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SoulMonster
APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory

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You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory Empty You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:46 pm

You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory Newbor11
YOU CAN'T PUT YOUR ARMS AROUND A MEMORY
Album:
The Spaghetti Incident?, 1993, track no. 11.



Written by:
Steve Jones and Paul Cook (The Professionals)

Musicians:
Vocals: Duff McKagan
Acoustic Guitar: Duff McKagan
Bass: Duff McKagan
Drums: Duff McKagan
Lead & Rhythm Guitars: Richard Duguay
Background Vocals: Dizzy Reed, Duff McKagan, Eddie Huletz

Live performances:
'You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory' has to our knowledge never been played live but Duff has played it as part of his later solo repertoire. It was also used as an intro to the song Duff sang on the Not In This Lifetime tour in 2016.
Lyrics:

This one's for you Johnny

It doesn't pay to try
All the smart boys know why
It doesn't mean I didn't try
I just never know why

Feel so cold and all alone
Cause baby, you're not at home
And when I'm gone
Big deal, I'm still alone

Feel so restless, I am
Beat my head against a pole
Try to knock some sense
Down in my bones

And even though I don't show
The scars are so old

You can't put your arms around a memory
You can't put your arms around a memory
You can't put your arms around a memory
Don't try, don't try

You're just a bastard kid
And you got no name
Could you live with me
We're one and the same

And even though I don't show
The stars are so old

You can't put your arms around a memory
You can't put your arms around a memory
You can't put your arms around a memory
Don't try, don't try

Johnny
Yeah your memory
I wanna put my arms around your memory
I can try, I can try
Don't try
Come on

L.A.M.F.
Like a motherfucker

Yo Johnny
What color were her eyes?
Oh, she was wearing shades?
Fuck it


Quotes regarding the song

Richard Duguay, Duff's friend, would recall how he came to be the lead guitar player on the song:

Well, here's the truth. I got a call one afternoon when I was living in West Hollywood, from Duff saying, "Hey man, you wanna come down and play on?" He says, "Oh, do you know how to play 'You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory'?" And I'm like, "Well, yeah." And it was originally gonna be on his Believe In Me record. That's what it was cut. So he called me, said, "Hey, you know this song?" I'm like, "Yeah." And he says, "You wanna come down and play on it?" And I said, "Absolutely." So I went down to the studio somewhere down Melrose. I can't remember the name of the studio. You know, it was a high end studio, of course, being... shit, must have been what, '92 when that happened. I'm guessing something like that. And so I get down there and Duff had put down the drums, the acoustics and the bass and the vocals. So basically it was just electric guitars to do. So I, you know, pick up his late 50s Les Paul Special, and, you know, they plugged me in and whatever. And, you know, it was not a sober workplace, let's say. And because Duff had cut the drums without anybody else playing. It wasn't particularly in time. And there was certain human instincts in his drumming that were not on the original, let's say. So it took a while to get it because things weren't in time at certain places. I don't know if they ever fixed them or whatever, but so he's screaming at me, "I thought you knew this song." And I was like, and I remember thinking at the time, "I thought you might know how to play it too." So anyway, so you know, we finished it up and it was cool and it was great that I did some solos on it and stuff. Then the next thing I know, he calls me up and he said, "Oh, Axl demands that this song goes on the Spaghetti Incident." And I was like, I said, "Okay," it doesn't make any difference to me because, yeah, it's just a session, really.


Slash, who wasn't on the track at all would seem to have no issues with that since he wasn't friendly with Johnny Thunders:

I didn't play on "Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory".
Guitar Player, January 1994

I didn't even play on the Johnny Thunders song cos I hated that little fucker!
Kerrang, March 1994

Well, the Johnny Thunders song was the one song on the record I didn't play on, and really I have no fuckin'… I hated that guy. He's definitely an icon for the fuckin' junkie songwriters, and a character, but as far as a person, he was a total asshole. So I really didn't give a shit, to tell you the truth, as far as Johnny Thunders.
Q Magazine, March 1994

Well, I recorded it for my record. It's not like I was even making a record. I just recorded a bunch of tunes. “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory" has always been one of my favorite songs. I mean, I had recorded that a while before "The Spaghetti Incident?" — like a year and a half, two years. So, then the idea came to do “The Spaghetti Incident?" and the guys knew I had that tune already done. So they were like, “Hey, man, can we put this on Spaghetti instead of putting it on your record?" I was like, fine, of course.
Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, March 1995

You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory Newbor11


Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat May 18, 2024 7:39 am; edited 11 times in total
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Post by hellobeatle Fri May 27, 2011 4:09 pm

Pretty sure Duff plays most of the instruments on this track.
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Post by hellobeatle Fri May 27, 2011 4:12 pm

Found a youtube link for you too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZxM6n9-qxc
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Post by Soulmonster Fri May 27, 2011 4:16 pm

Brilliant! I have updated this song now and will continue with the other Spaghetti songs which also lacks proper musicians' and lyrics info.
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:51 am

I've just added a quote that explains why Slash didn't lay on it...he hated Johnny Thunders.
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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 18, 2024 7:38 am

