Slash Reveals the True Origin Story of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ Riff – ‘It Wasn’t a Warm-Up Exercise’
There are sometimes stories that take on a life of their own, but during a recent interview with Eddie Trunk, guitar great Slash revealed that the story of the guitar riff for the Guns N' Roses' classic "Sweet Child O' Mine" coming from a warm-up exercise is not true.
"Somebody else said that and it just became one of those things," Slash clarified when speaking with Trunk for the Eddie Trunk Podcast (as heard below). "It wasn't a warm-up exercise. I was sitting around the house where Guns used to live at one point in '86 I guess it was and I just came up with this riff. It was just me messing around and putting notes together like any riff you do. You're like, 'This is cool,' and then you put the third note and find a melody like that. So it was a real riff, it wasn't a warm-up exercise."
The guitarist recalls, "That's how it started, and then Izzy [Stradlin] started playing the chords behind it and then Axl [Rose] heard it and it started from there."
Guns N' Roses, "Sweet Child O' Mine" Video
Reflecting on the song, Slash says, "At the time, it was just a song. Nobody had any designs for it to be a big hit or anything like that. It was just a song that we put together that was cool before we actually made the Appetite for Destruction record. So we put it on the record like that and then the next thing you know at some point after the record had been released for a while, that song all of a sudden just took off."
He continues, "We're sort of blessed that we have something that's become as memorable as that. You can't really mock that. You have to appreciate that you have something like that in your career that you have a song that is really that effective. So it's cool."
The guitar that Slash played on the song has also been back in the public eye of late. It's featured in his recent coffee table photo book "The Collection: Slash" with Gibson guitars, and Slash revealed that around the same time he was shooting the photos for the book, he also then took the guitar and used it in the recent Capitol One commercial where he also plays the "Sweet Child O' Mine" riff that's been airing heavily on network TV in recent months.