Guns N' Roses
Musician Slash achieved mainstream popularity as the lead guitarist of the rock group Guns N' Roses, with whom he recorded with from 1985 to 1996. During his 11 years with the band, the England native enjoyed multi platinum sellers with “Appetite for Destruction” (1987), “G N' R Lies” (1988), “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II” (both 1991) and the platinum release “The Spaghetti Incident” (1993). After leaving Guns N' Roses, Slash founded Slash's Snakepit and scored two platinum albums with the group called “It's Five O'Clock Somewhere” (1995) and “Ain't Life Grand” (2000). He then co-founded Velvet Revolver with ex Guns N' Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum. With the new band, Slash recorded the albums “Contraband” (2004, #1 US) and “Libertad” (2007, #5 US) before they went on hiatus in April 2008. The lead single “Slither” (2004) brought the group a 2005 Grammy Award. Slash's self titled solo album will be released in April 2010. Slash also made a name for himself as a session musician and has recorded with various artists, including Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper, Insane Clown Posse, Ray Charles, Sammy Hagar, Bad Company, Rihanna, Cheap Trick, Chic, and Eric Clapton.
On the personal note, Slash and wife Perla Ferrar, whom he has been married to since 2001, have two children together. He and former first wife Renee Suran (together from 1992 to 1997) have no children. He collects vintage Les Paul guitars and mentions “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” by Hunter S. Thompson, as his favorite book.
Childhood and Family:
Saul Hudson, who would later be popular as Slash, a nickname given to him by a family friend because he “always in a hurry, zipping around from one thing to another,” was born on July 23, 1965, in Hampstead, London, England, to an Englishman, Anthony Hudson, and an African American mother, Ola Hudson. His father designed album art for Geffen Records and his mother was a clothing designer, whose clients included David Bowie. Slash was raised in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire until age 11 when his family moved to Los Angeles. His parents separated in the mid 1970s and he lived with his mother and grandmother. During this period, Slash rode bikes and won several awards in competitions. He began playing the guitar as a teenager. Eventually, he dropped out of Beverly Hills High School in the 11th grade to focus on his music. In addition to future Guns N' Roses band member Steven Adler, he also went to the same high school as Lenny Kravitz.
Slash has been married twice. On October 10, 1992, he married Renee Suran, but they divorced in 1997. He married Perla Ferrar on October 15, 2001. His wife gave birth to a baby boy, London Emilio Hudson, on August 28, 2002. The couple's second son, Cash Anthony Hudson, was born on June 23, 2004. A former python collector, Slash gave his collection away after he had children.
After leaving high school, guitarist Slash formed his first band, Road Crew, with his childhood friend, drummer Steven Adler in 1983. Through ads placed by Slash, the band added bassist Duff McKagan, but the group soon disbanded. Slash next joined a local band called Black Sheep and in 1984, the group served as an opening act for the metal band Stryper. After the show, he was introduced to vocalist Axl Rose, who at the time also performed as an opener with his group Hollywood Rose. The two soon became friends and several months later, Slash and Steven Adler were invited to join Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin (rhythm guitar) and Duff McKagan as the band Guns N' Roses.
Throughout 1985 and 1986, Guns N' Roses toured clubs and opened for bigger acts before signing with Geffen Records and releasing their debut album, “Appetite for Destruction,” on July 21, 1987. The album was well received by critics and rose to No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The album went multi platinum in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. thanks to popular singles such as “Sweet Child O' Mine” (#1 Billboard Hot 100), “Welcome to the Jungle” (#7 Billboard Hot 100) and “Paradise City” (#5 Billboard Hot 100). “Appetite for Destruction” became the best selling debut album of all time worldwide and remains the fastest selling album in music history.
Slash and his group resurfaced with the sophomore album “G N' R Lies,” which was released on November 29, 1988. Despite consisting of only eight tracks, four of which had already been released on an EP called “Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide,” the album marked another big commercial success for the group. It peaked at No. 2 in the Billboard 200 and sold over five million copies in the U.S. alone. The album also made the Top 10 in Austria, Norway and Sweden and went gold in the U.K., where it charted at No. 22.
