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Duff's Reverb Column

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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:08 am

Duff McKagan: Refused Aren't Dead, They're Killing!
By Duff McKagan Thu., Sep. 6 2012 at 10:30 AM

I felt a bit late to the game at the end of 1978 as I sheepishly bought my first copy of The Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bullocks. As an awkward young teenager, most of us have this experience where we have to raise our hand to the fact that we are not as cool as some of the other kids. this first punk rock record purchase opened my eyes to a new fact and dictum: I didn't HAVE to act cool anymore. The ensuing punk records I bought, and gigs I went to, made me realize that the celebration of being different and unique was where I felt most comfortable.

I didn't get turned on to Refused until about 1999. Again, I was late to the game. Their epic Shape Of Punk to Come had been made in 1997. This time I had the excuse of being a new father to two young children; there was just no way I could keep up with new music.

Besides, what new rock and roll music was there in the late 90s to really get excited about? There was a couple of Swedish bands like The Hellacopters and The Backyard Babies, Zeke and the beginnings Queens Of the Stone Age, but other than a few holdouts, it seemed that rock music was otherwise overwhelmed by post-grunge commercial uh...crap! I didn't feel the need to try and keep up with what was going on. There seemed to be a general malaise in music in the late 90s/early 2000s. It made me feel lucky to have been old enough to have witnessed the likes of Black Flag, Killing Joke, The Germs. I'd always have THAT at least.

As fate would have it though, rock was anything but dead (well, what I should state is there WAS a gigantic and earth-moving rock record made in the late '90s). Sweden's Refused released the epic Shape Of Punk To Come in 1997, and even though this record didn't cross my conscienceness until sometime in 1999, it's a standout that should be in every rock fan's all-time top 10 list.

But alas, just as I was getting into the band, I discovered they had broken up. News on the street was that they would never again play as a group. Singer Dennis Lyxzen had formed International Noise Conspiracy, and the rest of the dudes were nowhere to be found. That was it. I had missed the chance to ever see a band that was as suddenly familiar to me as any one person can be with an album.

They were committed to their message of punk honesty and strife, and they seemed just as committed with their message that Refused were fucking dead.

14 years can mellow even the most ardent of messages, and thankfully for a lot of us, Refused somehow found a way to get back together and play some shows this year, something most thought would never happen.

I saw that they were playing at Coachella last Spring, but life is busy with me, and those aforementioned 'babies' are now growing kids who are in middle school and high school. 14 years will do THAT too. I can't really peel off any old time I want-to go to Coachella.

That was it then. I missed my chance.

But I would get another chance, and not at some huge festival off in the Southwest desert somewhere, but in my hometown of Seattle. Last week, I finally saw Refused, and it was everything that I had hoped it would be musically and energetically.

I went on my own; a Refused show ain't a fucking social event. It's not a gig to video so that you can YouTube it later. They are not a band that attracts a casual fan. No. Shows like this actually live and breath and have movement. An experience and a moment in time. To be remembered as an event.

There is no need for me to do some dumb show 'review'. If you were there you simply saw and heard what I did. If you were not able to attend but know the band? Yes, well...the band live was better than the records.

The crowd that night were people like me. We all knew every word and kick drum nuance. We air-bass'ed and air-guitar'ed and yelled our lungs out. There was a girl to the front and right of me who was losing her shit, like at a My War-era Black Flag show. There was a couple to my left who kept looking at each other as if to say "Can you BELIEVE this? We never thought we'd see this fucking day!!". There were jock guys there, and punkers, and hipsters and old-schoolers like me. But that night, there was no distinction separating any of us. We were simply there in that moment. Like a Stooges or Prince show...it was that fucking cool.

I got home that night, and got a text from my just 15 year-old daughter, Grace. She wanted to know if it was okay if she went to a concert in downtown LA that weekend (I would be back down there by then). There was a bunch of bands on the bill, and she wondered if I wouldn't get her a ticket online, and she would pay me back (I'll cover kids "paying you back" in another column). I looked online at who would be playing.

At the top of the bill?

REFUSED

Yes, Grace. Yes...you can indeed go. No. You will not have to pay me back.
Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/09/duff_mckagan_refused_arent_dea.php
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:19 pm

Duff McKagan: Depression Ain't No Joke
By Duff McKagan Thu., Sep. 13 2012 at 11:01 AM

Once in a while, life can kick our asses. Some of us have the chemical makeup that can rise to the occasion of these ass-kickings. Some of us have a great network of family and friends that somehow help us through. Others of us perhaps have neither of those favorable winds at our back.

Depression often will make us isolated from others and run from life in general. Being alone with one's own thoughts can and will be the most terrifying and dangerous place for the sufferer of most types of depression.

Some of us are born with the trait. Some of us go through something early OR later in life (or both early AND later) that can suddenly trigger a downward spiral.

I had never experienced real depression in my childhood or early adulthood. I had plenty of friends who did, but still I would scratch my head . . . and think to myself "Just snap out of it!" when friends did tell me of their issues regarding depression. But I HAVE suffered panic attacks for most of my life, and I do understand that chemical imbalances and other inputs can stack up against someone . . . way beyond the "Just snap out of it!" realm.

