Q&A Scene: New Release “4” Track-by-Track with Slash & Myles Kennedy ~ Slash Feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators

Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators: ‘4’

Full Album Track-by-Track with SLASH and MYLES KENNEDY

  • The River is Rising

SLASH: There’s two or three songs on the record that were written during the pandemic; everything else was written before. “The River is Rising” was one of the last songs I wrote before we started pre-production, and because it was just so fresh and it had a certain groove and energy to it, it was the first thing we really attacked. It’s actually the newest song on the record.

As for the double-time part, that was something that I came up with and tagged onto the end of the arrangement. Then when we were over at RCA, Dave Cobb suggested we do it right after the breakdown. So, we went straight into the fast part, and I just started doing the guitar solo over it. It was one of those things where we were jamming around, trying to fish out the arrangement, and it just happened.

MYLES KENNEDY: I remember when the demo came in from Slash it was an immediate knee-jerk reaction for me: “Okay, yeah, this has got it.” I felt like all the parts were there, but it needed a chorus section. So, I took his demo and added a chorus, just a very raw guitar part and melodic idea. Then he took my guitar part and “Slash-ified” it, essentially, and made it a lot cooler. And that became “The River is Rising.” The lyric, meanwhile, ultimately explores how people can be brainwashed or indoctrinated by some sort of dangerous idea. Once we shot the demo back and forth a few times I personally felt really confident that we had the album opener. To me, it’s an important track.

  • Whatever Gets You By

SLASH: I love the riff – it’s one of my favorite things on the record. And the arrangement is really very simple. I had the riff and I kept playing it and playing it, and when I went in to record a demo the next change spontaneously came out, and that’s what the chorus ended up being. Just making it up on the spot and going, “Oh, that works.” But, it was really all about the groove and getting that sort of greasy, heavy stomp thing going. And that was it. It came together super-fast after that.

KENNEDY: Initially when I wrote the lyrics, and this is going to sound really weird, it was when the trading app Robinhood was all over the news. I remember watching all of that and going, “Wow, what is happening with all these day traders?” But as I stepped away from it, to me, the lyric really boils down to people doing whatever they need to do to get by in life – just staying present and letting the chips fall where they may. It’s ambiguous enough to where it can have multiple meanings, which is something I try to achieve as a lyricist.

  • C’est La Vie

SLASH: “C’est La Vie” is one that I remember from soundchecks – it might have been in Australia, I’m not sure. But I had that main opening riff, and it all came together – the verse, the chord changes, the bridge part – just jamming for an hour at soundchecks before every gig. When it came time to do the demo, it really followed the lines of what the arrangement was out on the road. Then when we actually went in to record it, I’d had this idea of doing the opening riff with a talk box, although I hadn’t actually ever done it that way. But when we started pre-production, I just put it on there, and that’s what you hear on the record.

KENNEDY: We were in some arena doing soundcheck and it just evolved. It was an interesting one for me, because when I got the demo from Slash two years later, I remembered what I was singing years ago. My brain automatically recalled where we were – the way the arena looked and everything that was happening. And the lyric on the track basically tells a story of someone in this abusive, toxic relationship and their decision to leave. Hence the title, “C’est La Vie.”

  • The Path Less Followed

SLASH: It’s the oldest piece of music on the record. We must have started playing that riff at some point during World on Fire – at least, I was playing it. The chord progression is really three chords that are transposed differently, but it allows for a certain kind of melody even though it’s the same three chords repeating over and over again. I had that part forever and I wouldn’t let it go, but I never really got past those three chords. Finally at some point during the last Conspirators tour we developed the verses, and then during the pandemic, sitting around at home, I started to put together a real arrangement. I made a demo, sent it to Myles, and we got the song done.

