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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Bain of Politics; Music, Mayhem and Slash; Martha Stewart Interview

Aired May 23, 2012 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, fear and greed. Who's got the real answer to fixing the economy?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama has decided to attack success.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If your main argument for how to grow the economy is, I knew how to make a lot of money for investors, then you're missing what this job is about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I'll a man who knows how to succeed in business, staunch Romney, Jack Welch. And also why he said greed is to blame for the Facebook fiasco.

And America's domestic diva, Martha Stewart.

MARTHA STEWART: You do not want to char your food.

MORGAN: I like blackened food. A little (INAUDIBLE) black.

STEWART: Well, maybe you're a lost cause.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Her recipe to keeping American food great.

Welcome to the jungle. The legendary Slash from his wild days and nights with Guns N' Roses to the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. The music, the feuds, Axl, tonight, Slash tells all in a no holds barred primetime exclusive.

This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening. Our big story tonight, the Bain of politics. Listen to Mitt Romney today blasting President Obama for his attacks on private equity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: It's no wonder so many of his own supporters are calling him to stop this war on job creators. Make no mistake, when I'm president, you won't wake up every day and wonder if the president is on your side. (APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: No surprise that there was a big applause line for the business people in the audience. Candidate Romney also spoke out on joblessness today telling "TIME" magazine that his policies would bring the unemployment rate of America down to 6 percent within four years.

Well, joining me now to talk more on this big story a man who can probably tell us if that is even achievable. He'll also tell us about Facebook, about JPMorgan, in fact about all the raging stories in the world of business and politics right now, Jack Welch.

How are you?

JACK WELCH, FOUNDER, JACK WELCH MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE: Great, it's great to be here.

MORGAN: I'm very excited you're here.

WELCH: Thank you.

MORGAN: I've heard from lots of people obviously who are less qualified over the last few pontificating on all the airwaves about all these issues. Let's start with the Bain Capital furor. The reason I think it's a really significant one is the clear dividing line. It was never going to be about gay marriage, this election. It was always going to be about the economy. And now you have the dividing line.

President Obama says that Mitt Romney's record at Bain was destructive, it cost jobs, it was profiteering, Mitt Romney says no, I created jobs. I turned businesses around. I'm proud of it. I can do the same with America.

You have a connection. Let's establish that. Your wife worked at Bain, you're a Romney supporter now, you said that on this show. But tell me about the argument over private equity in relation to the two stumps.

WELCH: Well, I've worked in private equity for the last 12 years also. And let me just say this, if I -- if I were Romney, I'd say bring it on, Mr. President. I got three things I want to talk to you about regarding private equity. One is private equity companies don't buy jewels. They buy broken businesses, or often businesses that big companies don't want. So what do they have to do? They have to deal with the balance sheet, which is often a mess. And they have to deal with the strategy of the broken business. So that's number one.

After going in and dealing with those tough problems, what has America got the problem with right now? A strategy and a balance sheet. Great experience. He's done it with hundreds of companies. Now as I --

MORGAN: Has he always done the right thing for those companies?

WELCH: Maybe not, maybe 20 percent that they say haven't worked out. But you're taking broken companies. Take the steel company that they like to advertise about now. That steel company would never have gone 10 years in the 1990s without an investment to keep it going. This was a dead business.

MORGAN: What about Joe Biden's claim that just because you can run a company like Bain, it doesn't make you any more fit than a plumber to run the presidency.

WELCH: That's an outrageous comment, but he doesn't like plumbers, that's a different argument. Let's make the second point along with strategy and balance sheet.

MORGAN: It doesn't mean he doesn't like plumbers, is it?

WELCH: Let's go to talent, OK?

(LAUGHTER)

WELCH: Let's go to talent. Yes. When you take over a broken company, you've got to put talent in. What does the president have to do in office? He's got to put talent in. He won't have a secretary of energy like we have now that doesn't have any idea about business or how to drill and get things. All he wants to do is raise the price of gasoline. He'll put talent in these jobs. So you'll staff better.

MORGAN: What about this, Jack? I hear what you say. And (INAUDIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

WELCH: I want you to hear what I say.

MORGAN: I hear it loud and clear. But here's part of the problem that I think the Republicans have. Many people blame the policies that were conducted by Republicans for eight years, or the financial crisis that engulfed America and the world.

How does Mitt Romney distance himself from what happened before? Because you can't blame Obama for all that.

WELCH: He talks about his qualifications vis-a-vis (INAUDIBLE). I just gave you a strategy, balance sheet and talent. And now what does a private equity company do when it buys these companies? It globalizes them. So he's been dealing with governments, he's been dealing with the nuts and bolts of running companies globally. He ought to be talking about these characteristics that make him a great leader. We want a leader. We want a leader to take over this country, Piers.

