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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 7:39 pm

Duff's Summer Reading: Vol. II

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jul. 30 2009


I received a comment to last week's article on Alice in Chains that instantly reminded me of part of my somewhat-lost "mission statement" here. The comment was a suggestion from a reader about a new book, The New Pearl Harbor by David Ray Griffin. Ah, yes! We are in midsummer--a great time to sit on the back porch and read a good book. I'd like to think that this weekly forum can be used as a meeting place for the intellectual-minded on topical subjects, yes, but also a place where we can all turn each other on to what books we have been reading: suggested high-minded fodder for us who can't find a good book on our own (I definitely fall into that category at times).

Thankfully, I have friends who know that I am an avid reader, and they will sometimes pick up a book for me that they think fits my criteria (nonfiction, mostly). Mike Squires was in Portland last week, and found himself perusing the famous Powell's Books. He happened upon You Can't Win by Jack Black, a very popular book in the 1920s that quickly went through five pressings before inexplicably being forgotten, hence becoming an underground cult read.

You Can't Win was reportedly William S. Burroughs' favorite book and a cornerstone of his writing style; in the new edition that I now own, Burroughs penned the introduction. The book follows Black's rough-and-tumble childhood, which eventually brought him to a life of crime and riding the trains, criss-crossing the turn-of-the-century United States. Black tells an uncompromising tale of his absolute fascination with the life of a "yegg"--basically, a homeless vagrant that chooses a life free of the 9-to-5 job, etc.

This book is really quite fascinating in that Black's voice throughout stays true to the parlance of that time. If any of you have seen an episode of HBO's Deadwood, that will give you a clue to the peculiar Western-style speech of that time. This book is an absolute page-turner, and I highly recommend seeking out a copy of your own. It is one of those that you keep and display on your home bookshelf . . . for sure!

If you lean more toward rock and roll and if you are a Stooges, Iggy Pop, or even David Bowie fan, Open Up and Bleed by Paul Trynka is probably the most complete and well-researched book ever written (and there been a few) on not only the Stooges, but also on how Iggy got the last name "Pop," the downfall and triumphant return of Iggy's career, and lastly the triumphant return a few years back of Ron Asheton and the Stooges. I read this book on tour last month, and it inspired some good rock moments out there in Europe for me.

I just picked up a new book that is perched to be my next read after You Can't Win. Drew Gilpin Faust's This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War is a National Book Award Finalist that examines a little-written-about side of that dreadful period in American history: how we dealt with ALL of the death that was its overwhelming product. To quote Vintage Books' blurb on the back of this book:

"600,000 dead . . . an equivalent proportion in today's population would be 6 million. In This Republic of Suffering, Faust reveals the way that death on such a scale changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation, describing how the survivors managed on a practical level and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the unprecedented carnage with its belief in a benevolent God. Throughout, the voices of soldiers and their families, of statesmen, generals, preachers, poets, surgeons, nurses, Northerners, and Southerners come together to give us a vivid understanding of the Civil War's most fundamental and widely shared reality."

I like books on war in general, if only to try to grasp what it must be like to fight, kill, and die in something as fucked up as armed combat. Two of my brothers were in Vietnam, and I asked my mom once back then (I was probably 5) how a war gets started. She said that basically two men couldn't get along and so they had all of their citizens fight out their differences. I have yet to find a better explanation.

Stephen Ambrose has written some fine books on the human condition in war and other stressful situations. Band of Brothers and Citizen Soldier are just two of his that I can highly recommend. Ambrose's book on the Lewis and Clark expedition, Undaunted Courage, tops my all-time favorite nonfiction list in that he so precisely nails down every twist and turn of that journey while also putting the reader inside of the expedition members' heads. For instance, did you know that modern scientists have concluded that Meriwether Lewis suffered bipolar disease, and they think this is what led to his painful suicide when, after not having turned in his unfinished journals after two years, he was finally beckoned by Jefferson to Washington? Fascinating stuff indeed.

Do any of you have book suggestions? Please share if you can.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:47 pm

My iPod: From Prince to Judas Priest

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Aug. 6 2009


I had the chance to take part in a Camp Freddy gig down in L.A. last weekend at the House of Blues. Camp Freddy is a sort of rock-and-roll collective that gets together once in a while to play some gig or another (from fundraisers to straight-up "money gigs" for something like the X-Games or Nintendo). This time, Camp Freddy featured Steve Jones (Pistols), Justin Hawkins (the Darkness), Ace Fuckin' Frehley, Steve Stevens, and yes, Ozzy Osbourne. The shit was KILLER.

When I got to the soundcheck on Saturday, KISS' "Cold Gin" was being played and Ace was there, larger than life. I knew then and there that I was indeed having a very good day. Good rock 'n' roll from yesteryear seems to hit you in a different place. Good rock has most likely already trod a well-worn groove into my psyche that is now just a comfortable place for a song like "War Pigs" or "God Save the Queen" to revisit. Whatever--it fuckin' feels good and RIGHT. Here is what's on my iPod right now (this is NOT the time for vinyl purists and alternate mp3 players and/or the conversation regarding digital vs. analog. Let us just rock, mofos). Listen to many of the songs after the jump.

The Germs, M.I.A.(the Complete Germs): I like this full collection of the Germs simply because "No God" is included. The Germs' G.I. changed the shape of American punk rock back then, and this collection has stood the test of time for sure.

Loudermilk, Red Record: These guys from the Tri-Cities took the rock world by storm a decade or so ago, and rightly or wrongly were tagged as the fathers of emo. I say who gives a damn what they call it, it's genius! Sometimes brilliance shines too brightly and suddenly disappears. Loudermilk were gone before they had a chance to do much more than the Red Record.

Mötorhead, Aces of Spades: Uh-huh.

The Stooges, Raw Power and Funhouse: I am not sure which songs are on which record anymore, and that is probably a function of me being immersed in "shuffle all" for too long now. With the Stooges or ANY Iggy Pop record, it just doesn't matter, though. This is honest, pure, brutal, and sometimes beautiful and artistic rock 'n' roll. All you have to do is CRANK IT!

Judas Priest, British Steel: Yeah? Suck it...

Queens of the Stone Age, Rated R and Songs for the Deaf: Two kick-ass and timeless rock records that can stand up on their own. Queens forged a new groove into the sound of rock and roll, and we must hail the originals (or are Masters of Reality the originals?).

Refused, Shape of Punk to Come: In my opinion, this is the last real punk-rock record, and has the ability to lift one above the woof and splatter of obeying and adhering to the man and his ilk. Hey, if there is a punk-rock record since, please share.

The Saints, Stranded: 1977 garage/punk from Down Under. Without the Saints, the world would definitely have lost much of its color.

ZZ Top, Tres Hombres: I had the best time a couple of years back listening to this record critically as I was trying to learn the art of shuffle-blues on the bass guitar. Last year, Dave Grohl and I were at a ZZ show when suddenly Billy Gibbons invited both of us to guest-guitar on "La Grange" and "Tush." For some reason, Gibbons thought me a lead guitarist and called out for me to "take it" during a solo section. I don't think he will do that again! ZZ Top will be at the White River on the 17th, and they are not to be missed.

Van Halen: The David Lee Roth era: I was in eastern Washington recently for a few days, and just left my "shuffle all" on Van Halen the whole time. There is nothing better than a little "Eruption" or "Jamie's Cryin."

Led Zeppelin: The Complete Led Zeppelin: I own the Zep catalogue on vinyl, cassette, and CD. I bought this complete collection on iTunes when I was away from home and needed something familiar. Led Zeppelin has been that touchstone for me since I was probably 12.

Cheap Trick, At Budokan: The best pop songs ever written after the Beatles, for my money. Oh, wait--what about Badfinger?

Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady: If you are in your teens or 20s and have yet to listen to the Buzzcocks, do yourself a favor and at least listen to "Orgasm Addict." Whoever does the music for the show Entourage is pretty cool and deserves a shout-out. They used "Why Can't I Touch It" at the end of the show a couple weeks back.

Thin Lizzy, Dedication (the Very Best of Thin Lizzy): On this last tour we did in Europe in June, we had a Thin Lizzy concert DVD on constantly in the back lounge of our bus. It just set a tone.

Richard Hell, "Blank Generation": '70s New Yawk Trash. The good shit.

Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, L.A.M.F.: This first record from JT after the DOLLS showed that he was indeed not a one-trick pony. Try "So Alone" and "Que Sera, Sera," too.

D.O.A., Something Better Change: A comprehensive view of maybe the Northwest's most important band ever. Without D.O.A., there very well may never have been a scene in Seattle at all.

The Dead Boys, Young, Loud, and Snotty: "Down in flames, down in flames"!!!!!!!

Prince, 1999: Get your groove on and rejoice in the musical genius that is Prince.

Cameo, Word Up!: Good-time party jams that have stood the test of a generation or two.

Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street: By the campfire or driving in the car, Exile is the classic Stones record that sort of bridges the gap from the '60s to the '70s.

The Beatles, anything: It almost goes without saying.

Black Flag, My War: The record that epitomizes what Black Flag was all about--a must-have for all rock fans.

All right, then. This is by no means a complete list, and I have purposefully left out an endless list of gems and classics. What do you have? Turn me and the readers on to something that maybe we have yet to hear about, something that is classic and has stood the test of time and studio technology.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:53 pm

Please Lend a Hand If You Can

By Duff McKagan
Wednesday, Aug. 12 2009


​Before I get to this week's column, I would like to ask for your help for a friend, whether it be a few dollars, or a gracious prayer or meditation. Next Tuesday, August 18 at the Sunset in Ballard, I'll be playing with Loaded's acoustic offshoot, the Rainmakers, at a benefit concert for Dave Ravenscroft, who has been suffering through Squamous-cell Carcinoma, a cancer of the tonsils that has spread to the nodes in his throat. Absolutely brutal. Dave has not been able to work for the last 12 months while going through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy. Donations can be made to the Dave Ravenscroft Benevolent Fund at any Chase branch. Thanks!

*

We Are the '90s: My Picks

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Aug. 13 2009


After the overwhelming response to last week's music piece, I thought it would be a good idea to continue. Music of course has so many genres and sub-genres that I could easily keep doing this type of column for the next few years, and we would still only be getting at the tip of the audible iceberg. I thought we could now get into music from the '90s.

So in the summer of '89, I was in Chicago with Slash writing music for the upcoming GN'R record. When I write music, I like to be around other inspirational music that is new and hopefully groundbreaking. Good new music for me opens up avenues of musical thought processes that I may not have been previously exposed to. That summer, we got a cassette of the forthcoming Faith No More record Real Thing, a Masters of Reality demo from George Draculius, and a pre-release cassette of Lenny Kravitz' first record. These were new sounds at that time, and a welcome relief from the crap that was out there and available (wait, what year did Badmotorfinger come out?).

Precursors to what would be thought of as music from the '90s were bubbling up in my view. Soundgarden were playing gigs down in L.A. and had been a relatively active band since '87 or so. I met Trent Reznor backstage at a GN'R gig in '89; he told me of a record he was making, and was really enthusiastic about the direction he had stumbled upon. Raging Slab was moving music forward by perfecting, and at times improving upon, classic '70s two-guitar rock 'n' roll. Mother Love Bone was making their record then, too.

