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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.


2018.10.07 - Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon (and Alan Niven) - Interview with Slash

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2018.10.07 - Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon (and Alan Niven) - Interview with Slash  Empty 2018.10.07 - Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon (and Alan Niven) - Interview with Slash

Post by Blackstar Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:17 pm

This week on Westwood's One Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon - new interviews with Slash, Venom Inc.'s Tony Dolan and Sean Yseult. Alan Niven co-hosts.
In the episode's first interview, we speak with Slash about his new Living The Dream album, Guns N' Roses, Axl & AC/DC and a lot more. 
In the episode's second interview, we talk to Venom Inc's Tony Dolan about changing drummers, K.K. Downing, Mantas' heart attack, opening for The Misfits, will there be a ‘Venom United’ show like Helloween is doing, the next new album, his upcoming participation in Guns N' Roses (the musical) and playing the part of Duff McKagan and more. 
Gnr musical talk - approximately at the 53.00 minute mark. 
Sean Yseult ends the episode talking about her new photography exposition They All Axed For You, at Boyd Satellite Gallery, her creative mind, wanting to work on soundtracks, parenting a gifted child, the commercialism of art, White Zombie, and more.


Mitch Lafon [5:40]: Have you been following the solo career at all? Do you listen to those albums? Do you get the albums? Do do you seek them out? What do you think of sort of right now balancing the Guns N' Roses stuff with the Slash solo stuff? How do you sort of see that?

Alan Niven: Well, again, it's peculiar for me because it's so personal and so close. And I don't necessarily seek out what has been done recently that much. My oldest son always informs me and always tells me which songs are cool and what he thinks because he is absolutely laser focused in following what Slash does. But I think I must have a slightly unique position because I'm the old grump from back in the day. And justifiably accused of being a bit blunt. And I feel for Myles. How do you follow a truly great singer? I mean, Rogers, Plant, Russell Rose, it's nigh on impossible to follow a great singer, and I think he does a very difficult job with great grace performing GN'R songs as part of the set. I'm hoping that now they've got one more album that those GN'R songs become less and less a part of the set and people are less demanding to hear them and that they have patience to hear what they've been doing creatively. But as an old grandpa, I tend to sit there and go, "Well, here's the bar, it's called Appetite for Destruction, you've got these songs that are as good?" And maybe I am at the point of the sword on this, but I tend to look at what Slash is doing and I've said this to him direct myself. I said, "I'd like to see you work with other writers who can produce material that come up to the standard of your ability to play at this point." And I don't really hear those songs at this point, but I hear him playing like a mother, and I just wish he were connected to somebody as a composer in which his playing could shine even more because it is in better content, in company of better content. But you know, that's just-

ML: Right. But it is a hard perception-

AN: It's my perception moonlight-

ML: But it is hard to top an album like Appetite for Destruction. It doesn't matter, you could write the next greatest song, but there that's certain, you know, what was that? What was out there in the ether to try to recreate it and the vibe and the... I mean, it's almost undoable. And then real quick, the combination of Axl and Slash, you know, you look at Jagger, Richards, you look at Perry and Tyler, and I could go on and on and on. But you take those Chinese Democracy songs and go, "OK, well, you know, Axl has a great solo album here. It sounds nice," and whatever, but then you hear them live and you hear Slash is playing on it. And yes, of course Duff is playing on it live too. But there really is a chemistry and I know it's a cliche word to use, but Slash completes Axl and Axl completes Slash. I mean, if you take Living the Dream, the Slash album, and you put Axl on it, it suddenly is whoops, another level. And that's not to be disrespectful to Myles or to Slash. But just talk to me a little bit from your perspective. What is it about those two? There's just an it factor. It's unexplainable.

