Slash grew up and came of age in Los Angeles, so you’d think he’d be really into the ’80s music scene in LA. Alas, you’d be wrong.
Slash detailed in a new interview with Classic Rock, “Actually, I have wonderful memories of LA from when I was seven years old all the way up to when I was twelve. I was kind of raised in the LA music scene and it was great. I watched it go through these music trends in my short little lifetime up to that point. But what it turned into in the eighties was something that was unrecognizable from an integrity point of view and a creative point of view.”
He continued, “The whole thing had just sort of been diluted. I have to say, in hindsight, that at least it was exciting in the eighties, at least there was a scene. Right now there is no LA scene. But there was a huge scene going on in the sixties and right through the seventies. It was really identifiable and really musically revolutionary. And in the eighties, it just turned into this other thing. I f—ing hated the whole scene, man.
Slash added, “At least if you were in the UK you had some cool bands that represented the eighties, at least from a rock’n’roll and metal point of view. You had some really cool, credible music coming out. But in Los Angeles, it was just bulls—. And we were coming up in the midst of all that. Everybody was f—ing converting to the industry standard to get a record deal and get girls, this whole thing. Where our band was coming from was the antithesis of all that, and it’s something I’m really proud of.”
Something else Slash is likely really proud of is 4, his latest solo album with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. The LP was released last month and is available for streaming and download here.
Slash: His 34 Coolest Moments, Outside of Guns N’ Roses + Velvet Revolver
An incredible acoustic/electric power ballad, and one of the many songs on this list where Slash’s guitar soars, as does Myles Kennedy’s voice. The song hit #3 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock charts.
Fergie, of course, was well known as being a member of hip-hop/pop crossover act the Black Eyed Peas. But this song imagined what could have been, had she fronted a hard rock band, and the results are solid.
When Paul Rodgers returned to his solo career after a few years with the Firm (his band with Jimmy Page) and the Law (his project with former Faces/Who drummer Kenney Jones) he put out a Muddy Waters tribute album featuring a ton of legendary guitarists including Brian May, Jeff Beck and David Gilmour. This song made it clear that, six years after he debuted on GNR’s ‘Appetite For Destruction,’ Slash was a peer of some of the biggest six-string legends of all time, and that he had something to add to the long tradition of the blues.
Co-written by Slash, Myles and Conspirators bass player Todd Kerns, it’s one of the band’s best deep cuts.
All of Slash’s bands owe a huge debt to Alice Cooper and here, the guitarist makes his biggest contribution to the shock rocker’s catalog. This is easily one of Alice’s best songs of the millennium.
A heartbreaking ballad about someone who is no longer with us. While most of the songs on this list could loosely be classified as hard rock or heavy metal, this down-the-middle ballad sees Slash’s guitar adding gravitas to an already sad song. He never takes center stage; instead, he enhances Beth Hart’s mournful vocals. By the way, Hart (who has often worked with Joe Bonamassa) is one of the best singers of the past two decades.
‘Marching To Mars’ was Sammy’s first post-Van Halen album, and he clearly was fueled by anger at his former bandmates… which is something that Slash probably understood in ‘97. Sammy, a true mensch, called in a bunch of his friends to help him out; Huey Lewis is playing harmonica here, while the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart is one of the percussionists.
A gorgeous duet between Ozzy and Elton, featuring backing by Slash, Duff McKagan and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on drums. It’s a moving song: released as both Ozzy and Elton were on their “final” tours (both singers are in their 70s). Slash makes his presence known with his solo, but leaves center stage quickly to give the spotlight back to Ozzy.
Before Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, Slash rolled with the Snakepit, which originally included Gunners Matt Sorum on drums and Gilby Clarke on guitar, along with Mike Inez of Alice In Chains on bass and former Jellyfish frontman Eric Dover. This song, co-written by Slash, Duff McKagan and Dover, could have been a hit for Guns N’ Roses, or for the Black Crowes.
Yeah, we love Slash for his playing, but if he hadn’t been in bands with great songs, he would have been a guy who popped up on the covers of guitar magazines (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Unsteady, he’s one of the most iconic musicians of the past 35 years for a reason, and that’s because his playing enhances great songs (often songs that he wrote or co-wrote), like this one.
By 2000, Slash had a completely revamped version of the Snakepit, and this version of the band featured frontman Rod Jackson, a great singer who deserved more attention than he got, probably because this lineup was short-lived. “Been There Lately” kicked off the second Snakepit album and showed that this was a band with great potential.
