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Slash's lucky 13 

The guitarist gathers even more idiosyncratic vocalists

Slash's band, Velvet Revolver, may still be looking for the right singer. But the guitarist didn't have the same problem when it came to his recently released self-titled solo album. He found 13 of them.

Over the course of the album's baking, the former Guns N' Roses axeman recruited a baker's dozen vocalists, each of whom took on lead vocals on one song (except for Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, who sang two of the tracks). What's no less surprising is how smoothly the sessions went, in spite of the many vocalists and personalities involved.

"You know, it was a very simple record to make," says the guitarist, known as Saul Hudson to the Social Security Administration. "It wasn't complicated and it wasn't fraught with issues or ego problems or anything like that. It was very, very sort of casual and relatively simple, just coming in and doing it, hanging out for awhile and then taking off. It was one of those things that could have been a real hassle, but it wasn't."

Slash says the idea to do this sort of album first began to form before singer Scott Weiland left Velvet Revolver in the spring of 2008, essentially forcing that band to the sidelines. But even when Velvet Revolver was active, Slash had been the in-demand guitarist on album projects for a variety of artists.

"I think this was just basically an extension of my doing so much session work," he says of the album, which was released in April. "I decided I wanted to do a record where I had people playing on my record, as opposed to me playing on theirs.

That approach also gave Slash more opportunity to indulge his songwriting side: "I just sat down and wrote a bunch of music. Then I would listen to the music and it would sort of dictate to me who would be the appropriate singer."

The project resulted in a surprisingly varied selection of vocalists and material. "Crucify the Dead," featuring Ozzy Osbourne, is the kind of eerie rocker one might expect on the former Black Sabbath singer's own albums. "Beautiful Dangerous," with its full-throated performance by Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, is a stomping dance-rocker. Meanwhile, "Promise" puts Soundgarden's Chris Cornell into a brooding but hooky pop-rock setting. Even Iggy Pop turns up, cutting loose on "We're All Gonna Die," a track that merges garage rock and moody metal.

The amount of input each singer offered varied, Slash said.

"Like with Fergie, we did the music exactly the way I wrote it," Slash said. "She sang to exactly what I wrote. We didn't change anything. That happened a lot on the record. But then with Kid Rock, and with M Shadows [of Avenged Sevenfold], we worked on those songs from the ground up. They really had an idea of the parts they wanted to do."

Now on tour with Kennedy handling vocals, Slash is focusing on a live set that encompasses his entire career, from Guns N' Roses to his post-Guns band Snakepit, with Velvet Revolver and solo album stops along the way.

"In Velvet Revolver and even Snakepit, I have to concentrate on that particular band," says Slash. "But this is cool because, since it's my solo tour, I can do whatever I want."

scene@csindy.com

  • The guitarist gathers even more idiosyncratic vocalists

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