'Off the beaten Slash path': Former Guns N' Roses guitarist talks of teaming with Fergie, Adam Levine for solo effort
There are few vocalists, said Slash, who can inspire him to trot out a signature Guns N' Roses song such as "Sweet Child o' Mine." At the top of that shortlist, perhaps to the surprise of many of the guitar-slinger's longtime fans, sits Fergie. While the singer behind "My Humps" would seem to be a long way removed from the hard-rock stud, Slash defined the Black Eyed Peas vocalist as a "closet rock 'n' roll singer."
Though it wasn't the first time he performed the song with Fergie, Slash and the Black Eyed Peas ran through "Sweet Child" when the pop band opened for U2 at the Rose Bowl in late 2009. It's Fergie's ability, said Slash, to sing in the higher notes associated with the enigmatic Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose that persuaded Slash to perform the song in front of a stadium audience that was estimated to top 95,000 people.
"That was a first for me, to go out and pull out ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ in front of however many thousands of people at the Rose Bowl with a different group," Slash said. "I had never really played that song with anyone besides Guns N' Roses. Fergie asked me if I would do it with her, and she’s honestly one of the only singers I would trust that song to."
She's one of more than a dozen vocalists who will appear on the guitarist's upcoming self-titled solo effort, set for release this April. It's the artist's first work since Velvet Revolver fizzled out in 2008, and first to bear his name since his two albums with Slash's Snakepit, who last released an album in 2000. The upcoming effort follows a pattern defined by another guitar hero, Santana. Slash is paired with a lineup of multi-genre artists, including Ozzy Osbourne, Kid Rock and Marooon 5's Adam Levine.
"I wasn’t trying to consciously bridge any generation gaps or to try to be eclectic," Slash said. "I wrote the music first, and I took the different styles of music that I was writing and farmed it out to singers who I thought might like it or be appropriate for. So for instance, I’d say, ‘Adam Levine would sound amazing on this.‘ So while that may be way off the beaten Slash path, I knew that’s what I would sound great."