Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash recounts the horrors of the 1988 Donington Monsters Of Rock festival: “The positive memory of the gig got washed away.”
A Guns N’ Roses show at the Donington Monsters Of Rock festival in 1988 marks itself as being a moment of tragedy for the hard rock collective, as two young fans died during their set from being crushed within the massive crowd.
In a recent interview with Kerrang! Slash recalled Recalling that tragic day, noting that at first he didn’t even know much about the gig to begin with, and that he wasn’t “all that into it.”
“I didn’t really know Monsters of Rock, which was what they called the Donington event back then. We got the gig and helicoptered out to soundcheck and it didn’t sound all that great.
“Then the next day we go up there and I didn’t really have any expectations, but there was a lot of fucking people. The reaction the second we walked out on stage was unbelievable.”
When Guns N’ Roses finally hit the stage, Slash recalls that it was an “amazing 40-minute set” and called it a “huge high point.”
Even after the show, the guitarist remembers not even knowing that a tragedy had occurred:
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“Then afterwards, we went to this bar, drinking – this little hotel we were at – I don’t remember if we were sleeping there, or why we were there, but there were tons of kids there and it was a scene in itself.
“I ran into our tour manager at the bar and he was crying. That’s when I found out that two kids had been trampled to death when we were playing.
“There was a bizarre shift from complete euphoria to going to this depressed state. The positive memory of the gig got washed away. It was heavy.”
When asked if the tragedy that had occurred took a toll on him, Slash notes that it definitely did, posing the questions: “How do you come back from that? How do you handle it? What’s your attitude going to be tomorrow, and the next day after, considering this just happened?”
In a final note about the horrific day in 1988, Slash notes that the biggest toll from it came from the fact that “it happened on our watch,” stating: “It took a while to get over that.”