AN: Maybe it's not unexplainable, and I think you put your finger right on it. I mean, you talked about Keith and Mick and the boys from Aerosmith. And I'd take it to personal experience, I would even mention Russell and Kendall and in the creation of the Great White catalog I was extremely conscious that at the heart of the matter was a conversation between the guitar and the vocal. And we spent a lot of time in preproduction and a lot of time when recording, hours and hours on working with Kendall on solos to make sure that there was that sense of almost a duet between them, that there's a conversation going back and forth, that the guitar has to be as memorable as the vocal lines and the vocal lines have to have some of the bite and swerve of the guitar. And when you're fortunate enough to have two incredibly well matched, a guitar player and a vocalist, then you've got the heart of a really, really good band and a really good form of conversation and expression. And I think you put your finger on it that with regards recording and writing, I think it's essential for Slash to have Axl and vice versa. But I'd go one step further, there was was X factor, the critical X factor from my point of view of GN'R, and that was Izzy Stradlin's writing and his vernacular. And between the three of them you had an amazing chemistry and it would be interesting to see if that could reignited in the petri dish of studio. I don't know if it can, I mean, you know, it's a long time ago. That would be what I'd be looking forward to see, if the three of them could actually write to or three songs together. I think you might get a little bit of magic again.

ML: That would be great and and and if we can't, I would be satisfied with a live recording of the last tour.  And I'm sure they probably have, you know, board tapes of every single show, because that's what bands do these days. You know, they pop everything into a hard drive. I think it'd be nice to hear a nice double album of the best versions of this whole tour. Anyway, we'll see. But let's let's get over to Slash right now. This was done on a quiet, sleepy Sunday afternoon, and here is the one the only Slash.

ML: We are speaking with guitarist Slash. The new album is Living the Dream, of course, by Slash, featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, which of course features two wonderful Canadians, Todd Kearns and Brent Fitz. Slash, an absolute, absolute pleasure to talk to you this afternoon.

Slash: Hey man, good to talk to you, too. You left Frank out. He's not Canadian, but-

ML: Oh, that's right. I left Frank out, that wasn't very kind of me. But yes, of course. Frank, my Canadianism, whatever, took the best of me. But let's talk about this album because, well, let me contextualize it this way, you've been on this incredibly successful tour for two years. It made half a billion dollars. Why not sort of just sit at home and watch the grass grow and take a little vacation time? Talk to me about this need to get into the studio and get this album out there.

Slash: Well, I mean you know I've been working with Myles and company for since 2010, really. And so when we were at the end of the World on Fire tour in 2015 we started... Well, first off, we established ourselves as, you know, having a great, you know, great little fucking rock'n'roll unit. Lot of chemistry and good relations and all that kind of stuff and and when we did the World on Fire record that was like a step up for us and so on. And so we've been writing some material on the road and at the end of that tour we started just getting into some pre production and then the Guns N' Roses thing happened and that took up the better part of a year and a half before there was a break long enough for me to go in and sort of finish what we started as far as the Conspirators were concerned, as far as these songs that we've written. And so I took that break and I've always been in the back of my mind that I was going to do this record with with you know Myles and Frank, Todd and Brent. So you know I took advantage of the opportunity and went in and and did this record fairly quickly. And then, you know, I think we started in in late January and the record was mastered in May and right in time for Guns N' Roses rehearsals, before we went out on our last European trek. But anyway, so but it was always my ambition to keep tis band going, you know regardless of of Guns N' Roses. You know, just sort of something that I wanted to do. And so, you know, here we are.

ML: Here we are indeed so. So talk to me about the songs coming together. Are these songs that mostly Myles brings to the band and then you guys put in your parts or are these songs you have written? What is sort of the song written writing process for the band?

Slash: Well, when Myles and I first worked together back in... When I did that first solar record with all the singers. You know, the way it worked was I wrote a piece of music and I gave it to him and he wrote the melodies and the lyrics, and that's the way we've been doing it ever since. So I write music on the road and you know, we jam here and there at soundchecks or whatnot, sort of get a feel for a riff or chord progression or whatever it is. And Myles will come up with some melodies and so on and we just sort of record those and stockpiling until at the end of the tour and then we go into a rehearsal room and started jamming these things out and getting arrangements together. So basically I just come up with music and then Myles comes up with some melodies and ultimately lyrics and and that's basically how the songs come together.

