Slash's Snakepit

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Slash's Snakepit
Slash's Snakepit.jpg
From left to right: Mike Inez, Eric Dover, Slash, Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum.
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Hard rock, blues rock
Years active1994 (1994)–1995, 1998–2002
Labels Geffen, Koch
Associated acts Guns N' Roses, Slash's Blues Ball, Velvet Revolver, Alice Cooper, Alice in Chains, Jellyfish, Pride and Glory, The Cult
Past members Slash
Gilby Clarke
Eric Dover
Mike Inez
Matt Sorum
James LoMenzo
Brian Tichy
Johnny Griparic
Rod Jackson
Matt Laug
Ryan Roxie
Keri Kelli

Slash's Snakepit was an American rock supergroup from Los Angeles, California, formed by Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash in 1993. Though often described as a solo or side project, Slash stated that Snakepit was a band with equal contributions by all members. The first lineup of the band consisted of Slash, two of his Guns N' Roses bandmates— drummer Matt Sorum and guitarist Gilby Clarke— as well as Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez and former Jellyfish live guitarist Eric Dover on lead vocals.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

A supergroup is a musical performing group whose members have successful solo careers, are members of other groups, or are well known in other musical professions. The term is usually used in the context of rock and pop music, but it has occasionally been applied to other musical genres. For example, The Three Tenors—composed of opera superstars José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti—has been called a supergroup.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known colloquially by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California and the second most populous city in the United States, after New York. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. Nicknamed the "City of Angels" partly because of its name's Spanish meaning, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood, and the entertainment industry, and sprawling metropolis.

Contents

Their debut album, It's Five O'Clock Somewhere , was released in 1995. For the supporting tour, Slash enlisted James LoMenzo and Brian Tichy, of Pride and Glory, in place of Inez and Sorum who had other commitments. They played shows in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia before Geffen Records pulled their financial support for the tour, with Slash returning to Guns N' Roses and Slash's Snakepit disbanding.

<i>Its Five OClock Somewhere</i> (album) 1995 debut studio album by Slashs Snakepit

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere is the debut studio album by American hard rock band Slash's Snakepit, released in February 1995. The album was a moderate commercial success, reaching number 70 on the American Billboard 200 album chart and selling over a million copies worldwide. The songs "Beggars & Hangers-On" and "Good To Be Alive" were released as singles in 1995 and promo videos were made for each track.

James LoMenzo American musician

James "JLo" LoMenzo is an American heavy metal musician. He was a member of the band White Lion, performing with them from 1984 to 1991. He was later the bassist for Black Label Society, Megadeth and Slash's Snakepit. Outside music, he is known for being a contestant on the 21st season of the reality television series The Amazing Race.

Brian Tichy American musician

Brian Tichy, is an American musician, songwriter and record producer, best known as having been the drummer for Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Foreigner, Sass Jordan, and Ozzy Osbourne. He was the drummer of Whitesnake from 2010 to 2013. Tichy began playing drums at age eight and started playing guitar at age 12. His earliest influences include Kiss with Peter Criss as his main influence, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden with Nicko McBrain, Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Van Halen. His surname means silent in Czech and Slovak. In 2015, he became a full-time member of Operation: Mindcrime and The Dead Daisies.

Following his departure from Guns N' Roses in 1996, Slash formed the cover band Slash's Blues Ball. After a tour in 1997, Slash approached Blues Ball bassist Johnny Griparic about forming a new lineup of Slash's Snakepit. The new lineup consisted of Slash, Griparic, singer Rod Jackson, guitarist Ryan Roxie and drummer Matt Laug (Roxie and Laug were both former members of Alice Cooper's solo band). They recorded and released their second album entitled Ain't Life Grand in 2000, which was preceded by a tour supporting AC/DC and followed by their own headlining tour. For the tour, Keri Kelli joined the group in place of Ryan Roxie, who departed following the completion of the album. However, after the final show, Slash disbanded Slash's Snakepit due to a lack of commitment from his band members.

