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Slash (musician)

Saul Hudson (born 23 July 1965), more widely known by his stage name Slash, is an English-African American guitarist best known as the former lead guitarist of Guns N' Roses and as the current lead guitarist of Velvet Revolver.

Biography

Early life

Saul Hudson was born on July 23 1965 in Stoke On Trent, England to a white, English father and African American mother. Slash's mother, Ola Hudson, worked as a costume designer for David Bowie, and his father was an artist who contributed live ensembles for famous musicians including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Slash was raised in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, until the age of 11, when his parents relocated the family to Los Angeles, California in the mid-1970s. His parents separated and he lived primarily with his mother. He was given the nickname "Slash" by family friend Seymour Cassel because he "was always in a hurry, zipping around from one thing to another.

After deciding to form a band with friend Steven Adler, Slash decided to pick up the bass guitar. This is due to the fact that Steven had declared himself lead guitarist. Slash stopped in at Fairfax Music School and told the receptionist he wanted to play the bass, and at that time met his teacher Robert Wolin. Robert told him to learn he would need a bass of his own. Slash went home and asked his grandmother and was given a worn-out, single stringed flamenco guitar. After hearing Robert play "Brown Sugar" by ear Slash realized that the guitar was his calling. He subsequently dropped out of Crespi Carmelite High School to focus on music. In a Rolling Stone magazine article, he remarked:

In 1983, Slash formed the band Road Crew with childhood friend Steven Adler. He placed an advertisement in a newspaper for a bassist, and received a response from Duff McKagan.

When Road Crew disbanded, Slash joined a local band known as Black Sheep. Headed by Willie Bass, the band shared an agent with another new group known as Hollywood Rose. In 1984, both bands opened for Christian metal band Stryper. After the show, Slash and lead singer Axl Rose were introduced to one another by a friend. The two quickly became friends, and several months later, Slash and Steven Adler were invited to join with Axl Rose, Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin as the band, Guns N' Roses.

Guns N' Roses

Guns N' Roses toured bars and opened for larger acts throughout 1985 and 1986. It was during this period that they wrote most of their classic material, including Welcome to the Jungle, Sweet Child o' Mine, and Paradise City. During this time, they were scouted by several major record labels, and signed with Geffen. From the start, they spent half of their advance on clothes, and the other half on alcohol and drugs. It was during this period that the "Most Dangerous Band In The World" tag was first attached to them. In 1988, Slash remarked:

With 15 million copies sold in the United States, their album Appetite for Destruction is the second highest selling debut album of all time, behind Boston's debut. By 1988, Guns N' Roses scored its first #1 hit with Sweet Child o' Mine, a song spearheaded by Slash's riff and guitar solo.

In 1988, Guns N' Roses released G N' R Lies. Though this album only had eight tracks (four of which had already been released), it sold over 5 million copies. After a four year hiatus, Guns N' Roses returned with Use Your Illusion discs. The albums indicated a change in musical direction for Guns N' Roses, including more artistic and dramatic songs like "November Rain" and "Estranged". As Rose expressed a desire to pursue more progressive genres, Slash and McKagan fought to maintain their traditional sound as a punk/blues-based hard rock band. Slash later cited this issue as a key component to his inability to work with Rose on any creative level.

In 1991, the band released Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. In 1991, Guns N' Roses embarked on the 28-month long Use Your Illusion Tour, to promote their new albums. Upon completion of the tour, Slash was naturalized, becoming an American citizen.

In the mid-'90s, Slash wrote several songs for what would have become Guns N' Roses' follow up album to Use Your Illusion I and II. Rose rejected the material, leading Slash to form Slash's Snakepit, a side-project that saw support from Matt Sorum, Gilby Clarke, Dizzy Reed, Mike Inez, and Eric Dover. The band recorded Slash's material and released It's Five O'Clock Somewhere in 1995. Critically, the album was praised for ignoring the conventions of grunge and alternative music. It also fared well on the charts, eventually selling over 1.2 million copies in the United States with little promotion from Geffen Records.

