Guns N’ Roses 1987 debut Appetite for Destruction remains regarded by many as one of the greatest rock albums of all time. With hits like Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City and Sweet Child O’ Mine, it set the California rockers on an inevitable path of rock and roll superstardom.
But for the album’s gargantuan commercial success and importance in the GNR canon – to date around 30 million copies have been sold – guitarist Slash admits he’s never owned a copy himself.
“You have to understand – I mean, it’s like this for all the records I do – I don’t collect any of it,” Slash tells Goldmine Magazine. “If you were to come to my house, you’d be hard pressed to know I was in a band. Or at least any band you had heard of. There’s instruments around, but I don’t have any souvenirs or anything special from the releases over the years.
“I don’t think I’ve ever owned the Appetite for Destruction record. And even if I did, I didn’t live anywhere [at the time], so I wouldn’t have [had] any place to put it! Granted, I did have a lot of records I’ve kept. But I just never was one to collect records of the bands that I’m actually in.”
He continues: “I mean, you make a record, you go through this whole process of creating the music and working on it with the guys and developing it. Then you go into the studio and you record it, then go in and mix it. And then the final process is mastering. And once that’s done and it’s off to be released, you’ve moved on.
“It’s like you’ve gone through everything you need to on that material, and the only thing you have to look forward to at that point is going out and performing it. And so, I don’t really get in my car and listen to it eight million times when [we’re] mixing and mastering… [laughs]
“Other musicians can attest to this – if you put on music in general you kind of get sucked into it. But if it’s your own material… it’s like if you’re at a gathering or something and they were to put your record on, it’s sort of funny. You don’t really want to walk in somewhere and they’re playing it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the top-hatted one talks about how he keeps his musical chops razor sharp after decades in the game.
“As a player I stay fit because I play constantly,” he explains. “I’ve always got a guitar around, and I actually feel like I’m going to forget how to play if I go a day without touching a guitar. [laughs]
“So, I’ve always got a guitar around. Especially when I’m on tour. I mean, for me, being on tour, one of the reasons why I love it so much is because it gives me a chance to be able to open up playing-wise.
“There’s much more of an adventure [with] that sort of playing, live in the moment, [you do] things that you wouldn’t ever think of just sitting there. There’s something about all that energy and spontaneity, so that’s where I do the most growing as a player. Just playing all the time is how I keep it all together musically.”
Check out Guitar World’s 1989 interview with Slash and Izzy Stradlin, in which the guitarists reflect on the tough circumstances and jam sessions that helped form Guns N' Roses' blockbuster debut, Appetite for Destruction.