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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.


2005.05.19 - Room Thirteen - Interview with Duff

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2005.05.19 - Room Thirteen - Interview with Duff Empty 2005.05.19 - Room Thirteen - Interview with Duff

Post by Blackstar Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:40 am

Interview with Duff McKagan

By Claire Bailey

With "supergroup" status, Velvet Revolver are set to rock the night away with a performance at Download. During their latest US tour, Michael McKagan AKA Duff talks to Room Thirteen about the most anticipated event of 2005.

Room Thirteen: How would you consider your role within the band?

Duff McKagan: Well I'm the bassist, I'm a songwriter, a peacekeeper and I help keep the band flame lit by pushing the band forward.

R13: You're in the middle of a tour in the US - are things really busy for you at the moment?

DM: We are in Cleveland at the moment. I've just been to the gym, I have a bunch of interviews to do and then I'm going to get ready to rock the night out!

R13: Velvet Revolver is a relatively new band made up of members with many years of experience in the industry. Do you feel this is shown in your music?

DM: What we do is pretty much innate; we've been doing it since we were kids. However the way we deal with the business of music definitely benefits from the years of experience we've had. With the myriad of factors a band has to deal with, we feel we can cope because we're not stupid kids anymore. We don't have to just agree with what everyone says and if we find something we don't like we try to catch it before we get fucked!

R13: Did it feel rather ironic to win the best newcomer award at last year's Kerrang! Awards?

DM: Yeah, in a way I thought it was kind of cute. It was gratifying that we're accepted as a newcomer because basically that's what we are. We're not some manufactured band - we're very organic, we've known each other since we were kids and I know that the UK gets that way more than the Americans do. The UK has really embraced this band. Usually for an American band it can go one of two ways, they either shun you completely or you're accepted and hoisted up on the shoulders of kids. The UK holds a special place for us.

R13: With the years that have passed between your time with Guns n Roses and your present position within Velvet Revolver you have had children and been back to school. Do you feel these experiences have matured you as a person and allowed you to appreciate the Rock and Roll Industry for what it is?

DM: We appreciate it and I suppose we're a little wary of it also. Getting married, having a family and the responsibility has really made me grow up and be a man. The last 16 years in the music industry is just the frosting on the cake I suppose.

R13: Drugs and alcohol abuse were things that were synonymous with Guns 'n' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. Are the days of Rock & Roll excess long gone or are elements of it still there?

DM: Excess in Rock and Roll is not just confined to drugs and alcohol it's life style. I was scared to death that when I became sober that I wouldn't be able to play anymore. When I was invited into a band called Neurotic Outsiders with Steve Jones, Matt Taylor and John Fulham they were all sober. Jones was one of my idols and had been sober for what seemed forever. He played better than ever and through that experience I found out that I could too. Now I'm lucid, a better player and I know where I'm at. When we go on stage we're still animals though, in fact we're probably better now, probably a lot meaner!

R13: Do you ever worry that old habits may return or that you could be enticed down that route again?

DM: I try to keep an eye out for it. I can't lie to you and say there aren't times when I feel like a drink. This tour has been brutal. We seem to have been everywhere, it's just non stop. When you get sick and have a high temperature; you're in Japan then have to fly back for the Grammy's and then New Zealand the next day; yes some narcotic would be nice but you just have to just keep a check on it and perhaps call a friend or something.

R13: It must be hard for people to get past your previous achievements. Do you find there are constant comparisons between Guns 'n' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots?

DM: At the very beginning there was, yes. People do turn up in the Guns 'n' Roses shirts but they realise that we're not a tribute band. We've all moved forward and this is a brand new band. We didn't all just stop playing after Guns we all had our separate projects moved on became better players and songwriters.

R13: The band is quoted as saying that "There was no real concept to Velvet Revolver, we just set out to make music you can enjoy and be proud of". Are you proud of Velvet Revolver achievements so far?

DM: You've got to be. Last week we were in L.A and had a band meeting at Dave Kushner's house. We sat there and actually toasted the fact that we had done it and that we had done it together without help from anyone else. I've never done that with any other band that I've been in.

R13: You have a few dates over the summer... Is Download a gig you will be looking forward to?

