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2004.05.DD - Guitar One - Velvet Revolver: Rock's New Supergroup (Slash, Duff)

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2004.05.DD - Guitar One - Velvet Revolver: Rock's New Supergroup (Slash, Duff) Empty 2004.05.DD - Guitar One - Velvet Revolver: Rock's New Supergroup (Slash, Duff)

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:54 pm

VELVET REVOLVER
Rock’s New Supergroup


OPENING axe IN SESSION

Velvet Revolver
Cocked and Loaded


Photo credits: Neil Zlozower

The members of Velvet Revolver have one request of listeners: Be open-minded when the supergroup – which features former members of Guns N’ Roses and former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland – releases its debut album in May. “A lot of people are gonna wonder if it’s a mix of STP and GN’R, and all that crap,” says bassist Duff McKagan. “I’m sure you’ll hear elements of both, but I think you’ll come away hearing a solidified, unified new band.”

Today, in the sprawling North Hollywood studio Lavish, where the group is laying down vocal tracks, the names of 55 songs are scrawled out, much like a calculus problem, on a movable chalkboard. These titles represent all the songs Velvet Revolver has written – some before Weiland joined the line-up, and many since.

“I really was shocked by the level of song-writing in this band,” says Weiland. “Slash is amazing. In the spur of the moment, at the drop of a hat, he can come up with a beautiful, melodic guitar solo. But Duff really impressed me as a songwriter. He’s a rock bass player – he has an aggressive attack, and he fills in the bottom – but he’s also very musical. Matt Sorum, I was surprised, is also a great songwriter. And Dave [Kushner], being sort of a newcomer, is the perfect person – without him, the band would sound too classic.”

Kushner may be the new blood, but his adventurous nature has had an effect on Slash, who’s accustomed to a simple sound. “I’m a real straight Les Paul-through-a-Marshall guy. I’m hard pressed with a pedal in front of me,” says Slash, who is slowly opening up to experimentation. “On the Use Your Illusions records, I used a lot of different things, and I did the same with this one.” Regarding Kushner, Slash adds, “It’s not the huge extreme that Izzy and I had, where we were on different sides of the spectrum. Izzy and I had great chemistry, but with Dave it’s a little closer, which is nice, because we have a bigger sound.”

Thanks to his supportive band mates, it took Kushner just a few months to get used to his role. “There’s a whole legacy with GN’R – how Izzy and Slash worked so well off each other,” says Kushner. “So when I came into this thing, I was doing a little of that ‘what would Izzy do?’ thing.” And though Kushner’s playing colors the seedy, grinding rocker “Slither” and the arena-rock ballad “Fall to Pieces,” it’s no surprise that Slash’s burning lines anchor each song.

After years of playing in lineups that didn’t work, because of either bad chemistry or bad timing, Slash has found a home where he can once again shine. “I never would’ve said this before, but someone told me recently, ‘You’re a soloing motherfucker.’ And I was like, “Yeah,’” he says, grinning.

-STEVE BALTIN

VR Producer Josh Abraham

“I try to pull things out of these guitarists that they would’ve never thought of,” says Josh Abraham, who’s co-producing the Velvet Revolver disc with the band. “Together, they create a wide, powerful sonic wall.”

Says Slash of Abraham, “He didn’t try to produce us; he let us do our thing.”

The band’s work ethic fit well with Abraham’s hands-off approach. “When you’re in the studio, you can’t always keep live tracks,” he says. “But these guys come in, and what they play is always right, because they’re a great live band. I’d make suggestions, they’d try it, and it would be done on the spot.”

Weiland, who co-owns Lavish, describes what the band wanted in a producer: “We recorded with a couple of different producers at first, and no one was making us sound the way we sounded when we recorded our own songs here, in pre-production. We would rehearse five days a week, and record it live, dump it into Pro Tools, and then come up with my vocal melodies and lyrics over that. Those live demos were sounding so good; they had so much energy. So when we met with Josh, we told him we wanted t sound like we were in the rehearsal room; we wanted to have lots of attack, and to sound relatively dry. And he’s been getting amazing sounds.”

-STEVE BALTIN

GEAR BOX

GUITARISTS: Slash, Dave Kushner
ALBUM: Contraband (RCA)
AXES SLASH: Gibson Les Paul Standards, Fender Teles and Strats;
AXES KUSHNER: Fernandes electrics
AMPS SLASH: Marshall, various Fenders;
AMPS KUSHNER: Bogner Shiva head, Marshall amp
FX KUSHNER: various Boss pedals

https://web.archive.org/web/20050208004851/http://belowempty.com/vr/articles/2004/040501_GuitarOne.php
Blackstar
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