Interview: Frank Sidoris (Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators)
Grammy Award-winning, American rock guitarist Slash returns to Australian shores in January/February 2019 with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators in tow. Recently we spoke with Frank Sidoris, guitarist and backing vocalist for Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators about their new release Living The Dream, available now everywhere via Slash’s own label, Snakepit Records, in partnership with Sony Music Australia. Living The Dream is the new full-length offering from the group which, in addition to Slash and singer Myles Kennedy, also includes bassist Todd Kerns, drummer Brent Fitz and rhythm guitarist Frank Sidoris. Living The Dream packs a compendium of sounds and styles into 12 tightly arranged and sharply executed tracks, all of it shot through with Slash’s trademark electrifying and dynamic riffing and high-wire, lyrical solos.
Congratulations on the new album, Living The Dream, from what I've seen and heard it's been a very successful release so far, how do you feel about it?
Well you heard correct, it's been cool man, it's been really well received and a lot of people are thrilled with the reunion of the band and it makes me very happy to hear because we spent so much time on this album, playing these songs a million times, playing them over and over, and listening back and doing it live and keeping it as real as we could, and for that to be the reception so far, it's been really great.
Since Slash has hooked back up with Guns 'N Roses, how did you guys find the time to get together and work on this new album?
I think the way it all worked out was, and I think it's crazy, it's definitely a hectic schedule, but the way it worked was initially we had some ideas and we all got together I think about once or twice prior to this GNR reunion. We kinda hashed out a bunch of new ideas and put together essentially some skeletons of songs, and we had an idea of where they were going to go then, and then the GNR tour happened. What's great is though, is that Slash always said, and he definitely followed through, that we will get back to this no matter what, and he had no plans on giving up on the band and the songs we'd put in place. So last November, the process started back up again, and he put some time aside and he really meant business. He gave us a head up during that Summer that come November we were going to get back in the studio and try to hash some stuff out, and it went all the way through to April I believe. In that time frame we knocked out an album, and as soon as that happened Slash went back on tour with GNR and Miles went off to do his solo stuff, and then eventually we all got back together and it's been full on now. You find the time when you really want to, you know what I mean?
Of course, definitely. And am I correct in saying that this is the first Slash album that you've had a major role in when it comes to the writing and recording process?
And how was that for you? Did you contribute a lot of creative input for this album?
Yeah, for sure, on my parts it was cool because obviously our bands vibe has naturally come to where it is now, it has grown to this point. Slash would send me an idea or something, and if he didn't have his own idea that he swore by, like if he came up with a riff and said I think this should be played under it, then everything else was my idea. It's cool because getting in the room with everybody, we all have our ideas and you've got to be open-minded, and what's great is that when everybody is open-minded you get to tweak things certain ways and do whatever matches the song. I was really happy knowing that what I had prepared and brought to the studio, Slash was like "OK, great, let's do that, I like it." And yeah it just blossomed into what it is now.
Awesome! And do you have other projects on the side when you're not with The Conspirators?
Yeah, you know there's a lot going on, I'm writing a lot, just not for anything in particular, there's nothing else in the works right now. I just like writing and having plenty of ideas if something does come up. But in the meantime I've just been doing a bunch of random things. I live in Vegas, so I sort of threw together this Lenny Kravitz style band, and we'd play around and have a lot of fun with that which is a blast. It's fun just being able to do whatever you want on-stage. Then there's other things, private, secret band things on the side, but you know, jamming all the time regardless.
It's really nice to hear some no-nonsense straight up rock music like you guys put out. There's obviously still a lot of demand for that style, but what do you love most about making rock music?
I think it was the type of music that I just gravitated towards the most, I've listened to music since the earliest memory I can remember, and I think my Dad had a lot to do with it as well. Even my Mum, they were both big rock fans, and big music fans in general, so to me I really feel that the release when I listen to rock music, even though I do feel it is important to listen to all kinds of music. You can't eat the same kind of food every single day, it gets boring after a while, you gotta mix it up. I would say, as a guitarist, rock music has always been my go to and my favourite artists are rock musicians for the most part. When I'm writing it always seems to be a rock song, or some kind of rock riff, but I am also a big fan of funk and soul music, also RNB, but yeah, I'm a fan of music in general.
What's your opinion on Australia when it comes to touring here?
I love Australia, and historically you can see that every world tour we've ever done, Australia is guarantee you know. We've all ways loved going there and we can't wait to get back there soon. The coffee is great there also, where are you? Are you out in Sydney?
I live in Sydney, but I think that the coffee in Melbourne is better.
Oh wow! (Laughs) Yeah, well I didn't want to say anything, but either way, coffee wise I'm a big fan of everywhere I've had it in Australia, and I'm not just saying that to be impartial on the subject. But yeah, Melbourne is definitely next level coffee, but I also have a friend who just went to Sydney and she brought me back a bag of coffee from Cabrito, have you heard of that place?
Yeah I've heard of it, I haven't been there though.
It's real good man, if I can recommend one to you that's one to go to for sure, if you're a coffee lover like I am.
Any words for you Aussie fans before they see you here next?
By the time we get there, we'll be well into playing most of the new album and we'll have all sorts of great, fun things to throw into that set-list. I really do look forward to being back there, we always look forward to Brisbane, we get to hang out with the animals there and I get to drink all of the best coffee in the world. On behalf of the band I know that everybody is thrilled to go back there.
We can't wait to have you back here, all the best with the new album and we will see you soon!
Thanks a lot man, you take care.
Slash Ft Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators Australian & New Zealand Tour Dates Tauranga Friday 25 January - Baypark Arena Auckland Saturday 26 January - Spark Arena Sydney Monday 28 January - Qudos Bank Arena Brisbane Wednesday 30 January - Brisbane Convention Exhibition Centre Melbourne Friday 1 February - Margaret Court Arena Perth Sunday 3 February - RAC Arena
Tickets to Slash Ft Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators available from Ticketek.com.au
Written by Steve Jenkins.