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May Wilkerson May Wilkerson

Podcast: Slash Talks About Learning to Rock Out, Sober

The sober rock 'n roll legend recalls his "shaky" first time playing onstage without booze or drugs.

4 Substance

Even rock legends get stage fright sometimes, especially when they have to do it sober. Saul Hudson—better known as Slash—might have been one of the original rockers to put the “drugs” in “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll.” The former lead guitarist of Guns ‘n Roses, who later co-founded Velvet Revolver, has a well-documented history of substance use, including a cocaine overdose. But he’s now partaking in another rock star tradition: sobriety.

In an interview with the BBC, Slash, who hasn’t done drugs since a trip to rehab in 2006, recalls life prior to that: “It wasn’t that I had any kind of death wish per se, but I really took everything to the extreme and didn’t care.”

But during his first tour with the Velvet Revolver (which he left rehab for), he found that he actually did care. “It was the first time I’d been onstage sober—ever,” he recalls. “That was a trip and it was a little shaky, but you get past that pretty quickly cause you’re in the moment. You can’t just sit there and go, ‘Oh my God, I can’t do this.’ You have to do it, so I got over that pretty quickly.” You can listen to the full interview here: