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Gilby Clarke 101: Everything You Need to Know About Guns N’ Roses’ Former Guitar Player

Gilby Clarke
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

Gilby Clarke, Guns N’ Roses guitarist: 1991-1994

Guns N’ Roses Discography:  “The Spaghetti Incident?” (1993)

Non-Guns N’ Roses Discography: Candy, Whatever Happened to Fun and Teenage Neon Jungle; Kill for Thrills, Commercial Suicide and Dynamite From Nightmareland; Slash‘s Snakepit, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere; Col. Parker, Rock N Roll Music; Nancy Sinatra, California GirlRock Star: Supernova (self-titled); Solo, Pawnshop Guitars, Blooze E.P., The Hangover, Rubber, 99 Live, Swag, Gilby Clarke (self-titled).

Pre-Guns N’ Roses: Gilby Clarke moved to Los Angeles from his native Ohio in 1979. Back in 1985, when his future band mates were just arriving at Hollywood’s Greyhound station, Clarke was enjoying his first taste of success with the power pop band Candy. Their video for “Whatever Happened to Fun” earned a little air time on MTV. When that band dissolved, he recorded two albums with Kill for Thrills before replacing Izzy Stradlin in Guns N’ Roses for the Use Your Illusion tour.

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Post-Guns N’ Roses: Clarke had the shortest tenure of anyone in the band through the Use Your Illusion tour, but he made a lot of friends. When he recorded his solo debut, ’94’s Pawnshop Guitars, every member of Guns N’ Roses 2.0 made an appearance — even Axl Rose. Later, he formed a band with Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom named Col. Parker, and served as a touring guitarist for both Heart and Nancy Sinatra. He’s released seven solo albums, but his highest profile post-Gunners project was the reality TV supergroup Rock Star: Supernova with Tommy Lee and Jason Newsted.

Right Now: Clarke’s website notes that he still does his “[John] Lennonesque vocal thing in the Blues Mafia, The Starf—ers and on occasional solo dates around the globe.” He canceled a string of European solo dates after the Paris terrorist attacks, but plans on hitting the road again in spring 2016.

Guns N’ Roses reunions: In 2011, Gilby joined Matt Sorum, Slash, and Duff McKagan at the Road to Recovery benefit. The following year, he teamed up with Matt Sorum, Slash, McKagan, and Steven Adler for the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony even though he wasn’t inducted. Clarke joined Slash and McKagan on stage again for a 2015 date in Argentina. He’s shared the stage with Adler on solo dates, too — a reunion of sorts, even though their tenures as Gunners didn’t overlap.

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Next: Everything You Need to Know About Matt Sorum

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