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Fan Questions/SLASH Answers


In May 2000, SLASH agreed to answer some questions from his internet fans. He was asked to answer five, but he made time to answer fifteen. There were many, many more; and so, over time he's been anwering more. The questions will appear one or two at a time in the News section, and as we go through them, they will be added to this archival list. The questions are the fans'; the answers are from SLASH. Read on and see what each had to say. At this time, 2004, SLASH is on tour with Velvet Revolver and is not taking any more questions. You might have a chance to see him on tour and can ask him yourself. Whenever he can find to answer more, we'll put a note here. Please don't submit anymore till we give you the word on this. By reading through these archival ones, you might find that yours is already here! Thanks for your interest.



Question 1: How was it working with Lenny Kravitz and would you ever tour/work with Lenny again?

SLASH: Working with Lenny was great; & if the opportunity again presented itself, we could come up with some more great music.


Question 2 from Alex (Paris, France): During the last past years, you've played in a lot of TV shows, movies, and with lots of "non-rock & roll" artists. Does the fact of being one of the most popular guitarists influence you or your music a lot, considering that the "rock n' roll star cliche" is more dealing with antisocial and anticonformist issues?

SLASH: Alex, I love playing guitar, & I also love playing in occasional situations that are different than what I normally do which is hard rock & roll but in no way a cliche.

Question 3 from Gary Fuller in New Jersey: Slash, if you could create a "dream band", (a band consisting of five or so guys, none from the same band), who would be in your band?

SLASH: Gary, my ultimate dream band would be the band I'm playing in now. Snakepit is a hell of a lot of fun!

Question 4 from Tiffany Piland: My question is: what do you think of today's music with all of the different styles and types that have risen in the past few years including everything from boy bands to rap-metal bands? Do you agree with many people that say that music is no longer based on a talent but a style that will sell albums?

SLASH: Tiffany, today's music is in some way, shape or form, the same (in essence) to music culture throughout its history - cool, weird, good, bad, etc., not to mention all the new labels for each different syle people come up with. There will always be talent, I think, as well as there will always be mediocre music driven solely by record sales. It's only human nature.

Question #5 from Pam Gonzalez: When you get an idea for music, what do you do most of the time? Do you sit down and write the whole thing or do you record a little bit at a time and then put it all together? Thanks!

SLASH: Pam, I wish it was that predictable. Sometimes it comes so easy. Other times you feel you'll never play again. You sit down and make a conscious effort to write and nothing happens, or you'll be squeezing vegetables at the market and suddenly you're inspired. Putting it all together is the same type of thing. It can pour out in one fluid motion, or it can be like assembling a Rubik's cube!

Question #6 from Ashish Joseph in Texas: My question is that since you decided on new musicians for Snakepit 99, why didn't you go with your former GNR partners (ie. Duff on bass, Izzy on rhythm guitar, Matt Sorum on drums and yourself on lead guitar)? All you would have needed is a singer. Surely such a venture would have helped the public embrace Snakepit to a greater extent.

SLASH: Ashish, the new lineup in Snakepit 99 is the result of wanting to start fresh, put together a permanent band, and record and tour as a new band. Ex-Guns guys and ex-Snakepit guys in the group wouldn't feel as new for any of us.

Question #7 from Diana in New Jersey:
1-Growing up in England, did you have a British accent as a child?
2-You look so gorgeous in your many bracelets, do you have a favorite one or a favorite place to shop for them?
3-A few years ago, I saw a beautiful photograph of you in People magazine where you were bungee jumping! What was that like?

SLASH: Diana, yeah, I did have a pretty thick accent when I was really young, but it wore off in L.A. And, no, I don't really have any favorite bracelets; but I love wearing them. And, finally, bungee jumping is something to do when you feel crazy enough.

The eighth fan question for SLASH is from Eric:

I read on this page that you use Seymore Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups when playing live. Now, when I went to my local music store to buy a pair of these, the salesman said that they are the same pickups that come stock in a Les Paul. I really don't think the guy was right. Can you please tell me a little more about your choice of pickups and the difference between the two? Thanks a lot!

