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Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


2012.01.DD - Total Guitar - Forward, Slash!

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2012.01.DD - Total Guitar - Forward, Slash! Empty 2012.01.DD - Total Guitar - Forward, Slash!

Post by Blackstar Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:26 pm

2012.01.DD - Total Guitar - Forward, Slash! IDlZy1RG_o 2012.01.DD - Total Guitar - Forward, Slash! 0PLd6IpP_o 2012.01.DD - Total Guitar - Forward, Slash! Yv6psf1Y_o 2012.01.DD - Total Guitar - Forward, Slash! RabA68yG_o 2012.01.DD - Total Guitar - Forward, Slash! XbgW2hB6_o


TAKE your calendar in one hand an a black marker in the other. Now turn to April 2012 and erase all social engagements, work commitments and dental appointments: this month is all about the return of Slash. At a time when the internet has almost killed off the hotly anticipated album, the guitarist's solo follow-up is the kind of release that should make you want to call in sick camp outside HMV buy six copies and then run all the way home, just like you did 25 years ago with Appetite For Destruction. If we were any more excited, we'd probably get ourselves arrested.

Until now, Slash has been maddeningly cagey with the press about the record, placating us with the release of live CD/DVD Made in Stoke 24/7/11 , shrugging off queries about it album specifics and keeping song titles under his iconic hat. Now he's invited TG into the Barefoot Recording studios in LA, where he opens up to his favourite guitar magazine about the music he's making with his touring band - that's Myles Kennedy (vocals/ guitar), ToddKerns (bass) and Brent Fitz (drums) — and leaving us so tantalised that we're practically climbing the walls.

Is your solo career going better than you expected?
'Well, I'm just doing what I do. At this point in time in the music industry, rock has been taking a pretty hard hit on all fronts, so I think this is a fucking great time to do something about it. It's that rebellious streak in me. When you're up against the wall, that's the time to fight the hardest, y'know? I might fucking around here and there, but I'm a rock guy, so when things get sort of diluted, like they are now, its time to really buckle down and stick to your guns."

There's a rumour going round that you're bored of your old rock influences.
"It's not so much that I'm 'bored' by them: the shit that turned me on as a kid is the same that tums me on now. But I've been listening to those records [Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and so on] since started playing guitar, and I've heard them six million times, and I am sorta bored by the fact there's nothing exciting going on. I'm not inspired by a lot of modem music. That spirit of rock 'n' roll is few and far between now. There's no real scene and not really a movement that interests me. Even hip-hop has been diluted to its fucking least effective form. The industry has gotten so commercial that all pretty much dumbed-down and diluted. So more than anything, on this album I'm just playing stuff that want to hear."

Would you say that sobriety has changed your approach to songwriting?
"I think you're a better songwriter when you're inspired. I don't know whether being under the influence or not is the key factor... although sometimes when you're under the influence, you can fool yourself [laughs]. But I think being sober just makes me all-around better, because I'm focused and my drive isn't so distracted by only having a certain window in which to work before I pass out!"

How did the material for the album come together?
"I only write when I'm totally by myself. I don't like to play or share ideas around other people, unless it's to do with Myles or Todd directly. I don't sit around and strum while everyone's doing their thing —I'm insecure that way! I've really got used to playing by myself on this record, because Myles is in and out, and I'm not using [rhythm guitarist] Bobby Schneck, who toured on the last record. So Ill pick up a guitar in my hotel, or in the dressing room, and the way we're doing it is that I write the music, then send it to Myles, and he writes to it, and then we get together and work on it. So we have a lot of material [that's] accumulated over the last year."

Does Mark Tremonti mind you pinching his singer?
"I didn't pinch his singer! We have it worked out so I have Myles after the Alter Bridge European tour, and that's when Mark is off doing Creed. When I get done, Myles will go back and do an Alter Bridge record. So Todd, Brent and I have been rehearsing while Myles is gone, then when he comes back [to us] we'll get as much recording done as possible. We have 14 songs to record, and because we're doing them live we're rehearsing the shit out of them. We should finish recording in January, and the album is out in April."

Sounds hectic. Do you enjoy the time pressure?
"Well, I work quickly anyway. What I can't stand is working slowly, I'm impatient, and even now it's an exercise in patience to go with the flow of the different schedules. I wish I was a little more patient and spent a bit more time going over details, but it is just not me. I do it in the spirit of the moment. So there hasn't been a meticulous look at stuff. I mean, 'meticulous' isn't really my middle name anyway, but even less so in this capacity. We're just going for the one take that sounds good, so my solos are more raw, probably sloppier in a way because they're very spontaneous to the point where it's in the heat of the moment.

"What we're doing is recording this album live. So we're going in and keeping everything as live as we can: bass, drums, guitars, all that shit. Mistakes and all. I mean, something that we have to fix, we'll fix, but the general idea is to go in and do this like we just did the live album —just play everything live. The guitar sound and drum sound and bass sound... the whole cohesion is fucking awesome, and that's
what makes it worth doing it this way"

How does the dynamic work with Myles?
"We're all familiar with Myles from Alter Bridge, but there's another side to him when he's working with me. He's so diverse [as] a singer and so capable of going in different directions and he's doing an unbelievable job.