OK, now the table was being set. It was a foregone conclusion that bands like Warrant, Poison, and Brittany Fox had used up and abused their reign of substance-challenged and retarded pop-rock. Nirvana's Nevermind was credited as the record that started what has come to be known as the '90s sound and ethic--rightfully so, in my humble opinion. What bands and albums do you feel personify or qualify as the greatest of that era? Here are just a few of mine:

Nirvana, Nevermind: Borrowing and perfecting all the best from punk-rock bands before them and adding an angled angst and song-craftsmanship of their own, Nirvana simply owned it all, turning on a world full of youth who could relate.

Pearl Jam, Ten: A record that made personal politics and caring for others OK. Pearl Jam somehow fused kick-ass rock with a Seattle-ness and PC ethic.

Alice in Chains, Dirt: Fugetaboutit. Layne = cool. Jerry = genius. Sean = brilliant. Mike = badass. A timeless record.

Nine Inch Nails, Closer: Maybe one of the most musically brilliant records ever made...ever. Trent Reznor melded technology, melody, anger, tenderness, and mystique into a continuous and digestible epic. The guy somehow finds a way to constantly get better and expand his art to this day. Incredible.

Korn, self-titled: The first record by Korn was as groundbreaking as anything since Chuck Berry sang "Maybelline." Jonathan's creepy and quirky voice on top of drop C tuning took dark to a whole new level.

Marilyn Manson, Portrait of an American Family: I first saw these guys open for Danzig in '95 or so. Sure, sure, Alice Cooper did this thing in the late '60s and early '70s, but Manson and his band were straight creepy and hailed from Florida's swamplands, citing mass murderers as their influences. Dark.

Dag, Righteous: Vibe magazine hailed this band as the best R&B; band of the decade. No small feat, as Dag were white boys from North Carolina. Check this record out if you get a chance.

Mark Lanegan, all solo work: If you have yet to hear any of Mark's solo records, do yourself the big favor now. The ferocity that is his voice and cracked soul will be sure to mesmerize. Trust me on this one.

Hellacopters, Supershitty to the Max!: Kick-ass dirty rock 'n' roll from Sweden that perhaps saved this brand of music from extinction.

Nashville Pussy, Let Them Eat Pussy: This Kurt Bloch-produced masterpiece shoved a middle finger up the ass of all the then-pretenders. Greasy and bloody and fun for sure.

Faith No More, The Real Thing: Enough said.

Soundgarden, Down on the Upside: This record was the culmination and pinnacle of all the talent that this group of men pushed and pulled out of each other. A band gone too soon, in my opinion. Maybe it was meant to be all along, as they may have hit a wall. We at least want more from them now...as opposed to wanting NO more!

Foo Fighters, any and all! Dave Grohl was finally able to realize his full talents as a songwriter, singer, and guitar player, and the rest of us reaped the benefit of his effort. He makes everything seem so damn simple.

Dr Dre, The Chronic: This groundbreaking record reshaped forever the face and thump of modern hip-hop.

Deftones, Adrenaline: This band has been plagued by a massive copycat syndrome, only because what they invented was so damn innovative and kick-ass.

Refused, The Shape of Punk to Come: This record still is one of the ones played most often before I, or any band I have been in, go onstage. A jaw-dropping collection of angry and varied music from a band who were simply masters of their art.

I have left out many here on purpose. Maybe some of you think my choices are crap. The beauty of music, though, is that we all find inspiration in different presentations and packages. Have fun this week. I've been having fun writing these.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:59 pm

This Is Punk Rock: From the Ramones to the Stiff Little Fingers

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Aug. 20 2009


OK, in keeping with the theme of music, which we seem to have hit a groove with here in the last few weeks, let's try a genre very near and dear to me at least: PUNK ROCK! My field of expertise in this realm more than likely lies more in what most of you would consider old-school. Well, I was 13 in 1977 and very into new music, and it was a great era to be a teenager.

My experience is of course the only thing I can draw from, and that all our varying experiences are unique unto themselves is one of the amazing things about life. I find that by listening to and reading other people's experiences, I get to steal a little piece of their knowledge. Whether it is literature recommendations, movie tips, places on the earth visited, or music suggestions, I've found that keeping an open ear and mind behooves my life (I used to listen to other people's vice suggestions, but that is a whole other story).

So, back on topic: What is punk rock to you? Is it a musical style only (which is OK)? Is punk an ethic? If you have read some of my previous columns, then you know my thought-scape on punk rock can run to the far reaches of music (i.e., Johnny Cash is punk to me) or how one simply carries themselves (i.e., risk-taking for personal growth or simply being a good parent are both kind of punk-rock to me).

For this piece, however, I will stick strictly to music. Please reply in any way, shape, or form that you like. I can only hope for and look forward to any knowledge that you all would be so gracious to share.

Ramones, Rocket to Russia: I got this record at the ripe age of 13, and so began my journey into what was possible as an actual musician. I learned every song. The Ramones can never, ever be overlooked for their importance in modern rock music.

The Clash, self-titled: This record was at first an exotic and very grown-up listen for me as a young teen. Paul Simonon's bass playing on this record would later inform my choice of that instrument as my main axe when I moved to L.A. a few years later.

D.O.A., Something Better Change: If you grew up in the Northwest in the late '70s or early '80s, D.O.A. were a larger-than-life example of how brilliant a live rock band should be. They were as important as any band in history, as far as I'm concerned.

The Saints, I'm Stranded: I remember staying up late one night in 1978 to watch the British show The Saint on PBS, because there was a rumor that the band the Saints were gonna be on it. Maybe a dumb anecdote, sure, but please do yourself a favor and get this record somehow.

Zeke, Flat Tracker: How can you not be impressed with the hard-rocking sound of Zeke? "Chiva Knievel"? Genius.

The Ruts, "Babylon's Burning": One of the bands that I truly regret never being able to see live.

999, anything: I got to see these guys at the Showbox in 1979 or 1980. A band that may have been widely overlooked, but which may have influenced many in the know.

The Vibrators, Pure Mania: With songs like "Petrol," "You Broke My Heart," and "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah," Pure Mania was a favorite record to put on just before we wrecked a house or played beer curling at a punk-rock house party!!!

Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: The ONLY drag about this record is that "California Über Alles" is not on it.

The Adolescents, self-titled: Orange County punk that would soon, along with the Germs and Black Flag, influence hardcore.

The Germs, G.I.: Probably one the most important records ever. Groundbreaking in every way.

Black Flag, My War: "You say that you're my friend but you're one of them . . . THEM!"

The Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks: Duh . . .

Sham 69, The Adventures of the Hersham Boys: I think that was the name of the record, anyway! It doesn't matter, check out the song "Questions and Answers." Really, REALLY great!

Stiff Little Fingers, Inflammable Material: I remember playing this record in my mom's living room and her getting upset. The troubles in Ireland were at a peak in 1979, and we have family over there. Check out the song "Suspect Device." This band didn't just rock, but informed the world of their travesty in a war.

The Stooges: I've written of them time and again. You all know my opinion here!

The Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady: Oh, fuck yeah! This collection pretty much has it all. Maybe the wisest music money anyone could spend.

Dead Boys, Young, Loud, and Snotty: I think that I spoke of this record a few weeks back. Nevertheless, a must-have for any music collection.

Generation X, self-titled: Billy Idol, of course, got a lot of attention later as a solo artist, but Generation X highlighted to us musicians back then just how fucking good a BAND could be!

Circle Jerks, Group Sex: Great band, great record.

The Refused, Shape of Punk to Come: The title says it all. This record is as important as the Germs' record as far as setting a benchmark for the rest of us to follow.

G.B.H., City Baby's Revenge: I just got back from Vietnam!!!!!!!

Bad Brains, "Pay to Cum": The song that maybe epitomizes epic-ness in ferocity! I saw these guys for the first time back in 1980 opening for the Angelic Upstarts, and they blew my mind (actually, BOTH bands blew my mind).

Minor Threat, any and all: These guys may have started out as the front-runners of DC straight-edge, but soon transcended this pigeonhole with their broad and worldly scope.

All right, you get the gist here. I wouldn't know when or where to stop on this particular topic. There are so damn many great bands and records, and I certainly have only gotten to the tip of this iceberg. Please add what you feel may be important. I am always looking for things that I have either forgotten about or may never have heard about. Have fun!

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:03 pm

My Summer Records

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Aug. 27 2009


As this long, hot summer finally sees its waning days, the thought of good summer records piqued my interest as a topic to discuss this week. A good record can indeed become the soundtrack for any given time of the year, and summer records probably top those lists within lists.

I was given two CDs at the beginning of July that became the driving songs of my countless trips over the Cascades this summer. The first is the Parlor Mobs' self-titled full-length, a kick-ass, old-school rock-and-roll rave-up played by 20-somethings who belie their age with their use of vintage Gibson guitars and old tube amplification. Great songs, great players, and a pretty damn good singer, too!

The second is the self-titled album by the Tinted Windows. It's a really fun pop-rock record full of songs that if they were being made by Cheap Trick, would put the band in arenas again. I guess it's no strange thing, then, that CT's Bun E. Carlos is the drummer here. This odd band lineup seems to have thrown out the idea that you have to be perceived as hip or cool (it includes James Iha on guitar, the singer from Hanson!, and the bass player from Fountains of Wayne). It's the hands-down funnest record I have heard in years.

Here are a few more summer records from my past:

It's Only Rock and Roll, the Rolling Stones: This cassette was the soundtrack to the summer I decided to move from Seattle to Hollywood. It got me through a breakup with a girlfriend, kept me awake on my nonstop drive, and kept me company when I was lonely down there in Hell-A. This cassette and my little ghetto blaster were both stolen from my car a couple of weeks after I moved there. Ah . . . welcome to the jungle? (Sorry about that. I couldn't resist.)

1999, Prince: Ah yes, the summer of '83 is when I finally realized that I was one sexy son of a bitch.

The Joshua Tree, U2: This record was by all means not just the soundtrack for my summer of '87, but got me through all of the craziness that was surrounding my band Guns N' Roses that year. My best friend died that summer, and U2 seemed to somehow speak to me and only me, steeling my sorrow and tempering my sadness. This record still holds an important niche in my heart.

The Real Thing, Faith No More: The summer this record came out, I was sort of stuck in Chicago writing songs for what would become Use Your Illusion I and II. What a groundbreaking record this was at the time . . . fresh and vibrant.

Nevermind, Nirvana: As Nirvana were our (GN'R's) label mates at Geffen, I was able to get a pre-release cassette copy of this record. I remember driving all around L.A. cranking the fuck out of this record. I wore out my cassette and had to get another one, as I would brag to anyone who would listen that these guys were from my town and that soon the rest of the world would realize that people didn't live in tepees in Seattle!

