Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Up Close And Personal With Slash

Let us go back to the 1980s. On the one hand, you have Hair Metal. Ratt and Mötley Crüe and Bon Jovi, who could be cool, going on to Poison and Winger and on and on, further and further from cool. It was all an act, and they just about told you it was all the act. Watch Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years and see Bret Michaels talking about it as a business, and you will have more respect for Bret as a person with a brain and a plan and less and less respect for Poison as a musical entity. On the other hand, you have Thrash. Metallica and Megadeth and Slayer and Anthrax and duggeda-duggeda-dunk dunk-dunk-dunk. Good stuff, but fast and intricate. Switching time signatures in unison. It just didn't swing.

Listen to the Rolling Stones. Especially post-Brian Stones. It's good because it swung. It certainly isn't hard. Once you convince a new guitarist that C# is a key he is able to play in, there is nearly nothing in "Gimme Shelter" that is beyond that new player. Playing it well may take some time, but playing it recognizably is easy.

Then came Guns 'n Roses.

There was a lot of Hair Metal to them, but they departed from script a lot. There's hard stuff — hang around a guitar store and one of the sounds you hear is young guitarists trying and failing to nail the intro to "Sweet Child" on the store's guitars and amps — but the band was more about making a song than making a composition. GnR was the first rock that really rocked hard and really swung since before the Stones released "Miss You", at least to my ears.

This is why, while he's a Les Paul guy and I'm partial to the Tele, I will always be a Slash backer.

Popdose has tapes of Steven Rosen talking to Slash.

Guitar Center has an interview/seminar with Slash on their Youtube channel.


Furtheron said...

Sadly I still think GnR were never as good as they could have been. That's my opinion but there are the stand out tracks on the debut but then it just went down.

Velvet Revolver was good the first album esp and Fall to Pieces is a great track. I hope they get a new singer and continue... and I await the solo stuff.

Can't knock Slash he turned 1000s onto rock and Les Pauls... Just a shame as a band GnR didn't keep in the groove of the initial writing - but as I say that's just me.

Dave Jacoby said...

I think you're right. The trick is to be combustable but still stick together. That's how the Stones done it. And since Velvet Revolver = GnR - ( Axl + Izzy ) and Izzy wasn't the one who caused riots by walking off, you know who I blame more. How many Slash-related albums between Illusion and Democracy?