Slash Had ‘No Intention’ of Wearing His Signature Top Hat Long-Term
Slash didn't intend for his now-iconic top hat to become a staple of his onstage look in Guns N' Roses. But the GN'R guitarist recently explained how it happened.
He shared the story with Conan O'Brien this week when he was interviewed on Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend. About halfway through the hour-long podcast, Slash recollected the hat's origins.
As diehards know, it was back in Guns N' Roses' early days that he stole it from a Los Angeles store and wore it back to his apartment with GNR singer Axl Rose before donning it at a gig that night.
Listen to the full interview near the bottom of this post.
Slash recalled (as transcribed by Loudwire.com), "I remember this because there were two stores — there was Leathers and Treasures, and Retail Slut next door. And Taime Downe, the singer from a band called Faster Pussycat, used to work at Retail Slut, so that's how I remember the name of it. I went in there, and I didn't have any money. And I always used to wear some sort of a hat; it completed whatever look you had."
He continued, "I went in there and I just saw the top hat. It just spoke to me. I figured, what the fuck, I'll just walk out with it and see what happens, so I did. Then I went next door to Leathers and Treasures and I stole a concho belt and went back to the apartment me and Axl were living in at the time. We had a show at the Whisky that night, so I took the concho belt and I cut it up and put it around the hat, and I wore it that night."
Slash said it "just became a thing where I just really identified with it. Like I wore it all the time. There was a way you pull it over your eyes; you could hide behind it if you were really high. It was great for bad hair days. I had no intention of it being this long-term show thing."
He elaborated, "Put the hat on, and nobody knows who I am and what I'm doing and what I'm up to. I can see you, you can't see me. During shows, it was great to have that because to this day, I still can't look at the audience, like, straight into the audience. So having the top hat, really, you just pull it down and you could just do your thing and you didn't feel as intimidated."
Slash's new solo album with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, 4, arrived this month. It contains "Call off the Dogs," "Fill My World" and "The River Is Rising." Last month, Slash promised "there's new Guns material coming" after last year's "Hard Skool."
The top hat story isn't unknown, but it's been brought up again lately as the musician promotes 4. For more of Slash's style over the years, see photos here.