"You’re going to have to prioritize staying clean over everything else." The vital advice Guns N' Roses legend Slash gave Lamb Of God's Mark Morton on kicking addiction

Mark Morton and Slash in separate interviews
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lamb Of God guitarist Mark Morton has revealed how a conversation with Guns N' Roses legend Slash helped him on his road to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Speaking in his new memoir Desolation, out now via Hachette Books, Morton explains that during one particular stint of sobriety, he ended up getting some sage advice from the GnR' man, who has been sober since 2006. 

"Awkward and uncomfortable results came with my new attempt at sobriety," he writes. "One of the most frightening was a strained and confused relationship with music. I was suddenly terrified to pick up a guitar. It had been many years since I created music sober. Drinking and drugging had been an ingrained part of my creative process, freeing me from the barriers of self-doubt and inhibition. Could I even do it without being fucked up on something? I tried picking up a guitar and riffing around, but everything felt empty and lame. What had once been a natural, free-flowing relationship between my instrument and me now felt stiff and unfamiliar. I asked around for some insight and help, as I had been advised to do in rehab. 

"A mutual friend put me in touch with Slash from Guns N’ Roses, who had gotten clean some years earlier. Slash graciously called me one afternoon and patiently listened to my tale of creative insecurity and fear. 'You’re putting too much pressure on yourself,' he told me sympathetically. 'It’s unrealistic for you to think that you can tap right back into your creative element so soon after the shock of getting clean. You’re learning a whole new way to live. You’re going to have to prioritize staying clean over everything else right now if you want it to stick.'"

While Slash's words didn't directly stop him from relapsing - Morton reveals in his book that he began using drugs again soon after their conversation - they clearly had a profound effect in the long run. 

"When I was trying to get sober and well before I was able to accomplish any kind of sustained sobriety or recovery, Slash was very helpful," Morton, who has been sober for five years now, tells Guns N' Roses-themed podcast Appetite For Distortion (as transcribed by Blabbermouth). "He was very compassionate, very kind and made himself available to me with some insight and perspective that he shared.

"I'm the kind of person that has to think something's cool to wanna pursue it, because, see, I have a low self-esteem, so I want you to think I'm cool," he adds. "'Cause I'm not sure that I am. So when something's cool, I'm gonna chase it 'cause I wanna be that. And people like Slash, who's cool and people that put themselves out there and shared their story and shared their experience made it look cool, made sobriety look cool to me. And I'm grateful for that. 'Cause that's part of what it took."

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.