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1999.02.15 - Los Angeles Times - Sticking to His Guns (Slash)

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Post by Blackstar on Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:45 am

1999.02.15 - Los Angeles Times - Sticking to His Guns (Slash) 1999_024

Sticking to His Guns

Slash’s Snakepit Displays Old GNR Look, Sound at Galaxy Show

Pop Music Review


Ten years ago, Slash was one of the most physically recognizable figures in rock. As one of the guitarists for the hugely popular hard rock band Guns N’ Roses, he was identifiable by the long mane of frizzy hair that came flowing from beneath his trademark top hat.

Saturday night, the renegade rocker looked exactly as he did a decade ago, this time leading Slash’s Snakepit into the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana for a boisterous performance. When Slash stood shirtless with a cigarette dangling from his mouth and his Gibson guitar pointed skyward, the sense of nostalgia was so strong that you half expected singer Axl Rose to come sashaying out of the wings to join his old Guns bandmate.

That’s not likely to happen any time soon. Three years ago, Slash officially left Guns N’ Roses over creative differences with Rose. The controversial and headstrong Rose is reportedly taking the band far from the blues-rock fury that made it a superstar attraction. Conversely, Slash reportedly wanted the unit to evolve while retaining the group’s basic hard-rock foundation.

Judging by his band’s performance at the Galaxy, Slash may have wanted Guns N’ Roses to stay exactly the same. Everything, from Slash’s solo songs to the way the members of his new band played and acted onstage, was reminiscent of his former group. Indeed, if you experienced the beginning of the show blindfolded, you might have thought it was a Guns reunion. The sextet came barreling out of the starting
gate with a chest-thumping version of “It’s So Easy,” a key track on Guns N’ Roses’ 1987 “Appetite for Destruction” album.

The Galaxy gig appeared to be teeming with fresh material from Slash, who released an album four years ago under the Snakepit moniker. But the new songs sounded a lot like the old ones. Slash prefers to play one way: hard, fast and loud. Even songs with mellow introductions or interludes ended up enveloped by a sometimes stirring and often bombastic heavy-metal thunder.

Slash’s Snakepit featured a dreadlocked singer who possessed the same type of brash attitude and screeching vocals as the charismatic Rose. The other members of the band also looked as if they could have fit into the ’80s Sunset Strip rock scene that produced Guns and dozens of Guns clones.

Unfortunately for Slash, the market for this type of old-fashioned hard rock isn’t what it used to be, probably a chief reason why he is without a record deal. Since Guns N’ Roses last released original music, in 1991 (the companion “Use Your Illusion I and II albums), rock music has seen the emergence of numerous hot trends, from grunge and neo-punk to industrial and electronica. It’s little wonder Rose has spent the last few years rethinking Guns N’ Roses’ direction.

Still, it’s admirable that Slash has stuck to his stylistic guns, so to speak, resisting temptations to bandwagon-hop.

One day Slash may find himself as a godfather of another teen-generated hard-rock movement. What’s old in rock ’n’ roll often has an interesting way of becoming new again. Who knows? That day could be right around the comer.

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