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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.


2007.07.01 - FaceCulture - Interview with Duff

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2007.07.01 - FaceCulture - Interview with Duff  Empty 2007.07.01 - FaceCulture - Interview with Duff

Post by Blackstar Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:42 am


Interviewer: Well, the new album is called Libertad.

Duff: Yeah.

Interviewer: And I heard it was… you had a t-shirt with “Libertad” written on it? Where did you buy it?

Duff: Well, you know, that’s the funny thing. It was one of those odd t-shirts that you get on tour, that end up in your bag, you don’t know how that happened on tour – you know, you always come home from tour with, like, 15 t-shirts that you have no idea how you got them.

Interviewer: So, maybe, a tour in South America?

Duff: No, no. It’s an American company, I got boots…

Interviewer: Okay, yeah.

Duff: We did find out the company it was from. But it was just some random shirt, and it has this great graphic of a Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations - it’s a holiday they have – and that was the focal point of the t-shirt. If you look at the t-shirt, it’s not the “Libertad” at the bottom, it’s this… I walked in somewhere, and Scott was looking at the shirt and he said, “Man, what a great graphic,” and then he looked down below, and he goes, “Libertad!” I said, “Yeah, liberty, you know?” He said, “What a great name for a record.”

Interviewer: I heard also that Slash then found a coin with “Libertad”?

Duff: Our production manager brought a coin to Slash – it was at a gig last summer – and she goes, “Hey man, I heard you guys were thinking about “Libertad.” Look at this coin I have, it’s a Chilean peso.” So it’s just kind of… it was funny how the concept for the title and the album cover - we had it even before we wrote, like, the first song for the record.

Interviewer: Okay.

Duff: And it could have changed, you know, if the record would have gone direction writing-wise or if it was going to be another really angry record like Contraband, maybe we would have called it something else. But I think, because we had the title before we started writing songs, it’s almost like the essence of freedom and liberty, it sounds odd saying – and it sounds almost stupid saying – but if you listen to the record from top to bottom, it sounds like it’s almost a concept record of liberty and freedom, personal freedoms and… It wasn’t meant to be any of that stuff, but I think, as a group subconscious, we had a title, you know, before we started writing songs.

Interviewer: Did you talk about the lyrics with Scott or is it completely up to him?

Duff: Oh, the actual… the words?

Interviewer: Yeah, the words to the songs.

Duff: We talk some things out, but, you know, his thing is writing words. That’s his instrument and the way he says words and… you know, it’s like he paints some strange mosaic with vowels and consonants, and that’s actually part of his notes. So it’s hard to really say, “Hey, you should say ‘blue tree’ there,” you know, because he has an idea how he wants something to sound, and then he might even fit a word to that. He does it sort of backwards up.

Interviewer: [the question is cut]

Duff: Well, but just musically it sounds free, you know?

Interviewer: Oh, okay.

Duff: Yeah, it’s just… I think we actually felt freed up to kind of do whatever we wanted to do, because we had such success for our first record. There wasn’t any pressure on us, and I think during that Contraband tour, we discovered who we were, who Velvet Revolver was, musically. We didn’t really have the time to do that - you know, Scott got in the band, we made the record, we went out on tour. So we made this ferocious first record, but we didn’t really get too deep into who we were, how we fed off each other as five guys in a band.

Interviewer: Can you be a bit more precise about how it is now?

Duff: I don’t know if I can be precise, because I can’t talk about – I don’t know how to talk about music very well. But I think we’ve just realized what limits we don’t have musically. We don’t have to be in one particular way. I think when five guys get together for the first time, you just go for it. You know, yeah, Slash and I have been playing together for 20 years or more, but he and I, our chemistry will change with each new guy that comes in. I’ll play differently to Slash and he’ll play differently off of me, because there’s now Dave Kushner, who plays completely different than any other rhythm guitar player. Matt will play differently. Then you’ve got a strong vocal presence like Scott in, and that changes everything.

Interviewer: Can you say what you, in this band – who do you focus on music-wise for you to play? Some people say it’s the bass player and the drummer that create the solid backbone for the music?

Duff: Yeah, definitely. I mean, with Matt - as a bass player, I’m really blessed to have such a great drummer with such a deep groove such as Matt. There’s not that many guys that are like Matt. So yeah, I mean he’s my focal point as far as where I sit in a song. I listen to his kickdrum and that kind of dictates where I’m gonna sit and how I’m gonna feel that night. But I definitely have a lot of Slash in my monitor, I have a lot of Scott in there, Dave’s right next to me. So I’m just probably drums first; Slash and I have this unspoken thing, the way we play off each other, and I think we feed off each other’s energy - and still to this day we feed off each other’s energy live. You know, it’s a thing, it’s an unspoken…

Interviewer: Just for you, when you were saying Contraband and… were you surprised about the success you had in the States, for example?

Duff: Well, I think we had the blinders on so much in writing that record, and recording it, and putting the band together, and getting Scott – you know, Scott was the last one of us to get off the drugs, we were so self-focused in it. But we knew it was, like, what we wanted to do, we knew it was gonna be awesome. But all that really counts… it just counts to us like it’s always been. You know, it’s not like we’ve ever tried to make something great for other people. It’s got to feel good to you first. By the time we looked up, our record was out and the thing got to number one. I don’t know if surprised, I…

Interviewer: Relieved? Maybe relieved?

Duff: It was definitely sweet. You know, it was great, because during that whole time of putting the band and all of that stuff, there were so many people out there saying that we’d fall flat on our asses. So it was sweet because of that, I suppose.

