Slash has commented on a story in Paul Stanley’s autobiography in which the KISS frontman claimed that he had to teach the former GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist a basic lesson in rock and roll diplomacy more than 25 years ago.
In “Face The Music: A Life Exposed”, Stanley recalled the time he was asked to meet with the members of GUNS N’ ROSES, who were about to start work on their now-classic debut album, “Appetite For Destruction” album. Although Stanley claims he wasn’t all that impressed at first, describing guitarist Izzy Stradlin as “unconscious, with drool coming out of the side of his mouth,” and Slash as “half-comatose,” the KISS guitarist-vocalist was nice enough to show Slash how to tune his guitar in the five-string open-G method preferred by Keith Richards, and offered to put the GN’R axeman in touch with people who could get him free guitars. Paul then went to go see GUNS N’ ROSES play two small Los Angeles-area club shows, which he described as “stupendous.” According to Ultimate Classic Rock, it was an incident at the second of those concerts that created the initial rift between Slash and Stanley. “They weren’t happy with the guy mixing their sound,” Stanley wrote in his book. “And Slash asked me out of the blue to help out. Decades later, Slash’s recollections of the night would be faulty at best. He liked to pretend I had dared to meddle with their sound.”
Stanley continued: “Immediately after my interactions with the band, I started to hear lots of stories Slash was saying behind my back — he called me gay, made fun of my clothes, all sorts of things designed to give him some sort of rock credibility at my expense. This was years before his top hat, sunglasses and dangling cigarette became a cartoon costume that he would continue to milk with the best of us for decades.”
According to Stanley, he next spoke to Slash a few months later when the GN’R guitarist called up to see if Stanley could still set him up with those free guitars. “You want me to help you get guitars after you went around saying all that shit about me behind my back?” Stanley said he told Slash. “You know, one thing you’re going to have to learn is not to air your dirty laundry in public. Nice knowing you. Go fuck yourself.”
In a recent interview with Germany’s Rock Hard magazine, Slash revealed that he hadn’t yet read Stanley’s book, but more or less confirmed the KISS frontman’s version of events. He said (see video below): “What happened was… I don’t wanna bring it all up again… But he had come around to produce GUNS N’ ROSES way back in the day, before we actually made the first record [1987’s ‘Appetite For Destruction’]. And at some point, we decided we didn’t… We never, actually, were interested in working with him. But we sort of had him around because he was Steve Adler’s [original GUNS N’ ROSES drummer] hero. Anyway, and so, at that time, I’d done an interview for the ‘Calendar’ [section] in the [Los Angeles] Times, and I’d said something derogatory about him. And then, months later, [I] realized that he had an arrangement with B.C. Rich, and I was looking to try and get a guitar to record the ‘Appetite’ record, and asked him if he would hook me up with some B.C. Riches. And he said something along the lines of, ‘You shouldn’t air your dirty laundry in public,’ having to do with him. ‘So, no, I won’t help you.’ And I was, like, ‘OK.’ And we didn’t speak for years after that. It was only until roughly 2006 that we got reacquainted when I was doing the KISS ‘Rock Honors’ for VH1 and we sort of let bygones be bygones. And so we’re more or less cool now.”