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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.


2017.09.06 - Talk Is Jericho - 30 Years of GnR with Duff McKagan

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2017.09.06 - Talk Is Jericho - 30 Years of GnR with Duff McKagan Empty 2017.09.06 - Talk Is Jericho - 30 Years of GnR with Duff McKagan

Post by Blackstar Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:55 pm


Chris Jericho: Alright, Welcome to Talk is Jericho is the pot of Thunder and rock'n'roll and today doing his first in-depth long form interview since the Guns N' Roses reunion tour start in 2016, Duff Mckagan returns to Talk is Jericho. GN'R is on a press gag order. Since the reunion started, they've done no interviews. They've spoken to nobody. They've explained nothing to anybody. But Duff decided he wanted to come hang out with me on Talk Is Jericho.


Duff: Hold on a second, I have to turn this power strip on.

CJ: Sorry.

Duff: I just sit in my own room and then I apologize [?].

CJ: So we're in Canada you were noticing that everybody says 'sorry' all the time, right?

Duff: Yeah, they just do it. It's a cute.... It's like.... It's a reaction.

CJ: It's just like an instinct. "Sorry," "sorry."

Duff: It's like in America we might say like, "Okay," "yeah," you know, you don't even notice you say it. "Okay."

CJ: Totally, totally. So we were hanging out last night here and it's super funny because I have a show in town, like a spoken word show and super coincidental that Guns N' Roses playing the night before. And even more coincidental that we're staying in the same hotel on the same floor.

Duff: Is it coincidental?

CJ: [laughs] That's what I was thinking. I was thinking that Duff was going to think that I was like, following you guys or something. But the guy who set me up here, it was like, "I got you on the same floor as Guns N' Roses." "Are you kidding me? This is great." Like, literally down the road-

Duff: Yeah, I think we're on... this would be my floor.

CJ: Yeah.

Duff: And I think....

CJ: You guys have... this is literally your floor, so like the other guys are on other floors of this place?

Duff: We do get like kind of the same rooms, so it'll be three floors in a row, we'll be one on top of each other.

CJ: Oh, Slash is 18, we could say this is by the time this airs, we're not here anymore. So we're in room 923. That's the room that Duff was in.

Duff: 19.

CJ: Sorry, 19. So Slash should be 18?

Duff: Whatever. Could be.

CJ: But we were hanging out last night in the lounge-

Duff: On the 19th floor.

CJ: On the 19th floor lounge of the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg. We're given all the information because at this point in time-

Duff: Which I call the Fancington Suites, any place we stay is always the Fancington.

CJ: And I'm so stupid that when you said you're staying at the Fancington Suites, I googled Fancington. [laughs] There's no such thing. Where is it?

Duff: There's no such place.

CJ: The fancy pants suite. We were here last night and you're... Is he like your bodyguard? Your assistant?

Duff: Security.

CJ: Security, right. Which obviously, you know, you gotta have being in Guns N' Roses, with their own floor. But he was freaking out that I saw you guys.

Duff: So yeah, so Tedau [?] is my security guy and we roll together every place. I go to the gym with him. We've just become really kind of close because of it. It's a good thing we kind of pair up, okay? He's very quiet. I can be quiet, but I'm really not so quiet.

CJ: You're an outgoing guy.

Duff: I'm outgoing, he's not, but he's really funny. And the Islanders, the Polynesians, they have a really... I don't wanna generalize them all, but they're gonna have this really easy island gait, you know, this whole style. But Chris Jericho walks in the 19th floor lounge last night at 11:30, whatever it was, and Tedau [?], who I've never seen kind of freak out, and him freaking out, again, there's very little... I only knew he was freaking out because I know him so well, but he freaked out because Chris Jericho walked in. And he was like, "Oh" I could tell he was like, "Oh, oh."

CJ: Because yeah, like you said, he didn't really say anything.

Duff: No.

CJ: And we took a picture together. He posted, he was like, "I was with the legendary Chris," like, legendary, right? But he was like super excited. He actually would hashtag "tour perks." Like one of the perks of being on tours is you get to meet-

Duff: Hashtag... that's great, you know? Tedau [?], he gets excited. I can tell because one eyebrow moves.

CJ: Whoa.

Duff: That's like you or me doing like jumping jacks.

CJ: So did you just meet him recently or has he been with you for a few years?

Duff: Since Dodger Stadium, so for year, you know.

CJ: So just out of curiosity, did they say like, "This is going to be your guy," or did you like an audition to find a guy or?

Duff: It's funny, yeah, I mean talking about security details and stuff, right? Because every, you know, you'll go and see a group like Slipknot. You'll be at the hotel and you see their guys. I've gotten to know different security details and sometimes they cross over to other bands of course. So you see the guys, like you, "I wonder how they got those guys," right, and in our case... So Kimo [Silva], there's a guy-

CJ: That's Slash's guy.

Duff: Right. And he's been with other bands throughout the years, and in the case of my guy, Tedau [?], Kimo and Tedau [?] are cousins.


Duff: So I had a guy before this, Tim Medvetz, who's my bro. He was also Head of Security for the Hell's Angels for eight years. So he was out with me. I've climbed mountains with Tim.

CJ: Like, literally.

Duff: Yeah. He's done Everest three times, the seven highest in in the world. And he has this foundation where he takes legless and armless vets up to the highest mountains in the world.

CJ: Really?

Duff: Yeah. And he is just a wonderful dude and he's a bad-ass. And he's my brother and he rides Harleys and et cetera, et cetera. So he was my guy for the first seven months of this tour, six months. But he has an injury, he got in a bad motorcycle accident a bunch of years ago and he finally had to get his-

CJ: Like, surgery, or whatever?

Duff: Well, he's got like metal up and down the spine.

CJ: Gotcha.

Duff: There's a show called Everest on Discovery and if anybody seen that he was "Biker Tim" on that. And yeah, he got in a really bad accident and he said he'd never walk again and blah blah blah. But he climbed Everest. So he's a fantastic guy but he had to finally get that surgery on his ankle, [?] wasn't sure if they're going to save his foot. So he had to take time off and Tedau [?] came in. But you end up hanging with these...

CJ: Well, yes.

Duff: And so that's why I brought Tim, because we climb mountains, you know. We hang alone in solitude in the, you know.... And we get along well. So Tedau [?] coming out, it's like, well, that's that's a big part of it, "Can we hang?" Because you eat dinner together every night, you travel together, you do everything together and Tedau [?] was so cool. He's so mellow, you know? And then he'll come out of his room, he's got little speaker and he's got like the newest pop, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry and [?] and stuff, and that's our walk-in music down the hall, into the elevator.

CJ: He's playing it as you guys are walking.

Duff: It's our walking music.

CJ: And this thing like, you know, and we're joking and stuff like that, and obviously you and I are bros and you're super humble and super cool. But to get to the level when you need security and obviously Guns N' Roses, this is a huge stadium tour. So what exactly is he doing? Is he just kind of, is he the guy that kind of leads you from A to B or day-to-day? Is there... I doubt there's fans trying to like accost you where he has to go like, "Get out of here!"

Duff: Uhm, that. OK, so let's see. There is that. North America's you got... It's more eBayers.

CJ: Isn't that brutal?

Duff: It's brutal and I'm sure you deal with it-

CJ: -All the time. People show up at the airport and I'm like, "How did you know what flight I'm on?"

Duff: They know what flight you're on.

CJ: Like if I had to fight-

Duff: It's scary.

CJ: If I had to pick you up from the airport and I'd say, "My friend Duff's on a flight, what flight is he on?" they would say, "Sorry Sir, we can't give you that information."

Duff: But they know it.

CJ: But you land, there's fans there with all the pictures and whatever, you know.

Duff: There's gotta be money exchanged there.

CJ: I agree, yeah.

Duff: And there's there's particular airlines. I will say it, American Airlines sells their information.

CJ: Really?

Duff: For sure.

CJ: For sure?

Duff: For sure. Every time you land at JFK in America, they're there.

CJ: And there's a whole, like a whole posse of them there.

Duff: LA, the same thing.

CJ: Yeah.

Duff: Seems to be American more than others. Certain hotels in Manhattan.

CJ: Really? Wow!

Duff: I'm here for 12 hours. I'm not even spending the night here. How did you know I was going to be here?

CJ: Right.

Duff: You know?

CJ: Yeah. I even asked to like-

Duff: We're not even playing a gig here.

CJ: Like you have a day room because you're traveling somewhere-

Duff: Yeah, it happened last week, I was in Manhattan for....[?] Whatever, you know, 12 hours. And they are there.

CJ: Yeah. "How do you know this right?" So what would do in that situation?

