No, SLASH’s Riff For “Sweet Child O’ Mine” Wasn’t Just A Guitar Warmup

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For decades, the origins behind the main riff to Guns N’ Roses classic song “Sweet Child O’ Main” has been a source of rumor. At one point, the leading theory was that guitarist Slash wrote the riff as a joke, but singer Axl Rose liked it, so they decided to build it into an actual song. Another theory that floated about for years was that the riff was a warm-up exercise Slash used before he began playing. But in a rare interview, Slash debunked every myth for Eddie Trunk in a recent episode of the radio personality’s podcast, which you can listen to below.

“Somebody else said that and it just became one of those things,” Slash told Trunk. “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.”

Slash continued, saying that “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.

“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.”

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