January 22, 2022

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Slash: ‘This particular record is as raw as it gets’

Slash: ‘This particular record is as raw as it gets’
Slash joins Dave Cobb on the latest episode of Southern Accents Radio on Apple Music Country to discuss his forthcoming album ‘4’ feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, recorded and produced by Cobb in Nashville. Slash discusses following in the footsteps of Van Halen and Led Zeppelin in titling the album, recording live in the…

Slash joins Dave Cobb on the latest episode of Southern Accents Radio on Apple Music Country to discuss his forthcoming album ‘4’ feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, recorded and produced by Cobb in Nashville. Slash discusses following in the footsteps of Van Halen and Led Zeppelin in titling the album, recording live in the room in RCA Studio A, why he loves the late Eddie Van Halen, how Cream’s ‘Disraeli Gears’ made him want to pick up the guitar, and more.

Slash On Naming His Upcoming Album ‘4’ And Following In The Footsteps of Van Halen and Led Zeppelin…

Slash: Well, I mean really what it came down to was that 2020 was such a hellacious year in every respect that I didn’t think that any kind of remark or sentence or a phrase really would encapsulate the feeling for everything that had gone on that year. And so I didn’t want to try and have some clever kind of quip or whatever, because I usually do, but there was just too much. So I just said, “Fuck it. Let’s just call it ‘4’. That way it doesn’t try to say anything. It doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is and leave it at that.”

Dave Cobb: Well, you won for me because Van Halen had numbers, Led Zeppelin had numbers. I mean, come on, man. It’s bringing back the old style. I love it.

Slash: Yeah, I wasn’t really following the trend consciously but it is sort of cool. I think it’s cool that just people will be forced to know that we have three other records.

Slash on “The River is Rising” (feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators) From His Upcoming Album ‘4’…

Well, on this record, I spent more time because of COVID in my own studio just making demos and sending them to Miles because we couldn’t all get together and hash out the songs any other way. So when we got to the very end of all the pieces of music that I’d written and sent to him, I came up with this one idea and it was right before we went into pre-production. I thought, “Oh, you know, this is a pretty cool riff and the verse came together.” It was a cool little demo and I sent it to Miles and he put some cool vocals on it. So when the guys did finally fly in and we started doing pre-production, that was one of the first songs that we jammed on. And I just thought this would make a great song for the record and probably make a great first song. So we came into Nashville and we went in. I can’t remember exactly where in the sequence we recorded it. I think it was towards the end. It was just a lot of fun to play in the moment and we ended up toying with the arrangement and coming up with this really cool thing that was very spontaneous and that is the arrangement that you’re hearing on the single. And it was just really cool how it came about and basically it was just you going, “That fast riff that you have at the end, you should put that to the front of the song or in the middle of the song,” and we just went for it and it just happened like that. And I got to say, sometimes I will be a little bit shy to push a part because I think everybody just thinks I’m just pushing more guitars, so you were very helpful on a couple different songs of going, “That’s the hook. You got to send it. You have to play it more.” I needed that input from you because I wouldn’t have done it on my own.

Slash on Recording His Upcoming Album ‘4’ with Dave Cobb at RCA Studio A in Nashville…

Dave Cobb: And people may not realise, but this record is off the floor. I mean, this is about as live as you could possibly get. I mean, it’s you guys playing in a room with no headphones, just rocking out with a PA, just as if you were playing a show or playing in your garage growing up or whatever. What’s different about that process as opposed to the other records and being in a studio making the albums?

Slash: It was such a big subject because I don’t even know where to begin. I mean, I’ve been wanting to do a record recorded in that fashion basically since I started, whereas you just set up the back line and play live and you just get that sort of instant energy that is inspired by everybody playing off of each other, and technically it’s just never been possible. And so fast forward to when you and I had a conversation last year where we talked about rock and roll and sort of that spontaneous live kind of feel in Glyn Johns’ records, and that was really what cemented us working together. And when we showed up at RCA and we just walked into this great room with all these guitars in it and all this great analogue gear and whatnot, and then I met you, physically met you, for the first time and we just got into it and we just started playing. And just to stand in front of my amp and then also in front of the drums and the bass amp and actually be playing live and recording, it was a huge thing for me. It was like a revelation and, yeah, it was a huge experience. It was a ton of fun and, without blowing smoke up your ass, you were great to work with because you made it really, really down-to-earth and very natural, and we didn’t go back and overanalyze stuff, and you kept me from going back and over analysing s. I mean, so this particular record is as raw as it gets.

Dave Cobb On Producing ‘4’ And Being In The Studio With Slash…

I think what’s crazy about this record though, I mean, you got to realise the solos are live and that doesn’t happen anymore. I mean, the way records are made now is very much a process, but this is you just letting it out and I remember we’re in the control room after we… I think I was in the room with you guys when we were tracking the song, but I remember walking in the control room with the engineer and we’re both like, “Oh my God. That’s Slash…” I mean, it’s just an immediate timeless solo right off the cuff, no thought, just completely a raw emotion and I think that’s what’s so great about this record. And Miles is singing his butt off, and this record is Miles singing live, too. It is not premeditated vocals either. I mean, no one was premeditated. It’s pretty mind-blowing, so I can’t wait for people to hear it.

Slash On What Eddie Van Halen Meant To Him…

By and large, I really don’t come from this sort of eighties shredding school of guitar playing at all. But when I first heard, along with everybody else, in 1978 and first heard the Van Halen debut record, it really fed me. That was a heavy frecord. I mean, that was the moment that the seventies just changed, that particular record. And as a guitar player, I was just a kid, I was just picking up the guitar at that time. I hadn’t even started at that moment. I started like the following year, but when I started getting into guitar playing, everybody was trying to emulate Eddie and they were all sort of focusing on the obvious techniques and the ffinger tapping and the harmonics and the tremolo bar stuff and all these really fucking great techniques that Eddie had. But the way that he did it was such a part of his personality and it was such a part of his melodic sensibility that it had this really sort of musical fluidity that nobody after that really ever came close to playing that style of guitar playing and so I always loved Eddie. And in between any of his very specific techniques, he also just had great frock and roll lyrics, just really cool, bluesy, frock lyrics. So, yeah, loved Eddie.

Slash Tells Apple Music Cream’s ‘Disraeli Gears’ Is The Album That Made Him Want to Pick Up the Guitar…

Well, I mean, right off the bat, ‘Disraeli Gears’ was the record that switched me from playing bass to guitar. When I first went in to learn an instrument, I intended to play bass because Steven Adler, the original drummer for Guns N’ Roses, when he and I first met, he already played guitar, and so we were going to start a band so I was going to start to play bass, but I didn’t know really technically the difference at that time between bass and guitar. I obviously knew the difference in the sound, but I just didn’t know what the fI was doing so I went into a local music school and I met this guy, Robert [Wolin] was his name and he was the guitar teacher and I sat down with him and he goes, “Well, so what do you want to do?” And it’s like, “Well, I want to play bass.” He goes, “Did you bring a bass with you?” I said, “No, I don’t have one.” And so while he was sitting there, he was playing guitar and he put on “Sunshine of Your Love” and started playing along with that and I was like, “That’s what I want to do,” and that was the guitar, right, electric guitar. And that’s where I picked up guitar. So ‘Disraeli Gears’, aside from being one of the great rock and roll blues records of the era, if not of all time, it also was what made me pick up the guitar in the first place.

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