5 Things You Didn't Know About Slash

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SiriusXM
Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SiriusXM

You know him as the top-hat-wearing lead guitarist for Guns N'Roses, Slash's Snakepit, and Velvet Revolver. Do you know where he got his signature hat and the name "Slash," though? Let's take a look at the man who's darn near unbeatable in Guitar Hero.

1. He Grew Up With Rock

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Slash was born Saul Hudson in Stoke-on-Trent, England, in 1965. The Hudson family lived there until Saul was 11, when they moved to Los Angeles. Slash had a pretty good foot in the door of the rock world from the time he was born. His mother, Ola Hudson, designed costumes for John Lennon, the Pointer Sisters, and Diana Ross, and his father, Anthony Hudson, designed album covers for Neil Young and David Bowie, among others. The family also lived near David Geffen and Joni Mitchell. Not a bad way to get into rock music.

Slash's parents broke up in the mid-70s, and his mom started dating Bowie. In 1990 Slash talked to Rolling Stone about his childhood feelings for Bowie: "I really didn't like him that much, because he was the new guy in the house. I was really resentful."

2. Even the Nickname "Slash" Has a Famous Origin

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Film buffs know the veteran character actor Seymour Cassel as a frequent player in movies directed by John Cassavetes and Wes Anderson. (Cassel played Max Fischer's dad in Rushmore and Royal Tenenbaum's fellow elevator operator in The Royal Tenenbaums.) When Slash was growing up in Los Angeles, though, Cassel was just his buddy Matt's dad.

Even as a teenager, Saul Hudson had a lot of frenetic energy, and one day he was zipping from one room to another at a party at the Cassels' house. The actor gently ribbed Hudson's constant motion by asking, ""Hey, Slash, where ya going? Where ya going, Slash? Huh?" The nickname stuck.

3. He Shoplifted His Top Hat

In 2007 Slash told the Huffington Post that he acquired his signature top hat in 1985 when he went shopping for a memorable accessory to wear for a show in Los Angeles. Since the aspiring guitar god was broke at the time, the line between "shopping" and "shoplifting" was pretty blurred.

According to Slash, he spotted the top hat in a store called Retail Slut and fell in love. Since a top hat can't exactly be hidden under your shirt, Slash simply grabbed the hat and walked out, apparently unseen. When he got home he realized the hat looked a little plain, so he wrapped it with a belt he'd swiped on the same outing. And just like that, his trademark look was born.

Ironically, when Slash's hat was stolen during a round of Grammys after-parties a few years ago, he had to rely on the police to regain the purloined lid. Here's a video of the man himself telling the story:

4. He Also Swiped One of His Guitars

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When Slash showed up for a 2007 ceremony honoring his career at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, he had a surprising gift for his hosts. Slash returned a guitar that he'd swiped years earlier from the dressing room of the Hard Rock in Orlando. As he told the story, "It was in the dressing room. I didn't know what it was doing there, so I took it. I mean, it was in the dressing room and no one claimed it. So I've had it all these years and been playing it."

What made Slash return the guitar that he'd pinched in an apparently perfect crime? He told reporters, "I thought what better way to honor the Hard Rock for honoring me than to give it back, sort of." At least he eventually did the right thing.

That's not the only high-profile guitar Slash has given away, though. In 1981 Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry sold his sunburst-finish 1958 Gibson Les Paul to scrounge up some money for Christmas. Ten years later, Perry got nostalgic and started looking for the guitar. He quickly found it; Slash was playing it in a Guitar Player centerfold.

Perry was one of Slash's boyhood idols, but when he called to see if Slash would sell him the guitar, Slash wouldn't budge. Perry understood and later said in an interview, "I mean if I had a chance to get hold of the white Strat Jeff Beck played on Wired, I'd have a hard time letting go of it!" In September 2000, though, Perry was playing with Cheap Trick at his own 50th birthday party when a guitar tech walked onto stage and handed him his long-lost guitar as a birthday gift from Slash.

5. He's a Friend to Elephants

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You might not know it, but Slash is a huge supporter of animals and the environment. Earlier this year he got behind the cause of Billy, an endangered Asian elephant who lives at the LA Zoo. When Slash learned that funding for the zoo's Pachyderm Forest was in jeopardy, he filmed a broadcast-and-YouTube plea urging the Los Angeles City Council to complete the new habitat.

At the time, one of the zookeepers told Reuters, "I've always been impressed with Slash's knowledge of animals. In many cases, he is even able to identify the different subspecies, something that most people can't do." Not too surprising for a guitar god who once owned 80 snakes.

'5 Things You Didn't Know About...' appears every Friday. Read the previous installments here.

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Wednesday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Computer Monitors, Plant-Based Protein Powder, and Blu-ray Sets

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Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 2. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

10 Perfect Gifts for The Pop Culture Connoisseur in Your Life

Funko/Pinsantiy/Lil Cinephile/Amazon
Funko/Pinsantiy/Lil Cinephile/Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Over the past year, most everyone has been marinating in all kinds of pop culture. More than any other era, this moment in time has revealed how much we as a society should value our creators and artists. From cinematic comfort food to walks down nostalgia lane, the holiday season is a perfect time to celebrate the pop culture moments and icons that have kept us happy, engaged, and awed.

