Slash Reveals How Cocaine Destroyed Velvet Revolver & Guns N’ Roses

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Photo credit: Rocco Guarino

Guns N’ Roses and ex-Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash told Variety in a new interview about how difficult it is for bands to stay together: “One thing I’m really proud of the Aerosmith guys, they managed to hold the band together. As a fan, and someone who has a perspective because I’m in a band too, the fact they can go and get their jollies doing something else, but keep the band intact, it makes a lot of people feel secure.” Turning to the subject of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, he continued: “I think he was the main guy who seemed to always have that rule in his head – you have to keep the band together, no matter what anybody else did, even himself. That was something he felt strongly about. It was so ingrained in his DNA that he managed to do it. So I admire that because I like to feel I was the same guy. No matter hell or high water, you keep it together.

“But there was a point with Guns where there was so much outside influence that I just couldn’t see around it. I couldn’t see how you went about fixing it. A lot of these people were so meshed in our reality, almost as part of the group. And it was just insurmountable.”

He then discussed drugs, which were issues in his bands Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver. “I have to appreciate, just for myself personally, being able to fucking get up and do those gigs every single night,” he said. “Because I would bet my bottom dollar if I was still carrying the same habit I had 12 years ago, there’s no way I could cope with it. It would be too physically and mentally difficult. There’s something to be said for a sense of clarity. It’s funny cause dope is such an insidious thing. I was thinking about bands from the ‘70s cause I grew up around a lot of that craziness, and I didn’t know it at the time, but I looked back on it and said, ‘Fucking every single massive argument between artists was 90 percent of the time fueled by coke.’ Taking the cocaine out of the equation, how many less rock ‘n’ roll stories there would have been?”

  • Stone Gossardish

    He’s right about Keith. Keith documented as much in his book, including the big fall out right around 1980 when Mick used the Stones to leverage his own solo deal. That was the mega rift maker right there. Fortunately, Keith led them to somehow come back and stay together, and Charlie helped hold them together. Long live the Stones.

  • Thaddeus Lovelock

    I know more than a few people, who when they were young and impressionable adopted the, Keith Richards, Slash lifestyle in order to emulate their heroes. It really messed up their lives, while others are dead.