Considering the overwhelming success of GUNS N' ROSES' ongoing "Not In This Lifetime" tour — which will likely end up being the second-highest-grossing tour of all time, according to Billboard — few would have begrudged Slash for walking away from his solo career, which saw him release three albums between 2010 and 2014 (the latter two with vocalist Myles Kennedy and a backing band called THE CONSPIRATORS). According to the guitarist, though, he always intended to resurrect THE CONSPIRATORS — whose new album, "Living The Dream", was released on September 21 — as soon as his schedule allowed.
"They're all really good guys, really good people," he recently told writer Clay Marshall. "We've developed this thing over the course of time, and it's gotten better and better as it went [along]. I've gotten really close to them. You sort of miss hanging out with them and working with them, because they're a lot of fun to work with. THE CONSPIRATORS guys are really, really unique in that all they want to do is play, and they're all good players, so they really get off on doing a bang-up job with whatever it is that we're doing. There's nobody really on the [12-step] program or anything; they just naturally don't get fucked up. It's great. Not saying that anybody in GUNS does, but just with this particular group, for my having put a new group together, I've always had that issue with any of my bands. So yeah, I just sort of missed hanging out with them, and it was fun when we got back together and started jamming and stuff."
Slash said he started writing "Living The Dream" during THE CONSPIRATORS' world tour in support of 2014's "World On Fire". "We fell into that natural mode where I started writing ideas on the road, and we jammed some stuff here and there at soundcheck and whatnot," he said. "We had a couple little pre-production sessions prior to the end of the tour. When [GN'R] had the break in December [of 2017], [THE CONSPIRATORS] got together and started revisiting some of those old ideas, and over Christmas, I'd written some new ones, and we just got together and had a great time getting back in the room together. I felt better because we'd finally ended this — I'd put everybody in a state of limbo for a year and a half, so it was just really good to get together and work on the record. We have this little studio with a little 16-track [board], and we made what I think is a really cool record. As soon as I was done with the master, I was back in rehearsals with GUNS, and off we went. But now I'm really excited about going out and playing — being back in THE CONSPIRATORS world, and playing this U.S. run we've got, and then we've got a pretty global tour next year."
While touring with GN'R in 2016 and 2017, Slash said he didn't continue working on "Living The Dream". "There is a conscious separation of the two [bands]," he said. "For THE CONSPIRATORS, I write stuff in hotel rooms, then bring it to soundcheck and we can start working it up right there. With GUNS N' ROSES, it was conscious not to do anything that wasn't going to be GUNS N' ROSES. I do have some ideas that I wrote that are specifically GUNS N' ROSES ideas, because that's when it came up. For that whole time, anything that I wrote was specifically earmarked for that. Then when Christmas came along, I started sitting down and writing with THE CONSPIRATORS in mind.
"When I'm out doing GUNS, all your focus is on that," he continued. "We're playing these huge venues and it's a whole world unto itself, so I didn't think about anything having to do with THE CONSPIRATORS at the time other than [wanting to find] the first available opportunity to be able to go in and record. When the break happened, I guess I sort of decompressed over the holidays and was just playing my guitar, and sort of just put GUNS out [of mind]. I think you have to, because you've just been doing nothing but that, so as soon as have a moment where you don't have to think about it, you sort of put it to the side, so then I started to focus my energy on the other thing, and it [was] just switching gears completely. We did that for a while, and then I went back to GUNS rehearsals, and then you re-tool your mind to be able to make that [transition]. I don't think one really has too much influence on the other."
"Living The Dream" was produced by Michael "Elvis" Baskette, who also helmed "World On Fire".