SLASH On Surviving Rock And Roll Excesses, FERGIE And AXL ROSE

John Dingwall of California Chronicle recently conducted an interview with legendary guitarist Slash (VELVET REVOLVER, GUNS N' ROSES). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On performing while under the influence:

Slash: "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 real ly 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 myspontaneity means I am able to connect faster than when I was drinking."

On surviving rock and roll excesses:

Slash: "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 moretime to be productive."

On the video for his "Beautiful Dangerous" single which features BLACK EYED PEAS beauty Fergie playing a rock groupie-turned-stalker who ties Slash to a bed before deciding to live out her deranged fantasies:

Slash: "It was fun to do, you know. Fergie's great and it was probably the easiest concept shoot that I've done, at least in recent memory. It was several one-day shoots and two locations a block away from each other. I was tied up. It was one of those videos where we had a very loose treatment and idea of what the video was basically about and we just sort of made it up as we went along."

"I've had stalkers, none as crazy or as attractive as Fergie. Stalkers, real stalkers, are no joke or something to laugh at. The real ones tend to be dangerous or psychotic nuisances. This was an exaggeration on a theme. In reality, I havenever been drugged against my will. I have never been tied up against my will. It's always been consensual."

On his solo album, which features an all-star roster of guest vocalists, including Ian Astbury, Myles Kennedy and Kid Rock:

Slash: "I would just write music and put together arrangements and think in my mind's eye who would be the right vocalist for that piece of music. It was quite simple. A lot of people think there's a lot of forethought that goes into these collaborations, like some sort of dream list or something. It's more of a spontaneous sort of thing.

"I always have a guitar by my side and I'm always out in circles where musicians hang out, or I'm in situations where I'm exposed to lots of different artists.

"I jump at the chance to work with people when the opportunity arises. That's basically how these different collaborations happen. When I did the record, though, it was about trying to find the vocalist who was appropriate for each song. So those were very specific.

"It's not really about putting together fantastical partnerships that I think in my imagination would be great. I haven't really done that."

On whether he will ever step into the studio with Axl Rose again:

Slash: "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 t hat, 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 timethat the original lineup still has that appreciation. I try not to scoff about it that much but the Axl question is redundant."

Read the entire interview from California Chronicle.

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