Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
The 'TIL Album'
The Snakepit - Written.
Axl's Solo Album
The Snakepit - Rejected!
Axl v. Erin Everly
First Real Sessions with Gilby
The Snakepit - Recorded?!
For the Devil
The Snakepit - Set Up
"I don't know if I'm going to be around for the next album. I don't know who's going to be around!" (Gilby, Kerrang, 05/24/94)
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
The "TIL Album"
Early in 1994, Axl had his mind on what the next Guns album would be like and was using a song recorded over the past few years as a cornerstone.
"We're aiming at '96 and we'll probably be doing a lot of recording, and trying to put a lot of things between now and then...
We're really into letting Matt go more off on his own in terms of drumming for GNR... When he goes off on his own creative sense it's pretty amazing. I want to facilitate that getting out. I want Matt to just explode on the next record." (Axl, Hit Parader, 1993)
"We may work with Brian May on a project upcoming... And we're hoping to pull that one off. We get along with Brian really well." (Axl, Rockline, 01/03/94)
"I'm a little concerned about the direction Guns goes in." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"We really haven't really sat down to collaborate on songs yet... I've just been working on where my head's at on things so I can approach the next record in a way that lets me go to farther extremes." (Axl, Hit Parader, 1993)
"I don't know exactly where [Axl's] head is at, as far as what [the next album] should sound like. It changes from month to month." (Slash, Rolling Stone, 04/95)
"[Axl]'s got a batch of good ideas, piano things that sound really cool." (Zakk Wylde, Kerrang!, 01/28/95)
"I want to do rock stuff... Axl wants Guns to do a lot of ballads and stuff." (Slash, Metal Hammer Magazine, 02/95)
"I wrote and recorded a new love song that I want on the next record called This I Love, that's the heaviest thing that I've ever done." (Axl, Hit Parader, 1993)
"From my point of view, I just wanna do a brash hard rock record, with maybe one ballad on it. Ask Axl the same question and you'd get a completely different answer." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)
"This I Love' is actually an old GN'R song that the original GN'R wrote and recorded for the 'Illusion' records. I like that song a lot.. it took a couple of weeks to find all the tapes, because they finished recording 'Use Your Illusions' on the road and one tape was in Paris, another in London, and another in Sydney, I believe." (Dave Dominguez, Sp1at, 04/21/05)
The only Guns show mentioned above, which predates the release of Illusions (09/16-17/91), is their first one in London (08/31/91). Elsewhere, Axl suggests TIL is a post-Illusion song, and it's possible that Dominguez means the Spaghetti Incident? sessions in '92-93, during which additional covers were recorded to round it up to album-length. GNR played in London the second time on 04/20/92, Paris on 06/06/92, and Sydney on 01/30/93. The TIL sessions could've taken place near each of the shows.
Curiously, onstage in both Antebonné and Paris in September 2010, Axl would refer to This I Love as "the only GNR song written in France".
The album it was supposed to forefront never came to be.
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
The Snakepit - Written.
"Slash has been working on a lot of things, working on a lot of riffs with the band... Other than that, we're not even sure how we're gonna approach writing for this next album." (Axl, Hit Parader, 1993)
"It's our band. So if I write something, my first and foremost priority would be to dedicate it to Guns... Initially, I was just writing what I thought was cool. I was a kid in a toy store. I had a studio in my house. Get up in the morning. Literally. Press "on." Plug in your guitar and go." (Slash, Rolling Stone, 04/95)
"Slash: I just delivered my last tape to Axl. My latest tape to Axl.
Steve Downs: Just minutes ago.
