by Whitney Matheson)
Musician Todd Snider has seen a lot on tour, in bars, at home in East Nashville and just about everywhere else.
Fans of the singer-songwriter know Snider is a storyteller, both lyrically and in everyday life, so it makes sense that he has penned a book of essays. Published by Da Capo Press, I Never Met A Story I Didn't Like delves in to some of Snider's most entertaining anecdotes. (And something tells me he has about five more books in his head.)
I recommended the title last week and today I'm sharing one of my favorite parts, in which he writes about Slash. If this sounds like a book you may enjoy, shoot an e-mail to email@example.com with the subject line "TODD SNIDER" by 5 p.m. ET today. I'll send it to five readers, chosen at random.
Read the excerpt below; note that curse words have been edited.
Chapter 7: Who Wears a WaIstlet?
After I started making records, I started going to New York and Los Angeles a lot, often for some reason other than gigs.
One time, not that long ago, I was in L.A. for some kind of meeting. I wasn't supposed to sing or anything at the meeting. It was all that other s--t we have to sit around and talk about if we want to travel and drink free and be applauded for our pointless observations and chord progressions.
This trip was probably going to involve eating with strangers. I knew that, since I'd been to a ton of these things.
And with the same breath, I can tell you that I've met some of my closest friends at these things. I can also tell you that most of these things are root canals. No offense to root canals, which are helpful and often necessary.
My point is, I was not looking forward to it.
The good news was, as is often the case in my line of work, I wasn't paying for anything. Some people used to say that I would pay eventually, but I knew I wouldn't. And I didn't. So there.
I was staying, for what (as I just knew) turned out to be free, at some cool yellow hotel off the Sunset Strip. And whatever mess I wanted to make of myself in the bar was cool, I was told.
The meeting was for lunch, at noon. So my idea was that I would go to the yellow hotel bar around 10:30 and have a few drinks, to take the edge off.
The bar was nice and warm and dark and black and red and leathery, and I knew right away it was about my speed. As I made my way up to a stool and took in the surroundings, I could see that there was nobody in the bar but myself, the bartender, and Slash from Guns N' Roses.
Right, Slash. Lead guitar. Nose ring. Born in England but doesn't talk that way. He was about six stools over to my right, but around a bar corner, so that we were kind of facing each other.
He was drinking vodka and smoking cigs, with a velvety black Metallica baseball cap on backwards, big Jim Morrison-style mirrored shades, and no shoes.
Around both of his wrists he had at least a dozen bracelets, and probably more. Bracelets of every manner and fashion. Pukka, friendship, conch, leather, silver, gold. All that s--t. Slash was a bracelet guy. He made Mr. T. look like a lunch money pimp.
Around his neck, he had roughly the same gamut of stuff. A necklace guy, too.
But, also, around both ankles he had tons of what they call anklets.
He had anklets of all manner and fashion. Pukka, friendship, conch, leather, silver, gold, link.
Bracelets, check. Anklets, check. But I'll go you one further. Around his waist he had all the same s--t. What is that? Is that a waistlet? You ever see a guy wearing an assortment of waistlets? I had not, and have not since. Nor do I expect to. Slash had on more than a dozen waistlets.
But, wait, there is more. You know those shorts people wore in the early '80s? Those shorts that Nike made and people wore to jog in? Those silky, revealing short shorts that Richard Simmons wore so well? Those kind of shorts that if you're wearing them today and you're not Richard Simmons ... Well, man, you know. Those shorts.
Well, Slash had those f--king shorts on.
And nothing else.
F--k no. He's Slash. He doesn't need some f--king shirt. Shorts, cap, shades, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, waistlets, cigs, vodka.
That's it. Slash, of Guns N' F--king Roses.
I was awestruck, terrified. I didn't so much as nod at the guy. I wanted to ask him a million questions and decided to ask him none. I wanted to at least tell him that I knew he was Slash. Though, to be sure, this was not a secret he was trying to keep.
I never got the nerve to tell him anything. My hope, though, was to be cool. And my decision was to leave him alone. Which I did.
About an hour later, when I noticed on the clock that I had about twenty minutes to get to the meeting, I paid my tab and got up to head out.
And as I got up to head out, Slash looked over at me and said, "Take it easy, man."
And I did. Totally did. Still do.
Excerpted with permission of Da Capo Press.
Note: Todd Snider's I Never Met A Story I Didn't Like is on sale now as a paperback and as an e-book.