Slash has confirmed he considered not attending Guns N’ Roses’ induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame – but he’s glad he did go, because it marks the end of the road for his active feelings about the band he left in 1996.
Singer Axl Rose finally confounded decades-long anticipation over a reunion by refusing to appear at the ceremony, leaving his bandmates to play a set with Slash’s solo band singer Myles Kennedy.
And as other members of the revered outfit say they think it’s all over now, the guitarist admits he feels the same way.
Slash tells Rolling Stone: “In my heart of hearts I wanted to have the whole original band get together and perform – which I sort of knew was wishful thinking. It became apparent it wasn’t going to happen and I was like, ‘Oh, fuck.’ I was disillusioned with the whole thing, but there was that commitment that I was going and I thought Axl was still going to go.
“Early on, I have to admit, I was like, ‘I don’t really want to go if we’re not going to play,’ though I never said, ‘I’m not going to go.’ It was sort of a black cloud for a few months there.”
On hearing Rose wasn’t going to appear, the rest of the band made the last-minute decision to play – but it wasn’t Slash’s idea to bring in Kennedy. “Two days before the ceremony Axl said he wasn’t coming,” the guitarist recalls. “Duff McKagan and I talked and we said, ‘Okay, we’re just going to fucking get together and play.’ Duff goes, ‘We should get Myles.’
“It hadn’t occurred to me, really. I talked to Myles – he was apprehensive about getting put in that position, so at first he turned it down. But finally he said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’
“I hadn’t played with Gilby Clarke in a long time and I hadn’t played Guns songs with Steven Adler in fucking 18 years. It was a little bit foreign at first. After a couple of minutes it started to fall into place. I had a really fucking good time.”
Despite fans’ almost constant clamour for a regathering since the band disintegrated in the nineties, Slash says he’d never taken the concept seriously.
“I didn’t have any illusions or delusions of GN’R getting back together for anything,” he says. “I maybe tried to see it happen for this one particular event. I didn’t have high hopes.
“But now it’s all said and done, it really felt like closing the book on the whole thing.”
He also rejects the concept of Kennedy fronting a new version of the band, saying “it’s way too complicated an idea at this point,” and he also denies there was any “fuck you” attitude in their Rock Hall performance. “It had nothing to do with that,” he insists. “We’re proud of this moment, and I’m talking about legions one Guns fan who were really excited about the prospects of something happening so we can accept this acknowledgement. That was the glue that held us together.”