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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

2024.05.16 - Billboard - Slash Recruits Iggy Pop, Steven Tyler & More For ‘Orgy of the Damned’: ‘I’m a Blues Guy’

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2024.05.16 - Billboard - Slash Recruits Iggy Pop, Steven Tyler & More For ‘Orgy of the Damned’: ‘I’m a Blues Guy’ Empty 2024.05.16 - Billboard - Slash Recruits Iggy Pop, Steven Tyler & More For ‘Orgy of the Damned’: ‘I’m a Blues Guy’

Post by Blackstar Fri May 24, 2024 3:24 am

Slash Recruits Iggy Pop, Steven Tyler & More For ‘Orgy of the Damned’: ‘I’m a Blues Guy’

Slash returns to his youthful roots on the all-star blues album.


By Gary Graff

Slash has the blues these days. And he’s happy about it.

Orgy of the Damned, the Guns N’ Roses guitarist’s new solo album (out Friday, May 17 on Gibson Records), is a set comprised mostly of blues covers and filled with A-list guests — Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Demi Lovato, Chris Stapleton, Gary Clark, Jr., Iggy Pop, the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, to name a few.

The 12-track set takes the guitarist back to his youthful roots, touching on standards by Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf and others and also branching out into the psychedelic blues of Steppenwolf’s “The Pusher” and Motown favorites such as the Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and Stevie Wonder’s “Living For the City.”

“I’m a blues guy,” Slash tells Billboard via Zoom from his home base in Los Angeles. “That’s been the underpinning of my style ever since I picked up a guitar. But everybody knows me as a hard rock guy” — primarily from what he calls “more serous career choices” such as GNR, Velvet Revolver, Slash’s Snakepit and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. “So I’m not gonna about-face and go, ‘Oh, I’m a blues guy now and this is my serious blues record.’

“But I’ve always thought, ‘God, it would be cool to do a record like this,’ sort of a just-for-fun kind of f***-around thing. But I never really had time to do something like that.”

During the past couple of years, however, Slash says he’s “been listening to a lot of old blues record and blues guitar playing and I still wanted to do that kind of album. It’s just something fun that I really needed to get off my chest, and I wanted to have a good time with it.”

Slash’s longtime manager Jeff Varner of Revelation Management adds that timing proved to be fortuitous for Orgy of the Damned as well as for the 29-date S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Blues Festival tour; Slash embarks July 5 in Bonner, Montana. “Prior to last year we were mapping out the next 24 months and this idea came up again,” Varner recalls. “He said, ‘I’m thinking about doing a blues record,’ and I said, ‘Funny, I’ve been thinking about doing that, making a tour property around it.’ It was a serendipitous moment of, ‘OK…’ Obviously he leads the charge, but we felt like there’s a real opportunity here and now’s a good time to do it.”

For the album, Slash recruited onetime GNR touring keyboardist Teddy Andreadis and bassist Johnny Griparic, who he played with in an ad hoc band called Slash’s Blues Ball during the late ’90s in Los Angeles. They added Michael Jerome on drums and started working on material with the idea of having fun at the top of the agenda.

“I never wanted it to be taken too seriously and have it be this serious blues record like people are putting out these days,” explains Slash, whose sole original on Orgy of the Damned is the closing instrumental “Metal Chestnut.” “Most good musicians have a certain amount of integrity, so you take it seriously in that context but at the same time it was really just fun. I think that’s one of the reasons why the idea of having different singers was born, so as to keep it from being a ‘serious’ blues record.”

It’s not the first time Slash has taken the all-star approach, of course; his self-titled 2010 effort also featured a diverse roster of guest vocalists (Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Grohl and the Cult’s Ian Asbury to Fergie and Maroon 5’s Adam Levin). It also included Myles Kennedy and provided the impetus for the Conspirators band, which has released four studio albums. For Orgy of the Damned, Slash says he “picked the song first and just thought about who would sound good doing that song. The key thing for any of them was if the person I thought of related to the song and had any kind of history with it — if it meant something to them. That was the criteria for actually going forth and recording it.

“Fortunately for pretty much everybody on the record, the song they’re on really had some deep meaning to them or they really loved it or it had an influence on them.”

Nowhere was that more true than on the acoustic rendering of Hopkin’s “Awful Dream” with Pop, who had also appeared on a track for the Slash album. “I read that Iggy had always wanted to do a blues record or project or whatever and I gave him a call,” Slash remembers. “I talked to him and he said that he’s never had the opportunity to do a blues thing. So I asked him, ‘If you were gonna do a blues song, which song would you do?’ and without missing a beat he said ‘Awful Dream,’ and there was something in the way he said it that sounded like it was really special to him.

“We set up an appointment at the studio for the following week and he came down and we just sat on a couple of stools, facing each other, and played it a couple time straight through and I said, ‘That’s good enough.’ And he was great, man. It was really special to do it with him ’cause it felt like it was something he’d been wanting to do but never had a chance to do it. So that really opened it up to him.”

That’s just one of many magical music moments on Orgy of the Damned. Slash goes toe-to-toe with Clark Jr. on Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads” (closer to Cream’s reimagination than the original “Crossroad Blues”) and with Gibbons on Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man.” AC/DC’s Johnson was Slash’s first choice for Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor,” and Tyler on harmonica was a bonus. “We were talking one day and I told him what we were doing and he offered to play harmonica on it — and came down that same day. It was a good hang.” Lovato’s appearance on “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” may surprise some, but not in the wake of the rock direction of her own recent music.

“People don’t think of her in that capacity, but she’s absolutely amazing on it…and it’s cool to see her in a little bit of a different light,” manager Varner notes.

“All the songs are songs I was influenced by from when I was really little, up until recently,” says Slash, who used the album to explore different aspects of his playing technique. “In the various bands I’ve been involved in there’s a lot of improvising and stuff that goes on but they’re bands with very defined songs and arrangements and stuff,” he explains. “I go out and jam a lot with different club bands that will let me sit in all over the country, if not all over the world, just ’cause I happen to be in the neighborhood, and you get to play with some really good players that have a nice, greasy feel. There’s something about that that you don’t get to do in the bands.

“Even in doing the record, it was more laid back and you play from the heart and you don’t have the pressure of feeling like you’re trying to make sure you’re playing everything properly. It’s a lot looser and a lot more improv and laid back.”

The S.E.R.P.E.N.T. tour (Solidarity, Engagement, Restore, Peace, Equality N’ Tolerance) was a logical outgrowth of Orgy of the Damned, meanwhile. The trek will include a rotating cast of guests including the Warren Haynes Band, Samantha fish, Eric Gales, Keb’ Mo’, Robert Randolph, ZZ Ward, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Larkin Poe and Jackie Venson, and Slash predicts that “there’s gonna be any number of different jams going on” during the dates.

Slash adds that he’s open to making more blues albums in the same manner as Orgy of the Damned, while Varner predicts that the S.E.R.P.E.N.T. tour could become a recurring theme in the future. “I think from our standpoint this is a fun project that’s pretty flexible and nimble,” he says. “I can definitely see doing more of the S.E.R.P.E.N.T. festival either here or in Europe, different versions of it. Our goal here is to create something that can be evergreen, something he can have as an additional outlet — not that he needs any more things on his plate.”

That’s a juggle Slash says he’s happy to maintain.

“It’s just fun for me,” he says. “As a player that’s really what I enjoy doing. So having all these different sorts of opportunities to be able to play and record and to go out on the road, I really relish it. Just having this different variety of things to do is healthy. It’s very motivating for me, inspiring.”

https://www.billboard.com/music/rock/slash-interview-orgy-of-the-damned-blues-1235684144/
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