Record label

Slash is the first artist to be released on Gibson’s new label

Two years after Zoom became a mainstream method of communication, it’s clear that the assortment of books, artwork and trinkets that adorn the shelves in the background of a video call speaks volumes about the person appearing in front of them. Of course, some people opt for a background without a shelf, but unless you’re in a particularly captivating room or have some very special artwork or posters as a backdrop, whatever tells the people is that you are boring. Of course, there’s always the digital option of replacing your current frame with something more interesting…if you’re a coward.

As one might expect, slash has a wide variety of tchotchkes on the shelves behind him in his favorite Zoom configuration. Groupings of gifts, purchases and other small acquisitions undoubtedly tell different parts of the story of his long and illustrious life. Frankly, I have no idea what they were, since I was focusing on rock ‘n roll royalty sitting in front of them in a bandana (instead of their signature top hat) and signature sunglasses .

But after about 20 minutes of answering my questions, Slash leaned toward his camera, clearly looking at something on the screen in front of him.

“Is that a dinosaur menorah behind you?”

Of all the things Slash could notice on the rickety IKEA bookcase behind me (which also contains his autobiography, among other things), he had chosen the little golden T. rex with a slightly broken tail on the second shelf from the high.

“Oh yeah, my wife got it for me a few years ago,” I explained after the initial shock wore off.

” I have the same ! I got it as a Christmas present.

Besides having the same Menorahsaurus (what it’s actually called, according to the internet) that SPINDeputy Editor of Slash, Slash also has a brand new album dropping this Friday (February 11). As the first release on Gibson Records, 4 picks up where the guitar icon left off – bringing his signature sound to a variety of rock tracks with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

Check out the non-dinosaur menorah part of SPINSlash’s interview below.

SPIN: What happened to prepare this album for the first release on Gibson’s new label?

Slash: For the record itself, we recorded it with Dave Cobb in Nashville at RCA Studio A, which was a great experience. We had a blast there. We recorded the album live in the studio, which means all the material is in one room, just like we would in a hall. It was a first for me, and it really gave the record a certain type of excitement that you just don’t get with the way records are recorded these days. It was fun, and I think it’s a great rock and roll record.

Working with Gibson has been amazing. I mean, I had a relationship with Gibson for almost 30 years, but when I got the call that they wanted to put this record out as their first release on their new label, it was a big surprise. I had no idea they even had a label, but it was almost too perfect to be true. It seemed like such an obvious thing.

You have now been playing with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators for longer than any other incarnation of any other band without taking a significant break. How has this relationship developed over the years?

When it started, it was initially just to support the solo record I did in 2010. I worked with Myles on that record, and I asked him if he wanted to do this tour that I was doing for kinda cover my entire catalog. He’s got a great range and variety of styles he’s capable of, so he’s signed on to do it. Then I met Brent Fitz, and I asked him to play drums. He introduced me to Todd Kerns, and we just had this really natural instant chemistry. It’s really kept us going all this time on a personal level, and on a professional level, it’s just very, very easy. We get along great, and all we want to do as individuals and as a collective is just go out and play. There is absolutely nothing else to it. Everyone agrees to do the work that it takes to be able to facilitate this.

What does the creative process look like for you these days when working on “solo” material like this with the band?

There really isn’t a fixed thing. This is going to sound corny, but I really love what I do. I always have a guitar with me. I’m always trying to come up with new ideas based purely on the game, and every time I come up with something, I save it down to the minute in my phone. This technology was a real convenience because back then it was too much of a pain to set up to record every time you had an idea. With the phone, I’m always compiling new things. I write a lot on the road, which is a bit different from the old days. I used to remember nothing of what I wrote if I wrote on the road. Usually what happens is I come up with a riff and then the next day I bring it to soundcheck while we’re on tour and start working on an idea at soundcheck. Many ideas on this record are rooted in this process. During the pandemic, I wrote and recorded demos for this record a lot from old stuff, but I also wrote new stuff for this record as well.

