Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke has released his first solo album in 20 years, and it’s well worth the wait.
‘I think you’re full of shit…aren’t you an artist? And I said, ‘Absolutely I’m an artist.’GILBY CLARKE
The Gospel Truth, released under exclusive licence to Golden Robots Records is crafted for music lovers of classic and modern rock. With more rocks than Mars, the album The Gospel Truth is also entwined with blues, swagger, sleaze and endless scintillating riffs, bringing the sounds of the classic era to 2021.
So it has been a long time between lagers. Reason?
“I never intended to be a solo artist; it just kinda happened…it was an outlet for me to record my own songs the way I want to do them. When you record with a band, you lose control…so when 2000 came I made Swag (2002)…then I got bogged with Rockstar Supernova (a music talent show with the winner Lukas Rossi the frontman of the band consisting of Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted and Gilby Clark).
A lot of things started happening…and the solo stuff got put on the back burner…then later in 2010 I played a lot more as a solo artist, and I thought, ‘why do I have to make a record?’ There’s a lot of work to make a record…we don’t have the traditional record labels…we don’t have the publicist, marketing, all of these artists that we grew to know don’t exist anymore…so I had that attitude for a long time.
Then I met a friend who said, ‘I think you’re full of shit…aren’t you an artist? And I said, ‘Absolutely I’m an artist.’ And he goes, ‘Well what are you creating’. So rather than defending myself, I thought, ‘Wow you’re right…’
So that jumped me into the process. It’s hard to make a record…it’s hard to write the lyrics, the riffs, and all of that stuff…and once I started the process, it is easy…and it all came back.
There are things on the record that were important to me. It is a rock and roll record; it is loud guitars and I’m yelling over. But I’m not taking the easy way out. I worked hard on the lyrics, I worked hard on the vocals.
A lot of modern music now, you know the rhyme that’s going to happen – and on my record I didn’t do that. I made sure the rhymes meant something to me. I put a lot of work into it… even chord changes… and that took time… and that is a long answer”
So there you go.
One of the releases with the album title, The Gospel Truth, “is about the concept of modern truth…of today,” said Gilby. “And when I’m working other artist, people make this statements that are sometimes full of shit…and people accept them as the truth…coz they said it…because it’s somewhat published (on social media)….now everything is published.”
There are a few Guns N’ Roses alumni in the making, namely Roberta Freeman who sang the back up vocals. “She’s did the background vocals and all the wonderful gospel singing…and Teddy ‘Zig Zag’ played the organ on this”
And never tell the LA resident that rock and roll is dead. Afterall, Rock n’ Roll Is Getting Louder is exactly about that.
“It’s little bit about everything…it’s about challenges…we are being challenged right now; Is Rock N’ Dead? It is fkn’ getting louder. Rival Sons are a fantastic young bands. There are some new young bands. Some of these classic rock bands are getting fat and lazy…so when I wrote this song this is about the challenge…you got to overcome these challenges.
Then there’s Tightward – by definition – a miser. When asked, if this this song dedicated to people that he knows.
“It’s about a lot I know…we do a lot of riding. And then we go for a beer…and then we go to get the check…’and wait a minute, why am I always putting a $20 for a $5’. It’s a tongue and cheek…and c’mon guys!”
When you are a rockstar, you have rock star friends. Nikki Sixx (who’s wife is having lunch with Clarke’s wife as we spoke) played bass, Stevens Perkins and James Dickson played drums on Tightwad.
Clarke spoke of his influences growing up, which metamorphised over the decades…
”I’m a fan of music…I like Aerosmith, Led Zepplin, as Igrew pu as musician I gravitate towards music…then after meeting my then English girlfriend, I turned around to the Clash, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, then to New York Dolls, Sex Pistols.”
After three decades since moving on from Guns N Roses, and even sharing studios with some of the best rockers, Clarke feels that he’s still evolving musically.
“I hope so that I’m learning, and I never feel I’m done. There are moments making this record that I’m still learning. I like controlling and I like to mix…I didn’t mix this record as I had a mixer…but I have this theory – the song always win…and I had Teddy Zic Zac…man his performance is incredible…he really made the song come alive….and I took off my guitar…and once again the song wins, so I had to step back and get the music do the talking.”
And of course, for better or worst, Clarke reminisced hitting the world stage with the hottest band in the Use Your Illusion tour with Guns N Roses.
“It didn’t feel great in the sense that I accomplished something – I didn’t. I felt good as in the sense of this is what I love to do, playing guitar whether it is mine or someone else music…I mean I’m not an idiot; is Slash, there’s Axl, and I was doing my part….there were moments on that tour where I did my wild horses thing…when I got up and I took my moment…also when I got that gig I was thirty and I had gone thru the ringer, playing in a shitty club in front of three people…so when I got that gig I knew what was special and unique about that gig”.