Damaged, Black Flag: In 1982, Black Flag released this tour de force, and I would spin this record almost nonstop at my house (along with a T Bone Burnett record . . . inexplicably enough, these two records really complemented each other!).

Young, Loud, and Snotty, the Dead Boys: This must have been the summer of '79, when my young ears were just coming of age to the trashier sounds of punk rock and roll (as opposed to the English stuff--the Clash, Damned, Vibrators, 999, Undertones, XTC, Jam, Pistols, etc.). This record was the first in a long line of great records that just left me wanting to break stuff!

Look Homeward Angel, Aerosmith: I found this bootleg record at a record store on the Ave. sometime in the summer of '77. The hands-down best REAL bootleg that I have ever owned. I think I still have it somewhere.

Rated R, Queens of the Stone Age: With a song titled "Feelgood Hit of the Summer," how could this album NOT be on my list? No, really--this record, to me, bridged a gap that had been missing in rock sometime earlier this decade.

Live at Budokan, Cheap Trick: Duh!

Killing Joke, self-titled: A sinister and mesmerizing study in just how good a band can be. A summer record? Yes, indeed. I think it was '82? Or was it '81?

Mother Love Bone, self-titled: This bittersweet record got me through some tough times when I myself was at the wrong and losing end of too many vices to name here in this piece alone. A beautiful record for anyone's summer in any year.

The Love Below, OutKast: I played bass along with this record every night before we played on VR's first full summer tour ('04). What an amazing journey this whole record takes the listener on. Here is to more of that from Andre 3000!

What do you guys have for me and the rest of us to share?

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:07 pm

In addition to his regular column every Thursday, Duff McKagan will write about what's circulating through his iPod (complete with an embedded player on the Seattle Weekly site to listen to the songs)

I've Been Listening to Iggy, Sly, and ZZ Top

By Duff McKagan Monday, Aug. 31 2009

​ZZ Top, "Jesus Just Left Chicago": Any of y'all wanna get schooled on some good old kick ass shuffle blues and hear what slowhand rock guitar sounds like? Well, just download this song.

Iggy and Stooges, "I Got A Right": Search out this Iggy pop/James Williamson recording first and be astounded. This is how trash and roll sounds, ladies and germs.

Sly & the Family Stone, "If You Want Me To Stay": This song epitomizes what groove and funk are all about at their primal best. Larry Graham is one bad motherf*cker here and this song showcases Sly and his Family Stone at their very best. KILLER.

Hear all three tracks after the jump. See you back here on Thursday.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:13 pm

My Records of the 1970s

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Sep. 3 2009


Being the youngest of eight kids exposed me to a LOT of music that my older brothers and sisters were listening to at any given point during my youth. Some of my earliest memories are of leafing through album covers like the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Jimi Hendrix's Axis: Bold as Love, or the day-glo orange Don and the Goodtimes record.

It was in the '70s, however, when I first started to have my own musical awareness--a sense of identifying my "self" inside the songs of a particular band. The '70s bore witness to a mighty sea change in musical tastes. From the epicness of Led Zeppelin and the dirtiness of Aerosmith sprang the coming of the Ramones and punk rock. The '70s seemed also to bring an antagonistic dividing line between urban and suburban--disco and rock--that seemingly only the mighty Prince was finally able to erase.

All I knew, however, was that there was music I loved, some I didn't, and some I outright despised. (No need to bring up what my teenage dislikes were. I was a kid, and I truly felt like my opinion was the last word in cool back then!)

For me, the '70s was when I saw my first rock concerts and first all-ages punk shows. I saw Aerosmith tour their album Rocks at the Kingdome, as well as Zeppelin's last Seattle show at the same venue. I saw Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, KISS, and countless others at the now defunct Coliseum (now KeyArena). When punk rock hit Seattle, I started my indoctrination in what good local music was all about, as well as hearing touring national and international bands. From the Cheaters and Telepaths to the Avengers, Black Flag, DOA, and X, the '70s seemed to have it all. Will we ever see another decade quite like the '70s? It's hard to say, but one thing is for sure . . . I am going to continue our discussions from the last few weeks and put up another of my lists. This time, however, it will be centered around the great decade of the '70s.

As I have stated prior to previous lists: This is by no means my be-all, end-all list--just a conversation starter.

ABBA, ABBA (Greatest Hits): Anyone who is or has been a songwriter will surely testify to the song-craftsmanship that makes up the basis of ABBA. Golden and blissful sounds of the '70s.

Motorhead, Ace of Spades: When these guys first hit the scene late in the decade, hardcore rock fans finally found a safe place that would shepherd them through the confusion found a few years later in the rock '80s (except for GN'R . . . of course!).

ZZ Top, Tres Hombres: Kick-ass American blues from down Texas way. Yeah, I know that I've pimped these guys a lot lately . . . but I really can't say enough about just how great they were and are.

Led Zeppelin, anything: These guys put a soundtrack to my life not only in the '70s, but also now and again to my life now. Seeing these guys at the Kingdome was definitely one of the true rock moments that I have drawn upon in my professional life. I couldn't possibly say enough about the rhythm section of John Paul Jones and John Bonham. Shit, man, when Bonham's drum solo started, I smoked a joint, went to the hot dog line, waited in the line, got my hot dog, came back to my seat, and ATE my hot dog, and Bonham was STILL doing his drum solo! Perhaps not as eloquent as a picture as I was trying to portray here, but funny nonetheless!

Aerosmith, Rocks, Draw the Line, Toys in the Attic, et al.: I remember looking through an Encyclopedia Britannica back in '73 or so, and seeing that Aerosmith was America's answer to the Rolling Stones. Maybe this was an over-simplistic explanation of who they were at the time, but it certainly got me into what was to become a fascination with early Aerosmith.

Thin Lizzy, Dedication (The Very Best of Thin Lizzy): Oh, Rosalie! I really, really love this band. A couple of years ago when I was in Dublin on tour with VR, I stumbled out of my hotel one morning in search of some coffee. As I took a sleepy turn to my left, I ran smack into a life-size bronze statue of singer Phil Lynott. When I got back to the hotel lobby, the desk manager asked me if I saw the statue of "de goy prom Tin Lizzy?" Indeed I had.

Bad Company/Free, anything: Paul Rodgers sang his first Free song at the age of 16, I just found out the other day. 16! Both these bands should be a staple in anyone's CD collection.

Badfinger, anything: A magical band with a tragic ending. Some say that Badfinger was cursed, others say the Beatles wrote their songs for them. Whatever . . . they were really great.

The Sweet, anything: "Desolation Boulevard" and "Action" are the blueprint of rock fantasy.

Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks: A record that changed the way we all thought about rock music.

The Clash, The Clash: A band for the people, by the people. This band took the mystery and untouchable-ness out of the equation for fans like me.

The Ramones, anything: Do I really have to say anything at all?

Prince, Prince: The end of the '70s gave reign to a new king, and his name was Prince Rogers Nelson. Once in a while, a true musical visionary is born.

AC/DC, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap: Along with the Saints and Radio Birdman, AC/DC kicked our asses from all the way Down Under!

The Germs, (GI): After the Pistols, the Germs took punk music to another level and hardcore was born.

Earth, Wind and Fire, anything: Another band that really gave the '70s a soundtrack.

KISS, Alive!: She's a Capricorn and I'm a Cancer!

Cheap Trick, Cheap Trick at Budokan: Maybe the best live record ever.

Ted Nugent, Ted Nugent: Actually the ONLY Terrible Ted record I own, and it's a classic, if you ask me.

OK, so these are just a few of my favorites. As we've done in the past few weeks, please write in with comments or additions.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:24 pm

In addition to his regular column every Thursday, Duff McKagan will write about what's circulating through his iPod every week.

I've Been Listening to NIN, Slipknot, and The Raconteurs

By Duff McKagan
Tuesday, Sep. 8 2009


1) Slipknot, "Prelude 3.0," Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses): A dark and beautiful epic song that showcased the power that Slipknot was then getting accustomed to and actually toying with.

2) The Raconteurs, "Level," Broken Boy Soldiers: I saw the Dead Weather a couple of weeks ago, and that led me to revisit this most excellent other, OTHER band of Jack White's. This dude is just a plain FIGURE these days, and "Level" is a mesmerizing piece of cool.

3) Nine Inch Nails, "1,000,000," The Slip: I got to see these guys twice on this last tour, and this song is, out of all the great songs they played, the one that inevitably got stuck in my head for a week at a time. Songwriting and sound-crafting genius.
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:26 pm

My City, My Sports

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Sep. 10 2009


I may be narrowing my audience this week by stating that this time of year is my absolute favorite in the world of sports. My world is admittedly provincial, and that is OK. I am from Seattle, and at no time in all my moving around have I ever pulled for a team outside this area. I'm a "homer," as we are called in the U.S. I could open up a whole new area for you U.K. readers by stating that I pull for Arsenal when I am over there and the mood hits. Why Arsenal? Kick-ass name, is all.

For the past five or six weeks, I have made music lists, and I could sense that this angle was becoming a bit stale and used up--for you the reader, and also for me. I will bring those lists in again from time to time, but for now, let's get into some sports!

Before I begin in earnest, I have to come clean on something I said last year--I stated that I thought Fantasy Football was geeky and served no purpose. Don't get me wrong, my feelings toward FF are the same, but I am now in a league this year. Jerry Cantrell would not take no for an answer, and I now have a team on this year's Alice in Chains/ESPN Charities League. You can log on and root for my team . . . or Zakk Wylde's . . . or Vinny Paul's . . . or Mike Inez's . . . or Kenny Wayne Shepherd's, or whoever else's. Just know that my 13-year-old nephew picked my team, and he is more plugged in to FF than ANY of these hairy rockers! Hey, it IS for a good cause!

This time of year has a bit of everything. College football is just getting started, and the USC/Ohio State game is already upon us. Major League Baseball is nearing the end of the season, and all the divisional races are heating up. The NFL season is finally upon us. Since I was about 6 years old, this week of the year has had an almost Christmas-like feel. So how do our local teams look?

Mariners: We are finally a team who can beat any other on any given night. I really like some of our mid-to-late season pick-ups. We finally got a real utility player in Bill Hall, who could drive in a lot of runs for us next year. Anaheim doesn't look to be going anywhere soon, but if we can get the Rangers out of the way next season, we have a REAL chance at a wild-card berth. Let's hope we can keep Felix and add some pitching. Lopez, Ichiro, Branyan, Gutierrez, and Langerhans are great in our everyday lineup. Oh, yeah . . . and Wilson! Aardsma is a great closer! To next year's M's!!!

Sonics: Oh, yeah . . . fuck you, Clay Bennett and Commissioner Stern!

Huskies Football: Last week's 31-23 loss to LSU showed me a few things. The Huskies are again believing in a head coach and his system. It has been too long. I was fired up to see our guys hitting, and hitting HARD. Sarkisian and his staff have brought hope to Seattle and hope to this failing Huskies program. I grew up in the Don James era. Anything close to that would be an amazing thing in these parts. I got a lot of "The Huskies are BACK" e-mails and texts after last Saturday's game. I guess we fans are buying into Sarkisian's system too.

