Duff McKagan Explains Slash’s Sabotage Attempt Against ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’

During his interview on the Songcraft podcast, Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan discussed how Slash’s first attempt to ruin “Sweet Child o’ Mine” helped the song become a rock anthem.

The singer explained the beginning of “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by saying:

“Izzy [Stradlin] had the three chords. OK, well, that’s… What do you do with that? Axl liked it. OK, well, let’s try to make this work somehow.”

Even though Axl Rose liked it, the band found it difficult to take the song to the next level. Slash wasn’t very excited with the song, as McKagan clarified:

“The intro for ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine,’ Slash just did not like the three D, C, G (note progression) thing.”

The Unlikely Evolution Of The Song

As Duff recalled, the guitarist had shared with him:

“‘We’ve got to get rid of this song somehow.’”

Nevertheless, Slash’s attempt to ruin the song resulted in the composition of its well-known opening. The bassist went on to say:

“He wrote this twisted, just atonal thing. And, of course, that part to try to get rid of the song totally worked. It was this amazing intro to the song, and suddenly, we had this ballad.”

The rocker lastly said:

“It just goes to show that everything was clicking with that band at that point.”

Slash’s Own Take On ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’

In addition to McKagan’s discovery, Slash offers his thoughts on “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” The guitarist said that he was first not a fan of the song in an interview with an Australian TV station in 2022, mostly because it was an uptempo ballad in contrast to the band’s hard rock sound. He mentioned:

“I was the guy who initially was not a big fan of ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ back in the day. That was more not because of the riff, it was more about the type of song it was at the time because we were a pretty hard-driving band, and that was an uptempo ballad type of a thing. So it’s grown on me over the years, but that’s a riff that I never knew was going to take off the way it did.”

In a 2022 interview with Absolute Radio Classic Rock, Slash also talked about his own experiences listening to the song in public. He described some unpleasant and cringe-worthy occasions when “Sweet Child O’ Mine” plays, emphasizing how vulnerable he feels when the song suddenly comes on.




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