KENNEDY: I really like that riff, and the melody in the verses is elevated by the harmony vocal. It’s one of those songs where Todd’s vocal comes in and takes it to another level. And the lyric is something that has been touched on in the past in a lot of our songs, the idea of, follow your heart, but be forewarned. If you want to get in – and this could apply to any artist, whether you’re wanting to be an actor or a musician or a painter or whatever – and follow your bliss and take the road less traveled, or the path less followed, be prepared. It’s a difficult, long journey that’s paved with heartbreak. But in the end, you’ll know you did what you needed to do, and that’s a beautiful thing.

  • Actions Speak Louder Than Words

SLASH: It’s a pretty simple, straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll song, but the bridge is totally left field. The song is something that was written at soundcheck, with all of us just sort of jamming and me coming up with stuff by playing off the other guys. On the record, it’s one of two songs I didn’t play on a Les Paul – I used a Gibson ‘69 Reissue Flying V that I got for Christmas one year. I also used that guitar with the talk box on “C’est La Vie.” The guitar sounds really, really, good, and it’s a little bit cleaner than my regular Les Pauls. I love the way it sounds on the solo on this one.

KENNEDY: That’s another one I remember jamming in a soundcheck environment. And what’s interesting about the lyric is it was put together right around the time the presidential election was happening. You had all these people making all these promises, and we’ve seen that over and over – it’s just what happens during campaigns. People are always promising things. But a lot of times those promises are inevitably broken. And so, the song is calling for action: “Let’s see you follow through with some of these promises.”

  • Spirit Love

SLASH: That’s one of the newer pandemic songs. The riff itself was just a direct result of the frustration of being stuck, and not able to do anything for an extended period of time. And the intro was influenced by the main riff as well. It has almost a Middle Eastern kind of feel or flavor to it. I wrote it on guitar, but when I went in to record it, I pulled out an electric sitar to play it at the beginning. Normally I don’t pull out that sitar because it can be very cliché sounding, but it seemed appropriate for this one. And we put it through a Marshall at full blast, so it sounds a little like it’s almost dying. [laughs]

KENNEDY: Every time I hear this song I see, like, a cobra dancing in front of a snake charmer. [laughs] It’s got this very kind of slinky, spooky vibe to it. And the lyric is bizarre because I wanted it to be spooky, too, but with an almost sexual element to it. I thought, what if the whole song documents someone who thinks they’re in a dream state, and is having a relationship with someone in the spirit realm? Like a ghost or something. But what’s interesting is there’s a twist at the end, because the person realizes that they’ve been in the spirit realm all along – they’ve basically been dead the whole time, and it wasn’t a dream. This is just the existence that they’re in.

  • Fill My World

SLASH: Musically, I came up with it at my studio. It was just the opening riff, and then the underlying chord changes started to come out in my mind. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to pursue it or not, but I had to record it and make a demo. I thought, I don’t know what the guys are gonna think… Because it has a certain sentimental kind of feel to it. But I sent it to Myles, and he came back with this really heartfelt lyric. I thought it was about all the loss we’ve been suffering during this dark period, and then he told me it was about his dog. [laughs] I said, “Well, you know, everybody has had somebody that they love affected by this, so…”

KENNEDY: So, I have this little Shih Tzu named Mozart – he tries to act all tough, but he’s really not. And on one occasion we couldn’t get home, I think our flight was delayed or something, and there was a really intense storm over our house. We have one of those little camera systems to keep an eye on the dog when we can’t be there, and we saw him just freaking out. It was really heartbreaking to watch. It terrified the little guy. So, the narrative of the song is inspired by what I imagined he might have been thinking as it all went down. And his plea to us to come home. When you listen to it, yeah, it could apply to just a regular relationship between humans. But I thought it was interesting, at least for me, to sing it from Mozart’s perspective. And to be really honest, as I was singing the song in the studio, at one point you can hear my voice crack a little bit. It was getting to me. So, it’s definitely sung from the heart. And I’m man enough to admit it!

