The Untold Truth Of Slash

As a musician, Slash has been undeniably linked to Guns N' Roses, the legendary band that has played a vital role in his career. But, per Biography, the musician has also worked on two albums independently and been responsible for the inception of the band Velvet Revolver. His life has been interesting, to say the least. Consider this: at one point in his life, Slash was keen on getting into BMX racing. That didn't pan out, but it was a dream that he considered pursuing nevertheless.

Also, Slash thinks that he's a lot more expressive when he is doing something like fiddling with his guitar. He once said that he can express himself a lot more when he's playing music versus when he is simply talking (via Louder Sound). He said, "It's an extension of myself, it's a way to express myself that I can't do in any other sort of arena. The guitar is a release for me." The musician admitted that he does find it frustrating when he is unable to voice his thoughts well in a conversation but is grateful for the fact that he has a medium that he can turn to whenever he wants. He doesn't take it for granted.

He has a mixed-race background

Slash was born in London in July 1965. Per Louder Sound, his family stayed in Stoke in the United Kingdom before they decided to shift base to the U.S. He was 6 years old at the time. Slash believed that his dad was always the black sheep in their family, someone who wanted to challenge stereotypes and carve his own path. He said, "My dad was the rebel of the family; he went to art school, married a black woman, and was part of the whole rock 'n' roll scene. LA was the place to be so moving there made perfect sense."

Slash mentioned in an interview that he never looked at himself differently based on skin color (via Rolling Stone). But he also added that he could identify with those who deal with racism thanks to his early experiences as a child. Slash recalled, "There was a certain fear of racial prejudice in my family. When I watch what other people are still going through, it's sad that we're still f******* dealing with this thing." That said, he made it clear that he didn't consciously try to identify as Black or British. He explained, "When I started doing my own thing, especially playing guitar, it wasn't so much of a thing. I never really cared to have to identify one way or another."

He was a troubled kid

Slash may have many fond memories from his childhood, but he also experienced terrible loneliness when he was little. According to a Rolling Stone piece, his parents decided to part ways in the '70s. Home was a bit uncertain, and things at school were even worse. He often ended up being on his own because he just could not identify with his peers. Also, he was shy, which made it harder for him to connect with others. He said, "I had long hair, and the schools I went to were filled with kids of bankers and real-estate agents. It wasn't like any of them came from the same background I had."

He was often thrown out of school, and things didn't look up for him until he started focusing on his skills as a guitarist. This helped him in a big way: His classmates were friendlier and more talkative around him because they knew that he could play the guitar. Per Biography, Slash has been called a "problem child" in the past. He wasn't into academia and would simply ignore it, focusing instead on BMX racing. Music was a godsend for him, and it gave him a purpose: He was so hooked that he would easily play for at least 12 hours every day.

He didn't like 'One in a Million' from the start

As a band, Guns N' Roses got into a fair amount of trouble in their early days when they released a song titled, "One in a Million." The problem with this track was that it had racist and homophobic undertones. The lyrics made many listeners uncomfortable. Per Rolling Stone, Slash himself wasn't happy about releasing the song. He was able to view it from a different perspective on account of his own family background and knew that the song wasn't a great fit for their album.

He spoke about his discomfort later and said that when Axl Rose first suggested the track, Slash was sure that he didn't like it. He added that Rose was pretty stubborn about going ahead with the track. However, Slash also said that he didn't regret working on the song: "I just regret what we've been through because of it and the way people have perceived our personal feelings."

Several years later, when the band re-released its album, "Appetite for Destruction," the team decided to get rid of "One in a Million." This launch was massive and the album included 73 tracks, but "One in a Million" was ultimately removed on account of its offensive lyrics (via NME).

He has a strange phobia

According to a piece by Louder Sound, Slash has a rather unusual fear that he's unable to shake off. He perceives it to be a quirk and doesn't actually call it a full-fledged phobia. The guitarist said, "If I'm watching a movie or actually there in person, if someone has a hand accident that really gives me the heebie-jeebies." On that note, Slash is uncomfortable with the idea of putting his hand out of the window when he's driving. As he said, "I'm very sensitive about fingers, hands and all that ... digits!"

Basically, he wants to stay away from all kinds of hand accidents and doesn't want to hurt himself. Well, it's only logical considering that he's a guitar player who needs all his fingers to be fully functional. That aside, Slash isn't really scared of a lot of things. As the musician said, "I don't have any genuine phobias."

Slash has had trouble with smoking

For Slash, it has not been easy to get rid of his smoking habit. He was addicted to it for many years. Per The Telegraph, his ex-wife made him quit after the couple had a kid. He revealed that he decided to kick the habit when he was told that the baby was starting to smell "like an ashtray." He managed to stay away from cigarettes for a year before he got back to smoking.

The second time around, two things happened that had a major impact on him. He lost his mother to lung cancer and got pneumonia himself. He said, "And after I got sick I had a cigarette in my hand and a lighter and I was about to smoke — and it just seemed really stubborn of me." Per The Huffington Post, Slash also said that he was smoking constantly when he was at a Cher concert before he got sick with pneumonia. After that, he ended up quitting for good. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Working with Michael Jackson was bittersweet for him

According to a Rolling Stone interview, Slash had a tough time when he collaborated with Michael Jackson for one of their projects. What bothered him was that their meetings were simply erratic and didn't have a fixed routine. He said, "I like to keep a schedule and be punctual, but those dates just sat there for months and months until I kept thinking they didn't want to use me anymore." He clarified that he genuinely admired Michael Jackson as a musician and had a lot of respect for him.

