Slash’s name is synonymous with guitar mastery. With a slew of instantly recognisable solos to his name, he blends blues with power rock, making him the driving force behind Guns N’ Roses hits like ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, ‘Paradise City’ and ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’.
Although he made a name for himself as a stadium rocker, Slash loved listening to a more subdued blues sound and was a tremendous admirer of Rory Gallagher. Gallagher, who penned hits like ‘I’m Not Awake Yet’ and ‘Bad Penny’ was a virtuoso Irish guitarist who seamlessly blended Celtic sounds with traditional blues rock.
Slash’s style itself borrows from that sound, a pure blend of melody and power. So when he got the chance to meet Gallagher, he was enthralled. Slash’s reverence for Gallagher is quite touching when you consider the Irish guitarist never quite broke through to mainstream popularity, despite being considered as Richie Blackmore’s replacement in Deep Purple – and had fans in Brian May and Eric Clapton.
“It was a fucking huge thing when I met Rory,” Slash emphatically told MusicRadar. “Not just the fact that he was in LA, and that he was really, really gracious and had me come up and jam with him, which was a blast”.
He added: “But on top of that, he was staying at the Riot House on Sunset, so he invited me up after the gig and we drank and we jammed on acoustic guitars all night and had a really great time. He’s one of my all-time guitar heroes, and I was surprised he even knew who I was.”
Slash met his hero in a hotel steeped in rock and roll history. The Continental Hyatt House first opened on LA’s Sunset Strip in 1963, before the Whisky A Go Go made a name for itself, and the music venues were more jazz club casual than riot houses.
It was sold off in 1966 when the Strip had become a mecca for the American rock scene, complete with over 20 clubs catering to the up-and-coming rock sound everyone was after. It earned the nickname the ‘Riot House’ after it became a favourite destination of bands like Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and The Who.
In their frequent visits to the hotel, they enjoyed all the drug-fuelled excesses they could manage, attending decadent parties that spanned multiple floors, throwing microwaves out of hotel rooms, and starting fires.
When he wasn’t drumming, John Bonham could often be found riding a motorbike along its hallways, and Keith Richards made room 1015 infamous after dropping a TV out the window during his stay. In a sense, it seems the perfect place for two guitarists to hang out and stay up all night jamming amidst the chaos.
“One of the things I liked about him was that he always seemed to be having a good time,” Slash told Hot Press of their meeting. “I never met him until later and when I did, he turned out to be exactly that, and I had a great time hanging out with him. I’m really honoured to have had the experience that one time. I dug him because he seemed to be just into his guitar and into singing his songs and just doing what he did. There was nothing else important and that meant something to me.”