Former Guns n’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, who replaced Izzy Stradlin in 1991, is heading back Down Under in late November for a full headline tour, including a FREE Sydney show at Frankie’s Pizza.

Thanks to our good friend John Howarth, we had the chance to talk to Gilby, in order to find out more about the tour, the status of his new album, as well as some inside of his time with Guns n’ Roses among many other topics, making this interview a must read for every rock and roll fan.

SR. You are finally returning Down Under, and this time for a solo tour!

GC. Yes, I’m beyond excited of doing shows there. It has been few years since I visited you guys.

SR. What can we expect about the tour?

GC. Pure rock and roll. I’m a music fan like you, so we’ll play a bit of everything. However, it’s gonna be interesting for me as well, as I won’t play with my usual band, I’ll have a local band with me, and just checked some demos from them and they are amazing.

SR. In Sydney you will be playing at Frankie’s Pizza for their Birthday and it’s gonna be a Free entry.

GC. Yeah man! I love doing this small rock & roll venues, there is something cool about it you know, you are so close to your fans and the energy is unique.

I heard so many good things about Frankie’s, many musicians go there while in Australia and I’m honoured to get the invitation for their Birthday. Hope to see as many music lovers as possible there.

SR. You have been working in a new album, it has been a while since you released your greatest hits back in 2007. What can you tell us about the album?

GC. You are well-informed (laughs). Yeah, man I’m super excited about the new album, I’ve been working the whole year on it and will be my first solo release in a long time, since 2002, when I released “Swag”.

The album is super special, as I worked with good friends again. I’d time to focus on better writing and better songs. Also, I had the pleasure to work with kick-ass drummers like Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction and Matt Starr of Mr. Big, and also with Sean McNabb of Quiet Riot and Dokkern, and Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, among others.

I’m releasing it next year, just working in some final details on it.

SR. Let’s talk about the whole Supanova experience. Why do you think the super-group didn’t continue? Or it was a one off and was never supposed to become a full-time gig?

GC. It was more like an experiment you know. It was always supposed to be a one-off TV show. However, Mark Burnett, who produced the show came up with the idea of a new fun twist of creating the band during the second season.

“…My time in Guns is nothing but good memories, I loved been there. Every show was like if we were a band of brothers going to war every night.”

It was really fun, just imagine yourself spending so many days working with the likes of Jason Newsted and Tommy Lee (laughs). We saw  lot of talent in the show, including an Aussie, Toby Rand, who was amazing. There were really hardcore musicians at the auditions. However, after some shows with Lukas (Rossi), who won the chance to be our singer, we moved on, as the band was just a one-off as I said, and each one of us needed to go back to our own things.

SR. Obviously, I need to ask you about your time at the Gunners. What can you tell us about the first time you jumped on stage with them?

GC. To be honest, I wasn’t nervous, I was more anxious than anything else, as I only had a week to learn all the songs after Izzy left…no pressure (laughs).

“… I only had a week to learn all the songs after Izzy left…”

I was so relaxed that the night before in Boston I went out for some drinks, and I drank a bit of Jagermeister, so my hours before the gig was pretty much a big hangover (laughs).

SR. What’s your favourite track of “The Spaghetti Incident?” and why? 

GC. Down on the Farm. I really like playing that song, and obviously you guys will hear it during the tour.

I was funny, you know, doing the Spaghetti album, as I was never with Axel at the studio. Actually, the only time I’ve been with him at the studio was for my solo album, Pawnshop Guitars. He came and sang like a pro in the studio.

SR. Speaking about Axl Rose. What’s your opinion about him joining AC/DC?

GC. Like everyone else I was very surprised. I know he is a huge AC/DC and Rolling Stones fan like me, and seen him on stage with them was impressive. Sadly, I was not able to see them live, but I checked a lot of clips, and he did a superb job.

SR. We had the chance to see you here with Kings of Chaos, for the one-off Stone Festival, years ago. What’s was the highlight of that tour for you? Have Matt (Sorum) contact you to get together again and maybe come back Down Under?

GC. Actually Matt called me a couple of times to see if we can get together and do some stuff, but we have been busy. Still, I hope to get together with him soon. Playing with Kings of Chaos is so much fun, every show we have a blast, as we play the songs we like and we love from from the Stones to Guns and Deep Purple. In Australia we even had Sebastian Bach, Joe Elliott and Glenn Hughes with us. It was also great to jam with Duff (Mckagan) again.

The tour was quite short, but the best thing was to see Van Halen with David Lee Roth again, I think that was the first show he played with Van Halen since they reunited. Also Aerosmith was impressive, those guys never disappoint.

The biggest surprise for me was Jimmy Barnes, I’ve never seen him before and he was a machine, he has this unique energy and a powerful voice. I kind of felt like if I was seeing Bruce Springsteen perform.

SR. What is the most common question fans ask you?

GC. Mostly about my time in Guns of course. Actually, I think it’s pretty cool they got together again to play.

My time in Guns is nothing but good memories, I loved been there. Every show was like if we were a band of brothers going to war every night.

SR. Let’s talk a bit of your early days. When did you decided to get into music?

GC. I always loved music, that’s why at 16 I was already playing gigs. I was never on cover bands, as I always wanted to do my own things and not copy others, you know I wanted my style to be different.

It was hard work, but I enjoyed it a lot. I played a lot of dance venues around my town.

SR. What’s your guitar of choice? Was it always the same?

GC. I’ve been always a Les Paul guy. However, I saw once Ronnie Wood using this custom guitar called Zemaitis, and I felt in love with it.

That’s how I think back in 91 or 92`I meet Tony (Zemaitis) and I asked to make me one.

SR. Just to start wrapping up. Can you share any fun or cool tour story with us?

GC. We were suppose to play in this small outdoor type of stadium in India, but a massive storm hit town and for security reasons we had to cancel. I was a big bummer, as we love playing in India, and we did quite a few dates there.

The storm was really something, we were a bit scared backstage to be honest, until we heard this beautiful sound of a group of kids singing, so we went out to have a look and we saw them. It was so powerful, a really nice surprise. I was angelic, and I’ll never forget about it.

SR. Just to finish. Any message for your Aussie fans ahead of the tour?

GC. Rock and roll is alive and well! never forget that! I know Australians love their rock and roll, and I’m very excited to go there. There will be loud guitars and I’ll be playing songs from my solo albums and all my bands, MC5, Snakepit, and some covers of The Who, The stones and many more, and of course there will be Guns n’ Roses songs.

Gilby Clarke Australian Tour Dates

Thursday 30th November – Crowbar – Brisbane

Friday 1st Dec – Cherry Bar – Melbourne

Saturday 2nd Dec – The Basement – Canberra

Sunday 3rd Dec – Frankie’s – Sydney

With the final show at Frankie’s in Sydney being a huge party in celebration of their 5th birthday. – FREE ENTRY

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