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2005.03.21 - The Gazette - Ex-Gunners Ease Up On The Trigger (Duff)

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2005.03.21 - The Gazette - Ex-Gunners Ease Up On The Trigger (Duff) Empty 2005.03.21 - The Gazette - Ex-Gunners Ease Up On The Trigger (Duff)

Post by Blackstar on Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:36 pm

Ex-Gunners ease up on the trigger

Danger remains, death wishes don't

Velvet Revolver's car-crash rep sells tickets, but its members have gone the rehab route


"We counted that the five of us have died 12 times," says bassist Duff McKagan genially.

Well, it's a living. That's 2.4 times per member of Velvet Revolver, unless someone gets greedy, which is unlikely. The only other applicable number here seems to be one - as in No. 1 (album), one million (copies sold) and, judging from McKa-gan's judicious use of the non-royal "we," an all-for-one attitude. Velvet Revolver may have survived a dozen death wishes, but there is no overpowering ego.

That makes for a change. A decade and a half or so after the waiting started for the next Guns N' Roses studio album, up on the trigger three-fifths of that band - McKagan, guitarist Slash and drummer Matt Sorum - have, with reputed train-wreck singer Scott Weiland and guitarist Dave Kushner, reclaimed status as the sleaziest, most dangerous arena rock act.

Interesting, that. Forget for a moment the obvious wordplay of the name (presumably, Silk Uzi was tried and discarded). This is a band whose singer declared, "This band is an incredibly powerful, violent and sexual animal" - toying with the language of rock 'n' roll danger. Velvet Revolver has one cf the few band Web sites with a sexual content warning. The songs -Slither, Fall to Pieces, Dirty Little Thing - revel in the iconography of wastedness and survival.

However, this is the band whose membership holds the current most famous drug-rehab case in rock. And so danger-buzz has an interesting lifespan, because Velvet Revolver is selling tickets to fans who buy into a car-crash image, while the guys onstage are at various stages of straight-and-narrow.

"We're not waving any flags for sobriety here." McKagan says. However, he's been clean and sober for just over 10 years. "Dude, it was fun when I was 23 or 24. And then you don't get high anymore."

McKagan is likable, and seemingly humble (even his fans are: a fan-maintained Web site states, "I created this site because I think Duff , needed a place on the Internet like everybody else.") McKagan. famously, was the metalhead in the Sid Vicious T-shirt, with filthy-blond curls curtained over a permanently lip-implanted Marlboro. Even that's gone. "I quit in 2000," he says. "You know," he shrugs audibly, "kids."

He is a practitioner of the martial arts. He is married, with two daughters - Grace, age 7, and Mae Marie, 4. They will be with him when the band plays Montreal tomorrow. They call his band-mate "Uncle Slash."

"Seventeen days was the longest I've ever been away from them ..." he frails off.

Even the band's formation was more PTA than NYPD. McKagan's wife is friends with Weiland's wife. Therefore, McKagan became friendly with Weiland. Two weeks after Stone Temple Pilots finally pulled their own plug after waiting out Weiland's umpteen ar-restsbackslidesrehabs, McKagan thought: Why not? What have I got to lose?

Certainly, there would be no surprises during share-time.

"We've all been through the same ups and downs and narcotic misadventures," McKagan says of embracing the whole Weiland package. "He was just the last guy with a habit.

"Slash was five times worse than Scott. was worse than Scott. We just didn't get busted." And he laughs the laugh of the lucky pirate.

The true reward is "to come out of this thing alive and as better players, No. 1." According to McKagan, the main lesson learned from his tenure in bands on the edge is "how to keep a band together." And like sobriety, this is a work in progress. "In fact, there's a situation right now we have to deal with..."

But so far, so badass. "Man, I'm telling you, we have this merch guy from Vancouver, and he's really into stats." According to the merch guy's stats, Velvet Revolver is appealing to a young crowd. McKagan tells a story about one kid who didn't recognize one of the cover songs Velvet Revolver played. It was before the kid's time - It's So Easy by Guns N' Roses.

Meanwhile, Velvet Elvis, aka Axl Rose, labours invisibly but not in obscurity. He was recently the subject of a New York Times entertainment feature that dissected the downs and more downs of his endless recording and dismantling process. At this point, the only thing Axl would seem to have retained from the original band are guns n' neuroses.

He is certainly not a person of interest for McKagan. Asked whether he knows what might come of the mystery album, McKagan says, "You would probably know better than I do."

That is, between martial arts, marriage, two kids and a touring band of straightened-up f-ups, "the last thing I have time to do is get on the Internet to get the down-low on Chinese Democracy."

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