Slash has been a guitar icon for decades, and a hoarder of guitars, T-shirts, top hats, leather, skulls, fast cars and other rock & roll gear for just as long. Tomorrow, Slash will auction off many of these prize possessions at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, where fans and collectors can attempt to pick up everything from old Motorhead and Led Zeppelin T-shirts to antique furniture and a diamond-encrusted guitar pendant worth at least $20,000. He's also letting go of gifts from the Osbournes and Charlie Sheen, and a stunning '66 Corvette with matching red-and-black Gibson Les Paul.
But as Slash explains to Rolling Stone, it's not easy letting go.
Is walking into the auction room a little like stepping into your old house?
There's a lot of furniture from different periods over the last 20-plus years. One place in particular is where a lot of the real stoney furniture was from. You can't really get into the dark history of this stuff. [laughs] There was one notorious couch. I should probably sit down with whoever buys it and give him a walk-through. We won't get into that.
How did the idea for the auction happen?
I hoard so much shit because I never get rid of it. And I started giving T-shirts to charity. There was something very cathartic about just getting rid of stuff. It was hard to part with a lot of it. But letting it go – out of sight, out of mind.
The first thing you see when walking into the auction house is your '66 Corvette.
That was the first good car I ever owned. I was insanely loaded at the dealership when I bought it in 1989, and I remember rushing into the bathroom first. I've been struggling with whether or not to sell that car for years, and I keep putting it storage. It's in beautiful condition, but I just never drive it. Before that I had a Honda CRX. That was the first car I ever bought period.
And you kept that one?
No, no, I gave it to my brother.
You're auctioning a big collection of dinosaurs.
I'm a huge dinosaur buff. In the mid-Nineties, in between marriages, my entire house was filled with dinosaur sculptures and models, pinball machines and snakes. That was the bachelor life for me. Most of the dinosaurs were hand-made. Those were pretty hard to part with. All the stuff that I liked as a kid – rock & roll, cars, girls, dinosaurs, snakes – is something I never grew out of.
You're also selling off a glass table with legs shaped like dinosaur claws.
Charlie Sheen gave me that table back in the Nineties. It's a real cool table. I just don't have anywhere to put it. Anybody who knows me well enough can pick out my tastes, which is anything with skulls or dinosaurs. And I'm usually the only person they know that digs that kind of shit. It was the coffee table in my recording studio in '97-98.
You're parting with some pretty special guitars. Are you sure?
I have a lot of guitars. Anything that I use regularly in the studio I won't sell. I picked the ones I haven't used over the last however many years and let it go real quick and not look at them twice. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to let them go.
There is one Les Paul in the auction that you just used – from the Super Bowl halftime show with the Black Eyed Peas.
I have a few of those. It's a Slash Model "Appetite for Destruction" guitar, from the line that I just put out. That guitar is worth a lot in and of itself, but the fact that it was used at the Super Bowl gig, which was a pretty monumental event, adds a little bit of worth to it. And that guitar plays great.
How was the Super Bowl gig?
It was such a massive production, the likes of which I've never been involved with, with so many moving parts. It was really cool. I'm friends with the Black Eyed Peas, but my working relationship with Fergie is probably what really made it work for me. Fergie's dynamite. She's a little bit of an enigma to people, because she does her pop thing and she's really good in that realm. But underneath all that, she's really a hard-rock chick.
How did you decide which leather jackets to auction?
The thing with clothes is you can only wear them so much, and then you move on. You can't wear the same exact thing for decades. [laughs] Leather pants are different. They can last forever. There's two leather jackets in there that go back pre-Guns N' Roses that have real histories. There's a fringe leather jacket that was the only thing I really owned for a long time. That jacket got stolen at one point – and we went through this whole thing to find this guy and trick him to coming down to do a trade, and I popped out and got this jacket back. But over time I've stopped wearing it and it's just sitting in the closet.
What are you working on?
I'm still on tour, and I'm working on my next record outside of Velvet Revolver with Myles Kennedy. We're writing. Other than that, I'm doing Slasher Films, which is a horror movie production company that I recently started.
Is anything new with Velvet Revolver?
We have not resolved the singer situation yet. We keep making stabs at it, but nothing's come out of it. We're very particular about what it should sound like. Sometimes a couple of guys might agree on one singer, and a couple of them might not, but for the most part I think the right person will be a universal decision between all the guys.