Not only is he regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, but Slash was also behind one of the greatest rock bands of the past 25 years. And while his days as the lead guitarist for Guns N' Roses ended long ago, Slash has since moved on to other endeavors, namely, as the lead guitarist for supergroup Velvet Revolver.
The quintet includes former Stone Temple Pilots front man Scott Weiland and other founding members of GNR.
Before Velvet Revolver launched its latest tour, Slash talked about his days in GNR, the future of Velvet Revolver and, of course, Axl Rose.
You've mentioned before that all good front men are a little bit out there. Does that hold even more true in your case, considering you've worked with Scott Weiland and Axl Rose?
I know a lot of musicians; instrumentalists and singers alike are a little different than normal. You have to be coming from a bit of a different place to be the front man for a musical entity. Compared to a guitar player or drummer, you're using your own voice and doing the public-address kind of thing. ... Axl and Scott are unique among the singing group. In my experience, they're also a couple of the most talented and individualistic people that I've ever seen.
When did you begin to see Velvet Revolver as a long-term project?
For me, I don't think very long term. If I'm doing something I feel strongly about, I work on it, and I'm in the moment. ... I look back on the year, and it was definitely cool, and we're still just doing that.
Do you mind the "supergroup" label?
I didn't take the supergroup label to heart too much. It's very irritating because this band wasn't based on the principles that we all know supergroups are based on. ... This band is very organic in a way, and to be viewed as one-dimensional is not so much offensive, but it's definitely tedious.
When writing those songs for Guns N' Roses back in the day, did you ever imagine they would live on like they have?
No. Remember what I told you about not having any foresight into the future? Back then, I had even less. ... As great a rock 'n' roll band as GNR was, it was a fluke in a way, with making such an impact and people listening to it. There's a bigger mystique about the band now.
You recently released your autobiography (Slash), and you sort of took the high road in regards to your differences with Axl. Do you think people expected you to bash him?
More than expecting me to, I think they wanted me to. Everybody was poised for picking that book up and reading all the negative stuff they could possibly hear about Axl. That was not my whole purpose of expelling that relationship and the demise of the band. I just wanted to shed some light on the reality of why we broke up, not to berate Axl for anything that he didn't deserve. Axl is not as bad a guy as some people make him out to be, and I wanted some clarity on that.
Guns N' Roses is up for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a few years. Should you get in, any chance the band reunites for a one-off performance?
You know, in a perfect world, it would be nice. There's a lot of pressure on any sort of band that breaks up that is that popular, the Van Halen thing or the Police or whatever. ... I don't know whether the circumstances will permit us wanting to get together and play, but it would be a whole different spirit-of-the-moment thing.
Do you ever think we'll see Axl's mythical Chinese Democracy?
I hear through the grapevine bits and pieces of what's going on, and I'm interested to see what it sounds like because it will be such a huge statement.
Although I wouldn't say we split up over musical differences, we did have some musical direction going toward the end there, and I'd be interested to see where it was headed. But I'm not holding my breath. ... It will come out when it's ready to come out.