You used to be an extreme BMXer – do you still ride a bike?
Not as much as I’d like. I had a BMX up till about 1990, but I daren’t ride a bicycle around LA. You don’t even ride motorbikes in LA unless you wanna get killed. I’ve lost more friends through motorcycle accidents than through drugs.
Why did you decide to tune your guitar down a semitone? Given that it made GNR so distinctive, it was clearly a good idea.
Andrew Wickenden, London
It’s a vocal thing. It meant that Axl had more room to hit the high notes on some songs. And Scott Weiland has exactly the same thing. I personally don’t like to tune it down a half-step, cos you lose some of the guitar’s vibrancy and energy. Obviously Black Sabbath made an art out of that, taking it down and just slogging along with it, which is cool for that kind of music. But for more upbeat stuff, I like to tune to standard.
What’s your favourite Jimi Hendrix song?
“Little Wing”. It’s just one of those great guitar passages. There’s nothing flashy, not a note is out of place, everything flows perfectly. And I also really love “Machine Gun”, and “Dolly Dagger”, and his version of “Red House”. But with Hendrix, pretty much anything he did was phenomenal.