Axl: I've been eagerly awaiting." (Axl & Slash, Rockline, 01/03/94)
"We would write these songs in one night. When I first started writing stuff, Matt and I would get together - here's this riff, here's that riff - we'd finally get from point A to B and put it all together and leave it at that. There wasn't a lot of orchestration, like 'November Rain'. There were no vocals on it at this point but the songs were arranged... So I put all these songs down, Matt and I would play them - I played bass." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"We just jam a lot, you know. We just get together and play and all our musical roots and all that kinda shit are still intact. You know what I mean. So, like... We've been working on songs for the next record and all we do is like, jam up at my house. Well, up until the earthquake. The studio is now down. [laughs]" (Slash, Canadian radio, 01/94)
"Gilby got involved and Mike Inez got involved. Gilby redid all the rhythm guitar parts that I'd already recorded and Inez came down and redid the bass parts. That was very fortunate because I'm not a good bass player." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"The coolest omen," says Slash, "was the night I recorded three songs and mixed them that night, which I normally wouldn't do. I went to bed with the DAT in my hand, all 14 songs... And it was like Godzilla came to town... The time was 4:31 a.m., Jan. 17, 1994. The Godzilla in question was L.A.'s 6.7 earthquake." (Slash, Rolling Stone, 04/95)
"But, we've got 14 songs done, at this point and as soon as I get back to LA from Canada, I'm gonna rent a place to live next to the rehearsal studio and then we'll just go in there and start jamming. And that's how we hang out. That's what we do." (Slash, Canadian radio, 01/94)
Three days after the earthquake that leveled Slash's house, on 01/20/94, Axl performed The Beatles' Come Together with Bruce Springsteen in Elton John's Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It was to be his last public performance for several years. It was time to get to work.
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
Axl's Solo Album
"Nick: Yeah, I was wondering, since Duff did his solo album and Slash, you worked on that Jimi tribute album, is anyone else gonna do any solos or work on any other albums?
Slash: Um... Tell you truth, Duff's solo album... Gilby's doing one, it's pretty much finished. That's basically it. I don't have any plans to do... I don't think Axl... You do have one.
Axl: I'm hoping to... I'm trying to put a project together that is kind of a top-secret weapon right now.
Steve Downs: Oh, really?
Axl: Yeah." (Axl & Slash, Rockline, 01/03/94)
"There was a point there where Axl goes: 'I'm gonna do a solo record, and I'm gonna get Trent Reznor and Dave Navarro, and [Dave Grohl,] the drummer from Nirvana...' and so on. And it's like, he doesn't even know half of these people. He's just pulling them out of the sky." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)
"Trent Reznor from NIN is one [guy I want to work with], and Dave Navarro from Jane's Addiction is another... I've talked to Trent about working with me on an industrial synth project, at least on one song, and I definitely want to work with Dave on something. I've always been curious what he would sound like working with Slash on something." (Axl, Hit Parader, 1993)
"It's within our contracts to do [a solo album]... There's no rules, you can do it way under budget so it doesn't cost a lot and the only thing I can do [with mine,] is promote it as much as I can so for the amount of the effort spent, the money that goes into it, that I do what I can for it." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"And I was like, 'Cool! Do your thing. That way you'll get it out of your system, and when you get back we'll just be Guns N' Roses.'" (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)
"Then [Axl] decided his solo-project 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." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
"Aftonbladet: You, Duff McKagan, Gilby Clarke... The most people in the band have made records outside Guns. Isn't Axl going to do a solo-record soon?
Slash: Axl thinks that Guns is his solo-project." (Slash, Aftonbladet, 04/02/95)
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
Snakepit - Rejected!
In early '94, Slash met with Axl on the demo songs that would eventually surface as Snakepit songs.
