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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!
SoulMonster

2008.08.29 - This Is Nottingham - Interview: Duff McKagan's Loaded

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2008.08.29 - This Is Nottingham - Interview: Duff McKagan's Loaded Empty 2008.08.29 - This Is Nottingham - Interview: Duff McKagan's Loaded

Post by Blackstar Sat May 15, 2021 3:01 pm

Interview: Duff McKagan's Loaded

As well as global success with Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver, Duff McKagan was one of the last people to see Kurt Cobain alive. STEVE HAINES spoke to him...

THERE is little that Duff McKagan has not achieved in rock – musically or pharmaceutically – but 2008 finds him celebrating 14 years sober and focusing on punk rock side project Loaded.

And for it the Velvet Revolver (and former Guns N' Roses) bassist has picked up the guitar and lead vocal duties.

"Loaded has been something I've had for years," he says.

"When Guns N' Roses ended, the first thing I did was return to studying and Loaded started then – we'd be going off and touring Japan during spring break!" he laughs.

"When Velvet Revolver started and took off, that became my priority, but Loaded would still do charity gigs at Christmas. I didn't think there'd be time for any more but, with the Scott Weiland situation, it's worked out amazingly good. It gives Velvet Revolver time to make sure we pick the right guy and it's given Loaded time to record an album.

"I had a great bunch of songs which were different from Velvet Revolver and, I'm not kidding, it's the most inspired album I've been involved with since I was in my 20s!"

Having made his name as a bassist, is McKagan a frustrated singer who has been sidelined?

"I feel at home with the bass and I feel it's what I'm best and most professional at, but I've been singing and playing guitar and drums for years too, so I just see them as other ways to express the same passion I have in the music.

"As a singer, I don't have a massive range, but I know where that range is and how I can use it without being repetitive.

"I did a lot of damage to my sinuses in the late 80s, but after I had surgery to fix it, it really helped my voice."

McKagan's success with Guns N' Roses in the 80s and early 90s was combined with a reputation as a notorious drinker, drug addict and all-round hellraiser but, when Guns N Roses finally imploded in the mid-90s, McKagan's thoughts of a solo career were put on the back burner when a near-death experience forced him to change his life dramatically.

"Basically, my pancreas exploded. I was in so much pain, I wanted to die. I actually asked them in the hospital to kill me!

"But after 12 days sober in the hospital, I realised that I hadn't been sober for that long since I was a teenager and I was actually seeing and thinking clearly. I was then given a choice and it's not often that choices are so black and white – the doctor said 'If you drink again, you will die' but the clarity made the decision easy and it's still a great feeling to wake up and have that clarity.

"I did think that my career as a musician was over since I always associated playing live with drinking, but [former Sex Pistol] Steve Jones came to me and really helped me a lot. We got a band together [short-lived 'supergroup' Neurotic Outsiders] and the first gig with them was like one of those magical moments."

The next notable stage of McKagan's music career came with the formation of Velvet Revolver in 2002 – essentially Guns N' Roses without the ego of Axl Rose – whose success came with former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland. The music was solid and their live shows were electric. The band soon garnered rave reviews and looked set to dominate hard rock until inner rifts within the band led to Weiland leaving earlier this year to reform Stone Temple Pilots.

So is this now another of McKagan's former bands? Far from it as it seems the band have a couple of replacements in mind, but the bassist is tight-lipped on their exact identities.

"We have a singer we've been working with for a couple of months and he's actually a product of your fair country – but I won't say who. But we've also had a very interesting call from someone who's a big, big name, so it would be amazing if that worked out. Slash and I have been fighting adversity our whole careers, so the scenario of upheaval is nothing new."

Far be it from me to speculate, but I suspect the former of the two possible singers is Donovan Leitch, a British-born singer with Camp Freddy, a sometime-ensemble including Dave Navarro, Matt Sorum, Chester Barrington and, ironically, Scott Weiland while the latter may be none other than Chris Cornell. But since McKagan will neither confirm nor deny these names, only time will tell.

With Guns N Roses, only featuring Axl Rose from the original line-up, having been only semi- active in the last decade until recently and the long, long-awaited album Chinese Democracy apparently nearing completion (again), does McKagan take any notice of what goes on under the GnR name these days?

"Not really – as it doesn't really come up. I have a memory of how Guns N Roses started and what it was that is true and honest and I want to leave it that way. I've been busy since then – studying, having a family and Velvet Revolver. I always wish Axl the best, but it's not something I think about."

And what of the story that he was one of the last people to officially see Kurt Cobain?

"Yeah, it's true but people always make more of it that there was. We were on a plane together and we were both addicts and kindred in that respect and I thought about asking him to come over to my place, but by the time I sent a message across, he'd gone and that was that."

Duff McKagan's Loaded are at Rock City on Saturday September 20.

https://web.archive.org/web/20080906220526/http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/entertainment/Interview-Duff-McKagan-s-Loadeds/article-296193-detail/article.html
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