Legendary rock guitarist Slash believes rock 'n' roll music, at least commercially, is a double-edged sword.
“I love the fact that rock is in a place where it's sort of an ‘us against them.' The music industry has become, I think, its most superficial and most material it's ever been,” said the 49-year-old artist, known for his memorable stints with Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver.
“A lot of rock played on radio I'm not a fan of, and what's considered younger bands who are being played is sort of hit-and-miss. The thing that's lacking is the attitude of what rock 'n' roll has meant to me. It's a sign of the times; it's not to be a negative on any individual band. I'm recognizing it's not the sort of spirit and rebellion and freedom of what rock 'n' roll means to me and the anti-establishment aspect of it. It's just sort of been ... watered down at this point.”
Slash, whose real name is Saul Hudson, is slated to rock Pechanga Theater in Temecula, featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators on Saturday. The rockers also will perform at three venues in West Hollywood in September.
The tour, when they're not performing on a nationwide tour with legendary Boston rock act Aerosmith, is in part a preview of their album “World on Fire,” Slash's third solo album and second studio album featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, which is set for release on Sept. 15.
Slash said the shows without Aerosmith, like the ones at Pechanga and West Hollywood, are definitely different.
“When we do the Aerosmith shows, it's like a one-two punch. We have to pick out what people are most familiar with. We're only up there an hour. We can't just start playing or experimenting,” said Slash. “When we play our own shows, we change a bunch of songs around every night. We do mostly our stuff, to tell you the truth.”
While there are fan favorites from his time as a member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Guns N' Roses as well as hard rock supergroup Velvet Revolver and even his own Slash's Snakepit, Slash noted, “We have such a big repertoire to pull from” that each crowd rarely ever sees the same set.
Elaborating on his thoughts about today's rock 'n' roll and music in general, Slash said most of it doesn't get into deeper subject matter.
“There is a lot of social issues and whatnot and political issues that definitely warrant a statement, but that kind of frame of mind or point of view doesn't exist too much in commercial music,” Slash said.
“Underground and below the radar, there's all kinds of cool stuff. But I don't think that sort of really independent thinking necessarily works in tandem with the big picture of commercial radio at this point. I think there would need to be a huge revolution for that to work. By that time, it will come a little bit too late.”
Slash said he is enjoying being sober but has no regrets for his time spent being wasted on drugs and alcohol, which he wrote about in his autobiography, “Slash.”
“Just to be honest, there was great times going on in all that stuff,” he said. “But all good things eventually have to come to an end. I just got bored and tired of the whole thing. I basically depended on all these things. To me, it was embarrassing. I would have to do this or have to do that to function for the day. Eventually, I just go to a point where I was done with that. I've never had a reason to go back.”