"I started hanging out with Matt and recording demos of that stuff just for fun, and Mike Inez from Alice in Chains and Gilby started to come around and play with us. The three of us just got into a groove of jamming and recording every night. We didn't know what it was going to be. At some point I played it for Axl, who took a pronounced disinterest in it." (Slash, Autobiography)
"The Snakepit album could have been the new GNR album, but Axl didn't think it was good enough." (Matt, 1996)
"Well, it's an Axl thing. He just wasn't into what we were doing, so he's kind of rethinking what he wants to do. He just kind of threw a wrench into everything that me, Slash and Matt had worked to. And then Duff came in. Duff and Axl have an idea what the album should be, and the rest of us have another idea." (Gilby, Kerrang, 05/24/94)
"On the first Snakepit-record I used some ideas which were really planned for the next GN'R-record, but Axl and I disagreed on the future direction of the band. I played Axl a demo with some of my ideas for songs, and all he said was: "I don't feel like playing this kind of music." (Slash, 'Rock Hard' Magazine, 03/00)
"One of the points of contention between Slash and Axl was a batch of songs Slash brought to the table. Axl thought it was Southern rock - not Guns N’ Roses material. I backed Axl." (Duff, Autobiography)
"[The instrumental Jizz da Pit] was a riff I'd been carrying around that Axl hated. He called it 'red neck'. He hated it, so I never did anything with it." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)"
"What people don't know is, the [Slash's] Snakepit album, that is the Guns N' Roses album. I just wouldn't do it.'" (Axl, MTV, 11/08/99)
"I answered: 'But this could be a excellent Gunner-record, hundred percent in GN'R style.'" (Slash, 'Rock Hard' Magazine, 03/00)
"And I didn't believe in it. I thought that there were riffs and parts and some ideas, I thought, that needed to be developed. I had no problem working on it, or working with it, but you know, as is, I think I'm with the public on that one." (Axl, MTV, 11/08/99)
"Axl was into at least three of [the Snakepit demos], and maybe four." (Marc Canter, Legendary Rock Interviews, 04/22/12)
"I don't look at [the Snakepit] stuff from the concept of writing the quintessential hit record. Just guitar riffs." (Slash, Rolling Stone, 04/95)
"Duff walked out on it, and I walked out on it, because I wasn't allowed to be any part of it. It's like, 'No, you do this, that's how it is." (Axl, MTV, 11/08/99)
"[Axl] didn't really care 'cause he only wanted to play industrial and Pearl Jam-sounding crap." (Slash, 'Rock Hard' Magazine, 03/00)
"I didn’t walk till several months after having 3-4-hour phone conversations nearly every day with Slash, trying to reach a compromise. I was specifically told no lyrics, no melodies, no changes to anything and to sing what I was told or fuck off." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/14/08)
"Then, Slash got big-headed and just took them all [back]... After being out on the road and playing in front of hundreds of thousands of people, it starts to go to your head... Just because Axl didn’t want all of them didn’t mean he didn’t wanna work with some of them." (Marc Canter, Legendary Rock Interviews, 04/22/12)
"I said, 'OK,' and took it all back. We've had that happen too many times in Guns, when certain songs just didn't make it, and they would have been killer. I didn't want to lose any more material." (Slash, Rolling Stone, 04/95)
Only Slash forgot to mention Axl that Guns' option on those 3-4 demos had now expired.
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
Axl v. Erin Everly
In March, Axl's legal issues would take yet another turn.
"[Erin] Everly, 28, is indeed hoping to see Rose, 32, at least one more time'”in court. In March she filed suit in Los Angeles, charging that he had subjected her to physical and emotional abuse. [...] Everly launched the suit after being subpoenaed in a court action by Rose's former girlfriend, model Stephanie Seymour [who filed her suit in October, 1993 - as a counteraction to Axl's August 1993 lawsuit]. In that case, Rose and Seymour exchange similar charges of physical abuse. Now waging legal battles on at least two fronts, Rose reportedly plans to take time off from Guns N' Roses, whose last album, The Spaghetti Incident, sold far less than its predecessors and whose fortunes appear to be fading." (People Magazine, 07/18/94)
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
First real sessions with Gilby
According to Slash's autobiography, the Sympathy for the Devil sessions in October were the first the band undertook in the seven months, dating their last visit to the Complex to March. Also, Axl's fax to MTV suggests April '94 was the last time the album was seriously worked on during this initial era.