In an attempt to salvage Guns N' Roses, Zakk Wylde, initially of Ozzy Osbourne fame in the late eighties and early nineties, was invited to jam with the band. But eventually both men agreed that the Guns N' Roses did not have space for two lead guitarists, although they remain good friends to this day.

After Guns N' Roses

After his departure from Guns N' Roses, Slash focused on his side-project, The Snakepit, playing a few tour dates before disbanding the group in 1998. Over the next decade, Slash became an in-demand session musician, recording music with the likes of Alice Cooper, Sammy Hagar, Insane Clown Posse, Ronnie Wood, Bad Company, Cheap Trick, Ray Charles,and Stevie Wonder. In 1990, Slash was contacted by Michael Jackson on his album, Dangerous. He played guitar on two hit singles, "Black Or White"(song intro) and "Give In to Me", touring with Jackson in some special occasions during the Dangerous World Tour, as well as being featured on videos for the singles. In 1995, he appeared on stage with Jackson for the MTV Video Music Awards. Slash also played guitar in "D.S.", a controversial song from the 1995 HIStory album. In 2001, Slash once again collaborated with Jackson, on the Invincible track "Privacy". In addition that year, he joined Jackson on stage at the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special playing guitar while Jackson performed his hit songs, "Black Or White" and "Beat It".

In 1995, Quentin Tarantino asked Slash to contribute some songs to the soundtrack of his adaptation of the film Jackie Brown. Several Snakepit compositions can be heard throughout the film. In 1996, Slash collaborated with Marta Sánchez to record the flamenco-inspired song, "Obsession-Confession" for the Curdled soundtrack. The song was received well by Smooth Jazz radio stations. Later that year, Slash also played live with Alice Cooper at Sammy Hagar's club Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The show was recorded and released the following year as A Fistful of Alice.

In 1997, Slash (alongside the late Ol' Dirty Bastard and hit alternative rock band Fishbone) appeared on BLACKstreet's rock remix version of their hit single "Fix". In 2003, he participated in the Yardbirds' comeback record Birdland, released on the Favored Nations label. He played lead guitar in the track "Over, Under, Sideways, Down." In early 2003, Slash also made an appearance at a rally to protest the coming War in Iraq called "Peace on the Beach", performing the song "Imagine" by John Lennon. Ed Kowalczyk provided vocals during this performance.

In 2000, he chose to regroup Slash's Snakepit to release his second solo effort, titled Ain't Life Grand. The album did well on the charts, reaching platinum status. To promote it further, Slash embarked on an extensive world tour with AC/DC in the summer of 2000.

In 2002, he reunited with Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum for a benefit/tribute concert for Randy Castillo. Realizing they still had the chemistry of their days in Guns N' Roses, they decided to form a new band together. The band that featured Slash, McKagan, and Sorum also featured former Buckcherry members Keith Nelson and Josh Todd. Later Duff put out a statement that Josh and Keith didn't quite fit with the band, and they added Dave Kushner as rhythm guitar and, after a long search, Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland. In 2006, Slash performed a guest spot on keyboardist Derek Sherinian's solo album Blood of the Snake covering the 1970 Mungo Jerry hit single "In the Summertime", also featuring Billy Idol on vocals. A video was also made featuring Slash, Billy, and Derek for this song.

Velvet Revolver and future endeavors

Velvet Revolver began as "The Project", a venture by Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum to find a new lead singer. On rhythm guitar, they initially worked with Izzy Stradlin, and they were offered to open for The Rolling Stones but Slash, Duff and Matt wanted to have a lead singer; after this Izzy became less involved. They would find their second guitarist in the form of Dave Kushner, who had previously played with McKagan in "Loaded" prior to this project. For many months, the four of them listened to demo tapes of potential lead singers, a monotonous process (documented by VH1). After many months, Slash and the others were almost ready to give up. However, Stone Temple Pilots had recently imploded, allowing lead singer Scott Weiland to volunteer to record a song with the band. Realizing there was chemistry between each member, Weiland officially joined the band in 2003.

