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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
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2007.07.06 - Reuters - Velvet Revolver Rockers Enjoy Success, Soberly (Slash, Duff)

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2007.07.06 - Reuters - Velvet Revolver Rockers Enjoy Success, Soberly (Slash, Duff) Empty 2007.07.06 - Reuters - Velvet Revolver Rockers Enjoy Success, Soberly (Slash, Duff)

Post by Blackstar Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:40 am

Velvet Revolver rockers enjoy success, soberly

By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When a band sells 3 million copies of its first album, its members might expect to celebrate with a few drinks.

In the case of Velvet Revolver, which comprises three well-heeled veterans of rock ‘n’ roll bad boys Guns N’ Roses, the contents of a medium-sized distillery should suffice.

But alas, most of the members of Velvet Revolver are now family men who no longer touch alcohol. The eerily lucid quintet has just released its second album, “Libertad,” a follow-up to 2004’s Grammy-winning “Contraband.”

“I haven’t had a drink in 11 months,” says guitarist Slash, a star graduate of the Keith Richards school of bad behavior.

“Or anything else for that matter,” he added in a recent interview with Reuters, puffing on an endless string of Gitanes. “Yeah, it’s pretty much cigarettes at this point. Cigarettes and sex.”

Sex with his wife, mind you. Groupies are old news. “I just ended up with one girl who was exciting enough to make me give all that up.”

For bassist Duff McKagan, who played alongside Slash in Guns N’ Roses, the idea of perfect happiness is playing Monopoly with his wife and their two preteen daughters. He gave up booze after his pancreas burst in 1994.

LEAVE IT TO WEILAND

Singer Scott Weiland, who rose to fame at the helm of Stone Temple Pilots, proudly adheres to the kind of white-bread lifestyle portrayed in the 1950s TV show “Leave it to Beaver.”

“We get our kids to bed at 8 o’clock, we tuck ‘em in, we lay down with ‘em at night,” said Weiland, whose drug-related brushes with the law placed him on office death-pool lists. He has been straight for 3 1/2 years.

Journeyman guitarist Dave Kushner, who was unemployed before he joined Velvet Revolver, has been sober for 17 years. He got married in 2003, and kids are next on the list.

That leaves drummer Matt Sorum to fly the flag for rock ‘n’ roll excess. The Guns N’ Roses veteran’s penchant for groupies has upset Weiland in the past.

That’s not to say that Velvet Revolver has gone completely Dullsville. Slash went into rehab during the making of the latest album. And Weiland made headlines when his wife, Mary, incinerated $50,000 worth of vintage suits he had collected over the years. He says all is fine on the home front, and that he and Mary are “just a little bit nuts.”

Back at the office, McKagan said the band operates in a complex working environment. “There’s big egos in this band. It could implode at any time.”

McKagan is fairly relaxed by rock-star standards, but he was a tad saddened that his backing vocals and songwriting expertise were not required by Weiland, who prefers to handle all those things himself.

In Guns N’ Roses, McKagan and guitarist Izzy Stradlin wrote the melodies and lyrics for such songs as “Paradise City” and “It’s So Easy.” He even sang lead on one song, “So Fine.”

“It’s a weird thing for me to really talk about because it’s not like I’m bummed out about it, really,” McKagan says of the new arrangement. “We had to make compromises.”

“NARCOTIC MISERY”

All the songs are credited to all five members, but some were largely individual creations. McKagan originated “She Mine,” the last song Velvet Revolver recorded. The band wanted it to be the first single but was overruled by its RCA Records label, which opted for “She Builds Quick Machines” instead.

That song is about a woman who gets out of prison, pays off all her debts, but has to run off to another state to find her personal freedom, Weiland said. While his lyrics on other songs are deeply autobiographical, he stretched out into a more narrative approach this time.

On past albums, “I was so self-consumed with my own narcotic misery that there wasn’t much room for telling any stories,” he said.

Slash says “Libertad” offers a better representation of the band’s abilities than its first album.

