News of a solo album with guest vocalists from legendary hard rock guitarist Slash had many speculating as to whom would be appear. More obvious names like Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper and Motrhead's Lemmy Kilmister duly appeared. However, one confirmation was a confirmation nobody really expected: Fergie from multi-platinum hip-hop artists The Black Eyed Peas.
The April 2010 eponymous full-length debut from the erstwhile Guns N' Roses and current Velvet Revolver axeman includes "Beautiful Dangerous", with vocals from none other than Fergie. "The riff that I wrote was initially for a movie right before I did a solo record" reveals Slash. "I scored a movie, and a couple of the songs on my album originally came from riffs I scored for that movie. One of the scenes in the movie was the strip scene; I wrote a piece of instrumental music for that, and then I started thinking it would make a good song. When I started to work on my solo album, that's when I made that into a song. Fergie I knew a year and a half or so prior to that, and I found out that Fergie had a really great rock voice so I called her up, took the song with her to the demo studio I was working at, and she wrote the lyrics for the tune. Musically, the song was finished. It was very quick and simple; I went into the studio to record my solo album however much later, put down the actual track, and she came in and recorded vocals. It was pretty easy."
However, that snippet of instrumental work would need to be fleshed out before transforming into a fully-fledged composition. "In the movie, that section of music was only thirty seconds to a minute long" notes the Stoke-On-Trent raised rocker. "It was really just later that I made a song out of that section I'd already written."
Directed by Rich Lee, a music video for "Beautiful Dangerous" was recorded on August 27th. "It was a one day shoot, and it basically involved the strip bar location and the motel location which were about a block away from each other" states Slash. "The bar is a really famous L.A. strip bar called Jumbo's Clown Room, and it's been around for years. Fergie was totally in character; she had a really specific idea of what the video was all about, what she should look like and that kind of thing. I just played myself. Compared to most concept videos I've shot, it was the easiest one to film. It was just a lot of fun, and Fergie's fun to work with. She's very focused. It was pretty quick and painless. The director Richard Lee was great."
"There was no real idea for a concept, so I called Fergie and said "We're shooting this video"" continues Slash. "She said "I have the idea of me stalking you", and had that idea firmly in her head. She's strung out in the video, and stalks me. I play a gig, and the way she comes into the strip bar where the after-party is seduces me. She then drugs me, takes me back to her place, and ties me to the bed. It's a very simple concept (laughs), and it was something we thought out together as we were shooting it."
Surprisingly, the idea of Fergie tying Slash to the bed was suggested by Perla Hudson, the man's wife of nine years. "Yeah, that was my wife's idea" he laughs. "I think her and Fergie had talked, and she made that suggestion."
Debuting October 27th, "Beautiful Dangerous"' music video's risqu material hasn't been well received in some quarters. Asked if any issues have arisen in the video receiving airplay, Slash responds "All over, yeah. For some reason, regular video outlets think it's a little on the edgy side. I find it really hard to believe it's as controversial as it is - it's just a story. We made some changes to the video and edited it. Maybe it's just because it's not the typical rock video."
"Beautiful Dangerous" isn't the first studio record to feature Slash and Fergie collaborating. On November 11th, 2009, Slash released the tune "Sahara" in Japan, featuring Koshi Inaba of B'Z. Its B-side was a reinterpretation of Guns N' Roses classic "Paradise City" (the original featuring on July 1987's 'Appetite For Destruction'), Fergie and Cypress Hill rounding out those who contributed to the cover version. "I've played "Paradise City" with Cypress Hill since 2002, the night I also performed with Steven Tyler, Matt Sorum and Duff" Slash explains. "We did a show that was a tribute to Randy Castillo, and at the end of the concert, we were joined by Cypress Hill and Steven Tyler. I always thought that was just such a cool version, and I've actually played it with Cypress Hill a handful of times since then. I always said "One of these days, I wanna record this version", so when I was making my solo record, I called up Cypress Hill and asked them if they would record our version of "Paradise City" with me. I just happened to be working with Fergie on "Beautiful Dangerous" at the time, so I asked her if she'd be willing to sing on the song and that was it. It was just a fun thing to do."
Inevitably, music fans will draw comparisons between the original rendition of "Paradise City" and its reimagining. Slash, however, refuses to really weigh in on the topic. "The original is the original, and this one is probably a tad slower and just a little different. I don't know - I don't compare the two that much. Fergie does a great Axl, and she's an Axl fan."
Fergie's guest appearances on "Beautiful Dangerous" and a cover version of "Paradise City" leaves the door open for future collaborations with The Black Eyed Peas vocalist, of course. "She's been talking about doing a rock record" Slash discloses. "If she does that and wants me to work with her on that, then I will. If it does happen, cool, and whatever else she's got going that needs guitars on, I'm probably up for doing. "Beautiful Dangerous" should give you an idea of what a Fergie rock record would sound like; she's pretty wild, and a lot more extreme than people realize."
"Slash", the guitarist's eponymous debut solo full-length, was issued throughout April 2010 by different record labels in different territories.
By Robert Gray