APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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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

2005.04.DD - Classic Rock - The Days of Wine and Roses (Slash, Duff, Steven, Matt)

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Transcript:

DUFF McKAGAN

Current Velvet Revolver bassist and former Gunner remembers the mad times...

WORDS: KARL STEPHENS. ROSS HALFIN/IDOLS

According to Slash, while the rest of Guns were on hard drugs you just stuck to alcohol.

"That’s not quite true. I had periods... The thing is, I took acid for the first time in sixth grade, aged about 12. By the time I was 18 I’d already had my fill of psychedelic drugs and cocaine and stuff. I’d tried heroin. Then for a long time I was just drinking - but I eventually got back into drugs again."

You grew up in Seattle - a notorious place for heroin.

“Oh yeah. Round about 1983 there was so much heroin coming into Seattle. It's a port city so there’s just this constant influx of drugs. X [Ecstasy] was around a lot too - but heroin was the problem. My girlfriend got strung out, my roommate got strung out. The guitar player in my band Ten Minute Warning - bear in mind we were the biggest band in Seattle at the time, we'd toured with Dead Kennedys and Black Flag - this guy kept stealing our money to cop dope. I was like, 'Enough. If I'm gonna make my move I gotta make it now.' So I moved to LA."

It's ironic that you left Seattle to escape heroin...

“Exactly! After two weeks in LA I met Slash, who loved the stuff. Then Izzy moved across the street from me and he’s a heroin dealer, you know?"

So when did drugs re-enter the picture for you?

“I stayed away from drugs until after the Appetite tour. I’d do the odd line of coke. But after the Appetite tour we went to Chicago to start writing for Illusion. Just Slash, Steven and I. At that point I started doing a lot of coke. I was drinking a lot. Axl didn’t show up and we were in Chicago with not much to do. That’s when Steven Adler really started getting into speedballs - shooting coke and heroin. Slash was in and out of dope phases. I was just... you know that rollercoaster of booze, coke, booze, coke? That was me. Then I stopped getting high off what I was doing so I really started to dive into harder shit. Anything I could get my hands on to get a high. Dope, pills... It was a black two years. I just resigned myself to dying by the age of 30. I tried to quit a bunch of times but I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop any of it. The skin started falling off my hands and feet. All kinds of health problems."

There must have been an immense amount of the pressure on the band at that time.

“Yes, especially towards the end. Shows being cancelled, we’d be coming on stage four hours late, people would be chanting ’Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!’ You hear 50.000 people doing that and... [shakes his head]. We’d created this thing for music. Not to get pussy or to cop drugs. I came from a very pure musical background. All my brothers and sisters played music. I just wanted to be a player. I was playing with Slash, you know? Great singer, great band. But we weren’t allowed to just be musicians. The insanity of that whole thing drove me to drugs."

What's your earliest drug memory?

“Probably getting too high on mushrooms. In Seattle you can pick mushrooms wild just walking home from school. This one time I ate too many, went to band practice - and saw Mt St Helens explode in front of me! I saw fucking trolls coming out of my heart and shit. I was freaking out. But I had my ticket to this lggy Pop show that night and I wasn't gonna let go of it. So I walked ten miles to the show, and when lggy came on I just focused on lggy and he got me down off that mushroom high!

"Ten years later I got a call from Iggy on my home phone: 'Hey it’s Iggy, would you like to play on my record?' That was cool. After that I thought, 'If I don’t do anything ever again, at least I played on an lggy Pop record. Nobody can take that away from me.'"

Describe your ‘Spinal Tap' moment.

“That would be playing in Japan, just after Gilby Clarke had replaced Izzy. We were playing three nights at the Tokyo dome. I kinda figured out how much I was making from those shows - and it was a lot. Anyway, I'd bought a Corvette a couple of years before, which had always been my dream car. It was great. A convertible black Corvette. Beautiful. So after this show in Tokyo, Gilby was wandering around in this shirt that I really liked. I said, ’Tell your wife to go to my house in LA and get the keys to my Corvette. I'll trade it for your shirt.’ He said, ’You’re fucking kidding me!' This car was worth over $30,000! But I didn't care. I just bought another one straight away. Do I still have the shirt? I do. It's a nice shirt."