And then September 11, 2001 happened.

The world seemed to be in upheaval, and all fronts were under attack. Everything was suddenly fearful, and my own place on this earth seemed muddy and without bedrock. My daughters were 4 and 1, and suddenly my idealistic vision of being the perfect dad was acutely obscured by movements beyond my ability to control. I sunk into a thick, black state of being. Depression for the first time.

Ah hah. Yep. I get it. Depression IS in fact a real thing.

And once the door was opened to depression in my case, the monster became a living thing in my life. I could look at it and examine it after time, but in that initial instant, I did not see a light at the end of the tunnel.

The world seems to get scarier by the day. Bad jobs reports. Some asshole making an indie movie decrying another people's belief. The failing of our Republicans and Democrats to act in actual Congress. People getting hurt and killed in places like Afghanistan . . . and on . . . and on. But what I have found in fighting thoughts and feelings of depression is to actually talk and get out -- face the day head on if you can. "Today is going to be the best day in my history" is not a bad place to start. Share your "stuff" with others. Don't be afraid to do it. You may just be surprised by how many like-minded people there are out there. Depression and anxiety have touched most of us to some degree or another.

And some types of depression do need medical treatment.

Last week, there was a brave essay shared by man on the Internet. He has suffered a horrible fight with some serious depression, and decided to write about his journey thus far. I back this kind of guts and fortitude.

As you will see, Andrew Lawes has come through a ton of darkness, and has had the gift of a new baby to help him sort through his "stuff." Mr. Lawes was probably overwhelmed by the huge response he got back from fellow sufferers. You are not alone, my friend. Thanks for letting us in.

Again, THIS space is a forum for us all to exchange ideas. The world may seem dark and fucked-up and overwhelming, but we are the ones who will effect change, if there is change to be had.

There is a way out of depression -- you just got to get to a place to examine the monster.
Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/09/duff_mckagan_sept_13.php
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:26 pm

The Rock-and-Roll Lifestyle: Single Moms, Students, and Upton Sinclair
By Duff McKagan Thu., Oct. 4 2012 at 10:00 AM

With a couple of tours coming up, and the inevitable round of interviews, I know I'll be asked a lot about what my "rock-and-roll lifestyle" is like.

I tend to take a breath at this line of questioning. I could just make some shit up (I HAVE done that), or get kind of pissed off about the laziness of the question (yes, I have unfortunately done THAT too). I like to talk about music to a knowledgeable questioner, but sometimes . . . you've got to put up with some malarkey (and there ARE plenty of good music journalists out there).

What does that term actually mean? What IS a rock-and-roll lifestyle? Is it simply listening to loud rock, getting tattoos and a leather jacket, drinking Jack, and spitting every so often? Riding a Harley? Limos and a pimp cup?

The use of well-placed terminology does help us all to identify certain things, of course.

I DO love the term "ROCKER." The word itself imbues a ton of imagery and romance. But I don't think a rocker needs to have AC/DC and Metallica and the Black Keys rumbling through their car speakers speeding headlong into the night.

Words and titles can be used as dictums and guides for all of us. A certain word can suddenly snap us back to a good place. "Rocker" works for me.

Prince is a rocker.

Upton Sinclair is a rocker. He exposed all kinds of wrong in the American workplace 100 years ago.

That person who stops a blind person from crossing the street into traffic is a rocker.

That single mother of a child with special needs who works hard to make ends meet is a fucking rocker.

Yes, for sure, there are rockers like Jack White and the Refused who embody more of the pigeonholed idea of what we think rockers are. But after living and observing this rock world, I think the ethos of rock is so much more far-reaching than guitars and Marshall stacks.

Have you ever observed those people who seem to strive to be truthful and honest more often than the norm? Or someone who seems to be searching for the "truth" in life? Those people who are more calm, and are not racing to some sort of nonexistent finish line?

Henry Rollins is a rocker.

Lemmy Kilmeister is most certainly a rocker.

We can talk about politics and Second Amendment rights and illegal downloading and bad TV and "provocative" entertainment news all we want, but as long as we just want to spell out what is wrong with other people or how they feel about certain subjects--without first making sure "our side of the street" is as clean as possible--we cannot be rockers.

Being a rocker, to me, is equal to living as much of the truth as possible.

Personally, I have to keep telling myself to slow the fuck down. Life is NOT a race. We are all so damn quick to "get there." Shit, aren't we "here" now? Goals are great and should be applauded, but this journey should be a blast, too. Laugh now. Laugh all the time, as often as possible. We all certainly have enough humor that we can direct at ourselves. We are funny fuckers, us humans.

When you don't fight with your loved ones, you are a rocker.

And when you go see bands at a live venue and celebrate the fact that you are in a shared moment that will never happen again, you are living the rock-'n'-roll lifestyle.

I don't think all this traffic-revision crap in Seattle is very rock.

Crack in Belltown is not rock.

