Slash’s Confession On Selling His Soul To Guns N’ Roses
Rock and roll has always been about rebellion, passion, and sometimes even excess. It’s a lifestyle that many people dream of, but few can truly handle. In the early 1990s, Guns N’ Roses was one of the biggest bands in the world. They had sold millions of albums, headlined arenas across the globe, and had a reputation for being one of the wildest and most unpredictable bands in the business.
But with that success came a price. The pressure to constantly produce new music, go on tour, and maintain an image was immense. And for some members of Guns N’ Roses, that price was too high. In a 1992 interview with the Los Angeles Times, guitarist Slash admitted that he had ‘totally sold his soul‘ to the band, but not everyone in the band felt the same way.
Guitarist Izzy Stradlin, who had been with the band since its inception, left the band because he didn’t want to do the amount of work required to keep the band together. While Slash was relieved that there was no more miscommunication between the members, the departure of Stradlin had an impact on the band’s success. Stradlin was a key songwriter, and his departure left a void in the band’s creative process.
Despite the struggles, the remaining members of Guns N’ Roses became closer and more focused. They communicated better and avoided misunderstandings. Slash and Axl Rose, the band’s lead singer, had a bond that grew stronger as they relied on each other more. The band’s image was also a concern, and Slash had learned to avoid reading the press because it created a sense of hysteria that didn’t reflect the reality of their daily lives.
Here is what Slash said about Stradlin’s departure:
“I love the guy dearly, so I don’t want to belittle his character by saying anything about him. But he just got sick and tired of dealing with everything. I think more than anything he didn’t want to do the amount of work that Guns N’ Roses has to do to keep it together. I totally sold my soul to this thing, but Izzy wasn’t that way. He didn’t want to do videos or spend all those hours in the studio, and slowly but surely, he started to drop out.”
When asked if he was angry about it, the guitarist replied:
“Not at all. In fact, I was really happy because I could never understand what was going on with him. Like even on stage, he would just sort of stand there–and that was the only time I’d see him on the road because he traveled separately. When he finally left, it was like a relief because there had been no communication at all.”
He also elaborated on the band’s future after Stradlin left, saying:
“It made us all closer. I had always been close to Duff [McKagan], but the changes made me and Axl [Rose] a lot closer than we had been. We had always been friends, but there is really a bond there now. What used to happen is we’d misunderstand each other. We’d have fights because of something I was supposed to have said about him in the press or something he was supposed to have said about me.
All these problems have pushed us closer together so that we communicate better and avoid the misunderstandings. The last fight we had was four years ago, and that stemmed from the fact I cut myself off by being completely loaded. At this point, I really have it together, so he can lean on me, and I can lean on him. He has opened up more. He’s not like a firecracker anymore, who just explodes.
As far as image, it’s hard to get that across to people when you have 5,000 publications trying to tell you what they want about Axl and the band. One thing I’ve learned to do is avoid reading our press anymore because that’s where you get a lot of the hype and sense of hysteria. We don’t live that way or feel that way on a daily basis, but when you pick up the magazines, it makes you think you’re some big deal and screws up your focus.”
The inner struggles of Guns N’ Roses during that time were indicative of the challenges that many rock bands face. The pressure to constantly produce new material, maintain an image, and tour can be overwhelming. Not everyone is willing to make the same sacrifices, and disagreements and misunderstandings can arise. Slash also eventually left the band in 1996, citing his frustration with Axl Rose’s behavior and the direction of the band. It seems like the harmonious period following Stradlin’s departure didn’t last long.
In the end, being part of a rock band requires more than just musical talent. It takes a commitment to the band and its vision, and a willingness to work hard and make sacrifices, as Slash has been eager to do. While Guns N’ Roses may have faced struggles during the early 1990s, they proved that they had what it took to come out on top. Their story serves as a reminder that even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, passion and determination can lead to greatness.