Slash Says Most Fights in Bands Were Fueled by Cocaine
Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash argued that almost all fights that take place in any band are fueled by cocaine, and revealed that he’d lost and then found a “poignant” track he’d recorded with late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington.
In a discussion about the challenges of keeping a band lineup together – not least Guns themselves – Slash told Variety: “[O]ne thing I’m really proud of the Aerosmith guys, they managed to hold the band together. As a fan, and someone who has a perspective because I’m in a band too, the fact they can go and get their jollies doing something else, but keep the band intact, it makes a lot of people feel secure.” Turning to the subject of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, he continued: “I think he was the main guy who seemed to always have that rule in his head – you have to keep the band together, no matter what anybody else did, even himself. That was something he felt strongly about. It was so ingrained in his DNA that he managed to do it. So I admire that because I like to feel I was the same guy. No matter hell or high water, you keep it together.
“But there was a point with Guns where there was so much outside influence that I just couldn’t see around it. I couldn’t see how you went about fixing it. A lot of these people were so meshed in our reality, almost as part of the group. And it was just insurmountable.”
That turned the guitarist to a discussion of substance abuse. “I have to appreciate, just for myself personally, being able to fucking get up and do those gigs every single night,” he said. “Because I would bet my bottom dollar if I was still carrying the same habit I had 12 years ago, there’s no way I could cope with it. It would be too physically and mentally difficult. There’s something to be said for a sense of clarity. It’s funny cause dope is such an insidious thing. I was thinking about bands from the ‘70s cause I grew up around a lot of that craziness, and I didn’t know it at the time, but I looked back on it and said, ‘Fucking every single massive argument between artists was 90 percent of the time fueled by coke.’ Taking the cocaine out of the equation, how many less rock ‘n’ roll stories there would have been?”
Slash’s self-titled first solo album, released in 2010, had been set to include the song “Doctor Alibi,” with vocals provided by Bennington, who took his own life in 2016. “I worked with a lot of different people, some of whom, for whatever reason, didn’t end up on the record,” he said. “One was with Chester. We did a song and Linkin Park at the time didn’t allow it to happen, so I did it with Lemmy [Kilmister]. … But it was a trip cause the song really speaks to his state of mind.” Lyrics on the released version include “I went to see the doctor / He said you're pretty sick / You got some real bad habits / You'd better stop right quick.”
“His family has got it so it would be totally up to them,” Slash said. “It was really good. He was awesome. It would be fine with me if they wanted to [release] it. Musically it’s basically the same as the Lemmy song, but the lyrics are really poignant.”