Arielle Castillo of the Broward-Palm Beach New Times recently conducted an interview with legendary guitarist Slash (VELVET REVOLVER, ex-GUNS N' ROSES). A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Q: So where are you right now? How's the tour going in general?
Slash: Dallas. The tour started on August 5, so we've been on the road a little over a month. This has been one of the best tours I've ever been invovled it. It's cool because this band is really good friends with the ALICE IN CHAINS guys. We're from similar backgrounds, a similar period. We've all been through a lot, and it's all been really cool.
Q: You knew ALICE IN CHAINS back then?
Slash: That's my favorite band out of those new bands in the early Nineties; I remember when they first came out. There was a handful of bands — ALICE IN CHAINS, SOUNDGARDEN, FAITH NO MORE — who all had really great records around that time. There was something happening, the beginning of a really cool scene that ended abrupty.
Q: So you were into that scene? A lot of people credit it with the scene that GUNS N' ROSES was part of.
You know, people try to put labels on things, like, "Oh there was the Eighties, then the Nineties came, and then somewhere in the Nineties there was this whole sort of movement." But that was all pretty influenced by GUNS N' ROSES, but it's just that we were playing stadiums and stuff. The only big difference with bands like NIRVANA and ALICE IN CHAINS at that point was that we were like this sort of huge, established, stadium, commercially viable band at that point. We were no longer the scrappy curbside band at that point. All these bands were pretty scrappy and sort of anti-industry, so yeah, there was a little bit of a weird vibe that was around at that point. But personally, between us and the individuals we all respected each other.
Q: What do you think of ALICE IN CHAINS' current lineup, since they've replaced [the late frontman of the band] Layne Staley?
Slash: Well, you know, I saw ALICE back in the day with Layne and it was great, and Layne was awesome. The guy who is singing for ALICE now has tough shoes to fill, but he does an amazing job with it. But as far as ALICE as of late, they're probably the best they've ever been. The music comes across a lot clearer than it used to, and they've got such a great catalog and all the songs are amazing. It's great. It's sort of like they never left, in a way.
Q: Why did you decide to do an ampitheater tour this time around instead of clubs and theaters, as you had been doing before?
Slash: I don't know. I don't think it was something the band discussed. They just threw us out there. That was basically it. We went out and did some touring before the album went out, and we did what we love doing, which is clubs and theaters, as soon as it was over. It seemed like we were gonna play to bigger crowds this time.
Q: Was there any adjustment period when the band graduated to bigger venues? Even though you've all been in huge bands.
Slash: You know, I don't think so… . I think probably because of the simple fact that everybody in the band has played big places before, it's not really that big a deal. It's nice to be able to be accepted in a big place, and especially to be able to use that amount of space. But when we're playing clubs and stuff it's great. But you sort of feel the need to be able to move.
Q: At this point, do you view VELVET REVOLVER as a band proper, or is it still sort of a “project,” as it seemed to be in the beginning?
Slash: It was never a project. The media always wanted to put a label on it, call it a supergroup project. Internally we were all just trying to fucking put something together that we thought was cool and find the right people to do it with. Eventually it became a band of five people. We've been striving to keep it together to write material, and to take it as seriously as anyone would take a new band.
Q: What do you do to keep getting along with the other guys from GUNS N' ROSES? How do you keep from bringing up stuff from the past?
Slash: I think it's been harder for other people to leave the past in the past. It's a normal thing; it's like moving out of a house. There's certain stuff that goes with you, but you are consciously making a move and you move on. It shouldn't be more complicated than that, but I think there's a certain kind of… With GUNS N' ROSES there's a phenomenon about it where people are so obsessed with what happened with it that they're having a hard time letting that go. And as prevalent as it is in the media and on the Internet and all that other kind of stuff, there hasn't been any kind of discussion between the original members of getting that band back together.
Read the entire interview at Broward-Palm Beach New Times.