It’s now 28 years since Slash started made his name as part of Guns N’Roses. To many, he’ll always “that GN’R guy” and understandably so. But despite the Los Angeles band’s massive impact and sales, Slash has gone onto record much, much more.
With his ever-present Les Pauls and top-hat, Slash may not have appeared to have changed much. But, as with all musicians, Slash’s music is full of nuances and subtle changes.
Let’s get down to the battle: what’s your favorite Slash era?
“Sweet Child o’Mine” was massive of course, even if Slash first dismissed the riff as a “joke” and a simple “string skipping exercise.” But as he said in his autobiography, “within an hour my guitar exercise had become something else.”
Guns’ Appetite for Destruction was packed with other slam-dunks of exhilarating riffing. “Welcome to the Jungle” had great attitude, and Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan deserve credit for their input into the guitar/bass composition.
“Paradise City” was another. The basic song was written in the back of Guns’ tour van on acoustic guitars, and if Slash had has his way the lyric would have apparently included "Where the girls are fat and they've got big titties." Sense prevailed, Slash added the driving riff. Another hit.
GN’R’s Use Your Illusion turned the band up from 10 to 11. “November Rain” was nine-minutes long, “Coma” was 10 minutes. Despite the audible ambition of the final recordings, Slash says he wrote a lot of the music for the albums on acoustic guitars in a couple of nights at his home. But he embraced the ambition. “You Could be Mine” had a one-minute guitar/drum intro. Even so, is “November Rain” little more than an Axl Rose solo vanity project?
Always going to be the runt in the litter of Slash’s career. Or is it? A revolving lineup meant Snakepit didn’t have the feel of a “true” band, but some of the music on debut It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere was up to par. “Beggars and Hangers- on” was a good dose of a more bluesy sound - it could be The Black Crowes in parts, and Slash still delivers top riffing and a stunning solo. On second album Ain’t Life Grand, Slash is relatively subdued. So, two Snakepit albums came and went, without much fanfare. Are Snakepit underrated? You decide.
If Snakepit seemed like a lukewarm “supergroup,” Velvet Revolver were hotter. They were originally known as just The Project, but with Stone Temple Pilots’ vocalist Scott Weiland joining ex-Gunners Slash, McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum, things got serious. The problem was, all work on debut Contraband had to fitted around Weiland’s rehab. But “Slither” melds Slash and STP impressively. Second album Libertad had more energy and color: “Let It Roll” is a great union of the best of Slash and Weiland. But it fell apart. Do you rate Velvet Revolver?
From 2010, Slash has been his own “band” and his own brand. Yet he still relies on regular co- conspirators. The first album, Slash, featured Chris Cornell, Ozzy Osbourne, M. Shadows, and Kid Rock on vocals. Singer/guitarist Myles Kennedy, also of Alter Bridge, stepped in for live shows. AndApocalyptic Love (2012) features Kennedy alone as vocalist. Rhythm section Brent Fitz and Todd Kerns back it all up. Add the Live in Manchester and Made in Stoke live albums/DVDs, and Slash has now put out four “solo” collections. Will it continue? Who knows. What’s unchanged is that Slash sound. “You’re a Lie” could be no-one else but Slash.
Add the work of Slash as a Sideman and there’s a whole lot of music. But which Slash era or band do you prefer? Jump into the snakepit and tell us!
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