This is the final extract from my new book, Last Of The Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses.
FLYING LIKE A SPACE BRAIN
The following interview was originally intended for broadcast on a show I used to present on Capital Radio in London. It captures the spirit of Guns N’ Roses in the late-late-show era of the big-haired 80s better than anything else I probably did with them back then. It’s not clever but it is funny. The interview between myself and Slash and Duff, was conducted in West Hollywood one drunken evening on the second day of January 1990, and was never eventually broadcast, for obvious reasons, as you will see. But it is presented here in its full, inglorious glory.
It begins with the sound of a very drunk Duff singing: ‘Doe, a deer, a female deer . . .’ Then my voice, in radio presenter mode, explaining to them that although we are prerecording the interview the show itself will go out live. ‘So you can say or do whatever you like, but . . .’
Slash: Can we say ‘fuck’ in it?
Mick: If you must, but try and keep it to a minimum, okay?
S: Oh, cool. Okay.
M: So, imagine it’s a Saturday night in London.
S: Is it raining? Most likely . . .
M: Just follow me, okay? I’m gonna start. Right. Slash. Duff.
Thank you both for coming on the show . . .
S: Well, thank you for letting us watch you come. [Much
M: [starting again]: Okay, here on Capital FM I’m talking to
Slash and Duff from Guns N’ Roses. It’s the day after New Year’s Day . . . Did you both have a good time over Christmas and New Year?
Duff: Oh, yes! Oh, yes!
S: Fucking wonderful . . .
D: Oh, yes! We’re gonna go and do our record pretty, uh . . . like, in two weeks.
S: Yeah, so anybody who’s been wondering, it will happen.
M: That’s good, because you know what people have been saying in England – that you’re never gonna make another record because you’re such bad boys you’ll never get it together . . .
D [blowing a huge raspberry]: AAHHH! PUUHHHSSSSTTTTT!! They’re WRONG!
M: Do you have anything to add to that, Slash?
S: Yeah! Fuck YOU . . . Ha, ha! No. We’re gonna make another record. We’ve just been through a lot of shit, you know. It’ll be fine. Just relax. It’s gonna be a really good one, too. It’s gonna be very . . .
D [interrupting]: Imagine, like, riding on the Tube. Getting, like, one of those Tube tickets and riding on the Tube and then, like, getting lost on the Piccadilly Tube, and then you go to the Thames Tube and then it’s like, you get on another Tube and you get lost and lost and lost . . .That’s what happened to our band, kind of, like, in the fucking . . . broad scale of things. And we ended up on the Thames River in the rain. That’s, basically, what happened . . .
M: . . . the band were on the River Thames in the rain and that’s why the new album didn’t get made last year?
S [nodding enthusiastically]: We were drunk, we were lost and we had nowhere to go . . . And my top hat got fucking ruined . . .
D: And now we’re back dry in the, er . . . somewhere dry.
S: No, no, the thing is, it’s not like we’re … um … I won’t mention any names. But we’re not like some bands who make records like jerking off . . .
S: No, no . . . It just means a lot to us, so we’re just taking our time with it and . . .
S: Sshhh . . .
D: BRITNEY FOX?
S [giggling]: It’ll come back to haunt you, I promise you.
D: No, I’m just kidding. No, what happened was . . . the album went wuuhhh! And then we went wuuhhh!
S: No one expected . . . I thought – no offence to Lemmy or any of those guys – but I thought it would be like a Motörhead album, it would just come out and, you know, no big deal . . . Yeah, right. D: We went through a lot of stuff and then, after that, it took us a while to recoup and deal with our own lives. S: You get places to live . . .
D: And deal with our own lives.
S: And girlfriends . . .
D: And deal with our own lives.
S: Oh! That’s true! We all broke up with our old ladies today. D: Divorce!
M: This is an official announcement, is it?
D: Okay, this is in England – that’s many area codes away, right? Well, I got divorced, girls . . .
M: Okay, before we get any further . . .
D: No, let’s get much further!
S: No, this is deep! This is deep!
M: We’re gonna go much further, but first we’re gonna play a Guns N’ Roses track. Which track shall we hear?
S: No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no . . . ‘You’re Crazy’.
D: You’re crazy . . .
S: I’m nuts, but no, play ‘You’re Crazy’ . . .