Slash's Blues Ball was an American blues rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California in 1996. The band, which comprised lead guitarist Slash, lead vocalist Teddy "Big Bag Zig Zag" Andreadis, bassist Johnny Griparic, drummer Alvino Bennet, rhythm guitarist Bobby Schneck and saxophonist Dave McLaurin, toured as a cover band for two years following the departure of Slash from American hard rock band Guns N' Roses. The band did not release any albums.

Rod Jackson is an American rock musician. He was the lead singer for the second incarnation of the band Slash's Snakepit, led by then ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash.

Ryan Roxie American musician

Ryan Roxie is an American guitarist, singer/songwriter best known as a solo artist and for his guitar work with Alice Cooper, Casablanca and Slash's Snakepit..

History

Formation (1993–1994)

Following the two and a half year world tour in support of the albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II , [1] [2] Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash returned to Los Angeles. [2] He soon sold his home, the Walnut House, and moved to Mulholland Drive. [3] He built a small home studio, nicknamed The Snakepit, [4] over his garage and began working on demos for songs he had written during the tour. [3] [5] Slash worked on the demos with Guns N' Roses bandmate and drummer Matt Sorum. They were later joined by guitarist Gilby Clarke and Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez, jamming and recording most nights. [3] [5] Slash played the demos for Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose who rejected the material, [3] [4] [5] though he would later want to use them for the next Guns N' Roses album. [5] They had recorded twelve songs by 1994, [6] the same year that Guns N' Roses went on hiatus. [4]

Use Your Illusion Tour concert tour

The Use Your Illusion Tour was a concert tour by the rock band Guns N' Roses which ran from January 20, 1991 to July 17, 1993. It was not only the band's longest tour, but one of the longest concert tours in rock history, consisting of 194 shows in 27 countries. It was also a source of much infamy for the band, due to riots, late starts, cancellations and outspoken rantings by Axl Rose.

<i>Use Your Illusion I</i> 1991 album by Guns N’ Roses

Use Your Illusion I is the third studio album by American rock band Guns N' Roses, released on the same day as its counterpart Use Your Illusion II. Both albums were released in conjunction with the Use Your Illusion Tour. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts, selling 685,000 copies in its first week, behind Use Your Illusion II's first-week sales of 770,000. Use Your Illusion I has sold 5,502,000 units in the United States as of 2010, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Each of the Use Your Illusion albums have been certified 7× Platinum by the RIAA. It was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1992.

<i>Use Your Illusion II</i> album

Use Your Illusion II is the fourth studio album by the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses. The album was released on September 17, 1991, the same day as its counterpart Use Your Illusion I. Both albums were released in conjunction with the Use Your Illusion Tour. Bolstered by the lead single "You Could Be Mine," Use Your Illusion II was the slightly more popular of the two albums, selling 770,000 copies its first week and debuting at No. 1 on the U.S. charts, ahead of Use Your Illusion I's first-week sales of 685,000. As of 2010, Use Your Illusion II has sold 5,587,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Both albums have since been certified 7× Platinum by the RIAA. It was also No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart for a single week. It is the last Guns N' Roses album to feature rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin. It also included the last Guns N' Roses song to feature drummer Steven Adler, who played on "Civil War."

Slash decided to record the Snakepit demos with Sorum, Clarke and Inez, [7] later adding former Jellyfish live guitarist Eric Dover as lead vocalist. [5] [7] [8] The decision to record with Dover led to a disagreement between Slash and Sorum, due to Slash not seeking Sorum's approval before hiring Dover. [8]

Jellyfish (band) power pop band

Jellyfish was an American rock band formed in San Francisco in 1989. Their original line-up consisted of songwriters Andy Sturmer and Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., guitarist Jason Falkner, and bassist Chris Manning. Sturmer and Manning Jr. led the group and were its only consistent members.

