Slasn and Alice and Chains' Jerry Cantrell.
You might’ve heard the lore about Slash’s early obsession with Joe Perry’s ’59 tobacco sunburst Les Paul. Slash first saw it in the foldout of the 1978 Aerosmith album, Live! Bootleg. It was the coolest guitar he’d ever seen.
Watch Slash tell the twisting tale of how he ended up owning the guitar in this exclusive clip from Turn It Up!, a film that explores the magic and mystery behind the instrument we all love. As the story goes, after hours of examining pictures of the guitar and its recognizable scratches, Slash bought Perry’s former axe from its current owner for $8,000. Slash recorded a song with this Les Paul—which he says also once belonged to Duane Allman—and it made a cameo in a video, but for the most part, the Guns N’ Roses legend kept his coveted prize tucked away. Slash says it was too valuable and had too much history to sit around collecting dust, so eventually he gave it back to Joe Perry as a special birthday present.
“It’s a good guitar, but it didn’t sound like anything you’d necessarily want to write home about,” Slash says in the film, with Jerry Cantrell listening at his side. “There’s an example of a guitar that’s got some history and made some amazing sounds, but didn’t speak to me in the way my own guitar did.”
This is just one vignette from Turn It Up!, which will be released January 22 on Amazon via DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital download. Directed by Robert Radler and narrated by Kevin Bacon, Turn It Up! is a documentary exploration of the electric guitar through interviews with 6-string royalty, including Les Paul, B.B. King (in one of his final interviews), Paul Stanley, Steve Lukather, Nancy Wilson, Steve Howe, and John 5. In addition to the full-film footage, the DVD and Blu-Ray sets include a bonus disc with outtakes from luminaries such as Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Seymour Duncan, and Robby Krieger.