MORGAN: What about the problem that they have in terms of perception? With the fact that many American blame Wall Street and President Obama fueled this attitude for a lot of the greed and naked capitalism at its worst, which brought America to its knees. WELCH: He doesn't have any association with that. And that's just ridiculous. He ought to talk about his qualifications and private equity gives him incredible breadth of qualifications, along with being governor of a state and other things. But I mean without question, the idea of being embarrassed because you're in private equity is the silliest argument in the world.

MORGAN: Be honest on this, Jack.

WELCH: When am I not honest?

MORGAN: I'm disputing for a moment your integrity. I'm just saying on this particular question I'm about to ask you, I've been fascinated about it.

WELCH: Yes.

MORGAN: A proper answer. When people criticize Mitt Romney over the position he takes about this is when he uses Bain as an example of job creation. They say that's a load of food. That's not why any private equity company buys a company. They don't buy it to create jobs, they buy it to turn it around and make a profit.

WELCH: I agree with that.

MORGAN: So is he wrong to say that --

WELCH: I -- yes.

MORGAN: -- it was about job creation?

WELCH: I think making the job creation argument was not the smartest case to make.

MORGAN: Right.

WELCH: But creating jobs that last, durable jobs in a forward, quote, "economy", that's what private equity does. I have been involved with him over 10 years now, 12 years, we have not had a busted company. We've taken broken companies and taken them forward and they are now flourishing. So you do -- you don't create scads of jobs, but you create good paying jobs in a continuing industry.

MORGAN: Do you think this will be the key battleground, the ideological dispute we're now seeing over this?

WELCH: If it is, Romney ought to wipe it out. Look at -- I mean when you look at those things I gave you for the qualifications, compare it to somebody who was handing out leaflets as a community organizer, then global experience of doing all this, Piers, it's not even close.

MORGAN: Again, I come back to the problem with Mitt Romney and perception, is that for whatever reason, the public look at him in America and they see a very wealthy guy, they see him as kind of a corporate fat cat, for want of a better phrase. And that may or may not be fair to him but that's how many Americans see him. A lot of it down to some of his own gaffes and things that he said. And when I look at this in totality, they'll be like, well, OK, this is all very well, he's a very rich guy, who made himself very rich doing this company.

That's not what we want from our president. What we want from the president is for him to help us get jobs, not for him to make himself even richer.

WELCH: And that's what private equity does. It creates jobs -- it creates jobs in companies that would have gone under. These companies, you don't get a great jewel and then invest in it. You get a broken company, you invest in it and make it alive. You keep -- you take a dead carcass and bring -- put oxygen into it and keep it alive. That's what private equity does.

Now is it a big job creator? No, but does it keep jobs, Piers, yes?

MORGAN: This -- plays something from an interview I did with Howard Schultz from Starbucks on this show. A very interesting concept that he came up with which I want to ask you about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD SCHULTZ, STARBUCKS: I don't believe you can build a sustainable enterprise with a singular goal just on profit. It's a shallow goal, I don't think you can endure, I don't think you can attract and create great people. And I think the best part of business right now is trying to create the balance between profitability and a social conscience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I find that really fascinating. He called it moral capitalism.

WELCH: Yes.

MORGAN: And to illustrate this, he said look, we're brining a factory, for example, he's opening in Georgia, we could source it out. People said to me afterwards, well, there's no comparison between him and Apple because he does coffee. And they do (INAUDIBLE). What about the cups? He must produce more cups I would imagine than anybody in the world. So again, the argument applies equally to a lot of American companies. When he talks about moral capitalism, what is your instinctive reaction to that?

WELCH: I like what he says because guess who he stands with? He stands with Starbucks, a highly successful, profitable company. You can't do the right thing, the moral thing from a broken wagon. You can't do it. And so the idea of not having successful highly profitable companies who can give back -- when I retired from GE, we had 50,000 of our employees mentoring students in the inner cities of Scranton (ph), in New York, and Louisville, Kentucky. All those things. We could do that.

Do you think General Motors could have done that at that time? Not that they weren't just as good a people as we were, they were broke. So you want your company to be profitable. So you can give back. You can't give back from an empty wagon.

MORGAN: What about the concept which I have pushed a lot and some businessmen freak out when I say it, about companies like Apple who outsource a lot of their work now to places like China, deliberately bringing it back at a financial cost to them in the short-term, but actually for the benefit of America as a country.

WELCH: I'm not sure it might be. You want Apple to be as successful as they can be, then Apple can take those resources that it gets and give it out as it sees fit. It can pay taxes, it can donate to great charities. When I ran United Ways for years, when I went around to busted companies and knocked on their door for money, the CEO would say, I'm sorry, I can't help you out this year, come back next year.

