He was the chain-smoking, Jack Daniels-drinking guitarist for one of the most explosive bands in history. But in his memoir “Slash,” out Oct. 30 via HarperEntertainment, the former Guns N’ Roses member wants to set the record straight.
Fans can take note: riots, overdoses and controversies all make appearances. There are also surprises, from how Saul Hudson was dubbed Slash, to what it was like living with mercurial singer Axl Rose in their rehearsal space.
Just don’t bother asking Slash, now sober and playing guitar in Velvet Revolver, if the original Guns will get back together, because he insists it won’t happen. Ever.
BILLBOARD: IN THE BOOK, YOU MENTION THAT YOU FELT ROCK BIOGRAPHIES WERE “INACCURATE AND FULL OF S---.” HOW DID YOUGO ABOUT SETTING THE TONE TO AVOID THIS?
SLASH: I’ve been approached about doing a book for probably all the wrong reasons so many times, I couldn’t validate it in my own mind. For one, it seemed very self-indulgent, very self-centered and very final — and I have no plans of retiring. Finally, I started to realize all this Guns hype that goes on, all this bull--- that surrounds that band, it’s inaccurate, and most isn’t even inaccurate, it’s just made up. I got fed up with it. (The book will) answer a lot of these questions. I just figured, “Be as honest as possible.”
BILLBOARD: DRUGS AND DRINKING ARE A BIG PART OF THE STORY. HOW DID IT FEEL TO SEE THIS DOWN ON PAPER?
SLASH: A lot of that stuff I came back and cut out because I didn’t want it to be one of those books that basically bragged about how hardcore (we were), blah, blah, blah. Especially nowadays, (because) a lot of musicians and rock bands have this badge they wear that says that they can party really hard, and I hate that. But I probably talk more about that than I actually talk about music. The music was sort of a natural thing you don’t have to talk about, but chemical abuse was sort of every living, breathing moment.
BILLBOARD: A HUGE PART OF THE BOOK IS GUNS AS YOU’RE TOURING AND THE TARDINESS OF AXL ROSE. WAS THERE EVER ANY EXPLANATION OF WHAT WAS BEHIND THAT?
SLASH: There’s no mention of that in the book at all because it’s not my place. In other words, if there was some sort of history that was common knowledge, it would be different. Because there was no real logic behind any of it, the only thing I could do was sort of put the facts there the way I saw it. There could be a lot of stuff that I don’t know about that goes on even behind the scenes, behind the scenes, behind the scenes.
BILLBOARD: THERE’S TWO YEARS OF FOOTAGE FROM THE “USE YOUR ILLUSION” TOUR. ANY CHANCE A FILM WILL BE MADE?
SLASH: I know right now there’s no rhyme or reason behind the business really that is the Guns N’ Roses original lineup or as close to the original lineup as we ended up with. All that stuff is in such a topsy-turvy state, and there’s really no relationship — a healthy, positive relationship, at least — between myself and Axl. (So) I really don’t have any idea as to how any of that stuff will see the light of day. The situation will hopefully be rectified at one point.
BILLBOARD: ARE YOU WRITING NEW MATERIAL FOR VELVET REVOLVER? ARE THERE ANY PLANS TO ADD DATES TO THE CURRENT ITINERARY?
SLASH: We have Japan and Australia booked for November and December, and then I think we’ll probably be heading to Europe at the beginning of the year. We’re going until the end of next summer for sure. We just got started touring, so as a group I can’t say that we’re actively working on the new record, but I’ve got my little recording apparatus on my guitar in my room, and that’s what I do during the days off on the tour. That’s where I start putting ideas down.
BILLBOARD: FINALLY, (AXL ROSE’S GUNS PROJECT) “CHINESE DEMOCRACY.” WILL IT EVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY?
SLASH: Everybody asks me that. I didn’t mention that in the book because it’s on Axl’s watch. It’ll get done, and it’ll come out when he feels comfortable with putting it out. And Axl works in a different time zone than I do. So what may seem like a long time to other people is a tick of the clock to him. It’ll come out though. It will.