The Guitarist Slash Admitted Was Better Than Him
No one can deny that Slash has become synonymous with Guns N’ Roses; however, the back story is a little bit juicier than the guitarist would probably like to admit. Before Slash became the band’s guitarist, there was a brief period when Buckethead was involved with the band. Even though Buckethead only stayed with Guns N’ Roses for a short period in the early 2000s, the impact he had on the sound of the tracks he worked on is worth mentioning.
The guitarists that followed him, including Slash, had to catch up with his playing style and try to fit it into their wheelhouse to play those tracks live. The legacy Buckethead had left once he decided to quit Guns N’ Roses didn’t die down for quite some time. Slash and Buckethead were constantly compared, and almost everyone in the scene was picking sides.
Although Buckethead left GN’R in 2004, his legacy was still fresh in Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine’s mind, who shared his stance on the subject in a 2008 interview with L.A. Weekly. He said, “When I think about a guy with a hat, I think of Slash. Slash is an excellent guitar player; he’s one of my favorites.”
As you might have guessed, there was a ‘but’ that followed this sentence. Mustaine continued, “But then you see some guy like Buckethead. Buckethead is probably twice as good a guitar player as me and Slash combined and can stand having fried chicken rubbed up against his face all night.”
After Mustaine’s words spread around the rock scene, Slash was more than happy to share his two cents about Buckethead. He explained, “That is true; anybody who knows me knows that technically I couldn’t play my way out of a paper bag, or a Kentucky fried chicken bucket, for that matter.”
“I manage to do what it is I do, based on a certain kind of feel and sound,” shared Slash while speaking about his playing style. “I’m getting better at it, but I’ve never been what you’d call a technical guitar player. So he’s totally right.”
While all this comparison between the guitarists became the talk of the town, the long-anticipated ‘Chinese Democracy’ finally hit the shelves four years after Buckethead had left the band. After years of going back and forth and not settling, Slash made his comeback to Guns N’ Roses in 2016, which was the start of one of their most successful tours to date. The tour setlist obviously had tracks that belonged to the ‘Chinese Democracy’ album, which was on another level of musicality.
During the promotion of his own album ‘Living the Dream,’ Slash made some comments about the Buckethead’s playing on the ‘Chinese Democracy’ album while speaking to Guitar World in 2018. Bearing in mind that it had been over a decade since the beginning of this dispute, the guitarist definitely seemed much more comfortable with praising Buckethead and his talents.
Slash said, “I want to give credit where credit’s due – the guitar players that played on ‘Chinese Democracy,’ Buckethead being one of the main ones – are amazing guitar players.” He continued, “I have to give those guys a shout-out because that stuff was cool. Very different from what I normally do. So it’s been interesting learning some of the stuff on that record. I definitely had to figure out ways to adapt to it.”
It took more than a decade for Slash to admit that Buckethead’s talent had significantly contributed to not only Guns N’ Roses’work but the rock n roll scene in general. He could finally put the sword down and admire the work Buckethead had done on the ‘Chinese Democracy’ album that made it special and one for the books.