Duff: So he calls ahead. You know, like that's not a life threatening thing.

CJ: No, no, no, of course.

Duff: So I don't mean to make it a bigger thing than it is. If you're tired, the main thing is you're tired and, you know, you just.... Out here you are trying to get to the gym, you're trying to eat something good, you're trying to get coffee and you're trying to get to your gig or whatever the thing you got to do and that's it. And you don't wanna like.... Germs and like in that case, like germs and stuff, you want to come in the back. That day I had strep throat, so I didn't wanna deal... I had strep throat for like a week and a half out here, which, you know, as a singer is-

CJ: -brutal.

Duff: Is brutal. So I was on steroids and, you know, stuff-

CJ: Did you sing during the show as well? You have your own song even that you sing during the set.

Duff: I sing a lot of falsetto, backups.

CJ: You do a lot of that. I noticed that when I saw you last year, you doing singing throughout the whole show.

Duff: Right. Yeah. So that's kind of, you know, falsetto especially you can't-

CJ: You can't hide singing. Yeah.

Duff: You can't be full voiced, so you can't, you know... Luckily we have Melissa Reese with us and she's a vocal coach. She is such an amazing singer.

CJ: She plays keyboards and she sings, yeah.

Duff: She sings a lot, and her and I sing a lot of like just duo vocals. So she's like, "Dude, okay, here's what you gotta do." And she's like, coached me through that.

CJ: So what is it just from a singing standpoint, like, what was she saying? Like, she talking, "If you're sick, here's what you got to do," or just in general-

Duff: Step throat. She's got it down to exactly, "Here's what's going on physically with your vocal cords and strep is right here and let me look," send flashlight up, "Okay, oh, yeah, okay, don't touch me." You know.

CJ: So how do you sing when you have that problem?

Duff: You know when you yawn? And you open up the back of your palate? You have to sing... like you sing all the way up there, like yawning, that part in the back of your palate. When you yawning you have to push from the lower abs up to that yawning part. You gotta, like, you know, close your mouth in like you're saying "Ooh" the whole time. When you're sing that, like... She says, "I look at you downstage when you're singing and your mouth is wide, close it up, put your shoulders back," I'm like, "But I got the bass on me." "Yeah, yeah, you're all trying to look cool." "I'm not trying to look cool, I just got my bass on, I'm singing. This is how I've sang for 30 years." "Well, you got to lift your shoulders up and pull them back down"-

CJ: Interesting stuff.

Duff: "And keep your chest up and sing from your lower abs," and blah blah blah.

CJ: Really?

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: It's funny because I met Smokey Robinson once. And he was eating lemons. And I just went up to him and said, you know, "Smokey," like, "does lemons help you with your voice? Is that like, for your throat?" He is like, "No, man, I just like eating lemons."


Duff: That's great.

CJ: And he said the only thing that helps you as a singer was water and sleep. He said, The rest of that shit, you know, throat coat and all that stuff, that's all bullshit for me." And he's like obviously one of the greatest singers of all time for 50 years. And so I always kind of took that his advice, sleeping and water.

Duff: And you don't sleep though?

CJ: Well, that's the thing.


Duff: I know you, Chris Jericho. What do you do, about 3-4 hours a night, maybe?

CJ: Four or five hours a night.

Duff: Four or five hours a night.

CJ: Four or five. Once in a while it'll be a little bit longer, but usually five is the norm. That's it. My mind is moving too much and that got stuff going on.

Duff: I get it.

CJ: How is it for you when you're on the road? Because you guys have a lot of days off as well, right?

Duff: We do, yeah. Yeah, you definitely like... I'm in a thing right now. You know when you get on the road and you get in your groove, like in your zone, routing. So we just and... Two months ago, I traveled from Tel Aviv to Seattle to go to the dentist. We were supposed to have nine days off but we put this Apollo show in New York City right in the middle of our nine days off. So I'm like, but I had to go to the dentist, I had to get this temporary taken off this root canal and put the permanent on. My dentist's going, "Dude, that thing comes off you're screwed. You want to keep your teeth or what?" "I want to keep my teeth." So I was going to go to, you know, I was going to go home for 9 days and get my tooth fixed and blah blah, but I couldn't so I flew from Tel Aviv, which is Middle Eastern time, whatever that is, 11 hours ahead of Seattle. Flew to Seattle, slept that night, my dentist in the morning, got it done., flew to Manhattan, so that's back over across the country, got there, got some Mr. Softy ice cream and stuff, went to the gym, went to bed. Got up, did sound check. It was hot. Sound checked, did the The Apollo Show - which we played late, New York time, because we wanted it to be midnight because the 30th anniversary of Appetite. So we wanted to play at midnight, at the time-

CJ: Oh, at the exact moment.

Duff: Yeah. So we did that and  went to our hotel... Oh, slept for one hour because I got on the 0-dark-30 flight back to my family, right? And my point in all of that, I experienced no jet lag. Because you're really... you're zoning in on this thing, you're gonna attack this thing and you're not gonna have jet lag. But going from Eastern Time, Montreal, Ottawa, [?], Miami, Hershey, PA, where we've been for a while, just as the Central Time, that mess you up. [laughs] I've got a messed up.

CJ: But it's funny, though, like you mentioned like your dentist, right? And it's the same, like-

Duff: You have to go to the dentist.

CJ: Would you be like, well, why don't you just go like.... But you have to go to your dentist. Like that's the way. Like it's yours-

Duff: Yeah, it my dentist.

CJ: You know, like even for me, like I'm growing my hair out a little bit, it's gonna probably look a little bit like yours when I'm done.

Duff: Mine's a mess right now.

CJ: Well, so is mine. But the reason I have this hair is because I was on tour for a month, then I came back and my hairstylist was on vacation for a month. And I'm not going to go to just anybody. I want to go to her.

Duff: [?] some mullets because I've gone-

CJ: Yeah.

Duff: -person, yeah.

CJ: And it's like, since I can't go to her, I got two months of hair now, I'm just gonna keep going and see where it ends up. But I think people would not understand that. Like, you wanna go to your dentist, your hairstylist, so it's worth it flying all the way across the country to go, right, to yours?

Duff: Yeah, yeah. Like even seeing a doctor. Like I got this, I got strep throat, right? So I saw a doctor. I have a heart murmur. I've had it since I was a kid. So I know what's coming. And then also, I've done a bunch of drugs in my 20s, right? So I know what's gonna happen. I can call it. He's gonna look up my nose, he's gonna go, "Oh my God!" "OK, I did a bunch of cocaine in my 20s, I know, I've had two surgeries." "Geez, I was", you know, "Wow!" "I don't do drugs anymore, if you're looking for drug," you know, like, and then they put the thing on. They want to listen to my lungs, right? "You've got a heart murmur!" "Yeah, Mr Bedside Manner, yes, I know, I'm not going to die, pretty sure, right now. Does it sound like I'm gonna die?" "You should get that checked out." "No, I'm good. Thanks. But now I'll freak out all night, but thanks. Cool."

CJ: You're worried all night, right? [?] you're on tour and playing these big rooms, big rooms, big venues, big places, but you're completely sober and have been for 15 years now. 10 years?

Duff: Well, no, I mean, I've been off the the booze since '94.

CJ: '94? And completely sober from all the other shit, too?

Duff: Yeah, uhm, yeah.

CJ: So when when you're on tour now, I mean you've obviously, and we've toured together in the UK and Australia, but now on this in these big, you know, playing stadiums, is it different? Like, do you think back to what you used to do like in the 90s when you had days off? Like, now you're going to the gym-

Duff: I mean, my days off have been the same thing though for a long time.


Duff: Which is gym, whatever kind of physical activity, which is going to be something, it's always extreme, you know? That's the one thing I had to start to figure out. How do you get that same part in your... Tap that same place in your head without going so extreme? Because I'm like doing all kinds of supplements now and Vita Mineral green like and even tried cannabinoids for joints. You tried that?

CJ: No. What is it?

Duff: You know CBD oil? A doctor gave it to me. There's a study. It's really good for like joints getting in like after 50 and they're... So it actually worked. It doesn't get you high or anything.

CJ: But it's almost like this type of stuff is your new addiction. Like the healthy side-

Duff: I'm trying to find, is there a mixture of stuff I can do and still go hard in the gym and not be so damn sore? I've worked out seven days a week. How do I take a rest day?

CJ: And plus, you're doing 3 hour shows, three days a week, right?

Duff: 2-3 days a week.

CJ: Yeah, and that's very taxing.

Duff: And we're picking it up because we're going to do arena run this fall. So then we're doing... We won't have to move a huge stage. That's why we only play two, three times a week because we have this, we have a couple stages going.