"The members of the band - what was left of it - reconvened at the Complex, a Los Angeles studio, in a massive soundstage with a pool table and a Guns N' Roses-themed pinball machine, to prepare for their next album, which Geffen executives expected to release some time the following year. But they quickly began suffering from an ailment that has proved fatal to bands from time immemorial: boredom. 'They had enough money that they didn't have to do anything,' said a longtime observer of the band... 'You couldn't get everyone in the room at the same time.'" (New York Times, 03/06/05)
"We started going to Slash's house... He has a little studio there and we had a batch of songs." (Duff, Metal Edge, 06/99)
"Slash and I started trying to write new stuff with other guitar players added to the mix. This was the first time we’d written without Izzy to bounce ideas off of and to bring ideas of his own." (Duff, autobiography)
"Duff, Axl, Matt, Gilby and I got together on and off to try and write new material, which didn't prove inspiring at all." (Slash, Autobiography)
"Without Izzy... the way we used to write wasn't all sitting in a room and trying to force ourselves to be a family. We just were." (Duff, Metal Edge, 06/99)
"By that point, the support group I'd always enjoyed to help me deal with Axl was gone - Izzy was the last one in the band who'd been able to get through to him creatively. Between Duff and me... we just didn't have the proper tools to communicate with him effectively." (Slash, Autobiography)
"We had a bunch of great songs... there was a point up there where it was looking good and we started cranking [them] out." (Duff, Metal Edge, 06/99)
Then, one day...
"We don't know if we're gonna be writing with Gilby or somebody else. We know we want to play with Gilby, but we're not sure about the writing." (Axl, Hit Parader, 1993)
"Axl just didn't wanna write with [Gilby]. He never even got a chance to write with us." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
"I contributed a lot [to the Snakepit]... [Axl] didn't like what we were all doing." (Gilby, Kerrang, 05/24/94)
"[Axl's] rationale was that Gilby had always been a hired hand and that he couldn't write with him." (Slash, Autobiography)
...Gilby felt the pressure.
"What happened was we were rehearsing and Gilby was really out of it one day. The morale of the band, we were all trying to keep it together and he was the odd man out that day. I was complaining and then Axl called me that same night." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"There were days when Axl would call Slash and go, "Fire Gilby - he doesn't fit in with my plan," but he would never tell me. That was going on for a long time." (Gilby, Daily Trojan, 04/14/99)
"[Axl] said he didn't want to work with Gilby anymore for a lot of different reasons. In a way I sort of went along with it, at least Axl thought I was going along with it because I had my own complaints from that night at rehearsal. This was about a year ago." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
And when Slash 'sort of went along' with it...
"'As you are aware, Gilby has been fired at least three times by the band in the past month and has been rehired at least two times,' Clarke's lawyer Jeffrey Light wrote in an April 14th, 1994 letter to GN'R lawyer Laurie Soriano." (Rolling Stone, 05/11/00)
"I have been fired a few times, and it was for nothing that I did... I've seen more than just me being fired. I've seen other people quit, I've seen other people fired, you know, whatever. It's not that big a deal... I don't know if I'm going to be around for the next album. I don't know who's going to be around!" (Gilby, Kerrang, 05/24/94)
On 03/31/94, Duff flew down to his Seattle home, where he would remain until early May. As for Gilby...
"Usually, I'm at Slash's every night. We work on new material and different things, whether it's my stuff, his stuff or whatever. He's got a studio in his house. We're working on some stuff right now - me, him and Matt. GN'R's not gonna do anything, so we just go up to Slash's place and work." (Gilby, Kerrang, 05/24/94)
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
On March 31st, Duff flew from Los Angeles to Seattle, and was incidentally seated next to Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain. Cobain had just excused himself from an LA rehab facility and Duff was one of the last people to see him alive. Cobain was found dead in his Seattle apartment a week later.
