The Conversation: Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash talks horror movies, growing up in Stoke-on-Trent - and his love of oatcakes

 

Do you have many memories of your time in England?

I have very vivid memories, it's funny. I had a wonderful childhood in Stoke. I have memories of my family, and taking the train to London with my dad – and going to the museums, and the zoo.

You played there a couple of years back. Did it feel like a homecoming gig of sorts?

It was the first time I'd been since I was a kid. It was exactly as I had remembered it. It was a really special gig: it was sold out, and I had a lot of family there. The fans were super-enthusiastic and made me feel very welcome.

Did you take the chance see Stoke City play? I read that you're a supporter.

No, I was literally there for one day. I was going to go over to my uncle's house in the tour bus, and then I realised it wasn't going to fit on the street.

Stoke's famous for its oatcakes. Did you try one when you were there?

Yeah. I got some oatcake T-shirts. My uncle sends me oatcake paraphernalia and merchandise all the time. I get a bi-monthly newsletter from this organisation and I have an oatcake award, I can't remember for what. And they send me oatcakes.

You did the soundtrack for the horror film 'Nothing Left to Fear', based on an urban legend in Stull, Kansas. Apparently even Pope John Paul II refused to fly over the town. Do you believe in supernatural forces?

I'm open to anything. Some stuff makes sense, some stuff doesn't make sense. I've had some small experiences, but I don't know if they're valid because I was probably high.

You're a big horror movie fan. Which would you say is the best horror film?

Night of the Living Dead, the first one, was a very visceral, raw, creepy movie. One of my favourites is The Omen. The remake of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Wicker Man, Rosemary's Baby – a lot of those very dramatic, story-driven horror movies from the Seventies.

Speaking of drama, in the "November Rain" video, how did you hear yourself play over the helicopter?

They had the monitors cranked. That scene involved quite the crazy production. They had speakers hanging from the helicopter. Since it was dive-bombing me just above my head it was not too hard to hear.

And do you still play guitar every day?

Yeah, of course.

Is that because you need to practise or because you enjoy it?

It's a combination of both. I'm constantly writing; always in some state of creative activity. I'm also paranoid that if I don't play I'll forget how to. I'm not good enough to rest on my laurels; I have to keep working on it.

You've given up pretty much everything: the drink, the smoking, the drugs. What are your vices now?

Guitar and sex. Having given up all that stuff has made me focus that much more on the only two other things I'm good at.

You've lived a pretty legendary rock'n'roll life. Any regrets?

No. I don't believe in what-ifs and should'ves and could'ves and that kind of thing. Fortunately I don't have any real regrets, so that's good.

Biography

Born Saul Hudson in 1965 and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, Slash moved to LA at the age of five. As the guitarist with Guns N’ Roses, he sold more than 180 million albums. ‘Nothing Left to Fear’, scored by Slash and co-produced by his company Slasher Films, is out on DVD on 17 February

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