Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash says the group is planning a significantly shorter turnaround for its third album.

Slash tells that the group plans to start working in earnest on the follow-up to last year's "Libertad" in April, almost immediately after the quintet finishes a tour that starts Jan. 24 in Chicago and includes dates in North America, Australia and Europe.

"That's the big thing right now," Slash says. "I'm really jazzed about doing it. I've been working on new ideas, and we've had a couple times where the guys all got together and worked on some stuff. I'm itching to see what this third record's gonna be, 'cause I think it's gonna be fuckin' awesome, and I think we don't necessarily need to spend two years on the road like we did last time (for 2004's 'Contraband')."

Slash adds that he's "not gonna go so far as to say, 'Yeah, we've got a couple of new songs done,'" but he says there are arrangements and ideas in place that he thinks will come together in short order. "As you go along you've got more and more freedom and are less inhibited to do whatever you want, just for the simple fact you've been working together for as long as you have, and you've established a certain creative relationship," he explains. "Wherever we're at (now) is definitely far and away beyond where we were a year ago, and we're gonna go explore that."

No producer has been chosen for the project, but Slash says he favors "Libertad" collaborator Brendan O'Brien. And while the Velvet Revolver album is on the front-burner, Slash still wants to move forward on a solo album, which he says will feature a roster of guest vocalist.

"The only progress is I'm starting to put it together as to how I'm gonna do it and who I'm gonna do it with," he says. "It's actually really in the back of my mind, but I haven't gotten the wheels in motion to get it produced. It'll be coming -- probably the next thing I do after the next Velvet Revolver record. But if anything delays the Velvet record, I would turn around and do that (solo album) then."