How Slash Got Brian Johnson, Steven Tyler On The Same Song

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

May 10, 2024

Slash is one of the most iconic guitarists in rock and roll and doesn't need help from other big names to bring attention to his latest record. But in the spirit of collaboration and inclusion — both themes of his upcoming 'S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival 2024' tour — for his long-awaited blues album, the Guns N' Roses guitarist brought in a number of superstars to help him celebrate the enduring legacy of the blues.

Slash's new solo album, Orgy of the Damned, features 12 tracks and 11 faithful interpretations of blues classic with feature performances by the likes of Gary Clark Jr., Dorothy, Billy Gibbons, Brian Johnson, Demi Lovato, Iggy Pop, Chris Robinson, Paul Rodgers, Steven Tyler and many more.

Johnson and Tyler appear on the same track, a cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor," with the AC/DC frontman Johnson handling lead vocals and the Aerosmith frontman Tyler contributing a fiery blues harmonica solo and additional vocals. Slash points out to Q104.3's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke that the arrangement is actually a combination of two Howlin' Wolf songs, "Killing Floor" and "Rockin' Daddy."

"I called Brian up and lo and behold, he was heavily influenced by Howlin' Wolf, and he was really excited to do this cover," Slash says. "...He went in there and just sang the hell out of it and it was great to watch him do it. He just sang it with this certain kind of soul and this whole delivery that was keeping in line with the Howlin' Wolf version, but it was a type of singing that I'd never heard him do before. ...I felt really honored to ... be one of the only people who's recorded him in that fashion."

Later, Slash says he returned home to Los Angeles and the subject of his album came up in conversation with Tyler.

"I told [Tyler] I was putting harmonica on that song, and he goes, 'Oh, let me do it!'" he continued. "He showed up literally, like, within the hour and put this great impromptu harp on it and a little bit of vocal thing on there. It's really cool."

Orgy of the Damned will be released everywhere on May 17.

Slash will support the album this summer with his 'S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival 2024' tour, launching July 5.

The festival will feature Slash and his band anchoring a rotating lineup of blues, soul and roots acts, which the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer hopes will bring a positive message to communities at every stop.

"There's a charity component to this and it's reaching out to a bunch of different charities that support people who've been disenfranchised and sidelined. There's a thing about racial equality in there and also support [those with] mental illness," he adds. "Some things that I think are really important to address right now. I wanted to make this very all-inclusive — so all genders, all races, all religions, all nationalities, to just get people together and be together for a day just to enjoy some really great music. That's the premise. I think we'll be able to pull it off."

Get all Slash's 'S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival' tour dates here.

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