SLASH: Eric, the pickups I use are "Seymour Duncan" Anico II's not stock Les Pauls! Trust me, I have them in almost all my Les Pauls except for my vintage Pauls which I keep stock. I use the Alnico IIs because I really like them.


SLASH did a second set of questions just before leaving on tour in July 2000. This was when Snakepit opened for AC/DC; and despite all the pressures, SLASH looked over 100 fan questions and chose the following to answer:

Question: David asked if SLASH would ever consider doing a guest guitarist spot on Chinese Democracy (the new GNR album) in much the same way that Jimmy Page and Brian May have.
SLASH Replies: I doubt it. (tension and not having a clear picture of the overall kind of music the band is working in. Snakepit is busy right now.)

Question: I've been wanting to go to one of your concerts, but most that have been in my area, (southern California), seem to be in 21 or over places when I call about tickets. Will you be playing in any 18 and over or all ages places this next time you start touring?
SLASH Replies: The AC/DC shows are All Ages. When Snakepit tours again after the international tour, the shows will be in all kinds of venues. We aim for All Ages but often those venues are taken or the promotor has things set up in another club with admission restrictions.

Question: Do you have a schedule for the tour and if not will Columbia SC be on there?
SLASH Replies: The tour schedule for Snakepit opening for AC/DC is available. It can be found on this site in the Snakepit 1999-2000 Section off the Main Menu. You can also check www.ticketmaster.com and AC/DC's official site. Georgia and Virginia are the only states on AC/DC's tour that are in the South. The Snakepit tour later in the year has not yet been completely set up so the tour schedule is not yet available.

Question: Paul Modaley or Merseyside, England writes, "I am a very big fan of your playing; you play with passion, and you are a very proficient player. When I write music for my band, I am often left confused about how I should do it. I am an isolationist at heart. Do you think it is better to play with the others straight away? Can you read music?"

SLASH replies: No, I can't read music. I play by ear. I try to make what I hear (sometimes just in my head) come out my hands into the guitar. When I write music, I usually write on my own at least to start. Then, I bring it to one or more of the band depending on what I need to hear...percussion, more guitars, bass. Then we jam on it. When we have something that's good, we take it to the whole band, and we just jam on it and jam on it until it's either great or put aside. This is what works for me. Everyone has his own style, though.

Question from Minnesotoa: SLASH, which do you prefer - playing in a large stadium back in the Guns days or playing int the club circuit with the Snakepit?

SLASH replies: Both playing stadiums and playing clubs and everything in between! It makes touring fun when you do different kinds of venues. You can reach more people that way, too, since people will sometimes never go to a club or will never go to a stadium.

Question from William Kim: What's up, SLASH? I was wondering what is your opinion about the whole Napster vs. Metallica situation. As an artist, do you feel that the public is stealing music from the artists or is music finally brought back to the people?

SLASH replies: Napster is what everyone is asking about. First, bootlegging shows is cool. With Napster, some controls are needed or the artist and the record label lose all control of the music. The technology is new and to an extent it is good. Artists and labels have to make sure that what happened with MTV doesn't happen again. When MTV started showing music videos, artists and labels didn't really understand what would happen in the future. There were no negotiations. As a result, the artists get nothing when their videos are shown. Radio has to pay for its use of the music, but MTV pays nothing. I think we have to be careful that this situation does not happen again.

Question: Rumor has it that Suns is re-uniting with the original lineup that was on the Appetite for Destruction album. Is this true? And if so, are we going to have official reports of this, a new album, and all of you back on stage together again?

SLASH replies: Guns N'Roses has ended. The rumors you hear about the band getting back together are just rumors. There is no official truth to a new GNR album being made. While some of us are willing to get back together for a show or short tour, not all of us are. So it won't happen without all of us. Even a show does not look very likely right now.