***

SLASH

The Velvet Revolver guitarist on the highs and lows of being a Gunner

WORDS: KARL STEPHENS. PIC: ROSS HALFIN/IDOLS

Everyone goes on about the misery of addiction. But there must have been times early on when you were having an amazing time on drugs...

“[Smiles] There was a brief period... Actually, it wasn’t so brief. There was probably a year long period when Guns N' Roses had established itself as the biggest band in LA. Our lifestyle was definitely about as decadent as it could possibly be. This was 1985, '86, before we were signed. I got turned on to shooting heroin - as opposed to snorting it. And that changed me entirely. I fell so in love with that drug. For the whole period of us getting a record deal I was slamming heroin. But I hadn’t picked up the full habit yet. It was still a new thing. I could do it once and be high for three or four days. It was great.”

Once you signed to Geffen there must have been a lot of money flying around...

“I remember taking my advance money and immediately running out and spending it all on dope. Then there was almost a whole year between signing the deal and recording the album, because they couldn't find managers or producers who were willing to work with us. So we were just sort of out there, not doing much, and that was a great time of just hanging out, getting high. We had a certain circle of girls. We had our own little scene. It was all great material."

Did you have a particular hangout?

“No, we would just... be. We could be anywhere at any given time. We were basically just the underbelly. Copping dope and seeing wherever that took you. We would mainly hang out wherever we happened to be squatting at the time.”

This heroin honeymoon period - did that coincide with the writing of Appetite...?

“Mostly. There were some songs that were written before that whole drug thing started. Welcome To The Jungle, for example. It's So Easy was maybe just on the edge - heroin hadn’t quite kicked in for me yet when that was written. But Mr Brownstone was definitely me and Izzy at the height of our chemical bliss. Rocket Queen, Nightrain and Paradise City were mostly just drinking rather than drugs. Sweet Child O' Mine definitely came from the heroin period."

So you think heroin can aid creativity?

“Any musician worth his salt has written his greatest songs completely under the influence. I know that for a fact. I can think of one hugely famous band that’s no longer together that wrote 98% of their material while on heroin."

Could you still play well while high?

"Yeah, but I would never work in the studio or go on tour carrying that kind of habit. It was too much baggage. I was lucky to have learned as a kid what happens to creative people if they do too many drugs. I was always around it from a young age. I'm not saying I didn’t ever perform while high, but for the most part I made sure I was pretty much clean on tour. I’d have a drink, that was it. Same thing in the studio. A cup of half coffee, half Jack Daniels in the morning. And that’s carried me through, kept me on an even keel over the years. It was during time off, between tours - that’s when I’d get in trouble."

Come on. You must have done a few gigs under the influence.

“[Laughs] There was one time when we supporting the Stones and we’d come out of a long hiatus. I booked those shows hoping they’d help get the band back together. But I was shooting amazing amounts of smack, and - I admit - I did those three shows while really really high. At one of them my dealer didn’t show up on time and I was scared I was gonna have to go on without copping my shit - which meant I couldn't play. But he showed up at the last minute. That was a nailbiting experience. It was about that time that I decided I needed to quit for the sake of the band."

Describe your greatest moment of excess - the moment when it all went a bit 'Spinal Tap'...

"There was a whole period after Use Your Illusion that was pretty ridiculous. I ended up in Arizona dealing with some real low-life people on a regular basis in order to facilitate my habit. I remember buying a fucking Porsche and parking it underneath a freeway in Hollywood and leaving it unlocked overnight while I went to some ramshackle apartment so I could go get my fucking buzz on. A brand new Porsche! I’d bought it the night before. Was it still there when I got back? It was actually.”

***

MATT SORUM

The former Guns drummer remembers the moment when he realised he'd gone too far.