I met a 20-year-old at the gym the other day in Seattle. Tattooed, and into some new and hard Metal, but also into poetry and into asking questions about life, and admitting that at 20 years of age there was a LOT to learn. The conversation was refreshing and positive, and made me glad to be alive and a fan of music and writers of words.

THAT 20-year-old is a rocker.

And there are those who think they know it all, and believe that they are better than others because of their knowledge or lofty monetary perch. Not rock.

John Cage was a rocker, as was his partner Merce Cunningham. Being openly gay WAY before it was condoned like it is somewhat now in 2012: THAT is a rock-and-roll lifestyle.

Blind hate does not rock.

The presidential debate last night was a serious affair for sure. This country seems divided in a way that many of us are afraid to say out loud. The liberals are more timid than usual, and the conservatives are louder and more boisterous than before. The fact-checking of the debate talking points by the different news agencies later last night and this morning exposed expansions of the truth by both the President and Mitt Romney.

Not being straight-up in a public debate does NOT rock.
Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/10/the_rock_and_roll_lifestyle_si.php
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:11 am

How to Say No to Drugs (Even When You're Unzipped)
By Duff McKagan Thu., Oct. 18 2012 at 9:09 AM

Don't get me wrong, I think it's actually a genuinely sweet offer when someone passes a joint to me. "I don't smoke weed", I say. I know the intent is probably good, so I never want to be the guy who passes judgment or otherwise looks at that situation with scornful disdain.

Drugs are a funny thing. No one really wants to get high alone--when they are still in the "casual use" stage, anyway. Rarely will you hear of someone doing bumps of cocaine, or hits of crystal meth on their own. There'd be no one to jabber and talk mad nonsense with.

Rock and roll definitely has the stereotype of being connected to drug use. I get it. The cliche has been earned. But in our modern era, it seems like drugs have finally lost their mystical and romantic part of the rock persona. Maybe we've seen too many people implode, with public meltdowns, and worst of all, death.

Ok, but wait, this isn't supposed to be a poignant and down column. No. Actually, something happened to me just this week--twice, actually!--that I always find pretty damn funny. If it happened to me twice this week alone, I must assume that we can extrapolate this occurrence to a certain degree.

I played 3 shows this (well, I am actually on my way to the third right now, but our car broke down in the desert. But, yada, yada, yada, that's a story for another column). One of the gigs was a musical-esque version of the book that I wrote about my dive into addiction and my way out. By now, it's a pretty well known story, I think. If you are buying a ticket to this particular show, it's a fair assumption that you probably know I don't do drugs. Right? Apparently not.

There are always those people who just love to go to different gigs to 'hang out' and maybe party a little bit. That's cool, too. But when these two things meet, here is what happens:

Places like The Viper Room--and the old CBGBs, come to think of it--only have one set of bathrooms. Everyone shares. Your columnist went into the men's room at the Viper Room in LA. Your columnist simply has to urinate. Your columnist is nervous for the show, as he patiently waits his turn for the urinal. Your columnist gets offered a bump of cocaine right there--dick in hand and everything!

I played a standard rock show the next night, and same thing happened--except this time...with weed!

Now listen, I will state it again: I find no fault with the people who offer me such things, it's just fuckin' odd sometimes.

If I were in my "heyday" of getting fucked up, these same people would have only offered me free drugs only once. Guys like me aren't dainty in their usage. All of the drugs in that men's room would have been gone in an instant.

I guess my only point with this column is how all relates to our recent presidential debate: with all of this sharing of drugs, the economy MUST be on the mend. NOW, let's focus on getting our troops out of Afghanistan!

Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/10/how_to_say_no_to_drugs_even_wh.php
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:51 pm

Duff McKagan: Rad Is Reem
By Duff McKagan Thu., Nov. 1 2012 at 3:00 AM

Nottingham is beautiful this time of year. So is Cardiff, Wales; London; and Edinburgh. But if one were just to think that all of the United Kingdom was the same, they'd be gravely mistaken.

I first thought of writing a narrative here on the actual geography of the UK, but it's the language usage over here that has piqued my interest on this trip.

First off, if you are called a slang term for a woman's hoo-hoo over here, it is a term of endearment. In the States, this same term is looked at as simply gross.

"Reem" is a great word that has come into common usage over here. When one says something is "reem," it simply means kick-ass, as in "Don't be jealous 'cause I'm reem."

"Jel" is short for jealous, hence "Don't be jel 'cause I'm reem."

Off-topic: In the 1970s, the word "choice" had far more wind in its sail, as a preferred way to say things were reem. "Choice" was replaced at some point in the later '70s by "rad" (short for "radical"). "Rad" sort of lost its way until . . . now.

We are on the road over here with Ugly Kid Joe and Alice Cooper. The wondrous lead singer of UKJ is the one and only Whit Crane. Wondrous, you say? Yes, wondrous. This dude is so full of spirit and good intent that it is impossible to be grumpy or tired in his presence. Whit uses the word rad all the time, and now so does everyone else on the tour. Rad is back, people.