CJ: Like one stage is being set up now in the next venue.

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: But when you're playing a stadium show, like you mentioned, you've got a big stadium stage that you have to cover. There's a lot-

Duff: That's why you see big bands, they're only playing a couple of times a week. You know, "All those guys are really slowing down," but no, you know, you have to set this whole thing up. If you walk into a stadium, you see Paul McCartney or some big band, or us, playing, everything there, including the seats on the ground, you know, are ours. It would be we either rented those seats-

CJ: Really?

Duff: It's like we're putting on an NFL football game.

CJ: Wow, even the seats? I never thought about that.

Duff: Oh, but back to the security. OK, what I wanted to get to on that. In all seriousness, so there's personal security guys that we have, but that's not really.... like all this eBay stuff and all that. South America is crazy. You need to have-

CJ: It's like Beatlemania there, right?

Duff: Yeah. Europe, like, Italy and some, it's Justin Bieber stuff. You know, Beatlemania, it really is. And that's the thing. But you know, in this day and age. We, like, we went and played Slane Castle in Dublin three days after the Ariana Grande thing in Manchester. And every place, all these places are on high alert. So we have a full security detail at the venue, we have advanced guys, and they're all, you know, ex-Seal team guys, all this stuff, and then they coordinate with the police and whoever else to make sure that the people coming to see us are safe. You know, we have a way out. I'm not worried about me, but you're worried about, you know, you're putting on a big show, you have a bunch of people coming to see you, there's a responsibility for that. And I think we feel it pretty greatly and pretty gravely sometimes. So that show, same promoter, the Manchester show was our promoter three days later in Slane.

CJ: Wow, Slane, and that's a big gig.

Duff: It's 60 miles as the crow flies from Manchester to Dublin. Pretty close. Maybe too close for comfort. You're putting on this 85,000 people, you know. So there's all the way to the train stations and, you know, "See something, say something." All of that was.... And the security all throughout Europe was really great and they had, I think, they've had the crowd as safe as they could get it. Some places we played there was helicopters circling, you know, with a guy hanging out-

CJ: With the gun.

Duff: Yeah. Look, that gets your attention as you're playing like, "Wow, there's a guy."

CJ: And that's the world that we live in now, you know, we did a show in Paris a week after the Bataclan with the Eagles of Death Metal. We did a show one week later.

Duff: And you guys were in, weren't you in St. Louis like a few days after the-

CJ: Yeah, dude, the Ferguson thing. That's right. And both the shows, I mean, like there's, I mean there's small crowds because who the hell is gonna go to a rock show? But for us, we wanted to do it because you don't want to cancel, because you don't want to let, you know, let them win, quote/unquote. But I'll tell you what, the one in Paris a week after the, you know, this massive shooting massacre. You know I'm watching the door, the back of the room, and that's just in case, right? But we didn't wanna cancel it and the people that showed up had a great time and it was they needed it. But it's scary though, man. You know, it's like I said, you know, you just never know what's going to go down. And like you said, we could just run out the back, you know? There's always a way for the band to escape, but it's for the fans and the people out there that you're worried for them in a lot of ways, you know?

Duff: Yeah. I mean you say you can always [?] back, you hope. You're playing the show so you're kind of the last person you worry about. I'm sure there's a certain part of you is like, "OK, what's my strategy?"

CJ: Absolutely. Yeah. I had my escape route planned and I do that actually every time because another thing we did was that night that there was that fire that at the Great White show in Rhode Island. Remember that? We played that night as well in Albany, NY, which is right down the road. So every time I do a show, I always look at, "Where's my escape route if a fire breaks out?" you know what I mean? Just have to think that way and it's shitty but that's just how you think, right? So when you're talking about doing these big shows, and it's it's interesting because it's a very cool coincidence that August 24th, 1987, I saw Guns N' Roses for the first day.

Duff: And today is August-

CJ: August 24th, 2017, here you are playing the stadium.

Duff: Slash brought that up. I think-

CJ: I texted Slash as well. Did he tell you about it? You know, Slash is [?], like, "Wow, what a coincidence." But it's cool that he actually thought enough of it-

Duff: Yeah, he said "Hey, man, Jericho texted me and said here's the deal," yeah.

CJ: Do you remember, like, you know, do you remember that tour with The Cult? Because I think that was your first tour, right?

Duff: Oh, I remember it well. Yeah, I really do. I mean that was the first arena tour we'd ever done. And we had a tour bus, like a real tour bus. And you know, of course the tour bus was 20 years old at that time and, you know, the first night we were in Halifax our bus driver got rolled for his his float by a hooker.


Duff: But, you know, it didn't matter. I remember having no money on that tour and like going through the audience after we played and say, "Do you have change so I can make a phone call?"

CJ: Dude, I'm going to tell you something right now.

Duff: Did I come up to you and ask for change?

CJ: No, you didn't. But you were at the back of the arena selling the buttons on your jacket for 5 bucks each in the middle of the crowd. And I know this because I just talked to my cousin Chad. I said, "What was Duff doing?" Because we saw you. And he said, "He was selling the pins on his jacket for 5 bucks apiece."

Duff: Yes, so, like catering, like "Why they got catering? There's food." So there was like a meal on gig days that you could have. But we had no money. There was like... We had no per diem, no money. So it's like, "Okay, well, you guys are on tour." It's great. We had McBob, who's my tech still. We just celebrated 30 years.

CJ: McBob, yeah. 30 years, that's crazy.

Duff: He and I had dinner in Buffalo. 30 years, so that was 30 years ago, wasn't it? So he started in Halifax. That was this first gig, it was just Mcbob and another guy then.

CJ: I'm sure you didn't have a big crew.

Duff: Yeah, we had two guys. Which was like huge to us. "We have two guys!" And a backdrop. And it was probably like 4 by 8, the backdrop, but yeah, I remember that you were very well, you know, being brokered, you know, stuff didn't matter. I did so many punk rock tours where you had no place to stay you would like get to the show and there would always be a punk rock house that you could sleep at. So you just-

CJ: A band house.

Duff: There was some band house somewhere in wherever you're at, Eugene, OR, there's some kid's house. You know, sometimes you sleep at somebody's moms house. So I wasn't worried about that, we had a tour bus. You can always go to the bus.

CJ: Yeah, right. Sleep on that, yeah.

Duff: So yeah, we went, started in Halifax, came across Canada, and played the hockey rinks and in some theaters, came down the west coast, went through my hometown of Seattle, and it was amazing. Played The Paramount, this place I'd seen The Clash and all these at the place. Great bands. I saw The Clash pre London Calling at this place-

CJ: At the Paramount.

Duff: -that now we're playing. Yeah, so it was a big deal. Came back down to LA, then across the southwest, through Texas, and ended in New Orleans. And I remember the tour very well.

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2017.09.06 - Talk Is Jericho - 30 Years of GnR with Duff McKagan Empty Re: 2017.09.06 - Talk Is Jericho - 30 Years of GnR with Duff McKagan

Post by Blackstar Sun Jun 18, 2023 4:39 am

CJ: Because, like, at that point I remember, like, no one, at least up here in Winnipeg, no one knew who you were.

Duff: No-

CJ: Never heard of you guys or anything about Guns N' Roses. And I remember, still remember, the guy came on stage, maybe it was McBob, and he was like, "Of all the bands in the world, this is one of them. Here's Guns N' Roses!"

Duff: McBob, that was McBob.

CJ: Yeah. And then you walked out there, plug in and start It's So Easy. And I was like, "Who the fuck are these guys?" "Just scums. What a bunch of bums," you know? [laughs]

Duff: Yeah, yeah, we came back through a few months later with Iron Maiden.

CJ: Iron Maiden, that's right!

Duff: You know, The Cult crowd was a little more rock and roll.

CJ: A little bit more similar to the vibe of Guns N' Roses than the Maiden would be.

Duff: Maiden's crowd were like, "Who in the hell are these fuck?" you know? [laughs]. But you just go out and do the shows. We were thankful to Iron Maiden for that tour, but we toured a lot where nobody knew who we were, mostly. On that Appetite for Destruction tour we were out for a year.

CJ: It's funny, because Appetite came out, like, you said, in July of '87. I actually did a bit of research, one thing. But it didn't take off till about a year later. Which is unbelievable in this day and age that you had a whole year before the album-

Duff: And it wasn't normal back then either. You know, they were about to pull us off the road. We had tour support, so that paid for the the bus and the the crew guys. And of course we had to pay it all back.

CJ: If you have a [?] on the record company, you're paying it back, of course, eventually.

Duff: Yeah, with interest.


Duff: Those are all things you don't know then.

CJ: And they don't ever really tell you either.