Velvet Revolver played several concerts in the summer of that year and released their first single, "Set Me Free" as part of the soundtrack for The Hulk. In June 2004, they released their first studio album, Contraband. A 19-month long tour ensued, as the album went double platinum and re-established Slash as a mainstream performer. After the tour concluded, he and his bandmates took a lengthy break before beginning work on their second album. In July 2007, Velvet Revolver released the critically acclaimed Libertad, a follow-up to their multi-platinum debut. Following their second studio album, Velvet Revolver embarked on another fantastic tour. Fans travelled all over the globe to see their favourite band. But, fans were shocked when Scott Weiland (lead vocalist) announced to their audience at their Glasgow gig that they 'were watching something special,' 'the band's last ever tour.' The remaining bandmates knew nothing of this so called 'last tour.' This announcement was one of the final straws in the bands reasons to release Scott from his position. On 1st April 2008, Scott Weiland officially split from Velvet Revolver. Even though they are currently without a singer, Velvet Revolver are planning a third album and are currently undergoing auditions for a new vocalist.

On May 31, 2006, Slash was joined by Rob Zombie on vocals, another former Guns and Roses axeman Gilby Clarke on rhythm guitar, Scott Ian of Anthrax on bass, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee on drums, and surprise guest Ace Frehley of Kiss for a rendition of God of Thunder. The occasion was a one-time supergroup tribute to Kiss for the VH1 Rock Honors Award Show.

Slash is a playable character in the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, and his likeness appears on the game cover. Slash did motion capture with RedOctane to record his movements for the game. Beating Slash in a one-on-one competition (playing an original composition he recorded solely for the game), unlocks him as a playable character. Beating him in this challenge leads to the player and Slash playing the master track of "Welcome to the Jungle" as an encore song.

In 2007, Slash performed with Paulina Rubio on the hit Latin single "Nada Puede Cambiarme".

On March 12, 2007. Slash and Velvet Revolver paid tribute to Van Halen by inducting the band into the Rock N' Roll hall of fame. The band also played two covers.

Slash appears on the cover of Guitar World magazine for their July 2007 issue, the "20 year salute to Appetite for Destruction". The title is "The Cat In The Hat Is Back" and it pictures him holding his guitar with a snake crawling up the neck.

Slash made numerous contributions to The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx, published September 18th, 2007. He also played guitar with them at Crüe Fest.

An autobiography titled simply Slash was published on October 30th, 2007. It was co-written with Anthony Bozza. Slash will also be appearing in the HBO book and Documentary The Black List vol.1, he can be seen in a portrait on the cover of the book.

It was announced by Kerrang! Magazine that Slash was going to appear on Ace Frehley's next solo album.

Slash has planned to record a solo album after the third Velvet Revolver album, but after the departure of singer Scott Weiland and time-consuming searches for a new singer for the band, he decided to record a solo album first. On September 30, 2008, he began recording demos for the upcoming album. Slash was quoted saying that the work alone in the studio on the solo album is "cathartic", and that he's really enjoying the work alone in the studio. He also said he plans to bring a different singer for each song on the album, and that he has a list of guests to appear on the album, and most of them are already commited, though he refused to tell who are those guests. Rumored singers for the project include Slash's close friends Lenny Kravitz, Sebastian Bach, Alice Cooper and Vince Neil as well as his past Guns N' Roses pals, Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan.

Honors

Slash won the "Best Guitarist" prize in the 2005 Esky Music Awards in Esquire magazine. A write-up in the magazine announced Slash's win read as follows:
"He's who we see ourselves as every time we strap on an air guitar. The top hat. The hair. The dangling cigarette. The near-death experiences. He'll always be Slash of Guns N' Roses to us, but we also congratulate him for beating the comeback odds with a surprisingly legitimate and vital outfit, Velvet Revolver.

Slash accepting the award has issued the following statement:

"This is my first guitarist award ever. It's very humbling. I'd like to thank my parents, and I'd also like to thank everyone I've ever fucking worked with in the music business from the point I started at up until now — the bands I've been in, the sessions I've done, and the artists I've worked with. My wife is at least half of the reason I'm still walking. I'd also like to thank Robert Wolin; he got me to switch from bass to guitar. Thank you.