When I went to companies that were winning, that's why winning is good.

MORGAN: Talking of winning, Facebook obviously launched this week to huge hysteria and taken a huge fall since it opened. We saw today that Mark Zuckerberg in a prearranged deal made $1 billion cashing in some shares. There are issues about Morgan Stanley and about their role in all this.

What is your opinion of the whole IPO launch of Facebook this week?

WELCH: Ugly. It turned out that greed overtook rational behavior. And they had it priced right, it looks like, and they had the right amount of stock being put out, it looks like. The way the stock has leveled out today, it looks like that was right. And what happened was at the last minute, they jumped in and went for too much stock at too high a price. And as a result of that, there's a black eye all over the place.

MORGAN: And it's not just pure naked greed.

WELCH: One from a distance might think so.

MORGAN: Which leads me to the situation at JPMorgan. Massive losses there, we know something more than in excess of $2 billion. I don't know quite how big. Again, you talked about leadership, the leader of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, is renowned as one of the great business leaders in America.

What has gone wrong there? How after everything that we've been through in the last few years, could a company make that kind of loss without apparently some of the top people having any idea?

WELCH: Some people made a mistake. How did the GSA guys go to Hawaii and have themselves a party? Why didn't Barack Obama stop that right away? No, but Barack Obama dealt with it once he learned of it.

MORGAN: How Jamie Dimon dealt with this properly?

WELCH: Right up to now, absolutely right. And now he's got to shift his emphasis from taking care of all the (INAUDIBLE) people out there and all the people trying to capitalize on regulation. My column this week in Reuters, we're talking about his challenge now is to galvanize the internal people.

MORGAN: Hasn't there got to be regulations to stop this --

WELCH: Of course there has to be some.

MORGAN: Because he's always railed against it. And this --

(CROSSTALK)

WELCH: No, he hasn't railed against all regulations.

MORGAN: No. But he's been pretty vocal about the particular regulation which ironically would have probably stopped what happened.

WELCH: Most people would say no. That's not the same regulations that would have stopped this. I mean the argument -- that argument is not --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: So if you're -- if you're an average American watching this and they're saying, how can a company lose over $2 billion, maybe $3 billion?

WELCH: Of its own money.

MORGAN: And it gets put down as a mistake.

WELCH: Of its own money.

MORGAN: A bad day at the office.

WELCH: Of its own money. Of its own money. They're going to make several billion dollars this quarter. Mistakes occur all over the world every day.

MORGAN: But does it help the American financial system --

WELCH: Of course not.

MORGAN: -- for JPMorgan to take a huge --

WELCH: It would have been a lot better if it -- it never happened, of course.

MORGAN: I mean if that had been a smaller bank, they could have gone under with a hit like that. So they were lucky their balance sheet was so heavily in profit.

WELCH: Because they're a very strong company.

MORGAN: Right. But they still made this catastrophic mistake. And they don't -- WELCH: No, catastrophic would mean it would be over. They made a large mistake, which they're handling, they've handled it well to now, now they've got to get their people on board.

MORGAN: But one way, Jack, the confidence to be restored to the American financial system --

WELCH: Is do everything perfectly.

MORGAN: No. But not to make such massive attempts through what appears to be just a naked attempt to make a greedy fast buck.

WELCH: We don't know that.

MORGAN: Do you suspect that?

WELCH: No, we don't suspect that. Yes.

MORGAN: What do you suspect was going on?

WELCH: They were trying to hedge the (INAUDIBLE) slid into something else. I don't actually know enough to comment on that. But I do know they came clean right away, they have been very forthright about it and they're going to make mistakes, the challenge for Jamie Dimon is, you're knocked off the horse, how do you get back on again? And get on --

MORGAN: Is he right to do that?

WELCH: Absolutely.

MORGAN: Finally, what is the state of the American economy right now? Should people be feeling generally more confident?

WELCH: Pretty good, it's not great, it's nowhere near what we need and we're going to grow in the 2 to 2.5 percent range over the next couple of quarters. We're going to have over 150,000 miners job.

MORGAN: But a lot better than it was, say, three years ago?

WELCH: A lot better than it was three years ago.

MORGAN: So Obama has done a pretty good job then?

WELCH: Well, he's done a job of bringing it back in the cycle. Absolutely.

MORGAN: Do you give him due credit for that?

WELCH: No, I don't like what he's done. He has to come back anywhere it's near fast enough. It's the weakest recovery we've ever had.

MORGAN: What do you give him credit for in terms of the economy?

WELCH: That's a tough one for me.

(LAUGHTER)

WELCH: That's a tough one.

MORGAN: I tell you what, have -- come back another time when you've thought of an answer.

WELCH: I will.

MORGAN: Jack, as always, great to have you.