Duff: But yeah, so we've toured for a year, you know, we'd go to London, we'd go to the UK and stuff, and we were blowing up there. Such a strange thing to go there and, like... We sold out the Hammersmith Odeon, that's 2500 people or something, right. And we sold out other big theatres in the UK and then we'd come back to America and there'd be, like, three people up front who'd be like, "Yeah, that's our band" "That's our three people!" And then we'd go to Japan and it was a thing there, Australia was a thing, come back to the States, nothing. But when it started to pick up, we were on the Aerosmith tour. So we did, what do we do? We did Alice Cooper tour, we were the first of three.

CJ: Really?

Duff: Yeah, through the Midwest. So that's like, you know, it's us, Megadeth, Alice Cooper.

CJ: Another strange bill, right?

Duff: Yeah. So you got to set up in front of not only Alice Cooper stuff, but Megadeath's stuff-

CJ: Alice's drum set, Megadeath's drum set, then your drum set-

Duff: -at the very front, the lip. There was gigs where we had to jump over the bass drum to get to the other side of stage. The Cult were nice enough to give us that first tour and, you know, they saw us at the Marquee in London and they were like, "We want to take those guys on tour. We think that band's killer."

CJ: They saw it before anybody else did?

Duff: Yeah, so always thankful to them, and Maiden, and all the bands that took us out. Then Motley Crue, again there are three people [?], in the South, the rest of you are like, you were just filling in.

CJ: Yeah. Yeah. "We want to Tommy Lee!"

Duff: Yeah. And then the Aerosmith tour, Sweet Child O' Mine single came out and it went from three to 30, you know, to 300. All in, like, I swear, a couple weeks.

CJ: And I remember that too.

Duff: 3000 to everybody got there.

CJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Duff: To see us.

CJ: And then you're almost bigger than the headlining.

Duff: We had that new breaking band, [?] stigma. So people are really excited. Aerosmith of course, are Aerosmith, band's you just don't compete with. They're Aerosmith. But we had that fresh, shiny vibe where everybody had to see us.

CJ: Just on the strength of that one song?

Duff: Yeah, then they would, you know, get the record, go, "Oh my God," you know, "I like this song and that song." And so yeah, that was a really interesting time, you know, going from asking people for change so you could make a phone call-

CJ: You really literally-

Duff: We still didn't have any money, but everybody knew.... The thing is like, everybody knew who you were suddenly. You know, you go into grocery store when you got back to LA and we're on the cover of Rolling Stone. But you don't change at all. You're like, "I gotta buy some copies for sure." It's like that song, you know.

CJ: Buy 5 copies for my mother.

Duff: Yeah. But then people are looking at you at the store and, like, and pointing. "There's a guy." And I was like, "Wow, that's weird. It's so weird. 'Hi'." You know that odd thing where you don't know what to say? "'Hello,' how's my voice sound when I say that? 'Hello. Hi.' How am I supposed to even say that? 'Yes, it's me. Yeah, I'm that guy.' I don't know what to even say," you know?

CJ: It's like we said, [?], "Are you who I think you are?" It's like, "Who do you think I am?"

Duff: Depends on who you think I am. I'm pretty sure it depends on that.

CJ: Seriously, I was telling you last night that-

Duff: -I like your answer.

CJ: - that people say to me like, "You're a lot smaller in person," and I always say like, "I'm actually not even this big." But today [?] posted a picture and right underneath on his Instagram someone goes, "Wow, he's a lot smaller than I thought." I was gonna text back, "I'm actually not even that big," so that's always the thing though. [laughs]

Duff: You should.

CJ: I should. Let's talk about Appetite For Destruction as the record. So this is your basically your first record and here we are now, 30 million copies later, when you guys are, was there a buzz about Guns N' Roses when you're doing this record, where you're like, did you guys, I mean, you obviously never know, but did you know you had something special at the time, doing something that no one's really doing?

Duff: We had an incredible belief in ourselves. You know, even from the very beginning, like when that band got together, we all knew, like, this is the thing that we've all wanted to do. We've been in a bunch of bands before this. This is the band. And we would go out and play club shows in LA and again like it was three people and we knew them all. It was like West Arkeen, my next door neighbor, somebody's girlfriend and their friend-

CJ: Yeah, Del James.

Duff: -from the office. And then all those guys came from New York, so then it was seven people, you know, "Yes!" that believed in us. And when you believe in yourself nothing could stop you. You know what I mean? And we believe in ourselves and we built that band up in LA and and we kept writing songs and fine tuning songs we had, you know, like some of the songs like Rocket Queen, or whatever, you probably wouldn't recognize like, "Oh, the main riffs there, oh, but they went into some other weird part." We would fix songs by going out and playing the songs like, "Oh, that didn't really work. That didn't feel right there." So we'd get back in and this little dingy rehearsal place we had, we lived in and everything, no bathroom-

CJ: [?] living there.

Duff: Yeah, it was our lab, you know, and we believed in ourselves and label started coming out and we, you know, we started attracting bigger crowds. That's when labels started come out. We started selling out the Troubadour, which is a big deal in LA. You go to the Troubadour now and you look at the size of, it's like, "Well, what's the big deal?" It's like 220 people. But then it was a big thing.

CJ: The Troubadour used to be kind of way bigger than it is now, it used to be one of the cornerstones of the LA scene, right?

Duff: Yeah, because that kind of.... There were still the.... What's the right word?

CJ: Mystique of it or?

Duff: Yeah, from the 70s, from Elton John going there and and all those kind of.... There was a lot of bands that broke at the Troubadour, artists that broke, and so there was some sort of that thing. It was still "Doug Weston's Troubadour." So labels came out, we made this, we signed a deal with Geffen and then we made this record and we had to find a producer and nobody wanted to produce us. There was this thing around us, this sort of stigma, like, "These guys ain't gonna live through the-"

CJ: Because you have like a hard partying reputation sort of thing?

Duff: Yeah, it was all very real, you know? Like there was no bullshit about the band. It was a ball of fire. You know, like rolling around the city. But, you know, we found a guy, Mike Clink, who saw us for what we were. In all of that we were really dedicated musicians and songwriters and worked very hard. We rehearsed twice a day. You know, Steven and I would rehearse early in the day. You get up, you go to work, you know, we all had jobs, like 6 in the morning till noon or one, and then you go-

CJ: What was your job at the time?

Duff: We kinda all had the same job, like phone sales, right.

CJ: What were you selling?

Duff: I sold office supplies.

CJ: So you're calling people-

Duff: Under a different name, yeah. I was Paul Dana. But you had to have it, you know, like I had a job and there was, you know, we all kind of grew up in a different time. Like all blue collars, kind of, you gotta make your own way, you're not gonna move to LA and like not work. You're gonna work and-

CJ: No one's giving you a credit card to live off of.


Duff: No, no, times are different now. They are a lot different. There's just wasn't any money then, either. And we grew up in the times when they're.... 70s and 60s and stuff. It just wasn't money. So anyhow, you pulled your own weight and you've got to work and then you go to rehearsal. Steven and I would rehearse every day, rhythm section rehearsal and kind of hone that thing in. And then we'd rehearse as a band and we worked hard and we believed in that record, and we made this record and, like I said, to make us. I've made a really long story out of a simple question.

CJ: No, but that's interesting stuff, like you mention just the rhythm section rehearsal because, you know, Steven Adler has a really cool vibe. You know, I don't know if anybody really plays like him. Like, he's different from Matt Sorum, different from Frank Ferrar. I don't know if it's more of a swing thing or a little bit more sloppy, but-

Duff: Both of those.

CJ: Both, yeah, right.

Duff: Yeah. And, you know, he was a.... When I first answered the ad for Slash and Steven, for this band Road Crew-

CJ: Where was the ad? Was in the in the papers?

Duff: Well yeah, it was in the paper. And the guy's name was Slash. I'm like, "He's a punk rock guy." Like, I was just coming out of... Punk rock was kind of dead in '84. All the kind of skinhead guys started coming in from the suburbs and they ruined punk rock, like these Nazi bullshit.... Like, you know, and the Nazis, you know, "You're from the suburbs," but this just happened all over North America.

CJ: Oi! movement, right?

