Legendary Rock Interview recently spoke with Marc Canter, GUNS N' ROSES insider and author of the new G'N'R-related book Reckless Road. In the interview he talks about SLASH's younger years, the famous deli he runs that once employed Slash, stories from the beginning of Guns N' Roses, and more. An excerpt is available below:
Legendary Rock Interviews: I was gonna ask you if you were able to interview Tracii Guns (L.A. GUNS) for the book as I understand he has a movie or something coming out and probably has some insight. He is such a phenomenal player.
Marc Canter: "I tried because he did play a part in it all, but he never responded and a mutual friend asked him in person and he was like 'Nahhh, it's a big Marc Canter cash grab and all this stuff about me and the book not wanting to be involved'. But I KNOW Tracii, I've always known him. So then a while after the book came out he came up to me and congratulated me on the book and said it was so amazing because it was really what happened and accurate. He said 'You documented everything that happened and those pictures don't tell lies.' He told me if I ever needed any help with anything in the future to let him know, I guess he was just misjudging it a little bit. He was also kind of hiding from the world a little bit at that time anyway and didn't want to really talk about those days. But I always and still am friendly with him, although at the time it was a touchy situation me even going there to shoot Axl singing in L.A. Guns. I was documenting and taking pics of everything Slash had done and Axl wanted me to come down and shoot he and Tracii in L.A. Guns. I sort of had to sneak around Slash's back to help Axl and do that because at that point Tracii and Slash were really rivals. Tracii was absolutely his rival because he also had a band before L.A. Guns called PYRRHUS, which was the high school rival to TIDUS SLOAN. Needless to say Slash would be pissed if he knew I was helping Tracii and Axl, but Axl asked me so I did it. In the end it didn't work out anyway, they played a couple gigs and then Axl split and L.A. Guns got another singer.
Slash almost joined POISON at that point who were being managed by Vicky Hamilton. He didn't really wanna join but he knew it was a good opportunity because they were a big drawing act and their guitarist Matt had gotten his girlfriend pregnant and wanted to go back to Pennsylvania, but he and Slash were friendly. Matt liked Slash, he had seen HOLLYWOOD ROSE open a couple Poison gigs and and wanted him to take over in Poison gig. Slash really didn't wanna do it, he didn't like the music, he didn't like the silly string and the image. I told him 'Dude, you gotta do it, you don't have a band, you'll be able to record an album and it will be a stepping stone to other things' but he still really didn't wanna go audition. He did go because I basically kept buggin' him and I actually drove him out to go see them play this sold out show and convinced him to audition like 'Man, look at this' though he clearly wasn't into it and basically blew the audition. He was not into the music or the image and I guess he made some of that way too clear to the Poison guys. They knew he was clearly adept at the guitar parts and all but when it came down to it they were looking for someone who was really into the whole presentation and willing to play that game. Oddly enough, Slash walked out of the audition and saw C.C. walking in and knew without even hearing him play that he was the guy they were looking for, he just was so obviously perfect for Poison.
What happened in the meantime was that Izzy and Axl had decided to do a reunion of Hollywood Rose with new members but it just wasn't working out so they had gotten a hold of Tracii whose current L.A. Guns wasn't working out, and they had gotten back together and were playing again in January of '85. They decided to merge the name of Hollywood Rose with Izzy and Axl and L.A. Guns drummer, bassist and of course Tracii and turn into Guns N' Roses. I actually have the flyer from that first gig and it says 'L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose present their new band Guns N' Roses'. They played a few gigs before their bass player quit and they got Duff."