Slash ready to rock Ribfest in Naperville
By Annie Alleman July 1, 2013 9:25PM
Myles Kennedy (left) and Slash are on the bill Friday in Naperville. | GETTY IMAGES
Slash featuring Myles
Kennedy and the Conspirators
◆ July 5
◆ Knoch Park, 724 S. West, Naperville
◆ Tickets, $15
◆ (630) 259-1129; Ribfest.net
Updated: August 3, 2013 6:07AM
Naperville’s Ribfest is going to get a shot in the arm when legendary rock guitarist Slash headlines Friday night.
Along with his band, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, the man born Saul Hudson takes the main stage at 8 p.m. July 5 at Knock Park in Naperville.
Slash rose to fame as the lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses. He went on to play with Velvet Revolver, and he’s appeared on albums by Alice Cooper, Daughtry, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson and Iggy Pop.
He recorded his own solo album in 2010, called “Slash and Friends,” which featured a number of high-wattage guest stars like Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Adam Levine and Dave Grohl. Kennedy, singer of the band Alter Bridge, was one of the vocalists that appeared on that album.
“When I worked with him on my solo record with all the different singers, he was just amazing,” Slash said. “I had never met him before and it was just sort of a shot in the dark that I called him up and asked him to sing a couple of songs. In working with him, I liked him a lot and thought he had a great work ethic.”
When it came time to tour and promote the album, Kennedy was on a break from Alter Bridge, so he joined Slash’s tour. That led to working together on Slash’s 2012 album, “Apocalyptic Love.”
“Now it’s turned into a permanent thing, so we’re going to go ahead and make another record,” he said.
This is the final leg of the “Apocalyptic Love” tour, he said. He puts his downtime to good use though, spending time writing songs. He’s got enough for new album.
“One of the fortunate things that happened to me when I decided to give up the dope and stuff was I focused all that energy … and now in between gigs all I do is write,” he said. “I’ve got enough for the next record as soon as the tour is over.”
In 2010, Slash formed Slasher Films, a horror film production company. Its first film, “Nothing Left to Fear,” is slated for release this yearby Anchor Bay Entertainment. He serves as a producer on it and contributes original music.
“I’m really excited about it. It’s three years in the making with very little money and all the crazy constraints that one would imagine when you’re doing your first picture,” he said.
Ribfest audiences can expect to hear songsfrom “Apocalyptic Love” and “Slash and Friends,” as well as some classic Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver.
“It’s a very high-energy, stripped-down, straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll show,” he said. “Every day is different and every crowd is different. We change the set every day. We don’t have a choreographed show. That can get really old really quick. I’m maintaining my roots — rock ‘n’ roll is not supposed to feel like that. That’s why we can stay out for so long and have a good time, because it has that magic, in-the-moment feel to it.”
Slash never aspired to be a musician; he took piano lessons briefly as a child, and did the traditional stint on the recorder in grade school.
“I was pretty late in life. It was around my 15th birthday when I picked up the guitar and it changed my life entirely,” he said.
And how about that top hat?
“I think it was 1985. It was before a Guns N’ Roses show we were playing at the Whiskey. I was walking around, broke, looking for stuff to wear,” he said. “In those days, you just sort of picked up bits and pieces as you could get them. I saw that hat in the window, and I always a hat guy. If you were to look back at pictures of me through the years, I always had different hats. That one just spoke to me. I lifted it off the store and wore it that night, and it became a regular thing.”
Before his next album comes out, you can find Slash in a new video game called BandFuse: Rock Legends, slated to come out later in the year.
“It’s very similar to ‘Guitar Hero,’ where you use the TV monitor to play against, only it uses a real guitar,” Slash said. “It’s way more comprehensive and easier to use, and I’d say a lot more fun. It teaches you how to play guitar and allows you to play with other musicians. And because it’s online, it allows you to play with somebody in China. You can put a whole band together and record material through this system. I’m really excited about that.”
In the meantime, he’s looking forward to coming to Illinois, he said.
“I’m excited about this last leg of the tour and we’re going to pull out some songs we haven’t played yet and it’s going to be a gas.”
Annie Alleman is a local free-lance writer.