The Hippo


Oct 16, 2019








Courtesy photo.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

When: Friday, May 8, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino Ballroom, 169 Ocean Blvd., Hampton Beach
Tickets: $35 at (18+)

Slash chat
Rock Hall of Fame guitarist talks solo show

By Michael Witthaus

 In 2010, Slash recruited singer Myles Kennedy for his debut solo album. On the tour that followed, Kennedy joined the former Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver guitarist; since then, it’s been a fruitful collaboration: two albums with almost three dozen songs, and constant touring. “I just like doing it all, whatever the opportunities are to go out and play, whatever the configuration,” said Slash, speaking with the Hippo in advance of a May 8 show in Hampton Beach. The interview also touched on making movies — he’s a horror film producer these days — and Slash’s iconic headgear.

How do you stay so prolific?
I think mostly it just comes from having a guitar with me all the time. I do the most writing when I’m on the road — it lends itself to that for me. Any idea that sounds half decent, I record … then the band gets together and we start hashing them out. One of the reasons the band works is that everybody wants to play all the time. With everybody loving what they do and that’s all they want to do, it makes it so that we can fool around and have a good time. As soon as we’re done with that we can go and start recording. There seem to be a lot of good ideas and everybody just digs it. So there’s just not other stuff that I’d rather be doing. I think that’s very different from many of our contemporaries, you know? Everybody’s kind of looking for a way out.
How does the collaboration with Myles Kennedy work so well?
He’s a really phenomenal singer and songwriter. When I first hooked up with him I was really wowed, like this guy is effin’ awesome. We work really well together, we come up with ideas and he usually finds something that goes with it, and we really write [and] get along well together. That’s a key factor. We just started doing it and found that it worked. We didn’t really talk much about it. We didn’t go, ‘Hey this is great, let’s do this more often.’ We wrote a couple of good songs together when I did my first solo record and went on tour and I asked him to come. I thought it was going to be this quick, short thing. I had no long-term prospects. It clicked on stage and in that touring environment where you have to work really close together for extended periods of time, and that tour ended up being a year and half. The Apocalyptic Love album got written during that tour. We went in the studio and did that. It’s [kept] going like that ever since.
You’re a longtime road warrior. How does touring now compare to back in the day?
I get asked that a lot and I never really have a great answer. I never really compare them at all; it all seems the same even though you’re with different bands. There’s different dynamics and all that, [but] it’s always been about the gig, [not] all the time spent in between them. It’s always about the show. Fortunately, for the most part it’s always been great bands delivering a great performance even though it’s been different clientele over the years. It’s all pretty similar … just amps, a guitar, drummer and a bass player and a singer and you just go out and do it the way you always do it. 

You’re producing movies, something your mother also did. Do you have show business memories?
Well, she was mainly a costume designer … doing outfits and wardrobe for musicians, different artists over the years. But she did do Man Who Fell to Earth. I remember that being shot in New Mexico. I wasn’t there for hardly any of that because I was home in LA. But I remember the complexities of getting all that together on a schedule and budget. That’s the one thing I did take away from all that. At this point, I have a new movie going into production [out next year] called Hellbent. It’s effin’ awesome; it has a great script and director … it’s a lot of work, and an amazing amount of monotony and repetition [that’s] in some ways akin to making a record. There’s even more moving parts [and] people involved. That’s the most complicated thing about doing it. More than anything it’s getting the money together to do it. But I really love realizing something off the page, you know? Getting the components and necessary resources together to make it happen is why I got into it. One of the reasons making films really speaks to me is because I love the process.

Do you remember the first time you picked up a guitar and put on a top hat?
It was two completely separate occasions, years apart. The first time I ever picked up a guitar in earnest was at a friend’s house when we were ditching school. He had this electric guitar and an amp and all that. I remember holding that and not knowing a thing about what I was doing but that first experience of having a guitar in my hand. The top hat was something I picked up in 1985 out of a reduced clothing store in Hollywood and it just became something I thought looked cool.
People who may not know your music recognize you from that hat.
Yeah, it’s sort of funny how that happened.  
As seen in the April 30, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu