Re: Slash, Canadian Radio, April 1995
April 20, 1995
by Kristy Knight
97.7 HTZ-FM. On the phone is one more time, it's Slash from Guns N' Roses and Slash's Snakepit. How you doin', homes?
I'm fine. What's happening?
Oh, same old...
My voice is sort of shot 'cause I've been singing a lot lately and I'm not used to it.
Well, it's early in the tour, huh?
Well, it's early in the tour. I just sing backups, but it's not the singing part, it's the yelling. You know, when you get orally excited, you just yell at the crowd or whatever. And I do it a little more now than I normally would do.
And so... I think it was... you know, the crowds get really excited and there's a mosh-pit going and all that kinda stuff. And so you just run up and yell into the microphone. Nothing in particular. But all of a sudden you wake up the next morning and you're like [makes a hoarse sound].
Way to go. Hey Slash, how long has it been since you played live?
Oh, I play live all the time.
But, as in on tour.
But as on tour? I think the Guns N' Roses tour ended... it's been about two years now.
And the tour was two and a half years long. Time goes by really quickly, 'cause it seems like yesterday when the tour ended. But obviously, a lot's going on. 'Cause when It's Five O'Clock Somewhere, which is the name of the record, when I finally finished the first demo, the last demo of material, it was the night of the LA earthquake in '94 and so we'd been off the road for probably about six months prior to that.
So, how's it been? I mean, your voice is all cracked out.
Oh yeah, I know. But I'm not the lead singer.
Is it good to be back on the road? Is it strange getting into the vibe of a new band.
No, not at all. That's how the whole band came together in the first place, was sort of naturally. We didn't have any intentions of, you know, inventing Snakepit. It wasn't like a pre-conceived idea. It was just something... a bunch of really close friends just hanging out and... You know how, like attorneys and managers and radio programmers, they go out and play golf?
Well, we would hang out and playing music. And all of a sudden I realized we had a great band. That was it.
Cool. So, you're saying it just kinda evolved?
Yeah, exactly. Sort of materialized.
So when did it hit you that: "Man, I got a band! I gotta do something with it"?
Umm, probably right after Mike Inez got involved.
And then, you know, once we'd sort of put down, maybe'¦ I'd say 13 or 14 songs, at home, at the studio at my house. I booked us into a professional studio and went there and whipped out these songs really quickly. 'Cause it was fun. We didn't worry about like, little mistakes, and over-production. It's just the band live.
And then... As well as that was going on, I thought: "Well, we should get a singer". You know, and although nobody was really taking it that seriously, in the back of my mind, I knew this was a lot of fun. You know, and that we should keep doing it.
So I found Eric after auditioning some 40... 40 fucking singers, I think it was. And Eric was number 41. And ironically enough, he turned out to... He was right around the corner. He was Gilby Clarke's drummer's singer.
It's a small musical community in LA that we live in. Anyway, but Adam Day, he's my guitar tech, took Eric up to the earthquake house where the studio still functions. The house itself is dysfunctional, but the studio still works.
And he took him there and gave him one out of three songs, which turned out to be "Beggars & Hangers-On". And he wrote all the lyrics and all that kinda stuff and I got the tape the next morning, and I was like: "Oh, this is great." And so we just went on to write the lyrics for the rest of the record. And once we got to that point, it was like: "Let's go touring. Do some clubs."
'Cause I can't get Guns to go back and play clubs. Duff would do it, but Axl won't. So this is like an outlet for me to go do, I don't know, what I initially when I started playing guitar and forming bands and stuff, what I started out to do in the first place.
So you got two guys gone now. You got Inez gone and Sorum gone. Why?
Well, if Sorum had stayed with me, it would have made the conflicts between Axl and me even worse, because I would have taken the drummer.
I knew that was gonna happen. I would have loved to take Matt out. But, you know, this whole tour thing and how long it's gonna go is sort of a thorn in Guns N' Roses's side, you know.
Well, just... I don't know.
I mean, he's doing some other stuff right now. He's working on some material. Why is it that you can't go out and maybe take Sorum and have some fun?
Well, 'cause... You know, he's not doing... At one point he said he was gonna a solo project, then he decided his soloproject he could do with Guns, which I was like, after doing all those videos and this and that and the other, I was like: "No". [laughs]
No, I don't wanna get involved in any kind of Stephanie Seymour ballads or any of that shit. I took off and then he threatened to sue me, because he wanted the material back that I'd written and already recorded.
