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1997.02.07 - Los Angeles Times - With His Blues Band, Slash Just Wants to Have Fun (Slash)

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1997.02.07 - Los Angeles Times - With His Blues Band, Slash Just Wants to Have Fun (Slash) Empty 1997.02.07 - Los Angeles Times - With His Blues Band, Slash Just Wants to Have Fun (Slash)

Post by Soulmonster on Thu May 08, 2014 9:36 am

1997.02.07 - Los Angeles Times - With His Blues Band, Slash Just Wants to Have Fun (Slash) 1997_011
With His Blues Band, Slash Just Wants to Have Fun
Pop music: The guitarist of Guns N' Roses fame and his new group play familiar covers with 'a lot more decibel levels going on.'
February 07, 1997|BUDDY SEIGAL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Slash is heading up a project of his own these days, a quintet he calls Slash's Blues Ball. And unlike his old group Guns N' Roses, this, he says, "is really just a good-time band."

"It's mostly all covers--and not necessarily a lot of blues," the 31-year-old guitarist says. "There's a lot of old-style rock in there as well." The set list does include "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Crossroads" and "Key to the Highway," but "this isn't like the traditional blues cover band you see in clubs these days. There's definitely a hell of a lot more decibel levels going on. Nobody should be expecting a nice, quiet B.B. King type of thing. It's more of an approach of, say, like a Johnny Winter.

"And no two shows are ever the same."

The Blues Ball--which plays tonight at the Galaxy in Santa Ana and Saturday at the Ventura Theatre--started as a lark last year when a Hungarian promoter asked Slash to headline a concert. Slash recruited GNR backup singer Teddy Andreadis to sing lead; Andreadis called a bunch of his friends--guitarist Bobby Schneck, bassist Johnny Gripack and drummer Alvino Bennett--and everybody headed overseas. They had such a good time playing that they've kept at it.

(Meanwhile, Slash also has toured and recorded with Snakepit and recently landed on the adult contemporary chart, of all places, with a song called "Obsession Confession" from the "Curdled" movie soundtrack.)

Born Saul Hudson in Staffordshire, England, Slash has lived in Los Angeles since he was 11. His parents were active in the music business as graphics and clothing designers, so little Saul grew up around such artists as Jimmy Page, Sly Stone, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie and Ron Wood.

"I heard a huge array of music when I was a little kid," he says. "The first band I was turned on to was the Moody Blues. I was into the Beatles and the Stones and the Who and Led Zeppelin. Then there was Bootsy Collins and Chaka Khan, and my dad listened to a lot of Muddy Waters. I picked up a lot of stuff as the heavier bands started to come out, but I still like the old stuff."

Playing in bands from the time he was in junior high, Slash became a mainstay of the L.A. hard rock scene in the early '80s. Guns N' Roses was formed in 1985 and by the end of the decade had become one of the most popular bands in America, though it seemed to create controversy wherever it performed, largely the result of lead singer Axl Rose's widely reported onstage temper tantrums and free use of racial epithets.

The group hasn't released an album since "The Spaghetti Incident" in 1993 and rumors of a breakup have been constant, although GNR hasn't publicly called it quits.

"In a nutshell," Slash says, "Axl and I aren't really seeing eye to eye as far as musical direction is concerned. Where he's taking on a visionary direction, I'm still rooted in the original concept [from] when we first got together. We're sort of butting heads on that.

"When I came back from the last Snakepit tour, I did go back to rehearsals [with Rose] to see if we could rekindle any kind of flame, but it just didn't work out." Rose could not be reached for comment.

"If we ever decide at some point that we need each other, that we want to get back together, if we ever get back in a room together and it clicks, that would be great," Slash says. "In the meantime, I'm not gonna sit around and play rock star. I want to work."

Slash always has been a favorite of fans and critics alike. "I don't spend any time reading the write-ups," he says. "I do a lot of press but I never go back and read it. But when people say something positive and I hear it on the street, that makes me feel good.

"As much as Guns just kind of got pigeonholed into this bad-boy, sloppy circus thing, I was actually trying to hone in on the guitar playing. I wasn't trying to turn it into a Steve Vai, technical kind of thing. I was trying to play where my heart and soul were coming from. There was a conscious effort to play good."

More and different stuff lies ahead. This week he is laying down tracks for a new album by the rappers Clown Posse. He also is looking over offers to score films and is overseeing the construction of a new studio, where he hopes to record with Snakepit later this year.

"Things just pop up all the time," he says. "As long as you're out there, you take advantage of whatever cool opportunities there are."
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1997.02.07 - Los Angeles Times - With His Blues Band, Slash Just Wants to Have Fun (Slash) Empty Re: 1997.02.07 - Los Angeles Times - With His Blues Band, Slash Just Wants to Have Fun (Slash)

Post by Blackstar on Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:55 am

Slightly different and longer version of the same article was printed in the Los Angeles Times two days earlier, February 5, 1997:

1997.02.07 - Los Angeles Times - With His Blues Band, Slash Just Wants to Have Fun (Slash) 1997_013
1997.02.07 - Los Angeles Times - With His Blues Band, Slash Just Wants to Have Fun (Slash) 1997_012

Transcript:
---------------

Slash Keeps Blues Ball Rolling Loud and Clear

■ Pop music: The former Guns N’ Roses guitarist turns up the volume on a just-for-kicks sideline that also lets him rock.

