Slash was born as Saul Hudson in Hampstead, England on July 23, 1965 and spent his early days in Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, England till the age of 11 when the family relocated to Los Angles in California. His mother, a Nigerian American clothing designer for entertainers, and his father, a white Englishman art direction for record albums, are both artistic and engaged in the entertainment field.
When his parents separated in the mid-1970s, Slash mainly lived with his mother Ola Hudson. Incidentally, a family friend named Seymour Cassel nicknamed Saul Hudson as ‘Slash’ for his reported fidgetiness as well as his nature to zoom from one thing to another. Slash deemed himself to be an ‘outsider’ in school, and led an unconventional life at home. He always found his home crowded with musicians like Joni Mitchell, David Geffen, David Bowie, Ron Wood and Iggy Pop and got accustomed to the eccentrics of these people. However, the early experiences in life prepared Slash to cope with the stress of the music industry as well as the clash between artistry and business later in professional life.
At 15, while Slash was in junior high school, his grandmother presented him with his first guitar that was single-stringed. Thus far, Slash was all into motorbike riding, but now took a keen interest in the instrument. Slash dropped out of school to concentrate on music. According to Slash, he took the move as he was extremely influenced by Aerosmith's album ‘Rocks’. While this virtually changed his life, other musicians who influenced young Slash included Led Zep, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones.
Career & ‘Guns N’ Roses’
Slash formed his first band ‘Road Crew’ with childhood friend Steven Adler in 1983. In addition, they had Duff McKagan as the bassist. However, ‘Road Crew’ split soon and Slash associated with a local group called ‘Black Sheep’. The leader of ‘Black Sheep’, Willie Bass also headed another band called ‘Hollywood Rose’ and both these bands opened for Christian metal band ‘Stryper’ in 1984. The show was an important point in Slash’s career as soon after the concert, Slash and lead singer Axl Rose was introduced to each other and they became good friends. Months later, the duo along with Steven Adler, Duff McKafan and Izzy Stradlin teamed up to form a band called ‘Guns N’ Roses’.
All through 1985 and 1986, ‘Guns N’ Roses’ toured several bars and during this period the group created most of the classic items like ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’. It was also during this period that the band was signed up by Geffen record company and it is said that the group wasted the advance received from the label on clothes, drugs and alcohol earning them the title of the ‘Most Dangerous Band in the World’.
Guns N’ Rose’s debut album ‘Appetite for Destruction’ released in 1988 has sold more than 15 million copies in the United States alone making it the highest selling debut album ever. In 19921, the band released its second album ‘Use Your Illusion’ that included songs like ‘November Rain’ and ‘Estranged’. This album was followed by ‘Use Your Illusion I and II’ and the group also undertook a 28-month tour to promote their new albums.
In the mid-1990s, Slash penned several songs that were to be the follow up of the ‘Use Your Illusion I and II’, but as Rose rejected these, Slash began formed a side project called ‘Snakepit’ supported by Matt Sorum, Gilby Clarke, Dizzy Reed, Mike Inez and Eric Dover. The new band recorded Slash’s new compositions and in 1995 released ‘It’s Five O’clock Somewhere’.
Post Gins N’ Roses
Following his departure from ‘Guns N’ Roses’, Slash spent more time on ‘The Snakepit’. Besides, Slash became a very popular and busy session musician recording with artists like Slash would become an in-demand session musician, recording music with the likes of Alice Cooper, Sammy Hagar, Insane Clown Posse, Ronnie Wood, Bad Company, Cheap Trick, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. In 1990, Michael Jackson invited Slash for his album ‘Dangerous’ where he played two guitar singles ‘Black or White’ and ‘Give in to Me’. He also appeared with Michael Jackson on the MTV Music Award videos. Then in 2004, Slash and Velvet Revolver joined hands for the band ‘The Project’.
In 2005, Slash was awarded the "Best Guitarist" prize in the Esky Music Awards in Esquire magazine. And in January 2007, he was privileged with a star on the Rock Walk of Fame. Here; his name being placed alongside friends and legends Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix. More recently, Slash received the most sought title of ‘Riff Lord during the fourth annual Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2007.
Over the years, Slash has owned hundreds of guitars. Some of the guitars Slash uses often are listed below:
- Gibson Les Paul
- Gibson EDS-1275
- Gibson Flying V
- Gibson Melody Maker
- Gibson Explorer
- Fender Stratocaster
- Fender Telecaster
- B.C. Rich Double neck
- B.C. Rich Mockingbird
His most favorite stomp boxes are listed below
- Dunlop Rack Mounted
- Dunlop Q-Zone
- Rocktron Hush II CX
DBX 166 Compressor
- Yamaha SPX 900 Multieffect
- Boss DD-5 Delay
- Boss GE-7
- MXR 10-band graphic EQ
- Dunlop Heil Talkbox
- 1986 - Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide
- 1987 - Appetite for Destruction
- 1987 - EP (Live from the Jungle)
- 1988 - G N' R Lies
- 1991 - Use Your Illusion I
- 1991 - Use Your Illusion II
- 1993 - The Spaghetti Incident?
- 1995 - It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
- 1998 - Use Your Illusion
- 1999 - Live Era: '87-'93
- 2000 - Ain't Life Grand
- 2004 - Greatest Hits
- 2004 - Contraband
- 2007 - Libertad