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Keeping it Together. An Exclusive Conversation with Slash

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Friday, February 8, 2008 @ 0:16 AM

"But I think whatever it would

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Not only is Saul Hudson one of rock music’s most respected guitarists, he’s also one of the rock music’s most recognizable figures. Hudson, or course, is better known as Slash.

Picking up the pieces where Guns N’ Roses left off, Slash has done very well teaming up with two former GNR members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum as well as Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland and Dave Kushner (Wasted Youth, Infectious Grooves, Electric Love Hogs, CycoMico, Zilch, Loaded). Slash’s iconic shades, top hat, cigarette and fluffy hair have launched him into ad campaigns and most recently in the popular console game, Guitar Hero III.

In this Exclusive interview for KNAC.COM, I speak to a witty and charming Slash via telephone in Austin, Texas regarding the Los Angeles show, upcoming Velvet Revolver recording plans, the relentless question about a GNR reunion, and what inspired him to write his critically acclaimed book, Slash.

KNAC.COM:. Velvet Revolver played The Wiltern in Los Angeles on February 6th. How as that?

SLASH: It is an LA show and definitely the last one on this leg of the tour. So it (has) that sort of hometown kind of thing to it. That said, I have no idea exactly what that means.

KNAC.COM:: I think it means anything can happen.

SLASH: Yeah.

KNAC.COM:: After the U.S. leg of the tour is over, where to?

SLASH: We go to Australia and we do some shows over there. Then we do the UK/Europe tour.

KNAC.COM:: I saw you perform on New Years Eve in New York. I really enjoyed the way the set list has changed, with a variety of songs.

SLASH: It is nice; it is not a cookie cutter band. We don't go by any exact formula or sort of conform to what happens to be the flavor of the month or some particular kind of bells and whistles that everyone else is using. We have just sort of evolved as a grass roots rock and roll band. I hate to use that word, grass roots but it is just like a very au natural kind of hard rock band. We just sort of do things very simply and we sort of thrive off the energy of the group itself and also off the audience. We play very passionately. It is sort of cool because there is not a lot of that going on these days. We have evolved because we have just gotten more comfortable with ourselves as a group. We just sort of learn from each other as we are going and getting better as opposed to getting worse. (Laughter)

KNAC.COM:: Let's discuss the Velvet Revolver album,Libertad. Tell me about the concept and how the title came about.

SLASH: It is not really a concept. The title was really something that was seen by a couple of us on a t-shirt. I remember Scott going that is pretty cool and that would make a great album title. That was sort of the statement, "Libertad" or Liberty however you want to put it that was very poignant for the band. We were sort of had just gone through this big hurdle. The band was holding together, and against all odds we were actually making a record. It was very significant statement for the band. It just stuck. We never entertained any other album title from that point on. It was sort of an undecided thing. We didn't consciously do that. We had this "Libertad" thing and we kept it. Once the album was released, it was very vindicating. The title really had a significant meaning to what the album was about and what we were all about at the time.

KNAC.COM:: Any plans to go into the studio to record a third album, after the European tour?

SLASH: Yeah, there is a lot of writing going on now and obviously a lot of touring. As soon as the tour ends in April. We will probably start putting together all these different ideas and start picking and choosing as to what is going to work, and what sounds right. We will take it from there. I doubt that it will take all that long. I would love to be able to say that we can probably put out an album at the end of the year. It will be a rock and roll album and a natural progression where we we're at; when we did the last one. I couldn’t really tell you at this point what that means. It will be what it is.

KNAC.COM:: Let's talk a little bit about your autobiography,” Slash". You co-authored it with Anthony Bozza. What inspired you to write the book?

