Slash: The Lone Gun
Though his musical connection with Stradlin runs deep, Slash says the relationship fills a different space in his life than it once did. “It’s always fun to play with Izzy,” he says. “And within the context of Guns N’ Roses, it was essential for me. When he quit, it definitely created a void, which slowly and surely led to the demise of the band. From that point on it just started to fall apart. So he was indispensible.
“Then, with Velvet Revolver,” he continues, “Izzy came in and jammed with us in the very early days. We wrote a bunch of songs together, and it was cool. I loved working with him, but when he left that time, it wasn’t necessarily as crucial to the survival of the band. It was nice to get back together with him for this album, because we hadn’t recorded together in a really long time.”
And yet, as much as he may enjoy getting together in a musical context with several of his former Guns bandmates, Slash admits he is conscious of taking things only to a point. Step over a certain line, he says, and the always-churning rumor mill heats up to an even greater degree. It is partly the reason why, a few years back, he agreed to show up at an event at the Key Club in L.A. marking the 20th anniversary of the release of Appetite for Destruction but balked at performing onstage with Stradlin, McKagan and original drummer Steven Adler. It’s also why, although the three ex-Gunners all appear on Slash, they do so on separate tracks: Stradlin on “Ghost,” McKagan with Grohl on “Watch This” and Adler, with Alice Cooper, Flea and the Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger, on the bonus cut “Baby Can’t Drive.”
“You put too many of us together,” Slash says of his former bandmates, “and instantly it becomes sort of a Guns knockoff. So I couldn’t be like, ‘Hey, I’ll get Izzy and Duff on this one!’ As much as we enjoy each other’s company and playing together, we’re all very aware of that aspect of it.”
Besides, there’s little need for Slash to jump deliberately into the reunion rumor fray—not when he’s continually pulled in by no accord of his own. Take the recent flare-up on Twitter, where the guitarist, who posts regularly to his own page, raised the idea of organizing a benefit concert to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti. This was, in short order, followed by a tweet from Axl Rose, who ranted, “Pretty low n’ selfish usin’ the devastation in Haiti 2 start (false) reunion rumors.” Slash contends his initial post was in no way meant to suggest a Guns N’ Roses reunion. Furthermore, he says, “I don’t know if Axl was talking to me or talking to fans who took what I said and then started writing that a reunion would be a great way to raise money. Either way, I just try to stay out of it.
“But all things considered,” he adds with a laugh, “it probably would have been a great idea, as far as fundraisers go.”
Then there are the continual big-money reunion bids, often proposed by outside parties looking for a not-so-cheap thrill. A recent offer was rumored to be in the nine-figure range for a full-scale, multi-year tour of the original Guns N’ Roses lineup. “I think that number was more like our projected take by the end of the tour, not the upfront money,” Slash says. “But it was a real offer as far as getting together with Guns. There’s just oodles of fucking rich, eager businessmen who would love to get in on something like that. But for me, money was never the motivation in the beginning and it’s definitely not the motivation now.”
For that matter, Slash already has a band he’s focused on getting back on track. Though Velvet Revolver has yet to fill Weiland’s position, Slash confirms they will in fact reconvene for a third album at some point in the future. Exactly who will be at the microphone when that time comes, however, remains as much a question as ever. Over the past two years, several names have been floated as potential replacements, including, for one, Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor. Slash confirms that while Taylor did indeed jam with the band on a number of occasions, in the end, “it just didn’t go anywhere. Corey’s awesome, but it didn’t seem to gel.”
Another candidate for the slot in Velvet Revolver was Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy, who, in an interesting twist, appears on Slash, contributing vocals to the song “Starlight.” Slash says, “A few years back Matt [Sorum] reached out to him for the Velvet gig, and truthfully, I didn’t even know who he was. I hadn’t even heard of Alter Bridge, but Matt was going on and on about him. Then I heard Myles was supposedly up for the Led Zeppelin thing, so I thought I’d check him out. And I was blown away.”
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