This song is about a subject close to Slash's heart - elephant poaching. "It raises some awareness of that subject, and being an animal activist, I'm glad to be an advocate against animal poaching of any kind," he told Classic Rock magazine.
Slash came up with the riff for this metal stomper on the road, whilst the classical middle section was an idea that he had completely separate from the song. The former Guns N' Roses guitarist told The Independent.
"When we were working on the arrangement for the body of 'Beneath the Savage Sun,' I thought, 'You know, I have this classical thing I could use,' so I looked through all my little voice memo recordings, I found that part and it seemed to fit. The song just sort of materialised from there, once you have a section of a song, it inspires ideas for the rest."
Slash and Kennedy wrote the song after witnessing the plight of the elephants when they were on tour in South Africa. "Myles and I went to South Africa a couple of years ago to do some shows and ended up spending roughly the better part of maybe two weeks there," Slash told Rolling Stone. "We did a lot going out and seeing a lot of wildlife and whatnot. And when you're there, you get a real feel for how majestic the elephants are and then you learn about the details of what's going on with the poaching there."
"So [Myles] wrote some really poignant lyrics, written from the elephant's point of view about the death of one of his own comrades," he continued. "And so when we got back to Los Angeles, we got together and came up with this song."
Slash and Kennedy partnered with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for the video, which features footage of the decimation of elephants. "An elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory and the result is the elephant population has declined 95% in the past century," said Slash. "Seeing that these majestic animals are on the path to extinction, possibly within the next decade, we wrote 'Beneath The Savage Sun' and partnered with IFAW."