Richard Duguay, who plays lead guitar on You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory, talking about how he got to be friends with Duff back in 1983 when he was playing in the punk band Personality Crisis and Duff was playing (or had played) in the Fastbacks:

But in that Personality Crisis tour of 1983, I believe it was, we were in Seattle and I met this guy who was a friend of the band the Fastbacks -- if you ever heard of them. They're great as Kim [Warnick], Lulu [Gargiulo] and a guitar player who is an amazing guitar player [likely Kurt Block], but I can't think of his name right now. Anyway, Duff had played drums for them at one point. So I met him, I met him through Kim and Lulu, and we just hit it off. Like sometimes you meet people in life's travel. So you just kind of know instinctively that they're going to be good. You're going to be really good friends or whatever that may entail. And it was just one of those things where we just, just stuck like glue for, you know, probably the week we were there and then in '84 when we went back to Seattle, we hung out again. And it wasn't long after that, that [Duff] moved to Hollywood. I believe that he moved in like '85 or something like that. And then we just kept in touch over the years. And then in 1990, I guess it was, maybe it was '89. I was in this band called T.T. Racer in Vancouver. And I sent Duff a cassette of our demo and he loved it and offered to help us. And we came down to do a bunch of showcases down in Hollywood and stuff. And then he got us in touch with some labels and we did a demo deal with Polygram, I believe. And that we moved to LA in '91, I think, and then everything fell apart in a hurry because certain people thought that we were going to be rich and famous within six weeks, apparently. And to my shock and surprise that didn't happen. That rarely does.


And on how he got to play on the track:

Well, here's the truth. I got a call one afternoon when I was living in West Hollywood, from Duff saying, "Hey man, you wanna come down and play on?" He says, "Oh, do you know how to play 'You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory'?" And I'm like, "Well, yeah." And it was originally gonna be on his Believe In Me record. That's what it was cut. So he called me, said, "Hey, you know this song?" I'm like, "Yeah." And he says, "You wanna come down and play on it?" And I said, "Absolutely." So I went down to the studio somewhere down Melrose. I can't remember the name of the studio. You know, it was a high end studio, of course, being... shit, must have been what, '92 when that happened. I'm guessing something like that. And so I get down there and Duff had put down the drums, the acoustics and the bass and the vocals. So basically it was just electric guitars to do. So I, you know, pick up his late 50s Les Paul Special, and, you know, they plugged me in and whatever. And, you know, it was not a sober workplace, let's say. And because Duff had cut the drums without anybody else playing. It wasn't particularly in time. And there was certain human instincts in his drumming that were not on the original, let's say. So it took a while to get it because things weren't in time at certain places. I don't know if they ever fixed them or whatever, but so he's screaming at me, "I thought you knew this song." And I was like, and I remember thinking at the time, "I thought you might know how to play it too." So anyway, so you know, we finished it up and it was cool and it was great that I did some solos on it and stuff. Then the next thing I know, he calls me up and he said, "Oh, Axl demands that this song goes on the Spaghetti Incident." And I was like, I said, "Okay," it doesn't make any difference to me because, yeah, it's just a session, really.


And his reactions to becoming part of The Spaghetti Incident? and receiving a platinum record:

Well, they were probably the biggest band in the world. Right. I just don't really think that way. To me, it was just playing on a friend's session. I mean, it was cool and everything, but I didn't really think about it. It was kind of like, yeah. Even back then, I was more of an in the moment kind of guy versus... what I did a week ago or a month ago or six months ago. You know, it's kind of like, I never really looked back and thought about where I should be or whatever, you know, I was kind of like. [...] I think I was pretty much always that way. Maybe it's just the self-survival mechanism. Because Lord knows I fucked up enough in my past to bring any man down to his knees. But who knows? Just the way it is. So it was cool, of course. But I didn't really think about it, to tell you the truth. [...] And then it came out, like the Spaghetti Incident?, it came out in, fuck, I don't know, late '93. Or early '94 or something. And I was on tour with Duff in Europe when the single for it, I think it was Ain't It Fun and I don't know what was on, came out and he gave me a call- [...] we were somewhere in Europe I think at that time. And yeah, and then when I got home off those tours I got a platinum record delivered by somebody. [...] Yeah, strange. I mean. Strange, but I never have ever put it up. [...] You know, I mean, my ex-wife put it up and I didn't, you know, I kind of like, "Whatever." And then when we split up and everything, and then my wife, Paula, today, not today, put it up but she put it up in the studio and I was like "Okay." I don't know. I think a lot of it is... I don't want that to be the highlight of my life, because I don't think it's the highlight of my life. You know, it doesn't, what's the fucking phrase I'm looking for? It doesn't define me, I guess, maybe. You know, it's like, it's a cool song. I mean, it's a great song. I think the version's cool. As then, today, I'm much more in case of what I'm doing today than what I did yesterday. And you know, it's cool, you know, it's great, you know, and people don't seem to understand my... And it's not that I don't care, because you know, I think it's cool and everything, but I just, you know, my brother used to bring friends over to my house and he'd make sure to tell them, you know, he played on this record and they'd all be in awe. Just kind of embarrassed me.
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