Axl was gonna sue you?
This was... I shouldn't even be getting into this. It's not that big a deal. He just wanted these certain songs and he didn't like them at first. And this is way before Snakepit even became like, a reality. This is when I was just writing at home. And he didn't like them. So I was like: "Cool".
You know, it's sorta like old Guns stuff and then all of a sudden, after the album was finished, he goes: "Remember those tapes I have. You know, I want to...". He didn't know we'd finished the record. And he goes: "This song, this song, this song, this song and this song." And I went: "Dude, we finished it already. It's gone". And he goes: "You couldn't have done an album in two weeks." I said: "Oh yeah. I can". You can do that. And it turned into a big fight. Anyway, when I took off, we had an agreement, so we came to terms with the whole situation, but we did do some... like, off-the-wall kind of writing and recording and this and that and the other. And they're still trying to work on things, so if I'd taken Matt with me, that would have just been starting a fight, basically. Which I don't wanna do.
And then, of course, Mike's got and Alice In Chains record, which... I'm sure everybody out there who's listening wants to hear an Alice In Chains record.
At least I do. So that was one of those deals where he might come out to Japan. But, he really needs to finish that record and it's not getting along that quickly. You know, so he's doing that. So, I just got Zakk Wylde's rhythm section and we took off.
So, do you like the sound of those boys?
Do you like the sound of those boys?
Oh, they're great.
They fit in ok?
Yeah. I mean, you know, Mike and Matt are great friends of mine, so of course I miss them, but at the same time the band sounds fuckin' killer.
Cool. Let's take a break here and play some Snakepit and then we'll come back and talk a little more about... I wanna know where Duff is and just a little about Guns N' Roses, if you don't mind, Slash, cool?
All right. We'll be back with Slash.
Slash is on the phone right now with me, and he's playing the Warehouse tonight. Tickets still on sale, but get there early. They're 15 rock n' roll bucks. Is Snakepit a band that's gonna record again, or is this an off project?
No, what happened was that, once we did this one, we had such a good time doing it, that Eric and I went out and did a promo tour. 'Cause once it was finished, we didn't release it until February. So that was... I think we finished... let's see... July... June... I don't know.
We finished it about three months before it was released. Ok, so... I'm trying to backtrack, right. Anyway, so we finished it, we had nothing to do and the record company was like: "This is a cool record. Why don't you go out and promote it?" I was like: "What do you mean?" They said: "You could go to like, England, Japan and Australia. I was like: "Really? Get the fuck out of the house. Ok, let's go!"
So me and Eric went and we did acoustic songs. You know, like some of the versions of the songs acoustically, live. And it was great. So, in that process... We had the guitars, we started writing more material. And so now everybody's looking forward to just doing another Snakepit record, you know. On the side of whatever...
Like, I haven't quit Guns, Gilby's got his own band, Mike Inez obviously has Alice, Matt's in Guns. But we can sort of do this... It's sort of like a mistress band.
Yeah. Summertime vacation band.
Cool. Is Gilby with you now?
Yeah, I was just with him. We did an interview downstairs.
Is it difficult to be business partners? Like, we're talking about the Axl thing before, just briefly, but... Is it tough being a business partner and a friend at the same time? You know, when Gilby was fired, or quit, or whatever from Guns N' Roses.
When he got... When Gilby was sort of like... The whole Guns N' Roses situation with Gilby wasn't as cut and dry as it seems. He wasn't really fired officially. Axl just didn't wanna write with him. He never even got a chance to write with us.
And so, I told Gilby that that was going on. So he didn't hear it from somewhere else. Becuase if you know, in this business, leaks are like crazy. And it's just best to be upfront and honest about thing. So I told him what was going on.
Then he had words with Axl and then in turn he had words with Duff. And that sort of cemented the, you know, the relationship, the departure. Whatever you wanna call it.
Yeah, but you're stuck in-between now, aren't you? 'Cause you still got Gilby, and he's your pal and he's in your band.
See, we were always good friends. It had nothing to do with me. So, when we started working together again, it was like nothing had ever happened. Although there is some bitterness about the whole Guns situation, 'cause it didn't really make that much sense.
Right. Being as huge as Guns is, is it hard to play for them? I mean, does the pressure take away from the fun?