By BUDDY SEIGAL
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES


Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash earns his childhood nickname by how he cuts a swath through any conversation. The guy never stops talking.

In a recent phone interview, the amiable and forthright musician—who anchors Slash’s Blues Ball on Friday at the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana—came off like an enthusiastic whirlwind.

Despite the attention his current road project is attracting, "this is really just a good-time band,” he said. “I guess it’s a just a little more high-profile.”

The Blues Ball started as a lark when a Hungarian promoter asked Slash to headline a concert last year. To sing lead, he got GNR backup vocalist Teddy Andreadis, who called friends Bobby Schneck, a guitarist, bassist Johnny Gripack and drummer Alvino Bennett, and the band headed overseas. The guys had such a good time playing that they’ve kept at it, although the Blues Ball remains a just-for-fun project.

"It’s mostly all covers and not necessarily a lot of blues either. There’s a lot of old-style rock in there as well,” Slash said. Standards such as “Hoochie Coochie Man,” "Crossroads” and “Key to the Highway” are in the set. “This isn’t like the traditional blues cover band you see in clubs these days. There's definitely a hell of a lot more decibel levels going on. Nobody should be expecting a nice, quiet B.B. King-type of thing. We have an actual set list, but no two shows are ever the same. There’s a lot of improv going on.”

Slash, 31, was bom Saul Hudson in Staffordshire, England, and moved to Los Angeles when he was 11. His parents were active in the music business as graphics and clothing designers, and Saul grew up with the music and company of such artists as Jimmy Page, Sly Stone, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie and Ron Wood. This accounts for Slash’s decidedly ’60s and 70s style of guitar playing.

“It’s very blues-based,” he said. "It's all rooted in there, but it’s more of an approach of, say, like a Johnny Winter. It’s not a standard blues approach. I heard a huge array of music when I was little kid. The first band I was turned on to was the Moody Blues. I was into all the rock bands of that time—the Beatles and the Stones and the Who and Led Zeppelin. Then there was Bootsy Collins and Chaka Khan, and my dad listened to a lot of Muddy Waters. I picked up a lot of stuff as the heavier bands started to come out, but I still like the old stuff.”

Slash started playing in bands in junior high school, becoming a mainstay in the L.A. hard-rock scene of the early 1980s. GNR was formed in 1985 when members of L.A. Guns and Hollywood Roses came together. The group’s 1987 debut album for Geffen Records, “Appetite for Destruction,” reached No. 1 on the strength of singles “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”

GNR went on to become perhaps the most popular band in America in the late '80s and early '90s, waxing hit after hit and frequently drawing controversy, mostly due to the plebeian antics of volatile lead singer Axl Rose.

The group hasn't released an album since 1993’s “The Spaghetti Incident,” and rumors of a breakup have been constant, although GNR has never publicly called it quits. Slash, meanwhile, released “It's Five O'Clock Somewhere” in 1995 with his own band, Snakepit, which he cites as his main musical outlet for now.

“In a nutshell, Axl and I aren't really seeing eye-to-eye as far as musical direction is concerned,” Slash said. “Where he's taking on a visionary direction, I’m still rooted in the original concept we made when we first got together. We’re sort of butting heads on that.

“When I came back from the last Snakepit tour, I did go back to rehearsals for a stint to see if we could rekindle any kind of flame, but it just didn't work out. If we ever decide at some point that we need each other, that we want to get back together, if we ever get back in a room together and it clicks, that would be great. In the meantime, I'm not gonna sit around and play rock star. I want to work.”

Slash has always been a favorite with both fans and critics. Even when GNR’s music declined and Rose's behavior alienated all but the most die-hard GNR followers, Slash's work was lauded.

“As much as Guns just kind of got pigeon-holed into this bad-boy, sloppy circus thing, I was actually trying to hone in on the guitar playing. I wasn’t trying to turn it into a Steve Vai, technical kind of thing. I was trying to play where my heart and soul were coming from. There was a conscious effort to play good.”

Slash did the unexpected last year when he co-wrote, coproduced and performed on two songs for the soundtrack to the movie “Curdled,” which was released in October to art houses. Teaming up with famed producer Nile Rodgers and Spanish vocalist Marta Sanchez, the acoustic, Latin-flavored “Obsession Confession” was a new sound from the infamous rock ’n’ roller.

“I never knew that I was gonna go there,” Slash said. “But I thought the movie was great, and the girl who plays the lead, Angela Jones, was great too. It has really I dark, sarcastic humor, and it's right up my alley. Jones inspired me to write the music. Then all of a sudden it comes out in the Top 20 on the adult contemporary chart, and now it's like at No. 4. I never dreamed in a million years, in any way, shape or form that I’d end up Top 10 in the adult contemporary charts! But I’m proud that I managed to cross over because I do like to play a lot of different stuff.”

More different stuff lies ahead. This week he's laying down tracks for a new album by rappers Clown Posse. He's also looking over offers to score films and overseeing the construction of a new studio at his Beverly Hills home, where he hopes to record an album with Snakepit this year.

“Things just pop up all the time,” Slash said. “As long as you're out there, you take advantage of whatever cool opportunities there are.”

Slash’s Blues Ball, Friday at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana. Sun Child and Eric Sardinas open. 8 p.m. $15-$17. (714) 957-0600.
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