Slash Looking Forward To Doing Solo Record


January 18, 2008

If you believe Sammy Hagar, Velvet Revolver is the best rock ‘n’ roll band left on the planet.

Not everyone is a fan of the band, however. Japanese immigration

officials in November wouldn’t grant the band visas, resulting in the cancellation of four shows in Japan.

In a wide-ranging interview, Slash spoke about that incident, his obsession with the “Guitar Hero” video game (he is part of “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock”), and how Velvet Revolver stacks up against Guns N’ Roses.

I understand that Japanese immigration officials wouldn’t give you visas so you could play in that country. That must have been quite the blow.

We’re trying to appeal that situation. It’s nothing that we did since the last time we played there. But for whatever reason, they decided to do that. That obviously disappointed a lot of Japanese fans.

Ironically, the name of your latest album, “Libertad,” is Spanish for “freedom.”

Yeah, maybe that’s it. Maybe Japan is turning Communist. It’s a drag. We have a huge fan base there that are being denied concerts and whatnot.

There are three former members of Guns N’ Roses in Velvet Revolver, including yourself. As far as the dynamic of Velvet Revolver, how do you think it is different from Guns N’ Roses?

It’s just a different band, that’s the only way I can answer that. It’s a rock band, and there’s a lot of similarities to any of the rock bands I’ve been in. But it’s a whole different group, really. I found that in most of the rock bands I’ve been involved with, the approach is pretty similar. You get together and listen to different ideas. It’s a little bit more smooth sailing and a little bit faster in this band than it was in my last band.

Last year at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Sammy Hagar referred to you guys as the best rock ‘n’ roll band left on the planet. Do you guys see yourselves that way?

This is definitely one of the few real rock bands out there, as least that is getting played on the radio. The whole sort of rock ‘n’ roll spirit, and that whole energy and that vibe of living on the edge, is just rare among new groups. It’s just the way it is.

Was “Libertad” easier to make, because you already had one album under your belt?

It was a lot of fun to make. It was definitely one of the more pleasurable recording experiences. The camaraderie between the guys in the band and producer Brendan O’Brien was awesome.

So does this look to be a pretty big year for the band?

It’s been great so far. We’ve done a lot of touring. We’re definitely not going to tour as much as we did on the last record. That almost killed us. We were out for 2-1/2 years. In April, we are going to start working on the next record.

Any other projects you are working on?

Yeah, there’s a couple of things here and there. There’s a couple of recordings I have going on. I don’t really talk about that stuff until it’s out.

Any dream projects you are looking forward to?

I have a solo record that I’m looking forward to doing. But I’m not going to do it until the Velvet Revolver record is done. That will be in the next year or two.

I see that you were at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas this month with Bill Gates, and that he was showing off his prowess on “Guitar Hero.” How do you think he did?

He seemed proficient enough on “Guitar Hero.”

And he had the right stance and everything?

No, unfortunately Bill Gates will always be the computer nerd. I don’t think he will ever have the right stance on guitar. But it was great meeting him, and it was fun hanging out with him.

I understand that you are a big fan of the game.

I got turned on to it in the back of a tour bus last year. I got hooked on it. So when they asked me if I wanted to be involved in the new “Guitar Hero” and to do something that “Guitar Hero” basically had never done before, which was to take a real musician and actually insert him in the game, I was over-the-top excited about it. And it’s turned out really good.

What excited your about the project?

It’s just a cool game. It’s one of the cooler video games. It’s definitely unique, and it involves music, so it’s right up my alley.

Are you afraid though that kids are so hooked on the game that they never want to pick up a real guitar?

A lot of kids, believe it or not, are going from “Guitar Hero” and wanting to play a real guitar, more so than if they never have been exposed to it.

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