Gig preview: Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and The Conspirators at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and The Conspirators
Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and The Conspirators
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Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and The Conspirators are having an awesome year.

Their second album World On Fire is out this month, with the first single, the album’s title track, well received. They’re touring with Aerosmith across the US, and eventually coming over for a UK tour in November, where they will play the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

“I’m on the road with Aerosmith right now, and well, it’s going awesome,” says the 49-year-old guitarist and band leader. “It’s probably the coolest tour I could possibly be on. We’ve all known each other for a really long time, and they’ve known me for the majority of my career, so when Guns N Roses got big, you know, they were there, and it was actually on a tour with them that we broke wide open on and we’ve been friends ever since so it’s been really nice.

“Well, actually there are a couple of things about it; It’s one of the most genuine kind of, real roots rock ’n’ roll getting out there, so there’s that, but also there’s a certain synergy that their band and my band have, a certain kind of roots thing we share, and then just the camaraderie of two bands that have both been through the ringer together.”

Slash seems pleased with the reception for the single. “The release of the new single World On Fire is going really great, you know, I’m not one to sit there and talk about its chart position and so on and so forth, but with that said, it’s been doing really well.

“I never really have paid attention to charts and chart positions, but people in my management will alert me if things are going pretty well.

“With this second album, everything with the band and Miles is going great. Really, it’s like a blessing from up high with how this sort of came from nowhere four or almost five years ago and develop into this thing.

“I mean, it all started out with a certain spark of magic to it the first week we all got together then things seemed to just evolve from there, but always in a positive and upward motion.

“So now, at this point in time, we’ve just done the album where everybody was really in their comfort zones, and we had a great time making it! It’s really cool, actually, I’m really proud of it and I love the way it sounds.

“Working with Michael Baskette [Alter Bridge, and Incubus] was great, he just understood what the band should sound like.

“The previous album was kind of isolated with its process and it is the only album I’ve ever done where I’ve said that we were going to do everything on this album live, with minimal, if any overdubs and just record it like that.

“I’ve never had that opportunity before and it was a really great way of really seeing where the band was at.

“ It was really cool working with Eric Valentine and everything on our first album, it was just at this point in time when we did this record, I wanted to do a record the way I normally do which is where we do it live in the studio, then go back and do the guitars in the control room, and so that’s the big difference in the production of this current album.”

So how did it all go from simply Slash, to Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and The Conspirators? “Initially, when I did the first record it was a bonafide solo record, and then when I started touring with Miles, I wanted to give him, as the front man, more credit than just touring as just Slash, right? So we started calling it ‘Slash featuring Miles Kennedy’ and by the time we were knee deep in that, with Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz on board, they were all more than just some hired ‘guns’, you know, so I started calling it for the next record ‘Slash featuring Miles Kennedy and The Conspirators’ and it became a band, and it’s still a project that’s going on it’s still a band that you hear when you play our records.

“What you hear and see when we are in a live setting or you play our records, is a product of a group of people, not just me, you know?”

When Slash first left Guns N Roses, there was Slash’s Snakepit. Way before his first solo album, before the days of Miles, Brent, and Todd, even before Velvet Revolver, and that was quite a different story. “Well, that was actually the exact opposite. Actually that was a band that the label insisted my name be on. I was just wanting to call that ‘Snakepit’, but the label was like, the possibility of selling more records and so on and so forth, was definitely going to happen if you put the name Slash on it, and there was some sort of muttering about it being a solo project back then, only because it was something that I had taken the responsibility for, and it was represented on my end, as far as the label and record deal were concerned you know? But actually, it was totally a band input.”

Now, Slash is coming to Leeds with Miles Kennedy and The Conspirators in November to play at the First Direct Arena and the last time I saw him play was in the O2 academy… “Yeah, man, that was a great show. It was the first time I had played in Leeds as a solo act featuring Miles, and the first time I had been to Leeds in a long time.

“I know that Guns N’ Roses played a few dates way back in the 80s, but yeah, I played with them, but recently more in the configuration that the band I have now for the first time a couple of years ago for a totally killer crowd. I’m really looking forward to playing the whole tour, man, I mean the album will be out by then, and we’ll basically be on our own, you know, the next instalment of Slash, Miles and The Conspirators kind of thing, so yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.”

November 29, First Direct Arena, Leeds, 7.30pm, £40.25,

Jonathan Wilson

Gig review: Jonathan Wilson at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds