Slash: I Felt ‘Really Comfortable’ Writing After Getting Sober
For artists with a history of substance abuse, newfound sobriety can present an entirely new set of hurdles, creating new music being one of them. Slash has been sober for over a decade, and spoke to us about his writing, both under the influence and since quitting drugs and alcohol.
"A lot of that material from the old days — I can pick particular songs that were definitely written under the influence, but I can pick other songs that were written under the influence of a couple beers — not that big of a deal, right?," the guitarist posits in our recent interview as he promotes Living the Dream, the newest record from Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.
"I found that when I got sober, sort of looking back from the time that I started playing up until 2006, my partying thing was really a matter of killing time in between things," Slash elaborated. "I wasn't really using when I was on the road. I wasn't really using when I was in the studio; I was always focused on music. So when I got sober, all that effort that I put into what turned into a massive addiction at that point, I took all that and just put it straight back into the music and it wasn't really reliant on me being buzzed, or should I say inebriated, to be able to create stuff," he continued, admitting, "I was fortunate. I really just put everything into writing and felt really comfortable sober [and] writing."
As a child, Slash grew up around high-powered entertainers. His mother, Ola, designed costumes for artists like David Bowie and Linda Ronstadt and his father, Anthony, was an artist who created album covers for Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and others. Constantly in the presence of artists and the entertainment industry (Geffen Records owner David Geffen was a family friend during his early childhood), Slash's upbringing teemed with excitement by comparison to the everyman.
"When I was a little kid and I was in that environment, it was exciting because it was a massive turn on to be around people who were creating music," he said. "[Whether] it was being in the studio for a Joni Mitchell recording or being at the Troubadour for Linda Ronstadt or whatever was going on, it was exciting to me, but I didn't recognize it as being exciting when I was a kid. It was just the environment that I was raised in."