Slash: The Ayatollah of Rock N' Rolla


By Eric Mackinnon

eric@newrocktimes.com


The famous saying dictates that the only things certain in life are death and taxes.

Famous words penned by Daniel Defoe but then he had never heard Slash pick up a six string.

For if he had..... he would instead have written that the only three certainties in life were death, taxes and the ability for Saul Hudson to infect your soul with his musical mastery.

Slash is the Ayatollah of Rock n Rolla, the guru of guitar and the sultan of the strings.

He belongs to the very rare breed of musician that if you were to hear just two or three notes it would be instantly recognisable as his work.

Riffs dripping and oozing in bluesy, greasy melodies, Slash plays the most technical of chord combinations and riffs almost effortlessly and with remarkable fluidity yet always being unmistakably recognisable.

Most famous as one of the classic members of the 'Most Dangerous Band in the World' and a foundation stone of Guns N' Roses a band he helped catapult towards the mantle of the biggest band in the world in the early '90s before a 22-year-gap before he rejoined the band in 2016.

Axl himself famously dubbed Slash 'The Beast' – as he hailed his guitar skills from the stage during Guns N' Roses 'Live At The Ritz' in 1988 as he said: “In a world he that he did not create, but he will go though as if it was his own making: half man, half beast … I’m not sure what it is, but whatever it is, it’s weird and it’s pissed off and it calls itself Slash.”

From the punky, spitfire chops of 'Welcome To The Jungle,' or the hip-swinging, foot-tapping melody and dancing fingers of 'Sweet Child O' Mine,' the technical brilliance and frenetic fingers dancing up the fretboard in the classic 'Estranged,' or the over the top grandiose, grand canyon filling solo from November Rain - Slash has it all in his locker.

A well documented and bitter fall out with GNR mainman Axl Rose did little to dim the spotlight on the top-hatted axeman who continued to see his star soar with guest appearances for the likes of Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Lenny Kravitz, Ray Charles, Rihanna, The Who and countless more.

He has refused to conform to any genre, or be restricted to any style of musician, he has worked with who he wants to, and he has always been in huge demand. A rock guitarist who transcended the Sunset Strip scene and who has become a global icon and the world’s most famous and beloved guitarist.

Side projects with Slash's Snakepit followed his time with Guns before Velvet Revolver – where he teamed with ex-GNR band mates Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum – saw Slash back at the top of the rock n' roll mountain.

A further solo project evolved into a band with Myles Kennedy who continue to tour and churn out albums regularly although now they are working around the mega monster touring machine of Guns N' Roses – now recognised as the world's biggest grossing tour which has literally circled the globe more than once.

His touring with Guns will have set Slash up financially for life – if he wasn't already – but while Guns pay the bills and supply the stacks of green – it is his band with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators which allow him to express his creativity.

Their third album 'Living The Dream' dropped just a few short weeks ago and it delivers a meaty delightful dozen track slab of arena-rock anthems.

He is probably the busiest musician in the world. He is a man who doesn't do downtime. In addition to juggling the GNR juggernaut with writing and recording AND touring with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, our guitar hero has also dabbled with producing horror movies.

He is one-man whirlwind, an unstoppable rock n' roll tsunami. A Sunset Strip swaggering, global conquering, generation defining, guitarist who with unerring accuracy and regulatory still to this day plugs in his amp and unleashes up to a three hour set of rock n' roll royalty on a sell-out crowds across Mother Earth.

Slash we salute you, we adore you and mostly….we are in awe of you and your generation moulding magic on your trusty Les Paul.