WORDS: KARL STEPHENS. PIC: ROBERT JOHN/IDOLS

"It was towards the end of the Use Your Illusion tour. I'd just come off an airplane and there was this Porsche 911 parked on the runway. I saw the keys in the ignition and just assumed it had been delivered for me. So me and my girlfriend jump in and start screeching round in circles. Then the engine cuts out - it was an anti-burglary thing, programmed to cut out after a certain distance. Turns out this was the limo company's car! It wasn't mine at all. This guy comes running up to me and says ’Hey, that's my fucking car!' I go, 'OK, how much do you want for it?' He goes, '$45,000'. I go, 'Fine'. I wrote him a cheque there and then and drove off with the Porsche."

***

STEVEN ADLER

Drummer Steven Adler's drugs use got him kicked out of Guns N' Roses -despite the fact that most of the band were in a similar place. Back with a new band, Adler's Appetite, he looks back to his Guns years

WORDS: DAVE LING

A few yards from the earshot of its subject, Jizzy Pearl and I have just had 'the' conversation. It's the muffled, confidential one in which the journalist expresses quiet doubt, and the artist attempts friendly reassurance. “Steven’s still got what it takes," insists the singer, also known for fronting Love/Hate and Ratt. “People expect him - and us - to fall on our ass, but he’s playing like a motherfucker.” Steven Adler shouldn’t even be breathing, let alone playing the drums. After what he once described as “a hellacious speedball" of cocaine and heroin, Steven suffered a stroke that left one side of his face completely paralysed. It still affects his speech, but hasn’t prevented him from forming Adler’s Appetite, along with Pearl, ex-Slash’s Snakepit guitarist Keri Kelli and bassist Robbie Crane.

With just a smattering of original material to their name thus far, the band have been dismissed as a glorified Guns N’ Roses tribute act, and the set they performed in London recently included most of the Appetite For Destruction album, plus among others Civil War, the song Adler’s inability to play caused his final ejection from the band. So far, just an EP is available from the group’s website (www. adlersappetite.com), though they hope to release a full-length debut this summer, and tour here again towards the year’s end.

It's been 13 long years since you left Guns N' Roses.

"Yeah, and for the most part it feels like that time never elapsed. It’s great to be back, and to get such wonderful responses from audiences and other bands. I couldn’t be happier. And you know what? Writing songs with these guys is easier than it ever was with the GN’R guys. I’ve got the greatest job in the world again.”

Did you actually stop playing the drums?

“Pretty much, I’m ashamed to say. I wish I could say that I did a lot of travelling or self-improvement, but all I actually did was sit on the couch and get high - while the TV watched me. It was a very, very hard time. Slash and I had started things off together at the age of 12, and from the garage our band went to the clubs to making records and travelling around the world. When you get to the level that GN’R was at - right up there alongside the Stones, Zeppelin and Aerosmith - what do you do when someone kicks you out? I wasn’t gonna go back to the garage again. I didn't want it to get hurt all over.”

You actually resorted to suicide attempts. How serious were they?

“Well, they’re behind me now but I woke up a couple of times with charcoal coming out of every hole. I was very miserable. Everything I’d worked my whole life for had been taken away from me. And it was the people I’d worked with that had turned on me. I didn’t know what to do. From having hundreds of friends, to getting kicked out of the band by my best friend - and a guy who I was doing the drugs with! - it left me with no-one to turn to. I was very sad and lonely. My wife left me, and I didn’t blame her. It’s hard to watch someone you love trying to kill themselves. That’s what I was doing.”

The last that most of us Brits last heard of you was in a short-lived band called Road Crew, with ex-Vain singer Davy Vain.

"That was great while it lasted, but unfortunately I was still getting high at the time and I blew it. That’s the truth of that situation.”

What actually happened?

"We made a record, and a record company loved it and was going to sign us. I forget which label it was; it began with ’a’, maybe Atlantic or Arista? They came to a rehearsal and afterwards came back to my house to talk some more, but at the same time so did this girl who I was getting my drugs from. It was crazy - I hadn’t even called her, but she just happened to turn up. She was standing there at the gate, and handed me a cigarette box full of drugs. I accepted it... right in front of the band, the label people, everyone. The label wouldn’t even come into the house, the band all told me to forget it. My phone didn’t ring for years. Not unless it was a drug dealer calling me back. It was a very bad time. But I made it through the other side, and that’s all that matters.”

Is Adler's Appetite a long-term proposition, or just a bit of fun?

“I take my life very seriously now, my music really helps me to keep on the rails. And now that we’ve got some songs of our own, that can only be a good thing. We’d like to have an album out by the summer, so we can do more touring. It’s dangerous for me to be stuck at home.”

One of the first comeback road trips you did in the States was the so-called Bad Boys Of Metal tour.

“Yeah. Myself, Kevin DuBrow [of Quiet Riot], Jani Lane [ex-of Warrant] and Joe LeSté [Bang Tango / Beautiful Creatures] with a house band. We’d go on and play half a dozen songs each with them. It was 27 shows in 31 days, which was pretty insane.”

In an interview, DuBrow later called the tour among the most "untogether and unpleasant" he'd ever experienced, slamming you for "buffoonery", drunkenness and even the cancellation of one particular show.

“I wasn’t fucked up. I know what really annoyed Kevin. At first, he was headlining. I was happy with that; I wanted to go on second or third anyway. But after I was done, pretty much everybody would leave. He’d end up singing for bartenders and waitresses and a handful of fans. After the third show, he wanted me to go on last and I refused. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Kevin, who’s a very nice guy.”

For the record, are you now clean and sober?

“No, I am not. I never claimed to be. But I’m not shooting heroin or doing cocaine. I’ll have a beer or a shot of Jager[-meister], or I’ll smoke a joint. It’s all in control if I stick to that. But heroin and cocaine makes me useless."

How do you now look back at the GN'R years?

“It was the greatest time of my life, but one of the guys - I don’t need to name him - made it so difficult for us all. Quite often he made the best and most exciting times I’ll ever experience feel like a complete pain in the ass. Besides the loneliness and sadness I felt when I was excluded, the worst thing was to play in front of 20,000 people and have the guy storm offstage in the middle of the first song. With no warning, he’d throw the microphone to the floor, then leave. And not come back. Quite rightly, the audience would boo, and it was an awful feeling to know there was nothing that the rest of the band could do about the situation.”

Did you sometimes try?

“Of course. You’d go backstage and get in a fight with the guy. He’d say, ’Fuck you’ and get on a plane and you’d have to cancel a lot of other shows. It’s all coming back to him now because he’s the one who looks bad. But at the time it reflected badly on all of us.”

Do you feel like you've been needlessly written out of the band's story?

“Oh yeah. But Axl’s written everybody out. If he didn’t like ya - and he didn’t like any of us - or even if any of us didn’t like him, then you were gone. No argument. It’s a shame. At least in this band we all like each other and want to do the same thing.”

But do you also take responsibility for your own behaviour back then?

“Of course. Nobody forced me to do those stupid things. It was all a part of growing up, and they didn’t have shows like Behind The Music in those days. I’d read interviews with all my favourite rock stars and just wanted to be like the guys I idolised. You never read in Hit Parader what it was like to throw up blood, or to wake up in hospital. When GN’R toured with Aerosmith back in the day, Slash and I had looked up to Joe Perry and Steven Tyler, but we weren’t even allowed to have beer in their company. Then again, nobody tells you how sick you can get. I was very naive to the dangers of heroin. The first times I did it were two years apart. It made me so sick. Then the third time I did it, it didn’t affect me that way. So I did it every day for a month."

You weren't alone in that behaviour, right?

“No. Slash and I both lived in Laurel Canyon. We'd call each other up and ask if the other had any money. For a month I’d get out $300 a day, then give Slash $200 of it. He’d give me a piece of heroin that was the size of a little pebble. He’d have a piece the size of a [significantly larger] 50-cent piece - I was so naive. After about a month, this one day came along when I didn’t do heroin and I was sick as a dog. I couldn’t understand it, so I called the manager [Doug Goldstein], who took me to a doctor that gave me an opiate blocker. I didn’t know that you couldn’t take opiate blockers with opiates in your system. It only made me worse. I literally had to crawl to the bathroom."

It's a supreme irony that you were thrown out of the band while on anti-drug medication.