Now when you need directions in England, Wales, or Scotland, don't expect to hear anything close to "Just go down two blocks and make a right." No, the directions from a local in, say, Plymouth, England, will take the form of the more poetic (but way less informative) "Carry on down the road, and it's just there." That sounds nicer, but can leave an uninformed outsider like myself cold and lost in the rain.

HERE is another good one. When you see some large man come out of a communal loo at a truck stop . . . and the odor is indisputable . . . you can say "That had some thump in it!"

Useful stuff here, I know. You're welcome.
Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/11/duff_mckagan_rad_is_reem.php
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by puddledumpling on Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:55 am

"HERE is another good one. When you see some large man come out of a communal loo at a truck stop . . . and the odor is indisputable . . . you can say 'That had some thump in it!'"
Funny, I've had the same reaction to most rap music.
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:23 pm

Duff McKagan's 10 Secrets to Surviving in a Touring Band
By Duff McKagan Thu., Nov. 8 2012 at 1:00 AM

There is definitely an art to the dance that is being in a band. All kinds of crap can happen if band members let some of the following things go unattended. (As an aside, it IS healthy for a band's creative juices to have a bit of a rub within the band. The release of tension onstage CAN be magical.)

That said, here's how to survive in a touring band:

1. Don't be a dick. Yes. That simple.

2. Get used to having little to no personal space for weeks at a time. A tour bus or a van, and traveling through airports together, can be small enough, but add small backstage dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, and studio control and you have the condition for someone in your band to blow their top.

3. Personal hygiene. (see #2)

4. Respect places that are off-limits places. For example, when you draw the curtains to your bunk on the bus, no one should be allowed to fuck with you. No punching in the dick, even. Each others' girlfriends/wives/husbands/boyfriends are also off-limits.

5. Share everything. Clothes, chocolate, drugs, whatever. If it's expendable, it is a "band" item.

6. Hug it out.Being in a band is the best place I can think of to be as up-front as possible. If you let something stew, it'll grow into a mountain of nonsensical black mud in no time.

7. Read books and keep informed. The conversation can get old if you don't have some good new topics to bring to the table. Gossip and cock-talk only go so far.

8. Keep in touch with Mama Kin. Yes, definitely phone home and text as much as possible. It keeps one a bit sane, and leaves one with at least a modicum of a cornerstone.

9. Write a riff.Keep bringing fresh ideas to your band.

10. Don't poo in the same room that someone else is eating in. Unless of course said eater gives the "poo OK." If a "poo OK" is granted, you have a band that will NEVER break up!
Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/11/duff_mckagans_10_secrets_to_su.php
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:49 pm

This One's For the Road Dogs
By Duff McKagan Thu., Nov. 15 2012 at 9:00 AM

As a traveling musician, I have been blessed with a modicum of durability in my career. I have met and stayed friends with a whole heap of people who have been out doing the same thing as me for a long time. We cross paths often, and whether it is another musician, guitar tech, bus driver, sound guy, or promoter, we all have developed a sort of road family. We understand the triumphs and tradgedies even, that become an almost blase and everyday occurence in this field of work.

Lemmy from Motorhead is one great example. He knows that I am into history (I'm reading Battle Of Britain while I've been on this most recent trip to the UK). Instead of talking music and distances between this town or that, Lemmy will instantly start up a conversation about some WWII book he has read, or some historical war factoid about whatever European city we happen to be in.

On a recent tour I was on with Alice Cooper, he and I spent more that a few hours talking about raising girl-children...in depth!

I've known people so long out here that I see their own kids now starting bands and flourishing.

Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols' own daughter, Hollie Cook, has a flourishing career and just recently did Jules Holland. Her career is taking off, and the whole Cook family has become like a second family of mine, always asking about my wife and daughters, and trying to make me feel like I have a real and anchored place in London.

And there are new bands that you realize you are being somewhat watched by. They want to learn something--ANYTHING--from a guy like me I think. NBA'er Charles Barkley famously said "I'm not a role model," but in fact in music, I think it would be a dis-service to helping rock and roll flourish, to NOT be a role model of some substance...if you can muster it. Hell, maybe they are even watching guys like for what NOT to do! Who knows?

(Speaking of new bands, there have been some finds on this trip, indeed: Try BUFFALO SUMMER, HEAVEN'S BASEMENT, and SAINT JUDE)

You meet interesting people if you are open to conversation. Touring is like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles on steroids. Ferries, buses, splitter-vans, cabs, trains, friends' cars, and lots of walking.

On a ferry from Ireland to Wales, you might have a whole conversation with someone (in the English language), but their Newcastle accent will be so thick that you only nod in what you hope are the right places in the conversation.

On a train from the UK to Paris, I met a couple where the wife is a "brander" of entertainment personalities and the husband is the guy responsible for flavoring and getting the smell right for a large portion of all packaged foods coming from France. And they are rockers. They ended up coming to my show that night, and now I have a good contact of some nice people (with two girls, too!) in Paris.

At the Classic Rock Magazine Awards this week, I got to see Lynyrd Skynyrd play, and their bassist, Johnny Colt OG Black Crowes. The Black Crowes emerged at about the same time as GN'R did, and Colt and myself have been bumping into each other ever since. Skynyrd killed it, by the way.

I've gained many friends out here on the road. Longtime fans of bands I've been in have become a second family, too, and it has become a thing I look forward to (meeting up with @axlreznor is ALWAYS good).

But all of us out here on the road do count the days until we go home . . . well, at least those of us fortunate enough to have something to go home to.

I've showered in a skid-row hotel room and dined at the finest London eatery on this trip . . . but it is the in-between that keeps life interesting and fucking killer.

This column is dedicated to all of you Road Dogs. I'll see you again soon.
Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/11/road_dogs.php
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:52 pm

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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:08 am

Getting to Know Ralph Waldo Emerson and "Self-Reliance"
By Duff McKagan Fri., Nov. 23 2012 at 9:00 AM

Considering what a profound influence a book can have on one's life, it's amazing that the tiniest things can send us off in search of a new read. It can be word-of-mouth book gossip in line for an espresso, a note from a friend, or a movie about espionage.

I received a card a couple of weeks ago from a friend. I'm not one for the usual Hallmark "life-will-get-better-just-forge-ahead-let-the-sun-warm-your-face" type of malarkey, and usually skip quotes on the fronts of cards. But this particular card caught my eye, as the quote was by Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose writing I had yet to be exposed to. I gave the quote a second read:

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

I reread this about 28 times over the next few days, and became sort of enamored with this Emerson dude. How did he know I needed this? How did he know we all need this kick in the ass sometimes? What else does he have to say?

Some of us have religion and faith, and others reach for other forms of spirituality to help strengthen their lives. Many have faith in science and logic. Some of us have simple love from one's family. Others have nothing at all. For those of us always searching and open to ideas and thought, may I suggest Emerson's essay, "Self-Reliance."

Like the quote on that card a few weeks ago, "Self-Reliance" is a rereadable meditation of the innate feelings of victory and overcoming adversity that we each have at our own fingertips. It is the type of thing that you thank a person for turning you on to.

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving.

Now, for when you get done with "Self-Reliance," here are some of the books that I have been up and in for the past couple of months:

Black Box, Jennifer Egan: Her first piece of fiction since A Visit From the Goon Squad, this short story furthers my belief that Egan is fast becoming one of the best and forward-thinking fiction writers of our generation. She is punk rock and cosmopolitan and inventive. Black Box originally came out via Twitter, and this limited-edition bound proof copy that I have in hand will go on my bookshelf of greatness for sure.

The Greatest Battle, Andrew Nagorski: A lot of us think of the battle of Stalingrad as the big turning point of the Soviet/German conflict in World War II. Nagorski takes us through the (for some reason) little-told story of Hitler's army getting to the city limits of Moscow, and the great lengths that Stalin went through to save that city. It is amazing to think of the insanity of Stalin and Hitler, and how so very recent in history this was. A must-read for any war/history buff.

With Wings Like Eagles: The History of the Battle of Britain, Michael Korda: I just did a tour of the UK and Ireland, and it is always insightful for me to try to read a historical book on places that I am visiting. War history, for me, is much more that the study of conflict; it is an insight to how people coped and lived and suffered and triumphed in an extraordinary setting. Korda's Battle of Britain adds the insight of a top-notch historian to all that has been learned and exposed about the players in the build-up to this turning-point battle against Hitler and the Luftwaffe. Completely readable. Completely fascinating.

Dial M for Merthyr, Rachel Trezise: To be sure, I've only just started this book. It is one of those that, when it spills out of your backpack time after time at the airport or backstage or wherever, people in the know around me have given me an enthusiastic thumbs-up. This is a rock-and-roll book, a social study done in real time: a young rock band from Wales, and a young writer on the back of their tour bus taking notes. I've been looking forward to this.

More Duff!!!
Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/11/getting_to_know_ralph_waldo_em.php
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:38 pm

Did Bon Jovi Really Rock a Million Faces?
By Duff McKagan Thu., Nov. 29 2012 at 8:38 AM

A musician has a plenty of time to ponder things--both big and small--when they're on the road. You have to hope for a good sense of shared humor when traveling and living together in cramped confines, something I call the tour bubble. If you can't make light of some of the asanine situations you meet on the road, you are gonna be toast.

Case in point:

We spent part of our last tour opening for Alice Cooper in large venues throughout the U.K. Being on a tour like this will expose a band like ours to a larger mass of people than you would get headlining your own shows. But do you rock them all? No. Of course you don't. Many of those people are there for the headliner, and begrudgingly stand cross-armed while you play. Sure, you win over some new fans--which is sort of the whole point of a tour like this--but do you rock them all? No.

Back on the tour bus one night a question started to arise about Bon Jovi. In the song "Wanted Dead Or Alive," the claim is made that "I've seen a million faces, and I've rocked them all". All? Let's ponder.