Seahawks: It's hard to say what kind of team we have. I'm not one to get too excited about pre-season football, hence an undefeated exhibition season means practically nothing (admittedly, it is better than a WINLESS pre-season record, right?). Our D-line looks real good, but our D-backs scare me. Our offensive line has improved, but that is not saying a whole lot. Matt Hasselback has a plethora of receivers this year, and the addition of "Hoosh" may prove to pay lots of dividends. It seems as if this team has made a seamless transition into buying into new coach Jim Mora's program. The Hawks are my team, and I will be living and breathing every play again this year. Some have picked us to win our division, but after that? What do you guys think?

Sounders F.C.: All right, I am sorry to say that I am just not there yet. I played two years of soccer back in the '70s because I had a good friend who wanted me to play on his team. I was more the football/basketball/baseball guy. Because I played soccer in the '70s, I was aware that Seattle had just got a major-league team, and that Pel? was coming to town with his New York Cosmos (Pel? had passed his prime in places where his skill mattered, but we in America were absolutely thrilled by this phenom). The Sounders were always that other team that employed college players and others. Now it's suddenly Sounders F.C. everywhere you look. Games are selling out at Qwest, and people are talking about the club and its fans all over this country. When I travel, inevitably someone will come up to me and say, "Oh, you are from Seattle. How 'bout those Sounders!?" I mumble something about missing the boat, etc . . .

So that's it. It's that time of year when a lot of sports stuff is happening all at once. My girls will try to change the channel on me this weekend. But I am bigger than them, and have a multitude of tactics to sway them to another activity. Maybe I will tie my credit card to the end of a kite and float it out in the backyard for the weekend. They will get their exercise AND think there is a chance of going to the mall. Or I'll simply tell them that some 11- and 12-year-old boys are coming over to watch. That'll send them to their rooms in a hurry.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:29 pm

I've Been Listening to Faces, Generation X, and The Adolescents

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Sep. 14 2009


The Adolescents, "L.A. Girl," The Adolescents: This was the first song I heard that opened my eyes to what O.C. punk was and what it was to become. Little things (like the use of the ride cymbal) were almost ground-breaking for punk music at the time. This song and this record have stood the test of time.

Faces, "Stay With Me," Best of the Faces: This band at its height was arguably the best rock band ever. Last year, I got totally re-inspired as a bass player and started studying classic bassists like John Paul Jones, Duck Dunn, James Jamerson, and, wait for it . . . Ron Wood. He played bass on a lot of these tracks, and it's really tasty stuff. If you've yet to get into the Faces, do so with this excellent best-of collection.

Generation X, "Day By Day," Generation X: One of the most frantic and well-written pop songs of the '70s. The prowess of the actual band (yes, the BAND, not just Billy Idol) is something that is used as a reference by many good producers when making a record, and they want more energy out of their band. "Day By Day" has the best guitar, bass, and drum tones since the Who, which is saying a lot, especially back then.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:31 pm

My Story: Getting to LA, Getting Guns, and Getting Gigs

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Sep. 17 2009


​A couple of months back, I wrote that I was going to test little bits and pieces of a potential book I may write. If I do enough of these tests, who knows? I may just have the start of a larger work. To make things coherent and in context, I will present things here in a broader sense. Think of it as an outline. Here goes another installment.

The memories I have of the mid-to-late-'80s Hollywood rock scene do not necessarily include bands that may pop into one's mind. My band, Guns N' Roses, and the close network of friends that we kept, were a ragtag bunch of outcasts that remained rather insulated and kept to ourselves during this period. We had little in common with the popular L.A. bands then. Though parts of this story may seem a bit dark, this period of my life was one of the funnest and most profound. It also contained many strong elements of a young man's rite of passage, including a loss of innocence in many respects and facing mortality as a result of losing close friends to overdoses. Maybe not the usual rites of passage, but at the time these life hurdles seemed normal.

I packed my bags and cut my ties with my hometown of Seattle in September 1984. The idea of driving to New York in my beat-up 1971 Ford Maverick became moot as soon as I realized that, on a budget of $360, the East Coast was just too far away. I decided Los Angeles was a safer place for me than the heroin-infested punk scene of the Pacific Northwest. I was badly mistaken.

There was really no discernible rock scene there in the fall of '84--only the palpable hangover of a once-thriving punk movement, mixed with "cow-punk" and really bad heavy metal (Metallica had just moved back to S.F.). I met Slash and Steven Adler shortly after my move, through a "musicians wanted" ad I saw in a newspaper. Izzy Stradlin moved into an apartment across the street from me. (We lived on one of the most drug-infested lanes in Hollywood, visited nightly by dealers, hookers, and cops. Stories of this street alone would make a GREAT book.) Axl, a childhood friend of Izzy's, soon moved in around the corner in our cheap-rent neighborhood. We formed our band shortly thereafter, a happy bunch of malcontents!

My new musical comrades and I shared an uncanny similarity in the "fuck-everyone-except-us" approach to writing, playing, and living our music. We sought to do this thing on our own terms and in our own way. This was simply a way of life. At that point in life, you've just got nothing to lose . . . a relatable point to anyone reading, I am sure.

The first gigs we got back then were with bands like Social Distortion, Tex and the Horseheads, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The "glam" scene across town seemed to be a private club that had some mysterious secret handshake. The Troubadour was always packed on weekends. At the time, I think that we were thought of as a little too dirty to get an opening slot on those most-coveted Friday and Saturday night bills. We would have to get there on our own.

Our social circle soon included a group of recently transplanted New Yorkers who moved out West to--I always suspected--escape legal problems. "Red" Ed, Petey, and Del melded nicely into our lifestyle, which included 24-hour alcohol consumption, scoring any available drugs, sundry debauchery, and plenty of Rolling Stones, Motorhead, Sly and the Family Stone, and Rose Tattoo (Sly lived in the apartment right above me, as it turned out, but that's another story). West Arkeen was another co-conspirator who became valuable not only for his friendship but for his songwriting. West co-wrote "It's So Easy," which became a dark anthem for a legion of disenfranchised youth. West died a few short years later from complications stemming from acute crack and heroin use.

In 1985-86, AIDS was definitely something to think about, but not a huge threat yet in the hetrosexual psyche. The scene in Hollywood became an orgy of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Perhaps there has been no other time in recent history when the doors were so wide open to EVERYTHING. Needles were shared as well as girlfriends and boyfriends. Everyone seemed to be living in and for the moment, and it seemed as if nothing was off-limits. A real feeling of camaraderie was felt within our band and small group of friends. "Live fast and die young" was our unspoken credo. Sounds corny now.

Our living and rehearsal arrangements became one and the same as we became closer-knit. We found a 10x14 foot bathroom-less space behind the Hollywood Guitar Center that became the center of our musical universe and HQ for all things hedonistic. We raided a nearby construction site for some two-by-fours and plywood that we used to install a ramshackle sleeping loft in our tiny new home. We rehearsed twice daily in this space. For $1.29 a bottle, we could supply ourselves with enough Night Train wine to get us by. Food was always optional in those days.

We slowly began to be a draw at local clubs, and our song craftsmanship really started to get a solid base. We were soon on weekend bills as opening slots gave way to headlining. A&R; staff from major labels started to pop up at gigs, and our shows were now selling out. We settled on a record deal with Geffen Records that gave us free rein as far as artistic freedom went. At the end of the day, no one was going to tell us how to make our record. Our songs were by far the most important thing to us.

To be continued.....

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:38 pm




I've Been Listening to Curtis Mayfield, OutKast, and The Soundtrack of Our Lives

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Sep. 21 2009


OutKast, "Prototype," The Love Below: A playful soul song that highlights how good of a songwriter Andre 3000 is and can be. I'm not really sure what has happened to OutKast since the release of Speakerboxxx/Love Below, but I want more like this, damn it. I like the slow jams.....

Curtis Mayfield, "Freddy's Dead," Superfly: Curtis Mayfield is sort one of the unsung heroes of the early '70s civil-rights movement. His social commentary by way of song painted a vivid picture of the black inner-city. "Freddy's Dead" is the best of the best.

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, "Babel On," Communion (Disc 1): I saw these guys twice last summer in Germany. They are one inspirational band to see, whether you are a musician or a fan. "Babel On" is one of those songs that translates well in a digital arena or a intimate venue. Get both of these disks if you can.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:41 pm



Racism: It's Not Just Online Anymore

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Sep. 24 2009


As you might imagine, after writing for Seattle Weekly as long as I have, there are going to be comments that go against me or my topic. No problem. I am a big boy and have learned to deal with criticism, from my early days of playing punk rock when it wasn't so popular to being in a huge band starting in my early 20s. Writers, jocks, and certain fans have been criticizing me or my bands for the past 30 years! That is simply part of the deal. Ask Krist Novoselic about this sometime, and I am sure he would concur. Our careers have oddly mirrored one another, now being colleagues as writers and all. Damn, I am a parent and get criticized daily by my almost-teenage daughters. That is part of life.

I have always had a sort of unspoken motto and daily regimen. I try to clear my thoughts upon waking in the morning, to approach each day without the baggage of the day before. Life is just too short to act on day-old baggage. So here I am, a guy who from the outside may appear always to be looking on the bright side or some such thing. It's just that I try to get it right TODAY and not sweat what happened yesterday. Enough about me.

I have written about some of the darker comments I have received during my tenure here at the Weekly. I have commented on how people nowadays can get pretty damn brazen whilst hidden behind their computer. It is our new paradigm and dilemma. This last week, however, I have made comments back to a couple of people, either because I thought they were too insulting to the people who read and comment on my column, or because they were being racist and ignorant.

On Mondays, the Weekly releases an "I've Been Listening To . . ." feature that I do in which I talk about what's playing on my iPod. It is really just a forum for people to write in about music, with me simply starting the conversation. Music is something I like to write about because there is no downside. Art has no definition. I write on stuff that I like, and I like a TON of different stuff. If there is something I don't like, I don't write about it (see paragraph 2 above). I recently received a comment that was so racist and bigoted that it left me feeling bummed out and a bit mortified. I won't repeat it here, and it's since been deleted from my column.

In this day and age, with our youth having access to technology and information right at their collective fingertips, you would think that a broader diversity would hasten forward along with it. But there are always going to be creeps, I guess . . .

Before I get too off-topic here, I want to ask some of you what you think about diversity awareness. We here in America, at this point in our history, should have about one of everything (ethnicity, religion, bi/straight/homo, punk, hip-hop, right-wing, left-wing, etc) in your family-chain somewhere, right?

Racism and bigotry are by no means exhibited only on the Internet. Calls of right-wing racism are being heard daily now against factions of the Republican Party. I don't know about this, because I don't trust ANY partisan rhetoric these days. As for the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks of the world calling Obama a racist, the one thing I can say is that Mr. Limbaugh is a wack-job who knows how to keep his frightened listeners dialed in to his show.

We all inhaled in dumbfounded astonishment a couple of years back when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proclaimed that there was no such "problem" as homosexuality in his country. Last Friday, he made his yearly statement that there was no such thing as the Holocaust. It simply didn't happen, according to him. It is a Jewish lie . . .

