SLASH: 'Rock And Roll Definitely Needs A Movement'

November 8, 2014

In a brand new interview with Manchester Evening News, legendary guitarist Slash was asked if he thought rock and roll bands had become tamer since he first started out, in 1981 with his first band TIDUS SLOAN and 1985 with GUNS N' ROSES.

"I do think rock and roll bands have become really conformist, and they are worried abut pissing off their record companies and being played on the radio," he said.

"Rock and roll definitely needs a movement. It's become kind of the music industry's bothersome step child and what it needs is someone really committed to come and shake things up who doesn't give a shit if they make it.

"You know, I never got into music for all of this. I just learned guitar and started a band. I think if you are planning for the fame and fortune, if it's pre-meditated you lose your musical integrity. You need to learn your instrument really well and write your music to get that chemistry."

Slash in September responded to KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons' recent comment that "rock is dead."

Simmonstold Esquire magazine earlier that month — in an interview conducted by his son Nick — that "rock did not die of old age. It was murdered. Some brilliance, somewhere, was going to be expressed and now it won't because it's that much harder to earn a living playing and writing songs. No one will pay you to do it."

Simmons went on to elaborate that as a result of file-sharing and other issues, record label support for rock music was not available like it was when KISS was coming up, concluding, "It's finally dead. Rock is finally dead."

Asked to weigh in on Gene's comments, Slash told The Irish Times: "All things considered, there are a lot of issues that have popped up over the last 20 years or so that have had a huge effect on the industry as a whole.

"I don't think that the file-sharing necessarily is the catalyst to the plight that rock music is in.

"If they don't want to waste money on bands and artists that aren't doing what you consider popular music, that's more because every single record company has been digested by a huge corporate conglomerate and they just want to do what makes the most money.

"There are still some indie labels out there signing good rock bands.

"I sort of appreciate the landscape at the moment because it has forced us to really feeling strongly about expressing ourselves in the rock 'n' roll format and really believe in it. That's the people who are really passionate about it. But being part of a live audience is people appreciating what rock 'n' roll music is all about. I don't think that has changed.

"The quality of commercial music is in the toilet, but the people who do it for real and mean it are still fantastic. They just don't have the outlets they used to have.

Asked what he meant when he used the word "plight" to describe the state of rock music, Slash said: "Rock 'n' roll is a genre. In terms of what popular music is all about in terms of record sales and radio and all of that, it is probably at its lowest ebb of all time. But I know a lot of it does have to do with the fact that everybody is streaming online. But as far as the industry is concerned, rock 'n' roll is very much the ugly cousin. I sort of dig that because it provides a certain sense of rebellion and attitude that was missing. And all the popular so-called heavy metal bands that do make it to radio are so conformist that I can't stand them. All the real heavy metal bands, they've been doing the same thing for years and years on the same level, and they keeping putting out music and doing what they do. I like that."

Slash released his third solo album, "World On Fire", on September 16.

The disc is the second to feature Slash's regular backing band, MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS, and follows up 2012's "Apocalyptic Love".

The former GUNS N' ROSES member and Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee wrapped up a summer tour with AEROSMITH and played three shows in West Hollywood before heading out to Europe.

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