Slash Too Busy To Worry About GN'R

He's doing a cartoon soundtrack. He's got an adult contemporary hit. He's

jamming with new jack swinger Teddy Riley (check out a RealAudio sample of

"Fix") and playing in a cover band. Could this be the same old cigarette-dangling, guitar-wailing Slash of Guns N' Roses that we once knew?

Well... yeah.

"There's so many things out there that you can do, if you just make

yourself available to go check out what they are," he told ATN

Tuesday by phone from his Los Angeles home.

Like if you're Slash, you can also still be pissed off at GN'R singer Axl

Rose; or still be on the lookout for a vocalist for his band Snakepit; or still

be hitting local bars with your own bluesy cover band.

Yeah, this is the same ol' Slash, busy as ever.

Although he's got irons in many fires right now, he's having nothing to do with the new Guns N' Roses album being produced by GN'R vet Mike Clink and techno-heavyweight Moby.

"I went back to Guns for like 12 rehearsals on the forthcoming Guns N'

Roses record to re-establish the band and where it was headed," Slash

said. "And realistically from Use Your Illusion all the way up

until now, Axl's been holding the reigns on taking it in his direction, and I

just went, 'You know what? Fuck it then, you do it.' I would have

suggested just do a solo record and let Guns do what it does naturally, but

he insisted that Guns was his solo project anyway, so why did he have to do

a solo project? So I just went, 'Fine, I'm gonna leave while the band's

still cool, 'cause I don't know what you're gonna do with it.'

"I'm sure whatever he ends up doing will be brilliant," said Slash. "But it won't sound

like what I would consider a fucking hard rock band that's all gritty and

shit. But, you know, what do I know? I could be wrong."

More to Slash's taste at the moment is the soundtrack he'll complete this

week for a Nickelodeon pilot called Fathead. "It's a prehistoric

teenage kind of deal with dinosaurs in it," the curly-haired axeman said.

"Fathead is the next generation up from the Neanderthal. He invents golf.

It's called dorf, but it's golf basically. It's great animation. It was

cool, because I love dinosaurs. It's very loud guitar-oriented stuff, with

a little bit more TV-oriented background underneath it."

If GN'R fans think Nickelodeon seems an unlikely setting for Slash, they probably missed his recent adult contemporary hit, the

instrumental "Obsession" from the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's 1996

film Curdled. "My mom called me and told me she heard me on the

radio," said the soon to be 32-year-old Slash. "I was like, 'What are you

talking about?' She goes, 'That music you did on the radio.' I was like,

oh God, now I'm adult contemporary? But I'm proud of the song regardless."

Slash devotees are more likely to appreciate the ex-Gunner's solos on the

hard remix of "Fix," the new single by Teddy Riley and BLACKstreet. "There's a rhythm part of me

that I can fucking kill on that stuff, if it's the right song," he said.

Meanwhile, the guitarist continues to occupy himself with several projects

close to his heart, even though he's given up hope on Guns N' Roses.

The top priority on his to-do list is to record the follow up to It's

Five O'clock Somewhere (Geffen), the 1995 album by Slash's Snakepit.

Before he can get started, however, he's got to oversee the completion of

his Snakepit home studio, and then select someone to replace former

Snakepit singer Eric Dover, who went on to front Imperial Drag.

Slash said that he's auditioned big-name and unknown vocalists, but

few of today's rock bands interest him outside of L7, Nine Inch Nails and

Soundgarden. On that note, Slash added that Chris Cornell, singer for the

now defunct Soundgarden, has an open invitation to play with him. "I

fucking think he's awesome," the guitarist said. "If he wanted to sing for

a band outside of Soundgarden I would play with him in a heartbeat."

With GN'R out of the picture and the Snakepit on hold, Slash continues

to keep himself busy with his soundtracks, guest spots and Blues Ball,

the pick up band he put together on short notice last year for a gig in

Hungary. The Blues Ball still hits the occasional stateside bar with an

ever-changing set list of covers and Slash originals. "It's not like a big

hype deal, it's all about going to have a beer, kick back and hopefully

we'll do good versions of songs you're familiar with."

All in all, Slash said it's a hectic schedule that requires constant

maintenance in a day-planner. "One minute I'm in the studio, the next

minute I'm on a soundstage, the next minute I'm at a gig, the next minute

I'm in Detroit," he said, on a night when he was preparing for a surprise

jam with an unnamed band in Los Angeles. "I'm not gonna say who it is. We

leave all that stuff unannounced. It's more fun that way."