I have no doubt that Bon Jovi had played to a million people by the time "Dead or Alive" was released on Slippery When Wet in 1986. But did they rock them all? Couldn't it be that some dudes brought their girlfriends to the show and weren't neccesarily into the music of Bon Jovi? What about some parents? Or, maybe some people just didn't get rocked? Hey, it's happened to me. I've gone to gigs properly prepared to get rocked and it just didn't happen for me.

I carried this conversation forward to one of Seattle's illustrious and beloved indie-rock frontmen. He said his band had actually had this very same Bon Jovi discussion. This Seattle indie band has even wondered if they had maybe played to "a million faces." There was one thing they were sure about: they hadn't rocked them all.

But how could they even be sure? They had played a bunch of festivals, and you KNOW that not everyone there was attending to come see their band. They had probably converted some of these people into new fans, but rocking them all would be a huge overstatement. They even doubted that Bon Jovi had played to a million people by the time "Dead or Alive" was written.

And what about me? I mean, in my whole career, I have certainly played to a ton of faces (I'll let you do the math), but, HELL, I was hammered for a couple of those years, and probably wasn't concentrating on faces at all. Besides, how can you see all of the faces that you play to, hammered or not?! Lights are in your eyes! It's dark! You have shades on!

When you headline a smaller venue, with say 850 people, you can actually see all of the faces. But even if all of those people are there to see your band, and have spent their hard-earned money to come and spend the evening with you, isn't it possible a few of those people were disappointed? I guess "I've seen 48,000 faces, and I rocked close to 41,000 of them" (a good damn percentage, by the way), is not so poetic.

Yep. These are the kinds of magnetic conversations bands have on the road. The rest of you may think we're nuts. It is a tough thing for a wife or manager to suddenly come out on the road for a visit and see five grown men having a faux-intellectual conversation about something like this.

I bet it even happens to the fellas in Bon Jovi!
Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/11/did_bon_jovi_really_rock_a_mil.php
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by puddledumpling on Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:55 am

Really, "I've seen a million faces, and I've rocked them all" is just a freakin' great lyric in a instant-classic most excellent song. When I first heard it all over the radio I thought it was a cover of an early 70's song by Slade or someone retro and catchy like that.
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:59 pm

I think Duff's been running on fumes lately when it comes to his blog.
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by puddledumpling on Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:17 pm

Izzy Stradlin has a lyric "I have seen a million faces" in his song "Sweet Caress", another classic.
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:28 am

One, Two. One, Two. Nirvana Spends National Soundcheck Day With McCartney In One of Music's Biggest Moments In Recent History
By Duff McKagan Thu., Dec. 13 2012 at 7:51 AM

Yes, we all woke up on Wednesday and heard it a million times:12, 12, 12. On CNN's Headline News, they even broke from the stories of the day to show their huge digital clock going to 12:12:12 pm...on 12/12/12.

But did any of us know that 12/12/12 was also the first ever "National Soundcheck Day"? Well, CNN's Headline News also announced THAT too. You get it? One, two...one, two...one, two. No matter where you might go on this planet, "one, two...one, two...one, two" IS the international language of the dreaded live gig soundcheck.

It got me to think about just how damn many soundchecks a guy like me has done.

The first thing that happens at a soundcheck is the "ringing out" of the PA system. At 3 p.m. on the day of the gig, the whole band is there. If you are a veteran rock guy like myself, you go anywhere other than the main room while the PA is getting "rung." A good ringing can really sting the eardrums, and I've even heard lore of the ringing creating IBS in some poor souls.

And then comes the snare drum check. Bap, bap, BAP. Again, if you know what you are doing, you go to another room (unless, of course, you are the drummer). And the snare drum is just the FIRST of all of the singular drums and cymbals that need to be adjusted --for volume and tone--during soundcheck.

Bass guitar is usually next. Most bass players (including myself), don't have much playing-alone "game" (hey! Bass players are the glue in a band...and don't take solo's! Give 'em a break!). My point is, it's not very interesting.

Guitars are next, and guitar players LOVE to shred at soundchecks (the "widdly, widdly, widdly'" that we have all now dubbed "lookatme, lookatme, lookatme").

Back-up vocals are next, and this gives us all (even the bass players) a chance to constantly prove to everyone else...that WE should be the LEAD singer of the band!

And then there's the lead vocal. The sound guy will usually ask for a level from either the singer, or, barring that singer isn't there (uh huh), a roadie or tech will assume the role as lead vocal-mike-level-getter. That is when we usually and most commonly here that mighty "one, two...one, two...one, two".

You go through all of this, and then finally get to play a song or two. The band wants the monitors on stage to be right, and the front of house sound guy usually wants a hard rocker, and a softer tune, all of this to enable the best sound for that show coming up.

But remember, there is no one in the room and it sounds all echo-y and hollow. "Don't worry", the sound guy says, "it will sound completely different once the room fills up with people."

So then, the question has to be asked: why in the hell DO we do soundchecks every day, when the whole damn thing is just going to sound different with a full room, and the sound guy will have to totally re-adjust all of his tones and volumes?!!

I never said rock people were the smartest humans roaming the planet.

