9 things you need to know about Slash

The rise, fall and rebirth of the Dubai-bound ex-Guns N'Roses guitarist Discuss this article

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The roots
Born as Saul Hudson in 1965 in the UK’s Stoke-on-Trent, to an African mother and British father, he moved to Los Angeles when he was five, taking the nickname ‘Slash’ in his youth because of his speed. Now 47, he’s still a citizen of both the US and UK.

The rise
After taking up guitar in his teens, Slash played in various bands before joining Guns N’ Roses in 1985. The band became the biggest group in the world following the release of their seminal debut, Appetite for Destruction – the best-selling debut album in the US ever. The record was a masterpiece that combined the classic rock riffing of Aerosmith with the prototype teen angst of the ’90s alternative rock movement that was yet to come.

The fall
Following the same-day release of their epic double LPs, Use Your Illusion I and II, in 1991, GN’R embarked on a two-and-a-half-year tour that pulled the band apart. Slash hasn’t appeared on stage with frontman Axl Rose since 1993, and claims not to have spoken to the singer since 1996.

The rebirth
Following his departure from the band, Slash released two consistent but forgettable albums leading new project Slash’s Snakepit, and it looked as though the guitarist was destined for the classic rock scrapheap. However he found fresh relevance after regrouping with former GN’R bandmates Duff McKagen and Matt Sorum to form Velvet Revolver, whose 2004 debut, Contraband, shifted two million copies and dragged Slash’s top hat back into the limelight. Yet after a follow-up LP the group disbanded, with frontman Scott Weiland rejoining the Stone Temple Pilots.

The hedonism
Slash’s rock’n’roll excess is the stuff of legend, but he claims to have been clean since 2006.

Here and now
Slash rinsed his contacts book and called in a few favours to put together his eponymous 2010 solo debut, Slash, which featured the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl and Iggy Pop. After a world tour with singer Myles Kennedy the pair collaborated on a second solo effort, last year’s enjoyable Apocalyptic Love.

The hat
Much of Slash’s iconic allure is down to his novel stage prop: a black top hat. Also essential to his rock’n’roll credentials are dark sunglasses, leathers and an occasional snake – he’s renowned for his love of reptiles.

The glove
Slash laid down tracks for Michael Jackson’s ‘Give In to Me’, ‘Black or White’, ‘D.S.S’, ‘Morphine’ and ‘Privacy’, and has also teamed up with Lenny Kravitz, Free’s Paul Rodgers, Alice Cooper and Wu Tang Clan’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard. As if that wasn’t enough, he has also played on the soundtrack to The Wrestler, and can be heard in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.

The kudos
Guitar geeks salivate over Slash’s razor-quick riffing, and the critics are quick to agree. In 2009 Time named him runner-up on its list of ‘The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players’, while a year earlier Total Guitar placed his finger-work in ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ at No 1 on their list of ‘The 100 Greatest Riffs’. Not bad work for a 47-year-old from Stoke.
Slash plays at Dubai Tennis Stadium on Thursday January 31, doors open 8pm. Tickets Dhs300-500. www.timeouttickets.com

By Rob Garratt
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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