- Slash – Lead & rhythm guitars, acoustic guitar on track 6, lead acoustic guitat on track 13
- Chris Chaney – Bass excluding track 9 and 15
- Josh Freese – Drums excluding tracks 9, 12 and 15, percussion on track 13.
- Lenny Castro – Percussion excluding tracks 1,8,9,11,12 and 13.
- Izzy Stradlin – Rhythm guitar/Backing Vocals on track 1
- Taylor Hawkins – Backing vocals on track 2
- Kevin Churko – Backing vocals on track 2
- Joe Sandt – Harpsichord on track 5
- Steven Adler – Drums on track 12 & 15
- Flea – Bass track 15
- Lemmy – Bass track 8
|2||Crucify The Dead||Ozzy Osbourne||4:04|
|4||Back From Cali||Myles Kennedy||3:35|
|6||By The Sword||Andrew Stockdale||4:50|
|9||Watch this Dave||Dave Grohl, Duff McKagan||3:46|
|10||I Hold On||Kid Rock||4:10|
|11||Nothing To Say||M Shadows||5:27|
|13||Saint Is A Sinner Too||Rocco De Luca||3:38|
|14||We’re All Gonna Die||Iggy Pop||4:30|
|15||Baby Can’t Drive [Bonus Track]||Alice Cooper, Nicole Scheerzinger||3:20|
When I first saw this advertised in Classic Rock Magazine, I was curious to see what it was like, having been a fan of both Guns N’ Roses, Slash’s Snakepit and Velvet Revolver. As well as this I was also a big fan of Lemmy’s work and Ozzy’s too.
I recall listening to Guns N’ Roses during my teens and still to this day very much like their first album, after which I kind of lost interest as I found heavier stuff to listen to [Anthrax, Machine Head, S.O.D to name a few].
Unfortunately I was unable to get it at the time, even though I pre-ordered it from Amazon. The order got lost in the post sadly and Amazon weren’t able to supply a replacement. I was bitterly disappointed by that and so kept an eye out on eBay for a second hand copy hoping a copy would come up that wasn’t stupidly overpriced [some fetching £50-100+!].
In the mean time I managed to get a copy of both the Motörhead and Hendrix Fan Packs [Also reviewed on this site] and enjoyed them so was determined to get a copy. Eventually I got lucky and found one at the right price. This is my review of that, admittedly rather belatedly due to the means to acquire it.
- Exclusive album magazine
- Slash album with 15 tracks plus an exclusive bonus track
- 132-page Limited Edition
- Interview with Slash
- Interviews with guests and others
- Track by Track album guide
- Slash Career overview
- And much more
The magazine starts with an interview with Slash featuring how he came up with the idea for the album, and why he chose the various people he worked with on the album. The interview goes through each choice with Slash giving a short piece on why he chose them, what they represent to him and what he likes about them. This was quite interesting as it shows his thoughts in making the album and choosing them, some of the choices being perhaps a surprise [Black Eyed Peas Fergie for one]. It is a length and informative interview, which I enjoyed reading.
Then follows an interesting short article on Slash’s Snakepit [the band Slash formed during a Guns N’ Roses hiatus and gain when he had left Guns N’ Roses]. Having listened to the two albums made under the Slash’s Snakepit banner and liking them I enjoyed reading this as it gives more insight into what was going on at the time.
After this is an article on one of Slash’s other occasional side project [Slash’s Blues Ball with Teddy Andreadis]. I didn’t know he’d done such till reading the article. The band basically is a all-star covers band. Basically an outlet for Slash to let off steam when he was between projects or not working with Guns N’ Roses at the time.
Following on from this is another article along a similar theme about Matt Sorum’s side project Camp Freddy which featured Slash on several occasions as well as a host of his friends [from Lemmy to Steven Tyler to Ozzy]. Another interesting article. Didn’t really grab my attention though.
Next up is a track by track account of each song with thoughts from the guest of each track and Slash. Quite interesting to know what each of them thought about working with Slash and what Slash thought about the song and how it came about. I particularly liked the story about Doctor Alibi featuring Lemmy, where the song mirrors a story that happened in real life to some extent.
The article on how Slash found a whole new audience via the computer game Guitar Hero III was quite an interesting read I felt, especially how it kind of took Slash by surprise a bit. I liked how he’s found that people who don’t know him for his music now recognise him cos of being on the box for the game and that he doesn’t find this a bad thing if it introduces more kids to guitar based rock music that they’d otherwise likely never hear.
There then follows an interview/article with Duff McKagan [former Guns N’ Roses bassist], an article on a star studded gig Slash and friends did in Norway in 2009 and an article on a charity gig for LA kids Slash organised with friends in 2009. All quite interesting to read and fill in more details about the sort of man Slash is and what makes him tick.
The ‘All things considered’ article with Alan Niven was quite poignant in how it recalls how Slash was in his worst days during the Guns N’ Roses era with drinking and drugs. I can relate to it to some extent also.
We then finish off with a selection of reviews of the Guns N’ Roses albums Slash features on, the two Slash’s Snakepit albums, and the two Velvet Revolver albums. All standard review fare really, nothing I feel I didn’t know already knowing a reasonable amount about Slash and so on already.
For Slash’s first proper solo album he teamed up with a number of his peers. Some of them surprising (to me) choices, others inspired. Here’s a track-by-track account of the album:
Ghost (With Ian Astbury)
A good rocking number. Opens the album nicely. Catchy and with a good rhythm. I quite like this one. Ian Astbury [The Cult] sings well on this one. The Cult being one of my favourite bands makes this rather unsurprising really.
