Slash spent some time with Nikki Sixx on the final edition of the latter’s Sixx Sense radio program. The guitarist spoke about the ongoing Guns N’ Roses tour, which sees him reuniting onstage with Axl Rose for the first time since the ’90s. He says the shows have been a “completely unique in its own new thing.”
“When we got together and played, it was Coachella, it was just fucking awesome,” Slash says in the video (near the 30 minute mark) which can be seen above. “And we played the Troubadour – it was the first gig that we did – and it just snowballed from there. So [it’s been] 18 months… if you had talked to me 20 months ago, I would have said, ‘No fucking way. It’s never gonna happen.’ But it did, and it was fucking awesome.”
The Guns N’ Roses tour, which features Slash, Rose and bassist Duff McKagan from the band’s original lineup, has been wildly successful since beginning in April 2016. Last year, it landed at number two on Pollstar’s Top 20 Worldwide Tours of 2017, second only to U2.
“It was very surreal,” Slash says of the the tour. “There were these moments on stage where you sort of take stock of where you are at the moment and go, ‘Wow, this is a trip.’ There was something about this particular tour that didn’t take me back to the last tour in the ‘90s where it was reminiscent of that, it was completely unique in its own new thing. Same guys, same songs – but a whole different experience.”
Slash says it was Rose who initiated the reunion, reaching out to him via phone while the guitarist was on tour in South America. When he returned home, the two connected in person.
“The first time we spoke it was on the phone, and then we got together when I got back into town,” he says. “I was on the road; I was in Peru. I remember it specifically. It was very cathartic to physically talk. ‘Cause there’s a bond that you have that’s never [broken], and then what happens is the bond makes the negative side of that much worse, because you’re forced out of it.”
The feud between Slash and Rose was one of the nastier ones over the years, with the frontman at one point calling Slash a “cancer” and saying, “There’s zero possibility of me having anything to do with Slash other than by ambush, and that wouldn’t be pretty.”
“There was always that thing, and I won’t get into all the personal stuff… there was a lot of bad feelings from the breakup all throughout that 20 years, whatever it was,” Slash says. “But there’s also a part of you that’s, like, in a marriage, where you love somebody; so there’s always that feeling, but then there’s all this negative stuff. There was so much stuff perpetuated in the media, and it was just blown out of proportion. So when he and I talked for the first time, it was really, really cool.”
Back in 2012, Rose flippantly commented to a TMZ reporter, “Not in this lifetime,” in response to a question about the possibility of the band reuniting. That quote has now become the title of the tour, which paused at the end of November and ramps up again this June with dates across Europe.