Slash’s performance on Thursday night at the Dubai Tennis Stadium is part of a global jaunt supporting his latest album Apocalyptic, released last year. We chronicle Slash's rise from BMX rider to one of coolest dudes alive.
Slash and friends head to Dubai
The Dubai stop
Slash’s performance on Thursday night at the Dubai Tennis Stadium is part of a global jaunt supporting his latest album Apocalyptic, released last year. Collaborating with the singer Myles Kennedy, the bassist Todd Kerns and the drummer Brent Fitz (collectively known as Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators), the 47-year-old guitarist’s new outfit continues his rowdy brand of hard rock and blues.
Practice makes perfect
Born to an African-American mother and a British father, Slash – real name Saul Hudson – found solace from his parents’s troubled marriage through the guitar. It was the bass that Slash picked up first at the Fairfax Music School in Virginia. However, after hearing his teacher perform the swaggering riffs of the Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar, Slash decided the guitar was for him. A competitive BMX rider at the time, Slash ditched the bike to practise the guitar up to 12 hours a day.
Guns N’ Roses
After a series of small-time bands, including an unsuccessful audition for the glam-rock band Poison, Slash joined the fledgling Guns N’ Roses in 1985 after being invited by the singer Axl Rose and the rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin. With the bassist Duff McKagan and the drummer Steven Adler completing the line-up, the band embarked on a legendary creative spell with the classic trio of albums Appetite for Destruction (1987) and 1992’s Use Your Illusion I & II. Fed up by what he perceived as Rose’s onstage antics and ego-trips, Slash left the band in 1996 and launched a solo career.
The solo years
With Guns N’ Roses exploring more epic sounds with each release, Slash decided to return to the hard rock territory of old with his new band Snakepit. Recruiting friends, including Guns N’ Roses’ Matt Sorum (drums) and Gilby Clarke (rhythm guitar), Snakepit’s debut It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere sold more than a million copies despite minimal promotion. After reuniting for a jam with Sorum and Guns N’ Roses’ bassist McKagan, Slash decided to channel the spirit of the gunners by forming the new band Velvet Revolver. Fronted by Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland, the group’s two successful albums Contraband (2003) and Libertad (2007) found Slash performing once again in arenas.
The gun for hire
Slash regularly collaborated with Michael Jackson, performing lead guitar for tracks Give in To Me from 1991‘s Dangerous as well as D.S. and Privacy from 1995’s History and 2001’s Invincible respectively. Slash squared off with Lenny Kravitz on the latter’s funky 1991 hit Always on the Run as well as featuring on Rihanna’s 2010 single Rockstar 101 from the successful album Rated R.
Although it is hard to believe, Slash wears his signature top hat to combat shyness on stage. Recently speaking to the Associated Press, Slash credits the hat for hiding his face when playing to packed arenas. “I’ve always been a little nervous in front of crowds,” he said. “You can pull it down, pull your hair down over your face and just sort of hide behind that.”
The cool factor
Being cool is an image Slash cherishes. Slash credits his laid-back demeanour, whether it is on stage or dealing with high-strung frontmen, to his humble origins. “When you’re playing in front of that many people, you really appreciate where you came from,” he told the website Contact Music. “That’s one of the things that made it easy for me to leave [Guns N’ Roses] when I did, because I had some small bit of cool left and I didn’t wanna go down with the sinking ship.”
- Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators is playing at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on Thursday. Tickets begin from Dh300 from www.timeouttickets.com