Watch Slash Up Close and Personal

Slash performs at The Warfield Theater on July 15, 2019 in San Francisco, California
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic)

On this day in 1987, Guns N’ Roses released Appetite for Destruction – the era-defining album that would go on to sell over 30 million copies. To put that into perspective: a line of 30 million 12-inch LPs would easily stretch from LA to London. Thankfully, Guns N’ Roses were able to make that journey themselves when they played their first gigs outside of the US at London’s Marquee club during June 1987.

Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N' Roses in concert circa 1987

(Image credit: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

Soon after, Guns N’ Roses established a worldwide reputation for their super-charged live shows – during which time Appetite for Destruction unexpectedly blew up the entire rock ‘n’ roll scene. Meanwhile, the band’s enigmatic lead guitarist quietly gained a devoted following of his own as legions of budding electric guitar players gleaned their musical education from a solid diet of GN’R licks.

Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash

(Image credit: Larry Marano/Getty Image)

Decades later, and with Guns N’ Roses never far from the eyes and ears of the music world, generations of guitarists have been schooled – knowingly or otherwise – by Saul Hudson aka Slash. Aside from helping to repopularize the Gibson Les Paul Standard in the late ‘80s, references to Slash’s technique and sound can be seen and heard everywhere from acoustic guitars to Marshall stacks.

In this candid clip from Slash’s official YouTube Channel, he reveals some home truths about his own musical upbringing. “I didn’t realize music was my calling ironically enough, cuz I was raised on tons of music and loved music all through my childhood,” he says. “But it wasn’t until I actually picked up the guitar when I was about 14 years old that, all of a sudden, that was going to be my thing.”

Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction original cover

(Image credit: Robert Williams)

Buy Appetite for Destruction here.

Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as GuitaristTotal Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.