ROCK BRIGADE magazine (Brazil)
OCT 2008

You released your new album, Abnormal, on July 1st. What will follow its release: tour, singles, anything?

The normal thing to do would be to tour... but this is "Abnormal", haha. So I may take some time to make an instructional guitar DVD instead - it's something I've been wanting to do for years. Although I always get too involved in other things.  I've been experimenting with some acoustic versions of songs.  Meanwhile, I'm getting some retail distributors for North America, Europe - I need to find a good one for South America!

Any plan to come visit us here in Brazil?

I would love to. Right now I have no solo tours planned. I hope GNR will tour in Brazil, there's such a strong connection there.

How was the writing? You scrapped the whole album at some time, right?

Yes, a year ago I scrapped the whole album, around February '07. There were negative influences that were poisoning the creative process, and I wasn't going to let that get into the building-blocks. So I scrapped the album, until the inspiration to re-start would come. Then one day in October it all came rushing out, I couldn't stop it. Within days half the album was written, music, lyrics, melodies, instrumentation, everything. Then I started looking back on some of the songs I let go, and brought them back with a fresh perspective.

Part of the Abnormal profit will be donated to some charity found. Could you explain how it will work? And what about Rock Against Diabetes?

Yes, I'm selling CDs that have a personalized autograph with your name, and any special request written... $5 from each CD sold will be donated to Multiple Sclerosis research. I also did some work with Rock Against Diabetes ( ), concerts and auctions to fund diabetes research and a children's hospital.  Hopefully we can bring some good to the world.

You said you had better guitar sounds in the new record. Tell us more about how was to find this new sound.

Main things is that I "re-amped" all the guitar tracks. This is a different way of recording guitars, where instead of plugging into your amp and recording the sound from the amp, you record the sound of the guitar before it reaches the amp. Once you have the performance you want, you run this raw sound into different amps, with different microphones, and you can experiment with getting different sounds. You're not committed to the sound of the first amp you played through. It helped to have more choices of amps and microphones. I explain some of the recording techniques on these videos...

Some of the lyrics of your work has some funny moments, even if it's about something as serious as your health. Do you think people wouldn't take you seriously anyways?

I'm actually very serious about things, and often I just don't give a fuck. The combination of the two, the contrast, can come off as irony, or humor... I try not to think about it, and just let the ideas flow out in whatever way it happens.

What's your favorite track in the new album?

I hate them all equally. They all suck.

The single Abnormal and the track Objectify showed a good mix of punk and hard rock. Is it a natural flow after Normal or just came up in some songs?

It just ended up that way. The intensity knob of what I'm living has been turned up a bit since the "Normal" CD, and the same happened with the new album.

"Fame is a fuckin' cage / I'm infected with this rage" - does the lyrics have any relation to your "new" job, the whole as lead guitar in the Guns N' Roses?

There have been times where the adjustment was difficult, but it's cool, nothing I can't handle.

In another interview, you said the song "Simple Days" was written while on tour with GN'R and it would fit in Axl's voice. Did you write it thinking about the band?

It was the only song I wrote on tour. I didn't write it specifically for the band, but afterwards I was thinking about bringing it to them. I thought melodically there was something there that might have been cool to try out.

How was it to play in several countries to some huge crowds in the GNR 2006/2007 tour?

It was fantastic. Made a lot of new friends, so many unforgettable moments... to see so many people enjoying themselves together, to be part of it all, ya can't beat it.

What do you think about some online boards? People seem to get mixed reactions about everything the band does, including from your fashion style to your leads.

It's like lobster... I hate lobster - all shellfish. Just the smell of it is like a knife twisting in my stomach. That doesn't mean it's bad, it just means it's not for me - it's there for the people that like it. I'd be pretty thoughtless and self-centered if I thought my taste should govern the world - I should respect that other people like lobster, and that everything isn't all about me. If you don't like something, that's fine. It doesn't mean it's bad, it just means it's not your taste. If you're dicky about it, it's still not bad, you're just a dick that doesn't like lobster. So my outlook on it is simple - nobody should change for the person that doesn't like them - that would be like a restaurant taking lobster off the menu because one customer doesn't like to eat it. It's there for the people that do like it. Be who you are.

How is your relationship with the other guys?

Nobody's killed each other yet, so I guess all is good.

Let's talk about the giant white elephant next to you, ok?

Oh, you mean THIS one?

Any news about the negotiations regarding the release?

Azoff and Gould are the guys to  fill you in on all that stuff. If I do their job, then they're gonna have to play Don't Cry next tour instead of me. Who knows, that might be an improvement, haha. Better lobster.

How was to record Shackler's Revenge? You did the solo (with your fretless), some rhythm in the pre-chorus and the last shredding in the ending, right?

If I remember right (barely remember anything more than 5 minutes ago, haha) it was one of the first songs we worked on. I played all the solos - the fretless solo followed by the fretted solo, the end tapping stuff and the bends over it - also the rhythms throughout the song with all the riffing in them.

What do you think about the song?

I like the energy and groove, the vocals really grab ya, I don't think it's what people expect, like tasting somethin' for the first time... it takes a second to take in the info and sort it, then ya gotta taste it again, and ya start getting to know what you're tasting, trying to define it, and figure out if ya like it or not. That's how you know it's something unique, not your standard... chicken dinner.

Is the song the first single? Will it be available to legal downloading?

We'll have to see what management feels is the best route to go with all of that....

Did you read any review of the song yet?

That stuff will warp your brain, haha. Music is personal, different for everyone who hears it. Some will love the song, others won't, some are too biased to be objective. There will be people that feel like the name of a band should have one set definition of what the music should sound like. I don't agree. I'm a Beatles fan. What I love about the Beatles is how much they grew and evolved - if you listen to I Wanna Hold Your Hand, then listen to I Dig A Pony, you'd never know it was the same band. I'm sure some of the fans they had when the band were just kids singin' British doo-wop rock in '62 weren't all up for the ride as the band became loud blues rock guys with their faces buried behind beards. The same with Guns, the band changed over time, and the sound changed, and it will inevitably keep on changin'. 50 years from now, I hope people will look back and appreciate the changes, see it as a life span, and understand more about the events and the statements made in the music. Right now we're all part of the moment. There's no distance from it, to give us perspective. I'd like to read the reviews that will be written in 50 years, those are the ones I want to see.

Did you try to play yourself in the xbox Rock Band 2 game? How was it?

haha, haven't played it yet.

The two officially released tunes (Shacklers and Oh My God) from the new Guns N' Roses have some kind of industrial flavor. Do the other new songs have the same stuff as well or goes in other directions?

You've heard some of them live, yes? Chinese, Blues, IRS, Madagascar, Better, TWAT...   it gets pretty epic.  Damn good fucking lobster.

Sept. 22, 2008