Slash: 'You Don't Need Confrontation And Volatility To Make Rock N' Roll Work'

Legendary guitarist Slash spoke to The New Zealand Herald about being a solo artist after working with two of rock's most volatile frontman in Axl Rose and Scott Weiland.

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Legendary guitarist Slash spoke to The New Zealand Herald about being a solo artist after working with two of rock's most volatile frontman in Axl Rose (Guns n' Roses) and Scott Weiland (Velvet Revolver), Blabbermouth reports.

"Just being on my own has been really cathartic because it put everything in my lap," he said.

"Since I grabbed the reins and took off on my own, I have realized you don't need confrontation and volatility to make rock 'n' roll work. It's about playing music and having fun.

I've always been in a band where there was a democracy, which was great, but there was always one guy who was really difficult."

Unlike Slash's solo debut, which featured different vocalists on each track and a number of guest musicians, the guitarist recorded all of his new CD, "Apocalyptic Love", with Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators, made up of singer Myles Kennedy (of heavy rockers Alter Bridge), drummer Brent Fitz and bassist Todd Kerns:

"It's been a real blessing," Slash said of working with his current band. "I had gotten so used to such a tumultuous reality professionally that I was really inexperienced working in a situation where everybody just wants to get along and have a good time."

He added, "It takes a lot of the unnecessary bullshit out of the experience and I work harder now than I have ever in my career. But at the same time it's really enjoyable because everybody's on the same page and we don't want to bog ourselves down with distractions and we just focus on the music.

You know, when I started doing this it was a dream come true and I still look at it that way, but the last few years have been great because I've been doing exactly what it is I like to do and not having too much hassle doing it."

Asked about how he chooses which Guns n' Roses songs to include in his current live set, Slash said, "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O' Mine" are songs I brought into the set when we first started touring. And there are a lot of songs that I had a major part in writing that we're not doing, but all the songs we are doing I had a major part in writing.

But there really is no forethought [about which songs they play]. First off it has to be one that I enjoy playing. If it's fun to play, that's basically the criteria.

"Nightrain" just works. There is no other song that drives like "Nightrain".

Even though I did all those guitar parts [in "November Rain"], I didn't bring the song to the table so I have no interest in doing songs like that.

We haven't played ["Welcome To The Jungle"] for a long time. That's such a Guns n' Roses standard and it's one of those songs we do every once in a while and everybody goes crazy. But really, it's for the fun of it."

