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otto
 Rep: 81 

Re: Robin Finck first substantial interview on how he got GNR gig

otto wrote:

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/intervie … _them.html

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How did you get involved with Guns N' Roses and the "Chinese Democracy" album?

I didn't know Axl. I was no longer playing with NIN at the time and I had jumped on a tour with a touring show from Cirque du Soleil, which at the time was not everywhere in Las Vegas like it is now. It was a North American tour under a blue and yellow big top (tent). What I'm telling you now is after this all happened. Axl had come to simply see the circus (laughs) and he and I had never met and he didn't know I was there. One of the guys Axl was with in the grandstands pointed and said (in hushed excited voice), "Axl, you see that guitar player down there? That's Robin from Nine Inch Nails."

The way you said that makes it sound like Axl did know who you were.

Axl was telling me this after the fact. And he just kind of scratched his head and was sitting there thinking, "What is he doing here?" Hah hah hah. At that time Axl was no longer playing with Slash but the rest of the original guys were still together. I was in my Oakwood apartment with the rest of the circus. This was before cellphones and I had the curly-cabled telephone hanging on the wall in the kitchen. It rang and someone said they were a representative of Axl Rose who wished to speak to me - "Would I be at the number in 15 minutes?"

Very official sounding.

It came out of the clear blue. I kinda jumped to all kinds of conclusions. I skipped holding hands and first kiss and went straight to making babies. I said to the guy, "Ahh, can I take your name and number and I'll call you back in 15 minutes." I kinda clammed up.

But you eventually talked to Axl?

We ended up talking that day and he invited me to play with he and the rest of the Guns N' Roses guys at the studio space they were kind of housed in. It was a welcomed opportunity just to play that one day. I was doing this circus thing for a year or more by then and that was a blast and I really enjoyed my time there. But I would have been over the moon if even an usher from the circus show told me, "Hey, I got a drumkit in my garage. You wanna go play some AC/DC?" I would have jumped at the opportunity. So the fact it was Axl and Guns N' Roses, I wasn't mad at that.

What was that like first playing with GNR?

I went and we played Guns songs and some cover songs and eventually I was bringing my ADAT tapes I was working on in my apartment.

You started bringing in your own music?

We started playing some of those songs. This was only on Mondays because Mondays were the dark days for the circus. The circus was only in town for I think four months or maybe it was three months. So eventually the circus was gonna pack up and go north and Axl said, "Don't go. Stay here. I wanna do a record. I wanna do a tour with Guns N' Roses." A few other details and that's eventually what we all intended to do. At that time I never ever would have dreamed it was how many years - 10 years on and off - in the making.

Was playing with Axl a completely different experience from working with Trent Reznor?

There was certainly more differences than similarities. It was a very different dynamic to the band; rehearsals were different; and it was like a whole other life I'm really grateful to have been able to experience two such vastly different music worlds. Sometimes we're playing in some of the same halls, same rooms, same arenas and that's kind of a trip.

You knew about Axl's history going in?

Sure, of course. One thing that was kind of present to me but I had to make a conscious choice not to allow it to direct me was not the fact I was playing with Axl but the fact I was playing with Axl and I wasn't Slash. That woulda been the death of any real play and any sense of fun or freedom.

You just tried to put that out of your mind?

Well, I wouldn't say I tried to ignore it. I just kinda let it be and I got to understand real well firsthand that the two of those guys presenting those songs to the world probably wasn't gonna happen (laughs). But sometimes it was difficult to be in that place - literally standing in that space - in front of a lot of other people who maybe didn't know how sincerely those two (felt about) probably not gonna playing these songs.

You talked about eventually bringing in your own song ideas. Did those ADATS full of ideas turn into songs like "Shackler's Revenge" and "Better?"

Umm, yeah. There were so many. Some of them were picked for parts and some of them were recorded to the finish line and still exist somewhere. I don't know where.

Some of the songs from "Chinese Democracy" like "Shackler's Revenge" do have an industrial feel. Was that your input?

Umm, not necessarily and not all the time. I think especially with Guns, I was more of a soul player than a soundscape artist. Playing the original catalog songs kind of directed me to what I thought I wanted to hear Axl sing over and so I probably wasn't alone in that. So that kind of directed me to present the material I did.

Axl worked with multiple guitarists - Buckethead, Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal, Paul Tobias and Richard Fortus - at various times. Why did he want so many guitar players involved?

They came in waves and all those names were not present all at the same time. We did so much writing, rehearsing and recording before we ever played live as a group. It was like, hah hah hah, a bit of a circus. I sometimes had to just really let go of what it is I would have hoped this song or this presentation of a batch of songs would be. And just really get in the flow of what was happening because there was something bigger going on than anything I was going to direct. They're all great players though.

Amazing musicians. Was Axl looking for lots of guitar textures in the music?

Well the summation of so many guitar players happened through so many years that each kind of phase had its own organic necessity that had arisen. Maybe that was a bit wordy to say.

I know what you mean.

Guys came and went (laughs). Originally it was gonna be a two-guitar player group. I split forever so I thought and went back to Nine Inch Nails. In my absence they were looking to replace me and Josh Freese, the drummer at the time, had brought Buckethead in to essentially fill the slot I had left. They really liked him but he's kind of a stunt guitar player. He does a very specific thing and he has a real genius sensibility about him. But he rarely plays the same thing twice ever and when you're trying to cruise through "Nightrain" that just makes it a little (laughs) too different. So they needed someone to anchor the songs. They kept Buckethead to do what Buckethead does and they needed someone else to play alongside.

You played a great solo on Street of Dreams.

We had played that as a live and loud band. When I say live, I mean we had rehea-sed them (songs) in a room at top volume so many times and it was also the way it was recorded (laughs).

