The rock star guitarist recalls the first time he played before a Filipino audience: ‘The fans were amazing, and I’m looking forward to that, you know, that’s the most important thing. They’re such a great, fu**kin’ bunch of people’
Life went on for Slash after Guns N’ Rose and Velvet Revolver. He has done quite a lot of work as a solo musician and with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators —with whom he recorded their most recent album, “4,” released in 2022.
Born Saul Hudson, the British-American musician is on the road with the band and is coming to perform in Manila on March 12 at the New Frontier Theater.
During a recent virtual chat with SoundStrip, Slash looks back on how he dealt with the pandemic, recording “4,” and his memory of playing in the Philippines back in 2018 with GNR.
How did you weather the pandemic?
I kept myself busy, did a lot of writing (songs), recording, produced a movie (the horror flick “The Breach”) and recorded the soundtrack for the movie. As soon as the quarantine restrictions lightened up, I got the band together, took a tour bus to Nashville, and record the “4” album. But everybody got sick (of Covid) while making it.
The pandemic was quite an experience, it stopped life in its tracks for a year and a half at least. It was an interesting time, but I tried to be as productive as possible.
Tell us about the making of “4.”
As a band we just write the new material we have and then record it. It’s not to make a conscious statement over and above the last record. You just move forward in life. You make a record, make a statement about that period, and when you the next one, you sort of progress toward wherever you are as musicians and as human beings. So all you’re trying to achieve is the best thing you can do in that moment.
When we were doing “4,” it was putting together a bunch of cool material, and when we went to record it, we did the most live recording session we’ve ever done as a band — and for me as a professional musician. We all went into a room, set up the drums and amps and played live, no headphones or anything.
And then Myles was in a booth singing right next to us where we could see him. And that’s how we recorded the album. This was to capture the spontaneity of the moment. We didn’t go back and fix the mistakes. Two songs a day for five days. That was an achievement, something I’ve never done before in my professional career.
Did it also mean the band didn’t go through rehearsing the songs extensively before recording them?
We didn’t have a chance to because we were doing it during the pandemic. I sent demos to the band. When we got into the studio, we ran through the songs. There were a couple of songs that weren’t complete. “Fall Back to Earth” wasn’t complete, “April Fool” wasn’t complete… We just got together quickly and worked out the arrangements and then recorded them. There wasn’t a lot of rehearsing…
Did you experiment with other music genres, or did you incorporate some jazz, reggae, and since it was recorded in Nashville, country, and other influences?
Ahh… no, hahaha. There was a Nashville influence on the spirit of the record. It made a big impression on us, doing it in Nashville, me especially. But I think the record itself is delivered pretty much as a straight-ahead rock and roll record. I don’t think I stopped and said, “Let’s find a reggae part,” hahaha, you know, intentionally. It might happen spontaneously, but I’ve never thought that out. So anything that happens that sounds like a fusion of any other different styles is something that happens naturally. I don’t think there’s jazz in this record.
At your age and at this point in your career, what’s the greatest thing you’ve learned as a musician?
That I love being a musician.
What do you remember during your last visit to the Philippines and what do you look forward to when you return this March?
We had a great time, it was a short visit, but the fans were amazing, and I’m looking forward to that, you know, that’s the most important thing. They’re such a great, fu**kin’ bunch of people. It was the first time we ever played for them. I’m excited to be coming back and doing it again coz it’s been a little too long since the first time. (With additional interview by Edwin P. Sallan)