Duff: Just a bunch of dumb shits, but they ruined, you know they're not, slam dancing was fighting, right. I was, "This isn't rock'n'roll anymore, this is something else." So whatever was gonna be next was gonna be up to guys my age. And so I met the other guys my age, which were the guys in our band. We're like, "Well, whatever's next, it's gonna be up to us." Whatever that is. And Steven had this huge drum kit when I met him and Slash, like double bass drum, shit ton of tom, way too many cymbals, all this stuff. And he would play all of it at once [imitating drumming]. But, you know, where's the beat, you know? But he had a groove in there. He had this little engine that was really interesting. And you know, some people are just born to play drums or some people are born to play guitar, and he was born to play drums. I've played with drummers that shouldn't have been drummers. It looked like such an effort back then. So eventually when we, you know, Guns N' Roses became those five guys, Izzy and I started taking this drums away, like hiding them. So he ended up with the single kick drum, a snare, no rack toms-

CJ: Really?

Duff: - one floor tom, hi hat, crash or ride, and a cowbell. So from that huge drum kit down to this Ramones-kit.

CJ: Wow. You did have any rack toms?

Duff: Look at pictures.

CJ: Interesting.

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: And you mentioned something-

Duff: Listen to Appetite. There's no rack toms.

CJ: You mentioned one thing, too, cowbell. There's a lot of cowbell work on that record.

Duff: So he had to use what he had. But our point was like, "Let's get to the groove." So Steven and I would listen to a lot like Cameo.

CJ: "Word up".

Duff: Yeah, Sly and the Family Stone. Stuff with groove, and a beat, and we'd play along with it. And I hadn't been a bass player until... I played bass in punk rock bands and I played guitar in punk rock bands and I played drums. I really had to figure out which one of those I was going to do. So I moved to LA thinking, "Well, I'll do one of these three." And so that band, you know, I went to play with Steven and Slash, I was a bass player. And then Guns started as it is, as it was. And I'm like, "Well, I'm gonna be a bass player. So how do I do that? Which base place do I emulate? What style? What am I going to be? How am I going to be different? How am I going to be this thing and get serious about it?" And back then bass players were, you know, there was Lemmy, Paul Simonon from The Clash, Nikki, Motley Crue, bass playing was a cool thing to be. There was a band called Magazine where the bass... Killing Joke, all these... like, the bass player was the thing. So like, "Let's make our rhythm section a thing." And you have also Jane's Addiction where their rhythm section was unreal. Like, "Okay, we gotta be unreal." So we'd listen to a lot of that kind of stuff and would sometimes play along to it. And then we play our songs with, like, the [?] real pocket. So you hear semblances of that sort of R&B and funk and stuff, but we made it our own thing, very rock'n'roll. But it was a lot of work, because I wasn't really a bass player.

CJ: Well that's that's one thing, I notice when guitar players switch over to bass, you're still thinking almost like a guitar player in a lot of ways.

Duff: I was thinking like a drummer.

CJ: Like a drummer, gotcha. Because your baseline is like, I've seen this, not just cuz you're here and we are friends, your baselines are very inventive and very cool. Like, it's not just normal bass playing it's almost like that Gene Simmons plays very strange, against the rhythm parts, like McCartney, you do the same thing, which is not a punk rock bass player. You know, you're coming at it more of almost like, like I said, like Gene or like Steve Harris even, where there's a lot of really cool stuff going on that's not just the root.

Duff: Right. And I mean like punk rock, such a broad term so I hate to even use that, because you listen to The Clash and Paul Simonon did some amazing [?] And then you get the Lemmy, you go to Lemmy for like just down the middle, like [?], like I love that too. That's more like, I guess punk rock.

CJ: Also the distorted tone that he had. I'm not sure if he used the pedal or if he just used his amp [?] and turned on the distortion. But that's almost like a guitar when you listen to it, you know?

Duff: Yeah. And then there would be like other stuff like Killing Joke... And so I don't mean to put punk rock... I put anything with sort of bad intention, which I love, you know, playing with bad intentions, all into punk rock.

CJ: Like, it's hard to call The Clash a punk rock band by the definition of what punk rock is.

Duff: Whatever that definition is.

CJ: Right, like Rock the Casbah. Like, you know, Train In Vain is not a punk rock song in the least but they're a punk rock band, right?

Duff: I can't say, yeah, yeah. I think, you know, a lot of bands tried to shake that.

CJ: Yeah, yeah, Blondie, even the Police started as a punk band.

Duff: They did, I saw them on a punk tour, you know?

CJ: Yeah. Another great bass player, too, in Sting. And a very underrated as a bass player.

Duff: Yeah. Absolutely. How he could sing and play those basslines.

CJ: Yeah, yeah. You know, I heard you, you take appreciation of this, when he was first learning how to sing and play guitar, or play bass, at the same time, he wrote a lot of songs with space, like Walking On the Moon, the vocal and there's no baseline [humming]. I thought that was always pretty cool, like, when I heard that. A lot of the early Police tunes have that space where there's nothing going on in between, you know, to learn how to sing and play, because it's hard to sing and play. You do it great, but it's not an easy thing to do.

Duff: Yeah, like anything you work at.

CJ: Yeah, yeah. When you're talking about the songs on Appetite, like what songs are yours, that you brought to the table on that record?

Duff: It's so hard to say, you know, because everybody has a piece of everything. Like, It's So Easy is a song I recorded on four track, a version of it. I learned open E tuning on guitar from West, my next door neighbor, and, you know, when you were learning new tuning on guitar you write like 19 songs in 25 minutes, like, "Wow! This new tuning open up a whole new world." So It's So Easy was a thing I recorded and Axl loved it. You know it's like, "Okay." Paradise City I had a lyric for that, you know, with three chords. Welcome To Jungle, the verse riff is it is from this old punk rock band.

CJ: This [humming]. Really, that's your riff?

Duff: So there's so many riffs and I hate to even say their mine because it was such a band thing. So I over the years.... you know, I think maybe back then, like because you're young, you're 20 and 21, you're like, "Well, that part's mine," you know? You learn to really shake that thing. Those were just really band song.

CJ: Because if you look at the, you know, the track listing, it says, "All songs are written by Guns N' Roses."

Duff: And this is so true.

CJ: That's true, yeah, yeah. So you guys just get together in a room and just throw shit around?

Duff: Yeah, we worked hard and we just played a lot, we rehearsed a lot. And, you know, Axl would come in and start singing on something. It's like, "Well, that part's wrong. You gotta change, it doesn't work." "Okay, what does that mean?" you know, "you don't have a guitar on," like, "It's gotta be more angry," you know, or, "This part's gonna be," and like, "Okay," you know and you learned like.... He had such amazing instincts. At first you're like, "Well, he doesn't play guitar," like, "What does he know?" But we'd land on something, like after being frustrated, and finally, like, Slash would play some riff, like, just being pissed off, like, "Oh, there it is, there it is!" And you would learn like whatever Axl's instinct was usually the right thing, even though you fight through it, you fight through it, fight through it, and eventually land on something.

CJ: You're basically pushing each other.

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: Right?

Duff:  And like, "Where do we go," at the end of Sweet Child was, "Okay, where are we going in this song now? Where do we go now?" So that was like a place setter lyric.

CJ: Oh really?

Duff: Yeah. "Where do we go?" In the song, "Where do we go now?"

CJ: Oh, that's great.

Duff: And like, that was that band at the time. Like, "Oh, actually, that works for the song." You know, for the previous lyric in the song, it works great.

CJ: It's great because when you think about it, it doesn't, I mean, it makes sense, but it doesn't really make sense. But that's the reason why, it was just the placeholder for what you wanted to do. How much of like kind of the unsung hero, if that's the right word, was Izzy to that process?

Duff: I don't think he's unsung. Sorry. [mumbling voice]

CJ: Sorry. He's putting a vitamin C into your water bottle.

Duff: Yeah. And then it looks... like, I've done my whole room, looks like I've done cocaine. [laughs] I have, you know, all these powders-

CJ: White powder all over the place, 30 years difference.

Duff: I leave my rooms in all these Fancington Suites like, "Oh my God, there's a lot of cocaine."

CJ: "That guy from Guns N' Roses is on so much cocaine. We saw the white powder everywhere." We were talking about Izzy, though.

Duff: Izzy, I've heard the unsung hero, but I think he's sung pretty well. He was, you know, a big part of that band, but everybody was. You know, Steven, you know, some of the beats that he would start would inspire a riff, you know. And how do you give that credit to a drummer who doesn't have a guitar on? How do you, you know... Axl's like, "You gotta credit him with what's like pushing us to get the riff for Michelle."

CJ: How do you mean?

Duff: Because it was double time and that original riff for Michelle wasn't the riff it was, it was this fast kind of.

CJ: So if you double times [humming].

Duff: I even forgot what it was, you know, but Izzy had like this these cool riffs but the rest of the band would take it and make it like this whole other thing. It's hard to say, everybody.... If you want to say that anybody was unsung, then everybody was unsung-

CJ: -or everybody was sung.

