Guns N' Roses' guitarist Slash on his India tour
In an exclusive interview, legendary rock guitarist Slash, who will perform in Mumbai tomorrow, says he is looking forward to dig into the non-Westernised Indian food and soaking in the sights of Mumbai as much as checking out the local rock scene
In its heydays, Guns N' Roses was the biggest, baddest and most 'dangerous' rock 'n' roll band the world had seen. Today, its former lead guitarist, Slash aka Saul Hudson is a one-man show.
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators
Sure his greatest acclaim comes from that mountaintop grandeur of November Rain and the musical genius of Sweet Child O' Mine, but today, he has surpassed both the movement and the band that made him one of the most popular guitarists in the '80s and '90s. Slash is the classic image of hardcore rock 'n' roll — leather pants and long hair, crazy mix of tattoos and a cigarette dangling from his lips.
As he gets ready to cast his spell on Mumbaikars with a live performance at Jio Garden tomorrow, along with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators on their debut India tour for MTV Indies Xtreme, hitlist chats him up in an exclusive interview. Excerpts:
Q. India's buzzing about your gig. What are your expectations?
A. I'm really excited to be coming back to India. Fortunately, we will be in two different locations (Mumbai and Bangalore), both of which I am familiar with. But there are so many things that I'd want to do, so it's really a matter of seeing how much we can do in the short time we have allotted.
Q. What makes Slash who he is? Do you still get excited about hitting the road?
A. Probably, more so now than I was when I first started. The more I do it, the more I love it. I am excited to go out on this next leg, and then going back into the studio and doing the next album and hitting the road again after that.
Q. Word is that you are a huge movie buff. Have you seen any Hindi movies?
A. I haven't seen any local Indian films that don't release in America, but I've seen 'Slumdog Millionaire' and 'Life of Pi'. I have seen a bunch, actually.
Q. What about Indian music? Are you acquainted with that?
A. Obviously. I have heard a ton of (late) Ravi Shankar while growing up; there are some other artistes I have heard. Nothing specific has come to my attention in the rock world lately, so it will be interesting to see what's going on while we are here.
Q. Your love for reptiles is famous...
A. I have always loved reptiles and animals ever since I was a kid, but, most of all, snakes.
Q. You seem to have found something that will last with Myles Kennedy.
A. I met Myles when I was making my first solo record, and it was the first time I had ever heard him sing. He was just amazing, so I started working with him from that point.
Q. What do you think of the rock 'n' roll scene today, something that Guns N' Roses pretty much revived and brought back to life? Do you still see the same elements of danger and risk?
A. Well, the old school attitude is really about individual thinking and self-expression, and feeling strongly enough to do whatever you feel you want to do against all odds. As long as that spirit is around, it will always have some of that attitude, but as soon as that becomes commercially acceptable, it ceases to have the impact it had originally. You have to wait for different situations that force people to express themselves in a way that's against the grain.
Q. You own a film production company called Slash Fiction Films. Can you tell us something about your upcoming movies?
A. We are in the final stages of developing a new movie called The Hell Within. I find it really intriguing and inspiring, much like developing new material for a new record.
Q. For more than two decades, musicians, especially guitarists, the world over have looked up to you for inspiration. Is that your measure of success?
A. I haven't really thought of it that way. When I am able to write a song that I feel good about or that makes me proud and I see a reaction from an audience at a show, I think that's success.
Q. Are you looking forward to trying out Indian food?
A. I eat a lot of Indian food in the States, but the Indian food in India is extremely different from its Westernised version. So, yes, I am interested to experience what traditional Indian food is like.