"[On 05/10/94], Duff McKagan found himself near death in a Seattle hospital - his pancreas had exploded. Years of alcohol and drug abuse had taken a massive toll on the deteriorating body of the bassist for notorious hard rock band Guns N' Roses. [...] 'I was in my house in Seattle when a small pain became acute. It was so bad that I couldn't pick up the phone to call anyone,' he said. 'Luckily, my best friend happened to come over to my house, and I got to [the emergency room].' At the hospital, McKagan said, his personal physician told McKagan that he was unlikely to live. When McKagan was released eight days later, the doctor warned him that even one drink could kill him." (Duff, LA Times, 11/27/98)
The aftermath seemingly rejuvenated Duff's relationship with Axl, both privately and professionally.
"They released me from the hospital in May of 1994 with the hope that I would go directly to a drug and alcohol rehab that they had set up for me somewhere near Olympia. I thanked my doctor for all his help. The two weeks alone in the hospital had done as much for me as any rehab could possibly do. I was done." (Duff, Seattle Weekly, 12/31/09)
"Not long after I got out of the hospital, Axl came up to Seattle to visit me. He was the only member of the band who had called me in the hospital, though McBob and Adam Day from the crew also called. I think from afar it must have sounded to Slash like just another brush with the line - and besides, he was dealing with an addiction of his own. Not that anyone owed me a call in a situation that was of my own making, but Axl’s concern still touched me." (Duff, Autobiography)
"My band, Guns N' Roses, was in shambles, and suddenly the dynamic had changed... The challenge was how we were going to make a new record and what direction we were going to go musically. We couldn't very well do anything at the time because Slash was out doing a Snakepit tour and battling his own addiction. In previous years, there had seemed to be a fail-proof alliance and understanding within our band; we knew that at the end of the day we only had each other to rely on... That sense of family and trust had recently been tainted by management dealings and other wedges that did everything possible to vanquish our bonds." (Duff, Seattle Weekly, 12/31/09)
"Now, however, I was doing sober things with Axl, riding bikes and eating healthy food, and, once he returned to L.A., talking with him on the phone about productive musical directions. Maybe he, too, had changed. Maybe there was something to salvage in Guns N’ Roses. Axl and I decided we should regroup and start writing the next album." (Duff, Autobiography)
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
Snakepit - Recorded?!
By June '94, the band had all but completely disseminated. Axl's ideas lingered on power ballads and his solo project, which he was now eager to elevate to become 'The Next Guns Album'. Slash's idea had been the Snakepit album, as he wanted to downsize the Guns sound to a more AFD-level. This exchange of denials (and haggling with the 3-4 Snakepit demos) on their respective visions is what initially threw a keg into it.
"From July to the end of the year, I'm not gonna be available, because I'm gonna be working on my record. If the band decide to make a record during that time, then there's a good chance I'm not going to be doing it." (Gilby, Kerrang, 05/24/94)
"I had known for a long time that Axl was going to change the direction of the band. I knew the end was coming," he said. "That's why I dug deep into my solo career." (Gilby, Daily Trojan, 04/14/99)
"I played Woodstock [on 08/14/94] with Paul Rodgers. Guns was supposed to play Woodstock, but we turned it down, because I don't think Guns represents the generation that Woodstock represents. There's nothing about the '90s that relates to the '60s to me, except for a couple of people running around, trying to keep the fashion going. It seemed very commercial, so we bowed out. But I didn't mind going there and playing with Paul Rodgers... It was actually a lot cooler than I thought it would be... But I'm glad Guns didn't do it." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
In late September '94, Slash returned to the studio to flesh out the demos refused by Axl into an album that would become It's Five O'Clock Somewhere. The album is ready in the next month.