"Yeah. Slash called me to say we had to go into the studio to record Civil War. I was so sick, I just couldn’t do it. He said it was booked and we couldn’t afford to waste the money. I told him we both knew of somebody who’d wasted way more cash than one day in the studio. Anyway, I went in there and tried to play the song 20, maybe 30 times. But I was so weak, my timing was like a rollercoaster. Every time we played it back they’d all shout at me, ‘You’re fucked up’. Then every two seconds they would go off to the bathroom and do coke."

What are your recollections of the sacking?

“Doug Goldstein called me into the office about two weeks later. He wanted me to sign some contracts. I was told that every time I did heroin, the band would fine me $2,000. There was a whole stack of papers, with coloured paper clips everywhere for my signatures. What these contracts actually said was that the band were paying me $2,000 to leave. They were taking my royalties, all my writing credits. They didn’t like me anymore and just wanted me gone. That’s why I filed the lawsuit - to get all those things back.”

It was reported that you eventually received $3 million compensation, but considering the group had been such a brotherhood at the start, it must've been a very sour experience?

“They were such bastards to me. Do you know the most touching thing? At the end of the trial, all the jurors hugged me and said, ‘Good luck and take care’. They hated [the other members of Guns N’ Roses]. When they were on the stand they'd be asked, ‘How many times have you overdosed?’, and the reply would be 20 or 30 times each. And there they were, throwing out this nice boy who was getting treatment? It made them look bigger assholes than they were. And that’s what prevented me from putting another band together till now. I didn’t want to get that hurt again. I got my money [from them], I just wanted to die. But God wouldn’t take me. And after about 10 years of waking up in hospitals, I had to get my life in order. And music was all I knew."

Have you had any feedback on Adler's Appetite from your ex-GN'R colleagues?

“One cool thing was that Slash and Izzy came to play with us at the Key Club [in Hollywood]. And Izzy now wants to come to South America with us. We’re due to play some shows there in a few months, and he says he’d like to come with us. I’d love Slash to come along too, if he’s not busy with Velvet Revolver. He called on my birthday, on January 22, which was nice.”

Speaking of Velvet Revolver, have you been to see them live?

"Yeah, at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas. I love Slash and Duff. They’ve got such a presence. Scott [Weiland, singer], the snake boy, is a great performer as well. I don’t know Matt Sorum. He didn’t fire me, so I don’t hate him. I don’t even know him. Until he screws me over he’s fine with me!”

Have you seen or heard the current GN'R line-up?

“Is there one? You tell me. I’m pretty sure what they're doing now won’t sound like the Guns N’ Roses I knew. But despite all the sadness and heartache that Axl put me through, good luck to him. I still love him. It was all a decade ago, I’m over it.”

You once said you wouldn't consider rejoining the Gunners for a billion dollars.

“What I actually said was that I wouldn’t do it unless it was the classic five-piece line-up. No keyboard players, no back-up singers. Axl could call up and ask, but if Duff, Slash and Izzy weren’t doing it, then I’d definitely say no - even for a billion dollars.”

So... W Axl Rose: genius or just misunderstood?

“He’s probably a misunderstood genius. I don’t know. Axl doesn’t think far ahead enough [to be a visionary]. Like, ‘If I do this, so and so will happen’. He’s definitely a great lyricist. But the thing people forget is that Slash, Duff, Izzy and I wrote the music - sometimes Axl wasn’t even at rehearsal and we just gave him a tape. For the longest time I had no clue what he was singing on our first EP [1985’s Live?!*@ Like A Suicide]."

Given the name of your band is Adler's Appetite, has anyone tried to stop you?

“Why would they? Axl’s just one original member of Guns N’ Roses who’s now playing with a whole bunch of new people. I’m doing exactly the same thing. At first we called this thing Suki Jones, but Adler’s Appetite is a much stronger name. This band is nothing to do with ripping off Appetite For Destruction, it’s about my own appetite - for getting out there and playing music again."

***

THE LOST GN'R MOVIE

When Guns N' Roses first hit London, writer Pete Makowski was roped into making a documentary of the band...

London, June 1987. Slash is on the phone. "Please don't give Izzy any heroin!” he says. Hell! Not only does my reputation precede me, it's walking in front of me, blowing a great big frigging trumpet. Of course I wasn't going to give Izzy any class As - I was a full blown addict who didn't share his wares with anyone.