After the terror attacks of 9/11, many of us in America and Europe were so frightened and afraid that a widespread bigotry against ALL Muslims saw a sharp rise. Many of us were simply uneducated. Our worldview can at times be extremely skewed to the West. Education is key here, don't you think?

When President Bush and his advisers decided that it was a good idea to invade Iraq, I sure wish that someone in his cabinet would have read one of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's books on Middle Eastern conflict and tribal warfare, which has gone back to antiquity (From Beirut to Jerusalem or Longitudes and Attitudes). I think our soldiers deserve to be as well-prepared as possible. Education about the region they were about to invade should have been a larger part of their training. (As an aside, another great author on this subject is Dexter Filkins. I am reading The Forever War right now. It's fascinating and really eye-opening).

Oddly enough for me, at a back-to-school parent/teacher night I attended last Monday, I was delighted to listen to a talk given by the woman who leads the diversity program at the school. What I came away with was that my kids are getting the information they need that will keep them from being racially ignorant or ignorant of world religions. In my older child's middle school, they are covering the Middle East, apartheid, terrorism, and the Cold War and how it affected the Soviet people at the time. Heady stuff, yes, but I am pleased as can be that my child is getting a worldview at her young age.

Another teacher at the school highlighted that the kids will be covering Internet predators and the "cyber-bully" syndrome this year. Guest speakers will be coming in throughout the year. This is what our children have to deal with these days.

Anyhow, I am not quite sure if I have a clear and defining point this week--rather I am just sort of checking in and getting some things off my chest. If nothing else, I hope that some discourse will happen because of this week's subject matter. Thanks for reading . . .

-- Duff

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:43 pm

I've Been Listening to Parlor Mob, Tinted Windows, and Fear

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Sep. 28 2009


The Parlor Mob, "Tide of Tears" (And You Were a Crow): This song showcases the Zeppelin side of this band, something I believe they will exploit further as they make more records. This is a KICK-ASS young rock band. I am happy to say that my band, Loaded, will be playing some gigs with these guys next month in the UK. Buy the PM record, NOW!

Tinted Windows, "Kind of a Girl" (Tinted Windows): What happens when you put Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos in a room with a guy from Fountains of Wayne, another guy from Smashing Pumpkins, and the singer from Hanson? You get the best late '70s-sounding Cheap Trick record since Dream Police...except its not Cheap Trick. Does that make sense? This is a really fun and infectious record as whole if you like power pop, and I do!

Fear, "Foreign Policy" (The Record): With the UN meetings in New York and the G-20 in Philadelphia all happening this week, I thought this song by Fear was apropos in general, if you are not familiar with Fear and love early LA punk rock, check Fear out. This record will make you want to break stuff!

https://web.archive.org/web/20091001165802/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/09/ive_been_listening_to_parlor_m.php


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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:45 pm

On the Road. Again...

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Oct. 1 2009


​Here we go again. For those of you who are uninitiated with the trials and tribulations of my band Loaded, well, then, welcome to a new (to you at least) phase of my writing: the Tour Journal. For those of you who have been here before . . . well, you probably have already stopped reading. You see, things get pretty damn silly around this band when we go on tour.

Here's the deal:

1. I have been touring from my punk-rock halcyon days in the early '80s, when it was all so innocent, to the present. This is how fortune saw best for me to earn my way financially.
2. As we all know, work can suck sometimes.
3. As of late, I have tried to surround myself with musicians that make work less sucky while trying to push the envelope artistically.
4. My passion is and will always be music.
5. Passionate music doesn't always fill the coffers to the level you may like.
6. Life is short.
7. Loaded has a blast.
8. Loaded tours like I used to tour in my "punk-rock halcyon days":
a) few showers.
b) little sleep.
c) play every night.
d) eat like crap.
e) close proximity to other stinking men who reek of non-human smells.
f) full-on glamour.

We leave for the UK and Ireland on Monday for 20 days, and will be bringing new drummer Isaac Carpenter. You may know Isaac as that monstrous drummer from Loudermilk a few years ago, but I know him as a real nice dude with a wicked sense of humor. I hope he maintains that humor once we get a few days into touring and those aforementioned smells arise. I will be giving a weekly update on how it is going out there.

What is even more entertaining is that our guitarist, Mike Squires, will be tour-managing us AND editing our award-winning Loaded Webisodes on this trip. I have no doubt there will be a tipping point on this tour with Mike. He is an odd mixture of crazy artist, mad scientist, and wound-tight guy. I hope to exploit the wound-tight guy as much as possible and get a lot of this on video. It always makes for good TV. Check out our Webisodes at https://www.youtube.com/loadedlamf . Our newest edition, "Summer Tour," features Mike's new hit song, "Suck It."

For this week, as all of us live in different places, we are at our undisclosed rehearsal place somewhere on the Columbia River. This is a place we can come before a tour and really just sequester ourselves and do nothing but music. There is no TV or Internet, providing a much-needed break from the constant news cycle we humans are barraged by. We are going to play a show this Saturday at Chop Suey to put Isaac to the live test before we go. Come on down . . . I may have some new jokes.

Give a Little . . .

Last Saturday night in Los Angeles, I was honored to take part in a benefit concert for Gutter Twins bassist Scott Ford at the Roxy Theater. He, like many of my musical brethren, goes through life without basic health insurance. Along with the other necessities like rent, food, and schooling for his child, the weight of his financial burden has caused some wobbling in a few places. Scott got very sick this year, and was forced to take out a loan to pay for the first in a long series of surgeries that will hopefully get him better. Like me, Scott has a 12-year-old daughter, and has a lot to live for. He is one of the good guys.

The show featured a wide range of über-talented musicians, and was a blast to be a part of. Among the highlights was watching Greg Dulli and Wayne Kramer do the Stooges' "Down on the Street" and AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," and Deep Purple alum Glenn Hughes doing "All Right Now" by Free. Fans and friends filled the venue that night, and I am continuously delighted by how generous people can be when they see that someone needs help. Rock fans are the most generous I have ever seen. But we have only scratched the surface as far as what Scott needs for further lifesaving medical needs. If you can help, please go to HYPERLINK "http://fordradio.blogspot.com/"http://fordradio.blogspot.com, where there is a PayPal account set up. Thank you!

Ahmadinejad

Wow. I'm not sure any of you caught the CNN/ Larry King interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but it was very interesting to me with respect to how smart and prepared the Iranian President is. Now we all know that many or all of Larry's questions must first be approved by high-ranking political figures such as Ahmadinejad, but man . . . the dude knows how to answer a question with another question like nobody's business! It got very scary for me when the interview headed toward the Israeli/Iran nuclear arena. It seems that this conflict is indeed heating up, and I sure hope cooler and smarter minds somewhere are thinking of proposed resolutions. Scary stuff, indeed. May I suggest that we all read Kris and Brad Cox's comments on this very subject in this very column. The world NEEDS intelligent and enlightened people like these two. Stay tuned for that . . .

https://web.archive.org/web/20091004025323/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/10/on_the_road_again.php


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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:50 pm

Duff McKagan: I've Been Listening to Gutter Twins, Spiritualized, and Visqueen's Message to Garcia

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Oct. 5 2009


Visqueen, "So Long" (Message To Garcia): I listened to this CD last week on a drive through the mountains with my band of four grown men. "So Long" is an epic ode to heartbreak and heartache that silenced a car full of over-caffeinated men and perhaps drew a tear or two. Rachel Flotard and her band have written one of the best records that I have heard in a while. Period.

Gutter Twins, "Stations" (Saturnela): A great Sunday morning song or call to arms for humankind. Sorry if I seem a tad grandiose when writing on the Gutter Twins, but Mark Lanegan and Greg Duli evoke one to think and imagine beyond one's self.

Spritualized, "Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating Through Space" (Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating Through Space): This is a great groove piece to just sort of mellow yourself out with. I will put this song on if and when things get a little too hectic in life.

https://web.archive.org/web/20091008012515/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/10/duff_mckagan_ive_been_listenin_1.php


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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:51 pm

Saying Goodbye, Pete Doherty (Naked), and a Good Book or Two

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Oct. 8 2009


As I stated last week, my band Loaded is back on tour and back in the UK, where we have been reasonably well received this year. We have a new drummer, Isaac Carpenter, who has never been to Europe or the UK...cool.

I knew there was something I liked about Isaac other than his incredible musicianship. I flew here from L.A. while the rest of the band flew in from Seattle. (I arrived hours after them.) I asked Isaac how his first transatlantic flight was, and he replied that he was teary the whole flight because he watched It's a Wonderful Life and Good Will Hunting on the trip. It's a Wonderful Life is my all-time favorite movie, which in itself probably speaks volumes about my imagined romantic ideals. We are on a ferry now from Scotland to Northern Ireland, and Isaac and I are unashamedly discussing the pros of The Notebook.

On Isaac's first morning in London, he noticed a naked and blanketed drunk man falling off a tour bus down near where our gear was to be picked up (a semi-famous rehearsal and storage facility named John Henry's). The naked man then got into a cab with two ladies. Isaac realized it was none other than Pete Doherty. A good first day in England, I would say. Definitely something to write home about.

Because I am such a romantic, it makes it that much harder, I suppose, for me to be away from my family. My daughters understand and are used to it, and also know how hard it is for me. The day before I left, they were extra-clingy to me because they know that my heart aches. Our dog, Buckley, always tries to sneak into my bag.

I left notes this time for my girls. In these notes are a series of geographical questions that they must answer back to me via e-mail. These questions will, I hope, give them a sense of where on this planet I am, and therefore help quell the mystery of where I am calling from at odd hours. The extra bonus on these questions is that they will receive hidden presents that are stashed around the house. They are super-excited, and my wife says it's a BIG hit. I slept better last night knowing that they are thinking about where I am.

I always have a book with me, and I just started Jon Krakauer's new book, Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman. Krakauer has thankfully filled the shoes of the late and amazing fiction writer Stephen Ambrose, at least in my humble opinion. I just love how this guy writes and the depth to which he probes his subject matter.

Last week, I finished Dexter Filkins' The Forever War, an amazing and dismal look at the problems that are now facing the people of Iraq and our U.S. forces there. It's a perfect companion book to Thomas Friedman's Longitudes and Attitudes.

Well, we just finished our first show of the trip here in Belfast, Ireland (or United Kingdom, which is officially what it is called). This town holds a special place in Loaded's heart, as this town has seemed to really hoist our band upon their collective shoulders over the past year. I marvel at the history of the troubles that went on here until just a few years ago. Some of the neighborhoods' curbs are still painted either blue or red to signify the religious dividing line that until recently cast a deadly pall over this area. A bit like Iraq right now, as a matter of fact. Isn't it funny how our leaders fail so miserably to learn from so recent a history lesson?

A strange new attitude has seemed to arise since I was here last year. At our meet-and-greet after our show last night, I got into a conversation with some people that turned somewhat sociopolitical. Compared to the worldwide euphoria of last year's hopes about where the U.S. was heading with President Obama at the helm, there is now a palpable sneer, at least with the people I spoke to here in Belfast. Interesting.