"Altogether It's Five O'Clock Somewhere took 26 days to record. During that time they also had time to mix the album. And write all the lyrics." (Slash, Aftonbladet, 02/04/95)
"With Mike Clink producing, and Matt and Mike Inez playing, I properly recorded the demos we'd done. We found ourselves a singer - Eric Dover of Jellyfish - who fit bill well enough at the time. He and I wrote the lyrics to all twelve tracks." (Slash, Autobiography)
"One of the first songs Eric did was a song called 'Beggars and Hangers-On', where he wrote the whole song in one night. I was really impressed with that... It's about everybody we know! Half the girls I've met in my career to this point... So we went to Rumbo in the Valley and wrote the lyrics and melodies for 13 songs in one day." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"I think it's pretty easy to tell which songs he wrote and which ones I wrote: all of my songs are directed at one person... though no-one picked up on it at the time. I used the record as an opportunity to vent a lot of shit that I needed to get off my chest." (Slash, Autobiography)
"I had two songs with lyrics I'd finished myself, 'Be the Ball', and 'Take It Away'... 'What Do You Want to Be' is me and Eric... 'I Hate Everybody But You' is the closest I ever got to a love song, I wrote most of the lyrics for that... 'Back and Forth Again' was my title but Eric had the lyrics. It's about people not being able to come to some cohesive understanding and breaking up." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"[The album took] close to two weeks to record, and another two to do the vocals, a couple of days to mix it, and a day to master." Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)"
However, Axl was not yet finished on wanting some 3-4 songs on the next Guns album.
"All of a sudden, after the album was finished, [Axl] goes:
"Remember those tapes I have. You know, I want to..."
He just wanted these certain songs and he didn't like them at first... 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." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
"I know that Axl was really upset that Slash quit and that Slash took those particular songs, because those were songs that were written explicitly for Guns N’ Roses. Axl pretty much never forgave him for leaving and he’s still very angry about that." (Marc Canter, Legendary Rock Interviews, 04/22/12)
"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?" (Slash, Metal Edge, 10/95)
"Axl figured that once I put this hand together with this hand, that anything I wrote was designated Guns N' Roses material. He was just amazed that I could take off like that, cause I'm always there. With Guns, it's just like, I'm always there. And this sort of shocked him." (Slash, The Word, 17/02/95)
"And that's where we got threats of lawsuits and this, that and the other." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)
"Legally, it's all verbal stuff. We have never gone into litigation of any kind with this. Axl just thought that the songs were rightfully Guns' because they were written with the intention of them being Guns songs. I disagree." (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)
"Anyway, when I took off, we had an agreement, so we came to terms with the whole situation." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
For the Devil
In October '94, the David Geffen-produced Interview with a Vampire, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, was a month away from release. The soundtrack was among the last things still being mulled over. Jay Aston (from the goth-rock band Gene Loves Jezebel fame) maintains his solo song, Who Wants to Go to Heaven, was in the running for the end credits until the very last minute: then, it was replaced with an original recording of Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil. Finally, someone brainstormed - why not recruit Geffen Records' biggest band to cover the song, given it would do well for the film as well?
"Got a phone call from [Geffen A&R Man] Tom Zutaut, who said, 'I want you to do me a favor, David Geffen's doing this movie and they really want you to do 'Sympathy for the Devil' in it. Originally, they had the Stones version in it." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"Zutaut arranged the whole thing and it was a great idea: it's an amazing, classic song, the movie was going to be huge, theoretically, it would get us all in the same room working again, and it would give the public "product" to tide them over. We weren't touring The Spaghetti Incident and we had no plans to start writing a new album, so Tom was being practical - this might be our only new release for a while." (Slash, Autobiography)
"So I went to the screening in one of those stiff theatres full of showbiz f**king suits, and I'm half asleep! I'm not having a good time, and I couldn't just get up and leave, so I was trying to be cool. I started smoking some cigarettes, which is not something you're meant to do in an LA cinema... it's like murder! So I got up and left before the lights went out." (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)
"Axl went to see it the next day and he liked it, which is ironic. So typical. He didn't know I hated it. He saw stuff in it that I didn't and vice versa. He wanted to do the song, so I said we'd do it." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"The only upside I saw to to signing off on it was that it would accomplish what we'd been unable to do to any degree in the past seven months: it would actually get all of us into the studio." (Slash, Autobiography)
At the same time, Slash was recording the Snakepit album. He was now hoping the get band back together for the first time since the Gilby sessions in April - six months prior.
