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Gilby Clarke On Being Let Go 'One Day The Checks Stopped Coming'


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Interview: Gilby Clarke and Friends

October 21, 2015

Can you tell us something more about Guns N Roses? How did it all start? You joined them before the ‘Use Your Illusions’ tour back in 1993?

GILBY– I can’t really tell you anything new, it’s been 25 years and the stories have all been told . When I joined the band it was a popular band. It was easier for me coming in as the band was successful. What was hard was, fitting in the group that had already existed personality wise, musically and things like that. I was a good match, my guitar playing fit, my image fit and my personality fit. These are the key things that don’t usually fit always. They enjoyed having new blood around too. The easy stuff was, we were playing sold out Concerts and records were selling. The hard part is when records aren’t selling, and Concerts aren’t selling.

There is some mystery associated with how your journey with Guns N Roses ended. Would you elaborate on that, please?

GILBY– Well, really simple, Axl one day just wanted to change things up. I honestly didn’t know what he wanted to do. He never talked to me directly, I always dealt with SLASH. There was one week I was in the band and then the next week he was just pissed off with something. And finally one day, the cheques stopped coming. That’s how it all ended.

You are still in touch with Slash and have collaborated with him on numerous occasions? Can you just give a small lowdown on what kind & how is he as a person, friend, and a guitarist?

GILBY– Slash nowadays is very different from the Guns N Roses slash. Back then everyone was a lot younger abusing alcohol and drugs. It was a different time then. Now, everybody is grown as a person, now we all have families. Deep down all of us still enjoyed playing music. Slash is a great guy. If you met him at an airport he would say ‘Hey! What’s going on?’ But obviously he’s more famous now than he was with Guns N Roses. He can’t just walk into a bar or a restaurant and hangout, that’s hard for him, he’s too famous now. But still he’s the same person.

You have a fantastic solo career of more than 15+ years now and seven albums with some big record labels.After Guns N Roses, did you think that you would have such a long solo career or you were just taking some time off before joining/forming a new group?

GILBY– The reality is No. I only made a solo record cause at that time we were writing songs for the Guns N Roses record and I gave those songs to them, and they said we don’t want them. So I went and made my own record. And then things started to change, nobody was in the band anymore and I needed to do something. I couldn’t go from a band like Guns N Roses and play guitar for another band, so I made my own band. I never set out to play a solo career. It just evolved.

http://frontrowravers.com/interview-gilby-clarke-and-friends/

Edited by Funky.Monkey
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There was a bit more to the story:

"What happened was we were rehearsing and Gilby was really out of it one day. The morale of the band, we were all trying to keep it together and he was the odd man out that day. I was complaining and then Axl called me that same night. [Axl] said he didn't want to work with Gilby anymore for a lot of different reasons. In a way I sort of went along with it, at least Axl thought I was going along with it because I had my own complaints from that night at rehearsal. This was about a year ago." (Slash, Metal Edge Magazine, 04/95)
"And so, I told Gilby that that was going on. So he didn't hear it from somewhere else. Because if you know, in this business, leaks are like crazy. And it's just best to be upfront and honest about thing. So I told him what was going on. Then he had words with Axl and then in turn he had words with Duff. And that sort of cemented the, you know, the relationship, the departure. Whatever you wanna call it." (Slash, Canadian Radio, 04/20/95)
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So Axl didn't want to songs that ended on It's 5 o'clock somewhere, and he didn't want the ones that ended on Pawn-Shop Guitar. Yet, both records had songs that would have worked well as GnR tracks, imho.

I consider both those albums to be better than Chinese Democracy.

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So Axl didn't want to songs that ended on It's 5 o'clock somewhere, and he didn't want the ones that ended on Pawn-Shop Guitar. Yet, both records had songs that would have worked well as GnR tracks, imho.

According to Axl, he thought the Snakepit songs had some potential and he was willing to work on them. But Slash didn't want Axl's input.

"What people don't know is, the [slash's] Snakepit album, that is the Guns N' Roses album. I just wouldn't do it. [...] Duff walked out on it, and I walked out on it, because I wasn't allowed to be any part of it. It's like, 'No, you do this, that's how it is.'" (Axl, MTV, 11/08/99)

"I didn’t walk till several months after having 3-4-hour phone conversations nearly every day with Slash, trying to reach a compromise. I was specifically told no lyrics, no melodies, no changes to anything and to sing what I was told or fuck off." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/14/08)

"And I didn't believe in it. I thought that there were riffs and parts and some ideas, I thought, that needed to be developed. I had no problem working on it, or working with it, but you know, as is, I think I'm with the public on that one." (Axl, MTV, 11/08/99)

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Sounds like Gilby was the gateway to Axl's hired hands approach. You're not equal to me, you work for me and I'll use your talents and dispose of you as I wish.

But Gilby never had talents for Axl to use. The problem was not Axl's tyranny. It was Axl's belief Gilby wasn't working out musically for Guns.

Edited by Rovim
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Sounds like Gilby was the gateway to Axl's hired hands approach. You're not equal to me, you work for me and I'll use your talents and dispose of you as I wish.

But Gilby never had talents for Axl to use. The problem was not Axl's tyranny. It was Axl's belief Gilby wasn't working out musically for Guns.

Probably so. In the end it didn't matter anyway. Gilby could have been the greatest songwriter on Earth and Axl would have still ultimately failed to utilise him in the long run much as Bucket, Tommy and Co would find out.

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Sounds like Gilby was the gateway to Axl's hired hands approach. You're not equal to me, you work for me and I'll use your talents and dispose of you as I wish.

But Gilby never had talents for Axl to use. The problem was not Axl's tyranny. It was Axl's belief Gilby wasn't working out musically for Guns.

Probably so. In the end it didn't matter anyway. Gilby could have been the greatest songwriter on Earth and Axl would have still ultimately failed to utilise him in the long run much as Bucket, Tommy and Co would find out.

Depends on how you look at it. I could say he utilized Paul and all those guys and created the music he wanted to create, as he said.

It took him too long for it to be a commercial success, but he's still making money touring Appetite.

He failed at carving out a new identity that was acceptable both in sound and image for New Guns. His insecurities and self importance really fucked up a lot of shit he was trying to do.

But in the long run, if he releases the rest of Chinese, even without a tour, and that's the music he wanted to create, he'll achieve his goal as a solo artist and that is the most important thing imo for any real artist and again, still making a lot of money.

The demand is not as it once was, but he can still make money for at least 7 years just from live shows. Could have been worse for him, could have been much better as well.

Edited by Rovim
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