Legendary Guns N’ Roses guitarist Saul Hudson, better known as Slash, was dunked into rock ‘n’ roll from a young age. He was born in Stoke on Trent, England, to parents who were heavily involved in the world of music. His mother, Ola J. Hudson, was a popular African-American fashion designer whose clients included Ringo Starr, Janis Joplin and David Bowie (whom she also dated briefly). Slash’s father is a white English artist who created album artwork for musicians including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.
Slash grew up in an environment where he was submerged in 1960s and ’70s rock. As he once recalled, “my dad especially raised me on British rock music – y’know; The Kinks, Cream, The Yardbirds, The Stones and The Beatles.”
When Slash was about five years old, he and his father moved to LA to join his mother, who had moved there a couple of years prior. It was at this point that he became more acquainted with the music of the American rock giants. When asked about his first exposure to Jimi Hendrix in a 2011 interview, Slash recalled, “I actually didn’t become conscious of Jimi [Hendrix] really until I moved to LA and all of a sudden it was Hendrix and The Doors and The Mamas and the Papas, Starship – that whole thing that was going on, and Jimi was just, y’know, he was exciting. He was the embodiment of that wild electric guitarist.”
He continued, “Jimi was at the forefront of that playing what was to become considered later as psychedelic guitar. It just must have been a trip being around then – being a musician and writing and creating records in that whole scene, and that’s something that fascinates me about artists of that period.”
“When I think about Jimi now, I start to relate to what it must have been like to be a rock star in 1967/68. That must have been such a wild time because it was all so new and primitive and everybody was coming from such a different place mentally. There were political things that were having a massive influence on youth culture and the kids trying to take their lives and the future into their own hands.”
He described why Hendrix was of particular interest to him from the late ’60s era of rock, “I think the attraction with Jimi was just that he had this uninhibited, fluid guitar style that basically screamed. It had this over-the-top sound to it that just kind of drew me in. I think all of my favourite guitar players have a sort of manic quality to them.”
When asked if he could name his favourite Hendrix song, he could only settle to name a handful, “[Hendrix’s] first two recordings are my favourites. Axis: Bold as Love is my favourite Hendrix album. I’m a ‘Little Wing’ fan. ‘Voodoo Chile’ is great, and his live version of ‘Machine Gun’ from Live at the Fillmore.”
Listen to Jimi Hendrix’s fantastic ‘Machine Gun’ as heard on Live at the Fillmore below.
Slash’s favourite Jimi Hendrix songs:
- ‘Voodoo Chile’
- ‘Machine Gun’
- ‘Little Wing’