Watch Tom Morello and Slash battle for six-string supremacy as they perform Interstate 80 live for the first time

Tom Morello turned the opening day of Graspop Metal Meeting 2023 in Dessel, Belgium, into a six-string duel when he invited Slash onstage to perform Interstate 80 for the first time ever.

The track, which features on Morello’s 2020 EP, Comandante, was inspired by Guitar Hero, and how it made videogame superstars of the Rage Against The Machine and Guns N’ Roses guitarists. It is all about cutting lose on the electric guitar. And on Thursday 16 June, that is just what Morello and Slash did. 

Morello was midway through a set that had featured an epic RATM/Audioslave medley and an instrumental cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child (Slight Return). Time to turn up the heat under the summer sun and get some rock royalty involved. Enter stage left, Slash with his black Gibson Les Paul Custom. 

Morello was using his Shining Path Telecaster. With Morello on the microphone, Slash tees off, taking the first solo, offering some wah pedal guitar as backing vocals during the verse, taking another solo because those Fasel transducers were in a good place and it was time to work the Cry Baby again.

The fan-shot footage offers the view from the pit, and is kind of immersive rock ’n’ roll cinema experience that Metallica were aiming for with Through The Never. Slash’s guitar dominates the mix. But that’s okay. Morello clearly has his hands full as master of ceremonies, and Slash is enjoying giving the fingerboard a workout.

That fingerboard, of course, is one of the talking points about his guitar choice on the day. The Les Paul Custom typically ships with an ebony fingerboard. Slash prefers rosewood, and, well, let’s just say his name draws a lot of water over at Gibson HQ. He duly got a couple of Customs custom-made to his specification. In Slash: The Collection, the Guns N’ Roses guitarist – and now Gibson Brand Ambassador – explains all.

“Ebony is just a little too bright for me for everyday use,” he says. “But I just love the way Customs play, and I love the way they look. I went to the Custom Shop and said, ‘I’ve got this idea; let’s do one of these with a rosewood neck.’ They actually did two of them and they sound great.”

Ebony is just a little too bright for me for everyday use... I went to the Custom Shop and said, ‘I’ve got this idea; let’s do one of these with a rosewood neck’


In the pantheon of Slash guitar lore, the rosewood Les Paul Customs might not be as famous as the Derrig Les Paul, but they have been in regular rotation for Conspirators and GNR shows ever since Slash first put in the order. 

He used one of the rosewood-fingerboard Customs for the Sympathy For The Devil solo from The Spaghetti Incident.

“It’s a fucking kick-ass guitar,” says Slash. You can read more in Slash: The Collection, which is available now in Standard, Deluxe, and Custom Editions. See Gibson for more details.

As for Morello, he has recently hooked up with the Neural DSP to turn his rig digital and make it available as a guitar plugin. The Archetype: Tom Morello is priced €119 and available now. See Neural DSP for more details. And check out Morello and Slash's Interstate 80 performance at the top of the page.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.