SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS will release their new album titled "Living The Dream" on September 21 via Slash's own label Snakepit Records, in partnership with Roadrunner Records. The group unleashed "Driving Rain" — the first single off "Living The Dream" — today, to radio. Listen to "Driving Rain" below.
Slash describes the creation of "Driving Rain": "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's a cool guitar part we ran though, and from that point forward the rest of the song started to come together in my mind while on the road. We put it all together this year and Myles came up with a great melody for it." Myles Kennedy adds: "The riff is very reminiscent of vintage AEROSMITH. It's got a certain funk to it that's compelling. Lyrically, it's a story about somebody who works on the road — it could be a musician, and it could be a traveling salesman. 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 falls back into bad old habits, and that compels him to head back to her to save the day."
"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). Today, Wednesday, July 25, 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.
The band has also unveiled the album cover art and tracklisting for "Living The Dream". The artwork was created by renowned visual artist Ron English.
"Living The Dream" track listing:
01. The Call Of The Wild
02. Serve You Right
03. My Antidote
04. Mind Your Manners
05. Lost Inside The Girl
06. Read Between The Lines
07. Slow Grind
08. The One You Loved Is Gone
09. Driving Rain
10. Sugar Cane
11. The Great Pretender
12. Boulevard Of Broken Hearts
From the barnstorming, high-octane riffery of opener "Call Of The Wild" to the wah-drenched funk rock of "Read Between The Lines", the haunting majesty of "Lost Inside The Girl" to the swaggering deep-in-the-pocket seventies grooves of "Serve You Right", the stately, quasi-classical melodic themes of "The Great Pretender" to the massive hooks and anthemic, singalong choruses of first single "Driving Rain", "Living The Dream" packs a compendium of sounds and styles into 12 tightly arranged and sharply executed tracks, all of it shot through with Slash's trademark electrifying and dynamic riffing and high-wire, lyrical solos.
"It's a natural progression from 'World On Fire', for sure," Slash says of the new album. "I think it has a little more diversity — some of the ideas are not really what I would consider to be predictable." At the same time, he adds, "The record is also a bit more structured, with songs that are shorter and more to the point than last time." Kennedy concurs. "I don't know that there are as many of those sort of 'epic sonic journeys' that we took on the last record," he says. "Although there are songs that take you on a trip, like 'Lost Inside The Girl'. But overall, a lot of these songs — things like 'My Antidote', 'Read Between The Lines', 'Slow Grind' — they're pretty precise statements, and they definitely fall in line with the type of sound we're known for. There's a certain type of sonic calling card that we've developed over the years, and you can hear it front and center on this record."
"It's just a snapshot of where we're at," Slash continues, summing up "Living The Dream". "Which is what we're going for with each new album — to be present in what we're doing and come up with something that is representative of and reflects this moment in time."
For Slash and the band, this moment in time has been unlike any in their past. The seeds of what would become "Living The Dream" were first planted back on the "World On Fire" tour, when Slash began bringing in material for the band to work on at soundchecks.
"Historically, the way we write is we'll be on the road and I'll have my guitar with me, coming up with ideas sitting in the hotel room or in the dressing room or even sometimes on the bus," Slash explains. "When I have something, I'll bring it to soundcheck and I'll start jamming it out with Frank and Todd and Brent. Then Myles will start humming ideas into the recording apparatus on his telephone, and that's how the nucleus of these songs will start."
"I can tell you that's the way it happened for some of the early songs, like 'Lost Inside The Girl' and 'Serve You Right'," Kennedy says. "We were touring Europe in 2015, and at soundchecks Slash would start playing one of those riffs and everybody would jump in. I remember grabbing my phone and singing some ideas into it right then and there, just being really excited about those two tracks. And at that point there were pieces of a few others, like 'The Great Pretender' and 'The One You Loved Is Gone'. So we were definitely embarking on the songwriting process for a new album."
The plan, according to Slash, "was that we would finish up the 'World On Fire' tour, take a little break and then go right into preproduction and get started on a new record." Which, of course, was not quite what happened. Instead, the GUNS N' ROSES reunion was announced, and Slash went directly into rehearsals with that band. As GN'R hit the road, Kennedy reconvened with his other group, ALTER BRIDGE, for an album and tour, and eventually began writing and recording his solo debut ("Year Of The Tiger"). Any work on a new CONSPIRATORS record was put on indefinite hold.
