Slash once joined Nile Rodgers and Chic for a marathon Le Freak solo spot – but the show ended in tragedy

Nile Rodgers and Slash perform live at the Budokan in 1996
(Image credit: funkjazzmusic/YouTube)

Slash was at a crossroads in 1996. Tensions in Guns N’ Roses had reached fever pitch, as Axl Rose sought to wrestle full creative control from his bandmates. The guitar hero had been distracting himself from his band’s forthcoming implosion by recording and touring new music under the Slash’s Snakepit banner, accompanied by GNR bandmates Matt Sorum and Gilby Clarke. That group lasted two years, before it was put on the backburner in favor of Slash’s Blues Ball, a covers outfit that kept its namesake’s lust for live in check for another year.

Away from the GNR behemoth, Slash was restless. So when the offer came to join recently reformed disco-funk legends Chic for a guest spot at Japan’s legendary Budokan arena, he hopped straight on a plane.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.