Question 8 from Antony Symonds: I am in a rock band that's been going for a year and a half. Currently, we are having an argument about how important vocals are in a song. Do you think vocals are important or should vocals be secondary to the guitar? I always try to put really good lyrics over the top of it to add extra dimensions. The other guitarist disagrees. He writes his songs but puts hardly any lyrics over the song which is consequently very flat.

SLASH replies: Each guitarist has to do what works for himself as an individual. I write mostly music. Othertimes, I put in lyrics. It's a very individual and individual song process.

Question from Christina: Have you ever considered a girl in your band whether as a vocalist or on an instrument? If you didn't have the Snakepit band now, and you met a girl who played great, would you have her in your band?
SLASH replies: No, I wouldn't. I've been in bands with female artists, and there can be so many problems. The band should bond as a unit; but inevitably someone in the band starts going out with the girl, and someone else is jealous. The band starts to split apart. Examples are Fleetwood Mac and No Doubt. It makes everything more cohesive if the band is all guys.

Question from Alex Silady of Australia: I read in an interview awhile back that SLASH put down solos for a couple of Axl's new songs before he left the band. Is this true?

SLASH replies: No, that isn't true. There were some rehearsals of new material that I was there for, but I didn't contribute any solos.
Thanks, Alex and SLASH!

Question from Josh of Alberta, CA: I noticed back in GNR when you did a solo you would hit an open string every now and then for a split second that makes a really cool sound you have to really listen for. I have never seen any other guitar player do this, and I was wondering how you came up with it and why you do it.

SLASH's Reply: I don't really recall this. It might have been something spontaneous I used because it sounded cool. Or it just might have been a mistake here and there. Thanks Josh and SLASH!

Let's catch up on a couple more SLASH/fan questions:
Question from Michael Alkire in Portland, Oregon: SLASH, for a guitar player who has been influenced greatly by your playing style, what tips do you have on getting better at the guitar? How much time do you spend a day writing? How long did it take you to feel like you were good? How do you play so fast? What one thing helped you the most in becoming a better guitar player?

SLASH replies: I work all the time at the guitar. I play a lot not just when I am out working onstage or in the studio, but I also play a lot at home. I always have a guitar nearby. Sometimes I play while I am watching tv. I go out and jam with a band whenever I can. I'm always working, always writing music. I play while I'm writing. I play when I'm not. You get better and faster.

Thanks, Michael and SLASH!

Question from Nathan: Hello, SLASH! When touring with GNR on the big Illusions tour, was there any one gig that really stood out in your mind as being "the ultimate gig" where all the band members were feeding off each other especially well? Also, what part of the tour did you favor the most? I know you probably dug them all but there was the 1993 leg where you toured arenas and had the acoustic set and also in 1992 with Metallica and stadiums, then there was 1991 with openers Skid Row. Thanks, SLASH.

SLASH replies: I couldn't pick out the best gig. Rock in Rio and Madison Square Garden (for the first time) were among the best gigs we did. The audiences were amazing! And the band feeds off the audience reactions. The shows where we did the acoustic set were my least favorite ones. They slowed down the show so much and were too choreographed with the sofa and pizza. I like the show to just build and build, not to slow down for long periods of time.

Thanks, SLASH and Nathan! Question from Roberto Haddad of Brazil : Have you (SLASH's Snakepit) received any invitations to come to Rock in Rio III? Would you come if invited? And finally, would you come for a reunion of GNR?

SLASH replies: We have not been invited, but we would come if asked. Rock in Rio was one of the best gigs I ever played with Guns. I would come for a reunion of GNR if it were the original band.

Question from Ashish of Austin, Texas: I read an interview with you in the April edition of Guitar One magazine. In it you mentioned that Zakk Wylde had tried out for GNR but it just didn't work out. Are the two of you still good friends? Do you possibly see some sort of collaboration in the future with him? Both of you are awesome guitarists, and it would be a pleasure to hear you jam together. Thanks very much!

SLASH replies: We were good friends once. I haven't seen or talked to Zakk in a long time. I don't really see a collaboration because it would just be too much guitar. Both of us play strong lead guitar, and we could overwhelm anyone else in the band.
Thanks, SLASH, Roberto and Ashish!