You know, I don't wanna make it sound like a negative... It is a pain in the ass sometimes. 'Cause the only real fun that you have, when you're on the road for the most part is, you know, the odd hang out here and there with the crew guys. And the two and a half hours that you play on stage. The rest of it is all bullshit.
Yeah. All of a sudden your love turns into a business.
Yeah, but there's... You know what? You can't complain about it. Because it's almost a small price, you know, to pay, for being able to what it is that you love to do. And you gotta deal with it, because the only way to actually succeed in this business is to deal with it.
What do you think about the Eddie Vedder situation? He made an unusual comment in a... He said: "As the crowds get bigger, I feel smaller." Can you relate to that?
That's a little, you know... I mean, I don't know Eddie so I'm not gonna say anything bad about him. But, I think people who start complaining... I mean, it's one thing to do exactly what it is you think is right. That's important.
But, to start whining about the whole thing... I mean, business is fucked anyway, you know that. Any business is a complicated issue. But, it's the vehicle that we use to be able to do what we do as musicians. You know... like in any business.
If you're a Chinese laundry man, you gotta deal with business. It's period. You gotta do it. You can try and change things, but you don't give it all up just because you finally get successful. That's stupid, you know.
Where did you learn to deal with all this stuff? Is it your Gunner experience, or is it the experience... I mean, you met a lot of artists as a kid.
I don't know.
I mean, you're a young man and the pressure is there, man. I mean, when you talk here, you're like "homeboy Slash". And then when you see a Gunner video, you're up on the amps and the spotlights on and the smoke's going all over the place, you're a monster. You're a giant. It must be hard to deal with, being a homeboy and being a giant at the same time.
No, 'cause we... I go out... Now, come on! You're putting me on the spot now...
Oh, I didn't mean to.
... 'cause I don't think like that at all. Let's see, when Guns goes out, I get to go up and we play. That's all I... that's what I get out of it. It's a cool band and, fuckin'... The band rocks and everything. I love all the guys in the band, so on and so forth. The crowd is great. The fans really like Guns N' Roses. They're really responsive and all that.
So, that's real simple stuff. That's like, real from the heart, kind of a... I don't know... A feeling that you get, by doing what it is that we do. So I don't look at myself from a perspective, like what you just said. [laughs] That's ridiculous.
And then, now when you're playing in clubs and you go up to the front of the stage and people are grabbing your shoe-laces, or pulling your jeans off and stuff, it's just like... I always thought that was just the relationship between the artist and the crowd. And everybody was just having a good time, you know.
Yeah, but you had to learn to deal with it sooner or later. It's amazing, 'cause I see one side of your brain going: "Ok, I understand the business part". And the other side of your brain is the creative one going: "Let's just rock!", you know. And it's rare!
The "let's just rock" part is the most important thing. And then... You know, but that's, that's like... that's when you're playing, you know. And then... Like, today I'm sitting here. It's a day off. It's the first one we've had in a week, but... I'm sitting my room, talking to you. ??? show, I can't tell you that. [laughs]
You can edit that, right?
Yeah, I can edit that one out.
Anyway, my answer for that would be, on the days that we do have, when you deal with business. It's fine.
You gotta have a little bit of integrity, as far as keeping... It can't all be fun n' games. You have to have a little bit of integrity, as far as keeping everything tied together and making sure everything move smoothly. And there has to be some discipline in there somewhere, there always has been.
Even... all the rumors that you've heard about Guns over the years and stuff like, you know... The stuff that that guy was saying that publication I was talking about earlier. You know, it's like, the fact that we actually do work to keep it all together. Nobody wants to seem to recognize.
They just look at us as a bunch of drunk drug addict musicians who just like, get on the bus with a bunch of chicks and that's our lifestyle. And there is an element in there where you really have to work. And if you talk to any musician on the street, he'll tell you that that's true.
Slash's Snakepit plays the Warehouse tonight. Tickets still available, but I guess you better get there fast. I appreciate your time today, sir.
I just called you sir! [laughs]
Don't call me... Anyway, but it is fun, though. Let me, just to close it out. When everything's going well and you're playing and all that kinda stuff, and everything's moving along, it is the most fun thing in the world I could possibly think of doing.
You live for it, man. That's why I like you.
All right. Slash, have a good time tonight. Have a good time while you're in Ontariariririo, Ok?
All right, buddy. Slash's Snakepit. 97.7 HTZ-FM.