“Contraband” was recorded while Weiland was dealing with another drugs bust, and amid massive skepticism that the group would amount to anything. The frequent “supergroup” references annoy Weiland, noting that such combos rarely fulfill their potential.

Both Slash and McKagan are looking forward to making a third album, and McKagan also has plenty of material for a solo release. But before that, there is the little matter of a tour. A two-month North American trek will begin August 5 at the Virgin Festival in Baltimore.

https://www.reuters.com/article/musicNews/idUSN0324523720070705
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2007.07.06 - Reuters - Velvet Revolver Rockers Enjoy Success, Soberly (Slash, Duff) Empty Re: 2007.07.06 - Reuters - Velvet Revolver Rockers Enjoy Success, Soberly (Slash, Duff)

Post by Blackstar Tue Sep 06, 2022 6:41 pm

Extended version of the interview with Slash from the website of the interviewer, Dean Goodman:
-----------------------------------------------------
Slash

I interviewed Slash and three of his Velvet Revolver bandmates in separate sessions at the Chateau Marmont in June 2007, a few days ahead of the release of their second (and final) album, Libertad. Only Matt Sorum (pictured at far right when they won a Grammy for the song “Slither” in 2005) escaped an interrogation, although the drummer was sitting around the bungalow that had been booked for the day. I’ve already published the interview with Duff (missing from the photo). I’ll get to Scott Weiland and Dave Kushner. Here are highlights from my chat with Slash, who was wearing his customary top hat and mirror shades, along with a Debbie Does Dallas t-shirt and military pants.

I SAW VELVET REVOLVER AT THE AVALON THE OTHER DAY, AND THERE DIDN’T SEEM TO BE MUCH INTERACTION ON STAGE BETWEEN THE MUSICIANS AND SCOTT. IS THAT THE SAME OFF STAGE AS WELL?

I never notice that. I always go into my own little world when I play, in any band I’ve been in. And Dave and Duff are on the same side. And there’s interaction between Matt and I on occasion because of the timing. Scott and I actually do have places that we interact because I sing background vocals on a couple of things in his mike. I don’t know if I did it in L.A. though because that was the first show. I think everybody was just really concentrating. We didn’t have any rehearsal. We didn’t have a soundcheck. We had a soundcheck, but Matt had a car accident so he wasn’t there. And so we really went into that first gig just holding it together. It was a pretty sloppy show. And as we got more familiar with the set, it turned into a lot more cohesive kinda thing.

OFF-STAGE DO YOU HANG OUT TOGETHER? PLAY PINBALL, OR MONOPOLY?

If there’s a pinball machine. No, we hang out in the dressing room together a lot. That’s probably the one place where we do the most hanging. Sometimes at the bar of the hotel, or whatever. It’s one of those things where, when you’re touring and you’re gonna be touring for a long time, you have to learn how to pace yourself. I’m real reclusive. I don’t go out very often. I just usually stay in, play my guitar and watch TV. I don’t get out much. Scott’s sorta the same way. Matt’s out every night. I go out some times with Matt. Since I haven’t been drinking as of however the last many months it’s been, when I go out with Matt without a drink in my hand it’s sorta hard. It’s pointless. Without booze, unless you’re seeing somebody you haven’t seen in a while and can have a great chat, you sorta realize why you used to drink so much! … I haven’t had a drink in 11 months. Or anything else for that matter … I’ve gone through this period a couple of times where I just gave up drink and then I realized, Yeah it’s pretty much cigarettes at this point. Cigarettes and sex. There’s no real shagging groupies anymore, right. If I’m not doing drugs and I’m not drinking, it’s all about music. And then you become really even that much more absorbed in just playing, and realize that’s the only reason why you’re here.

WOW! NO GROUPIES AT ALL. I GUESS YOUR WIFE’S HAPPY ABOUT THAT?

Actually it’s gotten sorta old anyway. The crazy groupie days that were the holdover from the ‘70s and the ‘80s, we took full advantage of that. And I remember up into the ‘90s I did that thing to the bone. And then finally I just ended up with one girl who was exciting enough to make me give all that up.

