Taking Dawn have had quite a year so far. The young Vegas contingent kicked off 2010 with the release of their debut album Time to Burn and a smoldering video for the title-track. Following that awesome landmark, the quartet then hit the road with Halestorm and labelmates Theory of a Deadman before heading to Europe to play arenas opening for KISS. Back stateside, the guys were then hand-selected to play a quick West Coast tour in support of legendary guitarist Slash, which just concluded. And while the guys are about to embark on another US tour with 36 Crazyfists, Taking Dawn vocalist/guitarist and all around wordsmith Chris Babbitt has checked in with an update of his time meeting his top-hat-clad guitar hero
Writes the ever-so-eloquent frontman on takingdawn.com:
If I said our last tour was "SLASHTASTIC" would you abandon this blog immediately? No? Not enough to scare you off from the cheese-fest sure to follow? Damn! Unless they give me license to run amok, talking rampant shit about trivial idiosyncrasies or stupid bandwagons I'm not hip enough to hop on (and would rather burn down), I'm still not much for writing blogs on demand (I mean what am I, Netflix? Then where's my $8.99?...monthly bitches). But maybe this is just my chance to contribute something POSITIVE to the web (shocking, right?). And NOTHING could be more in the spirit of Slash than a shreddin' dose of good vibes. Just don't call Mr. Hudson "Saul", because I have it on good authority that he's not too keen on the whole affair.
...So succumbing to salutations in the form of "Hey Slash", "How's it goin', Slash", and "Slash, does this look infected to you?", was easier than I'd anticipated. He made it even easier by sauntering up to my disheveled, baggily clad, and unsuspecting ass, mid-restring on my axe, to say "Hey, I didn't get to say hi yet, I'm Slash". Meanwhile I go into Superbad mode thinking, "You certainly are!". As if the nonchalance of the most aesthetically identifiable rock icon, arguably of ALL TIME, introducing himself wasn't enchanting enough, he proceeds to say with the utmost unquestionable sincerity, "I really love your band". I'm not making this shit up! You can just picture me mindlessly winding away at the g-string while I bask in the bliss of his embellishment, when suddenly the tension snaps the steel, the string slices through sinew to find my jugular and sever it asunder sending a sanguineous spray Slash-bound to settle in bloody beads against his ever-adorned aviators. Just the way I always wanted to go: death by G-string. The only thing better would be death by g-spot. I think he'd be too cool to even be phased by the whole scene. I'm sure he's seen more outlandish outbursts outta Axl, though there was probably less plasma involved...but that's a thin probably.
Okay, so I didn't puncture any arteries, but that was definitely the impact it had on me psychologically. Then he tells me that we were personally selected from hundreds of bands submitted for the tour. Which was cool to hear coming from him because I thought that was all hype and b.s. (which it may very well still be, NEVER trust a nice guy, and Slash is the NICEST...sorry Gene). Kinda like how Ozzy picked from "thousands" of guitarists...right. Of course there are thousands of guitarists who would blow Jack just to audition for the Ozzman, but did he REALLY see more than 20 guys...tops...IF that? Thanks to Harland, Brent, and Pete for bending the ol' Slash-er's ear our way, otherwise we may have never even had our fair shot.
Did I say Slash was the nicest guy? Cuz his invincible vocalist Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge...and that movie Rock Star...he hates that, so I HAD to say it) may just have topped the ol' top hat. They say opposites attract, but it seems as though like minds seek out one another. Sort of the way the mediocre flock to the talentless, or flies find shit (Justin Bieber/Jaden Smith duet...need I say more?**). Typical me, knee-deep in the negative (instead of waist-high decapitated pop-star poser motherfu...wait, where was I?). Oh yeah, the BRIGHT side. it's probably why superstars form super-groups and why guitar heroes only collaborate with the cream of the crop. Slash and Myles are like the Osmonds on acid, they'll rock you till you're sterile but they're just the nicest guys! Okay, without the spontaneous gay-guy inflection that joke just doesn't work...but go ahead, I DARE you to say the Osmonds don't rock a stage. That's what I thought. It's just that when you're that good, and that successful, there's no reason to be a dickhead...unless of course you're just a dickhead.
...The truth is that hanging with Slash issssss...uneventful. The event is that you're HANGING OUT WITH SLASH. The sleazy swagger of his imposing stage presence is so contrary to his friendly and pleasant demeanor. The only consistency is that he's just plain COOL, and you can tell he's looking to have as much fun as possible in everything he does. Stress free. I sat with him and Myles on a couch and shot the shit, each of us guitar in hand. And Myles is no slouch on that axe, either. He's one mean motherfucker (which is a weird way to describe someone who's such a sweetheart). I listened to them talking guitars the way most guys talk cars, admittedly feeling a little lost. They're throwing around model #'s and re-issue years, and I'm sitting there like, "Mine's black! It's gots purdy knobs 'n such. I like ta toggle them thar switches, hyuck hyuck". Slash asked me what year my Les Paul was, and the way his eyebrows creeped up over his shades in shock when I told him it was an '08 was pretty priceless...
To read the rest of this colorful account, including a digression about Pecan Pie and some extracurricular activities had in a women's bathroom, go RIGHT HERE.