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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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2009.MM.DD - Seattle Weekly - Reverb (Duff's column)

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 5:43 pm

Man's Best Friend

By Duff McKagan
Wednesday, Jan. 7 2009 @ 7:47PM


It is safe to assume that, for the most part, we all love dogs. I can reasonably make this statement because the movie Marley and Me has been sitting atop the "highest gross" list now for the second week in a row. I am a dog owner, and have been for pretty much my whole life. I would now like to share a few of my stories about my best friends.

Well, first off, I'd like to share a story about my daughters and the first movie that has actually made them cry. Over the holidays, my wife's mom comes and stays with us. This makes for good family time while also affording us a live-in babysitter. The other night we all went out to the movies. Susan and I went into one movie (Valkyrie) while her mom took the girls in to see Marley and Me. Valkyrie got out earlier, so we sat and waited for the girls. It was quite a sight to see almost everyone come out of that movie with tears streaming down their faces, including my little girls. We all went out to dinner afterwards, and their tears didn't stop for a good half-hour. For any parent reading this, you will understand the complexity of trying to soothe your child while also observing them trying to deal with a new emotion. I understood enough to let this kind of "play out" instead of trying some "parent" explanation.

I had a yellow Labrador like Marley. Her name was Chloe. I got her just after GN'R finished Appetite for Destruction (1987). She was a gentle pup, and as a result I did not get her spayed. . . I couldn't bring myself to have a doctor do ANYTHING that would hurt her. Well, girls will be girls, and Chloe was no different. I didn't actually know the difficulties a dog will go through when they are in heat. Chloe actually broke down a fence to get out one night to the loving pants of a large black stud (I found this out only later from the looks of the pups. I never actually met the dog, that coward). Chloe not only got pregnant, but she had a huge litter of 14 puppies! Luckily for me, my older brother Matt had just started teaching at a large school in an affluent part of L.A., and helped me out by asking the kids if anyone wanted a new puppy. Done deal—we found nice homes for all the little guys.

Chloe was different after that. She transformed from a lively young lass to a kindly port grandma almost overnight. Now instead of lunging into the pool headfirst, she would just walk to the first step and wade there all day long, coming out only for her meals and naps. She would look at me as if to say, "I've had my puppies and now it is time to rest." She became a world-class rester after that.

My life was in a lot of turmoil during those times, what with touring, drugs, alcohol, a bad marriage, and more drugs. Chloe never held me accountable for all my shortcomings during this period. She was always just there for me. I would come home from a tour and she would be faithfully waiting at the front door (she would get really sad when she saw me pack my bags to leave again). When I got sick in 1994, an illness that actually brought sobriety, Chloe nursed me through it and rejoiced at the new and sober me. When I met my would-be wife Susan a couple years later, Chloe told me to stick this one out. Chloe loved Susan. When Susan got pregnant, Chloe hung by her side the whole term, literally (they were inseparable). When our first daughter was born, Chloe would stick close to the baby wherever she was. Chloe made a new bed right underneath the crib, and would gently play ball with Grace as she became a toddler. It was truly an astounding thing to witness. By the time we had our second daughter, Chloe was really slowing down. The veterinarian said that she had cancer of the liver and would have to operate. It was my turn to nurse Chloe. The old girl tried to hang in there for me as her pain was obviously getting worse and worse. I told her that I would be OK. I had to put Chloe down on a fall Monday morning in 2001. It was one of the worst days of my life and I miss her.

There is a saying that "with death comes rebirth." Our family's K-9 "rebirth" started a few years after Chloe passed when Grace started to pine for a pup of her own. Susan and I shook our heads "no" for a couple of years, but finally relented two Christmases ago. We travel a ton as a family, as well as splitting time between L.A. and Seattle. I had crated Chloe on flights enough times to know that it is simply no fun for the pets that must endure the shock. If we were to get our kids a dog, we would have to get one that could fly with us in the cabin. Of course this brought with it a dilemma—I am not the biggest fan of little yip-yap dogs. We started to pore through dog breed books, feeling ourselves getting excited again about the prospect of a new little guy in the house (it was decided that we would get a boy dog to at least try and even out the estrogen/testosterone ratio in Casa McKagan). Every small-dog breed we found, though, always had a warning about small children and the breed. That is, until we found a picture of a breed that we fell instantly in love with—the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: They were reported to be great with kids and they don't "yip"!

So the next step was to go online and find some breeders up near where Santa lives (my loving daughters do at times read this column). Has anybody seen the movie Best in Show? Well, I came to find out that most of that film was straight depiction, as opposed to farce. Breeders of small dogs are freaky for sure! I would get pictures of a respective puppy dressed in a pink dress that matched their owner's, for instance. One breeder didn't have a computer and didn't know anybody who did, but I was more than welcome to meet her at the K-mart just outside of Granite Falls and follow her the 60 miles back to her farm. Listen, lady, I saw Deliverance! Luckily for us, Santa pulled through on Christmas morning. The girls went wild with excitement and instantly named our new dog Buckley after one of Santa's elves that they had e-mailed with on NORAD's "Santa Tracker" Web site the day before (Christmas Eve).

The adventures of Buckley and our family have already become legend in the just 26 months that he has been on this planet. His demeanor is as perfect as his food-getting tactics are coy. His marathon sleeps have been clocked in at nothing short of epic (on his back, spread eagle). His flatulence? Walloping! But more than all of this is that this little dude has brought so much joy to us while demanding nothing. He really is the perfect dog.

At this point I could go on and on about dogs. I have owned four in my life. I can easily see, writing this piece, how John Grogan wrote a whole book about life with Marley. The 1400 words that the Weekly gives me are nowhere near enough for me to even START to describe one full story on either dog I've written about herein. Jeez, I didn't even get to mention my first dog of 17 years, Moo (I may just have to write more on dogs!). I think dogs make this world a better place, and perhaps some of you do too.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090318160736/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/01/mans_best_friend.php#more
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 5:45 pm

Duff McKagan: Out of the Armchair

By Duff McKagan
Wednesday, Jan. 14 2009


A lot of you probably know my story. The drugs, the alcohol, the blah, blah, blah...boring right? Agreed. There are many different ways however, to come out of a funk like the one that I had. Some people go straight to rehab, some people church. Others to AA, and still many others...a pine box.

The severity of my particular malais placed me at a crossroads back in 1994 and luckily for me, fitness and a thirst for intellectual knowledge filled the void left by the blur of the 'fast lane'. So, for the last 14 or so years, I have tried to train my body like that of a professional athlete, at least how I THINK they train-although I have recently given up the dream of making the Seahawks (I did seriously contemplate going out for the Seattle U. baseball team when I was there recently. I could hear it now, "Now batting, 39 year-old rookie sophomore Duff McKagan"). My thirst for knowledge has lead me to a ton of reading, including many books on polar exploration (check out 'Endurance' by Alfred Lansing) and mountain climbing ('Touching the Void' by Joe Simpson).

I grew up in the Northwest and accordingly grew up doing my fair share of hiking. But hiking is NOT mountain climbing necessarily, and I've always wondered how I might stand up with crampons strapped to my feet and a 60-pound pack on my back—teeth to the wind and howling at the moon.

A few weeks back, a friend of mine asked if I would like to climb Tiger Mountain with him and another guy (I may reveal the names of these gentlemen in the upcoming months, but for now, they shall remain anonymous). Now, my friend is ridiculously fit and has been known to take the Seahawks secondary up Tiger for some ad hoc suffering (there was an article in the Times about my friend doing just this). I accepted my friends' offer to 'do' Tiger and he offered to pick me up at my house...at 5:30am. It was about 15 degrees up there that morning and it had been snowing all week and so there was no broken trail. With headlamps on, we proceeded up the mountain..FAST!

Now, I pride myself in being fit in a general sense. I work out pretty damn hard. I sweat like a 'whore in church' I am told- and that means that my cardio-vascular system is working pretty darn good..like a fuckin' Ferrari I tell myself. Or a broken down '71 Ford Maverick. I am telling you, just when I thought I could hang with the big boys, my friend set this pace up Tiger that tested EVERYTHING that I had inside of me. Where he looked like Robo-Cop, I looked like Jerry Lewis in the 'Nutty Professor'. Where he climbed with style, I was grabbing for branches and tearing shrubs out just to get a handhold. But finally we made it to the top and I was hooked.

At this point, friend #2 takes over for the downward trip...SPRINTING! If any of you have tried running down a VERY steep and VERY slippery mountain, you may know of what I speak when I say...this sucks. Not only were my legs burning to the core then from the actual run, but also 2 days later I could not even walk!

When my girls asked me why I was going to bed at 10 on New Year's Eve, I replied that I was getting up early to climb again. "But Daddy, they INJURED you last time". The 3 of us dudes climbed Tiger again on New Year's Day. On the summit this time though we stopped to actually talk for a minute. The idea of a climb up Mt. Rainer was thrown around with my name included. "Aren't you sick of just LOOKING at that thing Duff? Isn't it time to climb it?" I nodded yes, not really thinking of the perplexity of getting ready for the whole thing.

I have a friend down here in LA whom some of you may know from the Discovery show 'Everest'. He was dubbed 'Biker' Tim for the show. This guy is straight-up hardcore. Tim got in a real bad motorcycle accident a few years ago that required the surgeon's to put a steel cage around his lower spine and to fuse his left ankle. Tim somehow took this as his sign to start his career in climbing and has climbed Everest since as well as now guiding clients of his own up gnarly peaks around the world. I made the mistake of telling Tim that I may be climbing Rainer this summer. "Killer man, you can be my training partner down here in California". Tim is preparing to climb the Lhotse face next to Everest in a couple of months. I did mention to you readers that I have only climbed Tiger twice thus far, right?

I am a true alcoholic, and as such, I have never really backed down from anything. Whether it is good for me or bad, I want it ALL and I want it NOW! Tim and I did our first 'training' climb last week. Tim told me that we would be going up Mt. Baldy and I chuckled as we drove to the mountaineering store the day before. Anything in Southern California has got to be a cakewalk compared to Tiger, right? As I was getting fitted out for boots (a REAL bad idea the day before a climb), the salesman asked where we were going. When he informed me that Baldy was over 10,000 feet and the third highest mountain in California, I felt my butt pucker just a smidgeon. Oh shit, I've done it again.

The next morning I went to pick him up. Tim assured me that everything would be fine and that the crampons and rope that we were to bring were only precautionary " at best" he said. He pulled out two big climbing packs and filled mine with all the heavy stuff..well, at least it felt that way. On our way to the mountain, he explained some of the finer points of climbing in the snow and ice. When we arrived, he demonstrated a 'self arrest' with his ice axe. I didn't really pay attention because I DIDN'T HAVE AN ICE AXE TO ARREST MYSELF WITH! (Note to self: get one of those.)

In the first 10 minutes of our climb, I could feel the blisters rising on the back of each heel. After an hour, my feet were so raw that I couldn't actually feel the pain THERE anymore. I COULD however feel the pain everywhere else...but we tread on in a silence only broken by my wheezing and Tim's Ipod blaring TLC's 'Waterfall' through his ear buds.

A very interesting thing happened about 4 hours into the climb; everything turned to sheer ice..and JUST as we got on a really steep part of the mountain. One slip here and you are curtains. Tim told me to stop (I was frozen with fear as it was!). Tim put his crampons on and gingerly slipped around to where I was, he then told me to sit down. He put on my crampons for me (I had never worn them before, remember, two times up Tiger?) Tim looked me straight in the eyes and said that this pretty much separates the men from the boys and I wondered where I fit in in that equation. Once I found purchase with those crampons though, I practically flew up that mountain and out of the 'danger zone'. Tim held me back from summiting by 300 feet, saying that we would lose daylight. I could feel a little of what it must feel like to want to keep climbing no matter the risk. I turned as he instructed and we made it down safely, albeit in the dark. I WILL be back to summit.

If you see some tall, freaky, tattooed guy with a weighted backpack, climbing hills in your neighborhood, that could be me training for my next climb. Or, it could just be some unlucky bastard who looks like me!

https://web.archive.org/web/20090430073005/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/01/out_of_the_armchair.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 5:50 pm

Duff McKagan: I'm All For a New Era of Responsibility

Posted Jan. 21 at 7:03 pm by Duff McKagan

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility."

— President Barack Obama, Jan. 20, 2009

These words, spoken by President Obama on Tuesday, have thus far made me walk a little taller, taking stock of where this new weight of responsibility sits best in my gait. The air of change has been palatable in my family, on the streets, from city to city, and, I believe, the rest of the world.

From where I stand, my family appears to be what one may envision to be the average American family. My daughters are at the age when they are starting to be aware of what is going on in the world. This past election was a fun and inspiring ride for us McKagans, and Tuesday's Inaugural was much anticipated. My girls counted down the days and wondered aloud what the Obama girls would be wearing at the ceremony. My wife thinks Michelle Obama is the coolest and has just finished a biography on her. I must say I feel pretty good about having the Obama family as "example setters" for my wife and two girls. For me? I aspire to do whatever President Obama needs of me. I certainly couldn't have said this about any previous president (Clinton came into office when I was, let's say, retarded by outside substances).

As I watched the CNN broadcast of the Inauguration, many different strong images filled the TV screen: Dick Cheney addled to a wheelchair and about to take a VERY uncomfortable limo ride with his adversary and new VP, Joe Biden (I would have loved to be a "fly on the wall" there!). Obama's new Presidential car (dubbed "the Beast"), surrounded by the omnipresent Secret Service. Bush's last walk from the White House highlighted the ridiculousness of him even being there AT ALL! Two million people attending the ceremony on the National Mall gave weight to the importance of a needed sea-change.

Obama's speech was again a work of brilliance, even "in the midst of a crisis now understood." At a time of economic downturn, our troops abroad and this most recent crisis in the Middle East, Obama addressed the "gathering clouds and raging storms...sapping our confidence." He also rather pointedly scoffed at the Bush administration and the wearing-thin of its political "dogma... rejecting as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." Pretty heady and ballsy stuff indeed. Obama talked about global warming and talked TO world leaders who blame their problems on the West. I think it was just as important HOW he worded the things that he said. Obama's articulation of speech not only ensures us voters that we have the "smartest guy in the room," it also has a manner of steadfastness that will, I believe, garner respect from other world leaders ready to perhaps pounce on a weakness.

I received a couple of startlingly different e-mails from two friends after the speech. "GOBAMA!" friend #1 says, "What a great fucking speech. I love the toughness and emphasis on acting like a grown-up. And it's such a relief to again have a president who is not afraid to be articulate in his speeches." The second friend went in another direction completely. "Eeek!" he stated. "Lofty emotionalism with no depth. Going further into debt to stave off debt? I don't need pep rallies; I need to know exactly how you're going to manage our many crises. Government trying to fix problems that they created is just ironic...RON PAUL in 2012!"

I could have pointed out to friend #2 that an Inauguration is not the place that a president would actually state his exact plan to manage "our many crises," and that it is actually more of a "pep rally" than anything else. Also, Roosevelt actually saved this country just 70 years ago by creating more initial debt with his New Deal.

The difference between these two e-mails I think highlights more about the way we choose to look at the future than maybe any facts that we have to go on about it. We have some pretty hearty work in front of us as a nation. It is our right to criticize our politicians, for sure, but perhaps right now we would all be better off if we tried to see the "right" in Obama's plan before we just shoot them down or go chanting "Ron Paul in 2012!".

I for one have been an Obama supporter since day number one. He is a guy that is just plain smart in my opinion. People who have read my column have criticized me about my support being too "blind," and maybe they are right. But I have never seen our country in such a hard spot as it is now, and I think only intelligence will get us out and move us forward and upward. Intellect will be able to understand monetary and fiscal complexities. Intellect also knows the history of age-old tribal warfare in the Middle East. Intellect understands that we are in a global economy while also realizing that we have mountains of economic troubles within our borders. Hey, Obama even sees that college football needs a playoff system put in place. Now THAT is smart!

As a father, I feel a bit more secure today with Obama as our President. As a world traveler, I feel a bit more dignified to be an American. As a citizen of the world, I am a bit more proud of what humanity is capable of. America may indeed be united as it never has been before.

