Legendary guitarist Slash spoke to The New Zealand Herald about being a solo artist after working with two of rock’s most volatile frontman in Axl Rose (GUNS N’ ROSES) and Scott Weiland (VELVET REVOLVER).
“Just being on my own has been really cathartic because it put everything in my lap,” he said.
“Since I grabbed the reins and took off on my own, I have realized you don’t need confrontation and volatility to make rock ‘n’ roll work. It’s about playing music and having fun.
“I’ve always been in a band where there was a democracy, which was great, but there was always one guy who was really difficult.”
Unlike Slash‘s solo debut, which featured different vocalists on each track and a number of guest musicians, the guitarist recorded all of his new CD, “Apocalyptic Love”, with MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS, made up of singer Myles Kennedy (of heavy rockers ALTER BRIDGE), drummer Brent Fitz and bassist Todd Kerns:
“It’s been a real blessing,” Slash said of working with his current band. “I had gotten so used to such a tumultuous reality professionally that I was really inexperienced working in a situation where everybody just wants to get along and have a good time.”
He added, “It takes a lot of the unnecessary bullshit out of the experience — and I work harder now than I have ever in my career. But at the same time it’s really enjoyable because everybody’s on the same page and we don’t want to bog ourselves down with distractions and we just focus on the music.
“You know, when I started doing this it was a dream come true and I still look at it that way, but the last few years have been great because I’ve been doing exactly what it is I like to do and not having too much hassle doing it.”
Asked about how he chooses which GUNS N’ ROSES songs to include in his current live set, Slash said, “‘Paradise City’ and ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ are songs I brought into the set when we first started touring. And there are a lot of songs that I had a major part in writing that we’re not doing, but all the songs we are doing I had a major part in writing.
“But there really is no forethought [about which songs they play]. First off it has to be one that I enjoy playing. If it’s fun to play, that’s basically the criteria.
“‘Nightrain’ just works. There is no other song that drives like ‘Nightrain’.
“Even though I did all those guitar parts [in ‘November Rain’], I didn’t bring the song to the table so I have no interest in doing songs like that.
“We haven’t played [‘Welcome To The Jungle’] for a long time. That’s such a GUNS N’ ROSES standard and it’s one of those songs we do every once in a while and everybody goes crazy. But really, it’s for the fun of it.”
Photo credit: Travis Shinn