SLASH: Well, you are on KNAC.COM,so I am sure that you are probably aware of all the hoopla that goes on about Guns N'Roses. It has gotten to the point as being really overwhelming. The amount of misinformation that is taken in stock on the Internet and the media at large just got to be really overwhelming. On top of that, there was a couple of unauthorized books, one about me and one about Axl, and one about the band. It was just taking artistic license on shit that they didn't necessarily know anything about and going out and capitalizing on it. I just got to a point where I needed some sort of a vehicle to be able to set a few thoughts straight. The media wasn't the way to do it. So I resigned to writing a book. Which is way out of character for me. I have been asked about writing a book a bunch of times and I flatly turned it down. So I said, "You know what? Fuck it. I am going to actually to do the book."

Anthony was someone who was introduced through my management. He was a little bit apprehensive. We had this great conversation one night and that was months and months before I actually decided to write the book. It was just sort of a preliminary meeting with an author to get a feel for it. The guy was so genuinely fascinated by some of the experiences that I had and just things just seemed to pan out in my life and what not, and he was really encouraging about it. He just sort of gave me an idea on an angle for writing a book so it wouldn't sound very final. That is what books always represent to me. Autobiographies are like this is my last hoorah. That is obviously not the case. He inspired probably about six or seven months and me later. He and I hooked up again, and just started commencing on doing the interviews for it. So it was in a way, it was fun to do and it wasn't an overly intimidating experience or anything like that. The intention of the book was to provide some insight on a few facts to the public that really no one never knew that had to do with Guns N' Roses. It is just some antidotes from where I come from playing guitar, how Guns started, bands I was in, and some of things that happened along the way.

KNAC.COM:: Well, I am glad you wrote the book, you cleared up a lot of questions.

SLASH: I haven't been asked any questions about my former band mate in a long time, so that is good. (Laughter) That was driving me nuts.

KNAC.COM:: I can imagine that was driving you crazy; talking about GNR. Why do you think Appetite For Destruction has remained such an iconic album more than twenty years later?

SLASH: I think it was just a brash and honest statement from a really genuine kick ass rock and roll band that basically sang about real life experiences that a lot of kids could relate to. It was delivered with a very honest rock and roll approach. It still has the same meaning now, as it did back in 1987.

KNAC.COM:: You also have a Signature Les Paul Epiphone guitar on the market. Tell me about the of the special features about this guitar.

SLASH: There is a couple of them coming out. There is a Signature model, which is basically a Les Paul that has a certain kind of neck cut and vintage hardware. It is basically a 59 re-issue. It is very a nice looking guitar; I got two of them out on the road right now. The other one is inspired by the guitar that is a replica that I got from Gibson in 1988, that I have been touring with all the way up until now. It is a replica meaning, it has all the cigarette burns, and cracks in the neck, and dents and belt buckle scratches to a tee. It looks identical to the original. There are those two guitars, and then is an Epiphone model of the Slash model, which is a little bit less expensive than the Gibson model. I think there is a Gold top coming out, which is a re-issue of the Gold Top that I have been using for the last twenty years. There are a couple of different options to those two guitars. Some have the shiny brand new finish, and then there is one that is completely faded, different things like that. I was using it in New York.

KNAC.COM:: Yes, I noticed that, the guitar has a very nice tone. I was really impressed with it. Now I have to ask, there has been some controversy regarding a Stone Temple Pilot reunion. Do you have any insight on that news, and how it will affect Velvet Revolver?

SLASH: Yeah, this is something that has been common knowledge to us. There was some offers to do some shows. Scott said, "We will get together and do some shows." I think one of them is booked. There is like a handful of them this summer. So it is not really that big of a deal. I think that it probably sounds like something that it is not.

KNAC.COM:: As you can imagine, alot of people are thinking that a Guns N' Roses reunion is imminent, since Scott is playing a few shows with STP. Would you like to clear the air on this?

SLASH: The relationship between Scott and his former band mates is much less controversial and a lot more amicable than those guys in Guns N'Roses. A Guns N'Roses tour like that would be fuckin fun. But I think whatever it would take for us to be able to do that, if everybody were in that frame of mind, we never would have broken up in the first place.

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