ML: Now you come up with pieces of music. After the GN'R tour, do you start looking at some of those pieces of music and say, "Hmm, I'm going to have to have two piles, one for Slash and the Conspirators, and one maybe for GN'R"? Or are these really sort of, "Nope, these are just for the Slash thing and that's it."

Slash: Right. And that's a real commonly asked question. You know, when I'm out with with Guns N' Roses I'm primarily focused on Guns N' Roses, so I'm not really thinking about the Conspirators at that point. And so if I write anything during that period, I'm thinking more in terms of Guns N' Roses. If I'm out with Conspirators and I'm writing on the road and and doing the Conspirators tour, then I write with that in mind. And so the twain don't really need too much on the same ground. Now if there was like a Guns N' Roses idea that was still being sort of polished off or something, and I was on the road with the Conspirators, that would still be a Guns N' Roses idea, you know what I'm saying? But other than that fresh ideas that come up that are inspired by what you're doing at present, then that's tailor made for what it is that you're doing at present. That seems to be the formula.

ML: It's a good formula. It seems to be working. Talk to me about your guitar playing. You know Alan Niven and I discuss often how your guitar playing, while you're probably playing the best you've ever played, first of all, do you share that feeling? And talk to me about how your guitar playing has improved over the last 20 years.

Slash: I mean, you know, the guitar playing is something that you just work out, you know, indefinitely. It's an adventure that never ends and you can't, you know, I mean, there's always something obviously to learn and and you just continue doing that. So I would hope I would be getting better as opposed to going the other direction. And I would hate to be sort of just stalled in one place. But then at the same time it's hard for me to sort of, you know, verbalized to you at what point I'm at, you know, say compared to two years ago or four years ago or whatever. But you know, the fact that I'm playing better now than I was a couple years ago, I would hope that would be the case, you know. I'm trying.

ML: Yeah, Keep practicing. We enjoyed the first Slash album, not the Snakepit stuff, but the first album that came out in 2010. You, of course, had Chris Cornell and Myles and Fergie and Ozzy and so on and so forth. Is that something that you would like to do again in the future and really have something apart from the Conspirators and just get back to a really Slash solo solo album?

Slash: I mean, you know, when I did that first solo record, it was during a time when I was basically totally on my own. I had no prospects. Velvet Revolver was done. You know there was there was no misconceptions about Guns N' Roses. Well, I guess at the time misconceptions about Guns N' Roses getting together or anything like that. So I was just doing stuff for myself and so I had that idea to do a solo record but have all these different singers sing on it. And that's what I ended up doing. And that is where, you know, basically where the Conspirators really is... You know, the beginnings of it, the origins of Conspirators. So at this point I'm, you know, sort of riding the wave of what's Conspirators' doing and also with Guns N' Roses and what's happening with that. So I'm not really thinking about, you know, doing any kind of solo stuff for myself per se at this point in time.

ML: OK, great. So let me just ask you about about the GN'R thing for a second. You know, much was said over the years about not being in the band and so on and so forth. What is it like now looking back after two years having been back in the band? Is it a a feeling of relief? Is it like, "Yeah, I knew this was gonna happen." Just sort of how does it feel two years on getting back with with Duff and Axl and playing to stadiums and the money to happen, you know? Just talk to me a little bit about that.

