Slash On Having Joe Perry’s Guitar
Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Slash was recently interviewed by Rock Cellar Magazine about the coveted Les Paul he got that once belonged to Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. Check out his discussion about it below!
Rock Cellar: I interviewed Joe Perry a couple of times, and he told me the whole saga of the guitar of his you ended up with. Of his Les Paul. When did you get your first really great vintage Les Paul?
Slash: I didn’t get a good vintage Les Paul until the recordings of Use Your Illusion. Because we were doing — I think it was 36 songs that we did on that record — and I actually had some money at that point. But let me take that back. The first good vintage guitar I ever got was Joe’s. That was in 1988. I totally forgot about that.
That particular guitar, when I was 15, 16, whatever, when I was a big Aerosmith fan, was the coolest guitar I’d ever seen. I’d seen a million cherry sunburst Les Pauls, from Jimmy Page all the way to Keith Richards and Eric Clapton and all these other people that have played them. And they’re beautiful guitars. They’re great.
But when I saw that one that Joe had in various Aerosmith photos, that was the coolest Les Paul. I didn’t know what tobacco sunburst was, but in every picture, it was just a darker-looking Les Paul than what everybody else had. So I knew that guitar very well. And I just thought it was really, really cool. I never imagined in a million years it would suddenly pop up for sale. But Guns was finishing up a tour in Japan — the first-ever trip to Japan — and I got this phone call from the office in L.A., saying somebody’s got a guitar they want to sell and thought I might be interested.
He said, it used to belong to Eric Roberts and Joe Perry and Dwayne Allman. And I was like, “Oh. You know what? Send pictures, because I know that guitar and all the nicks on the front.” Because it’s a real recognizable guitar. And when I got home from the tour, I got to my apartment, I got the mail, and there was this envelope stuffed with paper and photos. Polaroids. And I opened it up and was like, “That’s the guitar.”
At some point somewhere, I’d heard the story form Joe. Something having to do with a bad financial situation, and how that guitar got hocked. But whoever had the guitar didn’t really realize the value of it, because they sold it to me for $8,000. So this guitar gets Fedex’ed to my apartment, and I was living at a real cheap apartment. And I opened it up, and there’s my coveted Les Paul, that Joe used to have, and that I remember from all these posters and photographs from when I was a kid. So that was really my first good Les Paul.
And I actually gave it back to Joe finally back in 2002 or something. I offered it back to him when I first got it, for what I paid for it. But at that time, he didn’t have the money. Aerosmith had just gotten back together. So I had it, and I used it for various things.
I used it in the “November Rain” video, I used it on some MTV stuff we did. Here and there. But I never really felt comfortable with it, because I never really felt like it was my guitar. But I loved it anyway. And I held onto it. There were a couple of times that Joe came back to me, wanting it. But then by that point I wasn’t ready to give it back to him. This went on for years, back and forth. But then, when we went in to do Use Your Illusion, I bought a ’59 Les Paul, I bought a ’56 Goldtop, a ’58 Flying V and a ’58 Explorer. And that as basically it. I didn’t really buy any vintage guitars after that for a long time. But I recently did buy another ’59.