Slash Teases Further ‘Country Influence’ in His Music: ‘A Nashville Thing That's Gone Home with Me’ (Exclusive)

The artist also tells PEOPLE about how he secured Chris Stapleton's vocals on his latest album 'Orgy of the Damned'

<p>Ethan Miller/Getty</p> Slash in Las Vegas on Feb. 19, 2022

Ethan Miller/Getty

Slash in Las Vegas on Feb. 19, 2022

Although Slash is a longtime fan of "outlaw country" music, his affinity for the genre grew exponentially thanks to some chance experiences in Nashville — and with one of its brightest stars.

The "Sweet Child O' Mine" guitarist told PEOPLE at the Gibson Garage in Nashville that when he came to Music City "to record the 4 record for the Conspirators," he fell in love with the songwriting history that the city's landmarks exude.

"We got an Airbnb here — it was during Covid — so we were here for a couple of weeks and we were recording at the RCA Studio, Studio A," he says, "which is a very historic, famous recording studio here in Nashville."

<p>Aliah Anderson/Getty</p> Slash in Hollywood on March 10, 2024

Aliah Anderson/Getty

Slash in Hollywood on March 10, 2024

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Slash immediately recalls the energy of the space, noting, "Being in that building, there was just this vibe, and it was all these great country artists all over the walls, but real iconic country people."

While at the studio, the guitarist stumbled upon a book containing "all stories about all these different guys from Willie Nelson to Kris Kristofferson and to Dolly Parton and Dolly Parton's mentor," as well as Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, but one artist's story particularly stood out to him: "Lloyd Green, a pedal steel guy."

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"So when I came home from recording that record, I picked up a pedal steel and I started [playing]," he said of the immediate influence learning of Green's pedigree in country music had on him.

As for how he considers the experience in retrospect, Slash adds, "It's very much a Nashville thing that's gone home with me and I've been very passionate about for the last couple of years."

<p>Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty; Brett Carlsen/Getty</p> Slash (left); Chris Stapleton

Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty; Brett Carlsen/Getty

Slash (left); Chris Stapleton

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That passion had a clear influence on Slash's decision to tap country hitmaker Chris Stapleton for a powerful collaboration covering the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac classic "Oh Well" as a part of his latest album, Orgy of the Damned. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer reveals that he "cold-called Chris" in hopes that the "White Horse" singer would take part in the project.

"We'd already recorded the song, and I had him earmarked as the guy, but I had my doubts that he would actually do it," Slash recalls. "Just his voice, his way that his sort of drawl is and that tone of his, that would be the greatest pairing. Finally I did get his number and I called him, and he said, 'Oh yeah, yeah, that'd be cool.' And I was I beside myself that he was into it. He managed to get it done."

"Somebody like Chris Stapleton, when it's done from pure of heart and it's done with passion and integrity, it's as great as anything else," he says of Stapleton's efforts on the track.

Orgy of the Damned is available on all major streaming platforms now.

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