Slash says he had designs on playing bass rather than guitar when he was a teenager – until he heard a music teacher play Cream licks.
The guitarist visited the Guitar Center, Hollywood where he spoke about his formative years, influences and his forthcoming album, World On Fire.
“The thing that really inspired me to play guitar was Steven Adler,” says Slash. “He had an electric guitar when we were about 13 years old and he used to bang on it to Kiss records at full blast. That was very exciting, so I opted to play bass since he was playing guitar.
“I went to a local music school and talked to the teacher and said, ‘I want to learn how to play bass.’ He asked me a few questions to figure out what I wanted to achieve. While he was talking to me, he was playing Eric Clapton’s Cream licks on electric guitar.
“I said, ‘That’s what I want to do’, because I really didn’t know that much about guitars. So that was it – I switched over to guitar.
“My grandmother gave me a beat up old Spanish acoustic that only had one string – and I started learning on the one string. There was no stopping me at that point – I was obsessed with it no matter what obstacles or hurdles there were. I never accepted no for an answer and just kept at it.”
The former Guns N’ Roses axeman also chose to buy live albums rather than studio recordings because of the “energy of a band playing together”.
“I was definitely into crazy live performances,” he says. “It wasn’t about studio achievements, it was about spur of the moment live playing – that energy that goes along with it and the energy of a band playing together, where the solo was in the context of the song and not just ‘look what I can do’ five-minute guitar soloing.
Talking about the recording process on World On Fire, Slash says: “My last album Apocalyptic Love was designed to be live in the studio with no overdubs, no edits, just pure live recording. World On Fire was also recorded live in the studio but there’s overdubs and harmonies – I just wanted to make a more produced record.”
Classic Rock magazine will release a fanpack edition of World On Fire on Sep 15 – four weeks before the album’s regular release date.
Slash is currently on tour in the US with Aerosmith and will arrive in the UK for five dates at the end of November.
Nov 28: Manchester Phones 4u Arena
Nov 29: Leeds Arens
Dec 01: Birmingham LG Arena
Dec 02: London Wembley Arena
Dec 04: Glasgow SSE Hydro