Slash teams up with Canadian musicians

Rock guitarist Slash. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI AGENCY)

Rock guitarist Slash. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI AGENCY)

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:33 AM ET

British-born guitarist Slash's Commonwealth roots are showing more than ever before.

The L.A.-based musician's vibrant-sounding sophomore solo album, Apocalyptic Love, in stores Tuesday, features two Canadian musicians -- Estevan, Sask.,-born bassist Todd Kerns (Age of Electric) and Winnipeg drummer Brent Fitz (Theory Of A Deadman) -- along with Boston vocalist Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge).

And the 46-year-old guitar player is about to embark on his most ambitious Canadian solo tour yet in July. All that and up-and-coming Hamilton, Ont.,-group Monster Truck is his supporting act on the Canadian leg of his tour.

"We've never done a proper Canadian run -- we only did certain cities," says Slash, who will appear with his band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators on Jimmy Fallon Monday to perform the first Apocalyptic Love single, You're A Lie.

"Canadian fans are great, always have been," he continues, wearing a black leather newsboy cap, sunglasses and a T-shirt that said, 'Buenos F---ing Aires.'

"My first tour ever was in Canada -- that was like 1987 -- so I've always had a special sort of spot in my heart (for the country). Canadian fans are genuinely uninhibited, very enthusiastic, and definitely know their music and make huge efforts to express themselves in concert. So, for a rock band, it's an important part of the gig because the interaction between the audience and the band, that energy, that sort of reciprocation, is what makes a really great show. So you can have a good show with a s----y audience but it's not as much fun."

Slash's other currently dormant band, Velvet Revolver, featuring GN'R bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum, also almost had a Canadian frontman in the form of big-voiced Ian Thornley of the recently reunited Big Wreck fame.

"He was great," Slash says. "He came down and he was one of the guys that I thought was really good. At the same time it was just not exactly what we wanted it to be. He wanted to play guitar. We wanted a front guy. That was the main issue. But he's one of those guys, as much as I thought he was great with us, he's so great on his own. We had a good time."

In the meantime, Apocalyptic Love follows Slash's first self-titled solo effort in 2010 which featured an all-star lineup of vocalists from Ozzy Osbourne to Iggy Pop to Kennedy, with only Kennedy, Kearns and Fitz on the road supporting it.

This time, with production duties handled again by Eric Valentine and only Kennedy singing, it was a lot easier as you might imagine.

"The first album was just an interesting, different kind of effort," said Slash. "It involved a lot of moving parts but it was a lot of fun. This was more streamlined, sort of focused, just on the four guys. It was a different approach but equally as fun."

The recent 2012 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee (along with the rest of Guns N' Roses' classic lineup although singer Axl Rose refused the honour and didn't show up), corrects himself.

"It was actually more fun because it was recorded very spontaneously," Slash says.

"We recorded it live in the studio. The last one was too but I did the guitar parts later. This one all the guitar parts are from the same sessions, as the drums and bass, and the guys are great. We really established a great rapport and chemistry on the road so I thought if I was going to do another record I might as well do it with these guys."

Turns out Slash and Kennedy wrote all Apocalyptic Love while touring for the last solo album and then fine-tuned the songs, working out the arrangements and pre-production, followed by rehearsals once they stopped touring making the actual time in the studio easy and productive. "It didn't take too many takes to nail it," Slash says. "I think it's a good sounding record. It's very rare to do a rock record in the traditional format that I was raised on, which is just the band goes in and gives the best performance it can and that's the record."

As for the album title, Apocalyptic Love, it's also the name of a song on the record. "I couldn't think of a phrase or a word or even a sentence that really encompassed the whole album conceptually that really did that for me," he says.

"So then it was like 'Slash II?' and I thought that's just too generic so finally I said, 'Well, I'll do the other method of titling your record which is using a track off the record.' And Apocalyptic Love was actually the first song that we wrote together, sort of a tongue and cheek stab at love in the final moments of the our existence on the planet. It had a good ring to it. It was only until after I decided to make that decision I realized how hard it was to pronounce. A lot of people have a hard time.

"Apocalyptic sometimes just didn't fly out easily."

REUNITED WITH FORMER DRUMMER

Slash recently performed guitar on one song on the new upcoming album from Steven Adler, the band featuring former Guns N' Roses drummer and Celebrity Rehab/Sober House star Steven Adler.

Adler, who was fired by GN'R in 1990 due to his heroin addiction but was part of the band's classic lineup inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in April, has been friends with Slash since they were kids.

"I heard about three songs -- it's really good," Slash tells QMI Agency.

"He's got a great singer (singer-guitarist Jacob Bunton) and a great band (guitarist Lonny Paul). He's working with (bassist-producer) Jeff Pilson from Dokken, so he's producing it, and did a really great job on it. Obviously it's rock stuff but it's not that easy to put my finger on -- how to describe it. Pretty energetic. Pretty punk rock actually. Except for the song that I played on which was more of a ballad."

jane.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


Photos