Slash: Well, I mean, it was definitely not something that, you know, had I been a betting man that, you know, it was definitely not something that I foresaw, you know, coming. I was probably probably the most sort of, you know, negative about anything ever happening with Guns N' Roses. Just because, a lot of pent up negative feelings and animosity that had developed and so on and so forth. But then you know that said, Axl and I had not talked for 20 years by the time it was that he and I had a conversation. And you know when we got past all that and it came together and we've gotten to the rehearsal room for, you know, a minute, it was just super, super powerful. And I sort of forgot the.... [?] that feeling, the chemistry that band innately have. And so once that started, you know, that was just an overwhelming feeling. And yeah, it was a relief to have it all come back together. It was cathartic in a lot of ways and it was musically really exciting. And then, you know, the tour, the ensuing tour, was just one of the best professional experiences of my, you know, lifetime. So, you know, all things considered, two years later looking back on it I'm really, really happy that it all came together and I'm really relieved that, you know, it didn't go by way of of just having that black cloud forever, you know, and nothing ever coming out of it and again.

ML: Yeah. And you know, and I say this not not necessarily to facetiously, but as a betting man, when we heard about the original idea that the band was going to tour, most of us thought, "Well, we'll give it six weeks and then they'll implode," and then here we are talking, right? And here we are two years later-

Slash: Yeah.

ML: -and it's still going on. Talk to me quickly about working with Myles. Because when you listen to your guitar work and Axl and his voice, there's just this magical thing that happens, and we'll explore that in a minute. But talk to me about Myles as a singer and working with him and what does he bring to the band? And out of all those singers that you had a chance to work with in the past, you know why - and I don't want to say "choose Myles" - but why did you sort of break it down to you and Myles doing the Conspirators together?

Slash: Well, I think something happens when we... you know, when I first met Myles when I had him sing on Starlight, I'd never met him and I'd never listened to Alter Bridge. I didn't know much about him but his name had come up many times. I mean his singing came up when we were auditioning singers for Velvet Revolver before Scott Weiland came into the picture, so I've been hearing his name for years. But when I was doing the solo record, I sort of earmarked all the different singers that seemed appropriate for each piece of music that I had, except for two. And so when I finished everything else and I still have those two songs staring me in the face, it's like, "I can't think of who would be the right," you know, "person," or, "right people to sing these two songs." And so Myles name came up because of the Zeppelin thing that he got called into you. I thought, "This guy has to be really good. Let's just give it...." You know, "I've got nothing to lose. Let's just take a shot in the dark here." So I called him up and I told him I was making this record with different vocalists for all the songs and would he be interested in doing one. And so he said, "Yeah." And I sent him the music and a few days later came back and I listened to it and I was just blown away. And I played it for Eric Valentine, who was the producer of that record, and I said, "Is it just me or is this fucking awesome?", you know? And he goes, "Oh, this is great," So Myles flew into LA and we met for the first time and he was just a really, really cool, very unassuming, laid back, soft spoken cool kind of guy, right? And, you know, put down this amazing vocals for Starlight and I thought, "Well, maybe you could sing this other piece of music?" and that became a song called Back from Cali. And at that point, you know, I realized he had such a great range and he was so easy going and this and that. I asked him if he wanted to do the tour that I was going to put together, which I hadn't even thought about yet but I knew that [?] I couldn't take all these different singers out on the road. But he seemed like the kind of person... I could tell that he had the range to be able to cover, you know, the stuff on that record and Velvet Revolver and Guns N' Roses and Snakepit. And I could put together this whole sort of catalog package, you know, show. And he signed on to do it. And we just, we rehearsed for.... I met Brent Fitz who introduced me to Todd Kerns and so we rehearsed for like a week, maybe not even two, not even, yeah, a little over a week. And we played a first gig at the Roxy and it just had that sort of like, you know, sort of very much a band kind of enthusiasm to just go and play, and that's all anybody cared about. And so we just went out and started doing it and we just built up this rapport and we, you know, finally went in and did the Apocalyptic Love record. And so we sort of established a songwriting thing. And toured on that. And so it's just something that Myles just he and I just write well together and we get along really well and it's just has a certain chemistry which you don't find often if, at all, you know. And that's just where you know... And the rest of the guys are really awesome, too, so it just works really well as a kind of unit. And for me, I just sort of, you know, I just steer it and I sort of set up business for it and all that kind of stuff. And I make up, you know, music for it and then we just sort of... it works really, really simply, you know.