My daughters called me tonight, and are getting mani/pedis with their mom. It feels real nice to be needed by my three women. My dog, Buckley, had a play date with two other dogs today. I played a gig and slept in the bus bunk. 19 days 'til home. 19 days of pure rock and humor with the fellas. Life is definitely an adventure.

https://web.archive.org/web/20091011005520/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/10/saying_goodbye_pete_doherty_na.php


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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:54 pm

I've Been Listening to Fountain of Youth, The Subways, and Hot Legs

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Oct. 12 2009


Fountain of Youth, (Self Titled Demo): When on the road, oftentimes an artist will receive many unsolicited demo CDs from aspiring bands and the like. Most of the time...they are not so good, but I still listen. Mike and I were doing an in-store signing for our amp company at a music store in Birmingham, UK, recently, when we were approached by a 12-year-old kid and his Dad. They gave us a CD in hopes of us having the kid's band, Fountain of Youth open for us on our next trip through...yeah right. We popped in the CD on the bus later that night. These kids are like the new Subways!!! They'll get the gig for sure.

The Subways, "Rock and Roll Queen," (Young For Eternity): Fountain of Youth reminded me of how cool the Subways are. If you don't know them, check out this one song and you will be hooked.

Hot Leg, "Cocktails," (Red Light Fever): A great and cocky (I couldn't resist) English rock band fronted by Justin Hawkins, formerly of the Darkness. Killer song and he says 'cock' six times alone in one chorus!!!

https://web.archive.org/web/20100201154500/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/10/ive_been_listening_to_fountain.php


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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:56 pm

Touring Around the UK Without My Vision Again

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Oct. 15 2009


A couple of weeks back I finally got Lasik surgery for my eyes, and it was like magic. Where before I could not see up close or far away without glasses, after the surgery I could suddenly see all without the assistance of eyeglasses. Cool! However, in these first few weeks, I was forewarned that from day to day, my vision may get blurry and/or sharpen up. Today it is completely blurry.

This week, I feel as if I have nothing really to write about, so I will just sort of let the words flow and see what happens. It's not as if I haven't been doing anything, though. I am on a rock tour through the UK, and therefore have been in a different city every day. As I write from the top lounge of our tour bus this morning, I am looking out over the English Channel from Portsmouth. Portsmouth is where the D-Day attack was launched on June 6, 1944. I am a WWII fanatic, so this is pretty cool. Later today, after my two hours of phone interviews to Brazil, I will try and visit the war museum here before soundcheck.

The gigs over here have been great for us. Our fan base over here is pretty hardcore, and they seem to understand our wry and brash sense of humor. There was even a gathering of our UK fans in a town called Leamington Spa a couple of hours north of London. It's really pretty cool to play some of these smaller towns and villages when we come over here, as you never know what you will chance upon. For instance, at the gig in Leamington Spa, our backstage room was Tammy Wynette's trailer from the 1950s! How it got over here is anyone's guess, but it was in pristine condition, all pink and chrome and glass. The village of Leamington Spa is rather upscale, extremely quaint, and is, I understand, a destination resort town with a couple of colleges. VERY English in a textbook sort of way.

I wandered into a record store in Nottingham yesterday, where I found Jeff Beck's Truth and The Band's self-titled CD for just three pounds each brand-new . . . such a deal for these benchmark pieces of work. I also got "Now This Is What I Call Music Volume 73" for 15 pounds. I WILL pay top dollar for the cheese. I absolutely LOVE cheeky British pop music. Some of it is so bad that it is genius. On a ferry ride from Ireland the other day, I got Kylie Minogue's Greatest Hits. I can't wait to listen to it, if only to bother our guitarist Mike Squires with it. He HATES cheeky pop, and it has become a little game of cat-and-mouse that we play in the bus or backstage. I will put something on, and he will instantly get up and move. I then follow him around and innocently put the CD on again wherever he has settled. It's fun for me, but I sense not so fun for poor Mike.

The questions game I devised for my daughters back home has really been a home run! They excitedly e-mail with their answers as to where I am at, and they have been receiving their hidden presents. It makes me feel really good that they know where on this planet I am. My dog Buckley gets real excited too, they tell me. He will look at the globe with them and jump up and down . . . or maybe he jumps up and down because he knows it's dinner time. Whatever. I believe what I believe and that is MY reality: that even my dog misses me and wants to know where I am. He always gets in my bag as I am packing it before I leave. It breaks my heart. I think it breaks his, too.

I broke my front tooth on the microphone the other night at a show--the same tooth I broke in the second grade when I fell off a chair. My hair is the same length and color as it was when I was 7, and somehow I suddenly look like a kid. Broken tooth and all. I miss my family.

Tonight I will be going to London, where things will become fancy. I will stay at a hotel on Park Lane and see my wife. Fancy! We will go to Vivienne Westwood on Bond Street to look at fancy clothes, and I will do a TV appearance on Channel 4 over here. Fancy. Loaded will play the Hammersmith tomorrow night. FUCKING ULTRA FANCY. I played this venue with GN'R in '87 and five more times with Velvet Revolver The Hammersmith is where David Bowie retired Diamond Dogs.

Well, there it is, a stream-of-conscience column written without the luxury of sight! I hope you enjoy. If you are about to come to one of our shows over here, and I don't recognize you . . . you now know why!

https://web.archive.org/web/20091019124008/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/10/touring_around_the_uk_without.php


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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:00 pm

I've Been Listening to ABBA, Sweet, and Nirvana's "Negative Creep"

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Oct. 19 2009


ABBA, "S.O.S." (ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits): For some reason, whenever I travel to the more northerly parts of the UK and/or Europe in Fall and Winter, ABBA starts creeping into my musical mind frame. You just can't say no to ABBA.

Sweet, "Set Me Free" (Desolation Boulevard): Sweet were the hard rocking edge of sugary pop back in the 70s. Where they may have "sold out" with songs like "Love is Like Oxygen" and "Wig Wam Bam," they more than made up with songs like "Sweet F.A." and "Set Me Free."

Nirvana, "Negative Creep" (Bleach): 20 years ago, Nirvana released a little-known record called Bleach. I remember Kim Warnick sending me records from Seattle by TAD and Soundgarden. When I heard "Negative Creep" I seemed to all at once, understand Nirvana.

https://web.archive.org/web/20091217111938/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/10/ive_been_listening_to_abba_swe.php


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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:02 pm

Chloe and Me...and Buckley, Too

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Oct. 22 2009


At this moment I am sitting on a train awaiting departure from Glasgow, Scotland, south to Newcastle. My wife just left this morning, heading back home. The rest of the band is already in Newcastle, as they chose to have their day off down there while I stayed up here. Yes, yesterday was a much-coveted rest day, a day to let the bruises heal and the various joint-swellings recess a bit.

Yesterday, I finally watched Marley and Me. I had read the book when it came out, but had resisted actually seeing the movie as the subject matter hits a little too close to home for me. You see, I had a yellow lab in my adult years who was a LOT like Marley except that she was a girl named Chloe.

To me, the parallels of the Marley story to my life are almost uncanny. I write a column, as does John Grogan, the author of Marley and Me. Chloe was a naughty and mischievous girl in her youth, as was Marley. Chloe chewed up anything and everything . . . so did Marley. Chloe helped us raise our daughters, and would know beforehand when one of them was going to be sick or otherwise out of tilt. Chloe would help nurse us back to health without expectation of reward. Chloe loved us without condition, and she in return became the love of our lives. When she got sick with liver cancer at the age of 13, we nursed her back and did anything and everything to ease her pain. When the stairs at our house became too much of a hurdle for my girl, I would carry her up so that she could sleep with us, her family.

When it came time to put Chloe down, my wife and I bawled as we loaded her into the back of my Ford Bronco. I called my English professor at Seattle University to tell him that I would not be able to make class that day, and he heard the pain in my voice. Professor Sam Greene was a visiting poet, and I was fortunate enough to get into his class. As I told him the reason for my absence, he began to cry right along with me over the phone. I will never forget that. Just before the vet put the catheter into Chloe's vein, she gave me an un-rushed private moment with my girl. I told her how much I loved her and thanked her for helping me grow into a man. I thanked her for the well-being of my daughters and for all the service she selflessly gave. She told me with her eyes that she understood and that she was ready and that she was tired from fighting. She was ready to rest. As the life left her body, I cried harder that I ever had before or since. I loved my girl Chloe.

When we brought our first baby home from the hospital, we had no idea what to expect from Chloe. Until then, she had sort of ruled the roost, as it were, as our only child. Chloe had previous experience in motherhood. As a 1-year-old pre-spayed young lass, she snuck out of the house and got knocked up. A few months later, she had a record 14 PUPPIES!!! It was one of the happiest times in my life having all of those little guys in my house, and Chloe tirelessly handled her motherly duties like a pro. A few years later, as we brought our new infant home, Chloe instantly knew that her role in the family had changed. She slept underneath Grace's crib every night and gently played ball with her as she grew.

When we had our second daughter, Chloe accepted her duties without question or forlon, but she did start to tire more easily. In return, my girls let her rest when she needed it, and the girls got an early sense of responsibility as they seemed to sense that Chloe now needed THEM too.

Chloe was quite a swimmer, and was delighted when we moved to our house on Lake Washington. For years, a beaver lived under our dock who played a daily and spirited game of cat-and-mouse with poor Chloe. Chloe never caught that beaver. When Chloe started to slow down and could only sit on the step that led to the water, the beaver would come in close and sort of visit Chloe. After Chloe died, that poor beaver would search for Chloe every day, but finally gave up after a few weeks--missing her friend, I am quite sure.

When my girls got a bit older, they started to pine for a new dog. My traveling schedule dictated that we would need to get a dog that could travel with us. I had never had a small dog, and never really even been around them. Yappy little dogs are not my style. We found our new little buddy--a King Charles Cavalier spaniel--after scouring dog breeds for months. What he lacks in smarts, he makes up for with love. Our little boy Buckley asks for no more than some food and to be with us. He travels pretty much everywhere we go, and if I must travel away on my own, he tries to sneak into my bag before I zip it up. He is always trying to go on man trips with me. I love you too, buddy.

Watching Marley and Me made me realize somehow that I have a full and rich life, that everyone has problems and fights and issues. But a strong family and an unruly dog are privileges and not nuisances. Sure, I see myself as a sort of wandering bandolero at times, and I am allowed that in my family. They let me be who I am and I give back EVERYTHING I have in return. I may mumble and grumble about living in a houseful of women at times, but really I don't know what I would do without them. I get to go out and rock like a badass (in my own mind, anyway) and ride my motorcycles like a hardass (again, that is how I view myself). Actually, I think I AM all of those things AND a damn good father and husband. Maybe lacking in romance at times, and lacking in a general understanding of what little girls are all about. I am, however, the protector . . . and I know I have learned a lot of this from my life with dogs.

https://web.archive.org/web/20120419200155/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/10/chloe_and_meand_buckley_too.php


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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:16 pm

I've Been Listening to Iggy Pop, Iggy Pop, and Iggy Pop

By Duff McKagan
Tuesday, Oct. 27 2009


Iggy and the Stooges, "Shake Appeal" (Raw Power): I got myself into a bit of an Iggy phase this last week after reading Watch You Bleed (By Stephen Davis). "Shake Appeal" has one of the baddest riffs ever in the history of rock and roll.

