When Guns N' Roses get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14th, nobody knows exactly what else will happen – including Slash. "This is a subject I'm dead sick of talking about," the guitarist says. "Everyone has been asking me what's going to happen, and they know as much as I do. I feel you're totally obligated to be present and I would love to fucking play, but it's just something that's not gonna happen for whatever reason."
Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler are all committed to going to the Cleveland ceremony, but it's unclear whether guitarist Izzy Stradlin or Axl Rose will be present. One sticking point for Axl may be the presence of Slash, whom he called a "cancer" in 2009.
"He hates my guts," says Slash. "It's over a lot of different stuff; I don't even know. There's just no communication between us. I talk to Duff and Steven, but when it comes to old Guns N' Roses, there really isn't anybody that makes decisions."
Slash recently patched up his troubles with former Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland, to the point where the group was able to reform for a four-song set at a Los Angeles charity concert in January. "It was great to see Scott," says Slash. "I hadn't seen him in a while. He sang great, and afterwards we all shook hands and took off."
Besides that one-off show, Velvet Revolver have been completely inactive since Scott Weiland quit in 2008. "We've been looking for singers and we talk on a regular basis," says Slash. "Every so often, Duff and I get together behind the scenes, reconvene and audition people and so on. So it's still active."
The rehearsals have been conducted largely in secret, though the fact that they considered Slipsknot's Corey Taylor did leak to the press. "There was a rehearsal with Corey," says Slash. "It was a songwriting session and nothing really came of it. It's more my fault than anybody's because I was like, 'I don't know if this is the right thing.' Corey is obviously a fucking awesome frontman and he's a great singer, but it's just a different style than what I had in mind for Velvet. I was the odd man out on that one."
In the meantime, Slash is focused on his new solo album Apocalyptic Love, which hits shelves on May 22nd. Unlike his 2010 debut Slash, which was recorded with a rotating cast of all-star singers, Alter Bridge's Myles Kennedy sings on every track on the LP. They first met just a few years ago, when Kennedy was recruited to sing a track on Slash. The guitarist called him up when he learned that Kennedy had auditioned to sing on Led Zeppelin's planned (but ultimately aborted) 2008 tour. "I was like, 'This guy's gotta be fucking good,'" says Slash. "Jimmy Page was calling him up!"
In 2010, Slash went on a grueling world tour with Kennedy, bassist Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz. "I didn't know any of them at the time," says Slash. "It turned out to be this one in a million thing. They were one of the most bitching rock and roll bands and groups of musicians that I'd ever worked with. So I thought, 'Fuck, if I'm gonna make another record, I'll just do it with these guys.' And that's what happened." The group wrote the songs for Apocalyptic Love during downtime from the tour. "If I had any ideas, I would record them in the middle of the night in my hotel room or bus," says Slash. "I would e-mail them to Myles, and either in sound check or in the dressing room or whatever, we'd start honing in on some of these ideas. By the end of the tour we'd have, like, 20 songs." They recorded the album in late 2011 and early this year, after Kennedy finished up a tour with Alter Bridge. "He's got a great work ethic," says Slash. "He doesn't know what to do with himself when he's not busy."
The group kicks off an American tour this May, and if their March 23rd warm-up show in Toronto was any indication, expect a lot of Guns N' Roses classics mixed in with solo material and cuts from Velvet Revolver and Slash's Snakepit. "There's a lot of Guns stuff that has so many lyrics per measure that it's not worth getting into," says Slash. "Some stuff is very signature Guns, to the point where I don't want to go there. We know 'Welcome To The Jungle,' we played it before, but I don't feel comfortable doing it. But there's other Guns standards that I really feel at ease playing every night. It's the same with Velvet Revolver."
After going through extremely tumultuous breakups with Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver, Slash is thrilled to be in a group that functions peacefully. "I didn't know it could be as easy as this, because it just really hadn't ever been like that for me," says Slash. "The inspiration for me to play and go out and kick ass every night is very strong with these guys. That's all anybody wants to do. So the hassles of the road are totally tolerable when there's not a lot of unnecessary baggage that we have to navigate every fucking day."
- Scott Weiland
- Velvet Revolver