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1996.06.DD - Marshall Law - The Slash Interview

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1996.06.DD - Marshall Law - The Slash Interview Empty 1996.06.DD - Marshall Law - The Slash Interview

Post by Blackstar on Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:15 pm

THE SLASH INTERVIEW

In addition to being one of the most popular and instantly recognisable axemen on the face of this planet, Slash is also one of the busiest. In this exclusive interview, the man with the top hat fills us in on what he's been doing lately and talks a little about his new amp too . . .

Slash 'n' Burn

"Why me?" That's the question a somewhat bemused Slash asked on more than one occasion as he watched a casual backstage conversation about his beloved Jubilee head slowly but surely metamorphose into the first ever Marshall signature series amp.

Such modesty is typical of this highly likable guy. Despite the fact he can't even go for a quick beer without getting mobbed; has won every guitar magazine poll known to man; and has even been hailed by Guitar World as being the father of the'back-to basics' movement in rock guitar, Slash is as down-to-earth as they get. "I'm extremely flattered that people think so highly of me as a guitarist but there are so many brilliant players out there who are so much more significant than me, it's really hard for me to take that kind of compliment," he states with trademark humility, referring to the Guitar World label just mentioned.

"If I've had any influence whatsoever that's nice to know but I don't think I've changed anything. I mean, I like what I do, I know where it comes from and I'm proud of the fact it's for real. But, I'm not even close to being the father of any movement. As far as I'm concerned I'm still learning."

The Guv'nor on Slash

Anyway, getting back to Slash's "why me?" question, Jim Marshall answers it superbly in his introduction to the manual that accompanies each Ltd. Edition Slash Signature amp. Here's just a small segment of what "the Guv'nor" says [buy the amp if you wanna read the rest!]: "In addition to being a truly great guitarist, Slash personifies the true spirit of rock 'n' roll.

Whenever he's not on stage or in the studio with one of his own bands, he can be found jamming with someone else - from recording 'I Don't Live Today' with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles [Band Of Gypsys] for the Stone Free - Tribute to Jimi Hendrix album to performing live with Michael Jackson at the 1995 MTV Awards.

In addition to appearing on Michael's last two LPs, Slash has also recorded with Carole King, Lenny Kravitz, Gilby Clarke, Iggy Pop, Paul Rodgers and our old friends Spinal Tap.

And, if all that's not enough,on October 27th, 1995, blues legend BB King personally invited Slash to jam with him at his 70th birthday concert in Memphis, Tennessee, USA."

Phew! That's a pretty impressive resume and it doesn't take into account anything Slash has done this year. So let's take a quick peek at what he's been up to lately . . .

Slash's Diary Jan - June

Jan: Slash and Jim officially unveiled the Slash Signature Stack and then signed autographs at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California. The result was a mob scene of epic proportions. Before the unveiling ceremony, the gents gave a private press conference for journalists from the world's foremost guitar magazines. One of the many highlights came when one writer asked, "Can we expect to see another amp in the series?" Quick as a flash Slash replied, "I guess we could do a practice amp version. It would have three volume settings - 'Wake-up the neighbourhood', 'Police called' and 'Evicted!"

Feb: By public demand based on a national popularity poll, Slash was invited to India to 'flip the switch' to kick off MTV's launch into India and Southern China. While there he also jammed with Induscreed, one of the country's leading rock acts.
Slash then returned to America and appeared for Marshall at Thoroughbred Music's '1996 Florida Guitar Show' in Clearwater, Florida. Some 7,000 people turned-up and the line for Slash's autograph was so huge, the local Police and Fire Marshal stopped fans entering the complex for over an hour! Then, that evening, Slash jammed with Rick Nielsen [guitar] and Robin Zander [vocals] from Cheap Trick plus Billy Sheehan from Mr. Big [bass], Rod Morgenstein of Dixie Dregs [drums] - surprise, surprise, they brought the house down!

March: Slash travelled to Germany to attend the Frankfurt Music Fair. While there he jammed with his old pal, Paul Rodgers [vocals, ex-Free & Bad Co.] and blues legend, Peter Green [ex-Fleetwood Mac]. Slash and Jim also signed autographs together at the Marshall stand and, once again, absolute bedlam ensued!

April: Played 3 sold-out arena shows in Japan as a special guest on the JT Super Producers Tribute To Nile Rogers tour. Slash performed with Chic on Le Freak and with Steve Winwood on several songs including Higher Ground and Stone Free.

May: The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, invites Slash to perform at his 63rd birthday concert in Augusta Georgia along with Isaac Hayes and Bootsy Collins. He then went to Miami to make a special guest appearance at a Brother Cane charity concert for Muscular Dystrophy. Later that month, he travelled to New York where he and Nile Rogers wrote and recorded a song called Obsession for an upcoming Quentin Tarantino movie, Curdled. The song's distinctly Latin vibe will surprise many folk and Slash's lengthy playout solo is a blinder!
While in the Big Apple, the guitarist also found time to jam with living legend, Les Paul. "I was scared s**tless!" he admits.