Iggy Pop, "Sister Midnight" (The Idiot): Iggy has had many different phases of his career and his 'Berlin years' writing and recording with David Bowie stand out to me as probably the most drastic, and in a way, prolific. "Sister Midnight" is more a state of mind than a real song, but certainly showcases how ahead of its time this song was. The early use of synthesizer in conjunction with real drums and bass were to feed the imagination of a New Wave that was still six years away.

Iggy Pop, "Butt Town" (Brick By Brick): Why "Butt Town"? It has a great sense of humor. And, hell, Slash and I played on it!!

https://web.archive.org/web/20091203165908/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/10/ive_been_listening_to_iggy_pop_1.php


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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:18 pm

Duff McKagan: Surely There Is a Better Way in the Middle East. Even a Rocker Like Me Knows That

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Oct. 29 2009


Many may scoff when they see I am writing a pseudo-political piece. Many, too, will likely proclaim that I have no right to take up a pen on a topic as lofty and complex as Afghanistan and Iraq. But I am a proud citizen of the United States and a member of a family that has sent seven of its members into war in just two generations. I am a student in this life, ever learning and interested in the things that happen now and have happened in the past. Here now are a few of my quick conclusions:

When I read that former Marine Captain Matthew Hoh had resigned his post in protest as a U.S. Foreign Service member in Afghanistan, I decided to finally write my direct opinion as to what and why we are over there.

Hoh claims that while "there are some (al-Qaeda) dudes that need to be killed over there," the U.S. plans and strategy in Afghanistan are ill-planned. He claims that our troop presence in Afghanistan is actually creating more militants, as we are looked at as an evil occupier as opposed to a righteous aid in nation-building. Hoh claims that the opposition there has gone from Taliban-only to a more widespread group that only sees U.S. soldiers occupying their until-now peaceful villages and valleys. President Obama is mulling sending an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, as Gen. McCrystal has asked. I don't get it.

Has anyone seen Charlie Wilson's War or read the book? The fighters that the U.S. covertly funded and supplied with BILLIONS of dollars of taxpayer money to fend off the Soviets in the '80s are the same fighters we are spending BILLIONS of dollars and U.S. soldiers' lives to fight. In just 30 years, we have gone from one side to the other. By the way, the Soviets got their asses kicked while trying to occupy this region, and so did Genghis Khan. They call Afghanistan "the Empire Killer" simply because it drains previously well-supplied armies of their material and will to fight.

The people there are used to civil war and hard living; strife is a comfort zone that goes back hundreds if not thousands of years in this region. It is a tribal-warfare region, tribes basically fighting over the same water, well, or irrigable piece of sand. What the hell are we doing in a place like this? I've heard the argument that we're in there to ensure that it doesn't become a breeding ground for terrorist groups again. But our going in there creates more fuel against America, as it did for the Soviets. From before we were born until after we are dead, there will be breeding grounds for terrorists.

The Middle East and Afghanistan are none of our business. This war is not winnable, in my opinion. In the past I have touted books like The Forever War, Longitudes and Attitudes, and The Pat Tillman Story in this column. If anyone wants to learn more about this region, please read these books or otherwise educate yourself on the history and conflict that has been in this region well before we were even a country.

The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan has been called their "Vietnam." Haven't we already had our Vietnam? How is it that our government so quickly forgets a war that so split our country and killed so many soldiers and displaced so many innocent villagers? That war was meant to quell Communism, this one is meant to stop terrorism. I must be missing something here. Did the Vietnam War do anything to stop Communism in that region? I would argue that it only strengthened it. And something else about Vietnam sounds familiar when you compare it to Afghanistan: The U.S. propped up Ho Chi Minh's cause in their fight for independence in the 1940's, only to fight and lose against his armies 20 years later.

People like Osama bin Laden need to be stopped for sure, but is a conventional war the answer? I don't see how sending more armed troops to that region will create less hatred. The kids that the Taliban are sending into battle from their religious fundamentalist camps and schools only seek to gain glory as their fathers did against the Soviets. They are trained from an early age to hate Americans. Will sending more soldiers over there do anything to stop this hatred? Peace Corps, anyone?

T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was a student first, a soldier second. During WWI, he was sent to what is now Saudi Arabia to help protect the English interest in the Suez Canal and try to prop up the different Arab tribes against the German-allied Turks. Major Lawrence, though, knew of tribal warfare and the futility and pain of trying to occupy this region, which was the intent of England after the war. The Arabs were keen to the English tricks of colonialism, and would have fought guerrilla-type warfare if forced to . . . forever. Lawrence instead sought to understand the "Arab mind," a mindset that is to this day much different than our common Western thought process. We can't pretend to understand it.

But what other factors am I missing here? Ah, yes . . . OIL! We must protect our interests and the supply of the stuff we so badly need to fuel our country, our country that is so heavily dependent on oil that we are willing to have our sons and daughters die for it. And what about corporate greed and lobbying as far as the companies that supply our needs in warfare: bullets, bombs, guns, clothes, helmets, medicine . . . and body bags? I don't mean to sound like a bleeding-heart liberal, but it's something to think about. These interests that think nothing of charging us taxpayers $1B for the building of a hospital in Iraq that falls apart two years later (Read The Forever War by Dexter Filkins). These same interests that charge taxpayers $20 per bottle of water that they send to Iraq or Afghanistan. It makes me want to break stuff.

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:30 pm

I've Been Listening to Whatever My Daughter's Listening to: Pixie Lott, Plasticines, and Phoenix

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Nov. 2 2009


My oldest daughter, Grace, is now 12 years old and has become a major influence on the newer music that I find these days. I have always been an unapologetic fan of sometimes-cheesy pop music, and my ear will like things that others may find a little uncool. Oh, well. This week, take a trip with me into my daughter Grace's playlist, the newest and hippest stuff out there via YouTube:

Pixie Lott, "Boys and Girls"
I think this is one of Mark Ronson's new projects, as I saw this video a TON when I was recently in the UK. If you like Duffy and Amy Winehouse, Pixie Lott is a newer and perhaps poppier version of this ilk.

Plastiscines, "Barcelona"
Plasticines are a new all-girl rock/pop band with a knack for writing a good hook. This is really fun stuff that needs no high-brow critic to dissect them. Maybe like a cross between the Go-Gos and the Ting Tings. Check it out.

Phoenix, "1901"
"1901" was a song that at first listen did absolutely nothing for me. I remember thinking the same thing when I first heard the Strokes, though. But this single has grown on me to the point that I can't get the song out of my head now. Phoenix could be that next big thing.

https://web.archive.org/web/20091122181311/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/11/ive_been_listening_to_whatever.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:38 pm

No Duff Today

By Chris Kornelis in Duff McKagan
Thursday, Nov. 5 2009


​Not to worry, Duff McKagan will be back here on Reverb on Monday to talk about what he's been listening to. And his regular column will be back here on Thursday, Nov. 12, which I can assure you will be a doozy.

*

I've Been Listening to The Clash, Refused, and D.O.A., the Unsung Heroes of North American Punk

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Nov. 9 2009


The Clash, "Complete Control" (The Clash): This is a song that dominated the formula that was to become punk/pop or commercial punk or whatever you want to call it. Hey, I like Rancid and all, but listen to Complete Control and see if you can hear comparisons. I'm not sayin...I'm just sayin!

D.O.A., "The Prisoner" (single from 1977): This band is, bar none, the unsung hero of North American punk. Because D.O.A. hailed from Vancouver, B.C., I got to see them live on many occasion as a young lad. These guys were my KISS. I love D.O.A. and you all should check them out!

Refused, "New Noise" (Shape of Punk To Come): When you're on tour - like I am right now -- you always need to hear a song that kicks your ass and puts you in the right frame of mind to crush. New Noise is that song for me. I just listened to it a few minutes ago and my hotel room is trashed!

https://web.archive.org/web/20091112222704/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/11/ive_been_listening_to_the_clas.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:40 pm

Them Crooked Vultures and a Super Group of Dudes

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Nov. 12 2009


When I first heard that John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl, and Josh Homme were forming a band last spring, I must say that I was jealous. Are you kidding me?! These three mega-talented and unique figures playing hard rock in a unified and focused group? I was excited, to say the least, from a player's perspective AND as a fan. Then came the inevitable "supergroup" tags.

Lazy journalists like to put a tag on anything they can in an attempt to sum up a whole genre or movement with a quick phrase that will make their job easier and take a swipe at a band in the process. You know, "stoner rock," "grunge," "indie," "hair metal," etc. "Supergroup" conjures a negative image in my mind, and we in Velvet Revolver had to deal with this label in our first year. Fans never called us a supergroup, mind you, only journalists. I've heard this title being bandied about in reference to Them Crooked Vultures, and I think it is a cheap way out.

To label an act a supergroup somehow suggests--to me, anyway--that they were formed to cash in on the members' superstar power. First, when you have been playing in successful bands for a while, your friends and comrades in the field are others like you. These are simply the people that you KNOW!

And NOBODY is cashing in these days. Acts are not selling enough records to turn much profit--if any--and touring is a shrinking business. TCV is in this thing for the right reason, and that is to fucking rock.

Judging from the single, "New Fang," Them Crooked Vultures has a lot to offer a rock scene that is suffering from a lack of the real shit . . . the dirty shit! Did I mention that John Paul Jones is in the band?

John Paul Jones

For those of you who may have lived under a rock for the past 40 years, or were perhaps squirreled away in some hipster scene that disallowed such things as earth-moving grooves, John Paul Jones was the groundbreaking bass player and multi-instrumentalist in Led Zeppelin. JPJ has influenced EVERY great bass player since then, and his bass playing and sense of pocket and melody may never be matched again. To me he was the heart and soul of the band. Zeppelin lore has it that Jones held that band together and helped to make it as musical as it was, giving it a sense of depth and movement that has yet to be matched. Enough said: John Paul Jones is a bad, bad man.

Josh Homme

Josh Homme is someone who has gained a ton of respect in the community of musicians that I am acquainted with, not only for his songwriting and playing skills but as a straight-shooter and a guy who has your back if you are a friend. Josh has Seattle roots. He went to the UW while also playing in Screaming Trees in the mid-'90s before forming the stellar Queens of the Stone Age. Queens, for my money, has been the most influential band, as far as what new bands want to be and sound like, of the last eight or so years. Do I even need to add that he was a founding member of KYUSS? (FYI, everyone says they were into KYUSS when they were happening, but if it were true, the band would have been as big as U2.)