WELCH: Great. Always fun. See you.

MORGAN: Come back soon.

WELCH: Thanks.

MORGAN: Jack Welch is founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and the former CEO of GE.

Next a man with an appetite for destruction. He was on stage last night. My exclusive primetime interview with the immortal Slash talking music, mayhem, Axl Rose. And probably the mile-high with him in Copenhagen. Twelve hours of drunken marauding.

Jack, you want to hang around for this?

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Sex string superstar Slash in downtown New York last night. The guitar god from Guns N' Roses now on the Rock Hall of Fame. He's battled addiction and even Axl Rose. He's achieved iconic stages with the style all of his own.

He now joins me for primetime exclusive. Welcome, Slash.

Hi.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: People don't know this, but Copenhagen, the early '90s, Guns N' Roses at the height of their powers. You and I conducted our first interview together. At the end of it you said, would you like a Jack Daniels, which I've never experienced before? I tasted the Jack Daniels and 12 hours later, you and I were in kind of some god forsaken hell hole hotel still drinking Jack Daniels.

SLASH, MUSICIAN SONG WRITER: Yes.

MORGAN: And you walked off into the sunset with my favorite jacket, which I never got back.

SLASH: Yes. I'm not sure --

(CROSSTALK) MORGAN: I thought it was a price worth paying.

SLASH: I would -- I would love to be able to find that jacket and give it back to you.

MORGAN: It was blue --

SLASH: But I'm afraid I could not find it --

MORGAN: It fitted me -- it was everything I wanted in a jacket.

SLASH: Right.

MORGAN: But you just took it. You had about 1,000 jackets.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: What you told me that night it was -- I have said this many times on this show. It was the single greatest rock performance I've ever seen. By anybody. It was just incredible. Secondly, it was one of the most outrageous spectacles, the whole 24 hours I have ever been party to.

Fighting at press conferences, drunken rampaging, it was all -- everything I imagined and hoped rock n' roll could be about. And thirdly the interview, when I then played it back, was one of the most lucid, smart, intelligent interviews I've done with anyone for a long time, and it wasn't supposed to be that way.

SLASH: Probably not. I mean yes I -- you know, all things considers as much partying and all this that went on in those days, I always tried to be somewhat intelligent when it came to having a discussion with somebody, you know, or an interview whatever. I did my best, I had my moments, but there were times when I was really out to lunch.

MORGAN: I mean -- talking about the lunch, I ran to Gregg Allman last night. Another rock legend but he obviously have a lot with progress and stuff, and I just got the feeling you slightly jump the shock, where I -- when I re-interviewed (INAUDIBLE) for "GQ" magazine a couple of years ago, you clearly had -- you've come through the whole process, the whole rock 'n roll destructive process. And you come out the other end, apparently with no damage. Do you feel lucky?

SLASH: I was very fortunate. Because the kind of addiction that I had -- you know, that I had was something that -- it was a long-term kind of a thing and getting out of that is really a struggle for a lot of people. And some people don't make it out of it. So I was very fortunate that I could finally get it together and prioritize and come out the other end in one piece, so to speak.

MORGAN: We're going to discuss the new album, the new Slash album soon. But I can't not discuss Guns N' Roses. I know that you sort of hailed, it's because although it was fantastic and you sold millions of records and it was so iconic, because of the way it ended, you don't want to sit here banging on about Axl Rose for the rest of your life. SLASH: Right.

MORGAN: Do you?

SLASH: No.

(LAUGHTER)

SLASH: Yes, it's a lot of -- a lot of attention put on a lot of negative stuff and granted the negative stuff existed and might still exist or whatever. But you know dwelling on that stuff. It's -- all things considered, I left the band in 1996, so we're talking a, you know, pretty long amount of time that I have --

MORGAN: When was the last time you actually spoke, you two?

SLASH: That was 1996.

MORGAN: Do you remember the last words? Can you repeat them?

SLASH: No, no, it wasn't like that. I think the last word, basically it was just that "I'm done". I think that was -- that was --

MORGAN: Who said that, "I'm done"?

SLASH: Yes. And it really -- it wasn't even necessarily leaving the band, it was not continuing on with the new band that Axl puts together that he was now at the helm of which was the new Guns N' Roses, and I was, you know, given a contract to basically join his new band and you know and I did. It took about 24 hours before I decided, you know, I think this is the end of the line.

MORGAN: What is the single biggest offer you have had to put it all behind you and get back on a stage together?

SLASH: Well, I've heard a lot of numbers --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Well, some of the most ridiculous --

SLASH: I have never -- I've never been been, you know, handed a specific offer. But, you know, it's in the --

MORGAN: Seven figures, eight figures?

SLASH: I'd say, I'd say it starts off with seven figures, yes. And then sometimes, it starts to get, you know, even more grandiose than that.

