Slash discusses new Velvet Revolver album
Guitarist magazine recently conducted an interview with former GUNS N’ ROSES and current VELVET REVOLVER guitarist Slash. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Guitarist: What can we expect from you on “Libertad”?
Slash: “I actually spent from August to when the record was finished listening to nothing but old blues records. That was it. I rediscovered the old blues players and it had an effect on the way I played. I wasn’t sitting down and learning shit off the records but I was in that zone. When I got in the studio I deviated from the normal path and used a Strat on one song and a Gretsch on another. But after that I just fell into the Les Paul/Marshall thing! A couple of times I wanted something really small sounding so I used a little tiny Vox combo. Other than that I was using the same Les Paul I’ve been using for years and a couple of Marshall heads. It didn’t really get too out there with regards to what sounds I was going for on this album. But there’s a lot of wah wah on this record — more so than usual.”
Guitarist: What about your approach to solos?
Slash: “There are different approaches but it’s more bluesy, spontaneous stuff rather than playing everything really, really fast. I didn’t feel like I needed to prove myself to anyone so I just played what I felt like playing. I usually took the first or second take of pretty much every solo: 75-80 percent are the first take and then there are a couple that are from the first two or three. The solos aren’t as precise as they usually are with me — it’s more like, oh this isn’t exactly the note I planned on playing but it feels good. There are mistakes on the record that had a lot of character so I just left them. I think people will be able to notice it when they hear the album.”
Guitarist: What songs can we expect to hear?
Slash: “As you listen to the album, there are plenty of in-your-face moments but there are also departures from the fast and heavy. There’s a song called ‘Let It Roll’, which is the most aggressive on the record. ‘She Builds Quick Machines’ is another aggressive one and I think that will be the first single. ‘Spay’ is pretty aggressive too. There are mellower songs: ‘This Fight (Could Be The Last Fight)’ — which I used the Gretsch [6120 Setzer model] on — and ‘Grave Dancers’, but that still has an aggressive blues solo at the end. ‘American Man’ has a slow, melodic solo that’s very trademark Slash in the way it’s reminiscent of old stuff I’ve done in the past. There’s also a song that we tried to make as aggressive as we possibly could — a cover of ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA’s ‘Can’t Get It Out Of My Head’. Our producer [Brendan O'Brien] suggested it. I love the song but I wasn’t so sure. But I bit the bullet and we recorded tracks of drums and acoustic guitars and I still wasn’t sure, but when we put electric guitars on it actually became very cool.”
Guitarist: Last year Guitarist readers voted GUNS N’ ROSES’ “Appetite for Destruction” the greatest guitar album of all time.
Slash: “You’ve got to be kidding me? Wow! I heard a song from it on the radio the other day — it was ‘Nightrain’. I hardly ever listen to that album but I heard ‘Nightrain’ and it was me playing a long time ago. I can tell how adolescent it is, but at the same time it’s got all the energy and teenage angst that was really present in the band’s reality at that time. It managed to make it on record in the most honest form and it’s something you can’t do twice. When I was listening to the guitar solo on that song it sounded so cool, and at the same time I can hear that it was as much as I was capable of playing at the time.