Aviator shades, tight black ringlets and a foot-high top hat?
It’s gotta be Slash.
Having founded legendary rock acts such as Guns N’ Roses (GNR) and Velvet Revolver — not to mention penning some of the genre’s most enduring tunes — guitarist Saul “Slash” Hudson is an unmistakable fixture in the annals of pop culture.
Still, while discussing the release of his 14-track eponymous solo effort, Hudson admits that even after a quarter-century in the spotlight, he’s still a wreck when the curtain rises.
“I have butterflies every time I get on stage, man,” he smiles sincerely, noting that such tension actually enhances his performances. “That kind of anticipation that makes you edgy; give it everything which is good, ’cause I think if (playing live) was like going to the bathroom for me, it’d be pretty boring.”
Such apprehension is exactly what Hudson reveals culling inspiration from when creating his namesake record. Striving to break out of familiar confines without alienating fans, the album features an amalgam of his own inimitable sound/style and the voices of artists he felt best suited the riffs at hand regardless of background. End results range from the obvious (appearances by The Cult’s Ian Astbury, Iggy Pop and Ozzy Osbourne) to surprising encounters with Black Eyed Peas chanteuse Fergie, members of Maroon 5, Avenged Sevenfold and Kid Rock.
“If I made a wish list of singers, it would be endless. I just wrote the music and thought about who would sound great singing on it. A lot of people wondered how the hell it was gonna work,” he declares, confessing that he was one of them until hearing the final product. “It goes into certain directions but you don’t get jerked into any particular style. I’m not forcing you to digest something you don’t want to — I hope.”
Then again, seeing as free lyrical reign was granted to each track’s respective singer, Hudson realizes that maybe he is unwittingly imposing certain viewpoints. He doesn’t mind though, so long as they’re not offensive. To that extent, he notes finding a deep connection with Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale on By The Sword. Or so he thinks.
“I guess someone could have written something like when I had to deal with (racially-tinged GNR track) One In A Million back in the day and I would’ve been, ‘Whoa!’ But everybody did their own thing and I could relate to most of them personally, like Andrew’s lyrics. (They’re) about carrying the torch for rock ’n’ roll; dropping the bullshit and peripheral crap and forging forward for rock ’n’ roll. That’s what being myself is all about.”
“Then again,” he laughs, “I never talked to Andrew and I don’t even know if that’s what the song means…but that’s what it means to me and that’s all that really matters, right?”