Do You Remember: Slash’s Snakepit’s ‘Ain’t Life Grand’


Photo from Spotify

Mike Singer, Music Manager

In this new series called “Do You Remember,” I will be picking random, unknown records from some of the most popular bands in the world that you might not remember as well.

Picture this, it’s 2000 and in the post-Guns N’ Roses era, Slash released his second solo record, “Ain’t Life Grand,” the follow-up to the debut record, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

In all honesty, this record and this lineup of the band is extremely underrated. Playing with Slash is Ryan Roxie from Alice Cooper’s band on guitar, Johnny Griparic on bass Matt Laug on drums, and Rod Jackson on lead vocals.

This band was extremely tight and it is very apparent on multiple songs like ‘Been There Lately,” “Mean Bone” and ‘Ain’t Life Grand.”

It’s such a shame that this record didn’t do as well as the debut record. It didn’t chart well in the states and overseas it didn’t chart any higher than No. 56 when it peaked on the Australian charts.

There are so many great tracks on this record. there are 11 really strong songs that should have propelled this group into the same popularity as Slash’s later project, Velvet Revolver.

The record starts with “Been There Lately,” which is four minutes and 27-second hard rock track that has become a Slash staple.

Another notable song, “Shine,” showcases Jacksons’ vocals and it is one of my favorite songs on the track. In the middle, it’s a bit slower and features a sleazy slide guitar piece but once they reach the chorus of “you can’t save me, you don’t have Adam and Eve to kick around, anymore,” it really picks up and features beautiful harmonies between Jackson who has a much deeper voice than Slash’s former lead singer, Axl Rose.

I think what makes this record better than the debut is that this is a straightforward, hard rock record rather than a blues-infused hard rock album.

The hard rock, Guns N’ Roses style is at the forefront on songs like “Life’s Sweet Drug.” This is the song that they would open their concerts with during the tour of this record and it’s perfect. With lyrics like “keep it going, once it’s, started share a ride with everyone,” listeners can infer that there’s more than life as the band’s drug of choice.

The hard rock continues down the record with “The Truth,” and “Landslide” (no not the Fleetwood Mac version). There’s nothing to hate about these songs, if you’re working out then it’s a perfect couple of songs to blast in your headphones. Or if you’re a hard rock addict like I am then you’ll listen regardless of what you’re doing. 

As I mentioned, this record is better than the bluesy debut but that doesn’t mean that blues hard rock is bad. On track 10, “Ain’t Life Grand” the blues-infused song is a perfect fit on the record. With a horn section that sounds straight out of the Use Your Illusion records of the early 90s, I absolutely love this song. I always find myself coming back to this particular song for some reason.

It’s a style of song that you would associate with the title. In a song that includes a saxophone solo from Jimmy ‘Z’ Zavala who is most notable for playing harmonica on the Eurythmics song “Missionary Man,” it is a song to just chill out to and is a perfect break from the regular style of hard rock that’s on the record.

I have said it again and again throughout the review but this record should have catapulted this version of Slash’s Snakepit into stardom. It’s the bridge from the Guns N’ Roses days to the Velvet Revolver days. I personally think that this era and this particular record are so overlooked and people need to go back and listen to it again to see how great it truly is.