When my girls got home from school on Tuesday, my youngest went straight to her room. Upon my checking on her, she informed me that she was writing a letter to President Obama and another to Michelle Obama. But the important one was to be addressed to Malia and Sasha Obama. "I am going to tell THEM what their Dad should do as President." Don't tell the rest of the world this, but Daddies will do what their daughters ask of them, and that is for sure.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090216052958/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/01/_duff_mckagan_im_all.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 5:52 pm

One More Reason to Read Playboy's Articles ... Me!

Posted Jan. 28 at 10:52 pm by Duff McKagan

If someone were to tell me 5 months ago that I'd be busy thinking up things to write about on a weekly basis, I would have actually been happy to hear it. As of this week, I will not only be continuing my Seattle Weekly commitment, but also starting a new endeavor as a financial columnist at Playboy.com.

From my experience, once you are pegged as a 'rock guy', people just assume that you are either brain-dead or off hi-flying on a private jet with hookers and cocaine. While I have definitely been guilty of both of the before-mentioned traits-most of the time, my life these days is just kind of simple and book-filled. Writing is something that I found a fondness for when I attended Seattle University and took a particular English course taught by visiting poet, Sam Greene.

Some of you may probably rightly accuse my writing style of being a tad sophomoric or conversational. My thought process thus far in my writing just goes straight to the computer keyboard without the guide of an outline or notes. I will edit as I go and don't usually read the whole thing until it is up on the Weekly site. Brian Barr and Chris Kornelis (my esteemed editors at SW) gave me two simple guidelines before my first column, "Make it seem like you are talking to a friend at a bar and make it 1400 words". Sometimes it is the small things that people say to you that will guide your next 10 years. Brian's 'bar-talk' advise will be one of those small things for me.

How the hell is it that I will to be writing about money matters for Playboy? Well, over the last few years, I have been doing more and more TV and print interviews regarding some faction of finance. It started in 2004 when a writer for some music newspaper asked me about my experience going to business-school after my career with GNR. That interview in turn prodded other writers to ask me about money issues within the music biz. From there, PBS's 'Frontline' interviewed me about the 'valuation of a rock band' and the cork was officially off the top of the bottle as far as me being an ersatz 'go to' guy for anyone looking for financial insight from inside the music industry. Sometimes I DO wish more artists would go to business school just so I wouldn't always be getting the calls to do these interviews.

I do find how money works rather fascinating. Adam Smith, the main person looked at to be the founder of capitalism, was a simple but brilliant economist who had particular ideas on how a free market would take care of itself. The theory of every little niche being filled in the marketplace seems too 'free' to actually work...but it has for the most part over the last 240 years. This is a statement made free of politics by the way.

I think part of my mission statement for Playboy may be to perhaps try and shed some light and maybe even bring down some of the criminals on Wall St. Wouldn't that be cool? Maybe be a voice for the people- one that can't be bought (well, no one has ever actually tried to bribe me, but I'll let you know if they do!). The talking heads on the financial news networks also bother me. Always trying to be smarter than the next guy, using big and needless words and terminology so that they can watch themselves at home on their TiVo and gloat. Most of these shows do nothing more than a sort of "if it bleeds, it leads" type of sensationalism. This of course promotes only panic, stress, depression, and fear. Poppycock if you ask me. (As an aside; I would never actually use the word 'poppycock' in a bar room conversation but I couldn't wait any longer to use it. It IS a great word).

If any of you are like me, I didn't know squat about financial 'vehicles' or what the term 'financial vehicle' actually meant until I was 32. Why would I? And by the time I was 32, I was too afraid too ask anyone for fear of coming off as a buffoon. What I didn't realize then is that really no one else knew what any of this financial terminology meant either (except for CPA's, lawyers, and stockbrokers-and my brother Mark who is freakishly smart at everything). I think it would be cool to clarify some of this mess while at my column at Playboy. Just some no-nonsense plain talk about things that can usually get real confusing. In this scary time of grave financial woe, we all need to look out for each other and ourselves.

One thing is for sure; in these times of a drastically changing and unforeseen financial landscape, I will be learning as I go and only hope not to fail in front of everyone or let anyone down. I know that I will be learning a ton as I go. Hopefully some of you will come along with me as I stumble through this new landscape If anyone has any great ideas for the name of my Playboy column, please let me know.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090301183849/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/01/same_crap_different_angle.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 5:54 pm

Seattle: The Nation's Most Literate City (and Other Ramblings)

Posted Feb. 4 at 9:14 pm by Duff McKagan

Our cousins at LA Weekly caught up with our columnist and his lovely daughter at Katy Perry's gig at LA's Wiltern on Jan. 31. Read Duff McKagan's column every Thursday on Reverb. Photo by Timothy Norris.

Sometimes it just seems the right time to ramble. I try and have a clear and concise topic here every week, but alas, it cannot always be so. Hopefully, my logic can be followed here today. But if not, I am sure some of you will let me know.

The sad news that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer may soon be a thing of the past took our area by surprise in the last month or so. Is this just another sign and result of a recession? Are we all moving toward the Internet and TV more and more for our intake of news? Or is it a "perfect storm" of these factors and other inputs?

A friend e-mailed me the other day; she had just been in Seattle on a business trip. We both belong to the same online book club that tackles some rather heavy tomes, such as Norman Mailer's Executioner's Song. In our book club, we have had discussions about how Seattle has again and again ended up on top of national "most literate city" lists.

My friend was curious and perhaps a little appalled that one of our area newspapers may very well be closing down, and asked me why I thought this was. The easy answer, of course, is the recession. Advertising dollars are drying up, and we consumers are not as quick to throw quarters at tactile news when we can perhaps just go to their Web sites and get the news for free. Or has print news just simply lost its luster? Has the information age replaced the printing press and its product?

The fact is the P-I has been in trouble for quite a few years. Without the Seattle Times' support of shared infrastructure within the JOA, the P-I might have folded a couple of years back. And while on THIS particular topic: It is seemingly apparent that many major city newspapers are having some serious problems. The Los Angeles Times just laid off a truckload of workers, and the Detroit Free Press is also going down the crapper. But I'll get back to this in a second..

Seattle has always seemed, well, smarter than most places I visit (London and New York are also smart-seeming places to me). I've never delved into the criteria that make up a top-lister in the "literate city" category, and don't really care that much about it either. I do know that my friends and family up here do in fact read a ton. People I meet in coffee shops around town are very apt to make small talk, like anywhere else. But the small talk here will likely include something about the latest book that either of you may have read. Books are perceived as nice companions, as opposed to a nerdy habit.

I grew up here. Reading books and making music in basements is how we while away our rainy seasons in the Pacific Northwest. As a result, we are proficient in both disciplines. Art and literature make for a gentler and more humane populace, in my opinion, and that is perhaps why people from out of town remark that "everyone is so nice" in Seattle. Brains also seem to beat out looks in the aphrodisiac department up here. Smart people get their fair share of ass in Seattle. Sweet! I am obviously on a ramble now.

Another reason I think print newspapers are on the decline is that we are on the Internet more than ever (as I stated before). Personally, I for one read the Seattle Times online. Of course, Seattle Weekly provides me with all the other entire intellectual stimulus that I would ever require. . . but seriously. We are all on our computers ALL of the time. I was surprised last week when I went to look at the "comments" page of my column, not only by the overwhelming response toThursday's article, but also by the fact that it generated a lot of talk on the social media site Digg. A lot of you probably know what this is, but I did not. So if you "Digg" this column, all of a sudden other people who don't necessarily read the Weekly but are part of the Digg community are in touch with what I am doing. Except the heading is not mine, but an inane "Ex-GNR Bassist Knows How to Use a Typewriter" or some such malarkey. Krist Novoselic and I are getting a bunch of "play" over there at Digg. My point is that news articles and op/ed columns don't just stay where they were intended, but almost simultaneously spread out all over the Web. Furthermore, if I even use a key phrase like "Led Zeppelin," this too will get picked up and transported. It all seems so dirty. Now that I think of it, maybe I will just go to the corner and pick up a good old print newspaper for the untaintedness of it all.

So now this brings the topic of print newspapers and reading together perfectly for next week. My column will also be found in the print version of the Valentine's Day issue of SW. Dating advice from me is what they wanted‚ and what you all shall receive. Until then. . .

https://web.archive.org/web/20090208102908/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/02/seattle_the_nations_most_liter.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 5:57 pm

Duff This Week

Posted Feb. 12 at 10:22 am by Chris Kornelis

Duff McKagan's weekly column, which typically appears in this space every Thursday, was pulled into the paper this week. To read "Duff's Dating Tips for Men" just look right over here. He'll be back in Reverb next week. Promise.

*

Duff’s Dating Tips for Men
Plus a little advice for the ladies as well, from the former Guns N’ Roses bassist.

By Duff McKagan
Published on February 10, 2009


Dating, really, is a catch-22 for men. Look, it's simple; dudes want to get laid. It goes back to our instincts. It is a male's biological function on this planet to impregnate as many females as possible, therefore ensuring population and carrying on our species. Flash-forward to a first date: A guy must fight this urge and remain calm and almost aloof. On top of this, if you really like the girl, hooking up on the first date is usually not the best indication that she may be "the one"... in my opinion, anyway. So herein lies the contradiction for men: "I really, really like her, and I really want to 'do' her, but I hope it doesn't happen tonight!"

So before you head out for that next first date, or Saturday's big date, here are 10 dating tips—bits of wisdom, if you will—that I've amassed during my colorful times—remembered or otherwise.

1. Become a rocker. This occupation helped me get through the awkward "dating years," as I really never dated at all until I got sober. Those early years were basically filled with post-gig hookups or some other male-female interaction as a result of dark, loud, booze-filled haunts. Of course, I was pretty much hammered all the time until I was 30, and experienced TWO bad (but thankfully short) marriages! This poses a most obvious question: What the hell am I doing writing THIS column? Hey, don't be so quick to judge! I don't really remember those years, so it's almost as if they didn't count, right? I look at my life in sobriety as an almost wholly different existence than the years prior.

2. Get sober. Damn, what a scary prospect my first sober date was. I really didn't know how to act. What was I supposed to talk about if I wasn't yet even comfortable in my own skin? What if I got food on my face? I know I wouldn't even have cared before. So many things were going through my head that I probably came off as some sort of weird loser with no social skills. Those first dates after I got sober were some of the most horrible, failure-filled times in my life. "Hooking up" was definitely the last thing on my mind. But of course, in the end, sobriety, and the choices that I make when sober, are really and truly mine. Now my life is filled with all of the good things that I initially thought were going to happen back when I was a teenager. Hey, it may have taken a while, but I have, at last, a lot of solid love in my life.

3. To the ladies: Make your man feel important. Men are pretty simple. We require very little, in fact, to make us happy. I think we feel more vital and "hot" when we are successful in whatever our particular field or job may be. This probably comes from our instincts as the hunter and provider. When you bring "food back to the cave," you are appreciated and important. I think relationships fail more often when this mutual appreciation breaks down or is ignored.

4. To the fellas: Open the door for your date, especially if it's to your bedroom. Old-fashioned values and courteousness never go out of style. Pulling the chair out at the restaurant is also a classy move. Opening car doors and shedding your jacket for a woman when it is nippy are two things that should become habit for you guys out there. Your date will appreciate these gentlemanly gestures and she will never tire of them.

5. The three A's: Attention, Affection, and Appreciation. These are three things that women crave, and that we men don't easily or naturally dole out. The "three A's" are applicable in matters big and small, and shouldn't be tossed off as unimportant kowtowing to your chick. She will respond in a positive manner, and that is good for you both. It helps if you actually mean the things you say, but it's not always necessary. Here are two examples, one good and one bad:

Bad: "Hey you, you are HOT! [Attention.] Give me a hug! [Affection.] That felt good! [Appreciation.]"

Good: "Are you wearing new lip gloss? Let me kiss you! I like it!"

Actually, both of these would work, and neither of them are stellar, but you get the idea.

6. Wear something sexy underneath. My Seattle Seahawks (Sea Gals) cheerleader lingerie had usually been my "go to" undergarment to make myself feel good and surprise a lucky girl if the night went that far! You get the drift.

7. Don't text your date. I believe that protocol during the embryonic period of dating should be as text-free as possible. This early time in a relationship should be nothing short of poetic, and it actually used to be called "courting." Phone calls and sweet notes are far and away the best way to a woman's or man's heart. An unexpected delivery of flowers or chocolates shows women your sensitive side; even Cary Grant would be proud. Don't tell all your "boys" every last detail, thus spoiling an intimate place reserved in your heart. Girls, the same thing goes for you. If you are "falling for" a person and think you have a future, tell your people that and nothing more.

8. Never split the bill on a first date, especially a Valentine's date. I'm old-school; the man should pick up the tab. I do realize this is perhaps an antiquated way of thinking, but you can suck it!

9. NEVER say someone else's name in the throes of lovemaking. If you mistakenly call out your old girlfriend's name, make some shit up, and QUICK! This is the one instance when I can condone lying. If you can't remember the name of the person you're with, may I suggest coming up with some kick-ass moniker that you can remember. You will have to call that person by the same name tomorrow, after all! A name like "my little Irish whorelette," while it may be good after a couple of cocktails and thence into the "sack," probably won't work well in the morning with coffee and danish.

10. When dating my daughters, play by the rules. My oldest is 11, and the time is fast approaching when suitors will start the mad parade of jostling for her young love. Great! I live in the real world, and haven't buried my head in the sand about this upcoming period in her life. And when that first boy comes to my house to pick up Grace for her inaugural date with the opposite sex, I will be prepared. Remember, I DO know what that little dude's ulterior motives will be. No problem. I will take the young buck to the side for some ground rules, and it will go something like this: "Hey, bud. My name is Duff and I am Grace's daddy. Now, I want you guys to have a really excellent time tonight. As a matter of fact, let me store my phone number in your cell. Now listen, I would like it if you had her back home by 11 tonight, and just remember this: EVERYTHING THAT YOU DO OR TRY WITH MY DAUGHTER TONIGHT, I WILL DO THE EXACT SAME THING TO YOU WHEN YOU GUYS GET BACK HERE TO MY HOME! Great, now that that is FULLY understood, have a wonderful time and call me if you might need anything at all."

Happy Valentine's Day.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 5:59 pm

Duff McKagan: How to Rock Off the Recession

Posted Feb. 19 at 9:21 am by Duff McKagan

So the stimulus package has been pushed through, and the summarizations of its results are now being listed publicly. President Obama has inherited a real "lulu" as far as our economy is concerned, and his name will forever be attached to this new "New Deal."

It is apparent that we are all really getting stressed about spending. Those of us with an income or money in the bank are becoming less and less likely to spread our cash around, thinking it safer to just hold on to what we got. "For Lease" signs in retail areas are becoming commonplace, harbingers of a choked and blackened economic turn. Maybe it is time for us all to take a collective breath and realize that this too shall pass... eventually. If I may suggest, here are a few upward results that I have gleaned from this stimulus package, and a few observations that I will keep my eye on.

— $400 a year per taxpayer, or at least those of you making less than $75K. From the outside, this appears to be nothing more than chump change. I guess if you multiply this 400 bucks a year by a few million taxpayers, though, and everyone actually puts that money into circulation, then we are going to see some results. So, please, put it into circulation. Try to buy some stuff made here in the States, though... we can use the influx of dough.

— New home buyers, now is your time. Sure, you could wait another eight months for that $300K home to lower its price by another 10 grand, but interest rates are the lowest in our time. If interest rates go up by even a quarter of one percent, you may pay 10 to 15 times that 10 grand you were hoping to save (over the life of the loan). The new stimulus package contains some tax-break incentives for you too, possibly close to the tune of $8,000. I'm not your financial planner, just a guy trying to spread some information around.

— Go to the soon-to-be-reopened Crocodile in March. Word on the street is that for its first weekend, all shows will be free of charge (stay tuned for details). On top of that, new part-owner Sean Kinney may be in attendance and regale you with his awesome stories about his halcyon, pre-Alice days as the house DJ at Burien's "Skate King".. .orange vest, feathered hair, and all. Now THAT is priceless!

— Nancy Pelosi has got to take a chill pill. I am not quite sure why she had to push the stimulus bill so urgently through the house. Wouldn't it have been better for everyone to have at least a few more days to look this thing over? This action, in my opinion, only widened the partisan conflict, and honestly makes me suspicious. I am all for this bill, but in the full light of transparency, as promised.

— Listen to music or go see a concert. I know that the Gutter Twins were just here and Katy Perry also just passed through (two acts that I HIGHLY recommend), and seeing both of these artists have truly inspired me over the last couple of months. Look, the last thing we want to do is to spiral in on this stupid recession mentally. I know that Ms. Perry may have hit a sour mark with one of my esteemed colleagues over here at the Weekly as far as personal politics go (and I respect my colleague), but that girl is pretty killer and knows how to have fun. The Gutter Twins are the polar opposite, but I believe they stir images and feelings of strength and demureness that negate all contemporary thought. Whatever—go out and fuckin' rock somewhere... or rock a fuck somewhere! Both are good for the soul.

— Lower expectations. As I've said before, I think we all got sort of caught up in the acquisition of more and more stuff. We were all guilty of jointly clearing out as much as we could from Costco and Forever 21—on debt, of course. Some of us are now staring blankly at the giant flatscreens and out-of-style designer jeans we have bought: the things we did to :keep up with the Joneses" and keep ourselves in step with our culture of greedy behavior. We treated our houses as banks, forever taking out second mortgages just to buy a new car or Jet-Ski to compete with our neighbor. Maybe now we will realize that our houses are our homes, not our own personal pieces of collateral.

And now it is time to smile, take a deep breath, and not watch any financial news whatsoever. They are selling record amounts of advertising because we are all watching...like we would a car crash

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:01 pm

This Is Duff McKagan Taking Your Questions. Again. And Again.

Posted Feb. 25 at 9:48 pm by Duff McKagan

It's not that I am trying to use this space to further my career or highlight how "cool" I am. On the contrary, really. I think people who have followed my arcane musings in this paper have actually truly seen me in my buffoonish glory. In a few weeks, Loaded (my Seattle-based rock outfit) will be releasing our new record worldwide, and the press tour has already begun. You may hear or read an interview that one or all of us do in your local paper or on a local radio station. Rest assured that will not be the only one we'll have done that day. I thought it might be interesting to some of you to take a little trip with me on a typical three-day press jaunt. In this case, 56 interviews in 70 hours. Here goes...

Monday, Feb. 9: Travel from Los Angeles to JFK and arrive at Eddy Trunk's radio show in Manhattan at 7:30 pm that night.

Now Eddy has been around this business for a very long time and is a very good radio host. His show is pretty much commercial-free, which frees up time to play the music you want and to converse back and forth in a real in-depth way. I ended up staying on the show until its end at 10 p.m., and it was a great way to start the three-day stint. The people who phoned in were pretty well informed, and awkward moments were minimal. We played some cuts from the record and generally had a real good time. Got asked about search for a new Velvet Revolver singer and how Loaded got its name.

Tuesday, Feb. 10 (start time 8 a.m.): Today we start at CBS Radio in midtown Manhattan, where they will patch me through to numerous rock morning radio shows up and down the East Coast. Now when I get my coffee on... watch the fuck out. I can talk, and depending on how much caffeine, it can turn into a serious babble. I was suddenly brought back into focus when one of the radio-show hosts said he heard that VR had our new singer (and apparently, this was according to me!). I said that no, we did not have our singer quite yet, but yes, we could be close. Got asked about Loaded's name another 12 to 15 times. Time for a 10-minute lunch at Starbucks on our walk from CBS to Sirius Radio, also in midtown.

At Sirius, I am led around to the various radio shows that want a 15-to-20 minute interview about the new Loaded record. Also at this point, more and more people are getting interested in the fact that I write two weekly columns and that one of them is a FINANCIAL piece for Playboy. I was asked numerous times if I wanted to make a statement about VR's new singer. I politely stated that in fact we hadn't actually found "the guy" yet, but we were headed in a positive direction. I also started getting queried about whether I had been invited to the Playboy mansion yet. "No, I just write for them," said I. Again, was asked about Loaded's name more times that I care to remember.

I may have done a TV news show at this point, but it is kind of fuzzy. I got back to my hotel, went straight to the gym, and tried to get my "chi" back.

Wednesday, Feb. 11 (start time 8 a.m.): So we start today back at CBS Radio for yet another "radio tour" of East Coast morning radio shows. The reception for the new record is actually kind of overwhelming as more and more stations are beginning to add our single to their playlists.

Because I had done press for the previous two days, enough time had transpired for me to be generously misquoted. Questions like "Hey, Duff! How many times you been up to Hef's house?" or "What is your new singer's name?" seemed to drone at me and through me. Aw fuck... I've only got time for another Starbucks lunch before getting to the publishing offices of Playboy for another round of, you guessed it... radio interviews.

This time, the radio interviews were by phone (why, yes, I COULD have done this part in the comfort of my own home). The powers that be at Playboy were pretty excited that press people wanted to speak to them about something other than just naked chicks (nothing wrong with naked chicks, mind you!). As I got into the interviews, though, it was really becoming over-apparent that these questions about me going to the "mansion" and VR's new singer find were getting out of hand. I was happy to get some fresh air when this bit of phone glad-handing was over. On to Rolling Stone and...

You know what? Need I say more? Same shit, different question asker(s). I got back to my hotel and again went to the gym, this time desperately seeking some "me" time.

Thursday, Feb. 12: Today, I am doing Eddy Trunk's VH1 show in front of a studio audience. First, however, I must do a N.Y. rock radio morning show live and in person (these are usually always better, as the person interviewing you doesn't want to come off as a dumb-ass and ask you the same questions that everyone else has). The problem was they asked me EVERY SINGLE QUESTION THAT HAD BEEN ASKED OF ME REPEATEDLY FOR THE LAST 62 HOURS! If that wasn't bad enough, they didn't even seem to acknowledge that I had answered these questions and that my answers were right there on the Web site they were getting all their info from. I was actually saved by a few callers who called the radio host a moron, saving me the effort! Eddy Trunk's show went great, and all I had left now was a Spin interview and a trip to JFK to get on a plane.

Ah, but then it came. Once in a while, a guy in my position will come across interviewers who think they are real, real smart and have the sass to get cute with you. I had neither the time nor the patience to mince words. I asked the guy if he was being serious and if he really wanted to ask me the questions that he was asking me. The trick here is not to lose your shit. No, rather you want to point them in the direction that you would like the interview to go and leave on a high, which it did, and therefore, I did.

Loaded questions = 509
VR singer questions = 271
Playboy "mansion" questions (including the ones from all my friends I grew up with) = 2,192
Advil = 16

Next week, Mike and I head out for a 16-city radio tour. Stay tuned.

P.S. The editor's thought some of you may want to know the answers to some of the questions I was asked.

1) 'Loaded' is a name I came up with back in 1997. The tie-in with my old band's name was unintentional as the 'loaded' that I was thinking of was meant as inebriation.
2) VR has yet to find its' new singer but I will be sure to let you know here first.
3) As of this writing, I have yet to be invited to Hef's pad. I would probably just pass on the invite to a few friends anyhow...don't want to mention any names (Andy and Brian)!

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:06 pm

Press Tour Redux: Meet Mike Squires

Posted March 4 at 11:55 pm by Duff McKagan

Mike Squires and myself are on a two- week long radio tour this week and next for our band Loaded. Our first single "Flatline" is getting a ton of play at radio and Mike and I are out here 'taking it to the people' (visiting the stations in person). Rarely is there a time in the company of this band where one will not hear laughter../ and a lot of it at that. To continue where I left off last week, may I present "Press Tour: Part II"

Sunday, March 1: Fly to Minneapolis. Mike and I get in the night before our radio visit to discover that they just don't fuck around up here in these parts when it comes to REAL cold weather! No worries, we won't be spending too much time actually outside, right? I mean we will just be going straight to the station in the morning and then straight to the airport after that to catch our plane to Detroit. But still, it's fucking cold!

Monday, March 2: The morning radio show went well and Mike and I were even able to play a couple of our songs live on acoustic guitars. We have a local record label representative who has been driving us around and now drops us off at the airport with three hours to spare. The problem now is that we got dropped off AT THE WRONG AIRPORT! We are told by a very nice Minnesotan that all we have to do is walk a little ways (outside!), catch a train (we had to wait OUTSIDE for it) , and then catch a tram...oh, that's all? With luggage, guitar cases, and backpacks in tow, Mike and I began our trudge through the frozen tundra. Once we finally get to the correct airport, we find that our plane is delayed indefinitely by a mechanical problem. Mike just farted. Ah, the glamorous life!

Tuesday, March 3: We finally got out of Minneapolis and arrive in Detroit all safe and sound. Our Midwest 'radio guys' from our record label are both here and are extremely pumped about getting some 'adds' this week (radio guys are always exited by nature, but our dudes are cooler than most...because we are Loaded and EVERYTHING is cool around us, naturally). 'Adds' is a term used for getting your song 'added' to a particular radio stations' playlist. Mike informs me that he is going to shave his beard but leave a thin 'promotional' mustache. One of our radio guys actually manages Seattle's own Wellwater Conspiracy as it turns out, and we fill the three-hour drive to Cleveland with conversations about Matt Cameron, Kurt Bloch, and all the things that kick butt about Seattle in general. Our trip to the Detroit station earlier today was again killer, and Mike and I got to actually play live a second time.

We find out that a double murder had just taken place in front of our hotel but decide to stay anyway. Shit, it's probably the safest place in all of Cleveland tonight! Squires now states that for the rest of the trip, he wants to only be addressed in the 3rd person...and to not look at him directly in the eyes. Whatever, princess.

Wednesday, March 4: Today is the BIG one. We will be driving from Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati to Indianapolis. We find out this morning that the 'double-murder' was an execution-style affair. Apparently downtown Cleveland is getting pretty dicey and there has been an exodus lately from the city dwellers back to the 'burbs. The FM rock station we are doing is one of those wacky-make-farts-sounds jobs. Squires and I however, kept the goofiness at bay and they were actually real cool to us (as opposed to being not cool, which definitely happens). Squires, by the way, is now donning a velveteen, red, floor-length robe that he insists was King Henry the VIII's. He now only responds to the name 'The Wizard'. More to come on this., and of that, I am quite sure.

Columbus was quite mellow and the station DJ let Squires and I tell our dumb jokes and otherwise work off some road giddiness. I spoke with my esteemed SW colleague Krist Novoselic about being a 'host' for a fundraising gig for Dow Constantine (a man who will fight for us all in King County politics!). I asked Krist what a 'host' actually does and he promised me that there would be no funny business or guy-on-farm animal hanky panky. Squires informs me that he (Squires) wants some guy-on-horse hanky panky.

The road now leads us to Cincinnati, where we have two more shows to do today, then it's a drive to Indianapolis. Tomorrow we are doing a syndicated show that goes to 156 radio stations and it also films in front of a live studio audience. Squires is already demanding his own 'Star Wagon'(personal RV) and a director's chair with 'The Wizard' printed in gold leaf on the back. Squires has his own personal fan base thus dubbed the 'Squires Army' and they promise to show up in full force at tomorrow's TV taping...for they are legion and they are many.

It is now Wednesday night and we have finally arrived at our hotel in Indianapolis...I am completely and totally fried. I love to write with humor when I can and hope that it is very evident that all of the stuff about Squires and Krist is meant in jest. What is life, after all, without a lot of fun involved. That's my motto anyway. For obvious reasons, I will not be able to talk about my whole week as I have to turn this column in now! Radio stations are now adding the single and we hope that Loaded will be playing a town near you in the next few months. GOODNIGHT!!!
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:07 pm

Duff McKagan: Youth Drug Addiction

By Duff McKagan
Wednesday, Mar. 11 2009


Last Christmas I wrote of a family who was barely making ends meet as they fought alongside their daughter with leukemia. I spoke of the importance of the Ronald McDonald House, which provides a roof for these families who have otherwise tapped out their savings in their plight. Other than that single column, I have stayed away from trying to steer a reader someplace or to some cause I think they should know about. Some of you know that while I may be full of myself at times, it is my hope that you know I am not full of shit. I don't ever want to come off as preachy, but only to share things of substance from my personal experiences-good OR bad. Take what you will from them.

Growing up in this town during the early punk-rock movement was nothing short of fantastically inspiring. Our scene was pretty minuscule, so we all knew each other and probably played in one another's bands sometime between 1979 and early '82. Sure, we drank a ton of beer and maybe experimented with LSD, mushrooms, and coke, but beyond that it was pretty innocent.

Sometime in 1982, as the scene became bigger and a recession hit Seattle, we all noticed a huge influx of heroin and pills. I witnessed my first overdose when I was 18. Addiction suddenly skyrocketed within my circle of friends, and death by overdose became almost commonplace. By the time I was 22, two of my best friends had passed from ODs. Many of these early addicts have either died or live a pitiful existence to this day. These are the same people in whom I personally witnessed a wonderful lust for life and a whimsical glint in the eye, looking forward to the future. No one sets out to be a junkie or alcoholic. Some people can just experiment in their youth and move on. Others cannot. Science has admitted that there is an actual difference in neurotransmitters, serotonin levels, and other inputs that separate a person who will become addicted from one who will not.

I was recently introduced to Susan Peck, a woman who has the heartbreaking cross to bear of losing her 19-year-old son Jonathon to suicide brought on by a youth-long (short?) history of drug addiction. The Peck family has a history of alcoholism, and therefore had family talks with their kids about things to watch out for. "It wasn't a chat of 'Don't do it,' but more a matter of 'You will.' It became more of a talk of 'These are the symptoms you need to be aware of . . . you have a loaded gun to your head.'" As it turned out, their son "pulled the trigger," Susan explained to me of early Peck family conversations.

Susan's life has been changed forever. That is for sure. But her call to service has been energized, to say the least. She is a key member of family-support services that educate like-afflicted parents and children. And she has become a vocal advocate of 3-year-old SAMA.

The Science and Management of Addictions (SAMA) was formed three years ago by two medically savvy individuals, Dr. Robert Day and and CJ Taylor Day, who at any turn could call upon the doctors of Fred Hutch, Swedish, and the University of Washington Hospital to cull answers from the fertile medical establishments surrounding them in the Pacific Northwest. So when their own daughter was diagnosed with the disease of substance addiction, they were appalled at the lack of research, advocacy, and education concerning this disease. As parents, they, along with their ailing daughter, became helpless victims of a broader community still mired in old stigmas and discriminations of character about addiction, as opposed to regarding it as a brain disease.

SAMA wants to do active research to scientifically explore and unlock the reasons why one child's brain wants/needs an addictive substance over another who abuses recreationally. They hope to one day FIND A SCIENTIFIC CURE!!

Right now, I am reading "Beautiful Boy" by David Sheff, which depicts his family's struggles with their son's meth addiction. On a personal level, I have suffered and struggled with addiction, and must be daily vigilant against this monster in waiting. Addiction is not romantic, artsy, or cool. It is nothing short of sheer terror and hopelessness. I am behind any scientific advancement for others, and myself, who have suffered. Would we leave cancer untreated? Diabetes? No, we wouldn't.

Go to www.samafoundation.org if you or someone you know are interested in support for a loved one—or, just want to help.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:13 pm

Storytime: Grand Theft Auto and LSD

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Mar. 19 2009


In an attempt to flesh out some stories that may one day become a gateway to a larger literary body of work, I'm going to write some short pieces of my own. That being said, I am a little scared to share some of these stories in that they are not meant to influence youth in any way, shape, or form. Hey, maybe they can be construed as cautionary tales?

These stories will be instantly visible to the world via the Web, and backlash may be swift. I may be charged with trying to glorify and glamorize certain things that I went through. I am not. I'm only using this place as a testing ground, and I feel secure enough to take whatever criticism may come my way as a result of a some of my more "colorful" times. Oh well, at least the statute of limitations has run out on most of the crimes I will be writing about. And in the legal arena at least, I am seemingly safe (I hope that Seattle Weekly has a good legal department).

As an aside: I don't believe our parents were to blame for any or all of our miscreant behaviors. In my case, I was the last of eight kids, and by the time I was 9, my parents had divorced and my mom was pretty much left to fend and provide for our household on her own. This meant that she had no other choice but to leave me with a lot of responsibility, and I just didn't rise to the occasion right away. I wish I could've been a better son in those difficult transition years for my mother. I still kick myself for some of the hell that I surely put her through. I look back now and it is obvious that I was trying to figure out where my place was in this world without a father figure to rely on as a role model at home.

