Slash: 'I Wanted to Play Bass'

The guitarist reveals guitar was his second instrument of choice when he was growing up.

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Slash says he had designs on playing bass rather than guitar when he was a teenager – until he heard a music teacher play Cream licks.

The guitarist visited the Guitar Center, Hollywood where he spoke about his formative years, influences and his forthcoming album, "World on Fire."

"The thing that really inspired me to play guitar was Steven Adler," says Slash (via Classic Rock). "He had an electric guitar when we were about 13 years old and he used to bang on it to KISS records at full blast. That was very exciting, so I opted to play bass since he was playing guitar.

"I went to a local music school and talked to the teacher and said, 'I want to learn how to play bass.' He asked me a few questions to figure out what I wanted to achieve. While he was talking to me, he was playing Eric Clapton's Cream licks on electric guitar.

"I said, 'That's what I want to do', because I really didn't know that much about guitars. So that was it - I switched over to guitar.

"My grandmother gave me a beat up old Spanish acoustic that only had one string - and I started learning on the one string. There was no stopping me at that point - I was obsessed with it no matter what obstacles or hurdles there were. I never accepted no for an answer and just kept at it."

The former Guns N' Roses axeman also chose to buy live albums rather than studio recordings because of the "energy of a band playing together."

"I was definitely into crazy live performances," he says. "It wasn't about studio achievements, it was about spur of the moment live playing - that energy that goes along with it and the energy of a band playing together, where the solo was in the context of the song and not just 'look what I can do' five-minute guitar soloing.

Talking about the recording process on "World on Fire," Slash says: "My last album 'Apocalyptic Love' was designed to be live in the studio with no overdubs, no edits, just pure live recording. World On Fire was also recorded live in the studio but there's overdubs and harmonies - I just wanted to make a more produced record."

Slash is currently on tour in the US with Aerosmith and will arrive in the UK for five dates at the end of November.

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It's never too late to live your dream Slash! You can play bass for my band IF you carry our equipment and drive the van.
    Hasn't this been covered in his autobiography, countless interviews and chats with random toothless drunk people on street corners since 1993?
    but now it's official!
    No. In two months, when it's been posted on UG in five separate articles, without any reference to having been previously posted....THEN it will be official.
    If he'd of become a bassist he'd of probably been in Metallica by now.
    Jimi Hendrix played on a one string guitar when he started out too. That's a really interesting coincidence.
    Rehashing stuff from an autobiography released about 8 years ago. Slow news day, eh UG?
    I'm sure I read somewhere that the whole of November Rain was written using that one-string guitar by both Slash and his Grandmother during a number of intense and cathartic song writing sessions.
    I love hearing stories like this, it gives you a sense of "what if". Guns N Roses would probably have never been a thing and they made a major impact in the music industry at the time, how different would music be now? I'm gonna stop before I start mentally stitching the pieces together to a point where 2012 would have actually been the apocalypse...
    should have played bass too, really adds to guitar where a lot of guitarists lack good rhythm. pure guitarists, have to be the most unoriginal sounding group in music. "woo look at all my solos that all sound the same" zzzzz.... or here's my fave: "woo look at these sweeped arpeggios that look cool, but it's only me playing a chord, 1 note at a time" wannabe posers.