Re: Slash On The Line: A Report From the Road (Metal Edge, 10/95)
Slash On The Line: A Report From the Road
[An Interview with Mr.Slash]
by: Gerri Miller
Just as his band Snakepit's U.S. tour, capped by two shows with Van Halen, ended and before taking off for an international swing through Japan, Europe, South America, and Australia in continuing support of It's Five O'Clock Somewhere, Slash took the time out to call in with the following road report.
G: How's it going? Any funny or memorable road stories to tell?
S: The whole thing has been pretty memorable. You know me, there's only so much that I'll tell you. It's really been a workhorse thing. We've been playing every single night, we only take one day off and it's a travel day.
G: Which have been the best crowds?
S: The New York gig was cool, L.A. was cool. The crowd in L.A. usually leaves a little to be desired but it was good for L.A. It was an accomplishment as far as I'm concerned 'cause nobody in L.A. has ever seen us before. Everything has been awesome. Toronto was killer, Vancouver was killer, Memphis was the first gig we started the tour on, and that was great. Boston was awesome.
G: No Spinal Tap-type mishaps?
S: Nothing major. The obvious technical problems that most rock bands might have on the road but that's it. I've been doing this for long enough time to know what to do. I've been having the best f.cking time I've had in ages.
G: If it was up to you would you keep doing this? Are you reluctant to go back to Guns N' Roses?
S: That's a tough question, Gerri, 'cause I don't want you to get the wrong impression.
G: There have been lots of rumors floating around about Izzy [Stradlin] coming back, if Axl [Rose] is talking to you or not. What's going on?
S: We played with Izzy in Chicago, that was a great gig.
G: Is there a chance he'll come back, or write with you?
S: I don't know yet. I'm really still concentrating on this thing, getting it done right. I haven't really been worrying about Guns too much. At some point I have to go back and help get a record together. Eric [Dover] and Gilby [Clarke] both have records to do. Roger Manning, the old drummer from Jellyfish, has a thing with Eric. So I have to be done by September regardless. If it weren't for the particular circumstances that we're all in, I would keep this going for as long as possible.
G: But you obviously can't.
S: Exactly. So I'm not gonna worry about it.
G: Have you talked to Axl at all?
S: No. Me and Duff are real close, we talk all the time. Axl and I haven't talked, I don't think we've actually come to terms with what we're gonna do.
G: Is he mad at you?
S: Not that I know of. As far as I know everything's cool.
G: Was it true about Axl wanting to sue you over use of songs?
S: Yeah. At one point he didn't like the songs, and all of a sudden he wanted them and the [Snakepit] record was already done. That set me off. What the f.ck is that? It turned into a bit of a fight.
G: Has it smoothed over at this point?
S: So far, yeah. You know how Guns is. I refuse to f@*king stress out over anything. This [tour] is going back to the old days of actually working hard, putting everybody on a tour bus.
G: Back to the basics.
S: Yeah. It's something that he doesn't necessarily agree with. This is a great outlet for me. I refuse to stress out on Axl's opinion of what I'm doing or what Guns should be or shouldn't be doing.
G: So this is kind of a vacation from Axl.
S: (laugh) I'm not gonna say that. It's not really a vacation from Axl, it's a vacation from the whole mega rock thing. This is a lot like the old days. It would have been great at some point to have been able to get Guns to do this. Luckily I have this band and can go and do it. I'm having a f.cking great time.
G: What's the story on the other Snakepit, from San Diego? They stopped you from playing there.
S: After the Snakepit record was done this band popped up. I'd already been calling it Slash's Snakepit. I had the Snakepit name for a long time. At some point after the album was finished I got a phone call from a friend of mine, "Do you know there's a band in San Diego, they call themselves Snakepit?" I had a demo sent over with five songs on it and it's a bunch of girls, it's dated 1994. I didn't want to get into it. But when Eric and I were doing the promo tour we went to San Diego and went to dinner with these chicks. Everything seemed fine. I didn't give a shit if they called their band Snakepit. But I think it was mostly financial. We went to court over it. The judge threw it out of court, there was no case. But they haven't totally gone away. We wanted to play there but the legalities weren't going to be finished in time. We'll be able to go back there at some point.
G: What are your plans after the international tour?
S: We have a few offers but I won't mention the names. Van Halen is the one we want to do the most. It's the coolest band. We play our last show with them tonight.
G: After Guns' next record, are you going to do another Snakepit album?
S: Definitely. After Guns is done with whatever it is Guns does, I can call up the other guys and say, "Do you want to make another record?," and we can do it in a couple months.
G: Which guys? You had a different band on record and the road.
S: It's Gilby, myself and Eric, and the only two missing are Mike [Inez] and Matt [Sorum]. I saw Mike in Seattle, he came on stage and played with us. He's trying to finish this Alice In Chains record. Whether or not those guys are gonna tour is pretty much unset at the moment.
G: Mike had obligations, obviously, but why didn't Matt do the tour?
S: Let's put it to politics, put it that way. I think that would have further accentuated the situation between Axl and I had I done that. It was financial reasons as well.
G: Did you get Brian [Tichy] and James [LoMenzo] through Zakk Wylde?
S: It's really weird. It had nothing to do with Zakk. Zakk didn't even know about it. Zakk came down to jam with us a couple times with Guns, and someone else suggested Brian. So we called him up to see if he was interested. I jammed with him. Brian turned me on to James 'cause he was used to playing with him. We got the set down in a week and then we took off.
G: But you'll record with Gilby, Eric, Matt and Mike.
S: Yeah. When the Guns tour is over I'll pretty much get on the horn and call these guys up and see if they want to do a record and a tour. And we can maintain this street level club thing. I really missed it during the stadium stuff. It gets so impersonal after a while. When we did The Spaghetti Incident? I wanted to do smaller venues. We're on a toe to toe level with the people that we play for. And it's not like we're stuck on some half-assed pedestal either.
G: Have you done instores or meet-and-greets at all?
S: Yeah. We've done instores and meet and greets. It's a little hectic. But I've found if you make yourself available at those kinds of functions, everybody's really cool and polite. Trying to hide yourself from the public because you're too cool and too mysterious is pointless. It's really interesting when you get out there and find that only one out of 10 people is an asshole. That's not a bad ratio. It's been a lot of fun communicating with the people that you're playing for. At these club gigs -- except for L.A., I hid from it -- I go to soundcheck and hang out at the bar. It's so laid back. We haven't had too many incidents where anyone's been obnoxious. We park by the stage door and everyone surrounds the bus and we go out and sign things and we need some security guards 'cause it can be a bit of a mess. But I'm really appreciative of the fact that people have been so supportive.