MORGAN: Is there any check that would tempt you?

SLASH: I don't think it's a matter of that, it really isn't. I think you've got a situation where nobody involved and wants to revisit -- it's not just me, it's the whole, you know, the whole band. And so I don't think there's a price tag that anybody's going to put in front of us that's going to make that work, you know?

MORGAN: Let's take a short break. I want to come back and I'll to talk to you about what has been the greatest moment for you on a stage. You once hinted that it was a night in Argentina. SLASH: Right.

MORGAN: With 250,000 people, thunderstorm, steam, the bamboo ray. Wonder if that's stole the moment. Don't answer yet.

SLASH: OK.

MORGAN: After the break. Want to leave on a cliffhanger.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with my primetime exclusive interview with rock legend Slash. That's his new single, "You're Alive" from his latest "Apocalyptic Love."

We left on a cliffhanger then. What was the moment for you?

SLASH: Well, you're talking about a concert that was in -- I think it was in Argentina, back in the '90s, I mentioned in the interview we did before, which was when it was pouring really thick rain and there was steam coming off the audience and we were playing "November Rain" and the timing was such that as soon as we went into the cords of "November Rain" this rainstorm started and just seeing this crowd sort of bouncing in the rhythm of the song and the --

MORGAN: Huge outdoor crowd, quarter of a million people.

SLASH: Yes. That was -- that was pretty intense. There's a few of them. But that one was very picturesque.

MORGAN: And for someone like me who's never going to come close to that, what is the -- what is the physical experience?

SLASH: The physical experience is there's the energy of the band playing a very heartfelt song, you know, and then you have that interaction with an audience that's reacting to that and it's a huge amount of energy. And it's really -- it's the kind of moment that makes everything that you go through in your career worthwhile because that chemistry, that -- you know, that feeling that's -- you know, communicated between the audience and yourself is something that is overwhelming.

MORGAN: There are people watching this who will be thinking, Slash and Piers could be brothers. Not many people, admittedly and the reason for that actually is because you were born in Stoke-on-Trent in the north of England. Your correct English name was Saul Hudson. Do you feel remotely English?

SLASH: Yes, I feel very connected to my British roots. I mean, I've got extended family in England, my dad's British, obviously, and I go there all the time and, whenever I'm there, I'm obviously visiting with family and stuff. And I feel very connected. I think it's something that's in the blood, or having been born there, you feel permanently connected, you know? It's weird.

MORGAN: Talk about the new album. You have had a very successful career since leaving "Guns N' Roses" and this is, by common consent at the moment, probably your best work.

What was it like making an album as Slash when you could hook in whoever you like, anyone will play with you.

SLASH: I mean, that's not really -- I mean, that's a nice thing for you to say, but as a musician, I'm just out there, you know, trying to put together relationships, musical relationships that are really effective and it's not as easy as just calling up anybody and making it happen.

I have built up a lot of really great relationships over the years and I have played with a lot of great people.

MORGAN: You have played with everyone.

SLASH: Not everyone.

MORGAN: If you were creating a super group, all the talent that you have ever seen, played with, whatever, who would it be?

SLASH: Well, I mean, some of those people -- well, OK, if you're about people that are living that I've actually played with before, Iggy Pop is great. He's a great artist to work with.

So I'd say maybe Iggy Pop, maybe Lenny Kravitz. That's a tough question. I would have to think about it for a minute.

MORGAN: Who would be your drummer?

SLASH: That's what I'm trying to figure out. Probably Questlove from "The Roots." He's an amazing drummer.

MORGAN: No one wants to do this, but who would play the other guitarist to you?

SLASH: It would be cool to jam with Jack White. I have never jammed with him and I think he's amazing.

MORGAN: Talking about Lenny Kravitz, who you mentioned earlier, this is him on my show recently.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You actually look quite similar.

LENNY KRAVITZ, MUSICIAN: Yeah, we could be family.

MORGAN: You could be brothers. You do? And he has the same kind of nose rings and the same kind of stubble, and he's cool too. SLASH: He's a beautiful person. What you see is what you get. He's honest. He's loving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SLASH: Wow.

MORGAN: You two really could be brothers. You take the hair and the hat off, and the shades, there you are, twins.

SLASH: That's great.

MORGAN: What did you think of what he said?

SLASH: Well, I mean, that was really sweet, but he's a really great guy. We got to be friends years ago and, funnily enough, we went to the same high school together and I remember him from then because we were two of the only two mixed kids that I knew of in that school.

But I was in what you call continuation. And he was in the regular school for the kids that have the potential to graduate and I was one of the kids who smoked cigarettes and don't have much time left at that school.