Interviewer: Where you afraid of comparisons, maybe, to Guns N’ Roses?

Duff: That’s always gonna be there. If you’re me, you’re gonna realize that, because…

Interviewer: Yeah?

Duff: You realize it. I mean, I am part of Guns N’ Roses, so what am I getting compared to, myself?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Duff: You know, I don’t really understand how people make such a big deal of that. It’s my past, it’s my legacy, it’s great. I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done, so if they’re going to try to compare it to that, I don’t know how you would; because, how do you compare me and Slash to me and Slash?

Interviewer: I mean, maybe success-wise. People always do it, so maybe…

Duff: Oh, success-wise.    

Interviewer: And music-wise they had to compare, because you are the same people, “What do they do now” and Scott, how does he compare to… It’s…

Duff: Yeah, that part is just playing goofy - you know, like comparing Scott to Axl. If anybody is silly enough to do that, then they’re just not… they don’t listen to music. But, as far as success goes, nobody’s gonna be as successful as that band was. You know, that doesn’t happen twice a lifetime, so… But, for this day and age, you know, where you don’t have the record sales, you don’t sell 10 million records anymore, we’re pretty damn successful. And to us success just means people, enough people come to show up to your gig that you can actually tour – that you can, you know, pay to play the next show.

Interviewer: Yeah. There are two new songs. They are in a video game – will be in Guitar Hero 3.

Duff: Yeah.

Interviewer: How was it to have your songs in a video game? Have you played a video game?

Duff: Well, my wife and my oldest daughter are completely addicted to Guitar Hero. So, I mean, I know all about it. It’s at our house… You know, it’s cool, and it’s also cool to see… there’s Alice In Chains, there’s, like, all of my peers, people I know. It’s almost cooler for me to see, like, a song of Jerry Cantrell is in there. Like, “Dude, that’s his lead.” You know, I’m like, I’m proud of him. But it’s… it is what it is. It’s cool.

Interviewer: Right. But I think you couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago a song of you in a video game. That’s funny.

Duff: Yeah, well, video games 20 years ago were still, like, Pong and shit, right? (laughs)

Interviewer: It’s true, it’s true.

Duff: Asteroids.

Interviewer: Psycho Killer, how come that song? What do you like of this song?

Duff: Well, it’s kind of like “why not.” We choose different cover songs to do just for fun. That seemed like a challenging one that we… Just always the way we do a cover song is we start by fucking around with something and, you know, somebody usually just joking around. Then we’ll go into it and we’ll learn the song and… Before we knew it we’d recorded it, and now we’re playing it live.  

Interviewer: And who brought the song up?

Duff: I’m not sure of this one. It’s sort of like a group conscious thing. I don’t know-

Interviewer: So you don’t have, well, every week someone can pick one to cover?

Duff: No, no. We’re not that organized.

Interviewer: Okay. Because you also did Money…

Duff: Yeah. Well, that song - the producers for the Italian Job, who we did that song for, had the idea of us doing that song.

Interviewer: Okay. And the biggest difference, for you personally, between Libertad and Contraband?

Duff: Probably producers and the musicality. Brendan O’Brien, who did Libertad, he’s number one. He’s a musician. I’ve never made a record with a musician. He can play everything and he’s great at it. And he talks to you in musical terms. Like transitions from a chorus into a bridge, he would talk to length about, “Man, this is great how it goes from this chorus. What do you think about, like, a B minor 7 there?” And I’m like, “Did you just say B minor 7?” You know, “you’re a producer”. That’s what a producer is supposed to do, but I’ve never made a record with a musical producer. Mike Clink, who did Appetite and the Guns stuff, was great guy. He was able to get the energy of the band on the tape. Josh, who we did Contraband with, was great in that he had made some modern records, and I think we needed to make a modern sounding rock record, whether that means tons of compression or whatever it meant, but he was the right guy for us right then. But Brendan, because we found ourselves in this place like, “Okay, these are five very musical guys, we’ve had a successful record in Contraband, we’re ready to take the next step” – and Brendan was the guy that really helped us there, and we used a lot of old vintage gear… Matt used a ton of old different vintage drum kits and, you know, Brendan got Dave Kushner playing old 50’s and 60’s Gibson’s and Fenders… So I would say probably the producer.

Interviewer: And Rick Rubin? How come it didn’t work out with him?

Duff: You know, it seemed like a great idea at the beginning, with Rick – and we’ve known him forever, since the late 80s. But he works completely different than this band does. This band, when we say, “Okay, we’re ready to work,” we mean we’re ready to work, like, the next day. And Rick is kind of like, “Well, okay, I’ll see you guys tomorrow,” and he shows up a month later and just kind of says, “Write more songs” - but nothing else, you know? He was doing a lot of records at the time. And about three months of kind of Rick just coming by once in every four weeks, we realized that we weren’t gonna probably have a record out until 2008. So we just… you know, it was an amicable split.

Interviewer: Okay.

Duff: You know, maybe we’ll do a record with him at some point. But we’ll have to say to Rick, “If we’re gonna say we have a start date, that means we’re in the studio recording.”

Interviewer: And my real last question: if you look back now to Guns N’ Roses, is there for you one album or a few songs that you like the most of the Guns N’ Roses period?

Duff: Oh.

Interviewer: For you now, 15 years ago.

Duff: Yeah… Probably It’s So Easy and Paradise City.

Interviewer: So Appetite for Destruction more.

Duff: Yeah, for me right now, just off the top of my head.

Interviewer: Okay.

Duff: It’s nothing I’ve really ever thought about before, but yeah.

Interviewer: Okay, thank you.

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