Duff: I don't know. But Izzy rolled. He was a super cool guy for sure. And, you know, we all had our our demons and we faced them at different times, and he had his kind of in the midst of all of that-

CJ: -early on.

Duff: Yeah. We all had them, make no mistake about it. But it was how, you know... That's all another story.

CJ: But that's always kind of that was like almost the the image of Guns N' Roses were like, you know, and you guys cultivated that, in all your pictures have like a bottle of Jack Daniels and cigarettes in hand. But that was part of the of the-

Duff: Like, we didn't have an image consultant. That was just who we were [laughs]

CJ: You didn't have a stylist? [laughs]

Duff: No, we did not.

CJ: But, I mean, it was a whole.... Like in 1987 it was a whole new thing. It was, like, Motley Crew was like a party band but you guys were like just dirty. The Guns N' Roses just look like a bunch of dirty motherfuckers and a great rock'n'roll band. And that was part of the of the beauty of your guys' vibe, I think. You guys just didn't give a shit.

Duff: No, no.

CJ: In a time when others bands seemingly did.

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2017.09.06 - Talk Is Jericho - 30 Years of GnR with Duff McKagan Empty Re: 2017.09.06 - Talk Is Jericho - 30 Years of GnR with Duff McKagan

Post by Soulmonster Wed Aug 16, 2023 7:21 am

Duff: Yeah, it was the real thing. I mean there was other bands, and I won't name them, but, you know, I mean, there's just other bands in that scene that we just, "Oh," like if you get put in the same realm with them, like once like Hit Parader, or whatever magazine, were started to write about it, like "Do not put us in the same category as those band."

CJ: Like hair metal bands or something?

Duff: Or whatever. Whatever band it was, because we knew who was real and we knew who wasn't. We loved Fear, we loved, you know, the bands that were real around us.

CJ: But you must have [?] Aerosmith as well? That's about-

Duff: Yeah, but I'm talking about the bands that were around us in LA.

CJ: Gotcha.

Duff: Jane's Addiction was a real thing. Those guys were like super, super intense. And they were doing their own thing for sure. And there was a bunch of bands that just were kind of copying what the other... Like imagine. So our image, as it were, it was an anti image, it was just us. So if you saw a picture with us with Jack or whatever, that was just they snapped a photo of us. "Okay you guys, get together," because you have to get together for a photo, all want to be in it. "Here, okay, good, the photo session's over."


Duff: You know, off we go. So a lot of those, like early photo sessions, quote/unquote, were all done by Mark Canter or Robert John, two friends of ours, and we'd usually be out flyering at the time, so we'd be all together. So snap a photo of being, you know-

CJ: And "flyering" meaning?

Duff: Putting up flyers for your gig. That's what we did.

CJ: And that was the Sunset Strip scene at that point-

Duff: Yeah, we'd get Night Train, which is $1.29 a bottle, and we'd go out and yeah, put up flyers, getting in fights, protect ourselves, you know, we were like a gang, do a photo shoot. [laughs] "Okay, all you guys; no, you'll have to be together to be in the photo". *Snap*. "Okay, photo shoot's done."

CJ: So why would you get in fights? Cause you're putting your flyer over something?

Duff: Whatever. You know, or whatever. Hollywood was a little tough then, there were some crimes, a lot of crack cocaine, there's all kinds of numbskullery going on there.

CJ: Was there any bands at that time that didn't make it that you thought could have or should have? Like I always heard a lot about about Jet Boy. Seems like the guy passed away, Slash's buddy-

Duff:  Yeah, I was really, really tight with Todd.

CJ: And you were close to him too, right?

Duff: Yeah, yeah. They kicked him out, I think because, I mean, we took out [?] because he was hanging out with us too much. You know, and we knew when to, like, draw a line, like gigs were off.

CJ: Like don't be wasted for a gig?

Duff: Yeah, that's off limits, but every other time there was no limit. So you could either hang with us or you couldn't. Like some people would come in and try to hang with us, you know, you knew like that person is gonna last a couple of hours and they're gonna be gone.

CJ: Puking in two hours, yeah.

Duff: You get in the scrum and some people could hang with us and just stay in the scrum. And Todd was one of those guys. But Jet Boy was definitely cool. We played a bunch of shows with them early on. They had their own kind of vibe and I don't really know what happened. They made a record that didn't sound great, that record of theirs, that first record. I don't know who produced it... But it didn't sound great. Didn't sound like them. I know with Clink and us that was the thing we wanted to do. We don't want to use these studio trickery or try to be, you know, like, then, you know, there was that like Dokken sort of snare sound and stuff that everybody was using. What [?] dynamite and stuff. Remember those, all those-

CJ: Yeah, it was a real sharp [make drum sound].

Duff: -recorded dynamite and that was in the drum. They would put samples of stuff in the snare drum and all of that. There was a lot of that triggering drum sound to make the drum sound bigger. And, like, we didn't want to do any of that because we had a feeling that like that's all just gonna be a thing in passing. Records that sound great are Ave Of Spades, you know, and Led Zeppelin records and early Aerosmith records. Those records sound great. We wanna sound great. Like, put mics up to our stuff and record that. So Clink really got that. So we wanted to make a record that sounded like us. And there was some bands in that time that suddenly you hear their record and like, "That's not the band." And they put them on click track or whatever. So, "That band is better than that, a lot better than that." And I think Jet Boy was one of those cases.

CJ: For you guys, like you mentioned, like, your base tone on Appetite, you must have been super happy with that because it sounds great?

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: It sits so in the front of the mix.

Duff: We cultivated good tones cuz we played so much, we rehearsed so much, and just to sound good. And when we got that record advance I knew the gear I wanted because the Guitar Center was right in front of our place. And I would be that guy who came in and played, like, "One day I'm going to get this." "Oh, that guy's not gonna buy... again."

CJ: "No Stairway."

Duff: So that was my base tone, and it's still basically the same stuff.

CJ: Same gear?

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: What [?] did you use to record that album?

Duff: The base I have now, I still have the base, but the bases I play every night-

CJ: What are they?

Duff: They're Fender Jazz Specials, they were called. They only made them for one year. They were made in Japan and I got one. And it is the Rotosound strings, is used with it, the GK [?] I use with that, Seymour Duncan pickup system, it's the pick I use, is the whole thing that creates this tone. And I use the same stuff to this day. I do. You know, I play with my fingers a little bit now. I really got into base about 8 to 10 years ago. I started taking lessons. I got reinspired on the base and really wanted to learn like some theory and stuff. So I learned some theory and I kind of threw it away. But I started playing with my fingers and kind of expanding my knowledge. You know, I play a lot. Like before we play a show, I'll play for like 2 hours, which is something I didn't do back then. But we played so much. We rehearsed so much that I didn't have to go home and play. Home was actually our place where we rehearsed.


CJ: When you guys were getting ready for this tour and rehearsing again, did you remember the songs very easily or was it hard to get back into that Guns N' Roses group? Because it was 20 years.

Duff: It wasn't hard. No, I mean, you know, those songs are part of your makeup. So your body kind of, suddenly, like, adheres to the-

CJ: Right.

Duff: I mean, I remember I listened to Appetite and played along to it, I have this little setup where I can play along to music. Like this first time I ever played cover songs was just recently, this Kings of Chaos thing. They're playing like Deep Purple.

CJ: It's like an all-star cover band.

Duff: Yeah. Yeah. You're playing with the guys, and, like, Real Texas Shuffle with ZZ Top, like playing those songs. Like, "Whoa, this is cool!" Aerosmith songs. Like playing them real. Like, not as like a cover band, but you're playing with Steven Tyler. "You're gonna play and this is gonna be perfect." Deep Purple with Glenn Hughes. Those songs.

CJ: What a great singer he is, man. I love Glenn.

Duff: Cheap Trick songs with Robin Zander.

CJ: Yeah, that's cool.

Duff: It's amazing. But it was the first time I played cover songs. So I got this little setup where I got, you know, these blasters that plays the music and then I have a little bass amp. And I play these, I learned the songs, playing over and over and over and learn them. I don't read music. You don't really need to, you just get in the tuning, whatever it is. Some of those old 70s songs they weren't really in tune with anything so you gotta tune to the record, you know? "Okay, here I am, alright." But uh...what was my point for that? So I had my little setup, but with Appetite. I put Appetite up and played through the record and then either Illusion songs and it got into the Chinese Democracy songs.

CJ: Right, I think that's cool that you played some tunes from that record.

