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SoulMonster

1996-10-DD - Interview with Duff

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1996-10-DD - Interview with Duff

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:29 am

Knockin’ Down Doors

At times it must be hard as hell to be a member of Guns N Roses. Aside from the obvious benefits that the group’s fame and fortune have provided, there have also been well documented basket-full of headaches that just seem to go along with the territory. We all know about the on-going difficulties between Axl Rose and Slash - a situation that has now derailed ad the most successful band of the late 80’s for the last years.

But what about the other guys? What about Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, the top Gunners rock solid rhythm section? What have they been up to during the Guns N’ Roses long hiatus from the rock world? Even the millions of bucks each member hopefully pocketed during GNR’s glory days can go pretty quickly when one’s sitting at home living the rock and roll lifestyle with nothing but time to burn.

Well, after a lengthy period of waiting to see when and if their GN’R bandmates were going to get their act together, the McKagan-Sorum team has bonded with two other rock and roll gypsies, Duran Duran bassist John Taylor and Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones to form the aptly named Neurotic outsiders.

“This started out as just a fun thing to do,” McKagan explained. “And the best part is it’s still a fun thing to do. We all first got together a year or so ago to play a benefit concert for a friend of ours at the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip. We had such a good time that we started showing up there kind of regularly on Monday nights, and before we knew it, this band had taken on a life of it’s own. A number of out friends would stop by from time to time, including Billy Idol, Ian Astbury and Izzy Stradlin, but the bass unit always stuck together.”

What started out as nothing more than a Monday night get together by a group of fun-loving, under-worked group of musicians quickly evolved into something more! In fact, the Neurotic Outsiders have released their self titled debut album (on Madonna’s Maverick Records Label, no less), and quite the rock-em, sock-em rock and roll collection it is! Blending original tunes like Six Feet Under, A Better Way and Good News with classic high energy hits such as The Clash’s Janie Jones and Duran Duran’s Planet Earth, the Neurotic Outsiders prove themselves to be a band even stronger than their individual components. This ain’t no throw-away project, baby this is the real thing!

“Certainly we didn’t set out with the idea of making an album,” McKagan said. “That may have been one of the last things on out minds, but when you play in LA and there is a buzz about your band and your music, it isn’t long before the labels find you. That’s just the way it is. So before we knew it a lot of labels were coming around, asking if we wanted to make an album. It put the seed in our heads, and we all started writing. John and Steve have written a few songs both together and alone, I came up with a few interesting things too. That’s when Maverick stepped forward with a very nice offer; we responded to them because they had the right vibe. They were part of Warner Bros., but they acted like they were an indie. That’s what we wanted. That’s when we really got to work. We polished up the songs that we had been working on and then tried to see how we should round out the album. We threw our original songs in with a few cover tunes we liked, and it turned into a pretty strong album.”

As soon the band had written all their songs and chosen a their cover tunes last spring, they ventured into no less than three different studios (including McKagan’s well equipped home facility) with producer Jerry Harrison - of Talking Heads fame - to lay down the tracks that comprise their debut disc. Working fast and furiously in order to maintain the loose, energetic style that had come to characterize their stage shows, the band created a sound that simultaneously paid homage to their various roots, yet boldly ventured into previously uncharted musical terrain. It was hard, it was heavy, it was groove driven and it was fun. And the best part may be that this is one disc that is as entertaining to listen to as it obviously was to record.

“We’ve all been in bands where it’s taken months to make albums and everyone has had to stand round waiting for things to happen,” McKagan explained. “We wanted to create just the opposite feel here. We wanted to keep everything so loose and so free that there was no chance of anyone getting bored or the music getting stale. We have three different singers in Jonesy, John and myself, and that helps add to the diversity. When you hear Steve’s guitar blending n the songs themselves, for example, it can’t help but put a smile on your face. It’s just classic rock and roll, the kind of music we all love,”

“Of course, a key question that emerges from the release of Neurotic Outsiders disc is exactly what effect does this have on the future of Guns N’ Roses? We already know that Jones has completed a highly successful reunion with the Sex Pistols, and Taylor is deciding whether or not to return to Duran Duran for their next disc. But the big question concerns the future of GN’R, and apparently there is some good news to report on that front for a change. Rather than having the Neurotic Outsiders spell death for that band, apparently Sorum and McKagan are now set to return to the Gunners’ fold hoping to complete a new disc by years end. But we’ve all heard this talk before, and McKagan understands the skepticism that surrounds the word that Guns N’ Roses are finally about to complete a new album. He even shares some of that attitude.

“I hope it happens, and I think it will,” he said. “But I’ve gotten my hopes up before only to see everything kind of crash in around me. But I honestly believe that everyone wants to make a new Guns N’ Roses album now, and I think that everyone knows that if we don’t do it now we may not get the chance. It’s amazing to all of us to realize that five years have passed since Use Your Illusion, and that a whole new generation of fans has come along. But it kind of presents some new challenges to us, and that’s one thing we’ve always enjoyed. Whether it’s with Guns N’ Roses or the Neurotic Outsiders, when you place a challenge in front of use, the odds are that we’re going to take on that challenge.”
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