SLASH Never Intended To Make His Top Hat Part Of His Signature Look

February 23, 2022

During an appearance on talk show host Conan O'Brien's podcast "Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend" this past Monday (February 21),Slash opened up about his trademark black top hat, explaining that it dates back to 1985 when he first started playing shows with GUNS N' ROSES. "I stole it from a place called Retail Slut on Melrose [in Los Angeles]," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "I remember this because there was two stores — there was Leathers And Treasures and Retail Slut next door. And Taime Downe, the singer from a band called FASTER PUSSYCAT, used to work at Retail Slut, so that's how I remember the name of it. And I went in there. I didn't have any money. I always used to wear some sort of a hat. It completed whatever look you had going on. And I went in there. And I just saw the top hat. And it just spoke to me, I guess. So I figured, what the fuck, I'll just walk out with it. And so I did. And then I went next door to Leathers And Treasures and I stole a Concho belt and then went back to the apartment me and Axl [Rose, GUNS N' ROSES singer] were living in at the time. And we had a show at the Whisky [A Go Go] that night, so I took the Concho belt and I cut it up and I put it around the hat and I wore it that night."

Slash added: "It just became a thing where I really identified with it; I wore it all the time. It was a way you pull it over your eyes; you could hide behind it if you were really high. I had no intention of it being this long-term thing… It was really something to hide behind for a long time. It was, just put the hat on and nobody knows who I am and what I'm doing and what I'm up to. I can see you, [but] you can't see me. And during the shows, it was great to have that, because to this day, I still can't look at the audience — like, straight into the audience. And so having the top hat, really, you just pull it down and you could just do your thing and you didn't feel as intimidated by the crowd."

Slash previously told HuffPost in a 2008 interview that it took him a while to find his signature look.

"I tried a couple different hats," he said. "I always thought bowlers and fedoras were cool, but nothing that stuck out as being my thing. You have to explore; trial and error until you find your own edge."

Asked if there are professional benefits to establishing a personal look, Slash told HuffPost: "Yeah, people know who you are pretty easily with an established look. I think my top hat is more famous than I am. There are benefits to having a look that people can identify with. I didn't see it coming. I did what I thought looked cool, and years later I became instantly synonymous with the top hat and that was a surprise to me. It's different, though, than KISS or Blue Man Group — they are wearing a costume. Although I would imagine that people do think I'm wearing a costume since people emulate it for Halloween."

Slash went on to say that he feels "more comfortable" with his hat on than without it. "I'm low-key by nature and not the most outspoken person," he explained. "As a guitar player, I'm pretty dynamic, and that's where I feel most expressive and comfortable, though I'm still hiding behind the guitar. The hat completed the whole thing and I felt much more comfortable in public and could deal with social situations. More than 'becoming Slash,' I just feel less insecure."

Slash is promoting the new album from SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS, titled "4", which was released on February 11 via Gibson Records in partnership with BMG. "4" is Slash's fifth solo album and fourth overall with his band featuring Myles Kennedy (vocals),Brent Fitz (drums),Todd Kerns (bass, vocals) and Frank Sidoris (guitar, vocals).

SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS kicked off a North American headlining tour on February 8, in Portland, Oregon. The trek will hit 28 major cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, Dallas, Austin, Houston, and more, before wrapping up March 26 in Orlando, Florida.

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