"I wanted to do the [cover version], because it would get band together in one room and maybe start getting things rolling. It didn't work. Matt, Duff and I got together in the studio and did the music - we're the bricklayers, you know." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"I wasn't that involved with the "Sympathy For The Devil" recording - they did that while I was on the road touring for my solo record... That was one of the last straws for me, because ...I'm a big [THE ROLLING] STONES fan, and they recorded the song without me. So I knew that was it." (Gilby, Songfacts, 09/10/13)
"[The three of us] rocked, that part of it was great, but it didn't do what I'd hoped." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
More than likely, Slash recorded his own rhythm track for the song.
"Once [Axl] got around to listening the track, he had some constructive criticism. Via a lot of communication between middle people, I was told that I needed to rerecord my guitar solo so that it sounded more note for note like the Keith Richards original. Now that really pissed me off, most of all because the message reached me three times removed like we were playing a game of telephone." (Slash, Autobiography)
By now, Slash had recorded the guitar tracks for the Snakepit album and, likely, spoken with Zutaut on Geffen releasing it. The reason why Axl brushed Slash off could be because of the recent quarrels over the 3-4 Snakepit demos he'd been after.
"A week or so after that I heard that Axl had finally scheduled time to go in and record his vocal tracks, so I went down to see him in person. I waited for three hours. When he finally showed up, he came into the lounge and proceeded to talk to me from behind a magazine, without looking me in the eye, for about fifteen minutes... I couldn't deal with all that, so I took off." (Slash, Autobiography)
"Paul Huge came in with Axl... Then Axl went in to do vocals, and the next thing you know, there's this "answer" guitar going on during my guitar solo! It's Paul Huge! " (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)
What Paul did was that he doubled the Richards solo, only with a much louder tune, to bring forth an impression of a ghostly 'call and response', despite both guitarists actually playing the same notes.
"We had this friend of Axl's, Paul, who really couldn't play that well. He played on 'Sympathy for the Devil.' " (Slash, The Michigan Daily, 04/95)
"It really took me off guard. It's not like it was lousy guitar playing or anything; I think it's how it went down." (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)
"I will probably never forgive Axl for that. But we talked about it." (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)
"I got really angry, 'cause the main thing is the band, getting the band together. So, it's not like you hire a bunch of session people and make Guns N' Roses, it doesn't work that way." (Slash, Metal Express, 1995)
"Fuckin' asshole. I hate that guy. He didn't work out, so I am not really sure where the fuck that shit's headed. I'll deal with it when I get off the road. (Slash, The Michigan Daily, 04/95)
"We made a deal that if Paul ever plays on anything, then I should at least be told first." (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)
Sympathy for the Devil was the first time Paul Huge recorded with GNR. He hadn't even met Slash yet, while Slash had taken a disliking towards him due to the incident.
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
Soon, the tension caught up with Gilby.
"After a few months during which everyone did their own thing and we got nothing done when we met, Axl fired Gilby without consulting anyone." (Slash, Autobiography)
"They did [Sympathy for the Devil] without me... Officially I was in the band at that time." (Gilby, Songfacts, 09/10/13)
"The whole Guns N' Roses situation with Gilby wasn't as cut and dry as it seems. He wasn't really fired officially." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
"One day my paychecks stopped coming. There was no explanation - they just stopped paying me. So I pretty much took that as a hint." (Gilby, Spin, 07/99)
"It's like everybody is on Axl's side from the business point of view, y'know? Everybody's scared that they're going to get fired. Because if Axl decides that he can't work with you you'll get fired, no matter what I say! I can fight till I fucking turn blue, but I won't be able to get anything done with the band if Axl won't work." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)
"Gilby didn't deserve that kind of treatment - especially when he covered our ass so we could complete the world tour when Izzy quit." (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)
"And so, I told Gilby that that was going on. So he didn't hear it from somewhere else. Because 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." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
