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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2024.05.14 - DPA - 'My own thing': Cult guitarist Slash on his first-ever blues album

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2024.05.14 - DPA - 'My own thing': Cult guitarist Slash on his first-ever blues album Empty 2024.05.14 - DPA - 'My own thing': Cult guitarist Slash on his first-ever blues album

Post by Blackstar Wed 15 May 2024 - 2:03

'My own thing': Cult guitarist Slash on his first-ever blues album

His rowdy to regal, ferocious to melodic guitar style is as familiar as the iconic sunglasses, black curly hair and top hat.

He packs stadiums with Guns N' Roses and his own eponymous band featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. He raised the roof with Michael Jackson and most recently accompanied Hollywood star Ryan Gosling during his 'Barbie' performance at the Oscars.

You know who he is.

Slash – né Saul Hudson - is a cult figure in pop culture and one of the most renowned and high-profile guitarists of our time. Now, the 58-year-old British-American musician is releasing a blues album for the first time in a long and very, very loud career.

While blazing a hard-rock path before him, he is a blues aficionado too, and memorably went on the road in the mid-1990s with his band Slash's Blues Ball.

"Yeah, we did Europe and we toured around the States, and it was just a really fun, drunken cover band," Slash tells dpa in London, hinting that he might still make a record of it one day.

"I just haven't had the time to do it. I've been through so many changes since then, like with different bands and all kinds of marriages and divorces and kids and all these different things."

A two-week break during the 2023 Guns N' Roses world tour was enough for him to record the blues album "Orgy Of The Damned", releasing on May 17. "I just chose to do it all of a sudden," says the guitarist, who was born in London in 1965 and moved to the US at age five.

He rang his former band mates, keyboardist Teddy Andreadis and bassist Johnny Griparic, and said: "Let's go into the studio and get some of the old Blues Ball songs out. Then I had a few other songs I'd always wanted to record."

Andreadis was also the singer in Slash's Blues Ball. But the guitarist had something else in mind for his album.

"I thought, what if we had guest singers come in and that would make it eclectic and more interesting and fun or whatever? Because I didn't want to make a traditional blues record. There's enough guys out there making great traditional blues records.

"I was just doing my own thing. That's when I started thinking about the different singers. Every song that we did, I thought, who would sound good singing that?"

The resultant guest list is a modest Who's Who of rock with some up-and-coming stars, each leaving their special mark. AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson reveals an unusual side of his vocal repertoire on "Killing Floor", originally by Howlin' Wolf.

Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes slickly delivers the Steppenwolf classic "The Pusher", while Billy Gibbons renders Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man" in his inimitable ZZ Top style.

It was a stellar line-up to have to reel in so quickly. Sure, when Slash is asking, the odds are good that people will go for it. But even for him, it's still the initial pitch that matters:

"Basically, you're cold calling everybody, and you don't presume that they're going to do anything for you. You have to coax them into it, tell them what it is."

So he started looking more closely at the exact mood and resonance that each album track needed.

"Every song that we did, I thought, who would sound good singing that?" he says. "The singers that I picked for each song had a relationship with that song ... I knew that they would fit in."

His intuition was on the mark as each musical giant after heavyweight got on board: "When I would tell them what the song was, [they'd say] 'Oh, yeah, I love that song,' or 'I know that song,' or 'I grew up with that song,' or whatever the story is. Really, that was the clincher to get them to do it."

Some tracks are revered classics, others are less well-known, for example "Awful Dream" by Lightnin' Hopkins, sung by Iggy Pop.

"Iggy's just great," enthuses Slash. "He's an enigma. He really has his own unique style that he's able to chameleon-like put it into a lot of different kinds of things. It still sounds just like him, but it adapts. I love that about him."

Originally, the punk icon wasn't even on Slash's list, but it happened that Iggy Pop had long wanted to sing some blues and willingly stepped up.

Other guests include blues and soul musician Gary Clark Jr. ("Crossroads"), Chris Stapleton ("Oh Well") and Beth Hart ("Stormy Monday").

As well as blues, "Orgy of the Damned" imbibes some soul influences too. Perhaps the biggest surprise is Demi Lovato, who belts out the Temptations classic "Papa was a Rolling Stone", and particularly impressed Slash in the studio in Los Angeles.

On that day in California, "she just gave me an insane fucking heartfelt performance," he recalls. "And there's an innocence to her way of singing. She's got a great falsetto, but her regular voice is almost childlike, and it really lends itself to that."

The album ends with the only original track, the instrumental "Metal Chestnut".

Slash doesn't reinvent the blues on "Orgy of the Damned". But thanks to the illustrious guest list and his oh-so Slash sound, it's a musical indulgence to savour. And whether his fans like it and if it's a commercial hit doesn't seem to ruffle him.

"I have different things that I like music-wise and so I branch out here and there, and people aren't expecting it," he says.

"And then some people will be like, well, it's not metal enough. Whatever. I do what I do more for me than anything else ... You put it there, and whatever happens, happens."

Slash is set to perform at a blues festival he has organised in the US this summer, and if "Orgy of the Damned" is well received, Slash is holding out the prospect of a sequel and an extensive blues tour.

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Blackstar
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