Slash Talks ‘World on Fire,’ Band Camaraderie, Touring Life + More
Slash, along with his cohorts Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, is back with the well-received 'World on Fire' album and the guitar great recently took some time to chat with 'Loudwire Nights' host Full Metal Jackie about the disc. Check out the chat below.
What did having such a tight knit band as Myles and the Conspirators give you the ability to do on 'World on Fire'?
The thing about working with these guys is that they're just -- Myles is really flexible. He can go in a lot of different directions. He always comes up with stuff. The other guys can play anything. Such enthusiastic musicians, they love jamming so much. That's the whole thing, coming up with ideas. You think it's good enough, but introducing it to the band and wonder if they're going to be into it. It's not the kind of project where I go, "I want to do this and you guys have to play it." We've established a rapport early one. I want to do stuff that turns them on. I want to push a square peg through a round hole. They're just really pliable and open minded. There's a lot of diversity on this record because of that.
It seems like you're continuing to declare that this is a full and complete band.
I think early on, when we first met, and I had never met any of these guys before which is ironic, I didn't have any aspirations for anything beyond short tours to support the solo record with all the different singers and that's where I first met Myles. I thought, "This guy is great. Let's go out and do a short tour." During the tour it was ... we were clicking so well and the live shows were so spontaneous, the chemistry was so great. The tour ended up turning into a year-long tour. I thought if I was going to make another record, I'd just do it with these guys. That was the point where I think I realized that I could do whatever it is I could possibly want to do with this group right here.
How has maturity and experience affected the way you write music, specifically on 'World on Fire'?
I don't even know if I have an answer for that. Experience might apply. Having been around the block a few times, how I write. To know to keep a guitar with me at all times and keep playing at all times so I can capture anything that happens. As opposed to in the old days where you have an idea, you really wouldn't make much of an effort to record it or anything and just hope you can remember it. Nine times out of 10, you lose all those ideas. There's something to be said for learning over time how to capture whatever it is you need to capture. As far as maturity goes, I don't even like that word. [laughs] Obviously you've got some experience, you naturally mature over time.
Creatively, what's the biggest difference between writing music with a band for an album and writing a score for an attraction such as the 'Clowns 3D' Halloween Maze this year at Universal Studios in Hollywood Horror Nights?
Writing something for Horror NIghts or even scoring a movie, there's a certain kind of open mindedness and experimentation and a willingness to just go in places you normally might not go if you were just playing in a rock 'n' roll band, writing for a band. It's an interesting thing, I've only discovered that in the last few years. I've had some scoring experience. I started to realize that the stuff I come up with when I'm scoring is very open ended and goes in millions of different directions, but it's so affected emotionally by what your visual is or a theme. When you're writing within the context of a rock and roll band, you do everything pretty quickly. I don't like to spend too much time in the studio, it's a whole different approach. I also enjoy what I do when I'm scoring so one of the songs on the record was where I consciously decided to write more in the scoring mode but for this band. That was the song called 'The Unholy,' it's the last song on the record.
Between Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver and Slash's Snakepit you're in an interesting position of having way too many good tunes. Now, the two Conspirators albums themselves give you more than enough great material for a killer show. Can you envision ever playing an entire set of just Conspirators songs?
I suppose so. We have a lot of material at this point. I have a lot of fun going back and I think when we first started doing this, one of the things I was looking forward to doing for the first time in a long time was playing some GN'R stuff and some Snakepit stuff. That just became part of the set from the get go. So now I look forward to doing it, so I couldn't imagine doing a set without at least one Guns song or Velvet Revolver song. I suppose you could do a set where it was nothing but Conspirators music. Maybe if you were going to play an entire record, like if I was going to play this entire record in its entirety as a show.
You're going to be on the road for the next year touring this latest record. You've been touring since you were a teenager. What do you miss most about touring when you're not on the road?
The thing you become addicted to, besides the actual shows themselves, the important thing about the shows themselves is that's the one time that I really feel like I'm expressing myself to the fullest. The rest of the time I'm just treading water through life [laughs].
The main thing about comparing off the road to on the road is there's a pace that you're living at when you're touring. When you get home, there's really nothing to occupy your time at that kind of pace and energy level. Even if you're running a marathon, it just doesn't have the same -- I think being static is the hardest part, staying stationary and in one place. Being on the road is this whole, you're up in the day and out, checked out of the hotel and on the road going to the gig. You're doing the gig, getting on the road, going to the next place. There's a certain manic thing to that you become addicted to. Being at home can be a very difficult adjustment period. I had a lot of unhealthy [habits] to adjust to that back in the day. I think you can understand that.
Thanks to Slash for the interview. The 'World on Fire' album is available at Amazon and iTunes and you can catch him on tour at these locations. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie and Tony LaBrie’ Monday through Friday 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.
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