Per Kerrang!, Slash was a part of Jackson's album, "Dangerous." Once everything was said and done, working with Jackson was a learning experience in many ways for Slash, who believed that Jackson was "musically fluid" and very talented. He reflected, "I'd do some shows here and there and it was fun because he was such a pro, and he was such a f****** talent from on high."

He had a difficult relationship with Axl Rose

Slash and Axl Rose were a part of the original Guns N' Roses lineup and knew each other for a really long time. Per NME, their relationship was complicated, and the musicians didn't really interact with each other for around two decades after they had a falling out. Slash decided to step away from Guns N' Roses in 1996 at a time when the group was struggling with an unsuccessful album called "The Spaghetti Incident." 

Many believed that Slash and Axl Rose were at odds and had many creative differences. Slash later said in his 2007 biography that Rose was a dominating figure who tried to drastically change the band and take full control, something that didn't work for him and eventually made him leave the band. He said at the time, "Axl and I have not been capable of seeing eye to eye on Guns N' Roses for some time. We recently tried to collaborate, but at this point, I'm no longer in the band." He expressed hope that they would collaborate again together someday (via Ultimate Classic Rock). 

They let go of their differences in 2015, though. Per Loudwire, Rose was the one who made the first move in a bid to bury the hatchet. Slash found it cathartic to speak to his old friend once more and reconnect. He acknowledged that they really did have a strong bond. 

Addiction almost took his life

When Slash was in San Francisco for work, he had a scary experience: he was momentarily dead before being brought back to life. He told The Guardian that he had vivid memories of that day. He said, "These drug dealers came to my hotel room at 5 a.m. They had everything and I took all of it. I started down the hallway and I ran into a maid, and I asked where the elevator was and then bam! I collapsed." An eye witness got really scared when she saw the musician. He was rushed to the hospital, but he said that he felt alright and left for his next performance.

He explained what overdosing on drugs feels like. The musician said, "There's a certain kind of scene where everybody is just moving really quickly and there's noise from radios and everything; I've experienced it a bunch of times."

Also, Slash has seen what drugs can do to people. He lost friend and fellow musician Scott Weiland in 2015 after he had a drug overdose. For Slash, thinking about his kids and turning his attention to music helped him quit drugs for good (via Yahoo! Entertainment).

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

David Bowie tried to help him

Slash and David Bowie were familiar with each other for a long time. Per Rolling Stone, Slash's mom was romantically involved with David Bowie for a bit. Once, things got really out of hand when the musician spoke about walking in on the couple in a private moment. He was filled with regret later and clarified, "All I said was there was one occasion where I happened to walk into the bedroom when they weren't fully dressed ... That was it. It wasn't anything more lewd than that. End of story."

David Bowie genuinely did care about Slash, though. According to Kerrang!, when he was really struggling with addiction and started hallucinating, Bowie spoke to him and tried to help by comforting him. Bowie told him, "You're probably in a bad place right now and you have become vulnerable to a lot of outside interaction with things that people don't normally see, and you've exposed yourself to this." Slash knew that these were wise words.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The musician has a serious health issue

Years ago, things took a scary turn when Slash found out that he had a serious heart issue. Per Yahoo! Entertainment, this incident took place before Slash decided to stop relying on drugs. Doctors told him that he had congestive heart failure. The condition had been caused by his excessive consumption of drugs. Things looked grim at the time and medical professionals thought that Slash only had a few days left. Thankfully, Slash was able to bounce back on account of physical therapy sessions. He also used a defibrillator to keep his condition in check. 

As a band, Guns N' Roses definitely witnessed lots of drug-related issues. For instance, drummer Steven Adler had two heart attacks, a stroke, as well as 28 overdoses. Their guitarist, Izzy Stradlin, slipped into a coma for several days while bassist Duff McKagan almost lost his life on account of his excess alcohol consumption.  

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

He has been unlucky in love

According to Biography, Slash has been through heartbreak a couple of times. He divorced his first wife, actress and model Renée Suran in 1997. A few years later, he tied the knot with his second wife, Perla Ferrar, in 2001. They even had two sons together. Things went awry in 2010, and they attempted to get a divorce before deciding to bury their differences. Per People, Ferrar had been a great source of strength for him and worked with Slash to get "rid of all the real hardcore stuff that [he] used to live on."

Sadly, their relationship couldn't survive, and they ended up parting ways. The separation was ugly, though. According to The Blast, Ferrar didn't make it easy to end the relationship. The musician wanted to get on with his life and declared that he was willing to shell out thousands of dollars in child support. He added that his kids would receive 1.8% of his earnings until 2036 and that Ferrar would also benefit from spousal support.

At this point, Slash simply needed a decision to be made. He said, "Perla has been slow responding, or has deliberately drawn out responding, throughout this matter ... I want to move on with my life."

He is rather attached to his pets

As far as Slash is concerned, most people don't know what he actually is like in real life. He told Rolling Stone that he is really shy and reticent and not comfortable in front of many people. Having his guitar and his trademark hat help him deal with his shyness a little.

Despite being shy around people, the guitarist is a huge fan of reptiles and has taken care of many pets in his life. He said that he had 11 of them at one point. When one of his snakes died, he was really upset. Slash said, "It's sort of a drag, because he's been through so much sh** with me — my whole career. I tried so hard to keep him alive, and he ... died. It was depressing, because it was a bad night as it was." He also revealed that no one quite got where he was coming from. He was gutted and alone in his grief.