It wasn't until December of 2017, in fact, that Slash, with GN'R on a break, returned to L.A. and resumed writing in earnest for THE CONSPIRATORS. In addition to the songs that had already been worked up, he used his time at home to write a few new ones, among them the slinky rocker "Slow Grind" and the track that would become the album closer, "Boulevard Of Broken Hearts". Then, in January of this year, Slash and THE CONSPIRATORS finally came back together in a rehearsal space in L.A. to pick up where they had left off years earlier. "I wouldn't even call what we did rehearsals," Slash says. "It was really about just getting back into shape after being apart for so long." But even as the band was finding its groove again, the new songs kept coming. The barnstorming "Mind Your Manners", powered by a turbocharged Slash riff and a double-time rhythm, was written on the very first day of rehearsal. "I just sort of came up with it on the spot to give us something to warm up with," Slash says. "It was the very first thing we jammed on. And from there we fell back into revisiting the old songs, polishing them up and getting the arrangements together. Then we rehearsed everything and jumped into the studio and started recording."
The "Living The Dream" sessions, which commenced in late March, saw the band reunite with producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette, who also helmed "World On Fire". But while the producer stayed the same, the studio this time changed, with Slash opting to move operations to his newly active recording facility, Snakepit Studios. "At some point a couple years ago, I bought a small residential property in L.A. and put together a rehearsal space and studio," he explains. "It has a 16-track digital board, and we did pretty much everything there except the drums. It's just a very homey and cool and cozy spot."
"The environment there is definitely 'Slash,'" says Kennedy of Snakepit Studios. "It's got a lot of the things that over the years I've come to equate with him — dinosaurs, pinball machines, photos of guitar players like Rory Gallagher and Keith Richards on the walls, stuff like that. It's a vibey hang. It was good for the creative process."
To demonstrate just how good for the creative process it was, Kennedy points to the lyrics to one new song, "Serve You Right", which he says were partly inspired by a painting hanging on the bathroom wall at the Snakepit — "a picture of this kind of devilish nun," he says. "That's the only way I can describe it." "It's actually a masturbating nun," Slash clarifies, then laughs. "I've never talked to Myles about it, but the lyrics he came up with for that song, which are insanely suggestive for him, I knew they were influenced by that picture."
Dinosaurs and devilish nuns aside, the sessions at the Snakepit went quick. Recording was completed by early May, at which point the album was mixed and mastered… and then held, as Slash headed back on the road with GN'R for a European tour. "That was definitely a weird feeling," Slash says. "I've never done a record where I've had to wait four or five months for it to come out after we recorded it." He laughs. "Now I understand what actors feel like after they finish shooting a movie…"
As it stands, that pause will be the last extended break for THE CONSPIRATORS for the foreseeable future. The band will be heading out on the road in September for what will be the beginning of a lot of touring across a lot of the world. "We're going to do the U.S. this fall, and then I'll be out with GUNS N' ROSES in in November and December," Slash says. "Then we'll get together and do Europe, and after that it'll be South America, Australia… we'll try to hit as many places as we can. Because as much as I enjoy the writing and recording process, when I'm creating music it's always with the intent that it should be played in front of an audience. For me, that's always the endgame — to get out there with the band and perform the music live. That's what I love the most."
You could say, then, that Slash is, in fact, living the dream. But he'll only laugh in response. "Well, you know, the album title is actually meant to be a sarcastic statement about the world we're living in at the moment," he explains. "I never wax political on records, but it was just something that came to mind — this tongue-in-cheek thing directed at social political events across the globe."
That said, Slash continues, "If you do take it in the literal sense, then, yeah, making records and touring and getting up onstage every day and playing music with these guys, that is the essence of living the dream. And that's why I was always dead-set on getting back together with this band and continuing to do this. And I always knew it would happen. Because THE CONSPIRATORS story is not over yet."
The group's North American headlining tour begins September 13 in Los Angeles, visiting 20 major cities including New York, Denver, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, DC, Chicago, Austin, Houston, and more before ending October 14 in Sacramento.