Slash Opens Up About the Writing Process for His New Album, 'Apocalyptic Love'
The following is an excerpt from the July 2012 issue of Guitar World. For the full story, along with this month's tabs, lessons and features, pick up the issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
For Slash, the collaborative process at the heart of Apocalyptic Love was a welcome change from the solitary manner in which he composed the self-titled record. Though he admits that he enjoys “just putting together guitar ideas on my own,” he also says, “I try not to overwork it. I’ll come up with two or three parts, and that’s it. Then I like to bounce things off other guys and see what they can come up with.”
To that end, he allowed Kennedy in particular plenty of creative input and latitude. “Myles could do whatever he wanted when he was writing his parts,” Slash says. “And sometimes that even changed my parts. For instance, there’s a song on the new album called ‘No More Heroes’ that is a classic example of a 50/50 kind of collaboration between us, where I had a riff and a whole arrangement that I put together, but it was all still open to interpretation. So Myles took the chorus idea that I had and just completely raped it, and came up with a new, insanely great chorus. And that was a moment where it was like, ‘Okay, we have a good thing going.’ Because when that shit works, it makes for better music overall.”
One area where Slash rarely intrudes, whether with Kennedy or anyone else he has worked with, is the realm of lyrics and vocals. “I have no aspirations to sing,” he says. “I don’t enjoy it. Occasionally I’ll have ideas for lyrics or vocals, but I’ve found that people who actually do those things for a living will always come up with something better.” That said, there is one album in his catalog on which his own words do in fact dominate the proceedings—the 1995 Slash’s Snakepit effort, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, recorded as Guns N’ Roses was imploding. “That was a rare case where I did do a lot of the lyric work,” he says. “There was a lot going on in my life at that time, and I had a lot of shit to get off my chest. So that’s where it went.”