Eric Dover American musician

Eric Dover is an American musician, guitarist and singer, most notably with Jellyfish, Slash's Snakepit, Imperial Drag and Alice Cooper.

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere and breakup (1994–1996)

Slash and Dover wrote the lyrics to all twelve songs with Slash using the songwriting to vent his frustrations at Guns N' Roses singer Rose. [8] Clarke contributed the song "Monkey Chow" to the album [9] while "Jizz da Pit" is an instrumental by Slash and Inez. [9] They recorded the album at Conway Recording Studios and The Record Plant [9] with Mike Clink [8] and Slash co-producing [9] and Steven Thompson and Michael Barbiero mixing, [9] all of whom had worked with Guns N' Roses on their debut album Appetite for Destruction . [10] [11] The album featured contributions by Duff McKagan (who co-wrote "Beggars & Hangers-On"), [4] [12] Dizzy Reed on keyboards, [12] Teddy Andreadis on harmonica, and Paulinho da Costa on percussion. [9] Slash's brother, Ash Hudson, designed the album's cover. [4]

Conway Recording Studios is a recording and post production facility in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States.

Mike Clink is an American record producer. Clink began his career as an engineer at Record Plant Studios, recording such bands as Whitesnake, Triumph, Guns N' Roses, Mötley Crüe, Megadeth, UFO, Jefferson Starship, The Babys, Heart, Eddie Money and many others.

Stephen Thompson is an online music producer for NPR and editor of several music-related columns for NPR Music, including Song Of The Day and Shadow Classics. He is a regular on the NPR podcasts Pop Culture Happy Hour and All Songs Considered and also serves as an occasional guest music commentator for Morning Edition. He created NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts with Bob Boilen in 2008.

The resulting album, titled It's Five O'Clock Somewhere , was released in February 1995 through Geffen Records. [13] The album's title was taken from a phrase Slash overheard at an airport. [4] At the insistence of the record label, the album was released under the name Slash's Snakepit, instead of The Snakepit, despite Slash not wanting his name used. [4] Upon release, the album charted at number 70 on the Billboard 200 [14] and number 15 on the UK Albums Chart. [4] It's Five O'Clock Somewhere went on to sell over a million copies and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. [4] [15] "Beggars & Hangers-On" was released as the first, and only, single from the album; [16] while a music video was also shot for "Good to Be Alive", directed by August Jakobsson. [8] [17]

"We were in the midst of booking another leg when I was informed by Geffen that they'd sold a million copies of It's Five O'Clock Somewhere and had turned a profit so they saw no reason for me to continue our tour. I was to return to L.A. because Axl was ready to begin working on the next Guns N' Roses record. They'd thought it through: in case I objected, they made it clear that the financial tour support for Snakepit was over." [15]

—Slash on Geffen pulling tour support.

Critically, the album received mainly positive reviews. Metal Hammer stated that "the sleazy, downtrodden blues hard rock [...] breaks new ground." [4] AllMusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine called Slash's contributions "quite amazing", though criticised the song-writing, stating "it's too bad that nobody in the band bothered to write any songs." [13] Devon Jackson of Entertainment Weekly described the album as "relaxed headbanging and Southern-tinged blues-rock" [18] while Classic Rock reviewer Malcolm Dome stated "musically, it's a loose-limbed record that has a lot of heavy guitar-led punk-style pop-rock." [4] Slash's Snakepit toured in support of the album, with bassist James LoMenzo and drummer Brian Tichy, of Pride and Glory, replacing Inez and Sorum, [4] [7] [16] who had opted out of touring, with Sorum returning to Guns N' Roses. [4] They toured the US, Europe, Japan and Australia [16] with Slash stating that "for the first time in years, touring was easy, [his] band mates were loads of fun and low on drama, and every gig was about playing rock and roll." [15] While booking another leg of the tour, Slash was informed by Geffen that Rose was ready to begin work on the new Guns N' Roses album and that he was to return to Los Angeles. [15] Geffen pulled financial support for the band's tour with Slash's Snakepit disbanding soon after. [15]