Crucify the Dead (With Ozzy Osbourne)
Crunchy, gritty rock. A good song that fits well with Ozzy’s vocals. Really rather like this one. What more is there to say about Ozzy? His distinctive vocal style reaches out and bites you on this one. Being a big Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne fan I always felt I’d like this track, not disappointed I’m glad to say.
Beautiful Dangerous (with Fergie [from The Black Eyed Peas])
A surprise choice of vocalist, not known for her rock singing. However it works well enough I found. In fact a fairly catchy song. I find myself really rather liking this and finding her voice works really rather well for this song. Surprise of the album I think, in a good way.
Back from Cali (with Myles Kennedy [from Alter Bridge])
A good rock track. Quite like this one. With a bit of a melodic feel to it. The better of the two tracks featuring Myles Kennedy. I think he has potential to be good with Slash as his singer, he has the right voice given the right songs.
Promise (with Chris Cornell [Soundgarden/Audioslave])
A song that complements Chris’ vocal style quite well. A nice catchy melodic number. I quite like it, but being mellower it doesn’t fit in with some of the other album tracks for me somehow. Not to say it is bad though.
By the Sword (with Andrew Stockdale [Wolfmother])
Written with Andrew Stockdale’s distinctive vocal style in mind, this compliments him well. The solo has a Page feel to it. A good solid track imo.
Gotten (with Adam Levine [Maroon 5])
Whilst a nice melodic track, this just doesn’t feel like it fits to me. Maybe its just my preferences, but its not hard enough for my tastes. Then again I don’t much like ballads anyhow. Certainly the weakest track on this album.
Doctor Alibi (with Lemmy)
A perfect song for Lemmy this. He’s on fine form with this song. Really like it, a lot. With Lemmy’s distinctive voice and bass playing this sounds guttural and dirty just as a Lemmy song should. As a big Lemmy fan, this doesn’t surprise me that I feel this is the strongest track on the album.
Watch this Dave (with Dave Grohl [Nirvana/Foo Fighters/Them Crooked Vultures] and Duff McKagan [Guns ‘n Roses/Velvet Revolver/Janes Addiction])
A very heavy, full-on rock catchy instrumental track. A fun collaboration this. Quite like it. Apparently Slash wanted Dave Grohl to sing on this track but he refused as he only sings on Foo Fighters songs.
I Hold On (with Kid Rock)
For me this just doesn’t work well. Kid Rock has never been a favourite of mine and he doesn’t sound great here either. Raspy and lacking something. Just don’t like it. Not entirely sure Kid Rock was the right choice personally, just can’t see it myself. Maybe its just me not getting it?
Nothing to Say (with M. Shadows [Avenged Sevenfold])
Crunchy and fast opening. I like Avenged Sevenfold, and whilst some might not like that Slash has changed his playing to more suit M. Shadows’ style of vocal, I think it works. I quite like it, though don’t think it is great.
Starlight (with Myles Kennedy [Alter Bridge])
A melodic mystical track that picks up the pace as it goes along. Its ok, but not for me a standout track.
Saint is a Sinner Too (with Rocco De Luca)
Not heard of this guy before. Just don’t like this I’m afraid. Just not my style really.
We’re all gonna Die (with Iggy Pop)
After a few damp squids we get back to a good track at last. Iggy is on good form here. A good complement for his vocal style. Not brilliant, but a stronger element of the album definitely.
Baby can’t Drive (with Alice Cooper & Nicole Scheerzinger) [Exclusive Bonus Track]
Another surprise vocalist choice (Scheerzinger). But with Alice Cooper it seems to me to just about work. I rather like this song. It starts quite punchy I feel. Also appearing on this track Flea [Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist] and Steven Adler [original Guns N’ Roses drummer]
In summary then…
Standout tracks for me are Ghost, Crucify the Dead, Doctor Alibi and Baby can’t Drive. Fergie’s efforts are the surprise of the album though I think, a good one at that.
The album is good and has grown on me over successive listens, but my initial impressions were of a mixed bag. Taken a little bit individually rather than as an album the tracks themselves do warrant further listening and are good. Just doesn’t feel to me to capture what to me Slash is about, hard crunchy guitars and solos. Too many missed opportunities I think here really especially with so many big names on one album.
Then again I don’t think that was the point of this album. I think the intention here was for Slash to have fun with his friends and it works for the most part, but just doesn’t quite pull it off in some parts.
Slash does seem to have enjoyed the freedom to work with all the people on this album, something he wouldn’t of been able to have done with either Guns N’ Roses or Velvet Revolver as the style of some of the songs just wouldn’t ever fit.
Perhaps it is better not to look at it as a cohesive album by a solo artist, but as a collection of experiments of a frustrated artist formed as a complication. Taken from this angle I think it stacks up better by far than if you look at it on its own as a album.
Considering I missed it when it was released and only got a copy second hand via eBay I’m still glad I bought it as the good tracks outweigh the poor enough on balance.
Track 15 is stated as an exclusive bonus track, yet I’ve found it featured on other editions of the album, leading me to conclude it isn’t quite so exclusive as Classic Rock have you believe perhaps.
I look forward to seeing what Slash comes up with next [with Myles Kennedy and scheduled for 2012 release] and am also looking forward to seeing him at High Voltage in July. How the tracks sound with Myles Kennedy singing all of them live will be interesting to see. I shall be reviewing the Saturday of High Voltage so will report my findings afterwards.
Magazine Rating: 7.5/10
Album Rating: 6/10
Extras Rating: 5/10
Value Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 7.5/10