  • April Fool

SLASH: Another one that I think goes back to the Living the Dream album tour. It’s a cool riff, but it took a while to put together. I’ve got a lot of tapes of us jamming it at soundchecks without knowing where to go after a certain point. But then when I got home and put together an arrangement it was actually pretty easy. And it really came together when we went into the studio. This is one of the songs that Dave Cobb had a definite impact on. Certain key elements were missing in the demo, arrangement-wise, and he just went, “We’ll connect that right there…” And I was like, “Oh, yeah, that’s a good idea!” [laughs] Sometimes you just need that other person that you can trust musically. And if they have an idea, you can’t be too precious to try it.

KENNEDY: It’s one of my favorites. A really fun track. Lyrically it’s about being played, and ultimately you realize you’ve had enough, and you decide you’re going to have the last laugh in the end. That’s where that line “I guess the jokes on you,” comes into play. And Dave got his hands dirty on this one. He did some tweaking and suddenly it was like, “This is a lot better!” We were really, really, happy with how it turned out.

  • Call Off the Dogs

SLASH: This one was written pretty much on the fly, and in the spirit of the energy of the whole project. You can’t overthink something like this because it kills the spirit. When we got into pre-production it came together fairly quickly – just jam it and that’s basically it. And I think it was probably the last thing that we recorded in the studio.

KENNEDY: It has that up-tempo vibe that really helps elevate a record in a lot of ways, especially for rock fans. They want those songs. We needed a chorus section for it, so I messed with it a bit and sent it to Slash, he took it and made it his own, and took it to the next level. Lyrically, it’s about that point where you wave the white flag and give in to someone after being pursued relentlessly. It’s pretty self-explanatory there in the “call off the dogs” line.

  • Fall Back to Earth

SLASH: After one of the Guns tour legs was over, I went on safari in South Africa. I took a guitar with me, and one night I came up with the opening melody to this one. So, the lick came first, but I had to figure out where to go with it from there. Then during the Living the Dream tour that we had after that, I came up with the verse, and Myles had some great ideas for that. There was also a guitar melody part, which initially was going to be an instrumental part, but it ended up being the chorus. There were all these different pieces, but they seemed to relate to the same thing.

The song really came together in Nashville. We fleshed it out, and there were harmony parts and things that just happened spontaneously in the studio. I hadn’t actually planned them, and they weren’t on the demo, but I did them while Dave Cobb was in the bathroom. [laughs] He came back. and I’d worked out this whole harmony and everything. So, it took me a minute to figure out where the song was going to go, but I’m really happy with the way it came out.

KENNEDY: This is one of those tracks that has the hallmark of what Slash does melodically with his guitar parts. It’s what so many people gravitate toward in his playing. And it’s a song where, once again, Dave made some suggestions. We had a chorus section and he said, “That section is fine, but maybe it’d be better suited in the middle of the song, almost as a bridge…” And he suggested taking that signature guitar riff and using it as the chorus, and then having it repeat throughout the song. So, it’s interesting because the chorus melody isn’t about the vocal, it’s about the guitar. I’m just there to help support what Slash is doing.

As far as the lyric, it’s about watching someone gain the world while losing themselves. It’s written from the perspective of seeing someone do that, while also letting them know that you’ll be there to catch them when it all comes crashing down. But in general, the hook in this one is so “Slash.” To me it really defines what he does. For that reason, I think it’s going to be a fan favorite.

###

SLASH FT. MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS
ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM ‘4’ TO BE RELEASED FEBRUARY 11, 2022
VIA GIBSON RECORDS / SONY MUSIC AUSTRALIA

‘THE RIVER IS RISING’ FIRST SINGLE AND VIDEO OUT TODAY

PRE-ORDER NOW WITH UNIQUE BOX SETS REVEALED

PRE-ORDER ‘4’ FROM JB HIFI AND ENTER THE COMPETITION FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A SLASH SIGNATURE EDITION LES PAUL EPIPHONE GUITAR, SIGNED BY SLASH