Slash's Blues Ball and reformation (1996–1999)

Slash departed Guns N' Roses in 1996, [7] [19] due to musical differences between himself and singer Axl Rose. [7] [20] Following his departure, Slash toured Japan for two weeks with Chic, [21] and worked on the soundtrack to the film Curdled . [22] He later began touring in a cover band that eventually became Slash's Blues Ball. [5] [7] [23] Aside from Slash, the band consisted of Teddy Andreadis, guitarist Bobby Schneck, bassist Johnny Griparic, saxophonist Dave McClarem and drummer Alvino Bennett. [7] [23] The band toured on and off until 1998, [7] which included a headline slot at a jazz festival in Budapest. [23] They covered various artists and bands such as B.B. King, Steppenwolf, Otis Redding, as well as Guns N' Roses and Slash's Snakepit material. [7] [23]

Following a tour in 1997, [24] Slash approached Griparic about forming a new lineup of Slash's Snakepit [23] They began looking for a singer, [24] receiving over 300 audition tapes [23] from mostly unknown singers. [24] Jon Stevens of Noiseworks, who had been recording with Slash, was seen as a potential singer in early 1998. [25] However, he returned to Australia to continue his solo career. [25] They eventually added singer Rod Jackson to the group after Griparic played a tape of him for Slash. [26] Completing the lineup were guitarist Ryan Roxie, formerly of Alice Cooper, and drummer Matt Laug, also from Alice Cooper and the band Venice. [4] [5] [7] [27] They began rehearsing at Mates Studio before rehearsing and recording in Slash's new home studio in Beverly Hills. [25] [27]

Ain't Life Grand and second breakup (1999–2002)

The band began recording material with producer Jack Douglas [4] [29] at Slash's home studio as well as Ocean Way Studios. [30] The recording featured contributions by Teddy Andreadis, Jimmy Zavala and Lee Thornburg, amongst others. [30] [31] Initially, the label was positive about the album, [32] setting a release date for February 22, 2000. [33] However, when Slash was informed by Geffen, who had folded into Interscope Records, that the album was not the type of music the label produced, he bought the album back [32] and signed a deal with Koch Records. [34] Following the completion of the album, Roxie departed the band [4] with former Big Bang Babies, Warrant and Ratt guitarist Keri Kelli joining in his place. [5] [7]

Ain't Life Grand was released on October 20, 2000 [4] [35] through Koch [34] [35] with "Mean Bone" released as the first single. [36] The album did not sell as well as its predecessor, [4] and critical reception to it was mixed. Entertainment Weekly reviewer Tony Scherman stated that "Slash's playing is as flashily incendiary as ever, but the songs and arrangements recycle hard-rock cliches worthier of Ratt than of a bona fide guitar god". [37] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone noted that "great guitarists need great bands, and the Snakepit dudes are barely functional backup peons". [38] Steve Huey of Allmusic noted that "the new Snakepit does kick up a lot of noise as the album rushes by, and the strong chemistry between the members is immediately obvious". However, he stated that songwriting was the main problem, and that "it never rises above the level of solid, and too many tracks are by-the-numbers hard rock at best (and pedestrian at worst)". [28] The band were dropped by Koch two months following the album's release. [39]

