On this day in 1965, Saul Hudson, better known as guitarist Slash, was born
in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Slash and drummer Steven Adler were
playing in the L.A. band Road Crew when they joined singer Axl Rose,
guitarist Izzy Stradlin and bassist Duff McKagan to form the bluesy hard-rock band Guns
n' Roses in 1985.
An independent EP in 1986 and a successful set of gigs at the
Troubadour club in L.A. led to Guns n' Roses signing with Geffen Records that year.
After issuing a live EP and touring the U.K., the sex- and drugs-loving band released
1987's Appetite for Destruction. The album went on to sell 17 million copies
worldwide and, coupled with the ferocity of its live
performances, made the band one of the biggest of the decade.
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Guns_N_Roses/Welcome_To_The_Jungle.ram"> "Welcome to the Jungle" HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Guns_N_Roses/Sweet_Child_O'_Mine.ram"> "Sweet Child o' Mine"
"Welcome to the Jungle"(RealAudio excerpt) and
"Sweet Child o' Mine"(RealAudio excerpt) were smashes and were ubiquitous
on the radio. In 1988, GN'R Lies spawned the hit ballad "Patience," which proved
that the band could do soft rock as well. But the song "One In a Million" drew the ire of
human-rights groups with its references to "niggers" and "faggots."
With their notoriety at their zenith, Guns n' Roses took their time making another album,
which eventually was released simultaneously as two separate records, 1991's Use
Your Illusion I and II. The albums showed Guns n' Roses to be an even more diverse
unit, with stabs at epic ballads, cover versions -- including a take on Wings' "Live and Let
Die" -- and honky-tonk. Straight rock came in the form of the hit single "You Could Be
Although the albums ruled the charts for a while, Guns n' Roses' reign as the
most popular band in the world soon ended when Nirvana and the Seattle sound broke
in 1992. Guns n' Roses suffered when Stradlin left to pursue solo projects. Guns n'
Roses' 1993 album, The Spaghetti Incident?, featured punk covers and returned
the band to
controversy with its version of a song by murderer Charles Manson.
As the '90s wore on, Rose and Slash began to disagree on the future of the
band; its very existence was in question. In 1995, Slash's side band,
Slash's Snakepit, released It's Five O'Clock Somewhere. Slash said
of his decision to record without Rose: "If I'm not busy all the time, I start sitting around
and it gets to be self-destructive ... creepy friends start coming over, and before you know
it, I'm strung out."
Sessions for the next Guns n' Roses disc reportedly began with Slash participating. But
he departed quickly, saying that Rose had taken over the group. Slash has kept himself
busy in the last few years, working with Alice Cooper, Insane Clown Posse and New
Jack Swinger Teddy Riley (the 1997 song "Fix," which also included Wu-Tang Clan's Ol'
Slash had an adult-contemporary hit with the instrumental "Obsession" from
Quentin Tarantino's 1996 film "Curdled." Another Snakepit album also is
Slash has said of the situation between him and Rose: "Everybody
thinks [we] are supposed to be like Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, which is
not the case. And Axl seems to think the same way, like this is supposed to
be some unprecedented lead duo thing. Where as far as I'm concerned, it's
... about where the music's coming from; where the band's at; who
the members are; and a whole ... tight kind-of group -- it's not just
the front guys. Axl just sees it as nobody matters but he and I, and that's
not the case for me."
Other birthdays: Tony Joe White, 55; Dino Danelli (Rascals), 53; Andy Mackay (Roxy
Music), 52; David Essex, 51; Blair Thornton (Bachman-Turner Overdrive), 48; Martin
Gore (Depeche Mode), 37; Tim Kellett (Simply Red), 34; Sam Watters (Color Me Badd),
28; Alison Krauss, 27; and Chad Gracey (Live), 27.