SLASH FT. MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS (L-R): BRENT FITZ (drums) MYLES KENNEDY (vocals), SLASH (guitar), TODD KERNS (bass & vocals) and FRANK SIDORIS (guitar & vocals).
A decade and four albums into their career, Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators haven’t been deterred by any obstacles in their path–including a global pandemic. Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators have announced today they’ll release their new album titled 4 on February 11, 2022, via Gibson Records, in partnership with Sony Music Australia. 4 is Slash’s fifth solo album, and fourth overall with his band featuring Myles Kennedy (Vocals), Brent Fitz (Drums), Todd Kerns (Bass & Vocals) and Frank Sidoris (Guitar & Vocals).
PRE-ORDER 4 HERE

A vibrant rock album fueled by memorable guitar hooks and compelling melodies, big choruses and even bigger riffs; 4 builds on the legacy of Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators prior work. That sensibility comes through immediately on the opening track and first single, The River Is Rising. The group has unleashed The River Is Rising.
Watch and share the official video for The River Is Rising –shot on location in downtown Los Angeles with Gibson TV director Todd Harapiak here:
Slash describes the creation of the song The River Is Rising, There’s two or three songs on the record that were written during the pandemic; everything else was written before. ‘The River is Rising’ was one of the last songs I wrote before we started pre-production, and because it was so fresh and has a certain groove and energy to it, it was the first thing we really attacked. It’s the newest song on the record, and as for the double-time part, that was something that I came up with and tagged onto the end of the arrangement. Then when we were over at RCA, Dave Cobb suggested we do it right after the breakdown. So, we went straight into the fast part and I just started doing the guitar solo over it. It was one of those things where we were jamming around, trying to fish out the arrangement, and it just happened.” While Myles Kennedy adds, “The lyric ultimately explores how humans can be brainwashed or indoctrinated by some sort of dangerous idea. Once we shot the demo back and forth a few times I personally felt confident that we had the album opener. To me, it’s an important track.”

For 4, Slash and the band traveled across the country together to Nashville, TN and recorded the new album at the historic RCA Studio A with producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, John Prine, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile), revealing a stunning new sound and style all captured live in the studio. Cobb shared the band’s desire to lay down the tracks live in the studio including guitar solos and vocals–a first for the group. The band’s previous albums over the last decade Apocalyptic Love (#2 ARIA Album Chart Debut), World on Fire (#2 ARIA Album Chart Debut) and Living The Dream (#4 ARIA Album Chart Debut) have continued on an upward trajectory all achieving Top 5 ARIA and Billboard charting debuts and reaching the Top 10 on 12 major charts across the globe.To date, the three SMKC albums have now garnered 10 consecutive Top 5 Radio singles, spawned sold out world tours, and have earned SLASH and the band the best critical acclaim of their career with their latest album Living The Dream (2018) singled out by the Los Angeles Times, Classic Rock, Guitar World, Loudwire, LA Weekly and more, as their best songs to date.

The band has launched a DSP and physical pre-order in the following formats for 4 including: a Deluxe Vinyl Box Set featuring a vinyl gatefold jacket in four colours (Black, Red, Blue, and Purple), randomly distributed inside a mirrored O-card. Each vinyl is 140g black vinyl and comes with a guitar pick, an Axe Heaven Custom Limited Edition 4 Slash Les Paul Mini-Guitar, CD softpack in one of the four colours above (also random) the O-card and a guitar pick, a Cassette Tape featuring an exclusive 4-song live rehearsal titled Live Rehearsal Tape 5/28/21, a 36-page photobook including an SMKC interview and handwritten lyrics, an embroidered sew-on patch, a Signed Lithograph and a pick tin with 4 custom Slash guitar picks. A Deluxe CD Box Set, a full album Cassette Tape and Standard Vinyl and CD packages are also available. To view the full variety of 4 album packages available, go to: http://www.slashonline.com.

Pre-Order 4 from JB HiFi and enter the competition for your chance to win a Slash signature edition Les Paul Epiphone Guitar, signed by Slash.
Above: Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators Vinyl Box set.

