Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Jul 6th 2010 12:00PM by Julian Marszalek
Having formed Velvet Revolver with former Guns N' Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, the band was joined by guitarist Dave Kushner and Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weilland, but the singer's acrimonious departure in 2008 has left the band in a state of suspended animation.
Having called on a number of his friends to act as guest vocalists, Slash has released his first solo album. Spinner caught up with Slash to find out a bit more about his latest work and where things stand with Velvet Revolver.
With so many different vocalists, how much of a logistical nightmare was it to put the album together?
You'd think that's what it would be but amazingly enough I set out on this journey without knowing what I was doing as is always the case with me. I just put the music together -- very casually with no end goal -- and I automatically started thinking who would sound great on each piece of music. I started by putting presentable demos together and sending them to each of the artists directly instead of involving record company people and it was an amazingly smooth operation up until the point I had to get releases from all the different record companies. That part was the logistical nightmare which I left the attorneys to deal with. The actual creative aspect of it was one the most pleasurable experiences I've had in putting a record together.
Did you write the songs specifically with an artist in mind?
Well, it all came together. Obviously, I think the one thing that I did a good job at was picking the right singer for the material. I knew I did good job of that when the artist with the demo wanted to do it. I had the material first and that dictated who should sing it.
Did anyone ever say to you, "I like that, Slash, but I prefer that other song instead?"
Yeah, Kid Rock. I had two songs that I presented to him and the first one I sent to him he didn't respond. The second one that I sent him he responded right away and that's the one that we did. And I had two different songs that I sent to Chris Cornell -- because both of these guys are very chameleon-esque -- and he liked them both but we only used one. The other song I turned into something else because Myles Kennedy came right at the end and I only wanted to have one song per artist. I mean, it would have been fine to have done the whole f-----' record with Chris Cornell but that's not what the project is about.
Why did you choose to do a solo album rather than something in a band context?
Well, I've been in a band since I was 16 years old and I think that I've finally reached a point in my career -- especially after the last Velvet Revolver tour where I was like, "Guys, I need to do something on my own for a bit" -- where I needed to express myself without someone looking over my shoulder and having to answer to anybody or a record company or having my compositions approved by the other guys.
Do you miss that dynamic?
Now that we're on the road and I've got a band out with me, I can't help it but treat it like a band. I don't really play the boss role because it's one for all, all for one, but some of the guys do call me "Boss"!
What is the state of play with Velvet Revolver?
We've been quietly sifting through demos that have been submitted by singers and we're trying to find the ultimate guy. It's still very much in the works. I'll probably sit down and look seriously at it next year and see what we've got so far. But in the meantime I've been doing this and it's going really well and I've also been touring with Jane's Addiction.
How about some of the singers on your solo album? Ian Astbury would be good for Velvet Revolver.
It's hard to take someone with a recognisable voice and insert it into a group and to try to make him sound like the original artist. We tried to replace Scott with some singers but they sounded too much like the band they were from. I'd rather find somebody who's experienced with a local band and not world-known.
Interestingly enough, that's how Myles Kennedy came to work for me. His name had been bandied around a lot and when I was looking for someone to sing these two songs that I had, his name came to mind. I'd never met him before; I didn't know anything about him and I just took a chance on it. I sent him a demo and he sent back a vocal that was just phenomenal but I can't get him into Velvet Revolver. But he's a really cool discovery.
'Slash' is out now through Roadrunner Records.