Monday, August 6, 2012

Slash: A Modern Legend

On July 10, 2012 Hollywood Boulevard saw yet another addition to the Walk Of Fame – Slash. So that’s about the twenty seven thousandth feather on Slash’s (top) hat. No wonder he never takes that thing off. It must weigh about a million pounds by now.

But let’s come back to Hollywood. Coming just three months after his induction with Guns N' Roses into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it makes for quite a year – tributes that would cap many a rocker's career. But Slash, who turned 47 last month, is feeling quite the opposite. "I definitely feel like I'm cresting a certain wave in my career where I'm having a really great time, I love what I'm doing, I love the people I'm working with and I'm feeling very energized," he told Rolling Stone after the star ceremony. "I haven't had that feeling since when Guns started."

June 16, 1984 - It was the first performance with Slash, Axl and Steven Adler together on stage at Madame Wong West, under the name "Hollywood Rose". That was the first of many, many more shows that the Saul Hudson guitarist would headline. Guns N' Roses shot to stardom with Appetite for Destruction, the biggest-selling debut in rock history. The album combined Seventies-derived hard rock and a hedonistic rebelliousness that simultaneously recalled the early Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Aerosmith, and the Sex Pistols; it also showed off the band's virtuoso technique and destroy-passersby attitude. 

My first taste of Slash, like numerous others, was with the face-melting solo in Sweet Child O’ Mine. As a 16 year-old rock enthusiast that was more than enough to get me hooked. Funnily enough, it wasn’t that much different for Slash. Here’s the quote: “My big awakening happened when I was 14. I'd been trying to get into this older girl's pants for a while, and she finally let me come over to her house. We hung out, smoked some pot and listened to Aerosmith's Rocks. It hit me like a fucking ton of bricks. I sat there listening to it over and over, and totally blew off this girl. I remember riding my bike back to my grandma's house knowing that my life had changed. Now I identified with something." Needless to say, to this day, Slash is one of the modern musicians whom I admire and respect the most.

A rockstar, in the truest sense of the word, Slash has collaborated with the likes of Miles Davis, BB King and even the late Michael Jackson. He has also received substantial critical acclaim as a guitarist and for good reason. In 2005, he was named "Best Guitarist" by Esquire, which congratulated him on "beating the comeback odds with a surprisingly legitimate and vital outfit, Velvet Revolver." Slash was awarded the title of "Riff Lord" during Metal Hammer's fourth annual Golden Gods awards in 2007. In 2008, he was ranked No. 21 on Gigwise's list of "The 50 Greatest Guitarists Ever," and in 2009, he was named runner-up on "The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players" list in Time, which praised him as "a remarkably precise player." In 2011, Rolling Stone placed Slash at No. 65 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."

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