Earlier this week, Slash released Live At Roxy Theatre on BitTorrent Bundle. The 90+ minute HD video release captures Slash in his finest form, returning to the Sunset Strip and the legendary Roxy to perform for a sold out crowd. We caught up with Slash this week as he was out on his latest European tour to chat about his new Bundle, his history at the legendary venue and vinyl vs. digital. Check out the interview below then grab the Live At the Roxy Bundle for $15.99.
BitTorrent: What made you want to go back to perform at The Roxy? How important was the club for your career?
We were just releasing World on Fire in September, we wanted to do some club shows to celebrate the release. We did a small club show in NY and three shows in LA at all the venues where I got my start, The Troubadour, The Whiskey and The Roxy. The Roxy was one that would best facilitate filming - it’s the right size room and right vibe. We wanted to memorialize the gig and a few weeks later we said, why don’t we make a DVD and CD out of this and put it out there?
It’s very raw - there’s no protools or those kind of fixes and overdubs they did in the late 70s when they made live records, and by the time they came out they were pretty much studio records (laughs). It’s capturing the moment which is all that what we wanted to do. And hopefully that energy, vibe and excitement from that night will translate to your TV or computer screen.
BitTorrent: You grew up attending shows at the club, you came up in the scene playing shows at the club, and now you’ve returned to The Roxy Stage once again in 2014. Of all those memories at the venue, is there anything that stands out?
When I moved to LA, I moved right in the West Hollywood area. My parents were both in the music world, so we spent a lot of time at The Troubadour and The Roxy. My mom was doing the styling for The Rocky Horror show when it was still a stage production and they did like six weeks at The Roxy. So I was there all the time. Cheech and Chong was the opening act. I remember that really well.
I’ve gone to so many shows over there from so many different kinds of artists, even before Guns N' Roses ever played there. And when Guns N' Roses played there, The Roxy was the pinnacle club gig in the area. If you could be headlining there on a weekend, that was really the ultimate goal. We had a few shows there and a couple of wild gigs at The Roxy come to mind (laughs). It’s been a fixture of my career since I was little kid all the way til now.
BitTorrent: You’ve remained quite active in music technology and the digital music space. Are you optimistic about the current state of digital music?
Constantly shifting is a good way to describe digital music right now. It hasn’t really settled. When you think of digital music, there’s so many places to get it, and it’s in such a constant state of being tweaked. I’m still waiting for developments on sound quality, but it’s obviously the primary way people listen to music now. I can’t say I’m necessarily comfortable with it, because it’s in this constant state of chaos. There’s so much happening all the time and it’s hard to say what’s next.
Why did you choose BitTorrent Bundle for the digital release of Live At The Roxy?
I thought it would be great. I was familiar with BitTorrent and have seen Bundle develop and start offering legal releases from artists. I thought this would be a great place to release the project. I think it’s really cool.
BitTorrent: What drives you to find other alternatives for digital releases?
Being a musician, it’s important to me how a record sounds, how it’s packaged, how you can make it more personable. I grew up in the age of vinyl, which is a huge contrast to what it feels like to purchase an album now and what that felt like as a fan, from sonic quality to artwork. Now the packaging is gone and people are recording from their laptops and their phones. It’s drastically changed and become much more convenient and immediate, but it’s become faceless at the same time. I’m excited to see how this changes in the future.
BitTorrent: What do you think you can attribute the current vinyl resurgence we’re seeing, which seems to be reversion to a more expensive, tangible product compared to the convenience and lower quality of digital music?
During the 90’s, when the digital music thing really took off. it was like “Wow! Look at this” and people didn’t pay that much attention the shortcomings of digital because it was so exciting. And technology is great, and it’s fun moving into the future and seeing all of these new developments. But I think what’s happening now is we’ve gotten to a point where a lot of kids have gotten turned onto records and artists they’ve never heard before, that were put out before they were born. And the vehicle to listen to those records is this big piece of plastic and it’s “What the fuck is this?” (laughs). It’s an interesting discovery period for everybody.
I think there’s something to be said for the sound quality on vinyl. I still record to tape because I think it sounds so much better. I’m waiting to see when digital is going to be able to develop a similar tonal quality as vinyl. I think everybody co-exists now, people are buying vinyl because it’s cool, or because it sounds better, or because hip to have a vinyl collection right now because of digital. And any of those options is cool! For me, the most important reason is sound quality.