ML: It really does. Now is this, do you still want to go forward with the band after this album cycle and the tour and then go back to Guns N' Roses and focus on it? Or do you want to keep going with this and have another album in two years and another tour down the road? What sort of the future-

Slash: No, I definitely want to keep it going. I mean, I'm gonna do this album cycle. I wanna see what Guns N' Roses is gonna do. And so that's sort of something I'm paying attention to. And then, you know, sort of playing it by ear, schedule wise and you sort of just work it all out, you know, there's always points when Guns isn't working that the Conspirators can be working and vice versa. So we'll figure it out. We've done so thus far so.

ML: And Alter Bridge, let's not forget Alter Bridge, you've got three-

Slash: Oh yeah.

ML: I mean, there's three bands to follow.

Slash: Yeah. Well, that's sort of the beauty of it. I mean, Myles has got his band, everybody's got their own projects and this that the other, and this is sort of like the dirty mistress that we'd love to love to keep visiting.

ML: Yeah, you keep coming back to it. So let me ask you about this when, when you think of Steve and Tyler, you think of Joe Perry on guitar and when you think of course, you know Keith Richards and you think of Mick Jagger. There is something very unique about you and Axl, that voice and that guitar tone, when you hear, for example, the Chinese Democracy songs done live with you and Duff. They suddenly become Guns N' Roses songs. Talk to me about that unique relationship. And also what was it like playing those songs? Because I would hear them, because I went to a bunch of shows and you go, "Man, that's GN'R now," and it really sort of brings it to that next level. It changes it for some reason.

Slash: Well, there's, you know, I mean there is something, you know that that, you know I'm trying to think of the right word for it. "Chemistry" just sounds so yeah, whatever. But there is a real thing that happens between, you know, Duff and Axl and I, when we play together, when we write together whatever. And so that just happens. It's very combustible. It just happens very naturally and it just sort of put it together and it sort of got this combustible element to it. And so, you know, when we started doing the rehearsals for the Guns tour and you know, we started looking at the different songs from Chinese Democracy. They're great songs and you know, there was sort of an interesting thing for me to sort of figure out how to play them my way, you know, but still keep the integrity of the guitar parts and all that kind of stuff. And it was a lot of fun and, you know, just the the way that they sound is really, I mean, the songs are intact and we didn't change anything but there's an element of of input of Duff and I that sort of was added to that and I think it's cool. It makes it really fun to play. And like I said, the integrity of the songs is intact. So it's cool.

ML: Yeah. And there's just something in your fingertips that changes everything. Recently at a show you had Richard Fortus come out and guest on a song. Talk to me a little bit about Richard because he's sort of an unsung hero if you ask me. He really is a great, great guitarist and a great backing vocalist. Just quickly talk to me about Richard because he sort of seems lost in the mix sometimes in these discussions.

Slash: Well, I mean, you know, I never met any the other guitar players that were in Guns N' Roses prior to my coming back. But Richard was there when we came in and started, you know, I mean, I knew he was going to be there and I think Axl knew that he was probably the right guy to work with me and that's why he had him come down. I'm not really sure how that happened. But, you know, we hit it off as soon as we met and then playing wise, he's really... let's see, like, he's technically gifted but he has his roots are all real old school rock'n'roll roots and so that's immediately how we related. And we just have... It's just something that happened very naturally and we got really comfortable immediately. And he's great. And I think he makes me a better guitar player in the context of Guns N' Roses for sure, because he's that good a player. So you have to sort of stay on your toes jamming with him, you know.

ML: You really do. Now I asked you, of course, about the future of the conspirators, But what do you hope is the future for GN'R because technically there really doesn't need to be new music. You could go out and do all of Appetite every night and you'd still sell the same amount of tickets. But even though it's not necessary, is it desirable for you to have 10 new songs, 12 new songs, or whatever?

