Slash, one of rock’s most formidable guitarists, stopped by the Billboard studios recently to talk about his new album, World on Fire, and the score he contributed to Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights.” The title track and lead single of the album is currently No. 3 and climbing on the Mainstream Rock chart.
World on Fire is Slash’s third solo release, and the second he recorded with his band the Conspirators, featuring the vocalist Myles Kennedy. Their previous full-length, 2012’s Apocalyptic Love, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, and launched a No. 1 rock single, “You’re A Lie.”
“The great thing about Myles and the Conspirators,” Slash tells Billboard, “is that they’re such great players and … really well-versed in a lot of different types of music, but great rock-and-roll guys.”
For World On Fire, Kennedy usually wrote lyrics based around chord progressions put together by Slash. The resulting album touches on a wide range of topics over the course of its 17 songs, including child abuse and anti-war sentiments; “Shadow Life,” meanwhile, is inspired by the Mad Men character Don Draper.
According to Kennedy, hearing Slash’s riff is a lot like “hearing music to a film,” and this talent for writing theatrical music makes the guitarist a natural choice to compose scores for haunted houses. He experienced Universal Studios’ “Haunted Halloween Nights” last year for the first time and found it “unbelievably cool.” When asked if he would be interested in writing music for an “original concept 3D maze” based on a “psychotic clown family,” Slash didn’t hesitate — even though this is the first time a musician has created an original score for the annual Halloween event.
“You know carnivals and clowns… have a certain kind of music that goes along with them,” Slash says. Working around that concept, he “wrote a very sort of sinister riff,” that managed to be evoke “nursery rhymes” and “evil” simultaneously. Last Friday, Sept. 19th, the guitarist helped unveil “Clowns 3D Music By Slash” for the first time.