Slash claims his forthcoming solo record is going to be both “killer” and “kick ass”. This is unlikely. His creative track record since quitting Guns N’Roses is not good.
The guitarist’s collaborations are bad enough – this is a man who once traded duelling guitars onstage with Bill Gates and was so addled in the mid-’90s he petitioned The Stone Roses to be John Squire’s replacement.
But without the guiding hand of big-name collaborators, his solo output is likely to be even worse – the most deadening kind of aimless, whisky-doused, bluesy widdle-rock. That said, surely not even Slash could hope to eclipse the following solo albums in terms of sheer, ill-starred suckiness.
1. Gene Simmons – Asshole (2004)
All four members of Kiss released solo albums on the same day back in 1978, and they all bombed, so it’s not clear what possessed Simmons to assemble this rancid rattle-bag of covers, typified by this toe-headed demolition of The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’:
2. Tommy Lee – Never A Dull Moment (2002)
Bloodless ballads, electro-metal honking, a cover of David Bowie’s ‘Fame’ – all this and much less made up the former Motley Crue drummer’s second solo effort. Meanwhile, lead single ‘Hold Me Down’ proved Lee had all the honey-throated vocal dexterity of man trapped down a mine shaft, bellowing in vain for assistance:
3. Eddie Murphy – How Could It Be (1985)
Having struck comedy ‘gold’ with parody songs like ‘Boogie In Your Butt’, the actor misguidedly played it straight for this sliver-thin R&B album. The big single was ‘Party All The Time’, a collaboration with Rick James, who looks like he’s been at the Soul Glo in this clip:
4. Keith Moon – Two Sides Of The Moon (1975)
Moon The Loon took time out from blowing up toilets and drinking himself to death to curl out a half-arsed collection of surf-rock covers, punctuated by strained ballads such as The Beatles’ ‘In My Life’. The US album sleeve summed up the level of artistic integrity involved:
5. Johnny Marr & The Healers – Boomslang (2003)
Eleven tracks of grindingly anonymous, sub-Seahorses bloke-rock. At live gigs, Marr could have looked no more uncomfortable in the frontman role had he been sat astride a white tiger, wearing a slashed-to-the-groin leotard.
6. Maxim Reality – Hell’s Kitchen (2000)
Stumbling from punk rock to trip hop to UK garage, The Prodigy man’s solo effort was bizarre and confusing – although at least it was actually released, unlike Keith Flint’s album, which was mercifully pulled before it had the chance to foul the nation’s airwaves.
7. Chris Cornell – Scream (2009)
When the former Soundgarden shouter emerged with an album of super-slick, Timbaland-produced R&B ballads, fans who’d loved his grunge output took to the message boards to voice their disapproval. On YouTube, one guy called renzolikescheez summed up the mood of plaintive incomprehension: “Um… I think I puked in my brain”.
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8. John Lennon – Rock’n’Roll (1975)
Recorded as legal penance for ripping off a Chuck Berry song on ‘Come Together’, this is the archetypal ‘contractual obligation’ release. Even so, with producer Phil Spector dressing as a surgeon and firing guns at the studio ceiling, it’s a wonder the turgid likes of ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘Peggy Sue’ ever made it on to acetate.
9. Mick Jagger – Primitive Cool (1987)
Hard to know which Jagger solo album to pick – 1993’s ‘Wandering Spirit’ featured a sea-shanty, after all – but ‘Primitive Cool’ is the most synth-drenched, and hence the most dated. This performance of ‘Let’s Work’ should give you some sense of the horror and shame:
10. Nicky Wire – I Killed The Zeitgeist (2006)
The Manics bassist has many talents, but singing is not one of them. On ‘Break My Heart Slowly’ he conveyed all the heartbursting passion and excitement of a surly 14-year-old revising for a Sats exam.
11. John Squire – Time Changes Everything (2002)
Squire once derided Ian Brown’s vocal ability, calling him a “tuneless knob”. Which, on the strength of this melody-averse solo album, and its equally turgid follow-up ‘Marshall’s House’, was very much a pot/kettle scenario.
12. Bernard Butler – People Move On (1998)
It’s not that Bernard Butler couldn’t sing – he had a passable voice, in a Chesney Hawkes kind of way – it’s just that the whole thing felt… wrong, in some hard-to-define way. Butler was always the quiet guy at the back. It’s a bit like when you see Eddie Izzard in a serious film role: it’s OK, just a bit puzzling.