Slash’s video for “By the Sword” looks pretty cool. I’m not sure who the director was, but he or she did a pretty good job of capturing the western-y feel of the song; I mean, George Miller’s Mad Max franchise seems to have been a bigger touchstone for the visuals than, say, a Sergio Leone movie, but that’s fine. The Mad Max movies were basically westerns, anyway. I’ve thus far interpreted Andrew Stockdale’s lyrics as being a metaphor for the life of a touring musician, and the “story” in this video clearly has nothing to do with that; in fact, the story doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with the song’s content at all – I certainly have no idea why Slash would make a video where he kills his entire audience at the end, unless he was actually trying to impart the thought “Slash slays live” in the most literal sense – but whatever. That’s not really what bothers me about the clip.

What bothers me is this: as I was watching it, I kept thinking “Hmm… kids following clues to go underground and see Slash perform… why does that seem familiar?” And then it hit me:

Alright. So that’s twice now that The Artist Formerly Known as Saul Hudson has appeared in a video that clearly strives to send the not-so-subtle message that “Slash – or an act Slash is associated with – is part of the underground.” And there’s no fucking way in hell Slash is part of the underground. Slash has never been part of the underground – he’s been signed to a major label his entire career. And even if he wanted to be a part of the underground, at this point, he couldn’t be – he’s just way too famous. If he sneezes, he’ll still draw a crowd of at least a few hundred people. I know because Vince and I – who are about as forgiving of Slash as anyone reasonably could be without fooling themselves – saw Slash’s Snakepit play at Wetlands, a pretty small (and unfortunately now defunct) venue here in New York, just about ten years ago, and not only did he easily sell out the show, but they had to turn away a shit ton of people at the door, too.

So, there ya have it. Once again, the marketing geniuses of the record biz are trying to feed you shit and call it steak. Eat up, kids.


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