Here are a couple of SLASH questions from fans:
Question from Brian: What is the most memorable moment of your career? What games do you like to play in Las Vegas?

SLASH replies: I like to have memorable moments every day. As for Vegas, I like play pinball and shoot pool. Once in a while I play the slots.

Question from Robb: Who now owns the rights to Uzi Suicide? If you still have something to do with it, would you ever release a Snakepit album on it? Have you ever thought of doing your own label?

SLASH replies: Uzi Suicide is a dead issue. It no longer exists. It never was a real record label. Before I found Koch, I thought of doing my own label, but it is a lot of work putting a management and distribution and publicity team yourself. Koch has great people in those positions already which allows me to concentrate more on music. Thanks, Brian, Robb and SLASH

Some SLASH/fan questions:
Question from Jeff of Portland OR: My question is regarding the GNR pinball machine. There are several GNR songs on there; however, there are other songs on there that are not on any GNR album. For example, the "SLASH solo guitar feature" or the song played on the "extra ball feature". Did you actually record these songs for the pinball machine? I've also heard that there are other unreleased tracks on the machine. Is this true?

SLASH replies: There are eight different original GNR recordings which were taken off the masters. An unreleased song is "Ain't Goin' Down" with no lyrics. If you see the Viper pinball game which I also did the music for, you'll find "Speed Parade" there. It's the sound the car makes.
Thanks, SLASH and Jeff!

Question: I think there's a dispute over which ernie balls you use. A book, Legends of Guitar says you use 10s standard gauge strings. On this site it says you use 11s ernie balls. When I ask my music store what is standard gauge, they say there is no standard gauge. Could you please specify what gauge strings you really use?

I use 11-46 ernie ball strings. (webmaster will correct the site).
Thanks, SLASH!


Question from Zou in China: When you are in the recording studio and ready to record, how can you keep the feeling as usual or do you just have a new feeling? When you are first in the studio, how do you feel?

SLASH replies: When you first walk in, it takes awhile to get in the mood and get comfortable with the other players. So you talk or fool around, but at a certain time, you get it and just start playing.
Thanks, SLASH and Zou!


Uros from Slovenia asks: How many GNR and Snakepit pinball machines were made and are they all over the world or in other countries?

SLASH replies: There were 550 GNR pinball machines made. As for Snakepit, I am not sure of that number, but it was also a limited amount. The machines were sold to distributors who then sold them to individuals or companies. By now many have been sold again, so they could be anywhere in the world.
Thanks, SLASH and Uros!

We just have two SLASH/fan questions left. We'll see if SLASH can do some more while on tour.
Question from Jordan: What goes through your head right before you walk on stage in front of thousands of people?

SLASH replies: I am not conscious of thinking anything in particular. I am full of nervous energy.

Question from Ray: What was the first gig you ever played where you got paid...real money? Do you remember any of the songs?

SLASH replies: I was with Hollywood Rose, and we played at Madame Wong's in L.A.

When SLASH was recovering from pneumonia, he decided that answering some more fan questions was a good way to stay in touch with fans. These are printed in the Current Events section then archived here.

Empact29 sent in a question to SLASH on playing for different performers. The question is, "What is it like to work with Rod and his singing style as opposed to Axl or Lenny Kravitz or Michael Jackson? Does it make a difference in your guitar playing when you work with a different singer, or do you just come up with the riffs and have him sing over them without your altering them?

SLASH replies, "Playing with Rod, Axl, Iggy Pop or Lenny Kravitz to Lemmy, etc. changes my approach to my playing so that my style of playing just compliments the musical goal we are trying to achieve.

Why is there no publicity of Snakepit? Is that a personal thing? I know that publicity depends on management and the record company, but here in Europe....it they'd had more publicity, they would have sold more records. There's lots of people without a clue about SLASH's Snakepit here. I've talked to some friends about it, and they all have bought the album. They think Rod is fantastic, and they are waiting to see the band rockin'. Thankx ---J. Levi, Spain

SLASH replies, "If there is a lack of publicity, it is the record company's fault. But I will remind them for sure."