D: Okay, ‘You’re Crazy’.
S: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! Fuck, I can’t remember the name of it . . .
S: No! Everybody plays ‘Nightrain’ . . . Um . . . [starts snapping fingers] . . . um . . .
D: Are you going down?
S: No, no, no, no, no! Um . . .
D: We don’t even remember our own record . . . ‘It’s So Easy’? S: No, the one . . . ‘ . . . pulls up her skirt’. The song we never play any more? [Both start humming two completely different riffs loudly. The interview has already descended into full-blown Spinal Tap absurdity.]
D [looking at me]: You know the song we’re talking about . . . [starts humming again].
S: No, wait, wait! We have to figure this one out. [Both start singing and humming and clicking fingers etc.]
S: God, this is horrible . . . Um . . . ‘My way, you’re way . . .’ D: ‘ANYTHING GOES’!
S: ‘Anything Goes’!
M [ jolly radio voice]: Okay, this is ‘Anything Goes’ . . .
D: By us, yes!
[I back-announce the record and we get back into interview mode. Sort of.]
M: What were we talking about?
S: Nothing in particular . . . We got rid of our girlfriends, that was major.
D: That was major! And both on the same day! S: On the same day! It was serious . . .
M: Okay, let’s talk about the girlfriends . . .
D: No. Let’s talk about music.
S: Yeah, sure. It’d be more . . .
D: I don’t, uh . . . naw.
S: We already got good new ones!
D [whispering]: I can’t talk about this. I got lawsuits and
shit . . .
S: Yeah, okay, okay, okay, okay. All right, never mind. Yeah. No. I have a new girlfriend. He’s . . . he doesn’t really have a new girlfriend, because he’s still married . . .
D: No, I’m not! I just can’t talk about it . . . Mick, let’s talk about you for a second.
S: That’s a cool shirt.
D: What’s going on with you, back home? Do you have a girlfriend back there?
S [nudging him]: She’s here! Her name’s . . .
D: That’s right! Oh, she’s beautiful! You did good! You guys over in England, Mick is fucking happening. He’s got a fucking happening girlfriend . . .
M [fumbling]: That’s very nice of you to say so, but getting back to the interview . . .
D: Me and Slash both have Corvettes now. Can you believe that shit?
M: . . . the question everybody wants answered is, what have you been doing this year, why hasn’t your album come out, and when will it come out?
S [shaking his head]: We’ve been adjusting . . .
D: But we have thirty-five songs!
S: We have thirty-five new songs. But we’ve had to . . . Let me put it this way . . .
D: Put it some fucking way, please. I tried to earlier.
S: The first fucking time we . . . Can I say that?
D: Yeah, do.
S: . . .The first fucking time we came to England, we like, we were just like . . . like . . . just . . . here’s the plane ticket, everybody go, and we’re all wuh-ooh-uh! And we get drunk and fucked up and sick in the street and stuff. Things changed . . . [Both start talking at once.]
D: We just sat in the street across from the Marquee and just drank. We didn’t know. We thought we’d just be, like, some opening band and stuff, and we got there and the place was sold out!
S: We thought it was the greatest thing ever. Now we have homes . . .
D: But fuck that, England was like our homecoming ground .. .
S: No, no, no, but the changing thing, that’s what’s important.
D: That’s what’s been happening this year, yeah. But the transformation from England to, like, now is . . .
S: But we haven’t changed.
D: No, we haven’t changed.
M: Well, you’re still drunk, anyway.
S: It’s the day after New Year’s. YOU’RE drunk, too!
D [laughing]: Mick, are you going to be able to use this interview?
M: I’m gonna give it a shot.
S: We’re not built for rock star shit.
D: We aren’t! We aren’t! [Goes into long incoherent rant about a fight he got into at a club on New Year’s Eve] . . . and the guy was bigger than I was, but I just went CAH-BOOOM! And . . . his eyes crossed, like you see in the cartoons, like that? And he went down. And then everybody dragged him back and dragged me back, but they were dragging him past me and I fucking biffed him three more times in the head! They said I broke his jaw . . .
S: Nasty [Suicide – former Hanoi Rocks guitarist] stuck his arm in through the crowd and got one in there, too!