"[Gilby] was shocked when he was fired, because there was no other reason behind it other than Axl had made up his mind. And of course I had to be the f***king messenger of bad news, which was f**ked for me because Gilby and I are really close. You don't play with people like that." (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)
"Then he had words with Axl." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
"My last conversation with [Axl] was when he called me and was trying to explain what he wanted to do. And, basically, it was: I want to change the sound of the band. You know, I want to go more into a current direction. You know, I want to use, you know, more industrial type things. You know, he was really into bands like Jane's Addiction, Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails. And I just kinda laughed and said: You know, look - I want to play guitar in a loud version of The Rolling Stones, you know?" (Gilby, Spin, 07/99)
"Then, in turn, [Gilby] had words with Duff. And that sort of cemented the, you know, the relationship, the departure. Whatever you wanna call it." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
"When I learned that [Gilby] was fired, it was difficult. There was Slash, Duff and Axl, the three original members of the band and they said they had to tell me. I didn't knew what to say. It's their band and I didn't knew how to react. I said OK... He's a great guy. But I don't know if he was the good guy to write the new album with us. We did some songs together, but Axl thought it was not good enough." (Matt, 1996)
Re: 1994: Chinese Whispers
The Snakepit - Set Up
With the internal drama in Guns now boiling, Slash was quick to set up his Snakepit album for release, ironically, on Valentine's Day '95. Zutaut must've known the risks involved: for a while, Axl had threatened to sue Slash if those 3-4 demos would be released. The cease & desist order had since been pulled, but Axl had already provided his side of the drama by commissioning third-party overdubs to the '...Devil' recordings.
"I played Snakepit to Zutaut, [Geffen Records] agreed to put it out, and that was all I cared to hear... Looking back, I realize that while they thought I was putting the future of Guns in jeopardy by pursuing Snakepit, they decided it was more important to humor me. So Geffen released and supported It's Five O'Clock Somewhere. "
"We finished it about three months before it was released... 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!"...
Eric and I went out and did a promo tour [in early '95]." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
"They publicized it, and they gave us financial tour support... We booked ourselves a tour across the United States, Europe, Japan an Australia... Everything was in place and we were ready to take Snakepit on tour, had it not been for the fact that Matt and Mike Inez weren't able to go." (Slash, Autobiography)
On December 10th, 1994, Pride & Glory played the last show of their tour in Los Angeles (with LoMenzo having already left the band in November and replaced by John DeServio). Slash joined them onstage to perform the Hendrix songs Voodoo Child and Red House.
"I enlisted [drummer] Brian Tichy and [bassist] James LoMenzo, who are in Zakk Wylde's band [Pride & Glory]..." (Slash, Autobiography)
"It's really weird. It had nothing to do with Zakk. Zakk didn't even know about it... 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." (Slash, Metal Edge, 10/95)
"...and rounded out the lineup with Gilby Clarke." (Slash, Autobiography)
"The Gilby thing did piss Axl off. But Gilby was pissed off too... I wasn't mad at Gilby. I can do what the f**k I want. And if he wanted to work with me after all this shit..." (Slash, Kerrang, 01/95)
"Halloween was the last time I saw [Axl], but we talk." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"Let's put [Matt's absence] to politics, put it that way... It was financial reasons as well." (Slash, Metal Edge, 10/95)
"Axl asked me not to go on tour with Slash... And I have to be honest, the Snakepit album won't change the music world!" (Matt, 1996)
"If I'd taken Matt with me, that would have just been starting a fight, basically. Which I don't wanna do... This whole tour thing and how long it's gonna go is sort of a thorn in Guns N' Roses's side, you know." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
"In late 1994, Axl called and we talked about plans for the band, trying to figure out what to do. The conversation went on for more than an hour. We started to talk about GN’R’s accomplishments - something that none of us had ever acknowledged or discussed together prior to this...
It took getting sober and contemplative about the whole situation, but now it struck me as sad that we hadn’t stood face-to-face and congratulated one another - alone, without management or minions around. At this point, it would have been just Axl, Slash, and me, but there would still have been value in doing it...
Axl was definitely behind the idea, but I never set up any kind of meeting.
Somehow it was already too late."