In a new interview with Aftershocks TV, former GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist Gilby Clarke disussed the differences between being a full-fledged member of a band and playing with other musicians in a hired-gun capacity. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Even when I got the GUNS N’ ROSES gig, I, in the beginning, kind of thought that I was just stepping in for [previous GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist] Izzy [Stradlin]. I don’t think they really knew if Izzy was gonna be back or whatever. I kind of thought I was just stepping in and being a hired gun. But it was important to the band that I was a band member. Some of ’em may say differently now, because it’s convenient, but at that time, if you look in the tour books, the replacement member doesn’t get pages of pictures and stuff. I was represented as a band member — on the records, on the tour programs, everything. That’s something they made the choice of. I mean, I was happy to be both — it was such a great gig at the time.
“The thing about being the band member is it’s a lot of responsibility,” he continued. “You get the successes, but you get the failures. You get the other decisions of the business we don’t all talk about — the lawyers, the agents, all that stuff that comes with it. So sometimes, after you’ve done it a few times, you have the luxury to say, ‘I just wanna be the side guy. Just pay me. This is what I want. If you pay me what I want, I’m gonna shut my mouth and I’m gonna play guitar.’ And I have done that, because sometimes you respect the artist and you wanna do that. You go, ‘You know what? Their ship is running straight. Let ’em do their thing. I’ll just play guitar and contribute.’ But sometimes you do wanna be part of that success; what you brought to the table is important.
“I’ll never forget, even in the GN’R years, I have never had more lawyers — ever! — than when I was in that band. I used to say, ‘Why do I have three lawyers on retainer to play guitar in a rock and roll band? I just play guitar. I don’t even open my mouth.’ [Laughs]”
Gilby added: “So, what I’m saying is a lot of responsibiliy comes with that, if you are the band guy, and some guys get to a point where they go, ‘Just pay me. The ship is running straight. You don’t need me. I’ll do my job, but you don’t need my opinion about the other stuff.'”
Clarke replaced 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.
Clarke, along with Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and former GN’R drummers Steven Adler and Sorum, performed three “Appetite For Destruction” songs with Myles Kennedy at the GUNS 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”, was released in April via Golden Robot Records.