Q&A with rock guitarist Slash
By Eric Walden
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Jul 18 2013 09:24PM
An excerpt of The Tribune’s July 10 interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Slash:
EW • In its year-plus of existence, "Apocalyptic Love" has spawned four hit singles and a wide-ranging tour. Did you expect this level of success, or has it been a pleasant surprise?
Slash • I’ve never been one to expect anything. I made what I thought was a good record, put it out, and figured we’d see how it goes. I feel really blessed and humbled at everything that’s happened.
EW • What has the experience been like of seeing a group that was only supposed to be the touring band for your first solo project become your writing and recording partners?
Slash • We started touring together, and I realized what a great unit we’d put together. So we decided to start writing; Myles [Kennedy] and I got started out on the road. After the tour was over, we had really established a chemistry. It’s really been very seamless.
EW • You’ve spent much of your career with the same guys from GN’R and Velvet Revolver; how different was it working with a completely different group?
Slash • Obviously, I’ve worked with the guys from Guns and Velvet Revolver a lot, but I also played in two different versions of Slash’s Snakepit, so it’s not that unusual for me to work with new guys.
EW • Are there any plans for another album with Myles and the Conspirators?
Slash • We’re actually working up the next one as we speak. Myles has a new album coming out and then a tour, so it’ll be after that. But I’m working on material, I’ll send it to him, and he’ll come in and record. It’ll be out early next year.
EW • How was it playing the recent Kings of Chaos shows in South Africa?
Slash • That was an experience — all the one-offs I was doing. And to travel to a country … as exotic as [South] Africa was amazing.
EW • Obviously there were plenty of people you’re familiar with, like Myles, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Gilby Clarke and Dave Kushner. But how was it playing with artists you don’t usually perform with? I saw videos of you playing two songs with Collective Soul’s Ed Roland; that seems like such an odd pairing.
Slash • I didn’t even know who he was [at first]. I’d flown in and I only rehearsed with Glenn Hughes, Duff and Matt. And I’m looking at him going, ‘Who the [expletive] is that guy?’ And then he pulls out his guitar and starts playing that song [The World I Know]. And I’m going, ‘[Expletive], I love that song.’ Turns out, he wrote some of my favorite songs of the ’90s. He’s one of my favorite guys now. We had a great time.
EW • So no big issues as far as people not used to working together suddenly working together?
• I understand what you’re saying there. But I’m a professional, so you learn how to adapt and work with personalities. If you’re professional, you learn to deal with the different sides of people.
EW • It seems like you do a lot of guest spots on other artists’ songs. Some are obvious, like Alice Cooper, Steven Adler or Halestorm, who you toured with recently. Others are more eclectic and esoteric. Just looking at a list of your guest appearances recently, I saw the country act Williams Riley Band, Italian rock singer Vasco Rossi, and a song you did for the cartoon "Phineas & Ferb." How do you choose which projects to play on?
Slash • Usually, there’s a mutual friend or producer involved, especially with some of that obscure stuff. Really, though, it depends on the song. These things come out of the blue. I love to play, I love to jam, and I think I’m just trying to add something, trying to enhance a song if I can.
EW • Is there anyone you’d really love to work with who you haven’t yet?
Slash • No, there’s no one I’m seeking out. I don’t do that. The first solo record was really the only time anything like that was pre-planned, where I’m calling people up and asking, "Will you sing on my record?"
EW • I’ve seen you posting recently about "Nothing Left to Fear," the upcoming movie from your horror film company, Slasher Films. What’s it been like working in movies as opposed to music?
Slash • It’s definitely different — it’s a much slower-paced industry. There’s a lot of loopholes you can fall into and never get out of. But it’s been a ton of fun and a learning experience. It’s really enlightening creatively. I also did the soundtrack [for Nothing Left to Fear]. I’ve done scores before, and it definitely brings out a different side of me. I don’t know where that music is coming from.
EW • I saw another post about Andy Murray’s recent win at Wimbledon. Was that just a shout-out to a fellow native Briton? I know you were involved in BMX as a kid; are you a sports fan?
Slash • He’s from the U.K., and I’ve been watching him struggle to get to where he is. So it was cool seeing him beat [Novak] Djokovic. I’m not an avid sports fan; I’m just around it a lot. You’re on the road, you watch TV a lot. And the crew watches a lot. So you start to root for the people you’re around.
EW • So, what can fans who show up to see you play July 24 expect to see?
Slash • It’s gonna be a blast. It’ll be the first time this band has played Park City. And just knowing what Utah fans are like, it’s gonna be awesome.