Slash Recalls ‘Very Surreal’ Guns N’ Roses Reunion Show
Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash didn’t believe a reunion would take place as little as two months before it happened – and he’s recalled that it was “very surreal” to be back on stage with frontman Axl Rose when they played their first comeback show in April 2016. He’s also spoken of the experience of meeting Rose in 2015 for the first time since leaving the band in 1996.
“It was on the phone, and then we got together when I got back into town,” he told Nikki Sixx on his Sixx Sense radio show (video below). “I was on the road; I was in Peru. I remember it specifically. It was very cathartic to physically talk. ‘Cause there’s a bond that you have that’s never [broken], and then what happens is the bond makes the negative side of that much worse, because you’re forced out of it.
“There was always that thing, and I won’t get into all the personal stuff. … [T]here was a lot of bad feelings from the breakup all throughout that 20 years, whatever it was. But there’s also a part of you that’s, like, in a marriage, where you love somebody… [S]o there’s always that feeling, but then there’s all this negative stuff.” He added, “There was so much stuff perpetuated in the media, and it was just blown out of proportion. So when he and I talked for the first time, it was really, really cool.”
Slash said that the first reunion performance at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles felt “very surreal” when he looked across the stage and saw Rose, adding, “And it just snowballed from there. So [it’s been] 18 months … if you had talked to me 20 months ago, I would have said, 'No f---ing way. It’s never gonna happen.’ But it did, and it was f---ing awesome. There were these moments on stage where you sort of take stock of where you are at the moment and go, ‘Wow, this is a trip.’ … There was something about this particular tour that didn’t take me back to the last tour in the ‘90s … it was completely unique in its own new thing. Same guys, same songs – but a whole different experience.”
Rose recalled in 2016 that he received an incredulous response from his manager Fernando Lebels when he asked to be put in contact with Slash. “As [the reunion idea] became more real I texted Fernando and asked for Slash’s number. Fernando texted, ‘If this is a joke… I’m going to kill you!’” he said. Guns N’ Roses’ Not in This Lifetime reunion tour went on to span five continents and became one of the highest-grossing roadshows of 2017. The band have announced a further run of dates in Europe later this year.