Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke said he’d never been officially notified of his dismissal, and he only realized it had happened when the band stopped paying him.

In a new interview with Guitar World, Clarke recalled joining Axl Rose’s band for a three-year stint in 1991, a turbulent time after Izzy Stradlin had left – but said he’d enjoyed the experience anyway.

“[T]he whole Guns machine surrounding them [was] crazy,” he said. “But… I was already in with the guys; they were beyond cool with me. I’d been around; it’s not like I was Joe Schmo coming into the band. They were respectful, and Slash wasn’t like, ‘Do it this way or stand here;’ they let me be me.”

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He continued: “There were important parts to the songs, but Slash said, ‘Put your stamp on the songs. I want you to play the songs how you'd play them and make them yours.’ That was great advice because it took a lot of the pressure off trying to be Izzy.”

After over two years on the road with Guns’ infamous Use Your Illusion tour, Clarke said he’d offered songs to the band, but Rose didn’t want to use them. That led to the release of Clarke’s solo album Pawnshop Guitars, which featured many of his bandmates in guest spots.

“We had a strip club across the street, and it was a great excuse to hang out and make music for a few months,” he said. “But as I was wrapping up the record, Slash called and said, ‘Hey, Axl has changed gears. He wants to go in a different direction, wants nothing to do with the early stuff, and he doesn’t want you in the band anymore.’

“I was like, ‘Okay… what did I do?’ A week later, Slash calls back, saying, ‘Forget all that. Everything’s fine. Don’t worry. I chatted with Axl; we’re back, and we’re good.’”

Gilby Clarke Says He and Slash Had the Next ‘90s Guns N’ Roses Album Between Them

That seems to have been Clarke’s final communication from Guns. “[A]fter that my checks stopped coming in,” he reported. “I was like, ‘Oh, okay. Guess I am out of the band.’ So I was never fired from Guns – my checks just stopped coming, and it was very odd. I don’t know… Axl just wanted to go in a different direction, and that was it.”

He also discussed his membership of Slash’s Snakepit, formed by the lead guitarist around the same time. “Slash went through the same thing as me – he had all these songs, but Axl wanted to go in a different direction,” he recalled.

“The truth is, between my songs and Slash’s, we could have had the next Guns N’ Roses record… if we’d just put a little bit of time into it.”

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Gallery Credit: Matthew Wilkening

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