Glider Magazine caught up with SLASH‘s bass player Todd Kerns recently and they spoke about the new album and what the writing process was like. He also touches upon his favourite track on the new album and mentions what it’s like working with ALTER BRIDGE‘s frontman, Myles Kennedy. You can see an extract from that interview below:
Last week, Kerns called in to give us a scoop on what has been happening inside that studio in the heart of Hollywood. The Dominator has been laying down some heavy duty bass lines for the boss and, as he notes, some damn good songs are coming to fruition. “We started demoing, just playing around with songs and things, riffs that Slash had brought in,” Kerns explained about the tunes in their virginal stage. “We had started playing with those on the road last year at sound-checks and rehearsals, so those kind of started to morph and metamorphosize into songs”. When Kennedy came in around mid-September while on a break from touring with Alter Bridge, “we went in and did three songs completely, with bass, drums, guitars and vocals.”
They returned to the studio in December where they “managed to do about a song a day and most of it live off the floor, the four of us. We were trying to get all the drums and bass and guitars, including guitar solos, live in one pass. We recorded five or six different passes of the same song. Then Eric Valentine [producer] had some room to play with it and if there was anything glaring from one take, he could kind of find an alternate take.”
I asked Kerns if there was a song that was so good it gave him chills while they were creating it: “There is actually a few like that but there is one in particular that we kind of worked and worked and pulled it apart and rearranged it and took this section out and took that out and it was one of the first things we ever brought in,” he said excitedly.
“The funny thing is, the main riff that Slash was playing on that song is no longer a part of the song, which is totally bizarre cause it was the kind of riff that made you go, damn that’s great … but that particular song was written and rewritten so many times that we’d take a stab at it and the three of us – just Slash, myself and Brent – would stab at it and we’d come up with something and feel good about it and then Myles came in and, well, it doesn’t work on top of that so let’s change that and we kind of juggled it around,” explains Kerns. “Then Eric came in (laughs). Just before we started recording, we were still kind of dealing with that song, to the point that it was almost abandoned. Then it sort of ended up being possibly the strongest song on the record in a lot of ways”.
Although he wouldn’t reveal the title of that song, he did admit that many of the tunes were still in coded names, waiting for Kennedy to put the lyrics into place. When I talked with him for my column in September, Kennedy admitted to sometimes overthinking about the worthiness of what he writes. “He’s incredibly hard on himself,” agreed Kerns.