Anyway, but I remember him from then. And we hooked up when he had his "Let Love Rule" album out which I thought was great and we got to be really good friends and we actually worked together and wrote a song together.

And we've been friends ever since, but he is a great guy.

MORGAN: Let's take another break, but when we come back, I want to talk to you about rock 'n roll excess. I can't think of a finer expert to analyze all the various parts that it takes to be a rock 'n roll legend, which you are. I want to know who, what, when where and why.

SLASH: All right.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Slash.

Slash, you, basically, you're a rock star and I have discussed it with you before, but for the benefit of this interview, I just want to -- you've been clean, what, six years now?

SLASH: Almost seven.

MORGAN: Before that moment came and you were leading this crazy life, sort of an archetypal rock star life, was it fun?

Because so many people come out of it and go, oh, it was terrible. I wish I had never done it.

SLASH: I don't have any regrets about any of it and it was a lot of fun. I think a lot of that whole sort of lifestyle, that freedom of being able to do whatever you want to do and have a good time however you want to do. It is all great.

But it catches up with you at some point. You don't see it coming. There's an invisible line that you cross where it becomes the massive addiction thing, physical and emotional, and you become a slave to that.

MORGAN: What was the thing that got you out of it, personally?

SLASH: Being able to look at it from both sides, not being so out of it that I couldn't get some sort of a perspective on it.

And you know, it was like going -- enduring the detox thing was something that I didn't want to have to deal with, but, you know, towards the end of it, you know, sort of being very conscious of where I was standing with my music at that point, taking -- you know, because I didn't have the sort of umbrella of "Guns N' Roses" at that point. So really it was sort of taking the initiative to get my career under control.

MORGAN: At the height of your womanizing, that's a way of describing it.

SLASH: That's an addiction unto itself.

MORGAN: Well, there you go. You chose to end up hiring a number of hotel rooms in the same hotel, for various women, none of who knew about each other?

SLASH: Right. But that was fun. At the time that was fun.

MORGAN: Expensive, wasn't it?

SLASH: It was a little bit expensive.

MORGAN: And yet, oddly, you are now with the same woman you've been with for quite some time.

SLASH: She's a remarkably tenacious woman.

MORGAN: Do you feel like you have met your match with her?

SLASH: Yeah, definitely.

MORGAN: Is that what you needed to do?

SLASH: When she and I first met, I knew that I was hooked when we first met and I tried to keep my distance from her for a long time because I knew once that relationship was seriously established, things were going to change.

MORGAN: How many timings would you say in your life you have been properly in love?

SLASH: I would say properly, that was the first time. MORGAN: Are you good dad?

SLASH: I really try. I mean, I think I'm a great dad, but at the same time, I'm not a conventional dad either, so I'm sort of learning, just as most new dads are, how to do the right thing, but I think that I'm a pretty responsible, responsible parent. I think I'm morally sound, so I think I'm instilling the right things in my kids.

MORGAN: What's the future? What's the unachieved ambition, the dream that's left? Do you have one?

SLASH: I don't have like an unachieved dream. I think that I'm still sort of chasing the original dream which is to make music to go out and do records and do concerts and tour and stuff.

I have done a lot of different things over the years, but what I'm doing right now, is definitely the most fun that I have had in a really long time.

MORGAN: Was it for you a great honor to be inducted into the hall of fame?

SLASH: Yes, of course, it was a great honor. It was something that, once I was there and we were accepting the acknowledgement, that I started to see things a little bit differently. Going into it, it was, you know, I had a lot of mixed feelings about the whole thing.

MORGAN: Did you understand where Axl was coming from with his protests about it all?

SLASH: I didn't even really read it. I knew what it was about and I didn't bother to really try and read into his feelings on the whole thing. I was just like -- at that point, I was just confronted with, you know, a decision to make, are we going to go up and play anyway? Or are we going to not go or whatever? And we opted for going and it was a good experience.

MORGAN: Slash, it's been a great experience for me to catch up with you again. It's a great album. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, "Apocalyptic Love" which is a perfect title, I think.

SLASH: You think?

MORGAN: A template for your life. I feel a movie coming on with that. Good to see you again.

SLASH: All right, man. Good talking to you.

MORGAN: Take care.

Coming up from a guitar god to the goddess of good food and living. Martha Stewart is here next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENRY LOUIS GATES, PBS HOST, "FINDING YOUR ROOTS": At least some of your ancestors were Muslim.

MARTHA STEWART, TV PERSONALITY: Oh, Muslim?

GATES: Muslim.

STEWART: Oh.

GATES: The name Albeaniac (ph) is associated with an ethnic group called the Tatars and the town of Yanov has been inhabited by Tartars and their descendants for centuries and centuries. They were part of Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire.

