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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.

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2021.09.15 - Dunlop Presents Bass Freq's Podcast - Interview with Duff

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2021.09.15 - Dunlop Presents Bass Freq's Podcast - Interview with Duff Empty 2021.09.15 - Dunlop Presents Bass Freq's Podcast - Interview with Duff

Post by Blackstar Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:54 am



The Bass Freq’s Podcast, hosted by experienced recording and touring bass player Josh Paul (Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves, Daughtry), features in-depth discussions with some of the top bassists working today.

This week’s episode features Duff McKagan. His 40-year career has been an epic one—and includes being a founding member of one of the biggest rock bands in the world. That’s Guns ’n’ Roses, if you live under a rock. Duff’s grooves can be heard on records that have sold millions, and he’s played on literally hundreds of stages around the globe.

Duff took a time out from getting ready for a show to speak with host Josh Paul about getting his start, what he’s up to now, how to sustain life both creatively and emotionally as a touring musician, and what his favorite gear is.

http://lifestyle.jimdunlop.com/bass-freqs-ep17-duff-mckagan/
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2021.09.15 - Dunlop Presents Bass Freq's Podcast - Interview with Duff Empty Re: 2021.09.15 - Dunlop Presents Bass Freq's Podcast - Interview with Duff

Post by Blackstar Fri Nov 05, 2021 10:47 pm

Excerpts from Ultimate Guitar:
--------------------------------------

During an appearance on the Bass Freq's Podcast, Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan looked back on his musical journey and why he opted for bass.

When asked, "What turned you to bass?", Duff replied (transcribed by UG):

"I was just drawn to everything, and I still am. A home, I'll have an acoustic guitar out, I'll go through the spurts on the bass, I'm really wanting to learn more about the neck of my bass, and connecting dots...

"And I would watch a documentary, and really watch Booker T. & The MG's, and...

"I grew up being influenced more by Sly & The Family Stone and then Black Sabbath, by far. [James] Jamerson and Duck Dunn - Duck Dunn especially.

"Not especially, but just that simplicity of that rhythm section was like, 'Less is way more.' And I would take bass lessons with Reggie Hamilton, he's a neighbor and a good friend, and a fucking monster of a bass player.

"Or Scott Shriner from Weezer - Scott's great, he's a studied guy, he really knows a lot about theory and whatnot. So just sitting with other bass players...

"I want this to be official - you're the teacher, I'm the student, take notes and stuff. So I'll go through those spurts.

"And then I like doing that and then just being left on my own to kind of meld that all into my mindset and my muscle memory, and make those things my own, and not just parrot what I learned."

That's important, I love that you are still eager to learn and that's so great that you can use that, even now in everything you do because you've done so much already, and I really appreciate that.

"Yeah, I'm fascinated by the bass more than anything else. And I get to watch Slash, who's a master, I played with him for so long and have seen him grow and progress.

"He's really into the blues solo and it's legit. It's not like him trying to copy some blues guy, Slash is the real thing. And I really appreciate all that, and I appreciate really good drummers and really good singers.

"And I also get to watch Axl [Rose], who's a master, fight for every vowel and find places in his body to push.

"But bass is just a super fascinating instrument to me, and I'm really fortunate that that's what I play, and I get to go out and practice what I preach doing that.

"I love playing guitar, I have my bands where I play guitar, I did get back into playing drums during Covid, it's killer playing drums but I think I'm the most comfortable, the most in my skin playing bass by far."

I always thought, 'Oh, Slash is cool but that guy right there...' talking about you, 'Duff is awesome, he is cool as hell and I want to do that.' So you're definitely one of the people for me growing up, I was like, 'Holy shit!' That's the epitome of cool right there. You're a rock star for sure. And one of the things that I'm very impressed by and I find really interesting is the fact that I read you went back to school.

"Well, I didn't go back, I went to school because I never left school because I never went there in the first place."

OK, so you went to school, which is even cooler. What inspired that? What motivated you to actually take the time to do it?

"I'm from a family of a lot of kids, so college wasn't an option unless you paid for it on your own. So it just wasn't an option.

"Not having options is great if you're a musician. If that's what you want to do, it's 192 percent, you have to be all the way in plus-plus-plus.

"So seeing as there were no options - I was cook or digging a foundation in construction, which I did to support my musical career, but once I moved to L.A., there's no going back, there was no safety net, and no, 'I can always go to college...'

"There was nothing, which I thought for me was very helpful. If you get to go to college when you're 18, that's fucking awesome. My girls, it is a different story for them.

"'You're going to college because your dad didn't have the option, damn it.' And truthfully, when I got sober. Through my twenties, it started to be a pretty rough time for me with alcoholism and drug addiction.

"I found a way out of that and landed on my feet, and really one of the first things I wanted to do was I wanted to go to school.

"I wanted to go to business school, I had made some money in my twenties, I didn't know what money was, I came from a family, and I couldn't ask a brother or sister.

"So I had to figure it out for myself, and if anybody was ripping me off and how they're doing it... That was really kind of street credo, 'Who's ripping me off?'

"So I went to business school and got into the one I wanted to get in, I had to go through some community college to get to Seattle U where I went, and it was wonderful.

"I started up a band when I got sober in Seattle, this band Loaded, so I had like a college band! Spring break - we'd go to Japan and play shows!

"I met my wife right in there on a blind date, I had my house and it was a house I bought to raise a family in, and I met the woman, and she had two girls.

"I was just there. But it was cool, it was great, and I gained the knowledge that I was hoping for, and that's that."

I didn't get a chance to go to college, as a young guy right out of high school, I went on tour. I would definitely need to clean out some cobwebs before I did in the old brain here.

"Dude, let me tell you, man, when I got into the business school, these kids coming out of to get into this school, they're pretty smart kids. Really smart kids.

"So what would take them 45 minutes to study, it would take me eight hours in the first year until I really started to figure out how to study, all that stuff. I gotta learn how to study and I was making notes on everything."

What were your grades like?

"They were very good. I was a 4.0 student. I didn't go there to fuck around. If I didn't know something, I'd go to the professor, like, 'What does this mean?' I didn't go there to just pass, I was there to learn shit."

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/gnrs_duff_mckagan_talks_why_he_chose_bass_shares_what_he_has_to_say_about_slashs_guitar_playing_these_days.html

*

During an appearance on the Bass Freq's Podcast, Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan discussed his longstanding relationship with Fender, his use of the chorus effect, and more.

When asked, "What basses do you play and why?", Duff replied (transcribed by UG):

"So, I have my Jazz Special basses. When Guns started, I had a Yamaha B-something. It was like a 1982, and I got it, I traded some things, it was a good bass.

"But when we rehearsed in Guns, on those first dates, it was back behind a Guitar Center on Sunset Strip or on Sunset, and I'd go in there, I was that guy who went in there and couldn't buy anything. I'd look at this bass...

"I looked at this stuff and like, 'Oh...' And then we got a record deal, we got an advance, and I went in and bought that Fender Jazz Special, it was a Japanese-made 1986 Jazz Special.

"That bass is the sound of [the 1987 GN'R debut] 'Appetite [for Destruction],' it's the sound of 'Illusions,' I used that same bass.

"And then flash forward, if you cut to a year or two or three, Fender started to make that bass for me, a custom shop, the neck was a little misshapen, a little egg-shaped.

"Turns out that particular neck was a little off, a little askew perhaps, and so they put it on a computer, and rotated the thing, and figured it out.

"And so we just get them from the custom shop. And then flash way forward, Fender wanted to put out a 'Duff model,' and it was that '86 Japanese Jazz Special. And then I started playing...

"Reggie Hamilton got me a Reggie Hamilton mod Geddy Lee Jazz, and he sent it to me, I was on the road with Velvet Revolver, and Reggie - the sweetest thing ever, he's my bass teacher, he sends me this bass.

"And it's got the Drop D thing on it, it was when I was really studying and I put some flat wounds on another bass, and I'm playing with my fingers now...

"This is like 2009 or so, and I'm really listening to Duck Dunn and Jamerson, playing with my fingers and trying the one-finger thing like Jamerson, like, 'That guy - fuck him!' Later, I hear the story's like he's laying on his back just playing with one finger.

"OK, good for you, James Jamerson. But with the Drop d, and then I started playing in this band - the Walking Papers, I was playing bass, Barrett Martin was the drummer.

"If you haven't listened to Walking Papers, listen to the records I played on with Barrett Martin playing drums, it's it was like going to church, this band.