After a three year break, Guns N' Roses launched “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II” on September 17, 1991. “Use Your Illusion I,” with Slash serving as lead guitarist, backup vocalist and six string bassist, debuted at No.2 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 685,000 units in its first week. It went multi platinum in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and spawned the hit singles “Don't Cary” (#10 on the Billboard Hot 100), a cover of Paul McCartney's “Live and Let Die” (#33 on The Billboard Hot 100) and “November Rain” (#3 on the Billboard Hot 100). Slash also co-wrote several tracks for the album, including “Coma” and “Garden of Eden” (both with Axl Rose) and “Dust N' Bones” (with Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan). “Use Your Illusion II” also went multi platinum and rose to No. 1 in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Austria. Five singles released from the album include “You Could Be Mine” (#29 US, #3 UK), a cover of Bob Dylan's “Knockin' on Heaven's Door” (#2 UK), “Yesterdays” (#72 US) and “Civil War,” which was co-written by Slash, Axl Rose and Duff McKagan. To support the albums, Guns N' Roses embarked on the “Use Your Illusion Tour” for 28 months. After the group completed the tour, Slash became an U.S. citizen, while still maintaining his U.K. citizenship.
Back to the studio, Slash and his group released the Top 4 Billboard 200 album “The Spaghetti Incident” on November 23, 1993. Consisting totally of cover versions, the album received mixed reviews from critics and sold under 200,000 copies in its first week of release, importantly fewer than their former releases. It eventually went platinum in U.S. “The Spaghetti Incident” marked the group's first album with new rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke after Izzy Stradlin left the group in late 1991.
Meanwhile, Slash had written several songs for the album, but the material met with rejection from the group. This led to his decision to found the rock band Slash's Snakepit in 1994 to record the material. With support from fellow Guns N' Roses members Matt Sorum and Gilby Clarke on drums and rhythm guitar, respectively, Mike Inez of Alice in Chains on bass and Eric Dover on vocals, Slash's Snakepit released the album “It's Five O'Clock Somewhere” on February 14, 1995. The album enjoyed respectable financial success and peaked at No. 70 on the Billboard 200. It has been certified platinum by RIAA. Slash eventually left Guns N' Roses in 1996 and focused on Slash's Snakepit. However, the group disbanded in 1998.
A session musician since 1988, when he and Guns N' Roses members Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin collaborated with Alice Cooper for the soundtrack of the documentary film “The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years,” Slash provided guitar music to the songs “Home” from Iggy Pop's album “Brick by Brick” (1990), Michael Jackson's “Black or White” and “Give In to Me” from the album “Dangerous” (1991), Alice Copper's “Hey Stoopid” from the 1991 album of the same name, Lenny Kravitz's “Always on the Run,” which Slash also wrote the music for, “Fields of Joy” from the 1991 album “Mama Said,” and Motörhead's “Ain't No Nice Guy” and “You Better Run” from the British rock groups' album “March ör Die” (1992), among other songs. In 1995, Slash was reunited with Jacko when he played guitar on the controversial song “D.S.” from Jacko's album “HIStory” (1995). They would work together in the songs “Morphine” and “Privacy” from Jacko's remix album “Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix” (1997) and the 2001 album “Invisible.” Slash also made guest appearances on TLC's “Red Light Special” (1995), Insane Clown Posse's “Halls of Illusion” (1997), Sammy Hagar's “Little White Lie” (1997) and Chic's “Le Freak” and “Stone Free” (both 1999), to name a few, and contributed to film soundtracks, including Quentin Tarantino's “Jackie Brown” (1995) and Marta Sánchez's “Obsession-Confession” for the “Curdled” soundtrack (1996).