He's playing the other guitar, so if it's a two-guitar part then Myles usually plays it. When he comes in, it's almost like a cushion; he puts a bed down for me, and I put solos down on top. Yeah, he's good. He's a great guitar player. "

Can you talk us through the songs you've got in the bag?
"We've demoed some 20-odd songs. We've recorded three, and mixed them, and we're going back to record another 14 or so. There's one song at this point called Bad Rain, which is a mid-tempo, very heavy and dark song. It's in a drop D tuning —and we're already playing a half-step down — and the solo has a kinda chromatic feel. There's one very uptempo song with a cool riff called Halo. The third song is
called Standing In The Sun and its very melodic, mid-to-uptempo... just a rock 'n' roll song!

"All three of these songs are relatively short, they're all in a rock mold, and I guess I always come from that pentatonic point of view. For me, any time you go too far out of that, it ceases to be tock. It has to have a basis around that, otherwise it no longer has any essence of that Chuck Berry kinda deal."

How about the other material?
"I'm pretty excited about everything. There's a great, two-minute, really fast, straight-ahead rock song, which is something I haven't done in a while. Then there are some epic longer, more complex and dramatic songs on the record, which nobody has heard me do the likes of for a while. It's been great to work with Myles in that context, because I'll take off on a tangent and he just goes with me. And if I hand him
something that's not finished, he takes the ball and runs with it. There's a lot of cool stuff that's come together, so I'm really excited about going in and, again, doing it so you're not playing a bunch of overdubs to make it work I mean, there are overdubs, in the sense that there's background vocals if there needs to be a harmony or something, but everything is being played live with the music tracks: the solos, everything. We're trying not to overdub bits. So if there's a solo, I'm playing on one side, Myles's rhythm track is on the other..."

What gear have you been using so far?
"l started out using my regular Appetite For Destruction guitar that Kris Derrig built, which I've been using since [that album], and I record with always. But that guitar needed to go and have the pickups waxed and the magnets... looked at, basically because they were squealing. There's a word for the process, but I didn't know it until Seymour Duncan told me [it's called wax potting — Ed). Anyway, while it was over at the shop, for these three songs, I was just using my main live AFD guitar, which is just one of those new Gibson remakes that they putout last year, which sounds amazing. So it was just that and two Marshall heads, with two straight Marshall cabinets. It was the AFD100 head — which is the new Marshall that I just came out with — and also my old JCM8OO. The sound is awesome. For me, a Les Paul and a Marshall is a simple concept. For a lot of people, it seems to be hard to dial in properly, but I don't know... I just tum everything up to seven and if it sounds good, it sounds good. My signature
Dunlop wah has been the only effect so far."

You're recording with Eric Valentine again. What's the appeal there?
Well, Eric is pretty much a purist, but he's really technically gifted as far as production goes. He has a natural intuition. With the guitars, there's not many mics; it's really just about placement. There's one room mic, one very-close mic and one not-so-close mic. Eric knows where to put those and how to move the cabinet around to take advantage of the room sound. And that's basically it. He's great at going after the same thing I go after: as great and natural a tone in a live situation as possible."

Do you wish you'd gone solo earlier?
"Uh-uh. I think what's funny is that when Velvet Revolver started in about 2000, I'd just gone through a period where I'd finished touring with [Slash's] Snakepit, I was in the hospital, I came out, I was rehabbing, and then I started to go through the motions of putting a band together. I was looking at drummers and bass players, and I wrote what turned out to be Fall To Pieces and a couple of other songs. Then, all of a sudden, Velvet Revolver and this whole thing with Matt and Duff came out of nowhere. It sorta sideswiped me... So l would probably have done it then, but l wouldn't have [had] the resources that I've managed to gain over the last few years —just that period of time of going out there and playing. So this seems like a good time to go and do it. I'd say that I've been happiest in my career these last couple of years. Everything has gone great and it's nice to be more in control of my own destiny, because it could have gone the other way..."

Back in June, Slash guested with BB King.
"I had one of my Les Pauls brought from the Gibson showroom in London, and just got up there and winged it," recalls Slash. "That was a great moment. I Love BB and I don't know if people even know this, but he's my hands-down favourite of the blues players rom that generation. I mean, I have a handful of guys that I really look up to and have tried to learn from since I started, but he's the one guy who had the most influence on me melodically, so that was a huge honour. And especially to not have him turn around and frown at me! I've seen him do that before if you play the wrong note.."

Over to you, Alter Bridge/Slash singer man...
How did you end up playing alongside Slash?
"I wasn't really syre if it was going to happen or not until right before we went in and started to do preproduction. I was flattered - it's pretty wild to listen to the songs and hear him coming from one speaker and me from the other. Because it's not a big layered sound; it's real and simple."