Thanks, SLASH and J. Levi! We have heard similar complaints from other countries. Come on, Koch Records! J. Levi, if you would send your mailing address to webmaster@snakepit.org, we have a gift for you from SLASH and Koch. Next time, a fan asks about playing for singers with different styles.

Here's another question in our "Ask SLASH" series. The questions will be moved into the SLASH Answers Your Questions section off the Main Menu. We'll move them when we finish this first set of five. This question comes from Clint Roberts. Clint, if you're out there, please send your mailing address to webmaster@snakepit.org so that we can send you a gift from SLASH and Koch Records. It's not too late to send questions in!

Clint asks, "I have always wondered out of all the songs you have written, past and present, which one (or ones) are you most proud of?

SLASH replies, "I'm really proud of almost everything that I have recorded, in some way, shape or form - whether I wrote or made a guest appearance - if it is cool enough to immortalize the song, you have to be proud of it.

The first question is made up of 3 questions that had to do with beginning guitarists. The questions came from Jim Woods, CTIS Student and Laura in Memphis. Here it is:

SLASH, what is the best advice you can give to beginning guitarists? Do you recommend playing by ear or trying to learn all the scales and other beginner's techniques? How do you learn to improvise? What advice would you give to young aspiring musicians with regard to the business side of the music industry?

SLASH replies: The only real advice I can give to a beginning guitarist is pick up on everything: reading, writing, learning from records. Watching other guitarists play live is also a good way to learn. Whatever catches your ear and everything in between... Establish an idea of what you would like to hear yourself playing, and follow that concept. Try to learn bits and pieces of music you like amidst compositions that you don't necessarily like in their whole form. In short, be yourself. Do everything you can to establish that while digesting everything else around you.

Speaking of questions, SLASH answered a question from Rob in NYC:

Would you ever do a straight up blues album? (Rob's aside, which SLASH saw was - if you can, let SLASH know how much we appreciate his blues playing, and how it has influenced a lot of us to pursue "Blues in the Key of SLASH")

SLASH replied, "One of these days I will do a blues record of some kind but it will happen when I least expect it. You know, right at the right kind of time."

The first question is made up of 3 questions that had to do with beginning guitarists. The questions came from Jim Woods, CTIS Student and Laura in Memphis. Here it is:

SLASH, what is the best advice you can give to beginning guitarists? Do you recommend playing by ear or trying to learn all the scales and other beginner's techniques? How do you learn to improvise? What advice would you give to young aspiring musicians with regard to the business side of the music industry?

SLASH replies: The only real advice I can give to a beginning guitarist is pick up on everything: reading, writing, learning from records. Watching other guitarists play live is also a good way to learn. Whatever catches your ear and everything in between... Establish an idea of what you would like to hear yourself playing, and follow that concept. Try to learn bits and pieces of music you like amidst compositions that you don't necessarily like in their whole form. In short, be yourself. Do everything you can to establish that while digesting everything else around you.

Connan in France asks, "There are thousands of people who have learned to play the guitar thanks to you and who now dream of playing a song with you. Do you remember and how did you feel when you first played with Joe Perry? Were you totally flipped out and were you proud of yourself? Do you realize today that a lot of young but good guitarists would like to jam with you? Do you realize their dream sometimes?"

SLASH replies, "The first time I got to jam with Joe Perry was surreal. We played "Train Kept-A-Rollin' ". It was hard for me to believe that I was jamming with the same guy (and Steven Tyler, Brad, Tom and Joey) that I'd been listening to on record and in concert for years. Aerosmith has always been one of my favorite bands. The feeling was incomparable! To answer the other half of your question, I don't think I've played with anyone who is as big a fan of mine as I am of Joe Perry yet. But it's cool to know that there are lots of fans out there who might like to jam with me!"

Here's the guitar history question we promised last time. This comes from Nick in Buffalo, NY - direct to SLASH: