Something feels weird when I walk into Slash’s hotel suite, and it takes me a few minutes to realize what it is. It’s ... immaculate.
No empty bottles of JD, piles of drug paraphernalia, dusty mirrors or half-naked groupies passed out in the corner. There isn’t even any cigarette smoke. Instead, there’s a very buff Slash, replete in his trademark leather top hat and sunglasses, sampling from a tray of fresh fruit and mineral water. It’s 11:30 a.m. — early by rock star standards — but he’s already been to the gym.
“How you doin’, bro?” he asks with a firm handshake and flawless smile. “Please. Have a seat.” He takes a spot on a sofa and leans forward, obviously eager to talk about what he’s been up to.
I look around the room again. “So it’s true. You HAVE quit smoking. No drugs, no drinking and now no smoking? It wasn’t the Chilean earthquake that knocked the earth off its axis. I think it’s you. You have meddled with the primal forces of rock ’n’ roll, Mr. Slash.”
He smiles sort of sheepishly. “Yeah, it’s been ten month since I’ve had a cigarette, which is the same amount of time that I quit during Velvet Revolver. So far, it’s been good, although something could happen any second.”
On April 6, Slash will release his first solo album, a self-titled project featuring an impressive array of guests vocalist that include the usual suspects (Ozzy, Iggy, Lemmy), some unusual choices (Kid Rock, Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas) and even a couple of old Gunners (Izzy, Duff). And, of course, Dave Grohl shows up on drums on one song.
“I wrote the music with specific voices in mind. When the music was done, I contacted the people I thought should sing the songs. They wrote the lyrics and the vocal melodies and then we recorded.”
He’s quick to sing the praises of people like Fergie and Levine. “She’s a rock chick at heart and she’s better than a lot of dudes out there. Adam came in and did this great falsetto performance in one take. He’s amazing.”
Slash already has a band together (featuring a couple of Canadian players) and a tour is set to start next month. He’s pumped about it.
So no Gunners reunion, ever?
“Why?” he says. “What would be the point?”