December 20 2011
I’m in the lounge at Barefoot Recording. Sponge Bob is muted on the flat screen. Myles is playing guitar in the studio downstairs. I’ve been taking advantage of what little ‘me’ time there is. I’ve been spending it with my new friend Dexter. I know everyone else seems to already know him but I’m late to his party. I am half way through season 2 and am officially addicted. He throws a hell of a party.
In 3 days I will be making my way to Vancouver to spend the holidays with my family. All the Californians think I’m going back to Canada to have a white Christmas. We Vancouverites know we have a WET Christmas instead. I’m very much looking forward to it.
After a while the studio turns into Das Boot. A group of dudes trapped together day in and day out. To add to the surreality of it all a documentary camera crew follows our every move. Not sure what is to come of this footage. Dvd? Documentary? Blackmail material? Who knows? The camera crew have now become part of our Island Of Misfit Toys.
My birthday was a couple weeks ago and I didn’t do a thing for it. This is not the first time I’ve not done a thing for my birthday but usually those surrounding me force me into something. We did a marathon day in the studio that day with the arrival of Myles Kennedy. We were a well oiled machine and Mr Kennedy was playing catch up after returning from a successful UK tour with Alter Bridge. By the time we were finished at the studio I was a zombie and I don’t think it was any longer my birthday anyway so I missed it entirely. I kinda regret that now. Next year I’ll do something special…like…uh…fireworks and jell-o. Preferably not together.
We are somewhere in the area of 5 songs in. I’ve lost track. We play the songs together live off the floor capturing guitars, bass and drums all in one pass. If there’s any glaring mistakes they are repaired and we move on to the next. The pace has been about one song a day though we’ve managed to fall off that pace here and there. The riffs are fat and huge and heavy. Slash plays solos live off the floor that are epic and as impressive as anything in his catalogue. And that’s a formidable one.
In our last stretch of pre production Fitz tore a big hole in his thumb. He sat out for two days while the other 3 of us played along to the previous days recorded drum rehearsals. It was surreal but necessary. After a couple of days Fitz returned behind the kit bandaged up, gloved and good to go.
It’s been fascinating working with Eric Valentine. Every day I come in and the drums are in a different part of the studio. He’s big on different sounds for different songs. The kick drum sizes change, Myles and I change guitars and amps all the time dependent on the track. The only constant is Slash. Les Paul and Marshall. All you need is an American guitar and a British amplifier and you can take over the world. Slash has a very specific, distinctive sound and it would be a mistake to have him playing a Strat or a Tele. Slash needs to sound like Slash. The funny thing is I have a feeling that even if he did have a completely different set up going it would still sound very much like him.
The other night Fitz and I hung out at Bruce Kulick’s house with Eric Singer. It was surreal for a minute there to be there with the guys from the Revenge lineup of KISS. We had some laughs, played some guitars. Bruce has an amazing collection of guitars and pulled out one beauty after another. I left his place with a Rickenbacker 4003 and a Gibson SG bass which is a remake of the old EB-3. I’ll be using his basses where they seem to fit. The Rick has already been used! Thanks Brucifer! I met Keith Leroux from kissonline.com there as well. Great guy. God knows I’ve loitered on his site enough!
December 12th was last week. I played my very first show ever as a kid on December 12th a thousand years ago(I’ve never been good at math). I played at the Lanigan Town Hall in Lanigan, Saskatchewan, Canada. It was a Christmas party. I made $60 and I spent it on Christmas presents for my family. I remember I bought my brother, John, an AC/DC shirt that fell apart not long after. Here it is a thousand years later and I’m still playing music. What a trip it’s been.
After Christmas in the great city of Vancouver, BC, Canada I will return to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve at the Hard Rock Hotel/Casino. Incidentally Axl’s Guns N Roses are playing the same building (albeit in a much bigger venue!). I’ll be playing with the Sin City Sinners, hot on the heels of a very successful Christmas cd. It’s gonna be a great deal of fun. I might even get a chance to say hello to old friends, Diz and DJ from Axl’s side of the fence.
GNR are going to be in the Hall Of Fame, as they should be! No KISS, Rush or Deep Purple (wtf?) but GNR definitely deserves to be. It’s gonna be a big year on Planet Slash. Hall Of Fame, new album, big tour etc etc etc. Very exciting indeed.
January 2nd we will be back at Barefoot Recording doing more of what we do. I’ll be back in Vegas by February with my Sinners. I haven’t seen my house in a looong time! It seems where I hang my hat is my home. A good problem to have for this ol’ gypsy heart. Los Angeles-Amoeba Records almost daily, California sun, Cactus Taqueria (the amazing mexican stand down the street) more often than I should…life is good.
Just finishing up Ace’s book. Wow. How is he still alive? God love ‘im. Then I’m moving on to brother Duff’s. Of course this is all research for my own book someday. I’ll just retell all their stories with myself as the protagonist. Resource material will include everything from Hammer Of The Gods to The Dirt. I think I’ll call it No One Here Gets OOT Alive. Nice ring to it.
Well, Myles just came up so I guess it’s time to get into the next song. I’m wondering where the drums will be when I go down there now. Always exciting.
I guess this is probably the last you’ll hear from me til 2012…well, ya nevah know…
Happy Holidays to all of y’all! I hope you spend it with those you love the most. Big big love to you and yours!!!
Your loyal and humble servant