DM: Yeah that's the big one that everyone is talking about.

R13: 9th June sees you play a warm up gig in Glasgow...

DM: We don't need warm up gigs. We're touring our asses off at the moment and that's enough. We're playing the gig in Glasgow to fill in some time before Donnington. If you take too much time off it becomes too expensive to keep a crew in a hotel. You can't imagine the logistics and the expense of keeping a crew idle.

R13: No secret dates planned then?

DM: I hope not! At the moment we're playing three nights then we have three nights off. It's a heavy schedule and we don't really have time for secret gigs.

R13: To be billed underneath Black Sabbath at Download must be quite a triumph for a band that has only one album out. Do you think having proved your worth for many years before Velvet Revolver; Download organisers took advantage of your reputation?

DM: Well Sharon Osborne really likes us and had been a fan of this band since the very beginning. The UK really like us and have really embraced us too. I think Sharon did have a lot to do with us playing though.

R13: Do you think you would have been on the 2nd on the bill if hadn't have been for your time in Guns 'n' Roses?

DM: Who knows, I'd like to think so but I'm sure not going to kid myself, I'm proud of what I've done in the past. At first it was a blockade and everyone thought we were just trying to recreate Guns 'n' Roses but now we seem to have been accepted for who we are and although it isn't in the forefront it sure doesn't hurt. I suppose its weird how things have come full circle for the band.

R13: For those who have not seen Velvet Revolver play live before, what can festival goers expect?

DM: We definitely don't clock in and clock out of any of our gigs. It's a very honest rock and roll show and we wear our hearts on our sleeves. Hey, anything can happen!

R13: Have you had any thoughts to the set list? Can we expect to see any new material from Velvet Revolver?

DM: We have lots of new material but the thing about playing new material is that it's on the internet the next day. We might play a new song we have coming out on the "Fantastic Four" film sound track. We've done the video for it so at that point we might be at the stage where we can play it. It's that new that we don't even have a name for it.

R13: With only one album do you find you have to draw on material written before Velvet Revolver to fill out the set?

DM: We do play covers. The funny thing about is that when we were in the US, we were ending our set with "Surrender" and people were freaking out over it. However when we were in Europe people hadn't even heard of it so we were just getting this polite applause. You have to tailor make your set to the audience your playing for. We will definitly be playing a couple of Guns 'n' Roses songs and a couple of Stone Temple Pilot songs. We try to keep things interesting for ourselves though and hopefully interesting for our audience. We try to break songs down rather than just jamming our way through.

R13: For a lot of new bands, adapting to living on a bus can be a strain. With constant touring to promote Velvet Revolver, how have you all coped?

DM: Personally I love being on a tour bus the only thing I hate is being away from my family and kids.

R13: Do you really miss them?

DM: Oh yeah, like you wouldn't believe.

R13: Do you find you have to distract yourself so you don't miss them as much?

DM: Well, I just try to see them as much as possible. They are coming out tomorrow and I will be with them for four days. We then only have three or four more gigs so I will get to go home for five days. My wife will also be coming out to Download too. My little girls understand what I do and they think it's cool. People think we have such glamorous lifestyles but it's a lot of travelling and a hell of a lot of hard work!

R13: So to look to the future, you have already mentioned you have lots of new material but when can we expect recording to start?

DM: Hopefully sometime in July.

R13: Are you looking for an early 2006 release?

DM: Yeah, but we could even be looking for a Christmas 2005 record depending on how much material we have. I'm really excited about making our next album. It's going to be so much more lush and creative as we have had so much more time to write it. We recorded "Contraband" after being together just five weeks. It was a really cum shot compared to what we are about to embark on. Now we can define ourselves and show people who we really are.

R13: What does the rest of 2005 hold for the band?

DM: Well we're going to be finishing our tour dates, getting the new album ready. We will also be doing the US Ozzfest dates where we will be filling in the ones Iron Maiden aren't doing.

R13: And finally if you could sum up the Velvet Revolver ethos in one sentence what would it be?

DM: Well this is probably going to be the heaviest tour we have ever done so it would probably be to just "Put your head down and forge on!"

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