We were all blown away by Slash’s epic solos on Guns N’ Roses’ ‘November Rain’ off 1991’s Use Your Illusion I…
…But did you know the guitar wasn’t his first choice instrument for them? Problem was that when he approached frontman Axl Rose with what he actually wanted to use to play them, he wouldn’t have a bar of it, and wouldn’t allow Slash to play them with anything but his 6-string 1976 Gibson Les Paul Standard.
Ugh, talk about a wet blanket!
So, here they are, the instruments that Slash had actually wanted to play his ‘November Rain’ solos with but in the end had to do it with the lousy boring ass guitar again. Geez, Axl… lighten up, pops!
1. The balalaika
Slash’s first choice for the ‘November Rain’ solos was the huge traditional 3-stringed Russian acoustic collection of wooden triangle planks known as the balalaika. Customary at traditionally glorious ceremonies in Russia such as weddings, birthdays or where Count Alexei Vronsky first meets Anna Karenina in a passionate courtship that eventually leads to her having her skull crushed by a train when she commits suicide at St. Petersburg station, when Slash told Axl he really wants to play this Soviet timber Pythagoras woodpile for his solos, he immediately shot Slash down. Geez, what a bummer!
2. A grand piano
Slash’s second choice for his ‘November Rain’ solos was the grand piano, but when he shouted at Axl asking him, “Excuse me, fellow bandmember, may I use this large wooden and ivory monstrosity for my solos?” Axl immediately turned around and told him, “No way, girlfriend. I’m already using the jangly black and white heavy cupboard known as piano for this musical song, so go away and get your own instrument, please thank you.”
Damn, Axl sure drives a hard bargain!
3. The drums
When Slash went up to Axl during the writing of ‘November Rain’ and asked him if drums were okay to play for his solos, Axl didn’t even take a second before he violently shook his head at Slash like a person who was on a roll after having just won $14 on race 4 at the greyhounds and is then trying to be convinced to just stop there and call it quits while they’re ahead. Axl immediately replied, “Is there something wrong with your brain region? ‘N-O’ spells ‘I’m sorry but no thank you, ma’am’.” Slash, who had hoped to be able to go boom boom bang crash boom blam boom bang bang blammy boom tish-tish-tish crash ka-chee for his now-legendary solos on the famous single, was heartbreakingly denied by Axl, meaning it was back to the drawing board for him.
God, Axl doesn’t let Slash have any fun!
4. Sitting in a chair and just making the guitar sounds with his mouth
Since Axl didn’t seem interested in the idea of Slash playing anything but the guitar for his ‘November Rain’ solos, Slash’s next attempt went like this:
Slash: Hello Axl.
Axl: Yes, dear?
Slash: Hi Axl.
Slash: So, I was thinking, on this ‘November Rain’ thing, is it okay if I just sit slumped in a chair and make the angry ghost-like guitar screaming sounds that a guitar makes with my mouth? You know, after you go Wouldn’t time be out to charm you, whow-how-howhow or whatever…, I’ll come in with ‘Niewwww… Niewww ni-ni ni noo… ni-nooooo… noiiiiiw, noiow, ni-ewww, ni-niiiewwwwwwww…. niww niww newww newwwww…’, straight out of my toothy tooth-filled face hole. Okay? Yes?
However, Axl wouldn’t even buy a slice of what Slash was cooking, and straight up told him that his idea was a neddy no-no. Man, what’s Slash got to do to get a break around here?
5. Axl Rose
Another instrument that Slash approached Axl Rose about playing his solos with instead of his Gibson Les Paul was Axl Rose. But when he told Axl of his intention to do so, he was met with a stern “N-god damn flipping–O, my friend’s friend.”
And not only did Axl not see eye-to-eye with Slash on this one, but he then even went to extensive lengths to detail and explain to Slash why he is not–and will never be–a suitable replacement for a musical instrument on a song’s three guitar solos.
Yeeesh, Axl sure could be a big fat meanie sometimes!
So here’s Slash in ‘November Rain’ after biting the bullet and in the end just playing his solos with the dumb guitar: