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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

2009.10.25 - AskMen.com - Interview with Duff

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2009.10.25 - AskMen.com - Interview with Duff Empty 2009.10.25 - AskMen.com - Interview with Duff

Post by Blackstar Thu Jul 01, 2021 6:00 pm

Duff McKagan Interview

By Shawn Loeffler
Entertainment Correspondent


Why is he famous?

You might have heard of Duff McKagan; he was only in one of the most successful rock bands this side of The Beatles. For roughly 13 years, Duff McKagan served as Guns N’ Roses' bass player and occasional vocalist, while also cowriting some of the band's most memorable hits (“Paradise City,” “Rocket Queen,” “So Fine,” and “Civil War”). Before joining Guns in 1985, Duff played in a series of punk bands, including the Fastbacks and The Living. Success didn’t elude Duff after leaving the self-destructive band; he went on to play in various side projects until forming Velvet Revolver with former Guns members Slash and Matt Sorum and STP’s Scott Weiland in 2002.

Back in 1999 (and again in 2008 after a six-year split), McKagan formed Duff McKagan’s Loaded. After an EP, a live record and one studio recording, Loaded released its second album, Sick, in 2009. Entering the Billboard charts at No. 43, Sick doesn’t have any pretentions and is not trying to be anything other than a straightforward rock album.

Duff McKagan also has two columns: one for Seattle Weekly and the other is a financial column at Playboy.com.

Quick Bio

Born the youngest of eight children in Seattle, Washington, in 1964, Duff McKagan grew up with an absent father and a saint of a mother who instilled in him good values. Still, an early interest in rock music and induction into one of the wildest and most turbulent rock bands of all time would force those values to sit on the bench for a few innings. Living the “Reckless Life” did catch up to Duff when he was 30: As a result of years of excessive drinking, his pancreas swelled to football-sized proportions and his doctors told him that if he didn’t stop drinking immediately, he would be dead inside of a month. Needless to say, Duff stopped drinking and drugging and landed himself in university studying finance (ah, so that’s why he writes a financial column).

Now he’s a quiet rock star and a devoted dad and husband who writes financial columns. Duff McKagan’s a busy guy who’s found balance and life -- and some time to chat with us.

The Interview

Q1: Sick sounds amazing and I think reflective of some of your earlier influences, but it’s a departure from your days with Guns and Velvet Revolver. What would you say to fans of your more well-known work who are interested in picking this album up?

I think Loaded is its own standalone band and I think a really good band, from my experience, is the greatest sum of all of its parts. Every guy brought something to the table and we took the best of those parts and made it a whole. Same thing with Velvet Revolver: You still had Slash and I, you had those elements, but you got Scott Weiland in there and Matt [Sorum] as a song writer and even Dave Kushner -- you take the best parts of them. With Loaded, we’ve always been sort of left of center; we’re not a straight up commercial rock band. People are saying it’s [Sick] more punk rock, but punk rock to me was something that I experienced and I played in a lot of punk rock bands, but that was a long, long time ago. I’m certainly not going back; I’m not harkening back to those times.

Q2: Do the other members of Loaded have similar influences as you?

I don’t think it would be a very interesting band if everybody had the same influences. It’s funny ‘cause Mike’s 36, so he grew up learning to play guitar to Slash and Zack Wylde. The two Jeff’s [Jeff Rouse and Geoff Reading] are more products of the ‘80s and when they were playing in bands here in Seattle it was in the ‘90s, but they’re probably more products of listening to Journey and Def Leppard. It’s funny, we don’t sound anything like Journey or Zack Wylde stuff, but the trick is to take the best components of each member and the interesting part is what you come up with because of it.

Q3: Thunders is on The Spaghetti Incident? and you dedicated “So fine” on Illusions II to him; would you say that he was your biggest influence? And did you ever get a chance to meet him?

I did. I actually got to jam with him one time back in ’80, maybe ’81, and I played drums when The Heartbreakers were coming through town. It wasn’t, you know, he was a full-blown junkie at the time, so it wasn’t like he was a real personable guy, but he was my hero. Johnny Thunders’ guitar playing and Steve Jones from the Pistols, those two guys really influenced how I heard music. All through my punk rock years, Guns, Velvet, I still go back and listen to The Stooges; The Stooges have really informed me musically and the Dolls and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers stuff and the Pistols, as well as early Prince stuff and Sly & the Family Stone. It’s kind of a mix. How do you put Prince in with The Stooges? Well, there’s a lot of feel in both.

Q4: Sick sounds very cathartic and retrospective; can you tell us what you were going through during the writing of the album?

You know, lyrics I wrote for Guns or Velvet or stuff even before that, were always just right on the nose, something that happened to me or an observation of mine. On this record, there are definitely a lot of observations, like “Mother’s Day,” I took three stories of three friends of mine who passed away because of drug overdose and I made it about a woman. So I try to get at least twice removed or once removed from the actual story and not have it be so “on the nose.” But there are songs like “Wasted Heart” and “IOU” that are kind of direct odes to my wife. And there are songs that are playful, like “Flatline,” it’s the single, it’s a classic breakup “f*ck you.” It’s nothing that happened to me directly, but we’ve all felt that way about a chick or if you’re a chick you’ve felt that way about a guy.

But I’m trying to get away from such autobiographical songs. I write a lot now for Playboy and Seattle Weekly, so I’m learning how to write and separate myself from the story. I’m writing every week for the Weekly and I don’t want people knowing everything about me. So how do you get into that? How do I tell people about something I did but not give too much about myself? So I try to do that with my songs, but there are songs that influenced my life, drug use, sadness, and the good stuff.

Q5:Is “The Slide” about your drug use?

It is, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah (with gravity), I kinda put a whole big story into one thing.

Q6:You were also influenced by The Damned; are the opening drums on “The Slide" a deliberate homage to their song “New Rose?”

It certainly wasn’t on purpose and Geoff, the drummer, he came up with that drum intro and he’s not influenced by The Damned; it was just something that came to him. I heard that once, you’re the second person who’s brought that up. I didn’t notice it at all, but I totally get it, for sure. But, hey man, if nothing else, it’s a nod.

Q7:You’re a pretty busy man, how do you juggle your various projects (from Loaded to Velvet to writing two columns) and then balance those with life?

Well, I have my dog in the backseat right now and I’m taking him to the dog-walker place and I’m on my way to rehearsal. I do my interviews early in the morning as much as I can. I started at seven this morning so that I can get rehearsal and interviews out of the way by two and that will leave the rest of the day somewhat open for me. I have to write, so I’ll write at night and spend time with my kids -- it’s important, they’re 8 and 11, they’re girls, they need their father figure at this point, these are the important ages for girls. We’re trying to keep them off the pole. You gotta tell your daughters that you love them and that they’re beautiful every day. Right now I’m balancing a lot, but I’m young enough that I have the energy to do all this shit. When it gets too much, I’ll say enough and I’ll take a couple things off of my plate. For right now, I can handle it all and I like what I’m doing.

Q8:What do you think of Chinese Democracy?

It’s funny; so many people have asked me that question and I gotta figure out why people think my opinion matters.

[And then, our call dropped.]

Sorry about that. I didn’t want you to think I hung up because of the question (laughs). Perfect timing. I think Axl did a great job on that record and other than that, the songs and the band are a completely different thing, so for me to really comment on the band, I might as well be commenting on the new Slipknot record. It’s that far removed from me. We [Guns] made our last record in ’92 or ’93 or something -- that was 16 years ago. That was a lifetime ago for me. I was still using and stuff back then. So, that’s how long ago it was for me. It’s great [Chinese Democracy]. There are songs on it that I like and there are songs on it that I don’t like, just like any other record.

https://web.archive.org/web/20091026032725/http://www.askmen.com/celebs/interview_300/356_duff-mckagan-interview.html
Blackstar
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