A few months ago I started feeling very nostalgic for the ’90s. I even made a compilation of songs from that era to take on a road-trip, just like in the good old days. I’ll keep this short, for many reasons, first of which is that Slash’s Snakepit feels to me like a very refreshing, no-nonsense band, with very little need for introduction and debate. What you see is what you get.
Top hats, leather pants, white t-shirts, jeans vests and Gibson electric guitars. California. Cigarettes, bourbon and the blues. Hard rock. Right before Nirvana made their splash, these were the main products of the American dream. Sure, it all broke down and drowned eventually, but for a while there, that was it, and even though I was half the world away, I bit into it with my baby teeth. Guns’n’Roses was the first band I ever listened to, and Slash’s Snakepit was the favorite tape in my collection for years. Looking back, I can’t understand why Eric Dover, the vocalist for this band, didn’t become one of the icons of the ’90s. I guess he just showed up late in the game, when Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell and Billy Corgan were already on top of things. In any case, his team-up with Slash produced what is, in my opinion, the last great roar of hair metal (although that’s not really fair for such a bluesy album).
“It’s five o’clock somewhere” came out of the dramatic divide between Slash and Axl Rose. If I remember correctly, Axl had refused to use Slash’s song ideas for a new album, there was a lot of tension and drama in the band, so Slash just picked up his axe and put together The Snakepit, as an outlet and venting device for his frustrations. And it worked. Axl was taking G’n’R into a very operatic, over the top direction which definitely didn’t sit well with Slash, and this album is so grounded, so down’n’dirty it still comes across as a much-needed respite from all the fluff that was going on at the time.
Once I get my driver’s license, I can promise you this – Slash’s Snakepit will be the first thing I listen to in my car. It won’t be a Mustang, and I won’t be on a highway (har-har, Romania), but by God, I’ll do my best to play the role out, for fun and for the disjointed, ghost-nostalgia I sometimes find myself basking in. Sue me. By the way, Stefana, not even Axl can do Axl as well as you! At least not anymore.
Here you go, I found this very rare recording of Eric Dover and Slash performing some songs off this album, in one of their first ever concerts, televised or otherwise. It’s an acoustic gig, and I’ll paste it all in here, along with two songs off the actual, very much electric, record. Enjoy, on this sunny, crisp Sunday.