What gear have you been gravitating towards thus far?
"We'll see how it ends up, but to start with I've gone right into an old '65 Vox AC30 - at this point, that's what we're finding is complimenting his sound the best. I'm using a bunch of different guitars so far, thought, things lying around in the studio.

What are your favourite songs on the album right now?
"There' a song called Standing In The Sun and another called Far And Away, which I think are going to be really cool.

You've got three songs dusted already before you head back in this month. How has it been so far?
"It certainly sounds good and Eric Valentine is doing a great job producing it! But I'm the wrong guy [to ask] - I get so close to things when I'm involved with writing them. I'm never the guy's who's saying, 'Oh, this record rules man!' When I dive into something, I lose my perspectives, but I know Slash is really happy, which makes me happy!"

EVERY decade has its rock anthem. While the 1970s had Stairway To Heaven and the 90s had Smells Like Teen Spirit, the most memorable riffathon of the 80s has to be the mighty Sweet Child O' Mine. Despite not being your typical Guns N' Roses song, Sweet Child... was released in August 1988, and has since gone on to sell a number of records not that far removed from several hundred gazillion. It continues to evoke bittersweet nostalgia for a generation (or two) of music lovers to this day.

Even people who haven't heard of Guns N' Roses know and love the track all these years later, judging by its near-constant presence on radio and music. Oh, and there's the small matter of its primary composer, Saul 'Slash' Hudson, playing it at half, time during last year's Superbowl in front of a TV audience of millions of beer-slurping American football fans. This a song that will outlive us all.

Its been rumoured for years that Slash regarded the ultra-iconic opening riff as a bit of a laugh, but that's not the whole story, he tells TG. "In passing, I did say that it was sort of a joke or something," he explains, "but initially it was just a cool, neat riff that I'd come up with. It was an interesting pattern and it was really melodic, but I don't think I would have presented it to the band and said, "Hey I've got this idea!" because I just happened to come up with it while we were all hanging around together Izzy. [Stradlin, GN'R's second guitarist at the time] was the first one to start playing behind it, and once that happened Axl Rose, [the band's singer] started making up words, and it took off that way."

At the time, none of GN'R had the slightest inkling that Sweet Child O' Mine would go on to be a planet-busting hit. In fact, Slash found the song irritating. As he explains: "One of the things that always bugged me about Sweet Child... was that it was an uptempo ballad, which didn't fit what Guns N' Roses was about as far as I was concerned. So that song annoyed me every time it came up in the set. It really bugged me!"

Nowadays, Slash is on the wagon, but back in the GN'R era he was an alcoholic (see his 2007 autobiography, Slash, for his account of the grisly details) and that twisty little riff— which is horribly easy to screw up after a few shots of Jack— interfered with his booze consumption. That only made him even more impatient with the song. "It really disturbed my drinking," he chuckles, "because whenever we did a show I'd have a fair amount of whisky beforehand. But when the song came up in the set, that riff was really hard to remember! [Laughs] So all in all it was a very aggravating song, although ironically it turned out to be the biggest song we ever did. Apparently, the Superbowl last year was the biggest audience for a TV show ever."

But while Slash thought Sweet Child... was a bit wussy for, 'the most dangerous band in the world' (@ A. Rose 1985), and despite the fact that it got in the way of his pre-show tipple, he does admit that parts of it floated his boat. "The saving grace for me was the solo section," he says. "That was a vey organic solo that came together simply. When we said, 'Here's the chord changes,' it occurred very spontaneously, and I always looked forward to that part of the song in the set. It was completely different to the rest of the song."

The super-warm tone that Slash wrung out of his Les Paul for the solo came from a Marshall amp, although he went elsewhere for the clean chords in the verses. "The only time that I didn't use a Marshall on Sweet Child... was on the clean bits, and believe it or not, those came through a Roland 120 Jazz Chorus amp, which was hanging around the studio," he says.

As for the guitar Slash played, it could only ever have been a Les Paul — but perhaps not the Les Paul that you'd expect. "I was lucky even to have a guitar for the Appetite album," he explains. "Originally, when I got to the studio, I had somehow in a fit of desperation, pawned most of my guitars, so all I had was a BC Rich Warlock and two Jacksons. I'd been playing those guitars live, and they sounded OK in a room full of people, but when I actually went and heard them in the cans they sounded fucking horrible."

Fortunately, fate intervened in the form of GN'R manager Alan Niven, Slash recalls. "Right before we went in to do guitar overdubs, Alan gave m e a handmade copy of a 1959 Les Paul made by a guy called Kris Derris. He built a run of between 50 and 100 immaculate '59 reissues, and that was the guitar that I used for the whole record. You could never tell that they weren't Gibsons." [Slash has continued to record with this Derrig guitar and acquired another in 1996.]

The irresistible riff is infamous for annoying guitar shop workers the world over. So turn the page and you can learn to irritate the staff at your local Guitars R Us. Go on — it's what Slash would want... (JMe)

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2012.01.DD - Total Guitar - Forward, Slash! Empty Re: 2012.01.DD - Total Guitar - Forward, Slash!

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:26 pm

Added transcription.
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