Interview: Slash Talks New Solo Album, Velvet Revolver and the State of Rock ‘n’ Roll

By Brian Ives 

“I don’t think interviews [are] anyone’s favorite part of being a musician,” Slash said, as he entered the Radio.com studio in New York for, well, an interview. Slash was here to promote World On Fire, his recently released third solo album and second with backing band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

It may be true that many artists aren’t fans of interviews, but the iconic guitarist can be particularly shy, as evidenced by the fact that he’s frequently hidden behind an explosion of curly hair, often paired with a top hat and usually shades as well. But when reminded that he’d had a good experience with Radio.com when he was promoting his last album, and after promising not to bring up the names Paul Stanley (who aired a decades-old beef with Slash in his recent memoir Face the Music) or Axl Rose (what else is left to say, anyway?), he relaxed.

And once we got going, he was even downright happy to talk, opening up about his current band, his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Guns N’ Roses in 2012, the future of Velvet Revolver and the state of rock ‘n’ roll in 2014.

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Radio.com: You introduced your new album with edgy, NSFW lyric video for “World on Fire,” which has an element of danger that most music videos don’t have.

Slash: The director sent me a treatment, and I was like, “That’s more involved than just putting the lyrics on the screen.” It was a one day shoot in his house. I’m really sick of the standard issue video these days. I was really happy with it. Someone asked, ‘Why is it so tacky?” Well, that’s the beauty of it. We definitely pushed the envelope on that one. I’m glad we’re not trying to get it on MTV. She’s having sex with a hood ornament!”

The video struck me as something Guns N’ Roses would have done. You don’t really see that element of danger in rock music today.

One of the things about rock ‘n’ roll at this particular point is that it has become very safe and predictable. I miss that element of pushing the envelope. But at the same time, in other genres, I have seen that. There’s a Lil’ Jon video [“Turn Down For What,” with DJ Snake], it’s the most hardcore, suggestive video… it’s beyond suggestive.

Do you think rock ‘n’ roll will get less safe at some point?

I think maybe we’re in a time right now where something like that will happen, there will be some new young band that’s gonna stick it’s middle finger up the a– of the music business and be the voice of the people and bring rock back in that way. It’s hard to know how it will happen. But it will. The thing is, we’ve seen everything. And you think nothing’s going to shock anybody anymore. You don’t want to be the band sitting around trying to figure out how to get noticed. That’s wrong. You have to get noticed because what you do naturally is just against the grain enough that people will go, “Oh my God, what is that?” But so much stuff is acceptable now that wasn’t ten years ago.

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