43 comments sorted by best / new / date

    'but there was always one guy who was really difficult' Now I wonder who the could be?
    I bet it's that Saul Hudson guy, he sounds like a real prick. Also, your avatar is awesome.
    no it was axl and scott
    Haha this guy coming in acting like he's head detective or some $hit
    I don't think Slash had a hard time working with either Axl or Scott during the times they were recording their music together or even for a good part of their tours, so it's a bit of a stretch to say that tension was the reason for the music being good. I'd say the tension built up over time as a result of them being received well by fans which led to huge egos, not the other way around.
    Axl rose has a personality disorder. He's not an average person, so we can't use normal person logic to describe his behavior and interactions with other people, mainly slash. He also has a huge, gigantic ego. This relationship was never going to work out. It works out perfectly now with Axl's new band, because they are all super-excited to be getting paychecks for playing music and in being in a band of recognition. But they are Axl's robots, don't forget that. The original band was five individuals.
    Yes, you don't NEED it to make rock n roll work but Guns and Roses are the perfect example of where it really helps get you more attention and as they say, all publicity is good publicity
    Well while I agree that it should be all about fun and joy(thats why I and a lot of people still play), rock music has been at its best when its daring,gripping and un-safe. Im not saying it requires being late for gigs,showing up and playing under crack or making pointless comments about everything(Mustaine) but this hippy revival BS thats been on for last couple years hasnt contributed to "rock'n'roll reanimation" . My 2 coins.
    "First off it has to be one that I enjoy playing." Curious thing to say. I always had read everywhere that Slash outright hated Sweet Child O'Mine.
    Every time I go to read a slash article I learn at least 1 or 2 new words it seems like.
    If reporters would quit asking Slash about Axl, I'm sure he'd quit talking about Axl. It's just that Slash is trying to be nice so he answers the same bullshit questions over and over again. As for people criticizing Slash & Myles Kennedy, IMO they're great live. Incredible energy, and so entertaining to watch. Saw them live not too long ago, it was awesome.
    I can agree with him, I played in a band for a while with one person i didn't like and it sucked. Ever since he left we had a lot of fun playing. "One bad apple spoils the bunch"
    Says the guy who will never make anything as good as he did with Guns n Roses. Lame.
    I'm sorry, i just cannot get into Myles Kennedy. Hes a super nice and cool guy and a hard worker, im not ripping him personally. Just a average singer, songwriter, performer, guitar player, lyricist, etc. at best to me, and i cringe when i hear him doing the old GnR songs. Theres nothing dynamic about him, whatever it is that Axl had, he just dont have it. I will say if Axl had Myles personality, work ethic, and down to earth ego, GnR would still be around today. Myles though just doesent do it for me.
    Well, I don't necessarily agree, especially judging by what he gives us to use as a comparison. Considering confrontation & volatility = Axl Rose & Scott Weiland; No confrontation, no volatility = Myles Kennedy... Material aside, I'd say this is a good example of a generic, robotic performance vs. a passionate, energetic performance. With Axl Rose and Scott Weiland in the respective bands, there was obviously tension, but it seemed to be released onstage, where they would put on great shows, while being practically unpredictable at the same time. With Myles Kennedy in the band, there seems to be no tension, yet there is also no energy; no passion; no spontaneity. He says they don't exactly have a setlist, so you don't know exactly what order the songs will go, but it's the same songs played the same way, night after night. Watch any number of clips of them, especially the pro-shot ones, and it's hard to differentiate between them, if not for the different clothes. While some people might consider that a good thing, I would rather some spontaneous unpredictability. When you go to a Slash & Myles Kennedy show, you're essentially watching their live DVD note for note, but on shuffle. They put on a good show, but it's almost like watching a band of robots. Now compare that to a new Guns N' Roses concert, and the Slash show was just flat out boring. Axl & co. blow them out of the water. Same goes for Stone Temple Pilots, albeit not as extreme as with GN'R. Ask anyone who's seen them, and 9 out of 10 who judge without prejudice will agree. So, from what I can assume, while no conflict/volatility may be good for the band , it's not necessarily good for the show (and it can actually be the opposite).
    You don't have to be in your bandmates faces trying to make life harder for them to be passionate/energetic about/with your music....
    I'm not exactly saying x = y , I'm just saying the examples he gives us are a poor representation of his point, because his bands with Axl Rose and Scott Weiland were great bands, whereas his band with Myles Kennedy kind of isn't... not to mention the fact that the other two are incredible frontmen/songwriters, and Myles Kennedy is a lazy performer/lackluster songwriter with a generally unappealing voice. It's not that tension necessarily leads to great music/performances, but it seems like the attitudes/personalities that conflict can develop from also go great with rock music, and it can lead to good material/performances. Conversely, a laid back attitude isn't the best for writing or performing rock music, in general. Of course, there are obviously exceptions. Myles Kennedy is just certainly not one of them.
    Slash's concerts are nothing but energy. Their loud, energetic, and personal. I've been to a lot of shows,including touring giants U2 & AC/DC, Megadeth & Slayer, BLS, and many more. Needless to say, the show was quite opposite of robotic and uninspired. In a sold out casino room with only 2,500 people, it was easily the most enjoyable show I've ever been to. Also, the show was not the same. Generally the only similar parts were the beginning of the show, Todd Kerns vocal parts (Dr. Alibi and Out Ta Get Me), and the encore with Paradise City.
    Oh, and I forgot to mention that when you take material into account, as well, that completely tips the scale. In my opinion, the new Slash & Myles Kennedy album isn't even a standout among modern rock albums (and that's really saying something). A lot of the music isn't exactly bad, but it just feels rushed, thrown together, uninspired, and extremely generic. However, the vocals and lyrics are just horrible, and many times downright laughable (the vocal delivery makes half of the album practically a comedy album). Other people seem to enjoy, and I'm glad they do because I don't mind bad music being popular, as long as it's real music, but I just can't listen to it.
    I've been to Slash & Myles, and I disagree with it not being energetic or boring, it's just a very well organised band. But otherwise I do think your post makes sense.
    Before watching my first Slash & Co. video from youtube I thought Myles Kennedy was a girl.. Reminded me of Miles Cyrus or something. Now that I've learnt the way things are in reality... I'm still concerned (and hoping) that maybe I was right somewhere after all..?
    The only reason Slash clashes with nearly every frontman is because he wants all eyes on him. He wants to be the 'frontman'. Its all egos.
    Slash has never experienced real rock and roll in his life. Guns n Roses was just another hair band. and velvet revolver are just packaged radio rock unit shifters. I dont think he has any experience to make such a call on what you need to make rock work
    I have to disagree. Guns were trying to do the opposite of what everybody else on the strip were doing at the time. They were nothing like Glam. ANND he has more than enough experience to make a call on what you need to make rock work. A lot more experience than some stuck up music snob sat behind a keyboard has.
    That's rich....30yrs of touring and decadence, hundreds of fantastic songs, jamming with other legends, his own line of amps, guitars, pedals etc, and you say he doesn't know up from down about the music biz and rock n roll????? Are you on f*ckin crack man???
    It's odd that slash has banned questions about Axl, but still feels the need to lay in to him. It's also odd that slash doesnt ever seem to be able to work with the same frontman for any length of time, unless the frontman just does what he's told - couldnt stay in a band before guns; blues ball had teddy andreadis, snakepit had two singers for two albums, scott was dumped from VR as soon as he was sober enough to express an opinion. Axl's a dick and everyone knows that, do people realise Slash is just as big a control freak?
    "It's about playing music and having fun." Honestly, why do so many bands/artists not understand this concept?
    Idiot Pineapple
    Aging musician takes decades to realie the process of making music only needs to involve making music. I wish I could be surprised at this point.