I got Uncut Magazine yesterday and found this feature. It's a regular part of the magazine called "An Audience With..." and this month it's with Slash. Basically, fans and some famous people write in to ask questions. I like this because the fans know not to ask lots of questions about a GN'R reunion like most journalists do. However, part of the introduction is wrong. It says he and Perla have been married for more than ten years but I think they've been together for ten and married for six. I was really impressed about his taste in British sitcoms, all the ones he mentions are my favourites. Also, the stuff he says about David Beckham is spot on and he put it better than anyone over here ever did.
An Audience With...Slash
Stoke's most rock n' roll export talks smoking, snakebites and the aesthetic quality of porn on the Guns N' Roses tourbus...
Slash is in his Hollywood home with his youngest son, three-year-old Cash Anthony Hudson and is just about to pick up his eldest, five-year-old London Emilio Hudson, from school.
"I've got to be a bit careful what I wear to school" he says, "Last time I wore a Chrome Hearts baseball cap with 'Fuck You' written on it, something I didn't realise until I'd left the school gates. D'oh! So it's a plain black T-shirt and a plain baseball cap now. I have to admit I feel really uncomfortable around schools and parents and that whole scene. When I was a kid, all parents hated me, and I assume nothing's changed..."
The man who famously 'died' for a few minutes after a heroin overdose is now cleaned up, off the drink and drugs, happily married (for more than ten years) to the ex-model Perla Ferrer, playing Monopoly with his family and getting "quite into" fatherhood. "However", he says "there are certain parental responsibilities that I can't get the hang of, and going into schools is one of them. I'm a rock n' roll guy and there are certain rules I'll never abide by."
He's back at home after Velvet Revolver's Australia tour dates were cancelled, following Scott Weiland's inability to get a visa - believed to be connected to his previous drug-related convictions. "It was a...setback," he says "But, you know, its nice to be running errands around a congested LA, taking care of stuff that needs to be done before I take off again. So what's this? Questions from Uncut readers? Does that mean I'm a celebrity?
Would you let Michael Jackson meet your children?
I already did! Michael met my eldest, London, when London was one or two years old, at the home of [film producer] Robert Evans, of all places. And no I didn't let Michael hold him. No offence to Michael but, at the time, with all that unnerving shit going down, I held on to him tight. You know, I give the benefit of the doubt to Michael on everything - innocent until proven guilty and whatnot - but I was thinking, OK Michael, you figure out your shit and I'll hold onto my son! But I like Michael a lot, and I enjoyed recording those two albums with him. He's different.
Do you ever intend to give up smoking?
Lee, Ladbroke Grove
I gave up smoking once, actually. In 2003, when we recorded the first Velvet Revolver, I was clean off alcohol and drugs. My son had just been born and my wife kept telling me that, when I handed him to her, he smelt like a cigarette. And she talked me into seeing a hypnotist, 'cos our friends Matt Sorum [of Velvet Revolver] and Steve Jones [of the Sex Pistols] had quit that way. So I saw two hypnotists and, in both cases, I had lit up a cigarette before I even got to their front porch after the session was over. But this third guy I went to, it actually fucking worked. And I had no desire to smoke for 10 months. Then Duff [McKagan] and I came to Europe for a promotional tour, and I ran into a buddy in France who smoked Gitanes and had a bottle of wine. And the next think I know is that I'm drinking and smoking again. I guess it's up to my kids to bug me enough to make me give up.
Do you still collect snakes?
Andrew Woods, Glasgow
I used to have a huge menagerie of about 75 snakes - boas, pythons the lot - but I got rid of them around the time that my first son was born. Because I'd had some close calls with snakes nearly eating my pet cats and had this sudden feeling that something terrible my happen to my kids. So I gave them to various respectable reptilian institutions around California, and they're all doing well. We're down to two cats, a newly acquired kitten and my wife's Pomeranian. But I couldn't resist getting this new anaconda recently. I told my eldest son: "Look, the snake's shedding, so just don't touch his face, whatever you do." And that's the first thing he did. And he got bitten. So there's a lesson for him.
What's your favourite British sitcom?
Absolutely Fabulous, of course. Patsy really was my alter ego! And I love anything with Dawn French, she's fucking brilliant, man. A little before that I loved The Young Ones, Fawlty Towers and Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder . And I'm often impressed by new stuff I see.
Are you still into pornography?
Do you know what? I think porn went downhill when it made the transition from film to video. When they started making it on video they cheapened it. It's now like baseball playing cards or bubblegum or something. It was a lot more interesting, aesthetically and artistically, when they were making it on film. No, I'm serious here! It seemed a lot more erotic and spontaneous than it does now.On the road with Guns N' Roses we never got into the videos. Who needs a bus full of guys all jerking off together? But we did have fucking tons of porno magazines. We enjoyed the cartoons and articles, of course!