OK, all joking aside, last night in NYC was the flashpoint to a most awesome 121212 Concert for Hurricane Sandy relief.

All of the artists who played did all they could to entertain. The names were so big and tastefully put together that the whole world just HAD to watch. Every band and solo artist rocked like hell.

It's a bad-ass thing to see humans helping out other humans. This stuff is us at some of our very best.

Seeing Paul McCartney play "Blackbird" alone with an acoustic guitar was gut-wrenchingly good. Sir Paul with Krist Noviselic, Dave Grohl, and Pat Smear was one of the most rock things in the recent history of music. Period.

The TV sound was fairly good, too. The swear-knob-pusher guy had even had his cues down pat. The lighting was on point, and the artist switch-overs were seemless.

Rest assured....there was a soundcheck.
Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/12/one_two_one_two_nirvana_spends.php
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:49 pm

My Special Request for Santa
By Duff McKagan Thu., Dec. 20 2012 at 9:45 AM

I'm the last one in our household that keeps trying to push the whole Santa Claus thing. My daughters are 12 and 15, and by moving past the stage of actually buying the myth, my girls have unknowingly swept their father's feet from underneath him. I love Christmas with little kids, and now my kids are not so little anymore.

But the Christmas spirit of giving and thinking of others and just being all-around cool and badass is still alive and well inside of my family, and for that, I am truly grateful. We have our health and our wits are relatively intact. The girls may not believe in Santa any longer, but they have grown into plain ol' good people.

I'd like to make a special request of Santa this year, in absentia of coming to the McKagan household, and all of those other households whose kids have just gotten a bit too old to go in for whole chimney thing.

All of us on this planet had our collective feet swept from underneath us last Friday. The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut will forever leave a black and aching pit in the stomach of every parent on this planet, and a black and aching pit in the stomach of every non-parent I am sure, as well.

Santa Claus, will you please take extra special care of those little Sandy Hook Elementary 6- and 7-year-old kids who were hoping to get a visit from you...but now won't be home to leave you cookies and milk?

Santa, will you visit Charlotte somehow?

Santa, will you be able to check in on Daniel?

For us, Santa, please take care of Olivia.

And Josephine will be missed, Santa.

Ana will be missed, Santa.

Dylan definitely made your "good" list Santa.

THESE were only little kids.

Madeline, Santa ... just a little girl.

And Catherine, Santa...you only got to see her for 6 too-short years.

Look after Chase, Santa

Look after Jesse, Santa.

And look after James.

And Grace, too, Santa...

What about Emile, Santa? Will you be able to look after him please?

Can you visit Jack, too?

And little Noah, I'm sure he was good.

There are too many names here, Santa. ONE name would be too many.

Caroline, we will miss you sweetheart.

And Jessica, I hope Santa gives you what you wanted.

Avielle, what a pretty name. I know Santa just can't forget that beautiful name.

Santa, can you look after Benjamin?

Allison will be waiting for you too St. Nick.

Have a good and safe Christmas everyone. Be cool and badass.
Source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/12/my_special_request_for_santa.php
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Dreaming of Rock ‘N’ Roll at an Amsterdam Hostel

Post by puddledumpling on Mon May 06, 2013 11:43 am

"Throughout the history of rock ‘n’ roll, bands from the Beatles to Metallica have played their early gigs in clubs and bars. We all know the story of the Beatles playing that long-standing residency in the red-light district in Hamburg in the early ’60s.

I’ve had the experience of playing some of these same clubs. The red-light districts in Hamburg, Amsterdam and elsewhere in Europe are also heavily populated with youth hostels and “backpackers hotels,” cheap and spartan places for young travelers with a Euro-pass to rest their heads. These hostels, and the culture surrounding them, has always intrigued me. Yet I have never stayed in or even been inside one of these places. Until this week. I’m currently on tour with a band that is trying to build an audience and fan-base throughout Europe. We are playing those clubs in those shady areas and red-light districts. (These tours put your mind-frame somewhere between Anthony Bourdain and Fight Club . . . but that is another story).

We played a place called the Winston in Amsterdam last Sunday. The club wasn’t configured to have a backstage room for the band, and on these ancient blocks and lanes, there is definitely no room for expanding these structures. The Winston is directly attached to a hostel (same owner), and our “backstage” room was a room with a bed, some chairs, and a shower—on the 3rd floor of this particular youth hotel.

I guess I’ve had preconceived notions of what these hostels were like, and instead of ripped up walls and urine-stained carpets, we found this hostel to be clean and actually rather arty and yes, almost classy! What the? The club fed us dinner there in the lounge of the hostel, and the Chicken Kiev and fresh chopped salad was ridiculously good. The music that was getting cranked through the system in the lounge was stuff like the Stooges and Bowie, and good and weird dancey stuff that I have no idea what it was.

I was completely intrigued at this point. What gives? These rooms are cheap, and their lounge was hipper than shit! The joint is clean, and the only rules posted on the room doors, was “have fun,” “don’t be an ass,” and “if you liked your stay, tell someone.” Very communal in the best sense of the word “commune.” I do believe that this place is as close to the punk-rock Utopian dream that us dumb-ass kids were pining for back in the halcyon days of 1981 or so (you know . . . “Fuck Reagan,” blah, blah, blah . . .).

