Monday, December 27, 2010

Slash: “The Axl Rose question is redundant”

He is one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time ...but Slash insists he's sharper than ever after quitting drugs and booze.

In a Sunday Times interview picked up by the California Chronicle, the former Guns N' Roses guitarist, christened Saul Hudson, is loving every minute of his sobriety. His chronic chain-smoking days are over too.

That's quite a turnaround for the critically-acclaimed guitarist who, after the Roses, founded Slash's Snakepit and co-founded the successful Velvet Revolver with former Roses bandmates Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum.

But despite being under the influence the guitarist - ranked No.2 in Time Magazine's list of top 10 electric guitar players of all time - always somehow managed to stay on top form.

He explained: "I'd always been pretty good at being able to play no matter what. I managed to maintain things pretty well. I wasn't a fall-down drunk. But all things considered, I sort of burned out on that. I think I just over-excessed and got to the point that I really wasn't enjoying it.

"I finally conquered that demon but it took me years. As a non- drinker and not doing drugs, I find that not being intoxicated at all lends itself to me being sharp.

"My reflexes are a lot better and my ability to concentrate and hit the notes on the fret board is as immediate as they come to my mind. Everything is more accurate, especially for the live performances which is when I improvise a lot. I find my spontaneity means I am able to connect faster than when I was drinking."

The 45-year-old, born in Stoke-on-Trent, attributes his decision to leave his crazy years behind him to the fact that he's still around in the music industry doing his thing.

He explains: "I'm in perfect shape but it is truly amazing that I am still around. I took that as an omen and figured I'm not going anywhere so I might as well make the best of it.

"I don't wake up and make a cocktail first thing in the morning these days. I don't have a lot of vices I have to deal with first thing. I was a slave to my addiction, and had to take care of those first, so I don't have that any more. It leaves more time to be productive."

Having received countless accolades and awards, including a 2007 star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame alongside his idols Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, Slash's signature guitar riffs on songs such as "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Welcome To The Jungle" helped rock legends Guns N' Roses to dominate the music scene through the 1980s and '90s, selling more than 100 million albums worldwide.

He hates to disappoint those die-hard Guns N' Roses fans but Slash insists he'll never step into the studio with Axl Rose again.

He explained: "It's been 14 years. I haven't spoken to him in all that time. There really is no relationship. That's why it is frustrating when people ask about band reunions and what's going on.

"Fourteen years is a long time to not be in a band for people to still be asking about that. Having said that, it's an appreciation, I guess, for the band from a lot of fans who care about it that much. It's very flattering that after all that time, that the original line-up still has that appreciation. I try not to scoff about it that much but the Axl question is redundant."

Read the full article at the California Chronicle here.

Slash – Sweet Child O’ Mine
“Max Sessions”
Seymour Centre – Sydney, AU – August 15, 2010