Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Slash + Duff + Dave Grohl = Probably OK At Best

My friend forwarded me this Twitter from Slash that went out today:

SlashHudson Doing a track for my record with Dave Grohl on drums & Duff on bass tonight, it promises to be killer. #fb

That sounds absolutely "killer" on paper, but given the output of most Guns N Roses alumni (and "Guns N Roses" ie. Axl and hired hands) I am extremely skeptical about this being any good. The album is currently titled Slash & Friends and is set for release in 2010. You can read the full (not necessarily confirmed) details here. Slash is obviously an amazing guitar player, so of course I'll be curious to hear what he does on this record with a variety of guest vocalists ranging from cool (Chris Cornell, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper) to um, well, I don't know what to say about one of rock's most revered guitarists asking Fergie and the dude from Maroon 5 to be on his solo record. [Then again, he did do a song with Michael Jackson, so you know.] I won't say they are bad singers, but their presence certainly gives me very little hope that Slash is taking this album in a good direction. I don't think even the presence of cool cats like Dave Grohl, Steven Adler and Flea will lift this album above being at best simply "OK".

Let's look at the track record of Guns N Roses alumni (and I'm including Axl in that category):
  • Slash's Snakepit? Honestly, I never even bothered to listen to it and that kind of says it all right there.
  • Velvet Revolver? A couple cool songs, but it seriously lacked any balls (although to be fair, I think that mostly falls on Scott Weiland).
  • Axl Rose's solo project, um, I mean Guns N Roses after everyone quit? The album Chinese Democracy wasn't as dramatic a musical failure as many thought it would be, but it was nowhere near being worth a 15 year wait. I listened to it a few times and tucked it away in my CD collection to collect dust (and deleted it from my iTunes).
  • I know Duff McKagan has a new project Loaded, but like Slash's Snakepit, I simply have no desire to hear it.
I know that isn't a complete list, but those are the highlights with one glaring omission: Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds. I couldn't include that in the above list because it is actually GOOD! Their 1992 self-titled debut album (which surprisingly is still available in CD format on Amazon for the reasonable price of $10.98) was a wonderful slab of rock n roll not far off from what The Black Crowes were doing at the time. Izzy handles the vocals (which we already knew were good from the songs he sang on the Use Your Illusions) and guitar with a more than capable backing band behind him. Check out the first single from the album, "Shuffle It All", here. He has had 5 releases since, but I am not really familiar with them. In writing this blog entry though, my curiosity has been piqued and I'm planning on hunting some more of his material down.

Anyway, let's face it....when Izzy quit Guns N Roses things went downhill fast for the band, so it doesn't take a skilled detective to put together that he was an integral part of Guns N Roses and probably more so than Slash and Duff. In a discussion about Guns N Roses earlier today, a reliable source told me that rumor has it that Izzy "co-wrote ten songs with Slash and Duff that were supposed to be the first Velvet Revolver album, but Weiland wouldn't sing on any of the songs because he thought they sounded too much like GN'R. Slash says the demos are basically the best GN'R record never released". Like my friend who shared that with me, I find that totally believable. I can see Weiland being a huge baby, ego maniac, whatever you want to call it and refusing to sing the songs. Wouldn't it be sweet if that stuff got released someday though? Preferably with Izzy on vocals of course.

But enough with the speculation and conjecture about what could have been, what might be and what will never be because all we really have is what already happened and that is the awesomeness of Guns N Roses in their glory years....

"It's So Easy"


"Double Talkin' Jive"


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