In January 2007, Slash was honored with a star on the Rock Walk of Fame; his name being placed alongside those of Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix.

In 2007, Slash was awarded the coveted title of "Riff Lord" during the fourth annual Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards.

Slash was selected to perform "Hey Joe", a signature song of the late Jimi Hendrix in a posthumous tribute at the UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Steve Winwood as vocalist, Billy Cox playing bass, and Mitch Mitchell on drums; the latter being the only original member still alive from the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

"Welcome to the Jungle" ranked #2 on Vh1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs, #467 on the Rolling Stone Magazine list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, #764 on Q Magazine's 1001 Best Songs Ever and #26 on VH1's 100 Greatest 80s Songs. Most recently, the song was named the "Greatest Song About Los Angeles" by a poll in Blender magazine.

"Sweet Child o' Mine" placed #37 on Guitar World's list of the "100 Greatest Guitar Solos", number three on Blender's 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born, number 196 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and in March 2005 Q magazine placed it at number 6 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The introduction's D-flat based riff was also voted number-one riff of all-time by the readers of Total Guitar magazine. It was also in Rolling Stones 40 Greatest Songs that Changed the World.

"Paradise City" is ranked #21 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs of All Time,[1] #3 in Total Guitar Magazine's list of the 100 greatest solos of all time and #453 on Rolling Stones' "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".

"November Rain" holds the record for the longest guitar solo in a U.S. top 10 hit. The song is also listed at number 6 in the "The 100 Greatest Guitar Solos" by Guitar World. Additionally, "November Rain" was voted #1 on the Rock 1000 in 2006, an annual countdown of the top 1000 rock songs by New Zealand radio listeners.

Personal

In 1990, a heavy metal video called "Hard N' Heavy" was released containing music, concert footage and interviews. The video included Slash and McKagan appearing with the band Great White at a "Children Of the Night" Benefit concert in LA for abused homeless children, the performance helped raise money for housing to aid the underprivileged.He also performed at an anti-Iraq War festival in 2003.

Slash is married to Perla Ferrar, with whom he has two sons: London Emilio and Cash Anthony.The family lives in Los Angeles.

Feud with Axl Rose

In 2007, Slash admitted to going to Rose's home with the intention to settle a long-standing legal dispute and make peace with his former band mate. Slash elaborated on the incident in his autobiography, claiming that what actually occurred was that he simply went to Rose's house while intoxicated and left a note asking Rose to contact him to settle a pending lawsuit. He also added that he had not actually spoken to Rose in person since leaving Guns N' Roses in 1996 . Slash further stated that incident's publicity created a rift in Velvet Revolver; as his bandmates were unsure of what Slash had actually done and Slash had confronted Weiland over his scathing reply to Rose, feeling that Weiland did not have the "right" to criticize Rose, not actually knowing him.

Recently, Slash expressed his concern on the probable induction of Guns N' Roses to the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame. After being involved in Van Halen's absence from their induction due to the fact that members of original line-up refused to put their differences aside, Slash feared the same thing could happen to Guns N' Roses.

Equipment

Guitars

Slash owns over 114 guitars. His main live guitar is a 1987 Les Paul Standard with 3 piece top (Factory Second). It has a cracked neck in 2 places, but he has had it repaired and continues to use it. Most of Slash's electric guitars have Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups which are low output pickups.

His guitars include:

Slash's favorite guitars are hand-made Gibson copies. Slash first received one of these during the recording sessions for Appetite For Destruction - he was using his B.C. Rich Mockingbird but found that the tone wasn't quite what he was looking for. He was given a '59 Les Paul copy to try (which had Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups installed specially for Slash) and has been using it ever since. The guitar was most likely made by Hollywood guitar luthier Chris Derrig. Slash has 3 of these copies and they have appeared in many Guns N' Roses videos, as well as being used in the studio and occasionally being used live.