What's the most often repeated lie you've heard about yourself?
Most recently I heard that, I'd quit Velvet Revolver and rejoined Guns N' Roses, and Axl and I had a long, endearing conversation one night at his house. I've no idea where that came from. Oh, and people keep asking if my mother is Nigerian. I think that one's on Wikipedia [he's right - Wiki does state that]. She's not, she's African-American.
Where's the weirdest place you've heard one of you're songs?
Chris Broome, Hitchin
I've heard "Paradise City" and "Patience" in some odd places, but the weirdest thing is hearing muzak versions of "Sweet Child O' Mine" in elevators and shopping malls. I've even heard an arrangement of it for harp. Recently I was in a hotel and the lounge pianist was playing it. I get a mix of emotions when that happens. Part of it is "hey wow, that's our tune!", part of it is embarrassment at even noticing it, part of it is bewilderment of somebody else playing your music, someone who knows nothing about you, who has never met you, who is just playing your music as part of a thousand pieces of material that they have to play. Imagine how say, Paul McCartney must feel, hearing his music absolutely everywhere!
Any views on GN'R's long-awaited Chinese Democracy album?
Sonny, Boston, Massachusetts
No, I'm probably less inquisitive than most. I'd be interested to hear it when it comes out, but I'm not sitting around anticipating it's release. I don't think it's the holy grail that people might have been expecting after 14 years, or however long it's taken. And I know it's not going to be what you would consider a traditional GN'R record. But Axl is, with all due credit, an awesome artist, so I'm sure it's going to be a phenomenal record.
You used to be an extreme BMXer. Do you still ride a bike?
Not as much as I'd like. I had a BMX up till about 1990, but I daren't ride a bicycle around LA. You don't even ride motorbikes around LA unless you wanna get killed. I've lost more friends through motorcycle accidents than through drugs.
Why did you decide to tune your guitar down a semitone? Given that it made GN'R so distinctive, it was clearly a good idea!
Andrew Wickenden, London
It's a vocal thing. It meant that Axl had more room to hit the high notes on songs. And Scott Weiland has exactly the same thing. I personally don't like to tune it down a half-step, 'cos you lose come of the guitar's vibrancy and energy. Obviously Black Sabbath made an art out of that, taking it down and just slogging along with it, which is cool for that kind of music. But for more upbeat stuff, I like to tune standard.
Did you have posters on your wall as a kid?
I had a King Kong poster. And anything with dinosaurs on it. And as I got older, I had the same Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Rolling Stones and Hendrix posters that all kids had at that time.
Stoke City or Port Valley?
Jamie Bowman, Merseyside
I think my father's family in Stoke were all Stoke City. The only time I keep up with football is when I'm in England. In fact the only game I've physically been to was a really good game between Arsenal and Manchester United. When I'm in LA, you don't really get much football, which is why David Beckham was such a big deal. That was hilarious. I think he just came here to take the piss, you know? The idea that America is going to convert to football by paying a king's ransom for this English guy with a fucked ankle. Everyone on the other side of the pond must be laughing their asses off.
You can't be a rock n' roll god all the time. What in your record collection might surprise us?
You'll find lots of Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Minnie Ripperton, Cat Stevens, all that kind of shit, but you'll also find complete catalogues of Walt Disney music. All the classic themes - Jungle Book, Cinderella, Lady and The Tramp, the whole lot. An I love Carl Stalling, this guy who did all that weird background music for Warner Bros cartoons. And, among my classical CDs, I think I've got a version of pretty much everything ever written by Erik Satie. Oh, and you'll find catalogues of movie soundtracks and TV soundtracks.
Can you rap?
RZA, Wu-Tang Clan
Ha! RZA knows I can't. I daren't. He's a good guy, a talented guy, a great chess-player, too. Hip hop is pretty much all my wife listens to, so I end up hearing a lot of it. My favourite stuff goes back to NWA and Public Enemy, that real aggressive, urban war music, although Dre and Snoop Dogg always come back with something interesting.
What's your favourite Jimi Hendrix song?
"Little Wing". It's just one of those great guitar passages. There's nothing flashy, not a note is out of place, everything flows. And I also really love, "Machine Gun" and "Dolly Dagger", and his version of "Red House". But with Hendrix, pretty much anything he did was phenomenal.
Do you still have any contact with Stoke-On-Trent?
Phil "The Power" Taylor - darts champion and native of Stoke.
My Dad's family are still there although I didn't see them for a long time. I was reunited with them in the early 1990s when my uncle David saw something in the UK press about "Slash - real name Saul Hudson" and contacted my office and I was like: "Wow, David Hudson! That's my fucking uncle!" So I invited my uncle and my grandfather and a few others when GN'R played Wembley, and they hung out in the dressing room,and cleaned me out of drink! Which takes some doing. I was pretty annoyed but in a weird way, felt proud that I was part of this grand lineage of English pissheads.