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1992.09.26 - The Gazette/Orange County Register - Interview with Duff

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1992.09.26 - The Gazette/Orange County Register - Interview with Duff Empty 1992.09.26 - The Gazette/Orange County Register - Interview with Duff

Post by Blackstar on Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:54 pm

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Gun N’ Roses winds up controversial tour with a bang

By Robert Chow
Orange County Register


LOS ANGELES — Guns Ν’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan says he hasn’t had time to stop and put the past seven years in perspective.

“I haven’t had time to miss the old days. We’ve been working 24 hours a day for the last seven years,” said McKagan, 27.

If you know anything about McKagan’s schedule, you would soon realize he was engaging in only slight hyperbole.

119 shows

Come Oct. 6 in Seattle the group will have performed 119 shows across North America and Europe since the band kicked off the Use Your Illusion tour in May. The band will go out with a bang, playing with Motorhead at the Los Angeles Coliseum tomorrow and with rapper Ice-T’s metal band Body Count at the Rose Bowl next Saturday.

At the close of the tour, the Los Angeles-based quintet will take a brief furlough to contemplate what territory to conquer next — South America often has been discussed.

The constant activity seems to suit McKagan just fine. He has little patience for those who want to sit around and exhume old subjects such as past tensions within the band, brushes with the law, or riots at past shows.

McKagan is focused on the here and now, like his current passion for waterskiing. When McKagan can find the time, he retreats to his cabin and ski boat on Lake Arrowhead.

Made the team

McKagan’s interest in waterskiing naturally developed out of his love for snow skiing, which he picked up as a teenager in Seattle, where he was bom. McKagan skied well enough to earn a spot on the K2 ski team.

"I'm not saying I'm the world’s greatest skier, but at least I made the team,” McKagan said. ‘‘Yeah, I got a cabin. It’s so awesome. I’ve got a great ski boat.”

Between waterskiing and a heavy touring schedule, McKagan has managed to squeeze in sessions to record tracks for a solo album titled Believe in Me.

“I recorded it all over the world,” McKagan said.

McKagan performs the vocals, bass and drums on his album, scheduled for release on Geffen Records in February. Guitarists Jeff Beck, Lenny Kravitz and Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach make guest appearances on the album.

Asked to describe the album, McKagan was reluctant to compare his solo work with his collaborative work with Guns N’ Roses.

“It’s really hard to say. It’s more bluesy. It’s even got a rap song on it,” McKagan said. “You’ll just have to hear it.”

McKagan said pursuing a solo album should not be misconstrued as dissatisfaction with the band, but rather a fulfillment of a personal ambition he’s had since he was a teenager in the Seattle rock scene.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was 15 years old,” said McKagan, who played in numerous new-wave-type bands in Seattle before making a trip in 1985 to Los Angeles, where he met guitarist Slash and vocalist Axl Rose.

Guns N’ Roses, McKagan said, is tighter than it has ever been before. During the past three years, the band replaced two of its original members. In 1989, drummer Steven Adler made a bitter exit, reportedly because he refused to give up his drug habit. Adler was replaced by Matt Sorum, formerly with British band the Cult.

Then in November, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin abruptly left the band following the end of the first leg of the Use Your Illusion tour, apparently unhappy with the heavy touring schedule.

“Izzy couldn’t take the pressure, so he decided to leave the band. It was amicable and all,” McKagan said. “But thank God we found Gilbey (Clarke).”

Without a rhythm guitarist only three weeks before a performance, McKagan said, he and Slash fell into a panic over finding a replacement. Then they found Clarke, formerly with Kill for Thrills, a well-respected L.A. metal band that had recorded a pair of modestly successful albums.

“Slash and I, we went kind of nuts. I just happened to have Gil-bey’s number written on the back of a book. I had gotten his number from a friend of a friend of a friend. So I called him to come down and audition,” McKagan said. “He was the first guy we auditioned. We heard him and said, ‘Cool.’ ”

In two weeks, Clarke learned nearly 50 songs and joined the band on the road. In spite of the new faces and the addition of a horn section, McKagan said, the band plays as if it shared a single mind.

“We’re so solid, it’s almost ridiculous. We're so tight now,” McKagan said, “we don't use a song list. We can just read each other’s faces and know what song we’re playing next.”

At the same time, McKagan said, he doesn't believe the band has lost any of the verve and anger that has fuelled it from the start.
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