Former GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist Gilby Clarke says that the door is “always” open for him to play with the band again if he is invited.
Clarke replaced founding guitarist Izzy Stradlin in the GUNS lineup in 1991, during the “Use Your Illusion” tour, and stayed with the band for three years. After exiting GUNS N’ ROSES, Clarke continued as a producer and solo artist, while also playing in SLASH’S SNAKEPIT, ROCK STAR SUPERNOVA, HEART and other acts.
Two years ago, Clarke revealed during an appearance on SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation LA Invasion: Live From The Rainbow Bar & Grill” that he was approached about taking part in GUNS N’ ROSES‘ reunion tour, which features three-fifths of the group’s classic lineup — singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan — but that he had to turn it down because he had to see his daughter’s band perform at the Lollapalooza festival on the same day in July 2016 that he was supposed to jam with GN’R.
Asked in a new interview with Ultimate Guitar if the “door” between him and GUNS is open at this point, Clarke said: “Oh yeah, always. Always. But you know, no matter what, I have respect for the band. I’ve always thought that even after I wasn’t in the band, I always paid the band their respect. I never took it for what it was or what it wasn’t but I always tried to treat those years with respect. I never try to put the band down or try to gain from that. But if it ever came up, I’d have to see what the situation is. Just like before when people asked me and I said, ‘Yeah, I would absolutely be a guest.’ But that situation didn’t work out for me at that time.”
Gilby also discussed how Axl wanted GUNS N’ ROSES to become a three-guitar band in the mid-1990s when he and Slash were still in the band. Rose‘s vision came to fruition later when he recruited different guitarists during the “Chinese Democracy” era.
“When the band was going through changes and we were in flux, Axl did have that idea of three guitars a long time ago and I think I was maybe the only one who was adamant in saying that was a bad idea,” Gilby said. “I just thought, you have Slash. You have a rhythm guitar player that accentuates Slash, but Slash is the sound of the band. If you put three [guitarists] in there, you take away one of the great things about that band.
“What I liked about GUNS N’ ROSES when I first saw the band and first heard the record was, No. 1, the music,” he explained. “I loved the way the band sounded. I like the aggressive bluesy guitars with Axl singing over it. Those songs had a sound to them. But I also loved the rebellious spirit of the band, and we really needed that punk rock-esque rebellious spirit at that time when there were a lot of MTV bands that weren’t living that rebellious spirit. I don’t think the band is very rebellious right now. But that’s what attracted me to it in the very beginning.”
Clarke, along with Slash, McKagan, and former GN’R drummers Steven Adler and Matt Sorum, performed three “Appetite For Destruction” songs with Myles Kennedy at the band’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in April 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Kennedy, who handles lead vocals in Slash‘s solo band and ALTER BRIDGE, sang “Mr. Brownstone”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City”, with “Use Your Illusion”-era member Sorum sitting behind the drum kit on “Brownstone” and the man he replaced in GN’R, Adler, pounding the skins for the other two songs.
Clarke‘s new solo album, “The Gospel Truth”, will be released via Golden Robot Records. The disc was produced and written by Gilby at his Los Angeles recording studio, Redrum Recording, where he’s also helmed records for such artists as L.A. GUNS, THE BRONX, BEAT ANGELS, BULLETS AND OCTANE and many more. The album was mixed by Grammy Award winner Chris Lord-Alge and mastered by Maor Appelbaum. Joining Gilby on the LP are Muddy Stardust on bass, Kenny Aronoff (JOHN MELLENCAMP, JOHN FOGERTY, CHICKENFOOT) on drums, along with Matt Starr (ACE FREHLEY, MR. BIG) and Chad Stewart (FASTER PUSSYCAT, L.A. GUNS) on backing vocals.