GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Slash spoke to USA Today about reuniting with GUNS singer Axl Rose for the first time in two decades for the "Not In This Lifetime" reunion tour.
Slash said that it was "nice" to hear from Rose after they hadn't talked for 19 years following his exit from GUNS N' ROSES in 1996. "I don't know if I would have had the wherewithal to call him, just because I'm introverted and it might have been hard for me," the guitarist said. "Not during that initial phone call, but after that, it was really good to be able to get rid of some of the negative baggage that we'd been carrying around for a long time. It'd been 20 years of not talking and letting this bad blood continue to be perpetuated by the media. It turned into something way bigger than what was really going on, so it was good to get past that."
Asked if he regrets waiting so long to make amends, Slash said: "Things happen as they happen. I make it a point of not having any regrets."
Earlier this year, Slash said that the first time he and Axl spoke was by phone in 2015, followed by an in-person meeting. He revealed: "It was very cathartic to physically talk. 'Cause there's a bond that you have that's never [broken]. And then what happens is the bond makes the negative side of it that much worse, because you're forced out of it."
Slash also touched upon the issues that kept him and Rose apart for nearly two decades, saying: "I won't get into all the personal stuff, but even over that period of time, there was a lot of bad feelings from the breakup all throughout that 20 years, whatever it was. But there's also a part of you that's like in a marriage, where you love somebody... so there's always that feeling, but then there's all this negative stuff."
Slash added that it was "very surreal" to see Axl onstage with him again, saying: "It was completely uniquely its own new thing. Same guys, same songs, but a whole different experience."
Axl, Slash and bassist Duff McKagan are the only original GUNS members in the current lineup, with guitarist Izzy Stradlin and drummer Steven Adler not part of the tour. Nevertheless, the trek has been wildly successful, reportedly grossing nearly $500 million since its launch more than two years ago.
Slash will hit the road with GUNS N' ROSES in November for what may be the last leg of the "Not In This Lifetime" tour. He is currently touring with his solo band, SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS, to promote the September 21 release of their new album, "Living The Dream".
Photo credit: Katarina Benzova