Somehow I find it hard to believe that the guitarist known as Slash is turning 48 today. Born Saul Hudson in 1965 in Hampstead, UK, his mother, Ola (1946–2009)was an African-American costume designer whose clients included David Bowie, and his father, Anthony, is an English artist who created album covers for artists like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
Best known for his role as the lead guitarist for Guns ‘n’ Roses, he joined the band in 1985. Known as much for their off-stage drama as much as their hard rock style, the band had a string of mega-hits along with some fractured fits and starts due to the erratic behavior of lead singer and frontman Axl Rose.
On stage with Axl
Known for his high gain searing guitar solos generated with a Gibson Les Paul and a Marshall stack, it’s easy to trace Slash’s musical roots back to the most famous of all Les Paul-slingers, Jimmy Page. Led Zeppelin was a huge influence on Slash and I’ve always believed he was the band. Without him in the lead guitar role, it has never been the same (and never will be). I know I’m biased towards guitarists – and I get the whole gestalt thing, but I’ve gotta go with Jimmy being Led Zeppelin, John being The Beatles, Jerry being the Dead… and the list goes on.
Slash and wife, Perla Ferrar
Slash has had his share of health issues primarily stemming from years of alcohol and drug abuse. In 2001 (at age 35), Slash was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a form of congestive heart failure caused by his many years of fast living. Given a life-threatening ultimatum, he went through physical therapy and had a defibrillator implanted. He’s been clean and sober since 2006 and in 2009, following his mother’s death from lung cancer, he quit smoking.
Happy Birthday Slash and many more!