"Chinese Democracy" was recorded loud?

The recordings were loud and I was standing in the control room or in the live room. They (solos) kind of came pretty quick and then we'd just kind of hone in on what the first impression was and I don't know, kind of hammered away at it until we got it. I didn't really have a method.

Do you remember doing any of the solos on that album?

When I knew I was gonna go in and record one of the lead parts on "This I Love," I would listen a few times without playing. I would listen to the track without playing guitar and just kinda try to hear what comes natural as far as starting low or starting high or where to begin and where to end up. I've always liked guitar players that play in phrases maybe like a horn player who needs to take a breath. I don't think about it - I'm thinkin' about it more now because you've asked me than I have ever thought about it (laughs). There wasn't a lot of thinkin' going on to be honest.

What are your overall thoughts about working with Axl on the 'Chinese Democracy' album?

It's hard for me to summarize. It's happened over such a long period of time it's summarizing high school into college. Some of my favorite moments as a guitar player were some nights that didn't even make it to that record. I was tight with the recording team and tight with the band. We were a close knit bunch of guys and we just really had a blast. We didn't have a blast every night for nine or ten years but in hindsight those are the times I remember most.

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Me_Wise_Magic
 Rep: 70 

Re: Robin Finck first substantial interview on how he got GNR gig

Glad to finally hear Robin's thoughts on the subject. Awesome read!

apex-twin
 Rep: 199 

Re: Robin Finck first substantial interview on how he got GNR gig

apex-twin wrote:

Robin also touched upon an upcoming solo album.

Robin wrote:

He is also in the very early stages of his own solo album (and insists that it's still very early days yet) but once released will absolutely establish him as a major player in the world of electric guitar.

You've been working on your own solo album?

Yeah. I was in the throes of that when Trent called me for this tour and so I'm looking to get into that when this tour lands at some point next year [2014]. I've really been woodshedding on my own and the songs are born on piano or guitar and building them up from there. But I have yet to introduce them to any wall of noise just yet.

This is going to be a vocal record?

Oh yeah and I'm singing them.

You sing with NIN so that's an aspect of the process you dig?

Yeah, I do. I really do. I've been playing and recording all the time through the years and I have yet to fashion my own coming out and it's been inevitable. I've been very blessed with other opportunities that were gonna go with or without me and I've enjoyed saying yes to those opportunities.

Robin wrote:

Axl had come to simply see the circus (laughs) and he and I had never met and he didn't know I was there. One of the guys Axl was with in the grandstands pointed and said (in hushed excited voice), "Axl, you see that guitar player down there? That's Robin from Nine Inch Nails."

Story goes that someone else was none other than Matt Sorum.

misterID
 Rep: 468 

Re: Robin Finck first substantial interview on how he got GNR gig

misterID wrote:

I realllllllly wish he'd come back. That was the nuGN'R sound. sad


I can't believe how Axl screwed this all up.

[insert Robin hater comment here]

dave-gnfnr
 Rep: 15 

Re: Robin Finck first substantial interview on how he got GNR gig

dave-gnfnr wrote:
misterID wrote:

I realllllllly wish he'd come back. That was the nuGN'R sound. sad


I can't believe how Axl screwed this all up.

[insert Robin hater comment here]


I agree, he had BH and Robin who complemented each other very well, they were so different and unique.

Ron and DJ are so generic and boring.  I really hope we get the CD left over sessions sometime but the versions with Robin and BH not DJ and Ron.

FlashFlood
 Rep: 51 

Re: Robin Finck first substantial interview on how he got GNR gig

FlashFlood wrote:

I love Robin's album contributions but generally dislike his live playing. I actually LIKE the This I Love solo!

Me_Wise_Magic
 Rep: 70 

Re: Robin Finck first substantial interview on how he got GNR gig

Oh his solo on that record is fantastic. I loved his contributions to the album as well. I thought he played alright from the tour footage I saw. Solo album would be an interesting listen. Still need to see the guy tour with NIN live and in person though. tongue

Olorin
 Rep: 268 

Re: Robin Finck first substantial interview on how he got GNR gig

Olorin wrote:

Nice! I've always wanted to hear from him, wish it was more in depth about the making of the album and individual songs. His solo on TIL is one of the highlights of the whole album for me, its dripping with emotion, I've said it before, its the sound of a heart breaking... wish more people got it and it had the recognition it deserves.

polluxlm
 Rep: 208 

Re: Robin Finck first substantial interview on how he got GNR gig

polluxlm wrote:
Olorin wrote:

Nice! I've always wanted to hear from him, wish it was more in depth about the making of the album and individual songs. His solo on TIL is one of the highlights of the whole album for me, its dripping with emotion, I've said it before, its the sound of a heart breaking... wish more people got it and it had the recognition it deserves.

Agreed. One of my favorite solos on the album. The bends are unreal.

misterID
 Rep: 468 

Re: Robin Finck first substantial interview on how he got GNR gig

misterID wrote:
dave-gnfnr wrote:
misterID wrote:

I realllllllly wish he'd come back. That was the nuGN'R sound. sad


I can't believe how Axl screwed this all up.

[insert Robin hater comment here]


I agree, he had BH and Robin who complemented each other very well, they were so different and unique.

Ron and DJ are so generic and boring.  I really hope we get the CD left over sessions sometime but the versions with Robin and BH not DJ and Ron.

Oh yeah, they complemented each other perfectly. It's weird how these two really meshed well together.  I thought his quote about Bucket playing differently every night was great. It was rare you heard the same solo twice... That's what was so great and a damn shame we didn't get to hear him pull off Sorry, ITW and Shackler's every night. That would be mind-blowing.

I am slowly turning into one of those old bitter Slash guys, but for Robin and Bucket. I finally understand them! 16

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