STEWART: And my dog's name is Genghis Khan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Bizarre scenes there. Martha Stewart getting a closer look at her own family tree on the PBS show, "Finding Your Roots."

Martha's new cookbook centered on the roots of America, called "Martha's American Food -- A Celebration of Our Nation's Most Treasured Dishes from Coast to Coast." This is her 77th book.

STEWART: Yes.

MORGAN: My god. That's unbelievable. You've written 77 books?

STEWART: Well, I and some of my editors have worked on a lot of these books, too, but they're very, very good books. This is a wonderful book because it not only has great recipes, Piers, but it has the back stories to lots of these recipes.

MORGAN: Well, I'm going to come to this great because it is a great book, actually. But I can't get past Genghis Khan.

STEWART: I know. Isn't that funny?

MORGAN: Are you related to him?

STEWART: Well, who knows. Genghis, you know, he covered a lot of territory.

MORGAN: But you coincidentally have a dog called Genghis Khan.

STEWART: Well, I have always liked the idea of Genghis Khan and Genghis, the dog, is a Chinese chow chow, so he might have been a dog that Genghis had way back again. It's a little convoluted, but all my dogs, the chow chows are all named after Chinese emperors.

MORGAN: There isn't actually any American blood in you at all. Is the whole premise of this book, "Martha's American Food -- "Chinese Martha's American Food Guide?"

STEWART: I am 100 percent American. I was born in America.

MORGAN: Are any Americans 100 percent American? Isn't that the point of America, that none of you are?

STEWART: We are all American. And who are born here anyway and I think once you move here and get your citizenship, you are American. It's an extraordinary place.

MORGAN: It's an amazing place. I never understood why so few Americans travel out of America. When you're actually here and you travel around, you see it's so different.

I mean, one of the great things about the book is that you go to all parts of America and you find all the local recipes, most relevant to the area that you go to.

STEWART: Right. Well, I think because also the melting pot -- I mean, we are more melting pot, I think, than most countries. Europe gets very melting also, but America has so many different nationalities living here, so many people imposing their traditions and their family ways on the American culture.

And then, they had such great indigenous ingredients to start with. Because look what we had here, the bounty, we had corn, we had tomatoes, we had potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, all ingredients -- squash, all indigenous to the Americas.

MORGAN: If I pinned you down, Martha, and said, you've got an hour to live -- I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, it's a metaphorical scenario. But if I did, what's the meal that you would have? What's the last thing you would want to eat?

STEWART: If I were thinking about food at that point ...

MORGAN: Let's assume you've still got your hungry, which would be unlikely ...

STEWART: If I was very hungry and I was told that I only had an hour?

MORGAN: Yes.

STEWART: I probably wouldn't be thinking about eating, Piers, but ...

MORGAN: What would you start with?

STEWART: Probably good, fresh eggs. Delicious salad from the garden.

MORGAN: Boiled eggs.

STEWART: Boiled, scrambled. Just a really good farm butter.

MORGAN: And the main course, what would you have?

STEWART: That's my main course.

MORGAN: That's your main course? You can't have that as your main course.

STEWART: Oh, yes. I love -- I love the ... MORGAN: You know what I'd have? It's in your book. Pike Place fish and chips. It's from actually what turns out to be my favorite American ...

STEWART: Well, again, where do you think that came from, fish and chips?

MORGAN: Britain.

STEWART: Yes.

MORGAN: It's our national dish.

STEWART: Yes.

MORGAN: But you don't have mushy peas here.

STEWART: No, this is a really good recipe.

MORGAN: You've got what looks like a pint of beer.

STEWART: Yes, we do, indeed.

MORGAN: Where are the mushy peas?

STEWART: Well, they're somewhere in the book.

MORGAN: Do you like mushy peas?

STEWART: Yes, they're okay. Right out of the can, right?

MORGAN: No, no, no, no. You make them, like a pea puree. Mush them up.

STEWART: I know. But I think --

MORGAN: Like gravy.

STEWART: I think they were kind of famous because there were canned.

MORGAN: That's a terrible indictment of my national dish.

STEWART: I like canned peas. What can I say? One of the few cans I might open.

MORGAN: But you would seriously just have eggs as your last meal?

STEWART: Sure. Sure. And a really good glass of white wine.

MORGAN: Yes. American or French?

STEWART: Or maybe a couple of bottles, if I knew I was going ...

MORGAN: You wouldn't have American wine, would you?

STEWART: It depends. There are some very good white wines. MORGAN: Wouldn't you go for a nice burgundy?

STEWART: I love white burgundy. I do.

MORGAN: In that case, I'll let you off the eggs. Of all these dishes in here, which are the ones that you were most excited, would you say?

STEWART: The pies.

MORGAN: Why pies?