June: Performed with Alice Cooper at Sammy Hagar's infamous club, Cabo Wabo, in Mexico. The gig was recorded for an upcoming live album and Slash appeared on four songs including Only Women Bleed and Elected which also featured Rob Zombie, vocalist of White Zombie.
Add to this an appearance in a skit on Rosanne Barr's 'Saturday Night Show' and another as a panelist on the popular Comedy Channel chat show, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher and you realise that Slash truly is the busiest rock guitarist around!

And, of course, while all this is going on he's also working on new material with Guns 'n' Roses and, when time allows[!], Slash's Snakepit too.

Just Do It!

So, what drives Slash to play with so many different people? "It's the only way I can grow and is probably the only reason I haven't got stagnant," he reveals. "It's great experience because there's no lengthy rehearsals or overdubs, you're just forced to go out and deal with performing live, right there, on the spot. That's the biggest learning experience for me.

"Also, when you do this a lot, you find that you meet new people who're really good and you learn from them. And if you hadn't gone out there, put yourself in the open and tried your hardest, you would never have been exposed to those great musicians. I've gotten to play with some of my heroes as a result of throwing myself out there all the time."

The Importance of a Cool Head

Of course, at all of the above playing dates, Slash used the Marshall amp that now bears his signature alongside Jim's. "When I've been in different cities and countries, Marshall have been kind enough to loan me some 2555SL heads and cabs," the shaggy-haired axeman states.

"Working with loaner or rental amps is always the hardest thing for me to do but all the 2555SL's I've used - from Germany to Japan to New York - have sounded f***in' great right out of the box.
As a result, I'm ecstatic because, no matter where I am in the world, providing I've got my guitar and can get hold of one of these amps, I know I'll never have to worry about getting my sound again."

Parting Shot!

Before Slash headed for yet another guest appearance, this time at an Alice Cooper show in LA, I asked him if he had any words of wisdom he'd like to pass onto up-and-coming guitarists.

"My advice to a player who really wants to go the whole nine yards and isn't just f***ing around, is this: Get out there and just take your chances. Whenever there's an opportunity to do anything, take it. Don't get nervous about it and, even if you are, go for it anyway.

"You might encounter a couple of scary situations which don't work out the way you want but at least you're always learning and growing as a musician.

"Once you know exactly what it is that you wanna hear and how you wanna play, keep forcing yourself into situations where you get an opportunity to do it. To make a short story long [laughs], that would be my advice!"

***

THE LIMITED EDITION JCM 2555 SL SLASH SIGNATURE MODEL


"This is the amp that has made six pretty successful albums, done countless sessions, survived two riots, three world tours and my inflexible approach to a particular sound. It's been flawless the entire time and I wouldn't even consider trying anything else - something that consistent you just don't **** with.

"A lot of people are constantly trying to shove different amps down my throat and I'm like don't even bother. It's good exercise for them to carry 'em around though, I suppose."

A Piece of History

The JCM Slash Signature model is an authentic re-issue of the classic 2555 Jubilee head and our first ever "Signature amplifier".

Originally released in 1987 the Jubilee amps were built to celebrate 25 years of Marshall Amplification and 50 years of Jim Marshall's personal involvement in the music business. To carry the mantle for such an auspicious anniversary these Jubilee amps had to offer something really special. The model 2555 100 Watt valve head became the flagship of the range and received great acclaim from many different types of player throughout the world.

One of the players who found that the 2555 perfectly suited his style was Slash of Guns 'n' Roses. Thus the bond was formed that was inevitably to lead to the re-issue of this piece of amplification history.

2555SL Features

The JCM Slash Signature model 2555SL is a hand wired, all-valve amplifier head driven by the classic Marshall configuration of 3 x ECC83 pre-amp valves and 4 x EL34 output valves. It has received the instant acclaim enjoyed by the originals for successfully marrying the majestic powerful roar of the JCM 800 Series with an extremely versatile, high gain pre-amp.

You can control the input gain level to perfectly match the output of your guitar and make the sound either crystal clean or dirtier by turning the level up. You can also bring in a more distorted edge for excellent crunch rhythm sounds by using the pull out switch feature on the input gain control.
Pressing the footswitch [or pulling the Output Master control] activates the Lead Master section which transports you into high gain heaven, without any loss of focus or dynamics. This is ideal for the kind of driving clarity that you need for a convincing live performance.

This ability to switch between the normal and beefed-up pre-amp gain levels effectively makes the 2555SL a two channel amp and gives you the facility to switch between either clean or crunch rhythm and lead tones with a tap of the foot.

If the 2555SL's full-on 100 Watts is too much for the size of venue [or for the rest of the band] you can use the output power switch to halve the power down to 50 Watts. Reconfiguring the valves down from full pentode operation to half or triode operation in this way gives you even greater control of the amp's wide tonal palette.

The Rear Panel

Connections to and from the 2555SL couldn't be simpler. Twin Speaker Outputs with impedance selection allow you to match the amp to whichever speaker set-up you choose and the voltage selector will let you tour the world without the need for external transformers.

The Series Effects Loop provides the most convenient method for connecting external effects processors [particularly time based effects such as Chorus, Reverb or Delay].

Finally, the DI jack presents a low level version of the amp's output for direct connection to PA or recording equipment.