He favors Ernie Ball Slinky R.P.S gauge 11-48 strings as well as Dunlop Purple Tortex (1.14 mm) picks and Seymour Duncan APH-1 Alnico II Pro and Vintage Gibson PAF pickups. He keeps his guitars in tune with a Peterson Strobe tuner.

Some of his favorite effects boxes are:

  • Dunlop Rack Mounted Crybaby (controlled with an Ernie Ball volume pedal for live shows)
  • Rocktron Hush II CX
  • DBX 166 Compressor
  • Yamaha SPX 900 Multieffect
  • Boss DD-5 Delay (for solos)
  • MXR 10-band graphic EQ
  • Dunlop Heil Talkbox
  • Boss GE-7 (for solos)
  • Dunlop Q-Zone

Amplifiers

On stage, he only uses Marshall amps. He used a rented vintage 1960's Marshall 1959 modified by Tim Caswell at SIR studios for the recording of Appetite for Destruction. Slash liked the amp so much he tried to keep it, telling the store that it had been stolen, but it was returned accidentally by a roadie. During the 80's Slash was using a Marshall JCM 2555 Silver Jubilee Anniversary amplifier made in 1987. It featured EL34's power tubes and three ECC83 preamp tubes.

For the recording of Velvet Revolver's debut, he used a Vox AC30 and small Fender tube amps (for "oddball" sounds). For the recording of Velvet Revolver's second album, he used the new Marshall Vintage Modern 2466 amp.

Signature equipment

Gibson Custom Shop

The Gibson Guitar Company custom made two guitars for Slash in 1988. The first "Inspired" Slash Les Paul is a replica out of one of the two guitars given to Slash by Gibson in 1988. The guitar is finished in a faded Heritage Cherry Sunburst, fitted with Seymore Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups and the neck is made to the exact specs of Slash's original Les Paul.

Gibson USA

Slash Les Paul Standard is a recreation of Slash's favorite Les Paul and is made of solid mahogany and is finished with a Antique Vintage Sunburst. Just like the custom shop version the guitar is fitted with Seymor Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups and a neck modeled after Slash's original. The guitar will be made in a limited run of 1600 guitars. He says “It’s sort of a trip for me to see it because it looks exactly like the guitar after I had it refinished in 1988. This is what it looked like when it was brand new.”

Epiphone

The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop is made to be a more affordable version of the two Gibson versions while still being able to offer a high quality instrument. As the Gibson versions it is equipped with Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups which he says he decided to place in all his guitar models, and is finished in Dark Tobacco Burst.

In 2008, the Slash signature Les Paul "Gold Top" limited edition guitar became available. Epiphone's Les Paul model has a solid mahogany body with a gold top finish, and the standard long neck he came to request on all his guitars, preferring the closest similarity in the neck as his first Les Paul. Again, Seymour Duncan Alnico II pro humbuckers, a standard item on all his guitars. This version also featurs Epiphone's locktone stop tailpiece and tuneamatic bridge system, which Slash feels makes it an easier instrument to play, particularly for newer guitarists.

Marshall Amplifiers

Slash was the first musician to own a signature amplifier created by Marshall for him. In 1996 the Marshall Slash JCM 2555SL was launched, it was built with the specs of Slash's own original 1987 Marshall Silver Jubilee 2555 amplifier. A total of 3000 of these amplifiers were made before it was discontinued.

Discography

Guns N' Roses

Title Release Date Label
Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide 1986 UZI Suicide
Appetite for Destruction 1987 Geffen
EP (Live from the Jungle) 1987 Geffen
G N' R Lies 1988 Geffen
Use Your Illusion I 1991 Geffen
Use Your Illusion II 1991 Geffen
The Spaghetti Incident? 1993 Geffen
Use Your Illusion 1998 Geffen
Live Era: '87-'93 1999 Geffen
Greatest Hits 2004 Geffen

Slash's Snakepit

Title Release Date Label
It's Five O'Clock Somewhere 1995 Fontana Records
Ain't Life Grand 2000 Koch Records

Velvet Revolver

Title Release Date Label
Contraband 2004 RCA Records
Libertad 2007 RCA Records

Guest appearances

References

External links

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