Slash Talks Performing, Writing Music While Sober

By David Konow 09/06/18

“I found that when I got sober... my partying thing was really a matter of killing time in between things."

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Slash

Slash, who is currently enjoying a successful reunion tour with Guns N' Roses, had a long history with substance use before finally getting sober in 2006.

The famous guitarist born Saul Hudson also has a new solo album, Living the Dream, coming out on September 21, and now that he’s writing new music and performing sober, he realizes it’s been a whole new ballgame.

“I found that when I got sober, sort of looking back from the time that I started playing up until 2006, my partying thing was really a matter of killing time in between things. I wasn’t really using when I was in the studio, I was always focused on music," he told Loudwire. "So when I got sober, all that effort that I put into what turned into a massive addiction at that point, I took all that and just put it straight back into the music, and it wasn’t really reliant on me being buzzed, or should I say inebriated, to be able to create stuff.”

When writing the classic Guns N' Roses songs, Slash recalled, “A lot of that material from the old days—I can pick particular songs that were definitely written under the influence, but I can pick other songs that were written under the influence of a couple beers.”

Slash confessed to Rolling Stone, “From ’86 to ’94, there was definitely not a day or a show that I was sober… I was a very functional alcoholic. When I was on tour, it’s always alcohol. I knew better than to try a [heroin] habit on the road, knowing that if things don’t go as planned, you’re gonna be sick and all that miserable shit. So, it was just alcohol that I was dealing with. Which is its own demon, but I mean, I was good with it [laughs].”

Slash has always been a workaholic, and keeping busy has been the key to his sobriety. “I think, probably I’m at my weakest if I don’t have a bunch of shit going on.”

Today, he says his sobriety has “been going well. All addicts and alcoholics have to know that it’s there… I’ve been really fortunate that I finally got to that point where I was just over it. And I haven’t had an issue since then. I haven’t had any desire to go back and do that.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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