Slash Signature Cabinets

As with any guitar set-up the amplifier section is only half the story. Equally as important are the speaker cabinets. In Slash's case he uses standard Marshall 4x12s loaded with Vintage 30 speakers.
These speakers were specially designed by Marshall to replicate the tonal warmth and fatness of the original Marshall 12" models. Although named Vintage 30 each speaker is capable of handling up to 70 Watts, hence the 280 Watt rating of the cabinet.

Slash Signature cabinets also feature Marshall's unique Mono/Stereo switching system, plus impedance selection on the back plate.

The Limited Edition

If not already special enough, the JCM Slash Signature model 2555SL has the added attraction of being a limited edition model. It will only be manufactured during 1996 and a total quantity of just 3000 amplifiers will be available worldwide. Also each head comes with a signed certificate of authenticity.
In addition, every Slash amp or cabinet comes complete with the coolest autographed snakeskin style cover that you are ever likely too see.

If you want to catch one of these historic amps and classic cabinets you will need to move fast.

***

ADAM DAY
THE SLASH GUITAR TECH. PROFILE

The Man that keeps Slash's rig roaring!

Guitar techs? They're a dime-a-dozen. Good ones, however, are rarer than rocking horse doo-doo! Consequently, when a six-string superstar finally finds the tech of his dreams, he'll invariably keep hold of him come hell or high water. Hence the reason those AC/DC rogues, Mal 'n' Ang, have Alan Rogan; Jeff Beck has Andy Roberts and Marshall's favourite mop-haired son, Slash, has Adam Day.

"In a word, or two words, three words . . whatever! Adam is the greatest guitar tech anybody could ever have," Slash waxes. "We've done some of the craziest, off-the-wall, last minute gigs together over the years and he's always been there for me and never let me down".

Adam recently talked to Marshall Law.

The big question is how on earth do you get to be the guitar tech for a mega star like Slash?

That's definitely one of those sixty four thousand dollars questions! When I got my break, luck definitely played a part. I knew a guy who worked for Guns'n'Roses from the very beginning and every time I would see him anywhere I'd always say: "Hey, if anything comes up, gimme a call". That's what you say when you're a working tech jumping from tour to tour - you put the word out that you're looking whenever you can.

And, in this instance, it paid off. Guns 'n' Roses made some crew changes near the end of the Appetite For Destruction tour when they were opening for Aerosmith, Slash had heard that I'd worked for George Lynch [of Dokken fame] and apparently he was into George's playing at the time so that, along with referrals from other guys on their crew who knew me, got me the gig. I started at the end of '88 and the very first week I was with the band, the album went to number one which made me go 'hello!' And, to be able to stay on like I have, what can I say? It's been great. I mean, I've been with Slash for nearly nine years now.

How did you get started in the guitar tech game?

How did I start teching? Well, 'teching' is a relative term I guess! I used to haul peoples' gear around in the back of my dad's truck when I was in high school to make some money and eventually one thing lead to another. One of the guys I'd been helping out got the guitar playing gig with Aldo Nova [star in America during the early '70s] so I ended up looking after him and Aldo for a couple of US tours. I was 19 years old at the time and I didn't have a clue! I was literally thrown into the fire so I just ran with it. I didn't know how long I was gonna last, I just decided to do what I can.

By virtue of the fact you're still a tech some 15 years later, It's fairly safe to assume that you did OK though!

Yeah, I guess! the early years were the toughest because I was winging it for the most part but I got through them OK. Then, it was kind of an evolution process. Once you finally get your foot in the door professionally then every new band you work for is something new to add to your resume. Then, its only a matter of time before somebody says, "Oh, you worked for him, him and him - you must be OK." Which, as I've already said, is basically how I got the shot with Slash.

From watching you set-up Slash's rig, its clear you're a player yourself. Has this fact proven useful in your job?

Absolutely. But, having said that, it's not an essential pre-requisite to the gig as there are some really good techs out there who can't play a single note! Thanks to my playing background I knew how to string, stretch [new strings] and tune but anything more technical than that I've basically learned over the last fifteen years, which is a lot.

Did you ever have any serious aspirations as a player yourself?

No, it was purely done for fun. I used to play in a garage band that performed at parties but we wouldn't accept money, only beer! We were pretty horrible actually [laughs], we'd take a Top 10 hit and put it in the low 200s! We'd make 'em wish they never wrote it!

What would your advice be to anyone who'd like to follow in your footsteps?

What I always say to anybody starting out as a tech is this : 'make sure you have a spare of everything'. You may not know how to fix it but make sure you know how to replace it. Your job is to do whatever it takes to make sure that your guy always has a guitar with six strings on it that are in tune and always has noise - or should I say sound [laughs], coming from his amp! That's something I've always looked at regardless of how technical the gig or equipment might have been : 'how do I keep it up and running?' After all, that's the bottom-line when you get right down to it. You don't have to be able to fix a blown amp on-the-spot, you just need the common sense to keep your guy going, no matter what.

https://web.archive.org/web/19991013022640/http://www.marshallamps.com/images/marshalllaw/mlaw/issue1/slash.htm
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