STEWART: I think pies are so typically American. The great apple pie. the great cherry pie, the lemon meringue pie, the Shaker lemon pie, all those pies are so utterly delicious.

MORGAN: Yes, they are.

STEWART: And, of course, the cobblers which are ...

MORGAN: Pardon?

STEWART: Cobblers. The cobblers, the crisps, the pandoughties, they're all the same thing.

MORGAN: Cobblers means something very different back where I come from.

STEWART: Cobblers are for shoes?

MORGAN: It can be or they can be a derogatory term. I have been called it a few times.

STEWART: Oh, you have been? Well, no, but a cobbler is a basically a crustless pie, a fruit baked in a shallow disk with a topping of something, either a biscuit or a crumble or something like that. It's a crumble, a crisp, a pandoughty. They're all the same kind of thing and they're all fun to eat.

MORGAN: Cobblers? I never ate a cobbler pie.

STEWART: I'll make you a cobbler some time.

MORGAN: Really?

STEWART: Yes, I will. I'll send it over to you. Apple, cherry, plum, what do you like?

MORGAN: I love lemon meringue.

STEWART: Oh, that's not a cobbler. That's a pie. That's a pie or a tart. I'll make you one of those.

MORGAN: You still enjoy cooking?

STEWART: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: What's the most exciting new gadget you've got your hands on recently? In the cooking world.

STEWART: Martha Wrap.

MORGAN: What's the Martha Wrap?

STEWART: Something I sort of created.

MORGAN: No.

STEWART: I'm going to plug it. Can I plug it?

MORGAN: Tell me what it is.

STEWART: OK. Well, it is -- I have always, always felt that we should not be cooking in aluminum foil. So I always line my aluminum foil with parchment paper, which is kind of a paper that things don't stick to and you don't get the aluminum onto your food.

So I finally found a way to fuse the parchment to the aluminum foil, so now you have crimpable parchment so you can actually enclose it and it's called Martha Wrap.

MORGAN: Now, I'm told this weekend is the weekend that every American gets out -- the Memorial weekend -- gets their barbie out and starts grilling. Are you a big griller?

STEWART: I'm a careful griller. Put it that way.

MORGAN: What's the secret to a good barbecue?

STEWART: Well, there's a lot of secrets.

MORGAN: For a Neanderthal cook like me. What bit of advice would you give me?

STEWART: OK, a hot, hot fire. No flames. You don't want to char your food. No blackened food. You know what I mean.

MORGAN: I like blackened food, though.

STEWART: Black? Burned?

MORGAN: Not like completely black coated, but a little dash of black.

STEWART: Well, maybe you're a lost cause.

MORGAN: Well, I'm depressing.

STEWART: Do you press your hamburgers on the grill?

MORGAN: Yes.

STEWART: You do? You compact them?

MORGAN: Yes, I like them all sort of compacted and blackened. It may go back to the old day when Brits were barbarians. STEWART: Well, you are a Neanderthal. That's what you said.

MORGAN: On that bombshell, I think I'm going to draw this to a halt. "Martha's American's Food -- A Celebration of Our Nation's Most Treasured Dishes from Coast to Coast ..."

STEWART: Can I just correct one thing? I don't think Neanderthals -- maybe they didn't have fire.

MORGAN: You called me a Neanderthal. You called me a cobbler. You called me all sorts of things. It's been a tissue of insults flying my way.

STEWART: It's been a lot of fun.

MORGAN: It's been good fun. Martha, lovely to see you. Thanks for coming in.

Martha Stewart, I look forward to seeing your 97,000th book whenever that may be.

Next only in America, a jilted lover seeks justice from the woman who refused to marry him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: For tonight's "Only in America," love may conquer all, but when it doesn't, there's a fat, nasty lawsuit to cry over. In a country 15 million cases are filed each year, one man's answer may be the most frivolous yet to clog the overwhelmed system.

Meet Steven Silverstein, a 29-year-old telecommunications executive from New York who, instead of hearing wedding bells is now is headed to court. Mr. Silverstein wants a fortune from his ex-fiancee, Kendra Platt-Lee, after she refused to marry him after all.

He's demanding that the $50,000 for the money she took from their joint account, for the rent, for the deposits they made on their trip down the aisle. Isn't it romantic?

Miss Platt-Lee, who's now back at her home in San Diego gave him back the $32,000 engagement ring. She denies the claim she left him high and dry with unpaid bills. She also apparently plans to countersue. Love in the time of lawyers, isn't it wonderful?

As for Mr. Silverstein, I applaud you, sir. I mean, anyone can just walk away from a bad breakup and try and move on, perhaps find love with somebody else, but not you.

No, no. You decided to go after your ex-fiancee in a bitter and twisted matter, convinced that some kind of court action will mend your heart back together.

I have a better idea, mate. Just man up and move on.

That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.