Prior to the album's release, Slash's Snakepit supported AC/DC on their Stiff Upper Lip tour from August to September, [34] [35] followed by their own headlining tour of theatres. [39] They played only the first two shows on the winter leg of AC/DC's tour. [36] After falling ill and checking into a hospital in Pittsburgh, [40] [41] Slash was ordered by his doctor to stay at home to recuperate, reportedly from pneumonia. [36] Due to this, Slash's Snakepit pulled out of supporting AC/DC in early 2001. [36] Slash later revealed in his self-titled biography that he had actually suffered cardiac myopathy caused by years of alcohol and drug abuse, with his heart swelling to the point of rupture. [40] After being fitted with a defibrillator and undergoing physical therapy, Slash returned to the group to continue touring. [40] [41] They later rescheduled their US tour, performing shows from June 16 – July 6, [41] [42] [43] co-headlining three shows with Billy Idol. [41] [44] Following the tour, feeling that his band was unprofessional and his bandmates were not fully committed, [40] Slash disbanded Slash's Snakepit in an announcement made in early 2002. [45]

Post–breakup activities

Following the breakup of Slash's Snakepit, Slash announced he was to begin working on a solo album. [45] Instead he later worked with The Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman and an unnamed bassist on a new project. [46] Together with his former Guns N' Roses bandmates Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, they formed The Project, that eventually became the hard rock supergroup Velvet Revolver following the addition of former Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner, and then-former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland. [47] They released their debut album Contraband , in 2004, [47] followed by Libertad in 2007, [47] before they parted ways with Weiland and went on hiatus in 2008. [48] With Velvet Revolver on hiatus, Slash began work on his debut solo album. [49] Slash was released on March 31, 2010, and featured a number of guests such as Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother, M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, Kid Rock, Ozzy Osbourne, Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, and Fergie. [50] His band for the tour in support of the album consisted of Kennedy, bassist Todd Kerns, and drummer Brent Fitz. It also included guitarist Bobby Schneck, formerly of Slash's Blues Ball. [51]

Musical style

Slash's Snakepit's music was often described as hard rock [4] [28] [37] and blues rock [4] [12] [28] with elements of southern rock. [12] [18] The band were also often described as Slash's solo or side project [12] [13] [52] though Slash maintained that they were a band, stating "everybody wrote, everybody had equal input even though I had my name on it." [53] Rolling Stone reviewer J.D. Considine noted the differences between Guns N' Roses and Slash's Snakepit on their first album, stating that "Guns [N]' Roses typically treat the melody as the most important part of the song, most of what slithers out of the Snakepit emphasizes the playing." [12] He noted that singer Eric Dover "conveys the raw-throated intensity of a hard-rock frontman" and "he avoids the genre's most obvious excesses." [12] The riff to "Good to Be Alive" drew a comparison to Chuck Berry while the musicianship on the album was praised. [12] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic stated that "there's little argument that Slash is a great guitarist" who is "capable of making rock and blues clichés sound fresh". [13] Reviewing Ain't Life Grand for Allmusic, Steve Huey described second singer Rod Jackson as "a combination of '80s pop-metal bluster and Faces-era Rod Stewart" with a "touch of Aerosmith", a description that he felt also fitted the band as a whole. [28] He noted, though, that Slash's guitar playing was "tame" and stated that the main problem of the album was the songwriting, though it was "still a passable, workmanlike record that will definitely appeal to fans of grimy, old-school hard rock." [28] Malcolm Dome of Classic Rock stated that "from the moment that "Been There Lately" opens, there's a vibe here that was missing before" and that Ain't Life Grand showed "purpose, direction and individuality." [4]

Personnel

Timeline

Slash%27s Snakepit

Discography

Studio albums
TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
US
[54]
AUS
[55]
AUT
[56]
CAN
[57]
GER
[58]
NED
[59]
NOR
[60]
SWE
[61]
SWI
[62]
UK
[63]
It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
  • Released: February 14, 1995
  • Label: Geffen
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS
70261519191927111515
Ain't Life Grand
  • Released: October 10, 2000
  • Label: Koch
  • Format: CD
565896146
Singles
TitleYearPeak chart positionsAlbum
US
Main.

[64]
AUS
[55]
"Beggars & Hangers-On"19952185It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
"Good to Be Alive"
"Been There Lately"2000Ain't Life Grand
"Mean Bone"

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