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Why Paul Stanley Told Slash: ‘Go F— Yourself’

Paul Kane / Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Paul Stanley says he had to teach Slash a pretty harsh lesson in rock and roll diplomacy back at the start of the Guns N’ Roses guitarist’s meteoric rise to fame.

In a story from his first-ever autobiography, ‘Face the Music: A Life Exposed,’ the Kiss frontman recalls the time he was asked to meet with Guns N’ Roses, who were about to start work on their ‘Appetite for Destruction‘ album. He wasn’t all that impressed on first sight, describing guitarist Izzy Stradlin as “unconscious, with drool coming out of the side of his mouth,” and Slash as “half-comatose.”

Stanley says he showed Slash how to tune his guitar in the five-string open-G method preferred by Keith Richards, and offered to put him in touch with people who could get him free guitars. Paul then went to go see Guns N’ Roses play two small L.A. club shows, which he describes as “stupendous.”

The second of those nights is apparently where trouble began between the two guitar heroes. “They weren’t happy with the guy mixing their sound,” Stanley recalls, “And Slash asked me out of the blue to help out. Decades later, Slash’s recollections of the night would be faulty at best. He liked to pretend I had dared to meddle with their sound.”

Things only got worse when Slash allegedly began dragging Stanley’s name through the mud. “Immediately after my interactions with the band, I started to hear lots of stories Slash was saying behind my back — he called me gay, made fun of my clothes, all sorts of things designed to give him some sort of rock credibility at my expense. This was years before his top hat, sunglasses and dangling cigarette became a cartoon costume that he would continue to milk with the best of us for decades.”

As his version of the story goes, Stanley got the final word in a few months later when Slash called up to see about those free guitars. “You want me to help you get guitars after you went around saying all that s— about me behind my back?” He responded. “You know, one thing you’re going to have to learn is not to air your dirty laundry in public. Nice knowing you. Go f— yourself.”

UPDATED 9/11: Slash told Hard Rock Megazine that even though he hasn’t read Stanley’s book, he confirmed that most of the account is true. ”He had come around to produce Guns N’ Roses way back in the day, before we actually made the first record,” he recalled. “We never, actually, were interested in working with him. But we sort of had him around because he was [drummer] Steve Adler’s hero. I’d done an interview … in the [Los Angeles] Times, and I’d said something derogatory about him.”

Months later, Slash said he was trying to get a special guitar during the recording of ‘Appetite’ and asked Stanley if he could help him. “He said something along the lines of, ‘You shouldn’t air your dirty laundry in public,’ having to do with him. ‘So, no, I won’t help you,’” Slash recalled. “And I was, like, ‘OK.’ And we didn’t speak for years after that. It was only until roughly 2006 that we got reacquainted when I was doing the Kiss ’Rock Honors’ for VH1 and we sort of let bygones be bygones. And so we’re more or less cool now.”

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