It takes a lot of talent – and concentration – to play electric guitar like Slash, and apparently when the Guns N’ Roses icon himself gets lost in the moment, he not only “plays his butt off,” but sometimes even drools, according to engineer Micajah Ryan.
Ryan, who worked on Guns N' Roses’ landmark 1987 debut, Appetite for Destruction, recently looked back on the record in an interview with Full in Bloom. Asked if there are any Slash stories that stand out from that time, he responded (via Ultimate Guitar):
“He did have a habit, I don't if you ever noticed it, he concentrates so hard when he's doing the solos that his lower lip protrudes. And he drools, and it will eventually spill over to long strings of saliva all the way down to the ground.
"And it happened in the studio. He's so focused when he plays, he doesn't realize he's drooling – or doesn't care. I never figured out which one it was, whether he didn't realize it or he didn't care."
Ryan continued, "Another thing I want to point out is, when they say that Slash is going to go into the studio and play his music, Slash doesn't play, he works. He works his freaking butt off, and to me, that's this, ‘Oh, they're going in to play and stuff.’ It's a lot harder than playing, there's nothing frivolous about it at all."
And, as it turns out, Ryan had an Izzy Stradlin story or two to share, too.
"Izzy was great, but he would play, and he got through his stuff so fast," Ryan said. "He got through the rhythm parts and his lead parts about three and a half weeks, maybe a month. He just got through it real quick, and Mike [Clink, producer] didn't spend a lot of time going through all of his stuff because Izzy knew his stuff.
He continued that Stradlin “spent all of his time in the studio playing his guitar and listening to his tape player. He had a tape player, he carried his tape player around everywhere, and he listened to a lot of different songs.”
As for what he listened to?
“The one I remember the most was Keep Your Hands to Yourself, the Georgia Satellites,” Ryan said. “Because Izzy, when I did solo work with him later after the album, he hired a guitar player from that band [Rick Richards] to be in his band.
"Great guy, can't remember his name, but he was a great guy and a great guitar player. He and Izzy blend really well together, they read each other's thoughts, pretty amazing to see."