Why Slash Doesn’t Play Guns N’ Roses Songs On Tour
It doesn’t matter how rich, famous or talented you are; if you’re not careful – and even if you are – COVID can still hit you. Slash learned that the hard way while making his new album, 4.
The top hat guitarist sought a change of scenery for his fourth consecutive album with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, featuring bassist Todd “Dammit” Kerns, drummer Brent Fitz and guitarist Frank Sidoris. So in March 2021, the quintet piled into a bus and rode from Los Angeles to RCA Studios in Nashville, whose rooms A and B have collectively hosted Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, BB King and dozens. other legends. With producer Dave Cobb, their goal was simple: knock out 10 songs in 10 days, live in the studio with virtually no overdubs, just like their rock ‘n’ roll heroes of yesteryear.
The sessions started explosively and for a while it looked like the band was going to end 4 without a hitch. But just over halfway through the recording process, Kennedy came down with a vicious case of “allergies,” which, of course, quickly turned out to be COVID and quickly infected the rest of the band. Still, Slash was undeterred. The man who used to perform three-hour Guns N ‘Roses concerts while loaded down with Jack Daniel’s and heroin has survived the illness, and he and his COVID-ravaged bandmates have completed another no-frills hard rock album.
Today, the historically easy-going guitarist is able to look back on the beleaguered sessions with fondness. “Yeah, you know, it was a very memorable experience,” he told UCR with a laugh. “I mean, the session itself was awesome and one of the most fun times I’ve had in the studio in my career, actually. And then the other aspect was kind of bonding with the group, because we kind of had to go through this whole COVID thing together while quarantined in Nashville in an Airbnb. But, you know, at the end of the day, the record was made, and nobody’s worse to wear.
Watch Slash’s “The River Is Rising” Music Video
Slash and the rest of Guns N’ Roses have since completed a massive arena and stadium tour unscathed, and tonight (February 8), the guitarist begins his six-week solo trek in Portland, Oregon. The precautions are rigorous but non-negotiable. “It’s funny: we’re on the road right now, and the number of hurdles you have to jump through to be on tour right now seems almost ridiculous, doesn’t it?” he says. “But it’s amazing what you’ll do and what you’ll go through and what you’ll endure to be able to go and play. Myself and a lot of my colleagues, that’s how we are. There’s absolutely no hurdle that we’re not going to cross when it comes to performing, being able to record a song or perform a song or whatever.”
Guitarist says tonight’s show will feature all three previously released singles 4: the slinky riff-fest “The River Is Rising”, the powerful and painful ballad “Fill My World” and the ripping blues-punk “Call Off the Dogs”. “As the record comes out, I’ll start sprinkling more songs from the new record,” he says. “At the end of the tour, we will have played all the songs on the record.”
What a slash habit do on this tour is flesh out the setlists with songs from GNR, Velvet Revolver or Slash’s Snakepit, as he did in the early days of The Conspirators. The reasoning is twofold: with four albums to his credit — the years 2012 Apocalyptic love2014 world on fire2018 Living the dream and 4 – the Conspirators have more than enough gear to fill a set on their own now. But since 2016, Slash has also been scratching the GNR itch alongside Axl Rose and Duff McKagan, packing stadiums and crisscrossing the globe on a seemingly endless reunion jaunt.
“I have to admit that I really missed playing the Guns material at first, so it was a great outlet for me,” says Slash. “But after reuniting with all my buddies in Guns, after a while I was like, ‘I don’t really need to do this with Myles and Company,’ so we don’t have any Guns songs in the set. That said, I kind of miss the occasional Velvet Revolver song, so I haven’t put any Velvet songs in the set yet, but I might at some point put one in, at least, just for fun. to do.
Listen to “Call off the Dogs” by Slash
To quote the title of his latest album, Slash is living the dream, playing both a stadium rock juggernaut and a theater-packing road warrior. He fought long and hard for this level of stress-free sustainability, battling volcanic egos, chemical addictions and vulture record executives in his search for like-minded musicians who just love to plug in, hop on and play.
“We have no delusions of grandeur. We’re not trying to be the biggest band in the world,” he says of The Conspirators. “We just like to go out and play. And that’s how it’s been all this time. But we’ve kind of built up a big fan base, and we’ve got our own thing at this point that’s kind of established, but it doesn’t really change the way we do things, so it’s a very easy band, sort of simple.
And to be clear, this is a group – it’s right there in the name. Ever since Slash’s Snakepit debuted 1995s It’s five o’clock somewhere, the guitarist preferred to operate as part of a band, even when his name is up front. Even his 2010 self-titled solo debut, which featured a different singer on almost every song, served to connect him with Kennedy and led to their full-time partnership.
“In this band, we started where it was a solo thing for me, a vehicle for me, but I quickly recognized it as a band, and that’s how the name was born,” says- he. Apocalyptic love Sure, it’s really been more of a group effort. I’m just sort of the leader.”
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