The new album 4 has the added history-making distinction of being the first-ever album to be released on the new Gibson Records label which is headquartered in the iconic American instrument brand Gibson’s hometown of Music City, Nashville, TN. In light of the 30-year partnership between Gibson and the GRAMMY Award-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Slash, it makes sense the new Slash Ft Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators’ album 4 will be released via Gibson Records–in partnership with Sony Music Australia.

In another groundbreaking move, Gibson will commemorate Slash Ft Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators’ first studio album with Gibson Records, with a first-ever limited–edition Slash Les Paul Standard 4 Album Edition guitar package that will be released on February 11, 2022, the same day as the album release. Only 250 Slash Les Paul Standard 4 Album Edition guitars will be made available for global release on www.gibson.com and at select authorized Gibson dealers, and the unique guitar package also features the new SMKC album 4 on vinyl with an exclusive case inside that houses the vinyl, a 4 album guitar pick tin containing a variety of pick colours (8 count), a signed SMKC band portrait, and a 4 album decal sticker.

Above: Slash Les Paul Standard 4 Album Edition guitar in Translucent Cherry with 4 album decal sticker and below, the hardshell guitar case.
ABOUT SLASH AND SMKC:
Slash–the iconic, GRAMMY-winning, American rock guitarist, songwriter and film producer–has amassed album sales of over 100 million copies, garnered a GRAMMY Award and seven GRAMMY nominations, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is a New York Times Best-selling author. Slash is considered one of the greatest rock guitar players of all time and one of the most recognisable faces in pop culture worldwide. Time Magazine placed Slash at #2 (Jimi Hendrix was #1) in its list, ‘The 10 Greatest Electric Guitar Players.’ Slash created signature sounds like the guitar riff on #1 hits for Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child o’ Mine and Welcome To The Jungle. After leaving the band, Slash went on to critical acclaim with Slash’s Snakepit and global success with the supergroup Velvet Revolver before embarking on his own solo career. After landing on the top of the charts with his first solo album, Slash (2010)–which featured Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie, Myles Kennedy and more–he formed his current band Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators (SMKC)–which features Myles Kennedy (lead vocals), Brent Fitz (drums), Todd Kerns (bass/vocals) and Frank Sidoris (rhythm guitar)–who’ve been touring worldwide and making music together non-stop for over a decade. Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators (SMKC) released their debut album, the critically acclaimed Apocalyptic Love (2012) which stormed the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart debuting at #4 on the overall chart as well as the #1 Top Rock album, and spawned Slash and the band’s first-ever #1 solo radio hits You’re A Lie and Standing In The Sun. The band’s second album, World On Fire (2016) debuted to global praise and the album’s title track, World On Fire ascended to #1 at U.S. Rock Radio. In 2016, Guns N’ Roses re-united and Slash joined Axl Rose and Duff McKagan for the historic and ongoing world tour which Billboard magazine now ranks as the third highest grossing tour of all time. Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators’ most recent release is their critically–acclaimed third album Living The Dream (2018) which Rolling Stone declared a biting blues filigree at the end of a riff, weeping solos full of long notes and boogie-woogie riffs” and the Los Angeles Times added is full of “unexpected funk, boogie, blues and garage rock influences.” Living The Dream debuted with 10, Top 10 Chart placements across the globe and fueled by the Top 5 song Driving Rain, and the single Mind Your Manners was hailed by critics as the best songs of the band’s career. By the end of SMKC’s worldwide tour in 2019, Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators had achieved seven, consecutive, Top 10 Hit singles at radio. The group’s first new music in three years, Slash (guitars) and Myles Kennedy (lead vocals) along with their fellow co-ConspiratorsTodd Kerns (bass), drummer Brent Fitz (drums) and Frank Sidoris (rhythm guitar)–will release their new album 4 via Gibson Records in partnership with Sony Music Australia–on February 11, 2022. The new album 4, is co-produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, John Prine, Brandi Carlile), was recorded at the famed RCA Studio A in Nashville, TN, and will be Slash’s fifth solo album overall and the fourth album to feature Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators; watch the teaser clip here.

About Mary Boukouvalas 1442 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.

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