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1995.04.07 - Daily Press - Slash-and-burn

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1995.04.07 - Daily Press - Slash-and-burn Empty 1995.04.07 - Daily Press - Slash-and-burn

Post by Blackstar on Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:40 am

1995.04.07 - Daily Press - Slash-and-burn 1995_023

Transcript:
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Slash-and-burn

Slash’s Snakepit cranks it up and clears ear-canal cobwebs

BY SAM McDONALD

For Slash, sizzling, slamming rock ’n’ roll is an addiction.

Since he kicked his more threatening vice — heroin — awhile back, the shaggy-headed 29-year-old guitar god has more energy to channel into making loud, obnoxious noise.

His side-project band, Slash’s Snakepit, has released an album, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.” And it’s a headlong, lunging sonic assault powered by Slash’s snarling guitar fury.

With his main gig, Guns N’ Roses, temporarily out of commission, Slash has built a new, super-charged vehicle.

His band is playing clubs instead of the huge arenas that Guns N’ Roses last stormed on the “Use Your Illusion” tour several years back.

“I like the vibe of being in a sweaty dive and kickin’ out the jams,” Slash said, speaking over the telephone from his Los Angeles home. “With Guns, there are pressures to do certain songs. This is sort of an outlet for me.”

The tunes on “It’s Five O’Clock...” were recorded quickly — in less than two weeks’ time. Live shows will capture the same spontaneous energy, Slash promised. “That’s what I love about it, the sense of going out there and winging it.”

His band (named for Slash’s love of reptiles — he owns several hundred snakes) writhes with an assortment of rock ’n’ roll characters. Guns N' Roses drummer Sorum plays on the record as does former Guns guitarist Gilby Clarke, and Alice in Chains bass man Mike Inez. The raw-throated screaming on the record’s 14 songs comes courtesy of Eric Dover, a former guitarist for Jellyfish.

Slash picked Dover after auditioning 40 vocalists. He won for pure guts and enthusiasm. “He’s a dynamo,” Slash said. “He gives it 120 percent every time he opens up his (expletive) mouth. At rehearsal, he comes in and screams ... to the point where I think he’s bleeding. I say ‘Are you OK?’ And he says, ‘Yeah, let’s do it again.’ “

Dover also helped put lyrics to Slash’s menacing blues- and boogie-derived licks. Songs include “Neither Can I,” which tells of a suburban suicide, and the slow, moody “Lower,” a story of someone watching horrified as a friend sinks into drug addiction. “So tell me how to do it... how to keep the life inside you,” Dover screeches.

Himself a former junkie, Slash takes the subject seriously. “Seeking it (heroin) out because you think it’s hip is dumb. But I don’t preach. You just have to be smart about what you do and don’t. For me, it’s dumb.”

Clarke and Dover will join Slash on the road, but a new rhythm section has signed on as well. Drummer Brian Tichy and bassist James LoMenzo have played with Zakk Wylde’s Southern rock band, Pride & Glory.

Snakepit has fueled speculation that Slash was heading for a solo career, but Slash says no. “I’ve always been 110 percent there for Guns,” he said. “For me to take off (on tour) was sort of tripping people out for a while. But I’ll be back in September. They know that now.”

The club exposure, he expects, will be a blast. He doesn’t shrink from close contact with fans. He often sits in with other musicians in clubs — trading licks with partners as unlikely as Les Paul. And he still walks to the liquor store to buy smokes.

“I refuse to change what it is that I’m doing just because of Guns,” he said. Sometimes he is stopped and asked to sign autographs, sparking a minor frenzy. “There are moments when it’s really awkward. But people are not as bad as some rock bands make them out to be.”

He’s learned not to wear his trademark top hat in public. It means instant recognition. The hat is the cornerstone to his image. “It’s like I’m some (expletive) cartoon character,” he complained. But Slash put the same caricature of himself on the cover of the Snakepit album. “Yeah, I’m a schmuck,” he admitted.

He’s no schmuck. But Slash is one rocker who’s in love with the lifestyle. He hungers for nearly every part of it, like a junkie craves a fix.

Sam slashes his way through his weakly workload.
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