The Slash Interviews: The Making Of World On Fire
Please be upstanding for Slash. The guitar hero and King Conspirator talks “couch riffs”, not being a dictator and the perils of keeping a guitar in the bedroom.
One morning – a very late morning probably, in April 2014, shortly before finishing his new album World On Fire – Slash woke up, feeling decidedly fragile.
It wasn’t a hangover – he’d given up booze and drugs years before. Instead, the guitarist was coming down with the flu. It was a minor inconvenience for a musician who’d famously survived three near-fatal heart attacks and more than a decade’s worth of high living back in the good old bad old 1980s and 90s. However, instead of staying in bed or shrouding himself in a blanket and vegetating in front of daytime TV like a regular human being, Slash decided to play a gig with Motörhead. After all, the show was local, at Club Nokia, a bijou venue on LA’s West Olympic Boulevard, and Motörhead are one of his favourite groups; still touring despite their dogged frontman Lemmy’s current health scares: a haematoma and heart issues at the time of writing.
In fact, having played one gig with Motörhead, a debilitated Slash decided to play a further two shows with the band. And so it was that the guitarist, felled by what he described as “the worst fucking flu”, ended up in the Colorado Desert 24 hours later playing on the encore of Motörhead’s performance at the annual Coachella Festival. To make his life even harder, Slash decided to drive back to Los Angeles and then back to Coachella a couple of days later for Motörhead’s second festival appearance.
At the show, a growling Lemmy introduced Slash as “your friend and ours”. Any indication that Slash might have crawled from his sickbed was immediately dispelled. Instead, it was business as usual. The brim of the omnipresent top hat was pulled down so low it was almost touching the bridge of the sunglasses; the shirt-tail was flapping over the black leather trousers, and the trusty Gibson Les Paul was slung just below the waist.