Slash hints Axl Rose & Scott Weiland are "High maintenance"
"I still eat Top Ramen a lot" Slash
Guitar icon Slash more than happy to open for Ozzy Osbourne
By Gerry Gittelson, Special to the Daily News
For a man who has enjoyed enough good times to last 10 lifetimes, guitar icon Slash could not be happier — despite the continual dearth in popularity of rock music.
The former Guns N’ Roses star is touring solo, and he has signed on as the opening act for Ozzy Osbourne for one of the season’s biggest tours that comes to Gibson Amphitheatre on Tuesday night.
Ozzy has been known to do crazy things on stage — like bite the head off a chicken — and off stage — like getting caught for peeing on the wall of the Alamo. But the former Black Sabbath singer is relatively calm these days, and as for Slash, he has worked with Axl Rose and Scott Weiland in the past, so in perspective, this whole thing is a piece of cake.
"I guess you could say I’ve worked with some high-maintenance singers, but Ozzy is one of the most professional people I’ve ever met," said Slash, calling in the other day between tour stops. "Even back in the day, when he was out of control, one thing you could always count on with Ozzy was he would do the gig. It was never an issue. I can deal with all the craziness in the world as long as you do your gig. He’s a bleeping machine."
The legacy of Guns N’ Roses, considered by Americans to be the Led Zeppelin of the baby boomer generation, has been tainted by Rose continuing to use the name with mixed results — and without originals Slash, Duff McKagen, Steven Adler and Izzy Stadlin.
But Slash doesn’t care. He has millions of dollars and is a legend in his own right, so he’s no longer chasing fame and fortune; he just wants to rock, like when he was 19 years old.
"Money is no longer relative as to why I do what I do," Slash said. "It’s a cliché, but rock is what I live and breathe, and there’s that certain vibe and spirit that still drives me forever and always will. I mean, yeah, there are peaks and valleys in this business, but it’s what I do even though there are so many bands these days that can’t even get their foot in the door."
Rising from the Sunset Strip in the late 1980s, Slash and Guns N’ Roses survived for years on a diet of Jack Daniels and Top Ramen. He stopped drinking and drugging years ago — he has done more than his share — but begrudgingly admits still having a fondness for Top Ramen, a staple of skinny musicians back in the day.
"That’s funny, I still eat Top Ramen a lot," Slash said. "I guess I’m not into complicated foods, especially on a tour bus."
And the memories that Top Ramen conjures up will last a lifetime — good memories, not bad ones.
"When Guns N’ Roses got really big, we went from supporting Aerosmith to headlining stadiums on our own, so once it happened, it happened really fast," Slash said. "But looking back, the struggle up was the best time. There’s just that hunger, and I enjoyed that. That sweaty, real intimate feel when just a select group of people love your band, and you’re building and touring. That’s rock and roll. I mean, when you get to the big-time, that’s great, but the scrappy climb to get to the top, that’s the part I still appreciate. We had such a good time, even if we didn’t know it at the time."
Slash has been asked a million times about his thoughts of a Guns N’ Roses reunion with all the original members — he and Axl have not been on good terms for many years — but when a reporter put it to him in a different way, Slash was taken by surprise: What if Axl Rose called your cell tomorrow morning and apologized for everything and promised to do whatever it takes to make a reunion work?
"All things considered, that would be a call I would be surprised to get," Slash said. "If that really happened, I would have to clean out my junk drawer, too, but I don’t see it happening. But if it did happen, I would do whatever it takes to at least have a conversation about it."
Ball is in your court, Axl.
Which brings us back to the present.
The Ozzy/Slash pairing figures to be thoroughly entertaining. Ozzy always plays all his hits plus a lot of Black Sabbath material, and Slash will delve into material from Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver and his new solo CD.
"I’m sober, I’m healthy, and I’m still doing the best I can within reason," Slash said. "I still need to be at the top of my game."