Former GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Gilby Clarke recently spoke to 80's Metal Recycle Bin about how the rise of grunge in the early 1990s forced most hard rock bands off the radio and MTV, with album and tour sales plummeting.
"There was a lot of talk of the climate changing — a lot of it," Gilby said (see video below). "'Cause, obviously, Axl [Rose, GN'R singer] was always on top of that stuff. He loved NIRVANA; he loved SOUNDGARDEN; he loved PEARL JAM. He liked a lot of those bands a lot more than, I would say, myself, Slash [GN'R guitarist] and Duff [McKagan, GN'R bassist]; we were a little slower to the change.
"I think when we really noticed the big change is when we got off the road," he continued. "I had made a solo record; Slash had made a solo record. We were playing stadiums one year, and next year we were playing clubs. Theaters sometimes and stuff — but two or three years earlier, and Slash's solo band would have been playing in an arena. So we could definitely tell the climate had changed at that point.
"I remember one thing that stuck with Slash and I when we were coming out of the Rainbow [in West Hollywood, California] one time. And this was around probably '92 [or] '93. And somebody saw Slash and goes, 'Oh, my God. Look, it's Slash.' But they were laughing, like he was a cartoon character, not Slash from GUNS N' ROSES, which, three or four years before that, was the coolest motherfucker on the planet.
"So that was a couple of things that we could kind of tell that things were changing a little bit," Clarke added. "Some bands were starting to be a little cartoonish rather than having the musical credibility."
Clarke replaced founding guitarist Izzy Stradlin in the GUNS lineup in 1991, during the "Use Your Illusion" tour, and stayed with the band for three years. After exiting GUNS N' ROSES, Clarke continued as a producer and solo artist, while also playing in SLASH'S SNAKEPIT, ROCK STAR SUPERNOVA, HEART and other acts.
Clarke, along with Slash, McKagan, and former GN'R drummers Steven Adler and Matt Sorum, performed three "Appetite For Destruction" songs with Myles Kennedy at the band's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in April 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Kennedy, who handles lead vocals in Slash's solo band and ALTER BRIDGE, sang "Mr. Brownstone", "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Paradise City", with "Use Your Illusion"-era member Sorum sitting behind the drum kit on "Brownstone" and the man he replaced in GN'R, Adler, pounding the skins for the other two songs.
Clarke's new solo album, "The Gospel Truth", will be released later this year via Golden Robot Records.