Like many hard-partying rock stars, Slash is lucky to still be alive today. His use of alcohol and heroin is well documented, and now at the age of 53, he’s reflecting on why he finally cleaned up his act in 2005.
Slash first left Guns N’ Roses (GNR) in 1996. As the legendary guitarist explained to Belfast Live, once he no longer had the “security” of being in a rock band, “I drank myself through it. I did drugs through it and it was like, textbook almost… I’d left my band, I was getting divorced, I was going through all this s—t. I had record company issues. It was really classic rock ’n’ roll life—the bad side.”
As Slash was trying to launch himself as a solo artist, he explains, “I was drinking myself to death… I was out playing all over the place, I had no real direction I was going or any real concrete idea as to what I was going to be doing for any predetermined amount of time. It was very excessive.”
This period carried over “through the early millennium, up through 2005,” and into Velvet Revolver, his post-GNR band featuring the late Scott Weiland.
“Just because of the nature of the band—and it’s my own fault—but it was easy to do. I got completely strung out again and at that point I realized there was nothing about being strung out that reminded me of anything like when I first started using drugs. It was pretty miserable… Nothing was doing it for me and I decided I had to stop.”
The guitarist also knew he had to clean up for his family. As he told Loudwire, “I had two kids and I was living in a hotel because I couldn’t be around them. It all sort of came to a head and I thought I needed to go to some sort of facility and just get away from everybody for a month and I’ll clean up.”
Slash knows he’s lucky to have a second chance in GNR. “To have the opportunity to go back with Guns and that being such an amazing experience and such a positive experience, at this point in time, right now, to be in these two bands is probably one of the best professional periods I’ve ever been in.”
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