m quite proud of it at this point. A person always knows in their heart when they’ve done good work or when they could have done better, and I’ve really laid it on the line with this one and I’m enjoying the whole process. It’s not like having to grit my teeth and push on through it. It’s really been a pleasant experience, all throughout.

PERFORMING AT THE SUPERBOWL IN 2011…

…an experience! That was the biggest production I’ve ever been involved with. The excitement and energy that was flowing through the building was palpable. It was very intense. And it was cool. I was glad to have done it. It was a little outside of my comfort zone, but it’s important sometimes to get outside your comfort zone. It’s risky but I do it a lot. Some of it is just to see what’s on the other side, but I try to do everything within the realm of what I would consider cool.

Slash At The Superbowl.

Slash answers your questions here.

Slash’s third solo album World On Fire will be released as a Classic Rock Fanpack on September 15 – a full four weeks ahead of its regular release date. The pack includes a metal pin badge, 116-page magazine including exclusive interviews and track-by-track breakdown. Those who pre-order before August 11 will also receive a personalised giant poster. Find out more.