No one will try to convince you that Slash can outlive the legacy that convinced us to call him just "Slash" in the first place. But as Axl Rose stumbles all over himself, trying to get a depressingly "updated" Guns 'n Roses off the ground, it's oddly soothing to watch Slash -- the erstwhile, hopelessly unkempt, and inevitably top-hatted ex-lead guitarist -- provide our one honest link to the unapologetic L.A. cock-rock outfit. Slash's Snakepit won't bowl anyone over; it's very obviously a low-grade classic rock bar band intended solely as a vehicle for Slash's still-pretty-impressive solos. Slash scores a very prominent presence in the final mix of Ain't Life Grand
, the sophomore Snakepit offering that rolls out the roarin', drinkin', fightin', soloin' aesthetic one more time. Plenty of GNR's calling cards are still stuck to the brim of Slash's hat, from the rolling thunder dynamics to the bombastic sleaze (in the chorus "I've got one mean bone in my body," it's obvious what the "bone" refers to). Sure, the ballads stink to hell, and the final product could have been completed and locked in a vault 15 years ago, but that's kind of the point. We all derive some pleasure from the Snakepit: Slash gets to keep his Guitar God status and honestly believe he's breaking innovative artistic ground, while we all enjoy an innocuous, feel-good return trip to Paradise City.