Slash is a man who needs no introduction. Closing in on 40 years into his career, he is showing no signs of slowing down, having recently released his fourth solo album, and third with his bandmates Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. (Todd ‘Dammit’ Kerns on bass, Brent Fitz on drums, and Frank Sidoris on rhythm guitar.) ‘Living The Dream’ sees the boys come back after some time apart spent focusing on other projects, most notably the Guns ‘N Roses reunion and Kennedy releasing his long-awaited debut solo record. ‘Living The Dream’ also sees long-time touring guitarist Sidoris make his recorded debut with Slash and co. We sat down with Fitz to chat all about the new record and more.
“It has just been overwhelming,” he begins, describing the reception to the new record. “I’ve heard from people ‘this is the best record you guys have ever done, it’s my favourite’ and you know, it’s still only new. The record’s only been out a short while but we feel as a band that there was a reason to make another record. There was always an intention to make another record so I think the band still has a lot of new things in store. There’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of distractions right now. Myles has a new record out, and Slash is doing Guns ‘N Roses and whatnot, but it seems like us five guys getting together – including Frank playing on the record – has been one of the most satisfying things.” He explains before addressing his insecurities about when they would be able to make this album happen. “I personally wasn’t sure how and when we could do this again, but I’m personally very happy that it’s in full swing.”
Speaking of the logistical challenges involved with getting the entire band together to work on new music while everybody was so busy, he starts off matter-of-factly. “Slash is a smart man. He’s a very smart musician, he’s very smart as far as communicating and always being available.” He goes on to elaborate by saying, “He knew what he wanted to do. Even though Guns ‘N Roses became a priority, I think he always knew as his own self, he was saying ‘well I’ve got a bunch of songs I still want to work on with my other band.’ He was always communicative to me and to Myles and everybody, saying ‘hey, we’re going to keep working on songs’ and as long as everybody was on the same page – which we always were – I mean, I knew I was going to do some other things while Slash was doing Guns ‘N Roses, and Myles certainly got very busy doing a solo record, but nothing stepped on anybody else’s time. We just talked about it and said ‘well, let’s find some time in a year from now.’ If we didn’t want to record together, then we wouldn’t have,” He states. “But clearly we’ve found a strong bond writing songs and new music and it’s been working, so I can’t really fault it. It’s all about scheduling now.”
It’s been no secret that Slash and Co. had been working on new material at the end of the ‘World On Fire’ tour cycle three years ago, so Fitz goes on to describe a little bit about the writing process and bridging the gap between the material they wrote back in 2015 and the newer material they created much more recently. “’Living The Dream’ is still a little bit of what we built off before, and the other half is built on how we are stronger from being apart. A lot of the ideas were already in place and because we all get along so well and we’ve had all this time to tour together and get really strong as friends and bandmates and musicians and songwriters together, I wish that I could say there was drama, there was fighting, there was infiltrating that created this great tension to make a great album, but the first time we went into the studio together after several years, we wrote Mind Your Manners within minutes. It was because we were looking forward to playing together, I don’t know if it’s because we had played with so many other people. Maybe the separation and having our own other projects and working with other people is healthy.”
‘Living The Dream’ allows each individual band member to shine more so than the band’s previous studio albums, something which Fitz puts down to trust and respect for each other as musicians. “I don’t tell Slash what to play on guitar, and he doesn’t tell me what to play on drums, certainly that goes for everybody else too. Everybody feeds off one another equally. We brought Frank in to record, even though he’s been playing with the band for a long time now, he didn’t play on the last record, but his energy and musicality and his input is certainly part of the new music, and if he wasn’t to be respected, he wouldn’t be in the band and he wouldn’t be playing on the record. We just have a great understanding and a great musical vocabulary amongst each other, so I know what Slash is going to play and he probably knows what I’m going to play. There’s a lot of room for us to say ‘well this sounds like we’ve got to let Slash just rip on that guitar solo’ and you’ve got to either go with him and support it or step back.”
In very welcome news for fans, today saw the announcement of an upcoming tour – their first on our shores since Soundwave 2015. We couldn’t let Fitz go without asking him what we can expect this time around. “Well if it builds off our last very successful tour of Australia, I remember last time we were there were probably some of the best shows of the ‘World On Fire’ tour, so it’s more of the same. We’re very excited.” Since launching his solo career, Slash has made a name for himself for being one of the few big international acts to still come and regularly play some smaller cities which are so often missed by many bands. “That’s all on Slash. He’s always been about playing everywhere and looking forward to playing somewhere different and new. I remember last time we were in New Zealand we played Christchurch, and it was not long after the earthquake unfortunately, but I think people were appreciative that we actually made the effort to go to that city, and we had one of our best shows down there. We’ve been to India, we’ve been to Russia, we’ve gone to Beirut over the years. On the last tour with Slash, we’ve been to so many Cities I’ve never been to with any band and had really great shows and that’s a great feeling.
If there’s one thing left to do, it’s to get your hands on a copy of ‘Living The Dream’ if you haven’t already and prepare yourself for what are sure to be some more incredible shows! ‘Living The Dream’ is available now and can be purchased HERE, and tickets for the upcoming tour go on sale on Friday the 26th of October and can be purchased HERE!