Slash: Slash

From Fergie to Ozzy, Iggy to Lemmy, Slash’s debut album featured a cast of famous collaborators.

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He’d been burnt by lead singers who were as difficult as they were charismatic, so when Slash finally went solo, it made sense for him to play the field.

He’d been burnt by lead singers who were as difficult as they were charismatic, so when Slash finally went solo, it made sense for him to play the field. As one of the world’s most popular rock’n’roll guitarists, he had a bulging address book, and so called on friends, colleagues, peers and heroes to take the mic on his 2010 solo debut. Even with its scattered roll call, Slash is still a cohesive, often thrilling album. A galaxy of stars orbits the hefty nucleus comprising the guitarist, seasoned drummer Josh Freese and Jane’s Addiction bassist Chris Chaney. One of Guns N’ Roses’ first US tours was with The Cult, so Ian Astbury’s opener Ghost marks a rebirth of sorts, as Slash trades riffs with old mucker Izzy Stradlin. His buddy Lemmy tears into Doctor Alibi, his fuzzed-up Rickenbacker bass underpinning a funny, swinging rocker perfectly pitched between old-school GN’R and Motörhead. Iggy Pop’s back-of-a-beer-mat lyrics to We’re All Gonna Die (‘Gee I really like your tits/I’ll say anything that fits’) only adds to this loose, punky mash-up of talents, but Ozzy Osbourne’s assured performance and lyrics make Crucify The Dead a rich autumn bloom for him. ‘We were like brothers/We had the world in our hands/You always had too much to say.’ (What could that possibly be about?) Slash’s guitar work here features the trademark, creamy sound that producer Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette would wring from him later on. And as ever, Slash shows himself as a song guy. His instinct for just what each tune requires from him is honed and heightened: thrashy rhythm and blistering licks on Nothing To Say (with Avenged Sevenfold’s M Shadows); laconic wah‑wah break on Andrew ‘Wolfmother’ Stockdale’s psychedelic By The Sword; and spare, lyrical acoustic to enrich Rocco DeLuca’s haunting read of Saint Is A Sinner. Restraint is the sign of true taste, and it’s shrewdly employed on songs featuring the two big pop names here. Black Eyed Pea Fergie packs her humps, trunk and lovely lady lumps into rock-chick garb for Beautiful Dangerous, and it suits her well. Adam Levine brings some of Maroon 5’s smoothness to classy pearl Gotten, Slash’s guitar break the grit in the oyster. If both these inclusions seem unlikely, Chris Cornell proves a snugger fit with his strong contribution, Promise, while Kid Rock’s down-home I Hold On is a highlight. Dave Grohl and Duff McKagan’s turn on instrumental Watch This is a tantalising glimpse at a rhythm section now wowing crowds across some parallel universe. In hindsight, though, it’s Myles Kennedy’s superb brace of tunes that point the way to the future. Back From Cali hints at the tone of the artists’ subsequent albums together, while fan fave Starlight is Stonesy, singalong lighter-bait at its absolute finest. The Conspiracy was on. The album peaked at No.3 on the US Billboard Chart, Kennedy would go on to front the world tour and the rest, as they say, is history – a little piece of which you hold in your hands. With Slash, our guy flicked away the butt of the past, nailed his name above the door and announced that he was open for business.

Grant Moon

A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Prog, Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.