Slash has released a cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor," the first single off his star-studded blues covers album Orgy of the Damned, which arrives May 17. The song features AC/DC's Brian Johnson on vocals and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler on harmonica.

You can watch a music video for the song below.

The Guns N' Roses guitarist told Ultimate Classic Rock Nights that he was thrilled to work with the pair. "These are guys that I grew up listening to, a big influence on me as a rock and roll guy," he said. "So it’s a magic moment for me, for sure."

"Killing Floor" illustrates Slash's overall goal for the project: to make sure he was doing something different with each song and not just tapping the usual suspects. "I loved doing the song and I thought, 'Who do you call? I don’t want to go after the most obvious blues guys,'" he explained. "I want to get guys who totally get it. There’s a definite traditional blues market with guys that that’s what they do. I didn’t want to go there. I wanted to make it a little bit more eclectic. Brian was the first guy I thought of for this song."

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Johnson shared Slash's affinity for "Killing Floor," which was originally released on Chess Records in 1964. "That particular song was an important part of his upbringing. So he knew the song backwards and forwards," Slash said. "That’s the kind of magic you’re looking for, where a song really speaks to somebody and they want to sing it. I went over to Florida and we did it. I came back to L.A. and Steven was coming in to visit about something else. Whatever it was, he brought his harmonicas with him. I played it for him and he said, 'Oh yeah!' He jumped in and just did this really quick impromptu harp and scat thing. You know, Steven’s a hardcore, old-school blues guy."

'Killing Floor' Shows Another Side of Johnson

Fans might be surprised when they hear the Johnson's performance on "Killing Floor," which is lower and more gravelly than his usual work with AC/DC. Slash was happy to capture this side of the singer. "I think when we first talked about it at the studio, he said, 'So, Slash, how do you want me to do this?' I said, 'Just do it how you feel natural.'" the guitarist recalled. "He wanted to keep it to the register of the original song. But there was a minute there where he went into a higher register and it really did sound like an AC/DC cover. I didn’t want that, but I just kept my mouth shut and he just did it the way that he felt most comfortable doing it. That was great."

Johnson echoed the guitarist's enthusiasm and added in a statement: "When Slash asked me to sing on 'Killing Floor,' I said yes immediately. It was one of the first songs I learned in my very first band. When he played me the backing track, it was a no-brainer, and Steven's harmonica is so bloody hot. I had a ball with Slash in the studio and I think we did this great old song justice."

Orgy of the Damned is now available for pre-order.

Watch Slash, Brian Johnson and Steven Tyler Perform 'Killing Floor'

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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff

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