Duff: It's great. You know, Axl, you know, he put a lot into that record. So I think Slash and I were, like, challenged with thinks, like, "How do we make these kind of ours?" Because we're gonna play these, so we're gonna take ownership of these and we went in and started, like, we learned them first and then went in and started playing with Frank, and then Richard came in but, like, "Let's tear these songs down first to really know them." So it was just Slash and I and Frank. Playing songs like Better and Chinese Democracy songs-

CJ: What else did you do, This I Love is another you guys-

Duff: We do, we know a bunch of them, it depends in the set. "But let's tear these songs down and really get to know them and then build it up from there." My point to that is-

CJ: -you just-

Duff: -but any other than all the Illusion stuff and Appetite, it didn't take long at all. It took a day.

CJ: Is there one-

Duff "Okay, I got it."

CJ: Is there one song or what's like... What's the hardest song to play in your set? I mean, I'm sure you got them all down but is there one where you are like....A little bit more challenging? Like, "I gotta really not run around during this one"?

Duff: I mean, there's a few where I can't really run around personally either. A bass player, like I play guitar in Loaded, play rhythm guitar, which is the best instrument to play, period. You know, because you got big open chords and, you know. You can go thrashing around.

CJ: Yeah. And if you don't play a couple verses you don't have to worry about that.

Duff: Yeah. You can hit a chord and run.

CJ: Yeah.

Duff: You know, and it keeps ringing. Base, there's no ringing. So if you're running, you have to know, like, you have to be on with your right hand. I was going to say unlike a bar band [?]. Bass and drums cannot, just cannot deviate too much, at all. So yeah, I can't. But you know, I think the most challenging, it's just little parts, like the beginning of Sweet Child O' Mine where the base comes in. You can't fuck that up. Everybody there is listening. At that point, everybody's like, "Whoa!" so you can't be like [humming], you gotta be on. And there's Slash's guitar solo, so I'm thinking about it. You're not going from one song into that song in our set right now, he does this long-

CJ: Okay, he's got the Godfather thing that he does, yeah.

Duff: So I'm sitting there with my middle finger sitting on the first note for like 5 minutes thinking about it.

CJ: But what an iconic part that I was talking about earlier. What a great musical part of a song where like you know that baseline as if it was a vocal line. Everyone knows it. Another one I think of too is at the end of Paradise City. When it gets fast [humming]. You walking the dog on that one.

Duff: Yeah. So we just throw down at the end of Paradise. That's the end of the set. But I mean, there's challenging parts for sure, but we play a lot. And I wouldn't say anything... Estranged, you know, you don't want to fuck up that song, at all.

CJ: You know what's funny, when that record came out, I never liked that song because I was, you know, 21 years old and this is a 8 minute ballad or whatever, that's one of my favorite songs in your set. Such a great tune.

Duff: Thanks.

CJ: You know, when you're younger, you know what I mean? Like, "Come on! I wanna hear It's So Easy, I wanna hear rock songs. I don't want ballads." But then when you grow up and mature a bit, it's like, "What a great tune that is, man."

Duff: Yeah, it is. It's a great tune. I agree with you.

CJ: Just a few more questions as we wind down here. First of all, did you have any say or did you see that... Wait, what do you got?

Duff: And you know what? You know what I got?

CJ: Is this a present for me?

Duff: Well, we can share.

CJ: Okay, we got a bag of almonds. Okay, here we go. We got a bag of almonds that Duff gave me because we became almond buddies in Australia. We were both on the paleo diet and we had nothing to eat. Duff was super hungry and I was like, "Hey man, I got some almonds." He's like, "You got some almonds!?" And it's the famous story. Like, you know, back in the day we would be exchanging pills, the whole thing, never exchanging almonds.

Duff: So I'm on the flight. We flew here from Ottawa [?]. Like when we got to Ottawa to come here because-

CJ: Do you fly your own plane or do you fly commercially?

Duff: No. Commercial.

CJ: Oh wow. Yeah, that'd be pretty cool, Guns N' Roses on the plane.

Duff: Yeah, it was, you know, there was people that were at the show the night before. [laughs] "Hey, can I get a picture?"

CJ: "Sorry," "Sorry," "Sorry." "Hey, man, can I get one of them autographs like maybe? Or a picture?" "Oh, sorry." "Well, OK." "Sorry."

Duff: Shit man, here's the deal. They gave us almonds on the flight. And I threw some in my bag for you, Jericho.

CJ: You said Steve Jones is your spirit animal and I'm your almond animal.

Duff: Is this with the almond? No.

CJ: That's like some kind of a bar or something.

Duff: It really is. That could be years old. [laughs]

CJ: You had this in 1987, I think this bar here. What is it, dude? It's like you've got like some kind of an Arabic candy bar.

Duff: Is that right?

CJ: Yeah, look at, it's got Arabic writing on it. It's like you must have got this when you're in Tel Aviv. [laughs] Oh, that's great.

Duff: Oh, well, I can't find my...

CJ: Okay, so you got some other almonds too.

Duff: I did, I got you a little bag.

CJ: Oh, thanks, man. I appreciate that. Whenever you see almonds, you think of me.

Duff: Yeah, "Gotta get these for Jericho."

CJ: [laughs] Were you ever privy to the original cover of Appetite? Was that something that you would be involved with, where you see that cover with like the robot and the chick's, like, insinuated that she just got raped.

Duff: Axl found that, it was on like a little postcard on Melrose. It was the artist.

CJ: Really?

Duff: Yeah, yeah, So he loved the image. There was a couple few images that we had looked at and he found that one. He's like, he brought it to our little rehearsal, he's like, "Check this out." And Robert... What's... It's escaping me right...

CJ: Robert John?

Duff: No, whoever wrote...

CJ: Yeah, the guy who drew, I don't know what his name is, but the guy who drew it.

Duff: Yeah. Famous, like, you know, kind of hot rod artist and all that kind of stuff. Robert Williams.

CJ: Okay, there you go.

Duff: And it was one of his images and our record company contacted them and we, whatever, licensed the image or whatever you do. It was such a kind of a perfect image. It was like-

CJ: [?]

Duff: "Oh, there it is."

CJ: But they wouldn't let you use it, it was too controversial.

Duff: We used those on the first, like, 50,000 copies, and then it got changed because it was-

CJ: -sort of controversial.

Duff: But you know, yeah, that time, you know, with the stickers and all that back then. They still have stickers?

CJ: I don't think you have like the PRMC and all that stuff.

Duff: Yes, she was great. Al Gore's wife, Tipper Gore, was great for selling records back then. Her intent was to, like, kind of-

CJ: -stop it, blackball.

Duff: Anything with coarse language on it or whatever it's subject matter. But those stickers, parental warning stickers, sold records for anybody who had that on their record.

CJ: I was in a punk band in high school called Tipper Gory.

Duff: Oh, were you really?

CJ: I always love that name. Tipper Gory.

Duff: Tipper Gory. Yeah, Tipper, she would really... I wonder if Al was ever just embarrassed by that.

CJ: I'm sure he just let her do it, what she wants, you know, just keep her, get her out of the house and go from yelling at us. So 30 years later with Appetite and this is kind of a weird question, but why do you think it's such it got so huge? Like what was it about Appetite that made it the album of that decade in a lot of ways?

Duff: It's probably impossible for me being inside of that to answer that right. You know, I can't see our band like other people see from the outside. You know, I gotta say when I went through and played that record before we went into rehearsal, a couple Januaries ago, was like, "Oh." You know, I got this feeling, "Oh, this records rocks." You know, you can just hear the energy. That record really captured that band really well. And those were a lot of, like, first and second takes on record. Because we were playing so much, it might have been a third take on there.

CJ: Did you guys record all together or was it separate-

Duff: We recorded altogether. But, you know, like Slash [?] guitar on after, but we recorded the bass and drums. That's the energy, right, that the initial energy that everything's based off of and we are all playing with one another. So it is that full energy. I think a lot of stuff, [?] guitar just stayed on there.

CJ: You didn't do [?].

Duff: No. "That sounds [?], it's fine." His amp was in another room, so it was isolated, you need to do it over, a lot of times you gotta do some of those, like, guitars over again or bass or whatever, because the drums have bled into it, it doesn't sound great. You don't want a guitar track with a bunch of drums on it, you want just guitar track. But when you isolate the amps, of course with mikes on them in different rooms, you don't have that bleed, sometimes you can just keep that. And with me playing bass with the drummer on anything I've done, I'd like to have good isolation because a lot of times just playing with the drummer in that moment, that's the best take you're gonna get. Because there's just a lot more thing, when you play bass again over the drum track, now you don't have the line of sight with him. You know, I love having that line of sight with the drummer, being right on a drummer in the studio.

CJ: Locked in.

Duff: Locked in, yeah.

CJ: What's your favorite song on Appetite?

