Slash in conversation with 102.1 The Edge's Dave "Bookie" Bookman at CMW's "Celebrity Interview." (Photo: Luther Mallory)
Slash was in Toronto for a few days to do press for his upcoming album, Apocalyptic Love, out May 22, as well as for a Celebrity Interview as part of Slacker Canadian Music Week.
As Billboard waited for the rocker to come into the hotel suite, talk with his manager, Jeff Varner of Collective Music Group, turned to the unseasonably high "summer" weather. "You don't get natural disasters here," he noted, as the banter turned to how Toronto would probably see more of this unusual weather due to global warming.
Varner then gave us a crash course on what to do in an earthquake - standing in a doorway, protected by the frame, is a myth he said. Instead, go under a sturdy table or somewhere to create an air pocket.
Last August an earthquake in Virginia was felt by some in Toronto.
"I've never been to Toronto when it's been this nice. It's fantastic," Varner said. "This is now my third time here with different clients - by far the nicest weather. I was here with Slash in 2010 and I was here with Plain White Ts a prior year."
Slash was at CMW two years ago before the release of his self-titled solo album, and did some press and a Celebrity Interview. This time, his band on Apocalyptic Love and live, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, is comprised of two Canadians: Todd Kerns, who rose to fame in Canada in the 90s fronting Age of Electric, and drummer Brent Fitz who has played with Theory of a Deadman, Alice Cooper, Gilby Clarke, Econoline Crush and more.
L-R: Manager Jeff Varner of Collective Sounds, Billboard's Karen Bliss, and Slash.
"I'm learning that they can rock really hard and that there's a lot of talent up here, that's for sure," Varner told Billboard about the Canadian content in the Conspirators. Kerns and Fitz have been playing live with Slash since 2010. "Honestly just great people, just really nice and the most easy to get along with guys that I've ever had the pleasure of working with in a band situation. It's just been great. So if that's indicative of all Canadians, then I'll take that all day."
Slash - whose Dik Hayd label is distributed in Canada by Universal Music, in the U.S. by EMI Music and by various other labels around the world - was primarily in Toronto to set up the album with Universal, but also spoke for a half-hour in front of hundreds of CMW delegates with The Edge 102.1 radio host Dave "Bookie" Bookman who was brought in last minute. Canadian and former VJ John Roberts, who went on to have an esteemed news career and is now at Fox News, along with his partner Kyra Phillips of CNN, were supposed to interview Slash, as they had in 2010, but had to back out this year reportedly because of one of their kids was ill.
"(Slash) is gonna be on tour predominantly in the U.S. when the album comes out so we're getting a lot of long lead stuff done, a lot of pre-promotion tackled here because it's been a very good market for Slash historically," said Varner. "Universal did a fantastic job on the last album, so we wanted to make sure we gave them tools and time and have Slash in the market to really do a proper set up."
Billboard.com will post two stories on Slash, one this week and another closer to album release. We thanked Varner for the earthquake info, hoping we won't have to use it, and when Slash heard, he started talking to Varner about it too, bringing up the same confusion over standing in a doorway and noting he wanted to take a preparedness course at the local fire department because he has kids.