THAT’S VERY SWEET (I WIPE AWAY A FAKE TEAR). ARE YOU IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL WITH THIS BAND?

Well, yeah. It’s all a matter of survival. It’s a matter of tenacity. It’s a matter of infinite patience in a lot of ways. There is that bond of being able to create together. And that in itself is what really holds you together. The cards were totally against us from the moment (Grammy-winning debut album) Contraband came out, all the way up until just recently. Naysayers were predicting our demise in some way, shape or form, and we just stuck it out. We had our hard times where it was really iffy whether we were going to keep it together because we had so much unnecessary outside pressure. But we hung in there. Now we’re that much stronger because we managed to get through that. We’ll do this tour. I think we feel pretty solid. We’ll hold onto that and see what fuckin’ life brings us as we go … I would imagine making the next record’s going to be an interesting experience. In the back of my mind I know that now.

ARE YOU REALLY THAT SENSITIVE TO OUTSIDE PRESSURE THAT THE BAND COULD ALMOST DERAIL ITSELF? DO YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT THE CRITICS?

It’s not the critics. It’s not like that. This is like guerrilla-style outside pressure, rumors that I had quit the band and rejoined Guns N’ Roses, to the point where my band thought I did. And I had to do explain to them that I had nothing going on there. That was a little iffy. There was just constant tugs that the band couldn’t necessarily ignore, It was tedious. You just get tired of it after a while. Sometimes the only thing that you could think of to make you feel any more at ease was just like, “Fuck it, I don’t want to deal with it.” It’s just a human reaction. But we know better, so we just hung in there.

ALL FIVE GUYS ARE CREDITED ON ALL THE SONGS. IS THAT OVERLY GENEROUS? I KNOW YOU DID IT (WITH GUNS N‘ ROSES) FOR APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION, BUT NOT FOR THE USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ALBUMS.

We would have done it for Illusions, except for there was a lot of outside writers that came in. There were certain songs that we dug out of the past, songs that we’d written with West Arkeen and a couple of other songs like that. That was also during the fuckin’ weirdness. It was an Axl thing.With this band, it’s pretty safe to say that everybody had a lot of input on any song that we did. It didn’t matter whether I brought it to the table for Duff or Matt or whatever.

ON THE ILLUSIONS RECORDS, YOU’RE THE ONLY PERSON WHO DOESN’T HAVE A SOLE SONGWRITING CREDIT. I GUESS THAT SPEAKS TO YOUR ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER?

Right. Like, “Coma” and “Locomotive” and “Bad Apples,” those songs I wrote the music, and that’s the way it was. There wasn’t a lot of outside writing on those particular tunes. I don’t need the attention: “I need my name on it.” Fuck it, I can’t deal with all that. It’s really a drag when you get into that issue with bands. And it happens. I just like to ignore it.

I KNOW YOU PLAY “MR. BROWNSTONE” ON THE VELVET REVOLVER SET. WOULD YOU THINK ABOUT GOING DEEPER INTO THE GUNS CATALOG? DID YOU EVER PLAY “COMA” LIVE WITH GUNS?

We played “Coma” early on in the Use Your Illusions tour. We probably played it about six times in total. It’s a very long, complicated song. More than anything, it was a little vocal-challenging because there was so much vocal going on. There’s no air, vocally, on there. I think it was a little bit hard for Axl to keep up with that song every single night.

I THINK PART OF THE PROBLEM WITH VELVET REVOLVER IS THAT WHEN YOU FIRST CAME AROUND WE WERE STILL MOURNING GUNS N‘ ROSES AND MAYBE HOPING FOR A REUNION. BUT THEN I SAW GUNS LAST YEAR, AND THOUGHT, “OH, GOD…”

I’m a bigger rock fan than anything. I got into this as a musician. But before that I was a huge rock fan. I love everything that is rock ‘n’ roll and what it stands for and the bands that were good at it. And I have been disappointed countless times by bands that split up, all that kind of shit — people dying, whatever the situation was. I guess maybe Guns N’ Roses were one of those bands that really meant so much to so many people, that I can put myself in their shoes. But you know what? Had I stayed in the band past when I left, they would have ended up being really disappointed.

