Slash says work with Myles is 'inspiring'

via: lehighvalleylive.com

"Slash says working singer Myles Kennedy is 'inspiring' ahead of first visit to Bethlehem in 26 years"

The calendar may read 2013, but in many ways it still feels like 1987 to rocker Slash.

"Doing theaters and arenas, that kind of stuff and (being) rough around the edges, it's very similar to where Guns N' Roses was at that time," Slash says during a Wednesday phone interview. He then laughs and adds, "Maybe not as rough around the edges."

Twenty-six years after first performing in the Lehigh Valley — his first band, Guns N' Roses, opened for Aerosmith at Stabler Arena in 1987 and also played the old Airport Road Music Hall in Allentown that same year — Slash returns to Bethlehem on Tuesday night with his latest outfit, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. The group performs at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center.

"To tell you the truth, I wasn't even sure if we played there (the Lehigh Valley) or not," Slash confesses. He says a friend found Guns N' Roses' set list from Allentown on the Internet. "That was pretty trippy."

Slash admits not much has changed in the years since, though he says he feels more determined nowadays

"It's just fun; we're having a blast doing it and everybody's in their comfort zone," Slash says. "In a word, it's just been pretty inspiring because he (Kennedy) is a really, genuinely talented singer-songwriter and performer without a lot of the unnecessary baggage, so it's been a boon for me. ... I'm just really happy to do what it is I love to do."

Instant connection

Slash says the first time he heard Kennedy — who also fronts hard rock quartet Alter Bridge — sing over Slash's music, Slash immediately knew Kennedy was the right person for the job. He says years earlier, Kennedy was considered to front supergroup Velvet Revolver, which included Slash and fellow Guns N' Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, before the band ultimately settled on former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland.

"He was almost in Velvet Revolver at one point, before Scott, but I never heard him sing," Slash explains. "We wrote the song 'Starlight' via email and so when I heard that, I thought, (expletive), this is really good."

Slash says he then flew Kennedy to Los Angeles to record the finished track, as well as the song "Back From Cali" for his 2010 self-titled solo album. The album also featured vocal contributions from Fergie, Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister, Ozzy Osbourne, Chris Cornell and Kid Rock, among others

"When I did that album, I handpicked every singer, knowing what I was getting," he says.

Slash says after the album was completed, he asked Kennedy to join him on tour to promote the album.

"I just knew in the back of my mind, without asking him, that he could do the whole catalog," Slash says, including the bombastic vocals originally sung by Axl Rose on Guns N' Roses' biggest hits — including "Paradise City," "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Civil War."

"We had one week of rehearsal and he kicked ass," Slash says of Kennedy. "We started to establish this repertoire."

Slash says touring with Kennedy and The Conspirators for the last three years has been refreshing.

"It's really sort of taken me to where I've been able to hit the ground running with guys I can depend on," Slash says. "I have a lot of faith in (them)."

Last year, Slash released "Apocalyptic Love," with Kennedy and The Conspirators. Slash says he is confident about the follow-up, for which he has already started writing material.

"We only scratched the surface on the last one," Slash says.

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