A great ballad that was originally from Halestorm’s 2012 album ‘The Strange Case Of…’ Slash was on a re-recorded version released a year later. When Lzzy sings, “Stuck it out this far together/Put our dreams through the shredder/Let's toast 'cause things got better/And everything could change like that,” most listeners could relate, whether or not they were musicians. And, as always, Slash’s solo added a bit more soul and power to the song.
It’s fair to wonder if some of Slash’s songs could have fit on Guns N’ Roses or Velvet Revolver records. To be fair, you can wonder about that with all artists from huge bands writing songs for their other projects. But it’s impossible to imagine the other vocalists that Slash has worked with singing this one: this is a dark song, but the line “C'est la vie/Don't look back/And don't let go” is also uplifting and Myles delivers it perfectly.
This song sounds like something Aerosmith might have done on ‘Get Your Wings.’ Enough said.
The song bears a bit of a resemblance to “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” but Myles’ lyrics were inspired by his dog, according to an interview Slash did with Loudwire. And that’s cool: if you’ve had a dog, you get it.
Slash and Tom Morello teaming up seems like something out of a rock and roll fantasy league… or ‘Guitar Hero.’ And Morello realized that, using ‘Guitar Hero’ footage (or a close approximation) in this video. But it’s not gimmicky: Morello and Slash turn out to be a great team, both playing aggressively but with extremely distinctive styles.
Michael Jackson didn’t do many guitar jams, but when he did, he went big: he used Eddie Van Halen on “Beat It,” and Steve Stevens of Billy Idol’s band on “Dirty Diana.” In 1991, it was logical to go with Slash. “Give In To Me” was darker than either of those songs, and Slash’s guitar added some serious fire to it. By ‘91, Jackson was making highly computerized pop music, but both this song, and MJ’s rapport with Slash, made an argument that he could have been a great rock singer.
This mid-tempo jam is powered by a massive Slash riff and features one of his many amazing solos. And by the way, ‘4’ is a really great album, if you haven’t checked it out, you really should do it, like, now!
A song about a guy who works on the road, but keeps coming home due to an addict girlfriend relapsing. The video, featuring rag dolls, belies the song’s dark tone. “Driving Rain” was a #5 hit on Mainstream Rock Radio.
Slash’s self-titled album had a lot of “what if” scenarios, due to all the guest vocalists: “What If Slash was in a band with Ozzy or Maroon 5’s Adam Levine?” In most cases, it probably wouldn’t work, but the collaborations are fun to listen to. But in the case of “Doctor Alibi” with Lemmy, you can actually picture it working in the long term. Slash and Lemmy co-wrote this song and it’s a classic. In fact, it’s the song from this album that has made more Slash setlists than any other (except for “Back From Cali,” an early Slash jam with Myles Kennedy).
If Slash and Paul Rodgers were closer in age, you could imagine them in a band together. And is there a better classic rock singer than Rodgers? Excuse us for a second as we take a slight detour from the list to ask, how the HELL is Paul Rodgers not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Bad Company, with Free, or with both? Anyway, this Hendrix cover, which features Billy Cox and Buddy Miles from Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, is intense. Jimi did such definitively versions, it’s hard to cover him, but this jam holds up. An even better version was when Paul and Slash played it at Woodstock ‘94, with a band that included Neal Schon of Journey, Andy Fraser of Free and Jason Bonham on drums (you can find it on YouTube). On either version, when Slash goes nuts soloing, you can feel Jimi smiling.
Slash was an in-demand guitarist pretty much as soon as Guns hit; he quickly started guesting on tracks by Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper, Bob Dylan and Lenny Kravitz. Slash (and Duff McKagan) played a few jams on Iggy Pop’s comeback album, ‘Brick By Brick.’ Iggy is an icon who hadn’t really gotten his due, and interest was waning in his new music, especially after a string of weak albums. But “Home,” which kicked off ‘Brick By Brick’ (and was the first single) helped to give Iggy a bit of his edge back. Slash and Duff not only added to the song, but helped to expose Iggy to a younger generation of fans of loud rock and roll. Duff once told this writer that of all the guest appearances he’s made outside fo Guns, Velvet Revovler and his solo projects, this was the one he was most proud of, and Slash might agree. If you’re not sure why Iggy means so much to the Gunners, check out the Stooges first three albums - 1969’s ‘The Stooges,’ 1970’s ‘Fun House’ and 1973’s ‘Raw Power,’ they’ll blow your mind.
