Interview: Slash of Velvet Revolver
Wed, 19 Dec 2007 07:37:59
Slash personifies the word "legend." As guitar-slinger for Guns N' Roses, he played some of the most powerful and memorable rock and roll ever committed to tape. His energy, style and attitude drove the band to the top. With Velvet Revolver, years after the days Guns ruled the world, Slash plays with more passion and fire than ever. On the band’s relentless and uncompromising sophomore record Libertad, Slash shreds on some of the best rock in recent memory. Cuts like "Out the Door" and "Pills, Demons, Etc." rekindle the flame of classic '70s rock with bombastic riffs and searing solos. However, Velvet Revolver fires on all cylinders during the contemplative, bluesy tracks like "The Last Fight."
In addition to unleashing a monster of a second Velvet record, Slash also penned a captivating autobiography simply titled Slash. Amidst all of this, the ever-insightful and affable Slash managed to sit down with ARTISTdirect and delve into why he rocks and will continue to always rock.
On Libertad, it feels like Velvet Revolver have revived that punk rock energy from the early Guns stuff. What was the creative process like?
Well, the creative process was really relaxed. That's the first thing that comes to mind. There was a real camaraderie between the guys, and a lot of synergy happening. There were a lot of creative sparks. The actual recording of the album had to have been one of the most pleasurable recording experiences that I've had in recent memory, especially with one of my own bands [laughs]. I think Libertad, as a title, really speaks out about what the whole process of making your own record, regardless of what anybody else has to say about it. That's sort of the vibe that we had in the studio. We were doing our own thing regardless.
You guys cover a lot of ground—from the rocking tracks like "She Builds Quick Machines" to the slower, more introspective cuts like "The Last Fight." A lot of bands can't seem to cover that whole spectrum these days.
There's a lot of blues influence on what we do, especially on a song like "Last Fight." That was just one of those things that I wrote on an acoustic guitar that the rest of the guys liked, and it just became a song. These aren’t so much ballads—like the sappy 80's songs—but just more somber tunes that are blues-influenced. For us, that comes just as easy as the hard rocking songs. So it's really natural. I don’t know what other bands are doing these days. Because of the pedigree of the guys in this band, I would say that we run a pretty wide gamut as far as musical influences are concerned.
It seems like since Contraband you guys have grown into a tighter unit, and Libertad has more of a cohesive vibe.
When we first released this album in July, I definitely recognized a difference from Contraband. There's definitely some musical growth there. We're all pretty excited about it. At this point though, I'm pretty excited about looking into where we're going to go on the third record, because it seems like the band's whole evolution is going upward very positively. We're getting better and better as it goes, as opposed to putting out that first fucking hit record, and then declining creatively, which happens to a lot of other bands.
Has making music been more fun than in the past?
We have a lot of fun, and we also have a lot of respect for each other. There's a certain kind of chemistry that was established in the very beginning, and we're just continuing to discover it as we go. That's just something I'm really happy about it. Because, like I said before, it can always go in the opposite direction. Bands come together with all of these guys, and hope for the best. Then they actually come out blazing, but they lose interest and start heading in the other fucking direction.
Do you find it hard to remain inspired after all of these years writing songs?
Well, I'm always inspired, but I won't say it as simply as that. I love what it is that I do, and if I'm on a good writing run, then I'm inspired. There are those moments where you have "writer’s block," and nothing's happening. Those are always the most personally depressing periods, because you feel like it's the end of the world, and it's never going to change. Sometimes it lasts for a short period of time, and sometimes it lasts for a long time. You just have to know how to walk away from it, and let it go for a minute, until the inspiration comes back. By and large, I'm inspired all the time, because I just love my guitar. As long as I've got a guitar around, it means I'm usually happy, and then something will come out of it.
In your book, all the '70s film references are so vivid and striking. Are you a big '70s film fan?
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