REVIEW: Slash’s Snakepit – It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (1995)

SLASH’S SNAKEPIT – It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (1995 Geffen)

Somewhere in the multiverse is an alternate reality where Axl Rose did not reject Slash’s songs for the next Guns album.  In that version of history, the new Guns N’ Roses was not titled Chinese Democracy; perhaps it was called Back and Forth Again.  And it would have sounded a lot like It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, the debut album by Slash’s Snakepit that we received in our reality’s year 1995.

As it went down, Axl said “no” to the songs Slash had finished, so Slash put them out as his first solo album.  And then Axl wanted them back.  In 1994, on the VHS The Making of Estranged: Part 4 of Trilogy, you can hear Guns working on one of these songs.  In the background, the music that would eventually become Slash’s “Back and Forth Again” is playing with Axl whistling overtop.  In the alternate reality, somebody’s listening to it right now as a Guns N’ Roses song.  In ours, it will only be Slash’s Snakepit.

Although Slash was enthused about his new music, and was eager to make a raw bluesy rock n’ roll album, Axl had other plans.  Who was right in the end?  It’s hard not to see Axl’s point of view.  Slash’s 14 songs had just one hit and 13 fillers.  Most of the best GN’R tracks were not written by Slash; they were written by Izzy Stradlin.  Left to his own devices, Slash’s batch of songs here lack memorable hooks.

Let’s start on a positive note at least — the lead single “Beggars & Hangers-On”.  Written by Slash n’ Duff with lead singer Eric Dover, this is a song that any band from Skynyrd to the Crowes to Zeppelin to Guns N’ Roses would have been proud to play.  Check out that riff — it’s as regal as the blues gets.   Powerful and soulful aching vocals from Dover.  The chorus roars, bright and bold, and you could only imagine what Axl could have done with it.  Matt Sorum’s drums splash at all the right moments, in his trademark fashion.  It’s a damn perfect song.  And it made people really excited for the album that was to come, Guns or no Guns.

Well, there were some Guns.  Slash had been working with Matt Sorum and the recently fired Gilby Clarke.  On bass was Mike Inez from Alice in Chains.  Though not in the Snakepit lineup, Slash also imported Dizzy Reed and Ted “Zig Zag” Andreadis from GN’R.  With those players, it sure sounded like Guns.  Only Dover really differentiates them.  Dover…and the songs.

There are fragments of brilliance through the whole record.  The acoustic intro to “Neither Can I” for example.  The circular snaky riff to the manic “Be the Ball” (not to mention Slash’s lyrics, which seem to be his personal life philosophy).  The boogie-woogie of instrumental “Jizz Da Pit”.  The wicked Inez bass on on Gilby Clarke’s “Monkey Chow”.  The Aerosmith vibe to “I Hate Everybody (But You)”.

And it’s a long album.  70 minutes of solid rock without a lot of variation.  Which is one reason why Slash’s 14 songs wouldn’t have cut it for Guns in 1995.  Appetite for Destruction had a variety of different songs on it, even if all shared a go-for-the-throat ferocity.  Slash did get the straightforward live sounding rock album he desired.  The guitars sound absolutely thick and offer a hint of what Slash and Gilby would have sounded like together on an original Guns studio album (like naturals).

It’s just a damn shame Slash’s solo debut is so disappointing.  It bears witness that Axl might not have been wrong.  You could make a hell of a GN’R album* out of the best tracks its members came up with.  But this isn’t it.

2/5 stars

* Alternate 1995 Chinese Democracy:

  1. Chinese Democracy (GN’R)
  2. Beggars and Hangers-On (Slash)
  3. Better (GN’R)
  4. Dead Flowers (Gilby/Axl – Stones cover)
  5. I.R.S. (GN’R)
  6. Street of Dreams (GN’R)
  7. Tijuana Jail (Gilby/Slash/Matt)
  8. Madagascar (GN’R)
  9. Absurd (GN’R)
  10. Six Feet Under (Duff/Matt – Neurotic Outsiders)
  11. This I Love (GN’R)
  12. Back and Forth Again (Slash)


  1. Oooft. I like this one a whole lot more than you do! I mind you saying a while back that you only liked the two tunes, but I genuinely think there’s loads of great stuff on here despite needing trimmed by about four songs. You don’t dig anything about Lower and Soma City Ward?

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh man… at the time I thought it was pretty awful. I’ve revisited it a few times over the last year or so and, well, it’s not particularly good. I like the line-up on this one and I think Dover did a great job, but that second line-up… na. The playing is profficient, but it lacks a spark… melodies are a bit tired and lyrically it’s pretty unforgivable.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I dipped in and out of Slash’s solo stuff, which was always hyped by the rock Mags. The whole scenario makes me thing of Roger Waters and Pink Floyd, who were always a bit anaemic without each other, but incredible together.


  3. I liked this album at the time but too be honest its been forever since I heard it. I liked that he took Gilby with him on this ride though. Liked the singers voice though…


  4. I remember rushing to the store to pick up the cd. Beggars is such a great song. I’m sure my father at one point told me to stop playing that song, but that riff was just killer. To be honest, I was disappointed with the rest of the album. I know I cast the disc aside not long after I bought it. To be fair, I know my expectations were high, given that Use Your Illusions were still fresh to me.

    Guns as a whole was always better than the sum of its parts. The chemistry was so difficult to replace. Velvet Revolver came close to duplicating it at times. I love SIash’s collaborations with with Lenny Kravitz and Michael Jackson during that era. Like with Guns, the singers are in the spotlight, while Slash’s riffs steal the show.

    As far as Myles goes, he’s a hell of a singer. I’ve had trouble getting into his stuff though. His first album with the Mayfield Four has some great tracks on it though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This record rips pretty hard all the way through. And there’s not a lot of hard rock out there that is like it and at this quality. All the musicianship is top-notch, and Slash is really at the top of his game. By no means is it a guns record, but if they had taken 3 or 4 songs from this to start working on a UYI followup, it would have been a great base. GnR always had 4 solid writers in Axl, Izzy, Slash, and Duff (in that order). Missing any one of those pieces and it’s not same, and it never will be. Nevertheless, this is still the best solo output from any of those guys with the possible exception of that first ju ju hounds record – but that very purposefully sounds nothing like GnR.

    This record has a lot of elements of a GnR record, but certainly not all. It’s super dark but without a lot of redemption on it – which makes sense given the state of Slash and GnR at the time. Eric Dover holds his own in a job that couldn’t have been more high pressure. Imagine trying to replace Axl Rose in 1995! He’s not axl and he doesn’t try to be, but he’s got his own thing and it’s cool, and it works. Pretty impressive from a dude no one ever heard of.

    It’s also worth noting that Mike Click produced this record so it sounds great, with production completely on par w/ all the GnR material. It’s still totally baffling that Slash didn’t try to put this band back together for the second snakepit record (which doesn’t compare to this at all), but at least we have this. If you’re into the Slash material from the illusions (locomotive, coma, garden of eden) and you like to hear him rip solos, then you’re gonna be into this. 4/5

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was Slash going back to his roots, playing the music that made him pick up a guitar in the first place. Its simple blues hard rock a sort of Guns n Skynyrd or Humble Pie if you will. I loved this album when it was out I saw them perform live at Donnington and they were amazing. Listening to it now I can’t help think this line up should have done another. 4/5 for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All very fair comments Andrew, thanks for making them. Going back to the roots was clearly the game plan. I bet they were something live. And yes a second album really should have happened.

        Ultimately for whatever reason, music clicks with some people and doesn’t for others, and no matter when I come back to it, I can’t click with this one.


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