|"Are Guns N' Roses getting back together?"
Typical question that guitar virtuoso and ex-G N' R tophatter Slash has heard time and time again since his departure in '93 from rock 'n' roll's biggest, loudest band of the '80s. It's true that he's somewhat adjusted to it by answering with a simple and tolerable "No" and an added "Next question, please," but it seems that any animosity between the man first born as Saul Hudson and the still only remaining original G N' R
member/screamer Axl Rose is non-existent. Actually, Slash is being a bit of a big brother to him.
"I don't like people talking shit about Axl behind his back," so says Slash passionately on the line from a bar (where else?) in New York, where he's staying to play the second and last night of Michael Jackson's All-Star Tribute Concert. "He's still a brother. I stick up for him."
There might still be love thrown Axl's way, but that doesn't stop the whole mess of legalities that's still going on from the break-up of the band. Let's clear this up first for those kiddies who don't know: After the band disbanded in '93, '94 legal rights to the G N' R name "supposedly" shifted to Rose who's continued on with the band's name.
"That's actually a topic which we're trying to get to the bottom of," he states. "Originally, the other guys in the band gave it up. Now that I know a little bit more about this stuff, I'm trying to look for a loophole [to get some control back]."
Moving on from G N' R really wasn't that hard for Slash. He's always fallen into the role of Guest Musician quite comfortably for such artists as Lenny Kravitz and, of course, the gloved man himself, Michael Jackson. He jumped at the chance of working with Jackson on his Dangerous album and even playing at his tribute concert this past weekend ("His people called my people," he says with some sarcasm). But can you just imagine the expressions on the faces of his grubby musician friends when they found out he was buddies with a guy whose best friend used to be a monkey? "There's been a few people who've said, 'How'd you get to work with Michael Jackson?' But when Michael first called me I was just floored," he says. "He called me to play on the Dangerous tour. I admired and looked up to the guy. He basically gave me full reign to do whatever I wanted on his record. He's pretty much got the same hardcore energy that I've got and I get off on his energy. It makes things pretty explosive."
Outside of working with such notable artists, Slash has got his own outfit to get up to trouble with, Slash's Snakepit, who are expected to return to Canada after the tour they planned to have with AC/DC earlier this year had to be cancelled due to health problems.
Unfortunately, though, there seems to be an evident sign that he's not seemingly up to ALL of his past G N' R tricks and foibles, which included jumping into the audience. But does he ever stumble onstage after spreading those old legs of his while playing guitar in his typical Slash mode? Slash says: "I don't usually fall. There's been a few crash landings. I used to jump off the stage into the audience. Then there's been a few times that I've run into people onstage. But falling over flat-out hasn't happened yet."
Jumped into the audience anytime recently?
"No. They just take my guitar away from me," he says with a hint of a smile.
"They've got big guys around me every which way."
GILBY'S SWAG ATTACK
Former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke is to have his latest solo album, 'Swag', released next month by Spitfire Records. And the same label will also be re-issuing three of his previous records.