In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Slash spoke about “Hard Skool”, one of the first two songs he recorded with GUNS N’ ROSES in more than 25 years.
“‘Hard Skool’, in essence, was a completed song when I was first introduced to it,” he said. “And Duff [McKagan, GUNS N’ ROSES bassist] and I went in and redid the bass and the guitars. It’s a simple song, so it didn’t take a hell of a lot of thought and analysis. I think it was a lot of fun just because it was part and parcel of a bunch of stuff that we were working on that was all sort of new — at least to Duff and I — so we had a good time. There’s a bunch of new stuff also coming, maybe a little bit more complex, but it’s just as much fun.”
Asked if that means there’s a new GUNS N’ ROSES album coming, Slash said: “I know we’ve got some songs and we’re releasing another one at some point soon, and there’ll be another one after that. As far as the record is concerned, that remains to be seen as far as a whole package, but I feel pretty confident that at some point down the road, there will be.”
Last October, Slash told Audacy Check In host Remy Maxwell that GUNS N’ ROSES had yet to begin writing new material after recently releasing two reworked songs from the “Chinese Democracy”-era sessions.
In September, the guitarist and his bandmates dropped “Hard Skool”, which came more than a month after their performance and subsequent official release of “Absurd”, a reworking of GUNS N’ ROSES previously unreleased “Silkworms”.
“As far as new GUNS is concerned, we haven’t even gotten to that point of really in earnest sitting down and writing,” Slash told Audacy Check In. “We’ve been doing a lot of material that’s been sort of sitting around for a while. So that will be a whole focused endeavor unto itself.”
As for how “Hard Skool” and “Absurd” came about, Slash said: “They both have a lot of history. What happened was Axl [Rose, GUNS singer] has all these songs that he recorded at some point along the way. And so Duff and I went in and re-did them, basically… Like, I wrote my own kind of parts to what else is going on, and [we] just sort of took the drums and re-did everything else.”
Written by Rose and co-produced by Rose and Caram Costanzo, “Hard Skool”, which had the working title “Jackie Chan”, was originally recorded during GN’R‘s “Chinese Democracy” era but was eventually omitted from that album. Short clips of the song were later posted online and a full version was leaked in August 2019.
On “Hard Skool”, Axl sings: “But you had to play it cool, had to do it your way/Had to be a fool, had to throw it all away/Too hard school and you thought you were here to stay/ If that were true, it wouldn’t matter anyway.”
“Hard Skool” is the title track of a new GUNS N’ ROSES four-song EP which will be released on February 25. The effort, which is exclusive to the GUNS N’ ROSES official store, contains the aforementioned two new songs — “Hard Skool” and “Absurd” (stylized as “ABSUЯD”) — as well as live versions of “Don’t Cry” and “You’re Crazy”.
“Hard Skool” EP track listing:
01. Hard Skool
03. Don’t Cry (Live)
04. You’re Crazy (Live)
“Absurd” came out on August 6, 2021, three days after GUNS N’ ROSES performed the tune live for the first time during its concert at Boston’s Fenway Park.
GUNS N’ ROSES last performed “Silkworms”, which was also reportedly written during the “Chinese Democracy” sessions, in 2001.
If and when it happens, the new GUNS N’ ROSES studio album will be the first under the GUNS banner since “Chinese Democracy” and the first to feature Rose, Slash and McKagan since 1993.