The Sunset Strip Music Festival (SSMF) kicked off Thursday, August 26 with a special tribute to the 2010 SSMF festival honoree Slash (VELVET REVOLVER, ex-GUNS N' ROSES) at the House Of Blues. MÖTLEY CRÜE's Nikki Sixx, MOTÖRHEAD's Lemmy Kilmister and ALICE IN CHAINS' Jerry Cantrell spoke at the event, which was hosted by rock radio veteran Jim Ladd. Slash remarked on stage: "Picking up the guitar for the first time in West Hollywood, then learning how to play in West Hollywood, starting a band in West Hollywood, and making it in West Hollywood. Getting a record deal at Geffen on Sunset which was the same place my dad used to work at when I was a kid. So I never left here. Everything in my life that is of any importance started in West Hollywood. And the Sunset Strip is like… such a part of me. So to be honored by the Sunset Strip is just a major, major thing for me."
Check out photos of the event:
Video footage can be viewed below.
Known for his skillful, soulful hard-rock guitar solos, Slash's career has continued to grow from his early days performing at the Whisky A Go-Go with GUNS N' ROSES to his collaborations with Michael Jackson ("Black And White", "Give In To Me"), Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and directors Quentin Tarantino and Darren Aronofsky (core contributions to the "Jackie Brown" soundtrack and the signature sound of the score to "The Wrestler").
Slash traces his love of music and exploring spirit to his childhood in England, where his father introduced him to the sounds of THE BEATLES, THE ROLLING STONES, YARDBIRDS and other classic, groundbreaking acts. He got an insider's view through his teen years after the family moved to Los Angeles, his father a graphic artist who worked with David Geffen for such artists as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and his mother a costume designer for many top pop artists. Almost on a whim, he and friend Steve Adler started playing music together; Slash on guitar and Adler on drums. In the early '80s, influenced by such bands as Lemmy's MOTÖRHEAD, he and Adler formed a band, recruiting bassist Duff McKagan. Within a year, with the addition of singer Axl Rose and guitarist Izzy Stradlin, the venture had morphed into GUNS N' ROSES — and by the end of the decade had changed the course of rock history.
Slash has also lent his talents to bands SLASH'S SNAKEPIT and the Grammy Award-winning VELVET REVOLVER as well as a self-titled solo album, which features guest spots from artists including Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie, Lemmy, WOLFMOTHER's Andrew Stockdale and Adam Levine (MAROON 5) among others.
"You cannot mention The Sunset Strip without thinking of Slash. His influence changed the course of rock and roll and can be seen daily on The Strip," stated Todd Steadman, executive director of the Sunset Strip Music Festival. "He continues to support The Sunset Strip and has been a part of the festival from its inaugural year, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate him for his contributions to this legendary music boulevard."
Previous SSMF honorees include Lou Adler, Mario Maglieri and Elmer Valentine, who helped shape the live music experience on The Strip with the creation of The Roxy Theatre, The Rainbow and the Whisky A Go-Go, and rock icon Ozzy Osbourne, whose first U.S. performance was at the Whisky with BLACK SABBATH in 1970.
(Thanks: Carl Alvarez)