Dave Grohl

Ah, last but far from least, Dave Motherfucking Grohl. The drummer every other drummer, guitar player, and singer I know wishes they were. A songwriter whose verse and riffage flow with impossible ease and consistency. A man who is really just the nicest guy in rock and roll, who still bounces with excitement when some band or artist he likes is either passing through town or putting out a new record.

For these three guys to come together and form a real band--well, hell, it must be like some sort of fairy-dust shit just being at a band practice! Can you imagine? Them Crooked Vultures have created something new and fresh with no obvious nods to any of their past bands. A hard feat, for sure. Yes, you can tell it's JPJ on bass, Josh singing and playing guitar, and Grohl killing the drums. But the overall originality of the band's sound is startlingly refreshing. I sound like a damn rock critic right now, a breed of writer I absolutely detest. These guys are just straight-up cool and pretty fucking righteous, if you ask me.

https://web.archive.org/web/20091115134521/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/11/them_crooked_vultures_and_a_su.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:42 pm

I've Been Listening to Minor Threat, Flight of the Conchords, and Clutch (With a Knuckle Sandwich)

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Nov. 16 2009


Clutch, "Mob Goes Wild": Clutch are the type of band that you need never worry about being a "late-comer" to. They simply play a timeless style of dirty boogie-rock that is fad-proof, if you will. "Mob Goes Wild" showcases these guys' marriage of killer groove and humor, all wrapped up in a knuckle sandwich!

Flight of the Conchords, "Too Many Dicks (On the Dancefloor)," (I Told You I Was Freaky): A couple years ago, I was introduced to the music of FOTC through their HBO series. I bought their first Sub Pop CD sometime later that year. With the release of this newest record, FOTC have somehow found a way to elaborate on the kooky style that they alone invented.

Minor Threat, "Betray," (Out Of Step): For those of you who are sick of it all and want to break the windows and smash the state, may I suggest this song by the most excellent Minor Threat. Enough said...

https://web.archive.org/web/20091122181304/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/11/ive_been_listening_to_minor_th.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:44 pm

Duff McKagan: China, Stray Dogs, and Where You Can Find Earth's Most Passionate Rock Fans

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Nov. 19 2009


It seems there are so many things to write about this week that are all rather timely. Instead of picking one topic, then, I am going to give a short rundown of the things that have either piqued my interest and/or personal observations. Here goes . . .

South America

South American rock fans are bar none the best and most passionate in the world. Maybe it is because bands really didn't start going down there until the '90s, or maybe it's because their blood just runs a little hotter. For whatever reason, it's a place I always look forward to playing live.

I just returned from a Loaded tour of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, and this was the first time that I actually was ever able to get out and see some things. Fans down there will surround the hotel that a band stays at and WILL follow you en masse if you decide to take a stroll anywhere. When I was there with VR and GN'R, a walk around town in South America was simply not doable. With Loaded, while we still have those over-anxious fans, we seem to be able to talk to them and calm them down . . . with the help of a translator, of course.

Our first gig there was in Rosario, about a four-hour drive from Buenos Aires. After a beautiful drive through Argentine ranchlands, we arrived in the intellectual center of the country: Rosario.

For some reason, we thought maybe we'd have perhaps a calmer crowd in this studious city. We were wrong. When we got to the theater there, we found it absolutely surrounded by an extremely rowdy bunch of young and heated-up rock fans. We had to enlist a number of huge security guys just to get in the back door.

If any of you know Isaac, our new drummer, you will also know that while huge in talent and smarts, his physical stature is smaller than the rest of the band . . . by a ways. This, coupled with the fact that Isaac had yet to experience real first-hand fan mania, brought me to the realization that maybe this first gig in South America may have freaked him the fuck out. Being so far from home and feeling the strain of jet-lag alone can freak a guy out, but add to the equation people screaming your name at maximum volume and actually trying to get a piece of hair or clothing from your person . . . it's nutty, to say the least. A life experience for sure. Isaac was killer that night, though, and so was the crowd.

On our trip back to Buenos Aires the next day, we stopped at a truck/rest stop along the highway and ran into a couple of the stray dogs that are actually quite rampant in that part of the world. These animals look rather well-fed, but we all gave them parts of our sandwiches and patted their heads. Of the 20 or so wild dogs that we encountered on our nine-day trip, none seemed underfed, and all were quite tame and sweet as could be. This is something that I was never able to experience on other tours, and I am thankful that I was able to finally get out and see some of this part of the world. Absolutely beautiful country and excellent people.

Obama: China and the Trade Deficit

President Obama has been in China this week, and he has certainly got his work cut out for himself. He has a myriad of issues that he wants to address over there, and macroeconomic issues seem to have gotten the biggest "play" as far as news headlines and the like.

China has become the biggest holder of U.S. debt in the last couple of years. With nearly $800 billion worth of U.S. treasury bills, China rakes in roughly $50 billion a year in interest from those holdings alone.

China has also recently attached their yuan to the worth of the U.S. dollar, where other world currencies hold their own worth according to their specific countries' economic ups and downs. Many say that this is a false and unsubstantiated inflation of the yuan--that there is no economic basis for the yuan to be worth what the dollar is.

The inflation of the yuan makes outsourcing to China, of production jobs and the like, much cheaper for American companies; hence, many jobs here are thought to have been lost to the more inexpensive Chinese counterpart. The Chinese government also subsidizes many of these jobs, making them appear even cheaper to the world manufacturing market. This is also a major factor in why Chinese goods here are so cheap and U.S. goods over there are so expensive. Does that make sense?

The WTO has set up guidelines for fair trade, and countries in the WTO are expected to play fair. China has largely ignored these guidelines, seeing itself right now as the "big kid on the block"--holding all the cards (debt) and feeling no real pressure to change how things are working for them right now. This is the downside for us and other countries affected by trade with China.

But here is one of the rubs: China could sell off large chunks of their T-bill holdings, which would then send the U.S. dollar plummeting in value as there would be an instant and greater "supply" of our currency in the market--BUT with their yuan attached to the U.S. dollar, their currency too would feel the same negative impact.

Obama is now over there trying to forge a better partnership with China, and he has certainly got his hands full.

Them Crooked Vultures

For those of you in Seattle this weekend, may I suggest checking out TCV at the Paramount on Friday night. See my online column from last week (or in our print issue this week) if you want some info on the band. This much talent on one stage cannot be missed.

https://web.archive.org/web/20091123131444/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/11/duff_mckagan_china_stray_dogs.php
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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:46 pm

Last Night: I Listened to Ozzy, Slash, and Friends in Wolfmother and Jane's Addiction at the LAYN Benefit

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Nov. 23 2009


Last night, I was fortunate enough to participate in a benefit show for LAYN, an LA-based shelter for teenage kids who have had a rough start of it in life up to this point. LAYN provides a starting point for these youth, and an emotional safe haven. Slash asked if I'd play the show, along with a bunch other killer folks.

Here is my list of tunes inspired by last night's performances.


Wolfmother, "Woman," I know these guys just put out a new record but I have yet to get it. Watching Andrew Stockdale perform "Woman" convinced me that perhaps Wolfmother will be around for a long, long time.


Jane's Addiction, "Mountain Song." I remember first seeing these guys do MS in a LA club in '87. Last night, some 23 years later, that song has lost none of its urgency.

Ozzy Osbourne, "Crazy Train." We are all just lowly pretenders when OZZY enters a room. Fuck!

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Post by Blackstar Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:49 pm

The Making of a Rhythm Section

By Duff McKagan
Wednesday, Nov. 25 2009


Last weekend, I played a benefit show in L.A. to raise money for teenage runaways in Hollywood. LAYN (Los Angeles Youth Network) is a nonprofit that provides housing and vocational training, along with emotional support, for some of our young who have perhaps slipped through the cracks and ended up on these hardened streets.

The thing that was exceptionally different at this show, for me at least, was that Slash and I would be playing with original Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler for the first time since our Appetite for Destruction days . . . a long fucking time ago indeed! This whole mini-reunion got me thinking back to a time when life just seemed a bit simpler, and my goals, while grandiose, all seemed in some way to be a destiny of sorts.

After first moving to Hollywood in the fall of 1984, I was pretty much left to my own devices to find other musicians to play with, not to mention just simply to make a friend or two in this new and strange place. The luster of that year's Summer Olympics had worn off, and the police presence had virtually vacated Hollywood proper. The floodgates were wide open for criminals and thugs and general unwatched anarchy. This was my new world . . . alone.

For this story's sake, I will skip through the first job I landed down there, working for "the Hungarians," a tight-knit Mafioso group that somehow sensed that I would hustle around town for them and keep all my errands a secret. To this day, I have told not a soul what I did for them. I like to breathe. No, this story should begin after I first met Steven and Slash through a newspaper ad just a few weeks after I arrived there.

It should be known that the bands I'd played in to this point were bands like the Fastbacks, the Fartz, and Ten Minute Warning--alternative music, I suppose, but years before the term "alternative" was actually used, and subsequently OVERused!

Meeting two long-hair rockers from Hollywood was culture shock for me, as I am quite sure that my short blue hair and long pimp coat was a shock for them. But an almost instant alliance was made. I think that we were SO different from each other that our minds were open enough to actually get turned on to to each others' trains of musical thought. One thing DID have to change for me, however, and that was Steven's double-kick drum kit with WAY too many rack-toms and cymbals. Lucky for me, when we formed GN'R a few months later, Izzy Stradlin shared my horror of this "hesher" drum kit. We started our plot to hide parts of his drum kit. Every time poor Steven would show up to band practice, his kit was progressively smaller, until he was left with only the bare essentials--what would become his signature "thing" and influence modern rock drummers a few short years later . . . a GROOVE!

But I hadn't really found my "thing" on bass yet either. It seemed that the timing for Steven and I to sort of meld as an actual rhythm section was perfect. Listening and playing along with things like Cameo, Prince, and Sly and the Family Stone became our gauge and music school. Hours before the rest of the band would come for rehearsal, Steven and I would be there, mesmerized by what seemed to us at the time a visionary and funky quest. We became close as brothers in that first year of writing and rehearsing and playing shitty little dive-clubs.

That mini-era in L.A. music spawned another really interesting rhythm duo in Jane's Addiction's Eric Avery and Stephen Perkins. I suppose competition makes for a better "product," and Adler and I would go watch them play whenever possible. It made us better. I think we made them better, too. Neither band was too far removed from the influence of Led Zeppelin, and when you are looking at John Paul Jones and John Bonham as a benchmark (no mater how unattainable), you will push yourself as hard and far as you possibly can.

When Steven came to rehearsal last Friday for that benefit show, the scars of his hard-lived life faded instantly, replaced by his kid-like grin. The drugs over the years had done every diabolical trick they could, but they did not steal his talent and backbeat. It was a pleasure and an honor to play with my brother again after a 20-year absence. He absolutely killed it last Sunday night at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. I pulled for him. Slash pulled for him. The whole audience pulled for him. In that short instant, three teenage runaways from the past paid it forward to a wide-eyed audience of kids who could see what can be achieved when the strains of life are eased and replaced by dreams and hope.

https://web.archive.org/web/20091130031142/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/11/the_making_of_a_rhythm_section.php
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