The band that Slash was embarrassed to tour with


By the early 1990s, no rock band appeared to be more threatening than Guns N’ Roses. The imminent doom of alternative rock couldn’t stop every aspiring guitarist from religiously studying Slash’s nightly magic. He played in a blues-infused style reminiscent of legendary rockers like Joe Perry and Eric Clapton. Though widely recognized as a master guitarist, Slash found himself cringing at the prospect of performing alongside another rock icon.

Guns N’ Roses were already bringing in the new guard of what rock would become when they initially appeared on the scene. Slash was looking to be authentic in every sense of the term, living up to the band’s reputation as a rock and roll street gang. Other Los Angeles bands teased hair and crafted surface-level tunes, hoping for MTV exposure, while Slash sought authenticity.

While Guns N’ Roses were looking to break down the LA rock culture from within, Metallica had been dabbling in harder music since the early 1980s. Following the tremendous success of their debut, Kill Em All, the thrash metal titans carved out their own route. Albums like Master of Puppets filled stadiums solely by word of mouth.

When the band teamed up with producer Bob Rock for The Black Album, they aimed for mainstream success. They pared down their sound to songs like ‘Sad But True‘ and ‘Enter Sandman‘ that could gain radio play. Although the band could easily tour stadiums on their own, Lars Ulrich had the notion. He aimed to put together the greatest tour imaginable by touring with Guns N’ Roses.

Despite overlapping fan bases, the tour devolved into chaos at breakneck speed. Guns’ vocalist Axl Rose often skipped scheduled start times and shortened setlists based on his mood. It had reached a boiling point by the time the band toured Montreal, with James Hetfield seriously injured in a pyrotechnics accident.

Slash was ready to take the stage early and play a scorching concert, but Rose barely made it through a few songs before storming off the stage, claiming vocal troubles. Following the show, a melee broke out, and Slash recalls feeling embarrassed to even speak with Metallica members afterwards.

Slash recalled being embarrassed by the band’s behavior while working on the tour, adding, “That caused a big thing.” But a lot of what happened was completely out of my control. To be honest, I was rather humiliated by what happened. We weren’t on bad terms, but there was a palpable hush in the air. Fortunately, things have improved between myself and the Metallica members.”

While Metallica could continue touring after the tour ended, the end of the road signaled disaster for Guns N’ Roses. They finally split up following the publication of the covers album “The Spaghetti Incident.” Even though Slash may have merely wanted to play rock and roll for anyone within earshot, this tour marked the point. Things became far too huge for any of the band members to handle.

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