Monday, October 10, 2011

Gilby Clarke discusses current Guns N’ Roses sound

Gilby Clarke has just wrapped up an 8-date tour of Sweden, a trip that featured setlists made up of solo tracks, Rock Star Supernova songs, some choice covers and, naturally, some of his work with Guns N’ Roses.

While in Sweden, Gilby spoke with Metal Shrine about the tour, and shared some GNR stories, as well.

“I knew all of them!,” began Clarke, explaining how he ended up getting the call to join GNR in 1991 as a replacement for Izzy Stradlin. “The Hollywood scene was very closed-knit and we all went to each other's gigs, and when I was in Candy is when I knew the Guns guys. I knew Axl [Rose] when he first came to town and Izzy was one of my first friends in L.A., and it was just because there was a small group of guys that liked both sides, liked the rock stuff and liked the punk stuff…and we would go to both shows and that's the way Izzy was. I'd run into him at a Germs concert and I'd also run into him at The Plasmatics. It was just a way of us having a lot of things in common. Slash was more like a metal guy. We always saw him backstage and he'd be back there drinking and trying to grab your guitar and it was like, ‘Go get your own guitar!’ (laughs) We were all part of the local scene, so yeah, I did know all of them. Even Matt [Sorum, drums]! I knew Matt really well, too.”

Joining a huge stadium act comes with unlimited access to all kinds of things, where bands tour in a bubble, free from many of the rules society place on its members.

“I gotta tell you, that's true!,” agrees Gilby. “And I'll tell you, for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons is when you're on a tour, you are in your own world. I mean, you're with the same 20 people for two and a half years — every single day, hotels, eating together, going out together — and time kind of stops, because we're doing the same thing every day. We're traveling, checking into hotels, playing a show, travel, checking into hotels, playing a show, but the rest of the world around you is going on and going about their business. Work, having children, so when you come back into town… Usually you'd play for two or three months and then come back for two weeks and take a break. Everything changes around you, but you don't because time is standing still and also within that world, there are no rules, because that's all we do. Our job is to play those three hours every night and that's it! Get there, play the show, so you have a lot of freedom and you definitely take advantage of having no rules.”

“It always got out of hand!,” continues Clarke, laughing. “But also, my experience is different from if you would ask Slash, Duff [McKagan] or Axl because remember, I was also in two bands that weren't successful, so when I got that call, I said to myself, ‘I'm going to enjoy this, because I know this isn't easy. This is hard.’ And when you have the success it's supposed to be fun. I have a different experience than they do. For them it was the first band. They think it happens to everybody. (laughs) That it's easy. It's not easy! So I definitely enjoyed it differently.”

Fast forward to 2011: what’s Gilby’s take on GNR today?

“As it stands? Well, knowing Axl, and knowing Axl 20 years ago, and knowing what he wanted to do, I would assume that he's a happy guy,” says the guitarist. “This is, [from] what he explained to me, what he wanted the band to be. When we had our, what I call, a disagreement, he wanted to take the band in a new direction. He wanted to bring in lots of people and this is what he envisioned. I assume he is happy. Is it the kind of music that I enjoy? Some of it, some of it. I think it's creative and I think it's what music is supposed to be. It's supposed to be original and creative and I think it is all those things. It's just, to me, when I think of Guns N’ Roses, it doesn't sound like Guns N’ Roses to me. But as I say, if this was an Axl Rose album, it'd be fantastic, because it's good music. It is! I can't say it's not good music.”

Read more of Gilby’s session at Metal Shrine here.

Guns Guns N' Roses

Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy / Welcome To The Jungle
Rock In Rio 4 – October 2, 2011

See also:

VIDEO: Duff McKagan on his early years with Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses: Axl Rose plans on being late for shows
Guns N’ Roses reunion: Gilby Clarke is in if Slash is
VIDEO: Duff McKagan on Lou Dobbs Tonight
VIDEO: Duff McKagan’s NYC book signing
Duff McKagan ponders Guns N’ Roses Rock Hall nomination
Guns N’ Roses lead 2012 Rock Hall nominations
VIDEO: Watch full Guns N’ Roses set from Rock In Rio 4
VIDEO: Guns N’ Roses close out Rock In Rio 4
Guns N’ Roses top the hennemusic Hot 10
Guns N’ Roses confirm fall US tour
Guns N’ Roses: Four more US dates announced
Guns N’ Roses: Slash talks Use Your Illusion on its 20th anniversary
Preview Duff McKagan’s autobiography
Guns N’ Roses: More US dates announced
Guns N’ Roses to play Kansas City in November
Guns N’ Roses to play Orlando in October
Rock In Rio festival to be webcast via YouTube
Guns N’ Roses bassist releases solo album today
Guns N’ Roses to play Miami in October