Slash just bagged himself the gong for Best Album ast the Classic Rock awards thanks to his hard work on his latest offering, which includes a whole host of super singers. The forthcoming single from that album features the amazing Fergie, and after we almost fell off our chairs watching the video, we were rather excited to speak to Slash all about it.
Hello there Slash, how are you?
Yeah I’m good.
First of all, congratulations on picking up the Best Album gong at the Classic Rock awards yesterday! How are you feeling?
I was totally confused about the whole thing, I thought I was nominated so I went there expecting to be competing with other people and I didn’t know that it had already been decided and I was on the red carpet with Alice Cooper and he goes: “So I’m presenting you with an award tonight,” and I was like: “oh you let the cat out of the bag!” So, then at that point I knew I was winning something but I didn’t know which award, I thought I was nominated for two so I was totally confused.
When I went up to accept the award – I am terrible when it comes to public speaking – and I was trying to do an acceptance speech but I couldn’t breathe the whole time… it was pathetic, but that’s what happens to me when you take the guitar away from me and put me in front of a bunch of people. Which is why I don’t sing.
That’s amazing, I love it, not the not breathing thing though obviously, that’s pretty rubbish… anyway, this morning I watched the video for your forthcoming single with Fergie, Beautiful Dangerous. Wow, it’s rather saucy! What made you choose to release that one first?
We had a good time doing it, it was one of those days where we made it up as we went along and had fun with it, then once it was finished I thought it was pretty lightweight compared to how we shot it and now everybody is going: “Oh my god!” I wasn’t expecting that kind of response, but anyway I think it’s a cool video and like I said, it was fun to do.
Who came up with the video concept?
That was totally her idea, I mean c’mon I wouldn’t come up with that! It was her idea. I know Fergie and the Fergie I know is not the one you necessarily see in Black Eyed Peas. It is her but she doesn’t get to stretch out very much because she’s part of this group, but she’s quite a character so when she mentioned the video and mentioned the idea, I was totally ready to let her go with it and that’s what we did.
I love how at the end we don’t know what happens!
Well I dunno which ending did you see?
She’s got a knife…
That was just one of those things. That part wasn’t written, it just happened during the shoot, and the director edited it into the end, but we were thinking “That’s cool because we didn’t have an ending!” We were just going to hang out in a hotel room for all eternity! That was almost a surprise ending but at the same time you’re not exactly sure what happens…
You need a Beautiful Dangerous sequel!
So what made you choose that song from the album?
Well it was really different singles in different territories, actually. It’s a strange record because there’s a lot of songs that could be considered for singles but at the same time in different countries… when it come to singles, different songs appeal to different places and people, so we did different things for different places. This is really the third single.
The first one was: “The Sword” which was a real sort of rock single and it did it’s thing but it wasn’t a big commercial success or anything. We did another one for the song: “Back From Calais” which was another rock song – a straight ahead rock song – so we decided to go with the Fergie one as the third single and of course because I think Fergie has a sort of widespread pop audience.
Ah cool, good reasoning there… I listened to the album for the first time today and I’ve picked my favourites; I like Ghost, I Hold On and Starlight… Which one do you like best?
Out of those three?! Well, Starlight is the song I did with Miles Kennedy who actually sings on the tour and he’s great and I think I’m going to go in and actually make a full on record with him next, so Starlight is one of my favourites. It is really hard because I like all three of those songs and when its your own record it makes it harder! We usually go in the studio with a concept of making an entirely good record as opposed to one or two songs, so it’s hard to pick a favourite.
I’ll let you off then, but let’s look at it another way… I’m going make my mum a CD to make her smile and I’m going to put one of your tracks on there for her, so much should I pick?
Okay! Put Starlight on there because that’s probably going to be the next single.
Done, she’ll be air guitar-ing in no time. Now, the whole album is really good and you’ve chosen some amazing musicians to feature, but how did you choose which guys and girls you wanted to work with?
Well I wrote the music first and the music really dictated what style of singer I wanted for vocals. I would listen to a piece of music and go: “Oh man this would work for so-and-so.”
Believe it or not because I picked Adam Levine everyone was like: “Are you serious?!” He’s so different from my normal thing. Adam Levine has an amazing and personal RnB voice and it just sounded perfect!
I think I made the right choice with Fergie because I wanted a female rock singer and I knew she is amazing rock singer after I heard her sing three years ago at a one off gig and was like: “Wow,” I would never thought of her for a rock song based on the Black Eyed Peas, but I knew she had this great rock voice so when I wrote the music for “Beautiful Dangerous” she was the first singer that came to mind and thankfully she was really excited because she never really had an opportunity to show her rock charm.
Were there any singers that you wanted but couldn’t?
Well I mean pretty much everybody I went for I got, but there was a couple of situations where there was one song where we were ready to go and record but the record company wouldn’t let me release it! So obviously I couldn’t use that singer which was sort of a drag and then another couple of people were just scheduled in completely. Nobody was sort of like: “Oh fuck you” I didn’t have that kind of thing.
Obviously, who would say that?!
Oh I’m just saying….
So can we expect to see you in the UK performing anytime in the next year?
Yeah in the next year we’ll be over this summer, I want to do a proper UK tour. We’ve just done the festivals this summer.
Awesome, so which one if your favourite?
Download is always my favourite so that was the one I was most looking forward to and I was really happy because we got such a fantastic response but Glastonbury and Wireless but maybe it was because they were so eclectic and we’re like the token rock band for the Wireless festival, and Glastonbury too?
We were the only real hard rock group and we managed to pull it off and you can get into that situation where the crowd are just not buying it but it worked out really well.
You could just feel the love….
Finally, you’re such an inspiration to so many people of all different ages how does it feel to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time?
I don’t feel like that. I know people say that sometimes but, as a guitar player I know a lot of guitar players and I have a lot of heroes as well so I know when I am working as a player and I have a long way to go.
I take those kind of compliments as flattering but at the same time I’m still plucking away trying to get better at it and I was out last month with a bunch of phenomenal guitar players [at the Classic Rock awards] and it’s embarrassing to even be put in that category because these guys are really fucking amazing.
That is so humbling.
No, its true… I mean what can I say, it was nice to be recognised for my work but I am still working my way up. But definitely not at that point.
Aww bless that’s lovely, well, all the best of luck with everything and thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me and I look forward to seeing you in Manchester next year.
Oh no worries… Yeah probably August! See you later.