GILBY CLARKE: GUNS N’ ROSES ‘Was A Great Time For Me As A Musician’

EADT conducted an interview with former GUNS N’ ROSES and ROCKSTAR SUPERNOVA guitarist Gilby Clarke prior to the kick-off of his short European tour.

Clarke, 49, is best known for a three-year tenure as the rhythm guitarist of GUNS N’ ROSES. He joined the band in November 1991, replacing Izzy Stradlin, who quit the group in the middle of a 28-month world tour. Gilby has also played with ROCKSTAR SUPERNOVA, HEART, NANCY SINATRA, Kathy Valentine (of THE GO-GO’S) and the reformed MC5 on their 2005 European tour.

Clarke has produced a number of artists, including L.A. GUNS, BULLETS AND OCTANE, THE BRONX, GIRLSPLAYBOYS, VAINS OF JENNA and LADYJACK.

When asked about his tenure with GUNS N’ ROSES, Gilby said, “[It was] awesome… I was ready for it when it went down. I was in two bands that hadn’t had that success so I was ready for the big time. It was important to me to be myself and make sure they accept me for who I am and how I played . . . The tour was awesome; living my dream with a great band, playing great music in front of thousands of fans. GUNS was a great time for me as a musician. It was everything I was looking for when I set out. The band had great songs, musicianship and success. I knew it was gonna be hard, but it was worth the effort.”

On his first band, the pop-rock outfit CANDY:

“We made a record and did a couple tours. It wasn’t really taking off so I started another band that was a lil’ harder, KILL FOR THRILLS [described as a big riff quartet for who he wrote most of the tunes]. I think KILL FOR THRILLS was good, but we kinda got lost in the shuffle and didn’t really succeed like I was hoping.”

On going down the solo route after his departure from GUNS N’ ROSES:

“I only set out on my own because there were no bands to join at that time. After coming off the GUNS experience, it was hard to find a band that inspired me. It was important to me to keep writing and performing; I set out to make one record and now I’ve made five.”

On producing other artists:

“I love the creative process of producing and working with a band or artists. To capture that point of their musical dream is exciting. But I always prefer playing. I’m a guitarist first and foremost, so it doesn’t matter if it’s recording or performing; playing the guitar is my first love.”