IT WAS GOOD TO GO OUT ON A HIGH NOTE

I just wanted to go while it was still cool, y’know?

YOU THANKED (DRUG COUNSELOR) BOB TIMMONS IN THE NOTES. HE’S THE ONE WHO GOT YOU BACK ON THE WAGON?

I’ve known Bob for a long, long time … like from ’89 to the present. He’s seen me in the lowest of lows, and when I finally got my shit together and all that kind of stuff, I ran into him. Yeah, he was very supportive.

SO, FINALLY, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH DUFF OVER THE YEARS? WHEN YOU GOT BACK TOGETHER IN VELVET, DID YOU HAVE TO RE-ESTABLISH YOUR KINSHIP?

No, we saw each other a whole bunch and played together a whole bunch before Velvet started, here and there, played with his band a few times. He wrote something on one of the Snakepit records with me. So we’ve always been in contact, but for some reason we had this innate instinct to separate ourselves from the whole Guns thing. We didn’t want to do anything that made it seem like that was going to happen. So we just kept a certain distance on a certain level. The only thing that we really had to re-establish when Velvet started — it wasn’t even re-establishing — it was working in a new configuration, a new band, and learning how to drop the old habits, or what felt instinctive from the old days, and reinvent certain things for a new band, which isn’t much. It wasn’t really what I’d call a conscious effort. But you’d run into little obstacles and work it out and realize that old thinking doesn’t necessarily work in this situation. It’s an interesting thing. There’s a lot of subtle dynamics that aren’t as subtle as they seem.

https://www.deangoodman.com/slash/
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Post by Blackstar Tue Sep 06, 2022 6:50 pm

And extended version of the interview with Duff:
------------------------------------------------------------

Duff McKagan

I was never able to interview Guns N’ Roses back in their heyday, but in June 2007 I spoke with both Duff McKagan and Slash in their capacity as members of the Scott Weiland-fronted Velvet Revolver, which was about to release its second and last album.

Duff and I chatted in a bedroom at the Chateau Marmont, but he passed on my suggestion that we do it lying in bed together. Here are some edited highlights focusing on his personal and financial life.


YOU DON’T DO ANY VOCALS AT ALL-

-Scott doesn’t, it’s not his bag for anybody else to sing.

YOU OFFERED, BUT WERE POLITELY TURNED DOWN?

Aaaah, it’s a weird thing for me to really talk about because it’s not like I’m bummed out about it, really. We had to make compromises. I was used to doing things a certain way, writing lyrics, writing melodies, singing, the whole thing. Scott was not used to that, at all. His argument was, “Look, you guys get to play guitars and write stuff. I don’t get to do anything expect write lyrics.” It’s a good point, y’know? He comes up with great backup vocals. That’s just the way Velvet Revolver works. It’s not like I’m going, “Fuck, I wanna sing.” It’s none of that. I’ve never considered myself a great singer.

IT SEEMS LIKE A WASTE OF TALENT

Yeah, yeah, I know. I dunno. Maybe on the next record. I just don’t know if that will ever happen in Velvet Revolver, unfortunately. I think it is a side of this band that hasn’t been explored, the melody and lyric-writing.

ON THE USE YOUR ILLUSION RECORDS, A QUARTER (*) OF THE SONGWRITING CREDITS MUST BE YOU? (* NOT EVEN CLOSE)

Yeah, sure. Easy. And Appetite (For Destruction), Izzy (Stradlin, pictured below with Duff in 2003) and I wrote lyrics and melodies for a lot of the songs.

“PARADISE CITY” WAS YOUR ONE, RIGHT?

Yeah. “It’s So Easy.” (melancholy pause) Ahh, it is what it is.

ARE YOU THE BUSINESSMAN IN VELVET REVOLVER?

