Interview: Slash — "I always wanted Oliver Stone to direct the Guns N' Roses footage we have in a vault"
Wed, 07 Apr 2010 11:40:19
What's the glue that bonds Ozzy Osbourne, Adam Levine, Fergie, Iggy Pop, Dave Grohl, Lemmy, M. Shadows and Myles Kennedy?
Legendary Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver guitar-slinger Slash.
On his brand new solo album, Slash enlists the vocal talents of all of the above and more to kick out the jams. Those jams feature some of Slash's best playing since Appetite for Destruction. He tears through an avalanche of distortion and slick leads. From the bluesy acoustic intro of "By the Sword" to the thrash assault on "Nothing to Say," Slash's fretboard is on fire. This album proves why the man is the legend that he is…
Slash sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about the making of Slash. He discusses his favorite Iggy Pop story, talks bringing the metal with M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, mentions his desire for Oliver Stone to direct the old GNR footage and finally what he thought of Shutter Island…
If your life story where to be made into a movie, who would you want to direct it?
That's a good question! I don't know, man. I take what I do seriously, but I don't take myself seriously so it's hard for me to get a perspective of how I'd want to be portrayed. You can get really Martin Scorsese-heavy with it, but there's nothing really that warrants that. So it'd have to be somebody with a little bit more levity. I always wanted Oliver Stone to direct the Guns 'N' Roses footage we have in a vault. It's like three years of Guns 'N' Roses touring that we haven't released. That would be awesome. For me personally, it's come up because I wrote that book. People have approached me about making a movie about it, and I can't really see heads nor tails of how that would be [Laughs].
"We're All Gonna Die" is such a badass closing track. Was working with Iggy Pop a dream come true?
I have a great story about Iggy. I've known Iggy for a long time, and I've worked with him on a bunch of different stuff. I called him up and asked him if he was into this. He said, "Send me the song." So I sent it to him. This is so old school…two or three days later, he calls me up, and he's like, "Check this out!" I hear him put the phone on the table. He goes over to a ghetto blaster, turns it on and the demo that I sent him is playing off in the distance totally cranked to full volume. He starts singing me the song in the middle of the room, and I'm hearing all of this through the phone [Laughs]. I was like, "Fuck yeah!" That's the kind of shit that should never die no matter where we end up technologically in the next 40 years. That attitude, that spirit should never go away.
What grabbed you about Myles Kennedy? Did he instantly feel like the perfect fit for the solo band?
The cool thing about this record was I made a couple of discoveries during the course of it. One was Fergie. I'd already discovered her but actually putting her on the album as her first rock recording was pretty cool. Rocco DeLuca and Myles Kennedy—I couldn't figure out who would sing on those two pieces of music. With Rocco, his was the voice I was looking for but I'd never heard of him. Ironically, someone came over and played me his record not knowing that I was looking for a singer for this song. It was exactly the voice I was looking for. With Myles, the record was almost completely finished. I had one song left over that I really liked the music for. I thought it'd be a great song, but I couldn't think of anyone who fit vocally. I'd heard about Myles . Led Zeppelin was looking at him to do the tour, and Matt Sorum wanted to hire him for Velvet Revolver, but Myles turned it down because he was in Alter Bridge. I'd looked him up, and he does have an amazing voice, but I'd become resigned to him being in another band and forgot about it. At this point, I thought, "Well, what about Myles Kennedy for 'Starlight.' Maybe he'd be into it." So I sent him the tapes, and he really liked the music. However many days later, he puts some vocals on it and sent it back. I had no idea what to expect. I put it on, and I was like, "Fuck, that's amazing!" I hadn't heard any young new guys sound like that in decades. He came in and actually did another new song. He did two songs, and at that point, I was like, "I'm going on the road and I'm auditioning all of these guys to sing." I asked him if he wanted to do it and he said, "Yeah!" It opened up a whole slew of possibilities for what material we could do because he's got such a wide range.
Do you have a favorite guitar?
I think my favorite guitar has always been the same one. It's the one I recorded the album with and I recorded, shit, Appetite for Destruction with it and most of Use Your Illusion and the first Velvet Revolver record with it. That's my main guitar, and that's definitely my favorite guitar. On April 1st, I've got a Gibson replica of that guitar coming out.
"Nothing to Say" really brings out the heavier side of Slash. What's the story behind that song?
M. Shadows was great! I'm glad you brought that up. I never met him before—same with Andrew Stockdale. I always thought of Avenge Sevenfold was like this great up-and-coming heavy metal band. I put together this first real heavy metal song that I was actually going to be able to put out. I've been writing stuff like that forever but I just hadn't been able to use it. So, then Shadows' name came up and it was like, so let's get together and meet. It turns out he's this really big old school Guns N' Roses fan, which was actually sort of unnerving. He really worked his ass off getting this together and that was definitely something that took time and energy to arrange and make perfect and all that kind of stuff in the songwriting process. It was easy and fun to do it with all that was involved. He came in and sang the shit out of it, and it was really a great experience.
Now, I know you finally saw Shutter Island, what'd you think?
I thought it was good! I thought Leonardo DiCaprio was fantastic in it, and I thought the visuals were great. It's a hard story to hang on to. Even in the book, you don't really get it until you get to the end. It's so convoluted getting up there. At the same time, it's really well done, and it's pretty fucking cool! I thought it was an interesting ride to take all throughout. It's pretty gripping, and you're dying to know what the problem is the whole time. It was creepy enough too! The dreams were pretty gnarly. You're trying to piece it altogether with Leo.