A question-and-answer session with Slash and Myles Kennedy in which they break down SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS' new album, "Living The Dream", can be found below. The disc will be released on September 21 via Slash's own label Snakepit Records, in partnership with Roadrunner Records.
"Living The Dream" is Slash's fourth solo album, and third with Slash and his bandmates Myles Kennedy (vocals), Brent Fitz (drums), Todd Kerns (bass and vocals) and Frank Sidoris (guitar and vocals). The band has launched a physical pre-order for "Living The Dream" including: a limited-edition deluxe premium 2LP yellow vinyl within a premium "Living The Dream" vinyl-size 20 page hardback book, an exclusive one-sided seven-inch single of "Driving Rain" featuring an etching on the B-side with a special set of Slash guitar picks, standard digital and physical CD album, poster as well as a limited-edition t-shirt and hoodie are available.
"Call Of The Wild"
Slash: "'Call Of The Wild' is a riff I brought to the band when we were on a break during the 'World On Fire' tour. I can't remember the nucleus of it or where it came from, but it just was a cool riff and something I felt pretty strongly about. In my mind, it was always of paramount importance to get back to that particular riff and chord progression. Sometimes you get an idea and you're committed to it and you have to see it through. And this was one of those ideas."
Myles: "It's probably one of my favorite riffs on the record. And the whole thing came together really nicely. The lyric revolves around the idea of burning out on this technology-obsessed world that we live in and coming to the realization that it's time to power down and get back to the essence of living. 'Call of the wild,' you know?"
"Serve You Right"
Slash: "It's not exactly a conscious homage, but the opening is definitely a take on that AC/DC, Ted Nugent kind of style, with that simple open-A approach on the guitar. It's something I normally avoid because it's been done to death, but I just haven't heard any cool songs like that in the last ten to 20 years so, I felt comfortable doing it this time. This one is actually a unique type of song for this band, because it's really, really straightforward — the guitar riff, at least, is nothing super profound. It's more of a rhythm than anything. When I first brought it to the guys I didn't think anybody was going to take much interest in it because there just wasn't that much going on. But it was one of those things I stuck with until we found the right groove for it, and then it started to take on a life of its own. And I'm really looking forward to playing this one onstage. It's going to be a really great live song."
Myles: "'Serve You Right' was one of those things where I had a melody initially, but I didn't have any idea what the lyric was going to be about. It started to come together when I saw that painting of the nun in the bathroom at Slash's studio. That got me thinking about some things, one of which was an article I had read a while back about a book called 'The Nuns Of Sant'Ambrogio', by an author named Hubert Wolf. It's a true story about a young deviant nun who had been abusing her power in the convent. Which sort of tied back into that painting. So that's where the inspiration for the lyrics came from — those two things."
Slash: "This is sort of a funny one. I came up with the scratching idea [in the verses], and I didn't know what it was supposed to be for or what it was supposed to mean, but it just was fun to do. [Laughs] I thought when the guys heard it they would think I was fucking crazy, but they actually really liked it. And then the rest of the riff that comes after is basically one of those typical things that I do off the top of my head when I just want to do something really heavy. Whatever that first idea is, that's the one that usually works."
Myles: "Lyrically, this one is about coming to the realization that the thing that drives you is also destroying you. A lot of these songs come from living on the road — you write about what you know. With 'My Antidote', I was thinking about burning the candle at both ends on tour, and yet still managing to find solace in the music. You're comforted by what you love, which is getting up onstage and performing. That line in the chorus, 'my antidote / in stereo' — that's music, essentially."
"Mind Your Manners"
Slash: "This is the one that I basically wrote on the spot to help the band get up and running once we got back in the studio this past January. It's just a go-for-it type of song. Pretty straightforward and fun to play."
