Slash: “Rock And Roll Is Starting To Show Its Teeth Right Now”

Saul Hudson, known to a legion of fans whose devotion often borders on zealotry as Slash, is many things, but a pessimist isn’t one of them. He’s a multi-platinum-selling recording artist, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a hard rock icon, and one of the greatest living exponents of the electric guitar, but he’s no doomsday soothsayer.

“I don’t like to sit there and criticise everything and point fingers and get into all that, because these are certain things that in some way, shape or form have been going on for a long time,” he explains in a laid-back yet thoughtful tone.

“We go through periods where things get watered down and there’s a lack of fresh ideas and everybody’s trying to make a buck and forgetting about any kind of intelligent creative input. And then somebody, a great artist, will come along and shake the whole thing up and inspire it. And then it’ll go through the whole cycle again.”

While pop-culture critics continue to pen bleak jeremiads as the sky supposedly falls around them, one of the most famous emblems of that very culture is taking it easy. “It always recovers,” he says. “As long as people feel inspired to create something great that’s different to what everybody else is doing, then usually it inspires a lot of other people to do something original that’s really good as well.”

Watch: Slash – World On Fire (Official Lyric Video)

That said, he’s not blind. “Obviously, if you were to look at what makes the music business happen, what it’s about these days, it’s become so much Top 40,” he admits. “Every single music genre has to fit into the Top 40 mould or it ceases to exist, as far as [the industry is] concerned.” And yet, he’s pinning his hopes on the one genre that everyone in the business has forgotten about.

“Rock and roll is definitely one of those genres that’s not part of the big industry criteria. There’s a lot of great bands and a lot of great music and a lot of great rock and roll and it’s really starting to show its teeth right now,” he insists. “And a lot of it has to do with that [us and them] attitude. It’s like survival of the fittest. It’s really us against the industry and you have to do it on your own.”

For now, Slash is too busy working on his own great rock and roll to bother worrying about how well we’re recovering from our latest period of being watered down. His latest album, World on Fire, is his third with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, his band of five years. As he explains, it’s still possible to create relevant, powerful rock and roll.

“I had some friends in Atlanta, not Atlanta, Atlantic City, oh, what am I talking about? In Florida! [laughs] In Tampa, is what it is. Anyway, I spent some time with their son, who was sick, and he was just a really big fan and somehow we got connected. And he was a guitar player, you know, like 17 years old and a really spirited guy, but had terminal cancer.”

“So I was with him a few times before he passed on and I’ve been tight with his family ever since, so when they heard [Bent to Fly] it completely reminded them of, his name was Heath, and I was really taken aback,” he recounts.

“That song’s always been a coming of age song, a leaving the nest song. And when they saw it in more the spiritual sense of losing their boy the way that they did, it was a very, very poignant moment and changed my whole outlook of the song.”

Watch: Slash feat Myles Kennedy – Bent To Fly at Planet Rock Live Session

Slash and his band will soon be taking the new record on the road Down Under for his second stint at Soundwave, and he says fans can expect some one-on-one time with the guitar god. “There definitely will be sideshows. I don’t know specifically the venues or any of that yet, but I will… definitely, definitely sideshows. That’s one of the great things about Soundwave.”

When we explain that festival promoter AJ Maddah admitted he couldn’t keep the rocker festival-exclusive even if he wanted to – “You can’t keep that guy down! Even if it does end up becoming festival only, he’ll turn up at some small club!” – Slash just laughs. “Yeah, that would be me, right? No, but there’s definitely some specific venues that we’re gonna be playing, but I just don’t know the names of them yet.”

Having been bombarded with Guns N’ Roses reunion questions for the better part of two decades, it was finally time to see who the top-hatted one would himself like to see reunite. “Fortunately, the band that I would like to see reunite, reunite on occasion,” he explains.

“That’s Rage Against The Machine, I think that’s my all time favourite band since the ’90s. The best band that came along. And I’ve actually seen them live since they broke up, fucking phenomenal live band.” No doubt, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators will be equally phenomenal at Soundwave.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators’ latest album, ‘World on Fire’, is available now. They will join Slipknot, Soundgarden, and more at Soundwave 2015 – details below.

Listen: Slash feat Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – 30 Years To Life Teaser

Soundwave Festival 2015

Saturday, 21st February & Sunday, 22nd February 2015
Bonython Park, Adelaide, South Australia
Tickets: Soundwave

Saturday, 21st February & Sunday, 22nd February 2015
Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Victoria
Tickets: Soundwave

Saturday, 28th February & Sunday, 1st March 2015
Olympic Park, Sydney, New South Wales
Tickets: Soundwave

Saturday, 28th February & Sunday, 1st March 2015
RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane, Queensland
Tickets: Soundwave

Lineup – Day One

Adelaide – Saturday, 21st February, 2015
Melbourne – Sunday, 22nd February, 2015
Sydney – Saturday, 28th February, 2015
Brisbane – Sunday, 1st March, 2015

Faith No More
Lamb Of God
Gerard Way
New Found Glory
Fear Factory
Hollywood Undead
The Aquabats
Area 7
Crown The Empire
The Interrupters
Icon For Hire
Emily’s Army
Patent Pending
The Bennies
The Color Morale
Nothing More
Ne Obliviscaris
The Treatment

Lineup – Day Two

Melbourne – Saturday, 21st February, 2015
Adelaide – Sunday, 22nd February, 2015
Brisbane – Saturday, 28th February, 2015
Sydney – Sunday, 1st March, 2015

Marilyn Manson
Fall Out Boy
Judas Priest
All Time Low
Papa Roach
Of Mice & Men
Escape The Fate
Tonight Alive
Butcher Babies
The Swellers
King 810
This Wild Life

The Wonder Years

+ more to be announced!

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