With a Little Help From My Friends

In anticipation of his Vegas stop, Slash talks about two local musicians who make his tour complete

Slash’s upcoming show at Mandalay Bay—in which he opens for Ozzy Osbourne—will be a homecoming of sorts for two key members of the band backing the former Guns N’ Roses guitarist: local transplants Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz. (Myles Kennedy, the lead singer of Alter Bridge, provides vocals.)

Locals may recognize Kerns, who also fronts a popular local cover band, the Sin City Sinners. Additionally, Fitz is an accomplished drummer who has worked with rock stars such as Vince Neil and Alice Cooper. “Those guys are fucking awesome,” Slash says of his touring bassist and drummer. “I kept hearing from people, ‘You should try out Brent Fitz, you should try out Brent Fitz.’ And finally, I said, ‘Fuck, OK, who is this guy?’”

The two met in Las Vegas in early 2010. “He flew out to L.A. a couple days later, and he just had the perfect feel for what it is that I’m doing,” Slash recalls. Then, when the band needed a bassist, Fitz recommended Kerns for the job.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but when Todd showed up, he was fucking perfect,” Slash says.

Fitz and Kerns are both products of the Vancouver rock scene: Fitz once drummed for Theory of a Deadman, and Kerns led Age of Electric to moderate success in the ’90s. They eventually made their way to Las Vegas, where they reconnected through the local music scene.

After more than 25 years of rock ’n’ rolling, Slash has done and seen it all, yet he says Fitz and Kerns are a cut above—not only in terms of musical ability, but musical philosophy, too.

“It’s hard to find people who are in it for the love of what rock ‘n’ roll is all about, itself; so many musicians are in it for different reasons that have nothing to do with the spirit of it,” he says. “These guys really love music and love a certain kind of energy. … It’s very pure.”