Slash: Yeah, I mean, I don't know what the figure is exactly, but like there's definitely a desire, you know, for me to be able to make new music. I mean it's fun playing all the stuff, you know, all the old stuff and we definitely had a blast. Especially because I haven't played a lot of that stuff in a long time and I definitely... I hadn't played it with, you know Axl and Duff together in 22 years or something. So the whole Not In This Lifetime tour was really, really fun and refreshing to do and the fans were great and just the whole thing was pretty amazing. But there's still, you know, there's that desire to come up with some new ideas and you know, whatever. And that's what you're doing it for. It's just the desire to create new stuff.

ML: Yeah and I think it's important and and I know we're we're running out of time we had 20 minutes but I'll just ask you real quick what was your take on Axl and AC/DC? I personally thought he did a great job, I thought the video clips I got to see were great. Was that a distraction for you or was that like, "Hey, way to go, buddy! That's kind of cool."

Slash: Yeah, it was totally cool. I mean, that was like right at the very beginning. And it was really one of those things like, you know, that's a crazy ask, you know, for those guys, you know, to get asked that to be Axl on, to get that sort of thing from AC/DC and just say, "OK, I'm gonna do it," and then be faced with that sort of challenge. But he handled it great and he took off and went to go do it and Duff and I went to go see him play in London and I was just blown away. I was literally floored watching him do all that. I mean, he channeled Bon Scott on all the Bon Scott songs like nobody's business and there probably is nobody else that could have filled those shoes for that tour for AC/DC. And so it was really cool and, I mean, far be it for me to go, "I'm proud of you," but I was very proud of him.

ML: Yeah, I think most of us are. Mow the the Slash tour with Myles and Brent and Frank and Todd goes all the way into right now until March of 2019. How long do you expect this tour to go? Is it something that we will be talking about in 2020 or is it like we're going to do this till next summer and then I've got to run off and do some GN'R stuff? And I'm sure Myles is doing Alter Bridge.

Slash: Yeah, it's slated for till pretty much the end of next summer at this point. So we we're doing this U.S. tour now and then doing the Guns N' Roses going to do some Eastern Asia, Middle East and South Africans-

ML: Philippines, Kuala Lumpur and all that.

Slash: Right. And Abu Dhabi and South Africa. And then I think December off and then January Conspirators are starting doing Asia and Australia and in Europe and then we take March and April off, so Myles can get in the studio with Alter Bridge and then... let's see, May, we're doing South America and then June we're going to do the European festivals and stuff. And then July, August, we're coming back to the States and doing some US and Canada stuff. And I think that will pretty much do it. And so, like in, you know, in March and April, work with Guns and then come back for the fall and continue on with that. So that seems to be the plan.

ML: It's amazing after 30 some years in the biz to be this busy all the time and of course I heard you say Canadian dates so that I'm very much looking forward to and hopefully we'll we'll get to come out and see one. Slash, I know you only had about 20 minutes today, so thank you. Thank you for your time. Absolute pleasure.

Slash: Oh man, it's great talking to you as always. And you know, I'm sure I'll see you around at some point and like that.

ML: Yeah, absolutely. And I will say this from the bottom of my heart, I saw, like I said, multiple shows and I saw of course Slash's show at the Metropolis here, you always deliver, whether it's Brent Fitz or whether it's Duff McKagan or whoever is on stage, just always delivers and just thank you for that because it's been great.

Slash: I appreciate it. I appreciate. I mean, you know, the thing is I love what I do, you know, I mean I love having the opportunity to be able to go out and play. So anytime there's a amp to plug into and a stage to get on top of, you know, I'm always happy to be there.

ML: Yeah. And I'm happy to be there in the audience as well. Thank you, sir, and we will see you soon.

Slash: Alright now. See you later, Mitch. Take care.

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2018.10.07 - Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon (and Alan Niven) - Interview with Slash  Empty Re: 2018.10.07 - Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon (and Alan Niven) - Interview with Slash

Post by Soulmonster Mon Mar 18, 2024 7:21 am

Transcribed the Slash interview.
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