In a recent interview with the Austin American-Statesman, POISON singer Bret Michaels was asked why Slash wasn’t chosen to be the guitarist in POISON when he auditioned for the band prior to forming GUNS N’ ROSES in 1985.
“Slash is one of my all-time favorite guitar players and I believe he would have steered our sound a little more in the AEROSMITH direction,” Bret said. “He was basically the same guy he is today. What you see is what you get. It never really had a chance to work out or not. The band decided C.C. [DeVille] was the best choice for us.”
In a 2010 interview with Classic Rock Revisited, Slash explained how his POISON audition came about, stating, “I was living in L.A. and I had just gotten done working in a band with Axl [Rose], actually, called HOLLYWOOD ROSE. Steven Adler was in that band as well. I just quit. I told Axl I couldn’t handle it anymore and I walked. That was right after the first time Axl and I ever worked together. Matt, the original guitar player for POISON, who was actually a pretty cool guy, had gotten his wife pregnant or they were getting married or something like that. He was moving back to Pennsylvania. He goes, ‘You should try out for POISON.’ I hated POISON but in those days you did whatever you had to do to keep moving. Being very ambitious, as I was, I went and auditioned for POISON. I ended up being one of two guitar players left that they were going to pick from. I remember kicking the shit out of the songs they had. There was no denying that I could play them but there was an issue about makeup and stuff. Bobby Dall [POISON bassist] asked me what kind of shoes I was going to wear. I was like, ‘What?’ It was kind of obvious that this was going to go nowhere. As I was walking out of the audition, C.C. DeVille was walking in. He had on pancake makeup and a ton of hairspray. I actually remember thinking right then, ‘That should be the guy.’ The next day I got a call from Bobby and he said, ‘You know, you are great and all but I think we are going to pass on you and go with this other guy.’ It was C.C. and it really did make all the sense in the world. I was in a couple of bands after that and then we started GUNS N’ ROSES.”