D: So we go through this shit all the time, people trying to fuck with us. I was telling you earlier, if anybody fucks with my homeboy here, Slash – and it’s happened before, like if a big guy was gonna hit him – I’ve stepped right in front of him.
S: Sure, and I can hide in the crook of his knee . . .
D: I beat up a guy for him once. And he’d do that for me.
S: But not to sound stupid, because we’re starting to sound stupid . . .
D: Because we’re drunk! We’re drunk! Of course we’re gonna sound stupid.
S: No, but we’re a fucking band . . .
D: Yeah . . . that’s what it comes down to.
M: All right, let’s play some more music. What this time? It doesn’t have to be Guns N’ Roses . . .
D: ‘SCARRED FOR LIFE’! ROSE TATTOO!
S: ‘Scarred for Life’. Rose Tattoo . . . [Duff goes into invisible guitar routine, singing at the top of his voice. We come back from the record.]
D: Oh, I fucked up . . .
S: We are intelligent, though.
D: We’re not right now, though. Mick, you got me drunk!
S: We just like to have fun. Go out there and jam. It’s like this, to put it bluntly, we go out there and we play, and we’re very conscientious about our music, and we’re sick of fucking talking about it.
D: Yeah, that’s a good point. S: It’s true.
D: That’s a good point.
S: It’s like, it’s old . . .
D: We don’t mind talking to you because you know what it’s all about. But most people go, ‘So what’s it like being – a – ROCK – STAR?’ Like, what? What is a rock star?
S: It’s a hard stone that shines. Ha ha ha!
M [deciding enough is enough]: So let’s clear it up for everybody . . .
S: In England? We love you guys.
D: We really do love you guys.
S: We fucking kicked ass in London, that first time. D: I love the Marquee. I love London.
S: We did suck in a couple of places, though . . .
D: When we go back we’re gonna do the Marquee . . . S: No, man, it’s gone.
D: Oh yeah, it’s that new place.
S: I think we’re gonna do Wembley.
D: No, let’s do that biker club! Let’s do that biker club! I don’t wanna do Donington again.
S: Not Donington, Wembley . . . [Much discussion ensues over the pros and cons of Wembley Stadium versus Donington Park, with everybody talking at once.]
S: Do two bands, that’s cool. Five bands on the bill, all day long . . . it’s just . . .
D: No way. No Donington.
M: Well, wherever it is, I know you’re both looking forward to playing live again as much as your fans are.
S [pulling face]: Man, we have to get out. When we get this record done, we’ll go.
D: Hear this? Hear this? Hear this? [Duff grabs the sides of the table and bangs his head with an audible thump against it.]
S [disdainfully]: What was that?
D: Oh, you do it, too? Okay, together . . . one, two, three, four! [Both lean over and, as one, head-butt the table together, making an even more audible THUMP on the tape.]
M [desperately trying to wrap it up now]: You heard it live and exclusive on Capital Radio . . . I’d like to thank Duff and Slash for joining me this evening . . . [Much braying of laughter in the background.]
S: Anybody who stayed tuned, thank you for listening . . . Ha ha ha!
D: Yeah! I thank you! Because, uh . . . hah . . .
M: What are we going out on? [Long pause.]
S: ‘We are the Road Crew’ by Motörhead?
D: YES! [Singing] We are the ROAD CREW . . . da-nah-nah-nah-nah-naaaawww . . .
S [above the noise]: We had a band called Road Crew once. ‘Rocket Queen’ came from that track . . .
D: Right! Lemmy, hi! From Duff and Slash! And the rest of you boys, ‘Philthy’ and all you guys . . .
D: Lemmy, you rock!
[We say our ‘radio’ goodbyes . . .]
D: SEE YA! We’ll see ya soon!
S: Mick, thank you for holding the mic for so long. I couldn’t even hold my dick that long . . .
D: I’ve seen you do it! Remember, when we were on the road, and I pretended I was, like, asleep and you talked to your girlfriend on the fucking phone and you’d have your little rag and you’d go, ‘Get the Coke bottle, baby.’ I was pretending to go to sleep and he’s there beating off, and shit.
M: And on that happy note . . .
D: . . . I’d be trying to get to sleep and he’d be like, ‘Oh, baby. I’m saving a load of come in my rag for you . . .’
TAPE ENDS ABRUPTLY.