My father, conversely, was trying to figure out what life was about, period. I do not blame him for anything (although I certainly did back then). He was a WWII vet who started having children with my mother when he was 18 and didn't stop until he was 38. He went straight from the war to working for the Seattle Fire Department, desperately trying to provide for what would become eight children. By the time I was in elementary school, I believe that he was simply feeling trapped and wanted to see what else life had in store for him. He never had a chance to be a kid, and in my opinion he wanted to try to get some of his youth back. He should have gone about his whole scheme in another way. My saintly mom was left "holding the bag," and we eight brothers and sisters cherish the memory of this amazing and strong woman. Marie Alice McKagan endured this all with a lion's heart, a scholar's intellect, and lots of patience, of that I am sure.

I started smoking pot at a REALLY young age: 4th grade, to be exact. I took my first drink at 10 and tasted LSD for the first time at 11. These things were so new in the '70s, and there just wasn't the huge stigma and general warnings about child drug use. We were just experimenting, that's all. But this piece isn't going to be about drugs; it's just that I am trying to highlight the fact that we just seemed to grow up a bit faster back then. No, this story is really about crime... car theft, to be exact.

The best friends I established by 6th grade are still my best friends to this day—Abe, Edgar, and Bob—the 4 of us were pretty much inseparable (I've changed their names here). They are good and solid men, but back in middle school we tested our boundaries against grown-ups and authority. We were harmless troublemakers, really, but soon found ourselves in the line of fire against an asshole counselor at Eckstein. In my case, I was suspended twice and finally expelled. "Yeah, good riddance," I remember thinking to myself. Besides, I was already crafting a new career for myself.

Abe and I started to separate ourselves from the pack at this point. We both embraced the new and exciting punk-rock scene that had recently hit Seattle. Abe and I formed the Vains with Chris Utting in 1979, three years before we were of legal driving age. In the daylight hours, I would take the bus anywhere and everywhere that I had to be for band practice or my new job as a dishwasher, etc. When it got dark, though, Abe and I began to hone our craft as burgeoning car thieves.

I remember clearly the first car we, um, borrowed. It was a 1963 VW Bug. It all seemed innocent enough at first. It was 2 a.m., and we were stuck without a ride home at some punk-rock party in deep Ballard. It being Seattle and all, of course it was raining and cold. Abe and I only got about 10 blocks into our seven-mile walk when it dawned on us to try stealing a car and driving ourselves the rest of the way home. We had heard of a simple and easy way to trip an ignition on any and all pre-'64 Bugs, but had never put our knowledge to the test. We soon found our car, and clumsily broke in a wing window with a jackboot. Once we got the car started, we both realized that neither one of us knew how to drive a car, let alone one with a clutch. We found out the hard way that first gear can indeed get you from point A to point B, seven miles away, albeit slowly!

When you are a kid, the lust for being of driving age is nothing short of intoxicating. Abe and I discovered after our first night in the stolen VW that we no longer had to wait until we were 16 years old to have access to a car. We began to sharpen our tactics and skill as car thieves—even studying new ways to hot-wire Peugeots and Audis. Sometimes we even held onto certain cars for a week or more, parking them in rich neighborhoods where the police would be less likely to look for a stolen vehicle.

On top of this, it was at times the things we found INSIDE these cars that would lead us to further criminal activities outside the car-stealing racket. Once we found a large set of keys that had only an address attached to them. This address was a large laundromat, and the keys were to the lock-boxes that held all of that particular day's change intake (hundreds of dollars a day, which to us was a fortune).

Our exploits began to garner attention from older, savvier criminals. The newspaper began to run stories of things we were involved in, and this is when I began to see only a dire ending for myself—jail or worse. It was time to get out. Besides, at this point my music career began to get more serious, and I met a girl. I was done.

Abe, however, continued to widen his circle of criminal activities for a while longer. He started to hang with a crowd that, while exotic, seemed also a bit dark and dangerous. Abe started to specialize in particular foreign makes, stolen for particular clients who were willing to pay. Edgar, Bob, and I started to become concerned. Abe was arrested one night after a high-speed chase with the Seattle Police. The crimes? Grand Theft Auto and Reckless Evading. Shit.

I have only been able to touch on a minuscule part of this period of my life in this short column. Rest assured, it could have had a LOT worse outcome for me and my friends as far as criminal records, jail time, or worse. Having kids of my own now makes me realize just how very young I was when I did some of the things I did. I cringe looking at my daughters sometimes. They know of some of my childhood antics; the more serious stories can wait. The weight I have to carry is one day having to share it with them. The McKagans do honesty these days, and that I probably learned from my own father not doing it.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:15 pm

Back on the Mountain With New Boots and Tim Medvetz

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Mar. 26 2009


A few months back, I wrote of my trials and mini-triumphs along the trail of my training toward climbing Mt. Rainier this summer. My work as a musician requires a ton of traveling, and finding time to train for a 14,000-plus-foot mountain within these confines is quite challenging (hotel fire-escape stairs do work, and I always take a jump-rope). I have a few days off from work this week, and will use them to do some "survival training" in the high-altitude back country of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

If you remember, my mountain training partner in California is more famously known as "biker" Tim from the Discovery series Everest. Tim has topped Everest as well as Rainier and sundry other peaks in Mexico and the Himalayas. He is one tough mofo—6'6" tall and 245 pounds of pure muscle. He is the kind of guy who walks into a bar and dudes get scared by his presence alone. I'm not quite sure what powers of fate put the two of us together in this life, but I am quite sure that "God" or whoever has a killer sense of humor. Our personalities together make for some really funny moments. At times he tries to get mad at me for my back-country incompetence, but I just give him shit right back. I tell him that I am not the one to blame for whatever is making him so damn mad, and that whatever happened to him in his teenage (or whenever) years, we can probably work it out with a nice talk and maybe a comfy bro hug. Tim doesn't do comfy. (Except for the "camp booties" he triumphantly pulls from his backpack after a hard day's climb. Real cute.) I know that I can run faster than Tim because he has a fused ankle from a bad bike accident 10 years ago. Because I know this, I can write this piece and give him more shit within this space. He will read it and get even madder at me. I see myself as sort of a Kato to his Green Hornet.

My first foray with Tim was up 10,500-foot Mt. Baldy, and I made the rookie mistake of wearing brand new boots. Don't EVER do this. You can't really say that my feet blistered, because frankly there just wasn't any skin left to form a blister. I couldn't tell Tim that my feet hurt on the way up Baldy, because he quite possibly would have tagged me as a pussy, and my brazen manliness won't allow for that. They say that the worst thing that can happen to you on Everest is getting blisters on your feet. Not only can't one walk, but there is also just no way to keep your feet clean at all times, and infection is sure to happen. A simple infection on your foot can turn to staph at any time, some strains of which can be terribly resistant to antibiotics. Staph causes blood poisoning and that poison will kill you. First stop before the back country. . . get better boots!

Adventure 16 is L.A.'s version of REI. They have everything you might need for some serious outdoor activity. The people that work here actually climb mountains and kayak the rapids. When a tattooed guy such as myself comes sauntering into a place like this, they instinctively know to shun and make you feel an outsider. "Hey, aren't you that 'rock guy'?" says Roman, a climber and salesman at A16. "What the hell are you doing HERE?" Ah, yes, the old discrimination. I find this everywhere I go. Apparently, I'm not supposed to do ANYTHING besides, well, rocking. Luckily Tim joins me at the store, and the salespeople realize that if I am with him, I must be somewhat OK. I get it: Just because TIM climbed EVEREST and has his own TV SHOW on DISCOVERY, he is taken seriously. And because I play ROCK 'N' ROLL and NEARLY DRANK MYSELF TO DEATH and look like I COULDN'T CLIMB A LADDER, I am not. Whatever. . .

The name of my new guy for boots is Alia, who has the tell-all nickname of "the shoe Nazi" (I'm not sure if he knows this or not). Alia takes footwear seriously, and I was his newest mystery to solve. He examined every aspect of my foot before I even tried on a boot. When I did finally get to the point of putting on a pair, he methodically showed me how to stomp at the heel first, and how to lace up with his complex formula of loops and knots. As I walked around the store, Alia would follow and have me stop at certain junctures so that he could adjust the boot and/or jab a finger inside the back to see if any space had opened up. Tim, meanwhile, was getting friendly with a family outfitting for a Himalayan foothill adventure. This family included two daughters in their 20s, and Tim had found his wheelhouse. The ladies love Tim.

Back in the real world, now that I have finally the right boots, the realization that Mt. Rainier is in my near future kind of hits me out of nowhere. I know that huge summer crevasses will be yawning under-foot for the one most unfortunate to be above when the exact amount of thawing will cause a breakthrough. The threat of overhanging ice calving in huge sheets is also very real (a boyhood friend died just this way back in the '80s). For now, though, I must focus on training and getting as much high-altitude knowledge as I can outside of my teeming personal Alpine library at home. The shit is getting very real now.

Something else helps pull me from my chilling daydream: "You have such beautiful blue eyes!" Ah, yeah, the girls have come under the mad spell of Tim Medvetz. I will not let him live THIS moment down for our whole trip this week. I can already feel him getting mad.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:16 pm

Duff McKagan: Croc and Loaded

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Apr. 2 2009


I think by now that anyone who reads this column is pretty damn sure I play in a band that doesn't carry the history of GN'R or the current popularity of Velvet Revolver. No, I am in one band that, while actually staying together LONGER that any of those previous bands, remains popular only in our own comical minds. Yes, I refer to this band of excellent gentlemen somewhat aptly dubbed LOADED.

On April 7 we're releasing Sick, our first record in some eight years. To start things off we wanted to keep it real and keep it local. The Crocodile has been so kind as to let us play on Thursday, April 9. Many thanks to Susan Silver, Sean Kinney, and Eli the booker. I for one cannot thank this crew enough. Playing the first gig of our world tour right here in town seems apropos—the Croc is a venue that I have many fond and fine memories of. (I think I played drums with the Fastbacks there one night before Guns did the Kingdome. My memory is indeed a tad foggy from those days in general, but that is a whole different story.)

Playing a gig here in town also gives me a chance to maybe meet some of the people who write in to my column on a weekly basis. "Nevermind" is the first one who pops to mind. A person (I presume to be a man) who gave me crap from column one, but our cyber-relationship has blossomed into well-meaning jabs of cynicism and a shared past of drug use and subsequent sobriety... I do hope he still gives me shit after this piece and do hope that he comes to this gig and hunts me down.

"Mad Mama" is another one who has been a stalwart friend to the column, and has cheered me on at every step as I plunge myself into these new endeavors of writing, mountaineering, and sundry other tomfoolery and publicly viewed "vision-questing."

Of the readers that I deem to be local, a professor dubbed "Kris" has a blog of his/her own that is drenched with deep-thought and hyper-awareness. I am honored that people like this even give a guy like me the time of day to read the neophyte script that I turn in to the Weekly. (On this subject, I just watched CBS's Sunday Morning, and there was a segment on blogging and news otherwise obtained on the Web. Apparently, for the first 100 or so years of their existence—1680 to 1780—newspapers would leave a blank page at the end of an article so that readers could write their comments and then pass it along for someone else to cross-comment. By 1915 there were some 15,000 different newspapers and magazines circulating in the U.S. Radio, TV, and other media eventually diminished the high demand, but it appears now that with the Internet, we are back up to having the wide variety celebrated those 100 years ago. Back to the future, I guess.)

My newfound writing career has also proven to be an effective marketing tool. Playboy is coming to town, not only to film the Loaded show, but also to follow me around the next day, as I will give an on-camera expose of "my" Seattle. I hope that they are aware that "my" Seattle doesn't consist of strip clubs and singles bars. Only occasionally will I hire a gimp in full bondage gear for a cocktail party or one of our daughters' birthday parties here at Manor McKagan. No, "my" Seattle is pretty pathetic and unsexy, unless you consider Martin Feveyear, Mike Squires, and Sean Kinney sexy. Well, Sean IS kind of hot, on second thought. Actually, our dog Buckley DOES think that he himself is a porn star at times—he may be good for the Playboy piece. Maybe I can take them to Sonic Boom records so that I can at least APPEAR to be somewhat hip and cool. Yeah, I can lie and say that I have always been into vinyl and that I don't even own an iPod (it's really cool to say that you are into vinyl, right?). My ruse would be undone, though. They at Sonic Boom would most certainly make a comment like "Hey, you must have finally gotten a turntable; you've never bought RECORDS here before!"

We just received the routing for our June European tour. It looks like it will be nine stinky guys on a bus for 28 days this time as opposed to 14 days like last September (see "Fart Tennis"). It will be summer rock-festival time on that continent, and we really got on some amazing gigs over there. They just have better names for their festivals over there, too: Rock AM Ring, Graspop, Metal Way, Nova Rock, and of course Download Festival. (It used to be called Donnington Park, and if you've ever seen the GN'R "Paradise City" video, the black-and-white part was shot there at Donnington. It will be cool for me to get back there for sure.)

So that is it for now. Hopefully some of you will be able to make it to the Thursday gig in Seattle, or to some other damn place on this planet. I've been storing up some good jokes to regale all of you with, too. Until then...rock the fuck out!

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:19 pm

Merle Haggard, Mark Lanegan, and Your Summer Reading List

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Apr. 9 2009


This city of Seattle never ceases to surprise and intrigue me. It is a cultural and artistic melting pot, and that is for sure. I try and see life through much more than just "a musician's" eyes, but often it is at musical events that I feel closest to my comfort zone. Maybe here I can let down my veil of adult, my facade of judgment. Perhaps my observations are less colored by outside factors whilst I am in a club or a theater.

Sometimes I will see 100 gigs a year and find very little to be inspired by. At other periods in my life, I will see three or four shows in a short amount of time that just seem to make me a better person. Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson at the Paramount the other night gave much more to me than I could have hoped for.

Merle's battle with lung cancer led to some hushed-tone urgency when tickets to a date or two of his became available. Reverence for the man and his career were obviously evident last Friday. Kris Kristofferson may have summed up the evening's sentiment with his song "Here Comes That Rainbow Again." If you haven't yet heard it, I strongly suggest you do so.

Another aspect of that evening gave me pause for reflection: real, hardcore Merle and Kristofferson fans aren't the ultra-hip scribes and scenesters that one may hear bragging about a show like this. No, the people who were there were from eastern and central Washington, south of Olympia, and north of, well, downtown and Capitol Hill. These people looked hardscrabble and perma-tanned from years of working in the sun. The thing about Seattle, though, is that there is a comfort zone here for a crowd like this. As I was driving up Pike after the gig, I saw some punkers walking an old cowboy and his wife to a bar. Cool.

This town was host to some of the first punk-rock clubs in the country back in the '70s, too. Early Northwest punk bands like D.O.A. and the Fastbacks in turn informed the scene that would burst on the world consciousness with Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam. Perhaps Seattle's most precious musical commodity would not have been able to ferment without the solidarity that is shown to its musicians (that "commodity" to me is Mark Lanegan).

We seemingly were seen as a place that was open-minded enough to host the first rap tour when other cities' promoters didn't see the worth in it (yes, Grand Master Flash at the Music Hall in late 1980, I believe). "Urban" radio got some of its earliest high-audience ratings here in our town.

And now on to our weather.

This past weekend we finally caught sight of springtime. It seems that all it really takes is two consecutive days of near 70-degree weather for us to forget all that we knew of the long, dismal Seattle winter. In my humble opinion, there really is nothing or no place in this world like summer in Seattle. The Mariners will be having their home opener on April 14, and we can get our hopes up for at least not finishing in the A.L. cellar like last year.

May I suggest some good reads for your lazy, ever-lengthening days ahead?

Mr. Untouchable: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Heroin's Teflon Don. This is a no-holds-barred biopic of Harlem's Nicky Barnes, a self-made drug mogul who almost got away with it all.

Beautiful Boy, David Sheff. This book really jarred me as it probably hit closer to home than I was expecting as a father myself. This book explores a father and son's heartbreaking journey through meth addiction. A simply amazing read.

Longitude, Dava Sobel. If you are an exploration and adventure nerd like myself, then you will know that having only latitudinal readings spelled disaster for many of our early maritime discoverers. The hunt for the mysteries that finally unlocked longitude were not just mathematical. Many people in high places wanted the credit and reward that a simple carpenter inevitably got to take home.

My Bondage, My Freedom, Frederick Douglass. I read this book while I was at Seattle University a few years back. When a book is a required read in a particular course, rarely do you find it to be a page-turner. Douglass' account of his young life in slavery, his eventual escape into the North, and scholastic and cultural stardom paint a vivid picture of what life was like not only for him in the 1800s but for the rest of America as well.

Hitmen, Frederic Dannen. An amazing expose of the record industry circa the 1980s: Payola, sex, scandal, and intrigue. Good shit!

Q, Quincy Jones. A large portion of this book takes a look at Mr. Jones' early days right here in Seattle. It enlightened me to read about how thriving and great a jazz scene we had here in the '40s and '50s. Quincy is a bad motherfucker!

Lexicon Devil, Brendon Mullen. For anyone who doesn't know about the Germs, this would be the book to get you caught up. The Germs were one of the most influential American punk bands, PERIOD. Brendon Mullen does the band and the era justice.

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Seattle, Andrew Weber and Bryce Stevens. Yeah, that's right. Get the fuck out of that chair or sofa and up into those mountains that you look at so longingly from Capitol Hill or the 520 bridge!

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:21 pm

Duff McKagan: Why I'm an Eternal Optimist

By Duff McKagan, Thursday, Apr. 16 2009

Hey, Kids! Hear Daily Weekly columnist Krist Novoselic and Reverb's Duff McKagan fill in as hosts of the Ron & Don Show on KIRO 97.3 FM, Thursday, April 16 from 5 to 7 p.m.

I'm that guy who is constantly trying to see the "good" or "bright" side of most things. Reason and common sense do play into my rosy visions, and therefore inform me that not everyone or every situation may agree with the way that I look at it/them. I think that the moment that jadedness or ill will seeps into a person's thought process, it's then a dangerous and slippery slope toward what could be all-encompassing grey gloomy-Gusdom. To hell with that.

Obama has been sharply criticized by the conservatives of this country for not being "tougher" with the Europeans on his recent trip there for the G20 Economic Summit. Sure, pledges were made for some $1.1 trillion for a continental version of our TARP, but some say that Obama should have been sharper in tone and more bellicose in nature. I guess I'm not as cynical.

It appears to me that the maiden trip served its purpose in that Obama put world leaders on notice that they are dealing with someone who has intellect and a plan more nuanced than schoolyard diplomacy. If a politician (or anyone else, for that matter) yells, screams, and makes demands from the get-go, there really is no place to go from there. There may be more room for getting real work done if one goes into a situation first with a touch of humility and an air of academia and social ease. These things he most certainly did.

Also, it seems that the Obama administration is doing away with bleak terms like "Axis of Evil" and "War on Terror." I have no time or patience for religious fundamentalists who prop up terrorist acts to bring attention to their cause. These small groups of assholes must certainly be dealt with, but to give their movement and actions more attention does them a favor. Disenfranchised youth love to be part of something that goes against the grain, and in those parts of the world, the Taliban and their ilk is that something. When you get someone like Obama spreading the seeds of something kinder and more positive and having sit-down talks with the Taliban, then those youth will perhaps have to stop joining the ranks of the terrorist paramilitary camps.

Right now I am reading The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes. The book recounts, for the most part, the trials and tribulations that this country went through recovering from the Great Depression. Roosevelt did a lot of things right in his recovery efforts, but there were definitely stumbles and missteps along the way. One of the big problems that generation faced is the same one we are experiencing now: a lack of consumer confidence. A dark outlook on the economy seeps into every pore of our society. Even when prolonged favorable economic indicators were prevalent back in the '30s, the public remained sharply resistant to giving their collective confidence back to our banking system and government. Chin up, people! The more I read of historical events, the more I see that everything is cyclical. I have optimism because history is the great indicator of future events for me.

Another reason for me to be pleased of late is our Seattle Mariners! Yeah, I know that it is painfully early to start to even THINK about talking or writing about the M's, but hey, I like how this team looks. Edny Chavez and Erik Bedard are just two of the reasons to pique Seattleites' interest in getting tickets to this first home stand. Ichiro and Junior's return are great stories, but a winning team with a couple of aces and some clutch bats would be a better one. Shit, we had a come-from-behind win last Saturday against the A's; I don't remember ONE of those from last year, do you?

Last summer I came off a brutal and drama-filled year touring our last Velvet Revolver record. All I wanted to do was get back to Seattle and watch some Mariners games on TV or go to Safeco. I think that I got back from tour somewhere around June 1. The season was already over. We all look forward to our teams being at least competitive in (at least) their divisions. Last season's M's gave me nothing in return for my abundant fandom, and it sucked. I have some optimism for this season, and it just feels good to have that right now.

The Huskies football program? No place to go from here but up. Seahawks? Same thing. I hear that there is even a soccer team in town now, too. What's next? Maybe there will be a ban on semi-automatic weapons...that would get me REAL optimistic!

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:25 pm

Duff McKagan: Rock Has Changed, My (Facebook) Friends

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Apr. 23 2009


So here I go again; off on yet another of the by-now-countless rock tours required to support a new record (I think the count now stands at 10 records, hence 10 tour campaigns). Doing this for the past 20-odd years has afforded me a serious bird's-eye view of just how drastic this business of music has changed.

"Hey! I'm your Facebook friend!" is probably the most common greeting a band or artist hears out here on the road these days. For a band to even think about a mere modicum of success these days, they must know how to reach the listener or potential fan via the Internet. Back in the day, radio was the one-and-only vehicle a band or artist had to get any recognition outside their hometown. Today, pretty much all the rock radio stations are owned by one or two corporate conglomerates whose only interest is to sell advertising space. Advertisers don't want anything close to danger anywhere even remotely close to their product being pimped. This makes for really safe and REALLY boring radio. (We are lucky in Seattle, though. KISW has somehow kept a bit of individuality and honor, playing what they want on Joleen's show, etc.) You may wonder why it is that you hear the same 10 fucking songs on your local station. These 10 songs have been "tested" vigorously.

Song testing is a very interesting thing. Well, interesting if you like lame. At song-testing sites, they will find an audience (usually for free pizza and 50 bucks) and play a certain rock song for them. In front of each audience member, there is a sheet of paper that informs the participant to choose one of the following:

A) I would turn the channel if I heard this song
B) I would turn the volume UP if I heard this song
C) I would turn the volume down if I heard this song
D) I would do nothing If I heard this song

Interestingly enough, D is the answer they are looking for. That's right, if you feel no emotion toward the song, you are more likely not to touch the dial at all. Not unlike a sheep, you would just continue listening to that channel and be pummeled by the commercials when those came along too.

OK, so we as fans and artists have transcended commercial radio and other pitfalls of the major record labels and corporate bullshit. Bands have figured out that while, yes, they won't sell as many records because of illegal digital downloading, these same bands can get more exposure from MySpace, YouTube, and other Internet means of social networking. More visibility in the ether can mean more people at your show buying your T-shirts and maybe even your CD. (I have noticed that fans WILL buy your music at a venue. Maybe it is the excitement that is generated by the live show that pushes the fan to further support the artist. I dunno.)

Fans can now find really obscure and independent acts just by taking cues from links on YouTube, etc. My eldest daughter finds all the new music she listens to by these means. By the time an artist "blows up" in a commercial sense, kids like my daughter are WAY past it. Metal Sludge and Blabbermouth are popular places too to find the latest news and gossip about your favorite band, putting a strain on paper publications like Rolling Stone and Spin.

But maybe there is a grassroots backlash a-brewin'. Kids will come up to us guys in Loaded and constantly ask if we are going to put out our newest record on vinyl. Yes, vinyl is really making a comeback, even sparking the major labels to press older catalogues on vinyl again. Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart all have put up vinyl sections in their stores. Independent record stores are again becoming the "hip" place to hang out for youth. (I just visited a record store in Nashville called Grimey's that had at least 1,000 kids show up when some local acts played in their back parking lot. It seemed like every one of them had a new vinyl purchase tucked under their arm). Who knows, perhaps Cream and Hit Parader will come out of forced retirement?

Yeah, I guess it just comes down to the fact that EVERYTHING is pretty much cyclical. Whether it's economic recessions we are talking about, or the need to hear music in a warm analog. I just hope that '90s junkie-chic and skinny "boy-looking" fashion models never come back in vogue. THAT was a bad period that should just be forgotten.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:58 pm

Duff McKagan: Rocking the South, Dodging the City Council

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Apr. 30 2009


As I revealed last week, I am back out on the road with Loaded. This is our first-ever foray into the U.S. rock marketplace. A band like Loaded is perhaps a risky endeavor, considering the more mainstream leanings of the American ear.

East and West Coast cities (Seattle, New York, Boston, L.A.) are places that harbor a music scene that allows for all types of bands to come through and find an audience. In the true spirit of Loaded, however, we did things the hard way and started our tour last week in the South. Huh?

Let me preface this subject by saying that I think the southern part of the U.S. is stunningly beautiful and its people extremely charming, affable, and friendly. The South, however, is a place a rock band might come after they have "broken" a bit worldwide, or at least nationwide. I'm not sure why, but the South is often the last place record companies try to market a band—perhaps because it is more spread out and rural, and hence it's tougher to spread the "word."

We started this tour in Nashville on a Saturday night playing a well-attended radio show. People seemed to know some of our songs, and it was pretty killer, actually. The following weekend we were booked on another radio show in Charleston. The trick was to fill in gigs between these two shows so that we could make enough money to pay for our travel, etc...

Playing clubs on a weeknight ANYWHERE is tough for a new band, and Loaded is certainly in this category. Getting local promoters to buy your show if you have just released a new record is a tenuous business at best. Since I have a bit of "lineage," I suppose that some of these clubs were willing to take the risk. I am glad that they did.

I am not saying that we filled up any of these clubs last week, but when you play a place like Jackson, Mississippi, on a Sunday night (with its local economy hit MUCH harder than most around this country), I'm not sure if a bigger band than us would have done much better. But it was the fans who showed up who really reinvigorated and energized my "call to rock," as it were. There was one guy in particular at that show who sang almost every word to every one of our songs, and I knew that this gig was important to him. I told him as much afterward, and I could see tears in his eyes.

Kris, a woman who writes in to this column, came to two of our gigs down South with her husband. Kris is actually a professor at a school down here somewhere, and it was really cool to meet a person who comments on this column.

It's not always easy to find a place to park our 70-foot bus, plus trailer. In Jacksonville, Florida, the promoter got us permission to park in front of City Hall in a nearby beach-town suburb. The problem was that a city council meeting was about to take place, and they had not been alerted to our status as Very Important Parkers. Mike Squires and I were the only ones on the bus when we heard a knock on our bus door. A city council woman asked who we were, and we politely explained our situation. She seemed OK with our answer and wished us a nice stay.

In actuality, she went straight into City Hall and brought out a bunch of her male council friends with the intent of getting us kicked off the property. By this time, however, I was tired, hot, lonely, and a tad fucking cranky! When one of the male council dweebs said in essence that I was lying about us having permission to park here—well, I kind of got in his face and asked him not to insult me any further and said I'd been touring for more than half my life and that we wouldn't do something as asinine as lying just to get a parking spot, especially in front of a shitty City Hall. This guy was a real greasy and schwarmy prick. He called the cops. Luckily, Squires knows how to handle the cops, and an escalation of my righteousness was averted. We had to move the bus, but that city council dude still has to deal with the fact that he has a small penis.

That night we all got tattooed with some variation of the Loaded logo. Heck, we are best friends AND it's the longest I've ever been in a band with the same guys, which in my world warrants a tattoo. The gig in Jacksonville kicked some serious ass.

In Augusta, Georgia, we played at a music store (Rock Bottom) acoustically in the afternoon and then to a small but exuberant crowd that night at a venue that was much too big for us. It didn't matter though...we kicked ass yet again.

We finally got a night off in a town with fine dining and good ol' nerdy tourist stuff when we got to Charleston, South Carolina (where Fort Sumter is and the Civil War started, etc. . . ). This city now tops my list as the most beautiful city in the United States. Jeff Rouse and I went out for a real sit-down French-Creole dinner at a place called Rue du Jacques, and we felt suddenly civilized and somewhat less stinky and crass (being on a bus with seven dudes 24/7 creates a perfect storm of man-funk and foul language).

Our final gig of this leg of the tour was in front of six or seven thousand rockers fully buying into our style of Loaded rock. . . indeed, a great way to end this past weekend.

Mike and Ashley McCready have asked Loaded to play this weekend at their yearly benefit concert for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Mike is a guy I have known since before Pearl Jam, at a time, unbeknown to me, that he first discovered that he suffered from Crohn's. This show helps send kids with the disease to a summer camp, a place where these kids can feel 'a part of' as opposed to 'alone in a crowd'. Mike and Ashley work very hard for this one show a year and I applaud them. The gig is this Saturday, 8pm, Showbox at the Market. It features Shadow (Mikes' first band from the '80's), Loaded, and Flight to Mars (Mikes' most excellent UFO cover band)!

As a nifty side note: The plural for "y'all" is simply "all y'all."

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:00 pm

Summer at the McKagan Tent

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, May. 7 2009


Summer is fast approaching, and parents everywhere are faced with the perennial dilemma: What are we going to do with the kids? My wife and I are certainly no different when it comes to planning summertime family activity.

This past spring break sucked for my kids (and in turn, it sucked for Susan and I). First, our kids had two weeks off when all their friends had one. Secondly, our 11-year old daughter was hit with a week-long stomach flu and bronchitis. Lastly, it rained the whole fucking two weeks! What were we supposed to do? A guy can only take his daughters to the Hannah goddamn Montana movie so many times! My wife could only take them for a "mani/pedi" so many times!

Our girls are three years apart and at that prime sibling-rivalry stage. Don't take this wrong; my girls are very kind and caring people, but stuck together without much time apart? It is a perfect storm of fighting, drama, stomping around, and door-slamming ("She's had the computer longer than me!" "That's MY spot on the couch!"). This summer will be different, though, as my wife has figured out a genius and head-spinning schedule of every type of summer day-camp you could imagine. The girls are at the age when they MUST experience other influences BESIDES school, me, and their mother. HOWEVER!

Last year we McKagans took our first family overnight camping trip. I have tried a little bit of fishing on Lake Washington with the girls, but this car-camping trip was our first real outdoors-all-of-the-time-sleep-under-the-stars foray. The initial trick was to convince the girls that camping is fun! Try to explain to two female "tweeners" what the "utility" of being outdoors is. Or at least imagine what my conversation would have been like: "But Daddy, what do we DO when we get there? Is there Internet? No BATHROOM! WHAT!!!!" You get the drift.

In this day and age, with the Web, IMing, iChatting, and TiVo at everyone's fingertips, competing for rapt attention and having old-fashioned family fun can be a challenge for sure. My girls finally let me convince them to take them to a Mariners game last year. The best part of that experience was when they asked me to take them to another one (I guess the bribe of continuous ice cream and peanuts worked)! Yes, but convincing them about an overnight camping trip was going to be a real chore. You don't want to put your children in a car kicking and screaming against what you are about to do... everything, in a way, has kind of got to be their idea.

So the girls like shopping, right? One day last summer my wife and I decided to take them down to REI to try get them excited about things like raingear, tents, water filtration units, maps, and mosquito repellent. In the midst of this, my wife reminded me that these were things that I liked, and that perhaps the girls may need to look at camping clothes or breakfast foods. Oh, all right then...

We have a great western Cascades campsite book that gave us the lowdown on about 100 different places for us to try. My only criteria was that we would be far enough away from the urban crawl so that our campground wasn't a hub for teenage weekend drinking, and/or wasn't close to one of our Oprah-made-famous western Washington meth labs. I remembered a place that some friends and I escaped to from an eastern Washington camping trip when Mt. St. Helens blew back in 1980. I should explain that first, I suppose.

When I was 15 or so, a bunch of us punkers decided to go camping (read, DRINKING) over at Sun Lakes State Park near Grand Coulee. On our second day there, the mountain erupted, sending millions of acres of ash in a northeasterly direction... directly at us! We headed back west and found a cool and ash-free camping area back near Index.

This is where family McKagan would go, with me dispensing my wisdom and stories of glory and triumph during the whole car trip up. Susan and the girls think I am cool enough, I suppose, but my storytelling and their imbued messages at times miss the mark. Often I will find myself painted into a corner, as it were, realizing that in too many stories my punchlines involve some illegal activity that I can't tell my kids about. I usually end up fumbling some sort of half-baked half-truth just to finish the line of thought so that the girls don't get suspicious. This trip was no different...

Setting up our camp was probably a fairly goofy-looking affair, if someone was watching from afar. Look, man, I have been touring and whatnot for most of my adult life, and the outdoorsman in me vacated way back when it was still safe to get out. My daughters asked me what the strange sound coming from beyond the trees was. I suddenly was aware that that still and calming sound was the very river I had camped on 23 years earlier. In all the rush and bluster to get where we were going, I had forgotten that this trip was planned for the sublime and tranquil reason of simple family fun in nature. I guess it's not just my girls who were, and are, caught up in their lives. I too had forgotten how relaxing and serene a fast-running river can be. My jaw muscles relaxed, and I walked my family down to the river's edge, water cups in hand.

After dinner the dark began to set in, and as we all sat around the campfire with our marshmallows slowly burning at their edges, the ghost stories from my childhood came rushing back. Perhaps it was the tightest I have ever had both my girls next to me, ever. My wife read to us all that night in the tent, and I am told I was the first to fall asleep.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:02 pm

Duff McKagan: Seriously, Who Cares?

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, May. 14 2009


I've recently noticed some things in the media and TV that have me asking myself one simple question: who fucking cares?! Miss America and Perez Hilton. The Apprentice, Kim Kardashian, Mariah Carey, Brad and Angelina, Jen and John...ugh.

The girl from La Jolla who recently caused an uproar during the Miss USA Pageant. Apparently Perez Hilton, one of the judges, asked Miss California what she thought of gay marriage. First of all, it's such a predictable setup, with the outwardly gay guy asking the vocal Christian girl her thoughts on same-sex marriage. Of course she will toe the party line and say that she believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Of course Perez will feign shock and disbelief. Of course every major network will feature this story and unearth nude or scantily clad pictures of Miss La Jolla. Of course, of course, of course... the shit sells. The result? Perez becomes a bigger celebrity, and the Miss USA Pageant makes much-needed headlines. The new Miss USA will be a HUGE celebrity, no doubt selling tons of future copies of US and Star magazines. She will be in demand and garner big-money appearance fees (of which Donald Trump, as the head of the Miss USA Pageant, will get the lion's share). Everyone wins. Did anyone think this was a spontaneous occurrence? The only real losers are those fighting for same-sex marriage issues in our courts. This whole deal has cast a Christian-right light on this thing?those in political office may be afraid to do battle because of their constituency. A shame for sure.

The Kardashian show is one that I actually may cut a little slack, if not only for the reason that we all know it is scripted. I mean, there is no way that any of you readers would actually take a cue from this show and break up with a girlfriend or boyfriend via text on a BlackBerry, right? It is a con job how badly they treat their mom on the show, right? The zany antics on that show, while they do sort of personify the materialism that just soaks L.A. culture, are just prewritten drama-makers. You guys DO know it IS scripted... RIGHT?

I was listening to BJ's morning show on KISW this week, and heard him just RANTING about the wrongs that were done on the finale of The Apprentice. BJ is a very deep and extremely intelligent man, so I assume he was kind of "putting it on" for the sake of his listeners. Maybe I am wrong or maybe I am right. The point is, even if he is just playing to the crowd, it's apparent that the crowd must be interested or he wouldn't be playing it up so much. Hey wait...The Apprentice is another Donald Trump show! What the hell is going on?!

As I write this piece, I am sitting here at the airport waiting for another flight (I fly a LOT). I suppose a guilty pleasure of mine sits right there in Hudson Booksellers' magazine racks under "Entertainment." At least every other week (if not oftener), either Brad and Jen are getting back together, Brad and Angelina are breaking up, Jen is adopting or pregnant, or Angelina is getting a new tattoo. Good stuff. There has got to be an almost voyeuristic pleasure or thrill for the mainstream consumer to get these rags by the absolute truckloads. Hey, I am guilty myself of peeking once in a while at this stuff. The "They Are Just Like Us" section in Star is fucking hilarious to me. Really? They go grocery shopping ... just like us? Change diapers? Pick their noses? I think it would be killer if they caught some celebrity masturbating. It would read "They rub one out ... just like us!" So endearing, really.

In the UK, they have a type of newspaper nicknamed "red tops" for the red border that adorns them. Papers like The Sun and The Daily Mirror don't even really pretend to be telling much of the truth. Oh, there ARE real and factual financial, political, and world-affairs stories within their pages, but they're not until waaay back in the middle of the paper somewhere. What kicks ass, too, is that all these papers (except the Times of London, really) have nude "Page 3 girls" to go with your morning coffee or tea. I say Seattle Weekly should try this. What say you?

I was pretty bummed out last year when CNN Headline News decided to air their "celebrity news" hour at the exact time I usually tune in to catch up with the latest actual world and national news. Sure, on the East Coast, it comes on at 11 a.m. (a sort of news "dead zone"), but us West Coast people get it at 8 a.m.?right when you just want to get caught up on shit and then get out the door. I guess entertainment news IS big news nowadays. Blah.

I know that my column IS for the most part an entertainment read, not based on primary sources and often devoid of fact. Oh, wait. Yeah, maybe from now on I should start writing about the Octomom, weight-loss summer-body tips, and "Who Wore It Better?"

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:04 pm

It's Been That Kind of a Week

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, May 21 2009


Last week for me kind of ran a whole sort of gamut as far how different some of the activities, discussions, and even inner-self discussions I experienced. Do you ever have one of those weeks where you just kind of look back and go. "huh?" Let me explain.

On Monday night, my phone rang at home (nobody calls me at home anymore). My wife picked up and she said it was for me. Apparently, I have given the OK at some point to be live on a hour-long financial AM radio show in Los Angeles (not a small market!). So there I was, live on the radio, with the host immediately peppering me with pretty pointed questions on my thoughts for economic recovery.

Let me back up a second and tell those of you that don't know that I have a weekly financial column at Playboy.com. It's nothing too heavy or groundbreaking, rather I try to educate and explain complicated financial jargon to the readers in hopes that we can all have a sort of leg up as these markets begin their slow climb to health. A few years back, I DID go to the Alber's School of Business at Seattle U., but a business guru it did not make of me.

Okay, so there I am being asked live on the radio if I thought everyone should sell everything and just buy gold (NO! Don't EVER put all of your dough into one specific asset!), and if I thought it was a good time for someone to start a business (depends on the circumstance of course), if I thought this spending by our administration was a gateway to American socialism (many aspects of the U.S. economic system are already socialist as we have borrowed things that have worked from other countries over the years. Where do you think Social Security came from?), or what things I would tell Obama to help curb this recession ( he is a LOT smarter than me). I came out of that interview feeling a little dirty in that I felt used and part of the problem. Again, in my Playboy column, I try to allay fears, not add to them.

The next day, it was my turn to be radio guy. For some reason, KISW thought it would be a good idea to give me my own hour-long commercial-free radio show. Now, we all probably think we can do a lot better than some of those jerks on the radio, but to actually do it is an entirely different exercise. I was so nervous that in the first segment (where I interviewed Lemmy from Motorhead, my fucking hero), you could audibly hear my words quivering just a bit. Lemmy saved that bit.

Next up, I had Martin Feveyear (Loaded's own producer, tour manager, and live sound mixer) do some two-part jokes with me. Martin is one funny bastard and just having him there in the studio put me at ease. Nikki Sixx was my next guest, and that dude has ALWAYS been cool to me. We talked about the upcoming Cruefest and he told me that they would be performing the Dr. Feelgood record from beginning to end. He also told me of a time that I drove his Maserati and put a scratch in it. (I don't even remember driving any Maserati. EVER!). I was a wee bit embarrassed to say the least.

Sean Kinney came next, and if you've never heard this dude talk before, go to the KISW site and download the podcast of the show. He was both hilarious (playing bongos with McConaughey?!) and deep (he spoke of how the new Alice In Chains record was a personal catharsis regarding the passing of Layne). For the last segment, Mike McCready was kind enough to come down and play "Wild Horses" with my radio band, the Rainmakers (aka Jeff Rouse and Mike squires from Loaded).

Later that week, I got to experience one of the most proud moments in my life when my daughter Grace got up and sang a song with me at a school fundraiser. I thought I was going to start bawling, but rock dudes don't cry (unless they watch The Notebook or that Tiger movie that came out back in 2001).

I had an amazing gig the other night here in NYC...probably Loaded's best ever. We were joined onstage by Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, a virtuoso on guitar and a first-class all-around guy!

I've been starting to second-guess my role here at Seattle Weekly, too. This has thus far been a great experience for me as I have been able to use a whole and other part of my brain when it comes time to writing my weekly thing here. But there is a line here that I will not cross. That line is where I don't ever, under any circumstances, give away too much about myself. It's almost as if I've developed a whole new persona and that is who I choose to portray. What if I did in fact publicly inform you all, too much about myself? Maybe it is time for me to go back to being the quiet and sullen rock guy that I think is a bit more comfortable for many to accept (not that I have EVER looked for anyone's acceptance as a whole). I dunno. This is something I have not even spoken to my "guy" at the Weekly about. They have bent over backwards helping me along with my band and have guided my writing style with intelligence and candor.

Maybe the shock and sexiness of me having a weekly column has indeed worn off and I am not quite sure of what my role here is anymore. Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy getting feedback from you who read this and comment. I REALLY have grown quite fond of the sarcasm and general abuse I have taken at the hands of some of you readers. I guess though, I've got to figure some stuff out.

Cheers,
Duff

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:07 pm

Duff McKagan: You Can't Fall From the Floor

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, May 28 2009


I woke up on the bus last Friday morning after a great night of well-deserved sleep. The previous night in Wantaugh, Long Island marked the end of an eight-in-a-row run that took Loaded from Detroit and weaved us through to the Northeast. Often, it's the THINGS and PEOPLE I see on the road that make for much more interesting stories than the common backstage view.

As I stumbled out of the bus, I found myself in the parking lot of a quaint bayside hotel called the Freeport Inn and Boatel. Sound familiar? This is the one-and-the-same place where Joey Buttafuoco and his "Long Island Lolita" Amy Fisher had their much-publicized daytime trysts back in the early '90s. But it wasn't this experience alone that made that day interesting for me.

Coming around the back end of the bus was a man who, obvious to me, had something to do with the hotel. He introduced himself as the general manager and commenced to show me to the caf? to get some coffee. Joseph Creamer, 29, spoke with rapid-fire excitement about what he was going to do with this hotel and the things he hoped to do for the community to help bring it back around from this latest recession. He also told me of his new position as vice president of the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, and the problems he was having with the old-guard mayor and his ilk.

Right on the bay in Freeport, there sits an ugly and dilapidated two-story building used only once a month by the Fire Department for exercises. Around this building, and in fact in the whole waterfront area, the shoreline seems dominated by industrial storage units and an old electrical plant. Basically, nothing like the waterfront settings we enjoy around Seattle in places like Lake Washington, West Seattle, Magnolia, etc. I'm sure most city planners would salivate at the chance to redo Freeport's waterfront into an attraction rather than an eyesore.

Joseph Creamer has just this sort of thing in mind, as he is presently applying for alcohol permits for the Freeport Inn and Boatel. He sees a hip, trendy, and ultimately upscale restaurant row in his town's future, creating a revenue stream for the city through higher property taxes and alcohol licenses and creating service and marina jobs. He wants to turn the Fire Department building into a big catering hall, and in turn rent a space in neighboring Hempstead for the F.F.D. Both towns would win.

Freeport, and Long Island as a whole, has seen some of the worst unemployment rate increases in the country. Forward thinking and job creation are the exact thing this area needs, with people like Joe Creamer to lead us up and out of this recession. Young people who see a light at the end of the tunnel instead of cronies to appease.

I've spoken here before of the book The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes. This book not only tells a thorough economic tale of the Depression, but also highlights the missteps and triumphs that got us out of that financial woe. The amazing thing to me about this book is the uncanny parallels that we now encounter. There's a great quote from 1929, just prior to the first stock-market crash, by Nelson Rockefeller: "I knew that the market was over-inflated and run by amateurs when the man shining my shoes one day gave me a stock recommendation. I went back to the office and sold every holding that I owned." Didn't we all in fact get a little too cocky with our perceived stock-market prowess and using our houses as personal ATMs? Guys like Jim Cramer and his Mad Money are indeed much of the problem and very little of the solution.

As we wrap up this U.S. tour, I have been honored and enriched to play little places like Allentown, Pa. and Huntington, W.Va.. In towns like these, they have long gotten used to the short end of the stick, so pulling themselves out of muddy and dark places like these economic times is almost commonplace. These will be the towns that have the fastest recovery, in my opinion, because they did not get so caught up in economic hoopla in the first place. They have long since learned the lesson of humility, and have a resultant forthrightness and strength.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:09 pm

Duff McKagan: Midwest Rock and Saying Good-Bye

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jun. 4 2009


The ongoing saga of Loaded's tour continues for me and the fellas for now and the foreseeable future. This week we were included on the bills of some of the bigger rock festivals in the Midwest. They do summer rock festivals like they do college football: BIG. Slipknot and Korn have been the staple headliners for most of these gigs, and while both these acts are definitely a sight to watch, it is often a surprise opener you've never heard of who steals the day (at least for me).

Because I was leaving for Europe after this last weekend and therefore would not be seeing my family until June 14, I pre-investigated if I could bring my family to these Midwest festivals. (Touring for me is mostly a test of rub-raw heartbreak and longing for my family. Make no mistake, I'm a big boy and no sobbing wimp, but I realize that, well, touring IS our livelihood. It just sucks being so far from my people.)

My daughter Grace was going to be having her half birthday; a thing both of my kids have come up with so that they can celebrate their summer birthdays in the spring with their school friends. (We've found that summer birthdays wreak havoc on kid attendance, as everyone is off gallivanting somewhere or other. Besides, the makeup melts off the clown we hire every year because of the all-day sun exposure that our house endures.) Back on topic... Since Grace was having her party last weekend, it would be a perfect opportunity to bring Mae, my youngest, with me. At 8 years old, Mae is a cagey veteran of plane travel and tour-bus smarts.

Now when you have eight males traveling together, a sort of dumbing-down phenomenon happens. It seems that instead of using well-thought-out and articulate adjectives, guys stuck together for a length of time will ALWAYS resort to "fucking," "fucked," "fucked up," "fuck yeah," or simply just "fuck." It usually takes a couple of days for me to curb this habit whenever I get home. And here I am bringing my sweet 8-year-old girl into the eye of the hurricane, if you will. I'll just say this: If we had a swear jar, Mae would have come out of this weekend flush with dough. Instead, she will just look at the person swearing and kind of give them a look, as if to say "Really?"

To my kids, by far the coolest thing about touring is the bus. Every bunk has its own little TV, and all buses these days have Direct TV. They couldn't really give a crap that I might be playing in front of 20,000 people?they've seen that a million times. No, EVERYTHING about the tour bus is cool to them. Even doing their homework on the bus is cool. After our shows, Mae and I played hide-and-seek and a new game she invented with a hacky-sack. Our nights were spent cuddled up in the back lounge watching a family movie together. She sleeps in the bunk above mine, and likes it when I reach my hand up to hold hers so that she feels secure and thus falls asleep knowing I am right there. I had to say good-bye to her at the airport in Des Moines, Iowa, as she flew back to L.A. with a trusted friend and I off to Finland. She wanted to come with me and not go back home (and back to school). We really had a great daddy-daughter bonding, and I miss her as I write this....

I've got to say that I saw a few outstanding bands on this little Midwest swing. At the top of the list was Corey Taylor, doing solo gigs with some friends he grew up with. You may know Corey as the lead singer from Slipknot and Stone Sour, but I know him as a guy who just likes to rock and have fun doing it. His band out-Loaded Loaded as they came on stage to the Magnum P.I. theme song doing a choreographed dance, and then proceeded to play "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince. They CRUSHED it! The heavy-metal crowd was further bewildered when they saw their Slipknot hero go from the theme song from Cheers into "Pig" by Nine Inch Nails. It was absolutely superb. To me, when you can flat-out rock and also take the piss out of yourself...then you are doing something right. Another band you all should check out is Parlor Mob?a sort of MC5-ish band that gets the fuck down!

As I write, I am somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean heading to Helsinki. The flight crew is a bit surly, it seems. I must have slept through an incident or something, but when I just asked for a cup of coffee, the flight attendant snapped at me that "Patience is a virtue!" Uh...OK. Flight attending is one of those professions where they can treat you like crap and there is no real recourse for the customer. So you just kind of sit back and take it. I could sure as fuck use a cup of fucking coffee, though! FUCK! Sorry, Mae...

As a killer side note: I got published in The New York Times this past Tuesday. The only bummer is that it went in as "by Michael McKagan." I really am not sure why. Heck, my own mom never called me Michael. Oh well...The Times is definitely a bucket-list item I can now cross off.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090607073414/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/06/duff_mckagan_midwest_rock_and.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:13 pm

A Finnish Beginning to Summer

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jun. 11 2009


Late spring in Europe and the U.K. means only one thing for the music lover over here: FESTIVAL SEASON! Of course, these festivals are good for both the fans AND the bands that play in front of them, as festivals will usually put an act in front of more people than they could otherwise garner by simply doing a club tour. This season for Loaded has thus far been, well, . . . colorful, let's say.

It's always great to mix some club or theater gigs into your tour schedule if you are out doing the festivals. The beginning of June can be (and usually is) cold and wet in northern Europe. For whatever reason, whether with Velvet Revolver or Loaded, we've started the season more often up north, instead of, say, Spain. Loaded took it to the extreme this past week by starting things off in Finland, with two club shows in Helsinki and Oulu and an outdoor festival in Tampere.

Geographically, Tampere, Finland, sits at about the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska. If you know anything about Alaska, you know that it is not shocking to find freezing rain or even snow at the beginning of June. These were the conditions we found ourselves in as we hit the stage at this outdoor rock festival. Fuck, it was cold! For us in bands, it is only semi-miserable, as we will at least be warm later at night in our bus whilst rolling off to some other destination. But for most attending the weekend-long rock and pop festivals over here in Europe and the UK, the night will end in a soggy, freezing tent. Drunk, wet, cold, and muddy . . . nothing goes better with "rock" (except maybe the beginnings of the infection that sets in on that not-too-thought-out tattoo or piercing you got at the festival . . . after waiting in line for five hours. But I digress).

I have said before that it is often during festival season that I actually get to see bands play for the first time. Soundtrack of Our Lives is a band from Sweden that I'd heard about for a long time but had never seen. We played with them at both the Rock am Ring AND Rock am Park festivals in Germany. It's always a pleasure to share a stage with a band that you like. It is even better when a group of musicians inspires you. Soundtrack of Our Lives are MY find of the season so far. Another band I really liked is called Biffy Clyro, which has been big in the UK for a while, for good reason . . . a really cool and inventive band.

Somehow, Loaded seems to fit somewhere in between when it comes to actually labeling what we are, genre-wise. For this reason, we may be put on an "alternative" stage at one festival, and a "metal" or "rock" stage at another. We will also be doing six gigs over here in direct support of M?tley Cr?e, which should be a blast for sure. As I write this, I am sitting in a club in Lucerne, Switzerland, getting ready to do one of our own shows. Lucerne is surrounded by beautiful mountains, and reminds me of someplace just east of our very own Cascades.

Today is Wednesday in Port au Crans, Switzerland. We play the Caribana Festival with ZZ Top right on Lake Geneva. I really feel like a writer right now: sitting next to a beautiful shore and sipping espresso with some locals. The language here is a soft and gentle Fran?ais, and a welcome relief. The Latin-based languages are somehow easier for me to grasp, and I enjoy learning new words and phrases in French or Spanish. The show tonight is sold out, and the weather is warm with a gentle and fresh breeze from the lake. Mont Blanc is right across the lake from where I sit.

wo days ago in Zurich, I took a train into the center of town with Mike and Geoff Reading. We strolled around and looked at some guitars, bought toiletries, etc. We noticed a high bluff that promised a good vantage point from which to view Zurich and its amazing architecture, and we huffed our way up to it. Because of the hectic touring schedule we keep, none of us had quite gotten over our jet lag, and this high viewpoint also offered a wide bulkhead that we all laid down upon for an hour or so. Once we got up to leave and walk back down the hill, I noticed a public toilet and told the fellas that I had to pee. Now, in a men's bathroom, there is a sort of protocol that usually goes unnoticed—when a man uses a urinal, he doesn't look up and around at every new person who comes into the public restroom. When I entered this one, all three men looked up at me. When they saw I was there to actually USE the bathroom and not "cruise," there seemed to be a collective disappointment that I wasn't on "the team." Sorry, fellas, I am spoken for.

My family comes to Europe tomorrow, and I am more than excited to see them. Tomorrow in London, Squires and I will play live on the radio to something like eight million listeners. No pressure. Later that day, I will present an award to the Manic Street Preachers at the MOJO Awards (a big British awards show). On Friday, Loaded plays the Download Festival, probably the pinnacle of any rock band's career. I have played it with GN'R, and twice with VR. Next week? We start our European tour with Mötley Crüe. Oh, the stories I could tell . . .

https://web.archive.org/web/20090614065156/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/06/a_finnish_beginning_to_summer.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:16 pm

We Are the Road Crew

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jun. 18 2009


Out on the road and touring as a rock band, artists wholeheartedly rely on their crews. The term "roadie" is thought of as an archaic and demeaning term, replaced now with guitar tech, drum tech, sound engineer, production manager, and wardrobe person.

As an artist, you make the record, book the tours, get the T-shirts made (merch), tour for an average of 14 months, then go home to rest and make another record. If you are a professional crew person, however, the road NEVER ends.

Since we have been out on this Mötley tour, I have been reunited with a few people who I have worked with over the last 22 years of touring:

Beth has done wardrobe for probably 25 years. She worked for us in GN'R when we could finally afford that luxury. Years later, she worked for Velvet Revolver. The Rolling Stones and AC/DC have been her main gigs for most of these 25 years, and right now she is doing this Mötley Crüe gig. Beth has known me through all my personal ups and downs, and, for the most part, has witnessed me morphing from a hopeless alcoholic to a hapless parent. Beth has been privy, too, to my daughters' growing up; now my 11-year-old Grace stands a few inches taller than little Beth.

"Viggy" Vignoli is a very interesting sort and absolutely fascinating to talk to. At the moment, Vig is Tommy Lee's drum tech and does programming in the studio. He started doing this type of gig when he was 15, working for Whitney Houston when she first started in 1985. Vig finally left Whitney when things got out of control during the Bobby Brown marriage fiasco, and moved on to Cameo (Vig did the "Word Up" tour!), Prince, Sevendust, and now Tommy Lee, to name just a few.

Life on the road certainly takes a certain personal constitution which you either do or don't have. The folks in the road crew rarely go to a hotel bed after the show, and must hope for a locker-room shower at the waiting venue. If you stay in the game long enough, however, you can command the big bucks. Top tour managers can earn from $8,000 to $12,000 a week (Madonna's and Cher's tours are the real high-paying gigs, but the demand on one's time and sanity must be taken into account).

Our Loaded crew right now consists of Martin Feveyear as tour manager/sound engineer, Stadi as guitar/bass tech, Ryan as guitar tech/drum tech, and Dennis as merch guy. I don't really know anyone's last name except for Martin's, but living together on a bus day in and day out, you get to know just about everything else about these peoples' lives—and their significant body odors and hygiene habits. Loaded is a low-budget affair at best, and the band and crew work real hard for mediocre pay.

Ryan plays another very significant role for all of us. He has taken it as a personal challenge to be our "Johnny Go Time." That is, he reminds us, when times are hard and we're tired, that this is about fucking ROCK AND ROLL and it's time to throw down. Ryan has various ways of getting us up for a gig, including throwing out enthusiastic David Lee Roth high kicks or exhorting how "rad" '60s band Pentagram is. The guy just lives it, period.

A favorite Ryan moment of mine was in Finland. No one had really slept for something like 65 hours and we had a gig to do. Ryan literally picked himself off the ground and staggeringly gave us a DLR kick to remind us that it was indeed time to rock, whether we were seeing sleep-deprivation-induced "trails" or not. Ryan kicks ass!

Stadi is an even-keeled German transplant to London. Nothing ever really seems to faze him, except for the day last week when we did a gig in Switzerland with ZZ Top. Stadi loves him some Billy Gibbons, and sheepishly asked me if I would introduce them. I did. Stadi had a wide grin on his face for the next three days. Ryan, of course, was not as shy, and last I saw he had enlisted ALL the ZZ Top guys to help him make a video Web log for his YouTube site.

Martin pretty much holds this whole thing together. Without Martin, there probably would be no Loaded. From guiding the musical direction of the band to recording us to doing our live sound to tour-managing us, Martin does it all. Like Geoff and I, Martin is a father, and having the heartache of missing the ones you love added to a stressful work and travel schedule can really fuck with you. Martin somehow finds a way to gather himself when we need him and shine a guiding beacon for us all to follow.

If you are a casual fan of music and like to go to shows once and a while, take a moment to look at the production and take note of the lights, PA, amps, drums, and stage. Know that there are hardworking people who take a lot of pride in making that show the best it can possibly be for you on that particular night. Being an artist and creating an idea that can be then taken on the road is one thing. The men and women in road crew are the ones who make the rest happen. I raise my glass high to them.

As a postscript: Ryan is actually one Ryan "Go Time" Moore from Portland. Facebook him to see some of his most hilarious Webisodes.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090621072255/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/06/meet_the_roadies_sorry_road_cr.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:20 pm

Tour Bus Logic and Our Obesity Situation

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jun. 25 2009


I think with all of us, no matter how hard we try to remain politically correct and mind our social manners, it remains well-nigh impossible to police our private thoughts. I've been doing a lot of well-documented traveling lately, and with it comes plenty of time in the air.

Martin Feveyear (our band's tour manager) and I were having a philosophical discussion on the bus over our morning coffee. Apparently, there is more and more talk among airlines on whether to charge, um, "wide" people for an extra seat. The airlines are further talking about installing a limited amount of wide seats just for those people who fit the profile, pun intended. If you travel as much as Martin and I do, it's more than likely you have been squeezed into a tight place next to a person who has no business sitting in a seat meant for the thin-ish. It's just plain uncomfortable for both parties involved.

How would someone arbitrarily make the decision about who would or would not have to purchase this more expensive (for sure) seat? As this conversation broadens on our tour bus, there are differing opinions. Here's a sample of what I heard as the guys sauntered down to the bus kitchen: "It's not someone's fault if they are fat!" "There is always the excuse of a 'thyroid problem.' That's bullshit!" I know that everyone reading this piece will have their own strong opinion on this matter, but these two opinions probably shed light on the two furthest ends of the spectrum.

I must say, though, for argument's sake, it is stunningly obvious to the casual observer that Europe does not have the obesity problem we have in the States. There are no super-size options at fast-food places over here, and the average meal is much smaller in every European country and in the UK. There was a piece in London's Sun newspaper last week about this American super-size phenomenon and the three British actors who had gone to L.A. to shoot a movie. All three came back to London with noticeable extra weight. They blamed the big meal portions they had gotten used to in the States.

Obesity in America is a killer for sure, and subjects like this airplane-seat dilemma, while not popular I am sure, must be addressed. A parent's bad eating and health habits get passed down to their children. I have heard so many people say that they don't have the time to work out. Often these are the same people who play hours of video games, spend too much time on the computer, or just watch too much fucking TV, all the while eating shit food.

In America, we don't tell our citizens how to live, but maybe there could be some sort of incentive for getting reasonably fit—other than, you know, a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, a longer life span, fewer joint problems, etc. Maybe charging more for an airplane ticket IS the right thing to do after all. Charging more now may just be that last straw that pushes just a few of us to turn our health habits around.

I am stunned and mystified every time I'm at the movies to see just how stupidly HUGE the sizes of popcorn and sodas are. We all watch as person after person gets the large everything "for just 50 cents more" or whatever the hell it is. The amount of calories and fat in a large tub of buttered popcorn could sustain a person stranded on a desert island for three weeks!

I have no tidy ending for this column. It's really only meant to spur discussion. As I write, I am in a prop plane flying over the Dolomite mountain range from Munich to Bologna, Italy. What I'd give for a parachute, a sleeping bag, boots, a pack, an ice-axe, crampons...and Tim Medvetz, of course!

https://web.archive.org/web/20090803103816/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/06/tour_bus_logic_and_our_obesity.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:23 pm

Duff McKagan: Inspiring and Painful

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jul. 2 2009


So I have finally arrived back home in Seattle after being on the road for the last two months. Traveling and playing gigs sometimes gives me a chance to witness or be a part of some pretty spectacular events. Whether getting a chance to see another inspiring band play or slipping and falling in a unfamiliar shower, life on the road is never without a daily event, it seems. Here I will list a few events that have highlighted my last eight weeks:

1) As I have previously written about, I had a chance to see Soundtrack of our Lives twice in Germany. If you are looking for music to set a tone for your summer, may I suggest getting Communion, SOOL's new double record. Super-cool and vibey.

2) Was bestowed the honor of sitting at the "big kids' table" with Billy Gibbons and Jeff Beck at the MOJO Awards in London: Whoa...! Was also given the pleasure of presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to the Manic Street Preachers that night. Pretty damn cool for sure.

3) Lost a bag: Well, in truth, I didn't lose it, Iberia Airlines did. It's been gone for some 12 days now, and the chances of ever getting it back are looking bleaker and bleaker. I have made four in-person lost baggage reports at various Iberia counters across Europe. It seems now, however, that they have no record of me OR my bag. Friends, don't let friends fly Iberia. The worst customer service I have ever witnessed. GIVE ME MY FUCKING BAG BACK!!!! Oh...sorry, Weekly readers.

4) Lost a tooth: Yep, the same day I lost my bag, half of one of my back teeth just broke off. That same day we played in 70 mph winds in Zaragosa, Spain. The wind was so strong that it blew me off the microphone a couple of times and blew cymbal stands over, etc. . . The sound out front must have been atrocious. I attribute this triumvirate of bad luck to the fact that my wife and kids had just left after their visit to me out there on tour. I was sad and apparently vulnerable to asshole bad luck.

5) Fell in the shower: Or maybe it was a "quartet" of bad luck. A couple of days later in Cologne, Germany, I decided to get a hotel on my own and fly to our next gig (as opposed to staying on the bus and getting more bedbugs . . . you heard me right). I was going to sleep in a nice bed, work out in a nice hotel gym, and take a soft, warm shower with real soap. I had had a tough weekend prior (what with the winds, lost tooth, lost bag, and all), and just wanted a little "me time." Well, I slept great, had an awesome workout, AND the shower rocked! As I stepped out, however, my foot landed on a wet part of the bathroom floor, and I went flying. I broke my toe and banged the back of my head. Glamorous . . .

6) Saw NINE INCH NAILS: The reason I spell their name with all large caps is certainly not because I didn't spell-check. These guys are certainly the best live rock band out there this summer. Stripped down to just four members, they are raw and made me want to break stuff. Last summer's NIN show at KeyArena was amazing because of the scope and enormity of the undertaking (eight band guys and the biggest light show on the road back then). Last Friday's show in Milan, as I watched from side-stage, shed light on just how good their musicianship and songwriting is. The new drummer kid from the UK is nothing short of prodigious. I could easily write a whole article alone on just the first two songs of that evening. A truly great show, and it didn't suck to be me that night.

7) Visited Amsterdam and didn't get high: If you can get through this town and not have at least an urge for a hit off a hash pipe, then you are indeed superhuman. For a guy like me, who has a king-sized sweet tooth, the number of chocolate and ice-cream stores per capita are a great bonus of having a largely high-on-weed environment.

8) Czech this out: While visiting a very old church in Prague with my wife and kids, I found out that the 1300-era Czech army was one of the first to use psychological warfare. When the Czech army were at the gates of the then-walled city of Milan, they made babies shaped out of dough to roast over their open fires in sight of the petrified Milanese. The Italians surmised that these brutish Czechs ate their own babies and must be heathen animals. The gates to Milan went down REAL fast, and the Czechs won without a fight. Sick, but genius!

9) Got the secondary security check . . . again: Hey, U.S. Immigration Services, I got one question . . . PROFILE MUCH?! It is only when I re-enter my home country (which I LOVE), that my stomach tightens when the plane lands. My port of entry was the Detroit airport on Monday, and the result was no different. I got sent to "secondary inspection." When you come into a new country, you must first get your luggage and then proceed through customs (you recheck your bags afterward if you have a connecting flight, which I did). Usually they wait until you have your bags and are standing in line for a cursory look-through of your passport. This time they didn't even wait for me to get my luggage before the officer came up to me and put a blue line through my entry paperwork. The officer probably thought he had a "live one" when he scoped me out. He was truly bummed when he found nothing in my baggage or clothing. I smiled and wished him an excellent day.

10) Got home to my family: This part for me is simply the best part of the story.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:25 pm

Summer Vacation, the Black Bag, and a Mini-Tirade (or Two)

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jul. 9 2009


"Is this a Mr. McKagan?" said a voice on the other end of my telephone.

"Yes," I replied, thinking it was a telemarketer who had somehow gotten my cell-phone number, and I gripped for a pitch. "My name is Kenny M., and I work at American Airlines. Are you missing a black bag?" And so began the conclusion of the mystery of my lost black bag, gone for some 17 days after an Iberia flight from Prague to Pamplona, Spain.

Kenny M. was calling from Dallas, Texas (nowhere near Europe) and American Airlines has no relation or partnership to Iberia Airlines. My bag just showed up one day, with no ID card, at Americans' central baggage service depot. Kenny said that apparently my bag had been around the world, and that in circumstances where there is no ID, he must get inside the bag and look for clues. In a vest pocket, he found a receipt for a Hilton at the Helsinki, Finland airport ... he called them. Luckily for me, I had filled out a Hilton Awards card at that Hilton on that stay and they had ALL of my information, including my cell-phone number.

I know when I wrote about my lost bag last week, some of you responded that it was just a material possession and that at least I was healthy and blah, blah, blah. But in this bag, there was all of my good-luck rock gear:

1. My leather bracelet that I'd worn for every gig in the past six years.
2. My "Chrome Hearts' leather vest given to me by a close family friend and worn at every gig I've played over the past three or so years.
3. Gloves given to me by Hanoi Rocks' Michael Monroe.
4. My ear-infection medicine (a rock-tour staple).
5. Rock pants.
6. Smell-good stuff (another rock-tour staple that staves off the scent of a wet leather vest and bracelet, and not-too-often-laundered rock pants).
7. My gym clothes and Nike tennis shoes.
8. Shave kit.

So, when I went down to FedEx on Alaskan Street to pick up my bag (NOT Alaskan Way as I found out after driving around SoDo for 45 minutes), I was a bit amused to find my tennis shoes missing and my medications strewn throughout my bag. The FedEx guy there informed me that customs or airline personnel will often do this with someone's medications after they find that there is nothing that will either get them high or that they can sell to a drug user. The missing tennis shoes were new, and I suppose some jackass down there wore size 11. What most amused me about this was that the leather vest that made it back to me unmolested was worth $5,000! That vest was the pure and simple reason I thought the damn bag was gone in the the first place. Suckers!

A Little Green Day

Last week, Green Day came to town, and I have become a big fan recently after I saw their alter-ego band the Foxboro Hot Tubs at the Roxy in Hollywood last year. The FHT showcase how good. Mike, Billy, and Trey's musicianship is AND how loose and fun rock-and-roll is supposed to be. Green Day know how to write the hits. And after seeing them live, it's obvious that they've somehow maintained a punk ethic well into mainstream success. As a fellow musician, I appreciate the art of writing a good song, and that is what these guys do so well, time and time again. It was a great gig for sure, and impressive to see KeyArena sold out.

A Little Rant

I read posts to this column and others, made so often by anonymous people, that they don't like this band or that. While I certainly applaud a person's free will and opinion, it gets tiring to see a person so chickenshit as not to put up their own e-mail or at least first name and last initial. If you have opinions about music I talk about in this space, at least have the balls to ID yourself ... I do. Moving on ...

A Little Music

This weekend, I hope to see two shows: Roxy Epoxy at El Corazon on Friday, and 70 Proof at the West Seattle Street Fair on Saturday.

A Little Sun

I have gone east for the week, choosing to start my well-deserved summer vacation up near Lake Chelan. My daughter Mae is upstairs in our cabin right now, playing an old acoustic guitar that I brought along. We hope to get a boat and go "sea couching" later today (a "sea couch" is our name for anything larger that an inner tube that we can pull behind a boat and floats).

Happy Summer to everyone reading this. I am pleased as could be to be back home after so much time away. My family have returned to our normal place and that is, at this moment, a place in the sun.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:27 pm

Can You Hear Me Now?

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jul. 16 2009


My column from last week ("Summer Vacation, the Black Bag, and a Mini-Tirade (Or Two)") received more response than any other column in the near-year I've been doing this thing for Seattle Weekly. In my "mini-tirade," I quickly took a swipe at those who make comments on blogs, articles, and fansites without using a real name, therefore sidestepping any real responsibility for their often accusatory and mean-spirited script.

We have reached an age when information and opinions can be shared widely with a simple finger's touch. This is a very cool thing for sure. With these articles, opinions, and fansites online, we are experiencing a sort of letters-to-the-editor-on-steroids phenomenon.

Text-messaging on phones also has taken away some of the personality that an audible voice will parlay. If I have shitty news or am pissed off, I myself will often text instead of call. It is often easier and less confrontational to e-mail or text a tirade, and we can worry about the fallout of said tirade at a later point . . . putting it off. Is this better? No. Is it easier? Well, for the time being, and we ARE becoming a point-and-click, path-of-least-resistance society.

Newspapers have their Op/Ed sections and letters to the editor to provide a community voice in return. With these letters, though, comes the person's first and last name and hometown. If someone writes to a newspaper in response to something they feel strongly enough about, there seems to be pride in owning up to who you are . . . maybe that's old-school, but at least there is discourse with identity.

People say you could track back anyone on the computer if you tried hard enough. The comments section on YouTube videos and columns like this one have at times included nasty and unkind comments with some wacky made-up moniker attached. I would never have the interest to track down someone unless they'd somehow done irreparable damage to someone I love, but that is not what I am talking about. Who really cares to track someone down? What I am talking about is this: What does that say about us as a society when we say something online that we would never even dream of saying face-to-face? I am not sure. I am just asking the question, and from last week's response, so too are many of you.

When I was talking to my wife earlier today about some of this, she said that, especially with celebrities, some people just get fed up with all the nonsense and want to rail back, and the Internet supplies that forum. Fair enough. But doesn't the Internet also provide a forum to identify yourself when railing at a celebrity—like "That's right. I said it. What you gonna do about it?" Hiding behind pseudonyms seems to me like something an 11-year-old would do . . . and that brings up another point.

Back in 2004, when Velvet Revolver put out our first record, a great fansite popped up with our tour dates, recent photos, birthdays, and a fan forum (a place where fans could write in). Back then, I would read everything fans had to say, and certain veins of conversation did turn VERY opinionated, if not downright vitriolic. I would find myself taking some of this stuff to heart, until one day on tour, I met one of these people who often railed in the forum. He was 14 YEARS OLD!!! I realized then and there that KIDS were the ones mostly responsible for the maddening text. I was letting little kids get into my head, and they were just testing their boundaries as many teenagers do. I felt instantly enlightened and foolish, and I no longer read that kind of thing.

P.S., Punk Rock

Also last week, I commented that Green Day had somehow maintained a punk ethic well into their mainstream success. The term "punk rock" indeed means different things to different people, and I was glad to hear some of those differing opinions.

Brad Cox, a recent reader of my column, wrote a profound explanation of what "punk rock" means to him. His band plays metal and hard rock, but he felt that the way they live their lives, write their music, and put themselves out there was indeed punk rock. If you get a chance to scroll back to his comment on last week's column, please do.

Some people really feel a need to explain what punk rock is, and that it is their own private box of specialness that is not to be touched by anyone else. If that is what punk rock is to them, more power to them. But I think it is a much bigger and more powerful paradigm. Johnny Cash is punk rock, and so too in many ways is Katy Perry. Anyone who writes their own music and portrays it the way that they want—damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead—is in my opinion punk rock. That includes Charles Bukowski, Mastodon, and the Dalai Lama.

To conclude: I am punk rock and sign my name to this column week in and week out. If you are just commenting and have a cool and fun viewpoint or addition, sign under any name you like. The rest of you, don't bother.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090720112608/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/07/can_you_hear_me_now_1.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:31 pm

An Extra Shot of Duff This Week: Reintroducing You to the Crue

By Chris Kornelis in Duff McKagan
Wednesday, Jul. 22 2009


Reverb columnist Duff McKagan was poached by the print folks this week to write about his friends in Motley Crue in preview of Crue Fest at White River on Monday. It's classic Duff. Regular readers know what I'm talking about.

*

Duff McKagan: Reintroducing You to the Crüe
Take it from a guy who couldn’t keep up.

By Duff McKagan
Published on July 21, 2009


The year was 1989, and I'd recently bought a small vacation place in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., to get out of Los Angeles in the hope of periodically escaping my bad drink and drug habits. Little did I know that Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe also had a place up there. Within two months I was throwing up blood at Tommy's cabin. Nobody, not even me at the time, could "hang" with the dudes in Mötley Crüe.

I have been asked by the brain trust here at Seattle Weekly to write a piece on Mötley Crüe, foreshadowing their July 27 CrüeFest appearance at the White River Amphitheatre. I suppose I am the most qualified, as my band Loaded just spent a month touring Europe with them, and my old band GN'R toured with them back in 1988. I guess I simply know where some of the bodies are buried.

Here are some quick pointers for those of you who want to know more about "the Crüe" but are perhaps afraid to ask:

1) Nikki Sixx is a genius. This music visionary (who spent some of his growing-up years in Seattle) had the foresight to move to Hollywood in 1979 and start a movement. With a suitcase full of Sweet, Slade, and New York Dolls records, Nikki banded together a group of musicians who eventually released Too Fast For Love in 1982, and modern rock had a new leader. Way back then, Nikki somehow blended the opposing crafts of songwriting and business smarts, and he's been a beacon for the rest of us meathead musicians to follow. He has found ways to reinvent this band time and time again, overcoming a period in the mid-'90s that would have outright killed many other groups (and did!). CrüeFest (Nikki's invention) has fast replaced Ozzfest as the summer tour for any heavy rock band to play.

2) Mick Mars is a hero. Just watching this guy play guitar makes a healthy person feel ashamed for complaining about anything. Diagnosed at 19 with the progressive disease ankylosing spondylitis, Mick has more recently faced a fused back and a full hip replacement as a result. The pain he must endure can only be imagined; his playing of late is a visual release for any musician with a disability. This last month in Europe, I and the other Loaded guys found Mick to be an almost-undiscovered secret weapon of Mötley Crüe...as if to say "Where did this guy come from?"

3) Mötley kicked our asses. Back in the halcyon days of GN'R, when everyone thought we were the most badass and hard-drinking/drugging motherfuckers around (and maybe so did we), we quickly found out we were in the minor league compared to where Mötley Crüe resided. With their code names for different drugs and private jet, our peek into their world—when we opened for them on the "Girls, Girls, Girls" tour—was a peek into an abyss that they'd found a way of skating around the brink of while many others had fallen in. Hey, there is nothing glamorous about drinking and drugging, but I must say these guys at least perfected that dark art for a while there back in the '80s.

4) Mötley are BACK! Witnessing these guys play a healthy handful of shows last month proved they have somehow found a spark that had been missing over the past 15 years: At a gig in Wettingen, Switzerland, on a makeshift stage in front of 3,000 rabid fans, I saw these guys become almost punk-rock in energy and snarl. It's like they've realized their music is no longer in vogue, and it's them against the world again—and no one is going to help them in the fight. If you have yet to see this band live, now may be the best time to see them ever. They are pissed off and seemingly united in a cause again.

Let's face it, Mötley Crüe are not a band that will challenge you intellectually or wow you with groundbreaking, forward-thinking songwriting. Mötley simply keeps throwing out a great groove and simple-but-skull-crushing chord progressions. Want to be challenged musically? Don't go to CrüeFest. Want to have fun and forget about your 9-to-5 job and asshole boss? Mötley are the perfect band, and CrüeFest offers as solid a heavy-metal lineup as you'll be able to find all summer.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090726114452/http://www.seattleweekly.com/2009-07-22/music/duff-mckagan-reintroducing-you-to-the-cr-e
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:34 pm

Duff McKagan: Alice is Back, and I'm Finally Excited About Rock Again

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jul. 23 2009


Last fall, I wrote a much-discussed piece about the important role that I believe Alice in Chains played in the history of rock 'n' roll. Their overcoming Layne Staley's tragic death has been something of an underdog story that needs to be applauded for the unimaginable heartbreak they live with and the sheer tenacity they had to put the band back on any stage AT ALL! Last Saturday in Detroit, Alice played their first gig in the campaign that will support the release of their first record this decade--a tour that I think will cement them as the premier rock band on this planet. They will have never before toured a record like they will this time around, because of past drink/drug issues rampant throughout their talented ranks.

When the new record comes out in two months (September 26), it will mark the 17th anniversary of the release of the heralded Dirt, which contains so many of the Alice songs that became the soundtracks to so many of our lives. Dirt should be, in my opinion, the cornerstone of anyone and everyone's rock CD collection. The new record will not take a back seat to Dirt in any way--it is simply right up there with any Alice music ever, and in my humble opinion, they have beat themselves with much of the new stuff. Is this a lofty remark from somebody who just wants to give these guys a "leg up" from the soapbox of his own Seattle Weekly column? My reputation stands on what I say here, and I can't wait for the rest of you to hear what I have already been honored and trusted to hear. Do they know that I am writing this piece? No way in hell...they would wince, of that I am quite sure.

I am excited about rock music these days. After a great Loaded European festival tour last month, where I got to see a ton of live music every single day, I am happy to report that there is a sort of return to quality that I must admit I thought was maybe lost and gone forever. Young bands like Parlor Mob and older stalwarts like Mars Volta, Soundtrack of Our Lives, and Mastodon are out there kicking some asses and grooving their butts off. Sometime in the mid-'90s, it seems, terms like "kicking ass" and "setting a groove" were looked at as old-fashioned and un-hip. Shit, Nine Inch Nails even have a discernible soul factor to them these days...and I like it a LOT.

I am glad that Gibson Les Pauls and vintage Marshall amplification are replacing MIDI and ProTools as the prime tool of the rock trade. Musicianship as a whole took a downward turn as a result of too much reliance on taped onstage instrumentation. Don't get me wrong, bands like Muse and Shiny Toy Guns use tape as a true art form, but only AFTER first making themselves top-shelf players. I remember a musician telling me sometime in 1996 that Kurt Cobain had made it OK for the rest of us not to have to learn our instruments--I guess he assumed Kurt couldn't play? That guy had it so wrong. ALL the guys in Nirvana were such good players that they made it all SEEM so easy.

Now back to Alice in Chains and back to the topic.

Alice in Chains never really got the chance to tour and grow to a point of world domination back in the '90s for the aforementioned reasons. While Metallica and AC/DC are great and legendary, doesn't it seem that maybe the whole genre of rock has grown sort of stagnant? Best Buy and Target can promote and advertise and generally make a great fuss, but all the fluster about the Metallica and AC/DC records last fall kind of fell flat after the first couple of weeks. Both records were real good, but not GREAT as promised. The Alice record has greatness AND these guys are ready and able to tour. It is an exciting time for rock 'n' roll.

Why am I writing this now, a full two months before Black Gives Way to Blue's release? I am given free rein here, and have thus far simply written about things I am passionate about or that tickle my fancy. Last week, I was in Los Angeles and saw Alice play some acoustic songs in front of a small audience, and I realized that these guys have somehow remained intact with their friendships stronger and their music just as relevant and inspiring. When I witness something as cool and solid as what I saw that night, it just seems like the light and goodness of these guys' story should be shared...and that is all.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and thanks for the overwhelming response from last week. I respect what everyone had to say and look forward to more and more in-depth forums in the future.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090726114436/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/07/duff_mckagan_alice_is_back_and.php
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