Slash Biography and Profile

slash guitarist
Slash. Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.

Slash Overview:

Slash is one of the most distinctive and in-demand guitarists of the last 30 years, equally confident working in hard rock and pop. As the lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses, Slash cemented his reputation as a fluid, articulate player, but once he left that band during the ‘90s, he continued to build on his legacy by delivering high-profile guest spots on other people’s albums, not to mention signing on to be a part of the supergroup Velvet Revolver. Born July 23, 1965, Slash released his first solo album, Slash, in 2010 featuring a variety of guest musicians and singers.

Guns N’ Roses:

In 1985, Slash hooked up with frontman Axl Rose, guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler to form Guns N’ Roses. Within three years, their debut, , had gone platinum several times over, establishing GNR as one of the ‘80s most dynamic hard rock groups. Slash’s ferocious riffs and searing solos quickly became the band’s signature, and the group continued their winning streak with the release of the Use Your Illusion albums in 1991. But tension over the band’s direction eventually forced Slash to exit Guns N’ Roses in the mid-‘90s.

Slash’s Snakepit:

Around the time that signs of trouble started brewing within Guns N’ Roses, Slash dabbled with a side project called Slash’s Snakepit, which contained a few newer members from GNR (guitarist Gilby Clarke, drummer Matt Sorum) and a colleague from Alice in Chains (bassist Mike Inez), as well as vocalist Eric Dover. The band released two albums that failed to come close to matching GNR’s commercial impact, 1995’s It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere and 2000’s Ain’t Life Grand (recorded with an entirely different lineup). The albums weren’t huge hits, but they did demonstrate Slash’s preference for classic arena rock.

Velvet Revolver:

Slash’s next major creative endeavor came with Velvet Revolver, a group that included GNR bandmates McKagan and Sorum, Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner, and Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland. The band produced two old-school hard rock records, 2004’s Contraband and 2007’s Libertad. Both albums were well-received and produced some rock-radio hits, giving Slash a platform to show off the guitar tricks that made Appetite so memorable. But in 2008, tension between Weiland and the rest of the band caused the singer to exit the group, forcing Velvet Revolver to go on hiatus while they searched for a new frontman.

Solo Career:

While Velvet Revolver auditioned new singers, Slash went to work on a solo album, recruiting different vocalists for separate tracks. On April 6, 2010, Slash hit stores, featuring cameos from Fergie, Chris Cornell, Ozzy Osbourne, Miles Kennedy, and many others.

Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and the Conspirators:

When Slash put together a solo band to tour promoting his first 2010 solo album he chose Miles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) who sang on two songs on the album as his lead singer. Slash picked bassist/backup vocalist Todd Kerns and drummer Brett Fitz as his rhythm section for the tour. Slash recorded with Kennedy, Kerns, and Fitz under the lengthy name Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and the Conspirators for 2012's Apocalyptic Love and 2014's World on Fire albums

Essential Slash Songs:

"Sweet Child O' Mine" (with Guns N' Roses)
"Welcome to the Jungle" (with Guns N' Roses) 
"Slither" (with Velvet Revolver) 
"The Last Fight" (with Velvet Revolver) 

Slash Discography:


Slash (2010)             

(as Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and the Conspirators)                                       

Apocalyptic Love (2012)
World on Fire (2014)

Slash Quotes:

On the early days of Guns N' Roses.

"I think what was great about Guns N' Roses is that we made it on our own integrity and we didn't give up anything to anybody and made it on our own merit. The early gigs didn't pay well at all. We actually looked forward to getting paid after a gig, but it was usually for the beer. I kept a straight job for a while." (MusicRadar, Sept. 8, 2008)

On the litany of guest vocalists on his solo album, Slash.
"I wasn't trying to consciously bridge any generation gaps or to try to be eclectic. I wrote the music first, and I took the different styles of music that I was writing and farmed it out to singers who I thought might like it or be appropriate for." (Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2010)

On the experience of making his first solo album after the tumultuous times in Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver.
"This gave me a whole new lease on life. There was no drama. There was no complicated or complex situations having to deal with writing and recording. This was so painless. It changed my whole perspective on how complicated working with anybody should ever be." (Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2010)

Slash Trivia:

  • Slash has uncredited bit roles in The Dead Pool and Sid & Nancy.
  • In 2007, Slash published his autobiography, Slash, in which he told about his time in Guns N' Roses and his decision to leave the band.
  • After Slash's parents split up, his mother dated David Bowie for a time.
  • When Slash moved to Los Angeles during his childhood, one of his neighbors was Joni Mitchell.
  • Slash has played on albums by Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson.
  • Slash was born Saul Hudson.

(Edited by Bob Schallau)