Gilby Clarke discussed Slash’s reaction to him replacing Izzy Stradlin in Guns N’ Roses in a new Tone Talk interview. Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his comments.
“When I joined the band, the band was already big, and I basically took 95% of what Izzy did and just made it my own. And Slash was great about that.
“He said, ‘Look, there are parts that are important, but I don’t want you to get bored out there. So make it yours.’ And I did. And as shows went on, I did make Izzy’s parts my own.
“But the good thing is – we were both rhythm guitar players so we both had a lot of similarities, so it wasn’t that hard. In other bands, it just depends.
“I’ll tell you a quick one, it’s interesting – doing Kings of Chaos with Steve Stevens, or Royal Machines with him, for the longest time we were doing ‘Rebel Yell,’ and I kind of did my version of it.
“So one day I asked him – I go, ‘What do you want me to play?’ And he showed me. I go, ‘Wait, isn’t that what you’re playing?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, that’s what I want you to play.’
“Whereas I’m used to when there are two guitars, we’re both doing different, it’s like a Stones kind of thing – you do that, if you’re the lead player Slash, I’m gonna accentuate what you’re doing.
“But it’s interesting with Steve, he just wanted one big guitar, his part was the song. So every project is different and to me, you just got to be ready. If you are the lead guitar player, you have that freedom but if you are the rhythm guitar player with Steve or Billy Gibbons…
“And Billy’s great, Billy gives you a lot of room, he’s like, ‘Do whatever you want and I’ll wave my hanky at you when it’s time to solo.’ Everything’s different.”
Was your most intense moment on stage with GN’R?
“There was a moment when we played the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, and it was right before I was doing my ‘Wild Horses’ thing where I should come up by myself, and no matter what, there’s nothing like standing in front of 80,000 people and playing.
“It really is just magical, whether you’re singing, playing bass guitar, drums, or whatever. There was a moment at the Rose Bowl where I took a moment to really enjoy it. And thank god, when I got that gig, I was 30 years old, I’d been around.
“I wasn’t a 21-year-old kid who had no idea what was going on. So I knew that it was a special moment and I did take it in.
“I’ve been in a lot of bands, have been in a lot of sidebands, I didn’t take it for granted, this is their band, I’m happy to be here. But I’m going to enjoy this moment, it’s important.”