In October 2000, Slash released the album “Ain't Life Grand” with Slash's Snakepit. Recorded with new band members Rod Jackson (vocals), Ryan Roxie (guitar), Johnny Griparic (bass) and Matt Laug (drums), the album went platinum. To promote the album, Slash's Snakepit toured extensively throughout the world with AC/DC in the summer of 2000. The same year, he was also featured on Doro's song “Now or Never” from the group's album “Calling the Wild.” He also made guest appearances on Ronnie Wood's “Assorted Songs,” Bad Company's “Wishing Well” and “Crossroads,” Cheap Trick's “You're All Talk,” Rod Stewar's “Human” and “Peach” (2001), Ray Charles' “God Bless America Again” (2002), Robert Evans' “Love Theme From The Godfather,” Matt Sorum's “The Blame Game,” The Yardbirds' “Over, Under, Sideways, Down” and Elan's “Street Child” (2003).
In 2002, Slash joined forces with ex Guns N' Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum for a benefit/tribute concert for Randy Castillo. The trio decided to form a new group together and Velvet Revolver was eventually established by adding guitarist Dave Kushner and vocalist Scott Weiland to the lineup.
In 2003, Slash and Velvet Revolver recorded “Set Me Free” for the motion picture “Hulk” soundtrack. The song peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 32 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks. The group's first album, “Contraband,” followed on June 8, 2004. Released under RCA, the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 256,000 pieces in its first week of release. It went on to sell nearly 3 million copies in the U.S. and over 4 million worldwide. The lead single, “Slither,” rose to No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks and made it to the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 56. The song won the group a 2005 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. The second single, “Fall to Pieces,” peaked at No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks, No. 2 on the Modern Rock Tracks and No. 25 on the Adult Top 40 while also hitting the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 67. The third single, “Dirty Little Thing,” rose to No. 8 and No. 18 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and the Modern Rock Tracks charts, respectively. In support of “Contraband,” Slash and Velvet Revolver toured the United States and Europe twice, while also performing in New Zealand, Australia and Japan. 2004 also saw the release of Guns N' Roses' next compilation album “Greatest Hits.” Despite some criticism by fans, the album proved to be a commercial success and debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
Back to their studio, Velvet Revolver launched their second album, “Libertad,” on July 3, 2007. The album climbed to No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and made the top 10 in the U.K. (#6), New Zealand (#3), Finland (#4), Ireland (#7) and Australia (#10). It produced three singles with the songs “She Builds Quick Machines” (#2 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks), “The Last Fight” (#16 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks) and “Get Out the Door” (#34 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks). “Libertad” became the group's last album recorded with vocalist Scott Weiland, who left the band in April 2008, and was also the last album the band released with RCA Records. Since Weiland's departure, the group has been on an indefinite hiatus.
Outside of Velvet Revolver, Slash remained busy making guest appearances on other artists' projects, such as Eric Clapton's “Tears In Heaven,” Ray Charles' “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand (version 2003)” (both 2005), Sarah Kelly's “Still Breathing” and “Out of Reach,” Derek Sherinian's “In the Summertime,” Paulina Rubio's “Nada Puede Cambiarme” and Daughtry's “Wahar I Want” (all 2006), Alice Cooper's “Vengeance is Mine,” and Edgar Winter's “Rebel Road” (all 2008). He also composed the original score “Welcome to Tokyo” and did the soundtrack “Mustang Nismo” for the motion picture “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” (2006). In 2009, Slash was featured on Rihanna's “ROCKSTAR 101” from the R&B singer's album “Rated R.”
Recently, in 2010, Slash contributed to “Download to Donate for Haiti,” a compilation album by Music for Relief, a nonprofit organization established by Linkin Park. He played on the song “Mother Maria,” which featured Bert Hart.
Slash's first solo album, “Slash,” for producer Eric Valentine, is set to be released on March 24, 2010, in Japan, April 6, 2010, in the U.S., and May 10, 2010, in the U.K. The first single, “Sahara,” which features Koshi Inaba on vocals, was launched in Japan on November 11, 2009. It charted at No. 4 in Japan and rose to No. 27 on the U.S. Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The follow up “Paradise City” (2010), featuring Fergie & Cypress Hill, went to No. 14 on the U.S. Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.
Grammy: Best Hard Rock Performance, “Slither,” 2005