I guess I am, yeah. People look to me for stuff. I’m interested in business. It’s just the same as I’m also interested in history. I’ve studied history and I’ve studied business. I understand how it works. It really stemmed from not wanting to get ripped off anymore. So I do everything I can do so this band doesn’t get ripped off. We’re the last ones to get paid. We work pretty hard for the money we make.

YOU GUYS OWN THE PUBLISHING, AND YOU HAVE AN ADMINISTRATION DEAL?

Yeah, yeah. That’s it. Obviously that worked out great because we sold shitloads of records. Nowadays, 3 million records is a shitload now. It’s like 10 million back in the early ’90s, late ’80s. You have to get creative on how you make your money now. A lot of licensing for commercials, fuckin’ Playstation, Guitar Hero, or whatever it might be. Ringtones.

DO YOU GO TO MEETINGS IN YOUR SUIT AND YOUR TIE WITH YOUR BRIEFCASE?

No, I wouldn’t go that far.

DO YOU READ THE WALL STREET JOURNAL?

I do. What I do is I get the Wall Street Journal online. I just look at what’s going on. I have a Blackberry so I get the daily Wall Street headlines. Things that are happening.

WHERE’S THE SMART MONEY GOING THESE DAYS?

Diversification, always. I have mutual funds. I have a lot of individual stocks. I’m across the board, really well diversified. And then real estate has been a thing for me.

BUYING PROPERTIES, DOING THEM UP AND FLIPPING THEM?

I don’t flip. I just buy properties and hold.

IN THE SEATTLE AREA, OR DOWN HERE (IN L.A.)?

Both. And Hawaii. Wherever I can. Wherever I see fit. Also for me, another security is vintage guitars. It’s massive. A ’59 Les Paul Sunburst, good condition, is worth $400,000.

HOW MANY OF THOSE DO YOU HAVE? A COUPLE DOZEN?!

I won’t go there. No, I don’t have a couple dozen, I wish.

YOU MUST BE THE RICHEST GUY IN THE BAND?

(laughs) I don’t know!

WHAT’S YOUR NET WORTH?

That’s nothing I care to talk about.

DID YOU LOSE HALF OF IT TO YOUR FIRST WIFE?

No. No, no, no.

DO YOU HAVE A PRE-NUP WITH THE CURRENT ONE (SUSAN, PICTURED WITH DUFF IN 2006)?

I did, until 10 years. But she made as much money as I did (from modeling).

WERE YOU RIPPED OFF WITH GUNS?

Luckily I wasn’t. None of us got ripped off. There’s more potential to get ripped off now, because I think it’s so corporate now. You always can get ripped off. Guns, we could have made a lot more money than we did. But we didn’t know how to take advantage of it. We didn’t know what money was. I didn’t know how to invest in stocks or anything back then. So I just didn’t.

YOU JUST KEPT THE MONEY IN THE CHECKING ACCOUNT?

T-bills, yeah. Better than nothing.

DO YOU SPLIT YOUR TIME BETWEEN LOS ANGELES AND SEATTLE?

Not really split, I wish it was split. The more that we’re here in L.A. I realize I don’t really need to be here. If the band’s rehearsing or I’ve got a press day, I can just come down.

YOUR PRIMARY RESIDENCE IS SEATTLE?

Yeah. We live on a lake there. It’s fuckin’ awesome.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MARRIED FOR?

We’ve been together for 11, we’ve been married for nine.

HOW DO YOU KEEP IT TOGETHER. IT’S A RARITY IN ROCK ‘N’ ROLL TERMS TO BE MARRIED FOR SO LONG?

We’re one of those couples. Each year passes, we see more people falling off by the wayside. We know one other couple that’s been married longer than us. We joke that we should have an awards show for longevity in marriages, but the only people that show up are us two couples. It’s tough in this world, but I think it’s tough in any world to be married. But we have our kids. We all played Monopoly last night. Great. Nothing better than that that, the four of us sitting around playing Monopoly.

https://www.deangoodman.com/duff-mckagan/
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