Duff: God, I don't know. I've been asked that... We're playing Michelle a lot right now. That's a great song. But then when we play Out Ta Get Me, I'm like, "Oh, that's-"

CJ: Angry tune. Also, yeah, what a great tune.

Duff: And Nightrain is a great song, you know, like the super... And it brings up a really fun memory of those, you know, going out and flyering and and drinking Night Train.

CJ: $1.29.

Duff: That's the reason you say you're on the Night Train, because it wasn't just booze, it was like so much sugar and they must have dozed it with something else. Acid or something, I'm not sure.

CJ: Liquid LSD or something. Is that how it works every day, like, when you guys do a show? I'm assuming Axl probably writes the set list and that just gives it to you guys.

Duff: We have a set list that's out there and then, you know, Axl... We have these little boxes on stage that you can just, we wear in-ears, right? So most of the time he's telling amazing jokes.

CJ: To you guys?

Duff: Amazing.

CJ: That only you can hear?

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: That's great.

Duff: He crushes everybody in there. Like, you know, I fancy myself a humorist.

CJ: Yeah, a jokester?

Duff: Jokester. But he, yeah, he crushes me. But you know, it's, "Okay, let's play," you just call up-

CJ: He calls on the fly?

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: That's great, because you do a lot of covers, too, I noticed.

Duff: We do, like the Layla thing in the November Rain and before that is a piece of what Wish You Were here.

CJ: Live And Let Die, of course.

Duff: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Knockin' On Heaven's Door.

CJ: Yeah. There's a couple of AC/DC tunes now.

Duff: We will. Yeah, Angus' just come out with us.

CJ: That's great.

Duff: If we're near where Angus is, he'll come up.

CJ: Did you go see Axl when he was singing-

Duff: Couple times.

CJ: He killed it. I love that. I thought he did so great.

Duff: Yeah, Slash and I flew to London with our ladies and surprised him.

CJ: Did you? That's cool. It's cool you got that camaraderie and just, you know what I mean? I'm sure he appreciated that, to see you guys there.

Duff: Yeah, he was, you know, I mean, think about, I've gone and played with a bunch of other bands and so has Slash, played with so many other artists, and Axl never really got the chance to do that. And this was like...And he went and tried out the whole thing, you know, he was super nervous.

CJ: That's another level too. Like, that's AC/DC.

Duff: It's AC/DC, right. And Bon is his guy. So it was a big thing, when he left to go try out, you know, he came [and said] "Man, I don't know," like, "Dude, you have it." "I don't know, man. I mean, I don't know. I'm just gonna go try out and just go see," you know? And we knew he had it.

CJ: But you have to think like, I would almost wonder, like, if Angus Young even knows who Guns N' Roses is, you know what I mean? Like, he's so like, it's Angus, right? Like, "Guns N' Roses? What's one of they?" you know what I mean?

Duff: Yeah, yeah.

CJ: But you said something perfect I loved about it was, when Brian Johnson sang the Bon songs, he did a great job, but he did it because I think that's part of his gig. Axl, I think, embodies the spirit of Bon Scott.

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: And is a Bon guy. So those Bon songs have a whole new life with him singing them.

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: You know what I mean? That's one thing I loved about seeing AC/DC was it's like having the the reincarnation of Bon Scott. With the swagger and, like, the danger. You know, it was really, really cool. It was fun to watch.

Duff: Yeah. I agree. So I saw in London. Then I went to Cleveland and saw him do it again.

CJ: Last couple questions. Did you, being a Seattle guy, were you buds with Chris Cornell?

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: What a drag. I saw him two days before he passed away at a festival in northern Wisconsin or someplace like that. But yeah, just like the total shock, man. Like the Seattle, the Seattle scene, man, that's crazy shit-

Duff: Yeah, I really have no words for that. My daughter May and his daughter Lily were born 2 weeks apart.

CJ: Oh, wow.

Duff: Susan and I were in Seattle then and so Susan Silver and my Susan were pregnant at the same time and we hung out a bunch when the girls were little babies. And then Audioslave started when Velvet Revolver started and we played gigs with them.

CJ:  Same vibe. Both of your bands-

Duff: Same vibe.

CJ: -and then start a new band, super group thing, right?

Duff: Yeah.

CJ: With Weiland as well. It's amazing how that scene.... I talked with Corey Taylor about this. Weiland, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Andrew Wood. It's like all of these... Kurt Cobain, you know what I mean? It's like all of the guys from that era have all gone, you know so.

Duff: Those guys are all my age, you know, and... I don't know, man. The more it happens... With Chris was a shocker. You know, I've had little touches of depression in the last 7-8 years. Came out of nowhere, I'm not that guy. But I've had panic disorder since I was 16, and they always said that's a subset of depression. Hmm, like, "I don't have depression." I have panic attacks here and there, like in the weirdest places ever. And I've learned to deal with them. I know, I'm not, you know, I learned by the time I was 20, I'm not gonna die from a panic attack, you feel like you're going to. So, like, when I was about 40, what, about five years ago, I was in a movie theater with my wife, Susan, we went to the movies, and my seat sunk down 5 feet in the middle of the movie. And I looked around, I thought something happened to the theater, like there was earthquake. But no, I had like an attack of depression and just a feeling of moroseness. And I couldn't live like that, we got out of the theater and I'm shaking. I think, you know, it's hard to explain what it felt like. She drove me home and got my friend, came over, we got somebody else on the phone and it was depression. Like it was depression, and it passed. And then I went and saw some people about it and I had a couple more of those episodes. Sometimes I think I get things so I can write about it, because like you I'm a writer. Like, "Okay, now I've experienced that." I wrote a column about depression and because I know now about it. I don't have chronic depression, but I've had attacks. My point is, if Chris, Chester or, you know, anybody that's, like, if there was depression involved, then all bets are off. I can't. I'm not gonna judge them anyhow. I've been in and out of, you know, alcohol and drug addiction and I got it all, you know, so I can't, I'm not one to judge. But if there's depression involved-

CJ: It's a real thing.

Duff: It's a real because I understand. When I sunk down into that, five feet down, in that movie theater, I couldn't live like that. You can't breathe. You can't eat. You know, all your body functions, like, just go, you have no control. And I'm a strong dude. You know, like, I think positive and I apply a lot of principles to my life and through martial arts since through stuff. And I can see and deal with shit, bad shit, you know, and good shit, and be a dad and be, you know, things that I rise to because I love it. But when I had depression, I couldn't be any of those things. I couldn't be anything, right?

CJ: Right. Yeah. Like you said, it's a real thing. But okay, last question. Knock, knock.

Duff: OK, who's there?

CJ: A little old lady.

Duff: A little old lady who?

CJ: I didn't know you could yodel.

Duff: Wow. Alright, alright. Knock knock.

CJ: Who's there?

Duff: Minnow.

CJ: Minnow who? [laughs]

Duff: Oh yeah, if you got a better knock knock joke, let me know.

CJ: Dude, thank you so much, man.

Duff: OK, I see you, bye.
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Aug 16, 2023 7:46 pm

Finished this. I got a bigger appreciation for Duff after going through this. He is a got interviewee and was quite thoughtful and reflective.
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Post by Soulmonster Thu Aug 17, 2023 6:47 am

Anyone know the actual name of Duff's bodyguard? He says something like "Tedau" but it is probably wrong, and I haven't got his last name either.
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Post by Blackstar Thu Aug 17, 2023 7:23 am

Soulmonster wrote:Anyone know the actual name of Duff's bodyguard? He says something like "Tedau" but it is probably wrong, and I haven't got his last name either.
Here is a page from the tour program for the 2016. Duff's security were Tim Medvetz and Herman Binek


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Post by Soulmonster Thu Aug 17, 2023 7:35 am

Blackstar wrote:
Soulmonster wrote:Anyone know the actual name of Duff's bodyguard? He says something like "Tedau" but it is probably wrong, and I haven't got his last name either.

Here is a page from the tour program for the 2016. Duff's security were Tim Medvetz and Herman Binek

Yes, thanks, but he changed bodyguard in August 2017 when Medvetz needed surgery, and got a new guy called Tedau, or something. The new guy was the cousin of Slash's bodyguard, Kimo Silva, and both presumably worked for Gorilla, Inc.
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Post by Blackstar Sat Sep 09, 2023 9:52 pm

Soulmonster wrote:Yes, thanks, but he changed bodyguard in August 2017 when Medvetz needed surgery, and got a new guy called Tedau, or something. The new guy was the cousin of Slash's bodyguard, Kimo Silva, and both presumably worked for Gorilla, Inc.
I found the name through a tweet from Duff in 2021: It's Tadao Salima.

It seems he worked with Duff and GN'R from 2017 to 2021.

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