I had the chance to have a chat with an English ex-pat gentleman who ran the joint. It turns out that this particular hostel is part of a chain called “St. Christopher Inns”; with locations all over Europe and the UK. They all have these nightclubs like the one I ate dinner in, and it is a place that I would recommend to anyone actually. Its cool enough for a business traveler, a sight-seer, a youth (I would have been completely floored to have been able to do this as a 19 year-old . . . but I guess I am doing it now sans the Euro-Pass), or just about anyone else.

There must be other chains like this, but for this “Raw Power” listening, poultry-loving, vagabond traveler, the youth hostel in Amsterdam, was a refreshing and energizing look into this whole world. I’ll suggest it to my own daughter’s when they come of age."

Duff McKagan is the founding bassist of Guns N’ Roses and the leader of Seattle’s Loaded.

Source: http://www.seattleweekly.com/home/946822-129/hostel-amsterdam-rock-youth-blah-club
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 24, 2013 8:02 am

Keeping Humble as a Musician
By Duff McKagan Fri., May 24 2013 at 08:01AM

One of the most important parts of a musicians’ mindset is confidence. If you aren’t constantly terrified of your instrument, there is an ease-of-mind that starts to set in. When your head isn’t completely messing with you as much, your playing will start to flow. Put it this way: Do you even think at all when you walk or ride a bike? Probably not. It is effortless, and playing your instrument, hopefully one day, will be somewhere in this same frame-of-mind as walking and chewing gum.

But remember, there is always someone better than you (unless your are Prince!). One should never let the confidence that comes with hard work get in the way of being humbled by either playing with other killer players, or learning riffs and beats off of records from some of the many greats who are greats from yore … or even contemporaries.

A guy like me took influences from growing up around great ‘70s records, morphed those influences into my own approach and “style,” and then kind of just stuck with that one thing. Hell, it worked for me, so why even try to challenge myself to stuff that may not be in my wheelhouse? I got this thing, man! Ah, but at around 30 years of age, I realized that I wasn’t experiencing any growth in my playing. I was relying on the same old tricks, same old approach. It was time for a challenge if I wanted to get better.

I never used to learn other artists’ songs. Well, scratch that actually. My old band would sometimes cover other bands’ songs … but certainly not in a note-for-note way. We would do our own interpretations and versions of said songs. Just sort of winging it at best.

In my 30s, I started to playing less bass and more guitar. Guitar was something I always did, and wrote most all of the songs I was part of, on the 6-string. But I never really delved into it fully. At some point in my early 30s, I saw Brian Setzer play, and I was fully inspired. I got some Beatles song books and learned all kinds of chords. I played guitar all of the time, and got to play with some other really good guitar players who would show me stuff. I saw music again in a fresh and energetic light. Note: Being in a band with Slash as your guitar player can make guitar playing seem like an unattainable mastery. Dude is just so damn good and gifted. But he DOES practice all of the time, and constantly challenges himself.

We may all think as players that we have our own clear forte. Whether it is the fact that maybe you can retain more information songwise than some of your peers, or maybe you know more music theory, or that you can just simply shred better than most, or are a dynamic live performer. But I think growth as an actual player is needed to truly keep the spark — and hence your personal love affair with music — alive and flourishing.

The reason I write this now is that all this week I’ve been learning a bunch of songs from Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and Mott the Hoople on the bass. I’ve really gotten back into the bass in the past bunch of years and even started taking some lessons. If you want to stay humble when you just think that you are “all that” on the bass, just try playing some John Paul Jones or Deep Purple. Holy shit. Holy, holy shit. I am back to square one apparently … but completely inspired. I mean, what if I can master these lines?! I will be the greatest! (These are those crazy day-dream images that play through my twisted and mis-informed mind.)

Alright. Enough about me. Just my two cents. A lot of people have asked me music questions, and here is one little stab into informing you all of just a thing or two that I have culled along the way. Perhaps there will be more in a later column. Write with any tips of your own.
Source: http://www.seattleweekly.com/home/947040-129/playing-guitar-songs-bass-music-think
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Re: Duff's Reverb Column

Post by Uli on Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:33 pm

Not really wanting to start a new topic, so I put it in here:
http://tinyurl.com/q9587gh

On Thursday Duff McKagan To Deliver CBGB Keynote was a top story. Here is the recap: CBGB Music & Film Festival Conference have announced that Velvet Revolver and former Guns N' Roses bass player Duff McKagan will be delivering the keynote address at this year's event.
McKagan not only made his name in those multiplatinum groups, he also fronts his own group Duff McKagan's Loaded, is a member of the supergroup Walking Papers, is a noted online columnist, and is the founder of the wealth management firm Meridian Rock.

The CBGB Music & Film Festival is set to take place this year on October 9-13 at Lower Manhattan's Landmark Sunshine Theater and additional performances by over 500 artists in over 175 venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
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