I don’t know about you, but it pisses me off when my fellow Latin Americans go see the so-called “Guns N’ Roses” tour, and they eat it up as if you (and the others) would still be there
It’s no big deal, it’s been going on for years. Before I quit the band it was understood that Axl [Rose] would keep the name and we came to an agreement, that we didn’t want it and he could have it. He sees himself and whoever he hires as Guns N’ Roses, and I don’t think anybody really cares
(laughs) I mean, maybe the public does, but as far as former band members, no one does.
So you’re still haven’t spoken to him since you left the band?
And no interest whatsoever?
It just hasn’t happened, you know.
Have you seen the Lemmy movie?
No, I haven’t!
C’mon, man, he’s one of your heroes and he sang in your album. Go see the poor man’s film!
(laughs) He’s one of my heroes, he’s a good friend, and he is one of the great gentlemen in heavy metal. It was a huge honor that he found the time to record [“Dr. Alibi”]. And I definitely had him in mind for the song, right off the bat. It was a lot of fun. I played on Motörhead records as well, so I worked with Lemmy before. But to have him come down to my studio and put a vocal on one of my tracks was very, very cool.
Why do you say this is your first “real” solo album?
Slash was a whole completely different thing than any of the other records that I’ve done. It was a whole different production. I got the songs together, hired the guys to play, and then I got all the different singers on a daily basis.
It was completely different than making a band record.
Just before Slash, you wrote and recorded the music for This Is Not a Movie. How did that happen?
That’s an interesting project. When I got done with the Velvet Revolver tour in 2008, we parted ways with Scott [Weiland], and I felt like, “I need to take a break from this.” We went in, we wrote some songs, we auditioned singers for a little while, and we felt nobody turned up to be a potential singer for the band. So I took a break, and I got a call from [Mexican director] Olallo [Rubio]. He said he was writing this movie, and we met and he showed me the script, and he wanted to have a score that was all guitar. I thought that was interesting. So I read the script and started writing music for him. He hadn’t filmed anything yet, so I was writing from storyboards. It took me completely out of my normal rock and roll-writing pattern, and I started doing stuff that I didn’t know was in me, sounds and styles and textures that just came out of me that I’d never done before. It ended up being a really interesting musical experience for me. And the film itself is very eclectic, very indie, cool, and interesting. I’ve seen the movie finished and the score came out really, really good. It opened up a side of me that I didn’t know existed. Some of the songs in my record got their start in that score. I’d write something for the movie and think, “Hmm
This would make a great song.”
Which ones, for example?
“Crucify the Dead” [sung by Ozzy Osbourne in the album] started in the score
“Beautiful Dangerous” [sung by Fergie] started in the score
And “Saint Is A Sinner Too” [sung by Rocco DeLucca].
Time magazine chose you as the second best guitarist of all time, behind Jimi Hendrix. That’s a bold statement.
those kinds of things
it’s really hard to respond to that. I never actually saw the article, but that’s an impossible situation. Some of the guys on that list are guys that I grew up learning from, and the order [of the list] is all screwed up. I really shouldn’t be in the list of ten best guitarists of all time. There are way too many names I would mention before I’d mention anything about me. It’s very humbling, it’s very flattering, but it’s not really real. I don’t put too much into it.
What’s your perception of San Antonio? We like to think we’re a metal capital.
I don’t see it necessarily as a heavy metal town. It’s just a great rock town, a great rock destination. One of the most enthusiastic rock towns ever in the States. I’m not just saying that because you’re on the phone, but if anybody had asked me about great rock and roll cities in the U.S., I would’ve talked about a few of them, and San Antonio is one. It’s as simple as that. It’s a great all-around rock and roll town.
Why do you say that? Memories with Guns N’ Roses?
Anytime you go to a city where the fans have a great, deep appreciation for what is going on [onstage], you remember that. There are places where you play in front of an audience and it clicks, but you just don’t feel it as much as in other cities. I played San Antonio probably about a dozen times or more and it’s one of those places where after the first couple of good experiences you look forward to going back to.
That’s great to hear.
But it’s true, though!
OK, one more: How many snakes do you have now?
Just one. I had like 80, but gave them all out to the zoo and other organizations. When my first son was on his way, and my wife was on her last trimester, I started to realize that the dynamics of having 80 10-feet or larger snakes in the house with a newborn probably wasn’t a good idea. And it turned out it was a wise decision, because my eldest son is very precocious and some sort of accident along the way would’ve happened. (laughs) But I’m so busy now that I don’t know how I managed to keep 80 snakes in the first place. So I just got one now, and he’s great.