Slash Talks ‘Not In This Lifetime… Tour’, Returning To China And California Wildfire Destruction: Exclusive Interview
British-American rock and roll legend Slash, recently spoke exclusively with Billboard Radio China during the Asian swing of his extensive world tour with Guns N’ Roses. Slash shot to fame as the lead guitarist of the hugely successful hard rock band Guns N’ Roses during the late 80’s and early 90’s, during which time he established himself as a living legend of rock and roll and guitar god. Despite taking a hiatus from performing with GNR, Slash remained active, co-founding the group Velvet Revolver before releasing four solo albums, including three with his band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. In 2016, Slash re-joined the band that made him a household name.
Approaching the finale of the hugely successful Not in This Lifetime…Tour, which began on April 1, 2016 and has grossed nearly 500 million USD, Slash reflected on what has gotten him to where he is, and the key to his personal success. He harks back to childhood when he first picked up a guitar and is humbled by his achievements, crediting his unwillingness “to take no for an answer from that day forward,” and the motivation to simply better himself, as the attribute that drove him to succeed.
“I didn’t have aspirations to get where I am at at this moment, it was just to keep playing, to keep getting better, to keep working on the next gig and…eventually the time comes when you get to make a record,” he explains, “and it was just sort of, putting one foot in front of the other the whole time and just keeping it moving and going forward, and always sort of striving to do, the next best move you could possibly make and persevering…I guess tenacious would be a good word for it. And that’s the long and short of it.”
This passion to continue to be a part of the voice of hard rock has brought him back to the band that made him a celebrity and one of the few individuals recognizable by a single moniker. In describing the reunion of the band and the Not in This Lifetime…Tour, Slash raves that, “It been one of the most amazing professional experiences of my career,” before adding that after being apart for nearly 23 years, the reunion “has been so well received,” and a very humbling experience.
In conjunction with his Guns N’ Roses reunion, Slash has continued to enjoy an extremely successful solo career which has seen the release of four solo albums to date. Three of these albums, including his newest Living the Dream which was released in September, feature Slash’s band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. In fact, the group was working on the album when the opportunity for Slash to rejoin GNR for a limited run snowballed into nearly two years of touring, putting that record on hold until a brief break in early 2018 allowed the band to complete it. Slash describes the record’s hectic completion by saying they basically just, “hunkered down and…started recording and literally finished mastering the record on my way to GNR rehearsal for the next leg of that tour.” He describes the record as “a straight-ahead rock and roll record, it’s very live and very raw.”
The band, comprised of Myles Kennedy, Todd Kearns, Frank Sidoris, and Brent Fitz, will embark on an International tour beginning in January and will see China play host to 2 of the tour’s stops, Beijing on January 20th and Shanghai January 22nd. The tour will feature the album’s debut single “Driving Rain,” which Slash describes as a “mid-tempo, catchy and accessible song with a cool melody.”
Regardless of where in the world touring takes Slash though, home is never far from his heart and his mind, especially recently. Wildfires continue to ravage the Los Angeles area Slash calls home. He says that although his house is in close proximity to the fires, it is still far enough away that it is not currently under threat.
While mother nature has up until now spared his house, the same can’t be said for many of his friends whom have either been displaced, evacuated, or lost their homes. In the meantime, he is bracing himself for what he will encounter when he does return home saying, “it will be a shock for me to go and physically be there when I go back in December and realize that some of these places that I am so familiar with are no longer there.”
He also laments the dichotomy of emotions he’s feeling: the thrill of being on the road doing what he loves coupled with the sense of helplessness not being at home. “Watching it while its’ on the news and it being so close to home, it’s a weird kind of like helpless feeling that you have while you watch this thing happening,” he says before continuing with, “and then…you’ve got a gig in a couple of minutes and shift gears and you go out and play and you forget all about it and you’re out there for 3 hours…and you come back after the show and you turn the news on and another neighbourhood just went up in flames.”
Listen to the full radio interview which hosted by Doomkitty on Billboard Radio China. Billboard Radio Chengdu FM 105.1 will air the full interview at Greater Chengdu on Wednesday (Dec. 12) at 10:30 (Beijing Time) and rebroadcast on the same day at 14:00 and 19:30 (Beijing Time).
Author: Rikki Plante
Photo credit Kennevia Photography