Slash Says He Does 'Not Recall Any' of His First Gigs with Early Band: 'Such a Drunken Kind of Thing' (Exclusive)

Despite "not remembering" his shows with Slash's Blues Ball, the iconic guitarist recognizes how pivotal the experiences were in shaping his love of blues music

<p>Scott Dudelson/Getty</p> Slash in Los Angeles on May 29, 2024

Scott Dudelson/Getty

Slash in Los Angeles on May 29, 2024

After the chart-topping release of his latest album, Orgy of the Damned, Slash is looking back at one of his earliest forays into blues music — but he admits that not a lot of memories from that time immediately come to mind.

In conversation with PEOPLE, the legendary Guns N' Roses guitarist opens up about "not remembering" the first time he went on the road with Slash's Blues Ball, the band he formed in 1996 in Los Angeles alongside Teddy "Big Bag Zig Zag" Andreadis, Johnny Griparic, Alvino Bennet, Bobby Schneck and Dave McLaurin.

According to Slash, copious alcohol consumption was the culprit behind the forgotten memories. "It was such a drunken kind of thing, and it was just for the fun of it," he shares. "I do not recall any of those gigs."

<p>Mat Hayward/Getty</p> Slash in Seattle on Feb. 9, 2022

Mat Hayward/Getty

Slash in Seattle on Feb. 9, 2022

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Diving into how Slash's Blues Ball came to be, he remembers, "When I first met them, a couple of the guys, they were playing in a band called The Screaming Cocktail Hour, which was a great blues band that used to play at the local Rogie's and Baked Potato and Cozy's and all these small little blues dives around L.A. And I would go and hang out with them and get there 10 or 11 o'clock at night and jam until two o'clock in the morning."

Eventually, after chopping it up with the aforementioned group of local blues musicians, Slash "started a band with two of the guys, and we called it Slash's Blues Ball"

"I got a couple of other guys," he adds, "And so we started doing the same circuit, but then that turned into an actual tour, and we did it for on and off for a couple of years, even managed to make it to Europe."

During the two years that Slash's Blues Ball was active from 1996 to 1998, the band did not release any recorded music, but performed covers of blues records live at various venues domestically and abroad.

For the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, all that matters is remembering "it was fun" touring and tapping into his love for the blues at the time.

<p>Paul Natkin/Getty</p> Slash at the House of Blues in Chicago on Dec. 2, 1996

Paul Natkin/Getty

Slash at the House of Blues in Chicago on Dec. 2, 1996

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"And fortunately, Teddy kept the set list, which gave us where I picked some of the songs from," he shares, referring to the tracklist of his current Billboard chart-topping Orgy of the Damned, a collection of classic blues covers reinterpreted by Slash and an all-star team including Iggy Pop, Chris Stapleton, Demi Lovato and more.

In support of Orgy of the Damned, and Slash's love for the blues as a whole, the artist is also embarking on the S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival tour, which begins July 5 in Montana and ends Aug. 16 in Arkansas. During those tour dates, the award-winning musician says he's "looking forward to really being able to open up and play my a-- off for two hours every day for a couple months" while steadily tapping into his love for blues music alongside a team of hand-picked blues artists.

Referring to the experience working on the new album and tour, Slash adds, "I can't remember that much about the Blues Ball, but [S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival] is not the same as just a drunken club band that was just touring around for beer."

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