‘Living The Dream’ was Slash’s first album with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators after reuniting with Guns N Roses, and it proved that this band was its own entity (as if there had been any doubt). After hearing the guys playing the song, Kennedy wrote the lyrics. As he told Blabbermouth, “It's about how when things are going well there always tends to be someone who tries to rain on your parade and knock you down. You have to keep people like that in check and not let them get to you." That’s something Slash probably knows a bit about. The song was a #9 hit on Mainstream Rock Radio.
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators have become one of the biggest rock radio bands of the millennium, without calling too much attention to themselves. Slash has been through the drama of being in big bands, and to quote Aerosmith, he’s probably happy to let the music do the talking. And that’s what “SMKC” have mostly done. “Anastasia” has been one of their biggest hits, reaching #7 on the Active Rock charts and #6 on Mainstream Rock.
Motorhead: not known for their acoustic ballads. In ‘92, Lemmy was coming off of the success of co-writing some songs with Ozzy for the ‘No More Tears’ album, including the classic ballad, “Mama, I’m Coming Home.” Was “I Ain’t No Nice Guy” his attempt to have his own radio hit? Maybe, but unlike many of his peers, no one was yelling “sell-out” when Lemmy unleashed his slow jam. It’s a great tune and, as with many songs on this list, Slash’s solo brings it up a few levels.
The song starts with a staccato riff that sounds almost like industrial music. But within seconds, the band kicks in with organic, analog rock and roll, mirroring the lyrics, which Kennedy said were inspired by "the idea of burning out on this technology-obsessed world that we live in and coming to the realization that it's time to power down and get back to the essence of living." Music is increasingly processed through computers these days, but when you want to hear what a living, breathing rock and roll band sounds like, Slash, Myles and the Conspirators have got you covered.
Kennedy told Brave Words, “It’s a great, quintessential Slash riff. The theme of that song is just about living life on your own terms. That’s a theme I think everybody aspires to.” In a world where so many rock bands follow trends, it feels like an anthem for Slash and his crew.
‘Slash’ had a lot of big-name vocalists: Ozzy, Chris Cornell, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Lemmy, Ian Astbury from the Cult, Iggy Pop. Myles Kennedy was considerably less well-known; he sang for Alter Bridge, but they didn’t have the iconic status of the other big names on the album. But the chemistry between Kennedy and Slash was obvious from the beginning, it’s no surprise that they’ve been bandmates for more than a decade. This song was a number 24 hit on Mainstream Rock radio, a 28 hit on Active Rock radio, and marked Slash’s first big post-Velvet Revolver radio hit.
The lead song on Slash’s first album with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. It was clear, just a few seconds in, that this band was a band, and not a “project.”
A #1 song at Mainstream Rock Radio, the lyric video was considerably less “mainstream” (Google it if you don’t remember the clip). But it’s definitely one of the best songs in Slash/Myles/ Conspirators’ cannon.
Slash and Myles co-wrote this one. As with Sammy Hagar’s “Little White Lie,” Slash probably was feeling the lyrics here, which may well have fueled his furious leads and riffs. It’s Slash’s most commercially successful track with Myles and the Conspirators, hitting #1 on both the Mainstream Rock and Active Rock charts.
One thing that’s a bummer about “various artists” or “various guest singers” albums is that the songs sometimes get lost: the tracks are considered one-offs, so they tend to get overlooked and treated as curiosities. That’s really a shame with “Promise,” which holds up to the best songs in both Slash and Chris Cornell’s catalogs. The song had a very contemporary sounding production, but also – weirdly – recalled Queens Of The Stone Age.
Slash told this writer that he met Kravitz after an award show. He said that the two became immediate friends and decided to hook up for a track on Kravitz’s second album, ‘Mama Said.’ Slash played on the opening track, “Fields Of Joy,” but while in the studio, Slash started playing *that riff*. It’s something that had previously jammed on with Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum. But as he said, “It was way too funky to be a Guns N’ Roses song… it just didn’t fly.” But it gave Kravitz one of the best songs in his catalog. What would it have sounded like with Guns? You can look that up on YouTube: Kravitz joined them on stage in Paris in 1992 to perform it. And damn, here’s hoping Slash and Lenny do something together again.
You’ve got to wonder if Slash’s GN’R bandmates are listening to his songs with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators and thinking, “Damn, we’d like to play on that one.” Four albums in, Slash and the guys keep getting better; ‘4’ will surely go down as one of the best rock albums of 2022. Apparently, Myles was struggling with COVID when he recorded this, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. It’s one of his best vocal performances, and one of the band’s heaviest jams.