Myles: "'Mind Your Manners' was something I didn't even hear until the guys had already started jamming together. I got to listen to the final rough arrangement, and I just thought it was a really cool, up-tempo sort of thing. I said, 'That's definitely going to have a nice place on this record…' Lyrically, it's about how when things are going well there always tends to be someone who tries to rain on your parade and knock you down. You have to keep people like that in check and not let them get to you."
"Lost Inside The Girl"
Slash: "I initially wrote it at home on an acoustic guitar and then brought it in to the guys. It's a bit different for us, and it was one of those things where you play it for people and you don't know what their reactions are going to be — if they're going to hear what you hear. So, you sort of sheepishly present it, and you try and look serious, but also not too serious, in case you embarrass the shit out of yourself. [Laughs] But, the guys actually took to it pretty quickly and we started to put the arrangement together. And I love the vocal — when I first heard Myles sing it, I thought, 'God, that's really sort of an overtly romantic song...' It wasn't until he explained it to me that I went, 'Oh, this is really dark!'"
Myles: "The lyric is basically about an Instagram stalker — someone who's obsessed with someone else on social media to the point where, in their head, it's getting a little scary. And yet the person they're following has no idea they even exist. To me, that's one of the interesting things about social media. You put yourself out there and you post photos of your life and you kind of allow people in. But there's some people that, once you do let them in, they think they're more a part of the overall picture than you originally intended and it gets a little wacky. Overall, this is probably my favorite track on the record. I just love Slash's guitar part — it's really haunting. It's just a really special piece of music."
"Read Between The Lines"
Slash: "We started doing this one back in 2015. It was a riff that I came up with that I knew was a departure from what we normally do. And so, I didn't know if it was gonna fly. We started playing it, but the thing with these guys is they're so easygoing that they'll jam something very enthusiastically — even if they don't like it. [Laughs] Or at least that's what I was feeling. And then when Myles first heard it, he was, like, 'Hey…maybe you guys should make this into an instrumental.' Which, to me, was him basically saying, 'I don't have anything for this song.' But I was persistent about it because I knew it could be the coolest fucking jam and we just had to do it. So, we revisited it in January or February of this year, and it was almost like the guys forgot that they didn't like it, or maybe I had the wrong interpretation of their original reactions because it turned out to be a really cool song."
Myles: "This one, lyrically, it's a tale of unrequited love. It's about someone making subtle advances to someone else and trying to let them know that they have certain feelings for them. But it all just falls on deaf ears. We've all been there at one point or another!"
Slash: "This is something I wrote on my couch when I was home for Christmas last year, before we started rehearsing in January. I thought it was a cool riff, so I brought it in after the break and we worked it up. It's pretty new, for sure. But I like the song a lot."
Myles: "From my end, 'Slow Grind' is basically a song about being sick and tired of being manipulated or taken advantage of. It's a proclamation about turning the tables and taking back control of your life. Just getting rid of negative vibes."
"The One You Loved Is Gone"
Slash: "I actually first wrote the music to this for 'The Walking Dead'. I've been pretty close to a few of the cast members and the guys who work on the show for a long time, and one thing I noticed is they never really have anything but score in the episodes. So back in 2014 or 2015, I had this idea that maybe they could use a song, and I put something together, played it on an electric guitar that wasn't even plugged in, recorded it on to my phone and sent it to somebody over at the show's music department. And the reaction was, 'Well, this is really cool…but we don't really do this kind of stuff.' [Laughs] And, you know, when I listened back to the recording I couldn't even believe that I had the balls to send it in — it was just this scratchy, unplugged electric guitar, like, 'Hey! I've got an idea!' There was no way anybody else would have been able to understand what I was hearing in it. But anyway, it was one of these ideas I stuck with because I thought that musically it was pretty cool. I remember working on it with Myles here and there, and by the time the band started playing it at rehearsals earlier this year, it had evolved into something a little different than what it was initially. Then Myles came up with this great verse and chorus and it shaped up to be a really pretty song."
