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1988.12.16 - The Sydney Morning Herald - Bouncing Along The Road To Fame (Duff)

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1988.12.16 - The Sydney Morning Herald - Bouncing Along The Road To Fame (Duff)

Post by Blackstar on Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:28 am

BOUNCING ALONG THE ROAD TO FAME
 
First impression: Guns Ν' Roses are the sort of guys who would punch me out at a party.
 
This impression is, of course, only from watching the boys churning out their hard rock 'n’ roll gear on televi­sion and reading about their some­what violent escapades.
 
I am a safe distance from bass player Duff McKagan as we talk. He's in Melbourne. I'm wearing the straight-forward reporter’s outfit — an unironed white shirt, a tie, denims and leather shoes. I imagine Duff is in black — a singlet, tight jeans, boots, with a tattoo on his left shoulder.
 
Duff, who has just arrived in Melbourne after a 12-day Japanese tour supporting the Appetite For Destruction album, is incredibly nice. Let’s be honest, he doesn’t speak like John Farnham, but it’s a pleasant chat, and the “bad boy” hype begins to seem just that.
 
To say that Duffs language is colourful is like calling Russ Hinze pleasantly plump. It is positively fruity. In the name of good taste, that ugliest of expletives has been replaced in this story by the word “bounce”.
Guns N’ Roses shot to stardom in the US through their live following, which forced reluctant radio and television programmers to pick them up. They came from the streets and appealed to a youth market also facing the hard life. They wear their musical influences on their unclad sleeve — Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and others. Their live performances are reported to be wild, and Duff believes tomorrow’s Syd­ney concert will be no different.
 
“We can’t wait to play here,” he says. “It’s gonna be like a stick of bouncin’ dynamite. I've heard the audiences are wild.”
 
Despite the image that has been built, Duff maintains that GN'R aren’t an image-conscious band.
 
“We just play rock ’n’ roll. We didn’t want to spend time figuring out what the image would be,” he says. “The way we dress is the way we dress. We don’t change into bouncin’ designer jeans after a show.
 
“I guess that is our image, but it's not pre-conceived.”
 
Duff is a bit embarrassed by the “bad boy” tag. “It's such a stupid term. Bad boys — it’s like mama’s boys.
“We’re an honest band. We don't hold back. When you're bouncin' honest, you will offend. So we’ve got this image as the bad kids on the block. Mind you [with a chuckle], we're not the cleanest-living bouncin’ guys around, but that's rock 'n’ roll.”
 
Like all bands, especially those that appeal to a youth culture and, perhaps unconsciously, preach a certain set of values, the media have delved into the personalities behind the flowing manes.
 
“People want to know when your birthday is — what does that have to do with the songs on the records?" asks Duff. “They want to figure out my psyche and s--- — it’s just rock ’n’ roll. I didn't graduate from high school and they want to figure out my head.”
 
Although the album and single — Sweet Child O' Mine — shot to the top of the charts in the US, the band continued to meet resistance. The album lyrics are raw and, at times, offensive. Feminist groups in California have been picketing record stores in protest.
 
How does Duff react?
 
“Bounce 'em. It's just so ridiculous. I don’t care. I mean, you know, bounce. My mum doesn’t think we’re sexist, so we’re not. They take it all too seriously.”
 
Guns N’ Roses will perform at the Entertainment Centre tomorrow night, supported by Kings of the Sun and the Angels. To win a Guns pack, including an album, a limited edition 12" picture disc, a poster and stickers, write to Warner Group Promotions. PO Box 500, Crows Nest, 2065. The first five entries drawn will win.
 
TONY SQUIRES

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