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Slash: 'I was a productive junkie'

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Slash: The real guitar hero
  • Former Guns N' Roses guitarist kicked addictions four years ago
  • Told CNN that it was getting in the way of the music; continues to play and perform
  • Has not ruled our reforming original line-up of Guns N' Roses

(CNN) -- He's the rock demigod who lives and breathes music, but whose heart beats thanks in part to a pacemaker.

The former Guns N' Roses guitarist, whose real name is Saul Hudson, is probably the most recognizable man in rock 'n' roll. Yet beneath the mane of curly locks and leather top hat is a devoted musician who kicked a drug and alcohol addiction because it was getting in way of the music.

"I was a productive junkie ... I was driven by music. I did have these distractions, but I managed to be functional as best as I possibly could," he told CNN.

"What helped clean me up at the end of the day was the fact that, after a while, it started to get in the way of being able to do what it is I wanted to do... I've done more in the last four years than I could have possibly done if I was still using," he continued.

Video: Videos and Velvet Revolver
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Rock has a certain energy and attitude and that seems to be lacking in commercial rock music today.
--Slash, musician

Since leaving Guns N' Roses in 1996 -- "As I walked out it was a huge weight off my shoulders" -- he's produced his own material, collaborated with numerous musicians and was the driving force behind supergroup Velvet Revolver, a band he's trying to revive once again.

He fixed his place in the pantheon of rock stars during his time with Guns N' Roses ("If I wasn't in that band, it would have been my favorite band") and it's been almost 15 years since he spoke to lead singer Axl Rose after their much-publicized split.

However, the idea of a Guns N' Roses reunion isn't completely out of the question.

"I used to be very sort of negative about it 'cause I just don't see it happening," he said, "but at the same time you just never know. No efforts have been made to try and do anything about it so I guess you just leave it to chance. Maybe it will; maybe it won't."

While a potential reunion might please thousands of fans, Slash is looking forward to Velvet Revolver and other projects, despite the music scene experiencing what he calls "a very weird time."

"This whole thing with the internet being the mainstay of the industry at this point is taking a lot of adjusting and it hasn't really settled yet," he told CNN.

"[A] certain energy and a certain attitude and that to me is very rock and roll. And that seems to be lacking in commercial music, especially in commercial rock and roll right now. I'm sure there's a lot of guys out there who have it all together but then they can't get a record deal."