Myles: "When Slash reintroduced it at rehearsals, I think that's where it really started to come together for me. I was sitting in a hotel in L.A. and the first line, 'And I wonder even now whatever came of you…' just popped into my head. I said, 'That's a really strong hook. Now we're getting somewhere.' And I chased it down from there. And what's interesting is that it sounds like I'm singing about a longing for a lost romance, or some sort of human relationship. But the lyrics are actually about missing a dog that I had to leave behind at my parents' house when I started touring years ago — a Chow Chow/Golden Retriever mix named Cinnamon. [Laughs] He was already a little older by that point, and eventually he passed away. But he was such a great dog. So, yeah — the song's essentially about Cinnamon!"
Slash: "This is a riff I specifically remember playing with the guys for the first time at a venue in New Hampshire on the 'World On Fire' tour. It was just a cool guitar part that we ran though at soundcheck, and from that point forward the rest of the song started to come together in my mind in dressing rooms and hotels. Then when we started rehearsals in January we finally pieced it all together. And Myles came up with a great melody for it."
Myles: "It's another idea that had been around for years. To me, the riff is very reminiscent of vintage AEROSMITH. It's got a certain funk to it that is really compelling. Lyrically, it's a story about somebody who works on the road — it could be a musician, but it could also be a traveling salesman. And what makes it interesting is this guy has an addict girlfriend or spouse who continues to relapse, and she ends up getting him to come home. She's miserable and she falls back into her old bad habits, and that compels him to head back to her to save the day."
Slash: "'Sugar Cane' is really new. It originally came up in 2015, but at that time, it was just the opening riff. And we didn't get very far with it. It was one of those things where you get the riff down, pack up for the day and figure you'll revisit it at some point. But we didn't touch it again until probably March of this year. It was one of the last things we did during preproduction. I had some ideas for the verses, and then Myles came in and had some great melodies. He didn't actually introduce the final lyrics until we were in the studio recording. But it came out great in the end."
Myles: "This definitely was one of the last things we did. But I love the way it came together. Lyrically, it's about knowing that you need to move on from a dysfunctional relationship but, ultimately, the pull of biology and primal urges clouds your judgement. Once again, a situation a lot of us have been in before!"
"The Great Pretender"
Slash: "I think this one is the most unorthodox song on the record. Maybe not arrangement-wise, but definitely style-wise. It was difficult to capture the feel of what I was hearing in my head, especially when it came to being able to slow everything down from how we normally do things. It's almost like a jazzy kind of approach so, it took a second. But once we found the right groove it all started to fall into place. And Myles had a fucking awesome melody for it. So I'm really happy we managed to persevere and get it to where I wanted it. But it was definitely the hardest song on the record to put together."
Myles: "To me, Slash's guitar melody on this is so… so Slash. It's such a unique thing that he does, and so classic. As far as the lyric, it's kind of a cautionary tale about choosing your career over true love. In this case, the character's an entertainer who's coming to terms with the fact that when the glory days come to an end there's the potential to end up a pretty lonely old man. I think sometimes people who are extremely ambitious forget about what's most important in life. So, I thought it'd be interesting to touch on that."
"Boulevard Of Broken Hearts"
Slash: "This might have been the last thing I came up with and brought to the band. It was another idea I had where I wasn't sure the other guys were going to get where I was coming from. But the chorus was done in such a way that I'd knew they'd get that part of it, and from there all we'd have to do is figure out the verses and the other sections. It actually came together really quickly, and after Myles heard it he had a vocal melody almost instantaneously."
Myles: "It's a newer one, for sure. Lyrically, it's about having this awareness that you're really close to obtaining your goals, as well as beating the odds. I thought about it from the perspective of a young musician striving for something, only the doors keep closing on him. But he's already come so far. So, it's a reminder to stay on course because you're almost there. It seemed like a good idea to end the record on. Keep pushing through and persevering, and eventually what you're shooting for will happen."
SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS just launched their North American headlining tour and will visit 20 major cities before ending October 16 back in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Palladium.