Gilby Clarke Explains How He Learned All Guns N’ Roses Setlist In A Week

Former Guns N’ Roses rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke revealed the time when he had to learn all Guns N’ Roses songs only in a week before his first performance with the band, through listening before finding out that there was a music book.

As many of you might know, Gilby Clarke had a 3-year tenure as the rhythm guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, replacing Izzy Stradlin in 1991 during the Use Your Illusion Tour which ran from January 20, 1991 to July 17, 1993. It was not only the band’s longest tour, but one of the longest concert tours in rock history, consisting of 194 shows in 27 countries.

During a recent interview with The SDR Show, Gilby Clarke opened up about the first time he had a performance with Guns N’ Roses and apparently, he had to learn every single song with headphones on only one week before the first show. Clarke stressed the fact that this was before Youtube, therefore he had to memorize everything by listening and hearing without tutorials.

In addition to this, Clarke revealed a fun fact about that time stating that after leaning most of the songs by listening them, keyboardist Dizzy Reed handed him the music book, unveiling that after all of Clarke’s hard work, there was a book that he could have used.

Here is what Clarke said:

“That’s true. They told me on a Monday – ‘You have the gig,’ and the next week we were flying to Boston for our first show, and I literally had a week. And remember, this is before YouTube. I was glued to their records with the headphones on, trying to learn the catalog. And the last song I learned was a song called ‘Estranged,’ which was a really long ballad piece.

And if you listen to it, it’s kind of one-dimensional guitar-wise – it really just features Slash. So I was listening to it, and I really couldn’t figure out what I should do in that song. So I went to Dizzy. I go, ‘Hey, man, can you sit down with me, and let’s work on ‘Estranged. I go, ‘I just wanna kind of figure it out.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, well, here’s the music book.’

And he handed me the music book – and I went, ‘There’s a music book? I just spent a week learning every note by ear when I could have just grabbed the freakin’ music book…’ I mean, I read charts – it would have taken me an hour. I was a little pissed off that I didn’t ask. They could have offered it to me.”

You can see the source here.