Here are 10 perfect gifts the pop culture connoisseur in your life is sure to love.

1. A is for Auteur; $30

Lil Cinephile/Amazon

The same team that put out the delightful, surprisingly adaptable Cinephile card game ($18) last year is out with a new book perfect for the cineastes in your life who love Agnès Varda. This alphabet book goes from A (Paul Thomas Anderson) to Z (Fred Zinnemann) and celebrates the unique elements of more than two dozen filmmakers’ careers. It’s a tongue-in-cheek delight, and if you don’t actually want your child to know about Quentin Tarantino just yet, it makes a gorgeous addition to any adult’s coffee table.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Schitt’s Creek Funkos; 4 for $77

Funko/Amazon

Eww, David! This set is ideal for fans of the Rose family who’d love Moira, Johnny, David, and Alexis peering down on them as they work or sleep or fold in the cheese. If you’re going the extra mile, grab the Amish David edition with hoodie, sunglasses, and rake. Individual figures run from $9-$30, and they all pair perfectly with a banana rosé.

Buy Them: Amazon

3. The Bruce Lee Criterion Collection; $68

Criterion Collection/Amazon

This is a stunning collection showcasing the best of the best of a true master alongside Criterion’s usual insightful commentary. Enter the Dragon has never been released as part of a collection before, and it stands as the crown jewel among The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, The Way of the Dragon, and the infamous Game of Death—all digitally restored in either 2K or 4K. The collection also features documentaries about Lee; an interview with his widow, Linda Lee Caldwell; and a conversation about the “Bruceploitation” subgenre that blossomed following Lee's untimely death.

Buy It: Amazon

4. NES Cartridge Coasters; $11

Paladone Products Ltd./Amazon

For the entertainer happy to have guests place their IPAs on SM3. These stylish coasters will protect your tables from coffee rings, wine stains, and barrels thrown by kidnapping apes. Plus, you won’t have to blow into these if they’re not loading correctly.

Buy Them: Amazon

5. Van Buren Boys Tee; $16

Underground Printing/Amazon

Deep into its eighth season, Seinfeld was still making iconic, quote-worthy moments. With this pre-shrunk, 100 percent cotton T, your favorite fan of the show about nothing can celebrate the comical street gang named for the 8th president (and the first president hailing from New York). It’s a handsome, comfortable shirt that comes in four colors and goes great with a Lorenzo’s pizza.

Buy It: Amazon

6. This Television History Puzzle; $49

White Mountain Puzzle/Amazon

This pop collage of more than 250 stars and scenes from TV’s past is a 1000-piece puzzle from acclaimed artist James Mellett. It’s probably the only image in existence where Kunta Kinte is between Superman, Gumby, and Norm and Cliff from Cheers. A gorgeous walk down memory lane, it’s also a healthy challenge that, at 24x30, would make a fine wall hanging if you don’t want to toss it back into the box.

Buy It: Amazon

7. Pictures at a Revolution; $17

Penguin Books/Amazon

Entertainment Weekly veteran Mark Harris is one of the most respected film historians of this generation, and this book, which goes deep on five pivotal films, is a must-have for serious cinephiles. Exploring Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Look Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, and the surprise box office bomb Doctor Doolittle, Harris explores how 1967 marked a tectonic shift in American cultural preferences. Pair it with Five Came Back for bonus gifting points (and a book you can watch together on Netflix).

Buy It: Amazon

8. The Art of Mondo; $44

Insight Editions/Amazon

This is high on the list of gifts you’ll end up keeping for yourself. This sublime book boasts 356 pages of gorgeous prints from everyone’s favorite films. Cult, classics, blockbusters, and buried gems, the Austin-based Mondo is world-renowned for limited release posters from the best artists on the planet. One sheets typically sell for hundreds of dollars, so this book is the cheapest way to get them all. For your friend, of course. Right?

Buy It: Amazon

9. A Princess Bride Enamel Pin; $10

Pinsanity/Amazon

I do not think this pin means what you think it means. This playful piece features Vizzini’s shouting face above a stately “Inconceivable!” banner. It’s made of quality metal with vibrant enamel colors, and buying it should also send you down a rabbit hole looking for dozens of other pop culture pins.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Marvel’s Greatest Comics; $23

DK/Amazon

Someone in your life is bound to want three pounds of Marvel comics. This definitive tome showcases 100 issues that changed the world and built a powerhouse pop culture company, from Marvel #1 in 1939 to Avengers #6 in 2018. The eye-popping artwork is accompanied by smart commentary from industry trailblazers and experts, which makes it as informative as it is entertaining. Just remember to say “Pow!” when you gift it.

Buy Them: Amazon

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