Slash is one of the hardest-working men in rock ‘n’ roll. Along with his “day job” in Guns N’ Roses and his other band with Myles Kennedy, the Conspirators, he also just executive-produced the independent cabin-fever horror film The Breach and composed its Ennio Morricone/Hans Zimmer-inspired score. While chatting with Yahoo Entertainment about that project, the conversation drifts to yet another one of his recent non-GNR ventures, a collaboration with Demi Lovato. Slash just played guitar on a new version of “Sorry Not Sorry” for Revamped, Lovato’s forthcoming collection of rock remakes of her old pop hits, and he exclusively reveals that the two have also recorded a track for an all-star album that he plans to release in 2024.
“You're the first person to get that,” says Slash with a smile, when asked if he bonded with the former Disney pop princess over their shared history of addiction and recovery. Before Slash got sober in 2006, he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a form of congestive heart failure caused by his chronic drug abuse, and he was initially given only six days to six weeks to live; Lovato, who has struggled with substance abuse and various mental health issues since childhood, relapsed in 2018 after being clean for six years. It was shortly after Lovato’s much-publicized hospitalization for that near-fatal opioid overdose that the two rock stars connected.
“She and I know each other because we're both… we've been through that,” says Slash. “We were introduced a long time ago and we had that relate to — we were both struggling addicts and all that. … I'd been sober for a little while and she was still struggling a little bit, having just gone through a relapse. And then I talked to her just post-that, and she was sort of trying to get it back together and whatnot. That's how we initially started sort of talking, and she's just really cool and she's a really intelligent and talented girl. And so, we’ve just been friends ever since then.”
Slash and Lovato first worked together on his upcoming second solo album, which he describes as having “a bunch of different singers” and being “sort of similar to my first solo record” (which featured Fergie, Adam Levine, Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Grohl, Lemmy Kilmister, Chris Cornell, Nicole Scherzinger, and other A-listers) but “more blues-oriented.” After Slash invited Lovato to sing on that record and their duet was a success, “I told her, ‘Hey, if you ever need me to put some guitar on something, just let me know and I'll do it!’ And so she hit me back about two weeks, three weeks later, and said she's got this song that she's doing a remake of and asked if I'd put some guitar on that. [Guns N’ Roses] did a show in Norway and I had a day off, so I found a cool engineer and studio in Norway and just put the guitars on there. It's amazing how fast it came out.”
Slash is keeping mum about the details of his forthcoming star-studded solo LP. “You're the first person. I'm not telling any more. You're the first person I've even said it to!” he chuckles. “It's been totally under wraps, but it's definitely coming out next year. … There's not really much more to tell you at this point, but [Lovato and I] definitely recorded something. Her [album Revamped] is way different than mine. It’s a completely different type of a song, so it's interesting how diverse her voice can be.”
Other top-secret projects Slash currently has in the works are “a TV series with a production company in the U.K.” about a book he just optioned, and a “movie that is based around a rock band. It's a horror movie and that’s actually something I avoid, because the first scripts I always get are rock-related horror scripts. But there's a really good one that I'm involved with that is just around a band, and it has some music throughout it. … It should be out next year, and it is fictional. That's all I can say at this point.”
However, one project Slash refuses to take on any time soon, despite obvious popular demand in this Bohemian Rhapsody/Rocketman/The Dirt cinematic age, is a non-fictional biopic about his own band, Guns N’ Roses. GNR’s story, with all its twists and turns and harrowing near-death experiences, could inspire a horror movie of sorts in its own right, but Slash says with a shrug, “I just don't see it happening anytime in the foreseeable future. … I've just never been able to envision how you're gonna get it [right]. It’s one thing to try and find actors who represent the people in the band, but the other thing is with all the sort of theatrical depictions of life in the music scene and the everyday life of musicians and all that kind of stuff. It's always some fabricated, overexaggerated, f**king bullshit; it’s very rare that you see a [rock biopic] movie that actually feels genuine. And so I don't even wanna be a part of all that. I just don't think that it would be done real justice. I've seen a lot of bad [biopics] and they freak me out. … I think the best ones are the ones that are a story that's almost fictional — that are based off of somebody.”
And so, the conversation turns back to Slash’s current fictional screen endeavor, The Breach. The busy rocker admits that he doesn't “have the patience to be a proper film-scoring engineer guy” like his rock-band peers (Oingo Boingo’s Danny Elfman, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood) because it’s “a very slow-moving, stationary job.” However, he enjoyed working on the suspenseful, skillfully paced body-horror thriller, which allowed him to revisit his core childhood memories of “three really great pinnacle horror movies”: Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, and The Omen.
“When I first got into horror movies, it was all ‘60s and older movies because I was living in England and we just had mostly Hammer movies; it was something I just lived for, and I'm talking about like when I was age 4 and 5,” Slash chuckles. “Vincent Price and Peter Laurie and Charles Lawton and Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee and all those guys were my heroes. But when I moved to the States, my mom [rock ‘n’ roll fashion designer Ola Hudson] was a big horror nut, and she took me to see a double-feature of Night of the Living Dead and The Exorcist at a drive-in. I think I was like 6 or 7, with her and her friend right in the back of a Volkswagen at a drive-in! … Night of the Living Dead really was the first movie that really f***ing disturbed me and scared me, just because it was such a raw and visceral and bleak movie, and it had stuff that in there that suggested things that as a little kid I was just completely f***ing mortified by. That was the first movie that really scared me.”
Slash may have been mortified, but he was also intrigued, and that is why The Breach — which, without spoiling anything, saves the real gore and terror for its final freaky act — appealed to him. “I saw the majority of those [classic] movies in real time when they came out in the ‘70s; so many great horror movies were released over that time. They were all great dramas that went into this horrific realm, this otherworldly kind of place, but there were still people at the root of them and character development. That's what turned me on when I read the script for The Breach. I loved that there was a lot of character development.”
The Breach is available to stream now, but obviously there are plenty of other exciting projects to come from the larger-than-life character named Slash, who credits his famous workaholism for keeping him sober. He also has Guns N’ Roses tour dates booked through October, but as for his possibly most anticipated future project — long-rumored new GNR music — he plays coy again. “It comes out when it comes out,” he says with a big grin. “So, you know, just stay tuned.”