Slash is taking his Snakepit through a warm-up tour of East Coast clubs in advance of hooking up with AC/DC for a national arena tour — and while he's looking forward to teaming with the classic metal act, he also has also gained some perspective on his 1996 departure from Guns N' Roses.
"It was a gradual kind of thing," he says. "I think it started out with Steven [Adler] getting fired, which was a mutual thing. We all realized that Steven was just too much over-the-top at that time to continue on. And then when Izzy [Stradlin] quit, I think it was just the breaking up of the gang, so to speak.
"That led to a point where we found replacements and managed to keep going, but … I went to rehearsals and my heart just wasn't there. And it was never me and Axl [Rose] and the rest of the guys, the way that people like to see it — where it's like the two front guys are the main thing and then there's the back line. I was very tight with the guys in the back line, which was depleted at that point, and there was never a really big relationship between me and Axl.
"So now that Axl was running the ship, I was going, 'I can't do this.' And the whole thing was taking an all around direction somewhere that I couldn't even relate to. I just couldn't hang in there, and I'm pretty tenacious. I very rarely quit anything."
Rose has finally resurrected the band, with an entirely new lineup, and plans to release the long-awaited Chinese Democracy this summer. Slash shows no apparent enmity toward the new project.
"I don't pay much attention to all that," he says. "I know what some of the new stuff sounds like because of Napster … and [the sound] is exactly where he was headed when I left, which is all well and good, and I'm just glad that he's up and running. It's been like six years since I walked out the door. Just the fact that he's out there doing it is good."
The guitarist's own band, Slash's Snakepit, is also back on track, after several years without a new album. Ain't Life Grand hit stores in October, and the hard rock act will get the opportunity to promote the LP with 32 arena shows, as it hooks up again with heavy metal legends AC/DC.
"I was ecstatic," Slash says of his band's joining the Aussie rock act last year. "I was very intimidated by actually following through, but I was like, if we can pull this off we can pretty much do anything. It was awesome. We went out there on our own merit, playing material nobody had ever heard before with a band that not everybody was familiar with. And we had them standing every night before AC/DC went on, and this is why we're going back and doing another leg with them, because they like us that much. It's very cool."