Outside of your own music, you have to perform both live and in the studio with an insane number of legendary artists. Is there anyone else on your to-do list that you would like to play with?

There’s a ton of people I’d love to be able to work with, but the way it happens is I bump into people on the way. We end up having a conversation, and the conversation comes down to jamming something or writing or whatever. All of them are really born out of these spontaneous little social things that come out of nowhere. There’s never a lot of pre-planning. Sometimes I get called in to do things, but most of the time it’s just occasional and by chance. In the future, I don’t know what I might end up doing. Actually, I just recorded something with Fear. It was really exciting for me, because in LA in the late 70s, Fear was like my favorite LA punk band of all time. They do a cover album, so they called me, knowing that I’m a big fan of Fear. Duff [McKagan] is on it too. I don’t know if I’m letting the cat out of the bag too early, because it’s probably meant to be a surprise, but I don’t. They didn’t tell me anything.

Besides releasing your new album, you feel like you’ve had more Les Paul signings with Gibson than pretty much anyone else. How does it feel to now have a full line of guitars with your name on them?

It’s an honor for me, because when I first picked up the guitar, my first favorite electric guitar was a Les Paul copy. I’ve learned a lot about gear and all that stuff over the years – and I’ve done trial and error with a lot of different guitars – but the guitar I’ve always been most familiar with ease is a Les Paul. When I first came out, I was just a Les Paul guy, and I never thought about it too much. Then sometime around 1990 I went to a NAMM show in Chicago and they had this line of Les Pauls with a faded sunburst with no pickup covers or pickguards – just the way I set up my guitars. So I talked to the guy, and he was like, “Oh, well, you know, it’s kind of a new look that we’re trying with these guitars.” It was as if they finally had me. So they finally made me a personal Slash model based on my specs with my name on it, but there were only three of them and they weren’t commercially available. The years pass, and when Velvet Revolver [started] That’s when we first made a commercially available Custom Shop model Slash guitar. It’s just sort of snowballed since then with different variations of Les Pauls with different specs that I would pick and choose, and different finishes and so on. I just released my first Gibson USA Les Paul line, because Gibson got weird for a few years, so I was only working with the Custom Shop. Now that they have new management and the company is reborn, I have finally released an American model. I’m also working on new ideas for other guitars with them. It’s great, because I always think about it. I can call them up and say, “Hey, what about that? How about that?” I probably drive them crazy.

You’ve always maintained a level of consistency in your work, while generally staying out of the headlines for the wrong reasons…

I had my moments. [Laughs.] But for the most part, I’ve always been focused on music and acting, touring, recording and all the other bullshit. I don’t like drawing attention to myself outside of the game. I’m not really outgoing publicly, and I don’t want that attention, I don’t want to be recognized for doing anything other than playing guitar in a band . We are in a culture where everyone is looking for attention. Everyone wants to be on TV. Everyone wants to be big on social media, influence influencers and be as present and visible as possible. I’m kind of the opposite. I just want to be able to release cool music and then go out and play. If you want to show up, that’s great. But I don’t want to try to get people to notice me while I’m doing something else.

Completely unrelated to everything else, but it’s been just over 10 years since South Park revealed to the world that you don’t really exist. i know you are a South Park fan, so what was it like making an appearance there?

Well, I never really saw the episode, because I don’t like watching anything I’m into, so I never looked for it. I am aware of that, of course. I’m a huge animation fan. I like cartoons and animation in general, and I like South Park. So when I heard about this, it was a huge honor – especially because they didn’t destroy me like they did so many other people. I’ve watched the show for years, so it’s nice to be immortalized in some kind of tongue-in-cheek animation for me. It’s really cool.

Is there anything else on your radar for the near future that you would like people to know?

I’m just excited for the record to finally come out, because we recorded it in April of last year. We had to wait until now because we had all these scheduling conflicts and so on. We’re touring the US in support of it, and then I sent Guns N’ Roses on the road for all sorts of makeup tours for 2020 in Europe, Australia, Asia and South America. Then the Conspirators are back in early 2023 for a tour, so the next two years are going to be very busy.