|Ex-Gunner guitarist Slash has formed a supergroup and he's bringing them all to Australia soon, he tells Brisbane's Sunday Mail.
The man they call Slash is doing an impressive job of patting himself and his new band on the back. The near legendary guitarist from what many regard as one of rock's all-time greatest groups, Guns N' Roses, is clearly pleased with the way his fortunes is tured.
Along with two former band mates- Gunners bassist Duff McKagan and Steven Adler replacement Matt Sorum - Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland and guitarist Dave Kushner (ex-Electric Love Hogs - Wasted Youth and Sico Miko.), Slash has formed Velvet Revolver.
Their debut album Contraband is riding up US and Australian charts, and now they're out doing gigs in a long chapter of touring which will bring them to Australia in January.
"The band is sounding great." a mellow but enthusiastic Slash says from his home in LA. "We put this thing together and it's turned out to be a real rock n' roll band, and it's been an organic thing."
Organic it may seem in hindsight, but the groups early development was delayed for the long search for a frontman.
"Well yeah, the arrival of Scott (Weiland) made a huge difference" says Slash. "I'd spent about nine months looking around. Speaking frankly, I'd put together a list and Scott was at the very top of it.
"Then Scott came in (and auditioned) and we knew right away that he was the one. It was great, and the rest of it happend pretty quickly."
Weiland, for all of his undoubted qualifications, came with baggage that lesser bands might have bulked at. Personal turmoil post Pilots, compounded by a bitter divorse, had left Weiland with an admitted "three gram a day heroin habit."
But Velvet Revolver, already a collection of rehab alumni, weren't put off.
"This has been like a gang" Weiland has said. "It helps that they've all been through it themselves a million times, so there's no judement here.
"They've all kicked the dope, so it's not like I'm the lone junkie in the band. They've all been there."
Slash feels that Velvet Revolver has provided a sort of "doorway for Scott to come through... between the five of us, we gave him a reason to change his life."
Clearly, this isn't your typical boy band. These are rock veterans playing for keeps.
Their on stage playlist provides an interesting perspective on the band members' past lives.
We're doing about 70 percent of the album, a couple of new songs, a couple of covers and a couple of Gunners' songs." says Slash.
Asked which Guns N' Roses tunes, he responded, "Do you really want me to tell you? Why don't we keep it a suprise until we get there.?"
The Velvet Revolver Contraband album has been challenged on the charts by a long overdue collection of Guns N' Roses hits, which sits in the OZ Top 30.
Slash is not impressed with the package.
"I dont have to much to say about it. When I initially heard about it, I was a little distraught, because we didnt have any say in it at all. None whatsoever." He pauses to reflect.
They've put together a very typical Gunners record. It's not what we would have put out. We would have made it somewhat more special."
I asked how. "It's way to obvious. I would have included Rocket Queen, Coma and Patience." he says.
"Oh no, Patience is on there. Sorry, I haven't looked at it for a while."
Slash is highly upbeat about the future of Velvet Revolver, and not just because he's paid to be - "We've got a hell of alot of touring to do. We're all writing tunes. We're going to be doing another record. This is like the great white hope for all of us guys, and that's great because we all get on so well."
So welcome back to active regiment Slash.
"You've gotta understand something man," he admonishes. "It might not be world wide knowledge, but I'm always out there jammin' with all sorts of people in all sorts of places."
"I do a lotta stuff on the side."
"But as far as having a real rock n' roll band that I really liked all the people in, this has been really exciting."
Contraband is out now through BMG music.
Thanks to Clintron.