Guns N' Roses had just arrived on the scene, and to my addled mind, along with Jane's Addiction they were the only American group that had any vague individuality, energy or style, and the opportunity to check them out even roused me out of an opiated stupor.

In London to promote the single It Ain't Easy and with a series of dates at the Marquee, I met the band at a record company apartment in High Street Kensington. They were hungover and jet lagged. An incredibly skinny and pale Duff was hunched over a microwave, trying to figure out how to make a ready meal. In the living room, the curtains were drawn and Indian scarves were draped over the lights: it looked like the boys had been to the Steven Tyler school of interior design. Both Slash and Izzy had already refined their image - raggle taggle electric gypsies with cigarettes permanently hanging off lips that sneered and pouted simultaneously. Steven Adler was an archetypal drummer - sociable and dopey - while a permanently restless Axl shuffled about the kitchen with a giant banner above his head that proclaimed 'I am uncomfortable in my skin'. A lovely man, but one totally ill-at-ease with himself.

After a pretty disjointed and incomplete interview, I agreed to hook up with Izzy Stradlin later. Izzy was the most grounded member of the band and a total anglophile. “Coming to England is a dream come true for the band," Izzy revealed, "A lot of our influences are British. It'd be great if we could record this visit on film."

At the time I was residing at a squat in Clapham with some very enterprising people, one of whom happened to have 'liberated' a video recorder during the poll tax riots. I immediately offered my services as film director and presenter to Izzy, who seemed quite enthused with the idea. "Let me tell the rest of the band,” he said. "I can't see there being any problems.”

Now it seems hard to believe, bearing in mind Axl's reputation as a control freak, but they actually agreed to the idea - while making it perfectly clear that it was to made for private consumption and not general release. And that's how I ended up outside the Marquee on Sunday, June 28 with microphone, accompanied by camera man Og and producer Victor (well, when I say 'producer', he did actually 'procure' the camera in the first place!). The crowd were well lubricated and looked like demented future members of Dogs D’Amour. There was aggression and testosterone in the air, even with the women. In fact, especially with the women.

We interviewed the crowd and then filmed the band rehearsing and hanging out. By the time Guns N' Roses hit the stage, the crowd went crazy even though it was quite likely that most of them hadn't heard a note by the band. The audience and group seemed to melt into each other. In It Ain't Easy you could hear echoes of what was to come out of Seattle and bury the group a few years later. It's easy to forget what a hardcore, ass-kicking band they were. In fact, Velvet Revolver sound like what Guns N' Roses could and should have become...

Our piece of cinema verite was recorded and duly handed over to the band and management. We were promised a viewing but it never transpired. In fact, we never saw the film again.

So what was on it? Well apart from the crowd, group rehearsals and general musical malarkey, there's a great scene where my good friend Roger turns up with an absolutely stunning French girl only to be informed that I can only get one person into the show.

"Oh well, au revoir Roger, mon cheri," sighs the Gallic beauty as she totters off, all high heels and mini skirt... Before heading in the general direction of the dressing room.

With our chins on the floor, we dragged our beaten and bloodied torsos to the pub next door, as the next generation of rock 'n' rollers proceed to conquer an unsuspecting planet.
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2005.04.DD - Classic Rock - The Days of Wine and Roses (Slash, Duff, Steven, Matt) Empty Re: 2005.04.DD - Classic Rock - The Days of Wine and Roses (Slash, Duff, Steven, Matt)

Post by Soulmonster Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:33 pm

Uhm, any chance you already got this transcribed, @Blackstar ? Razz
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Post by Blackstar Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:38 pm

@Soulmonster wrote:Uhm, any chance you already got this transcribed, @Blackstar ? Razz
No Razz

But I can start doing it. Most of it is a reprint of the "Just a little Patience" article in Spin. Only the interviews with Slash, Duff and Steven are new.
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Post by Blackstar Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:54 pm

Transcription added.
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2005.04.DD - Classic Rock - The Days of Wine and Roses (Slash, Duff, Steven, Matt) Empty Re: 2005.04.DD - Classic Rock - The Days of Wine and Roses (Slash, Duff, Steven, Matt)

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