"And my bass chops - it was really bass-heavy, the band, kind of like a soul band, it's all dirty rock and roll, super cool."

Were you rocking your fingers on that record or a pick?

"I did a little bit of all of it, got the Drop D thing going, and there's a lot of songs in drop d, and I started messing with that.

"And Fender took notice that I was playing this other bass, and they said, 'Would you like to experiment with making your own sort of model of this?'

"So we did, and so now I have two Fender basses, and those are the two I play. I play my Fender, both my Death models. And they're both really great basses.

"And I have a bunch of other basses, and Slash for Christmas got me one of Lemmy's studio Rickenbackers, which I don't know how to repay him for that. And if you've got any ideas, please let me know.

"So I've got other stuff, and Gibson, they got new ownership, and I happen to know one of the guys with the company, the bottom. And he sent me like an EVO, basically, a little three-quarter scale."

Like your first one?

"Yeah. He sent it to my house, really nice of him, that's cool, you can shred on those little three-quarters. So I have other things but live and in the studio, I use my basses."

A lot of your tone - is there a chorus on there? Is that what I hear?

"Yes, I saw a band, love this band, they're called Magazine, the singer for the Buzzcocks formed a new band, and they're called Magazine, and it was kind of a post-punk band that I saw them play at the Paramount in Seattle, and the record [1978's 'Real Life'] was just so good.

"A lot of people referenced that band that I didn't really realize did. But the bass sound on that was this monster sound, and I asked Kurt Bloch, who's the guitar player from Fastbacks, who knew everything about everything...

"I'm like, 'What is that sound on the bass?' 'Oh, he has a chorus pedal.' 'Wow, a what?' So I got one, and in Guns, we started writing songs and playing live shows, and I would put that course pedal in certain points like the beginning of 'Sweet Child O' Mine,' and then the breakdown of 'Sweet Child O' Mine.'

"I wouldn't have it on the whole time. The beginning of 'My Michelle,' really cool for intros, most of 'Rocket Queen'...

"Throughout my whole Guns - and even Velvet Revolver, you would hear my chorus pedals. I may have used the Dunlop chorus pedals, Scott Yoshida was at Dunlop for a bunch of years.

"But the original one I got was this old Ibanez guitar chorus pedal that I got for like 30 bucks that somebody had, and like, 'Well, that's a chorus pedal.' And it works."

Do you still use that one out on the road?

"Yeah."

Very cool. What other pedals do you use?

"I don't, no. Just the chorus pedal for those particular parts of the song, Bob triggers it all on the side for me, or step stomps on it because I stomp on it too hard. He goes, 'Yeah, it's not a stompbox!' "

But wait, that's what it's called!

"Exactly!"

What advice do you have for young guys? Young musicians or bass players out there. You've had some serious longevity in your career, and I think that we're all lucky to learn from you.

"I got to talk to Duck Dunn before he died [in May 2012] - and I didn't know he's gonna die - to take some lessons from him. I got him on the phone and somebody put me in touch with him, and I called him before his gig in Phoenix.

"And I said, 'Hey, I'd love to take some lessons from you at some point, any way to make that happen?' He's like, 'Oh, now, Duff, I couldn't show you anything you didn't know.'

"I'm like, 'No, no, trust me.' He heard my little girls in the background, 'Oh, you got kids? Why don't you bring your family out and we'll hang out?'

"A very sweet man and I kind of feel like I'm still in the middle of it, I don't know what I could give to somebody else. We definitely need young bass players, and there are some really good players to watch.

"It's such a badass instrument to play, especially if you're laying it down, like Jamerson, John Paul Jones... Dunn plays like, 'Start there, less is more,' and learn that great stuff, and listen to Larry Graham, and listen to Prince play bass!

"The bass to me is just such a mystical fucking cool motherfucking instrument to play. And you're keeping the whole band on point, the bass player is the one that connects the drums to everything else.

"You got to keep the drummer like, 'Alright, dude, we're moving now.' And you've got to communicate that to somebody - like Slash, who plays with his eyes closed. But he trusts me that I'll get him to the next point.

"And Axl [Rose] as well. The bass player is a bigger gig than just playing bass, and not saying just playing bass - playing bass is a contact sport as well. Learn to sing too, learn to sing if you're young.

"Really study some good lead singers, some good backup singers, and don't scream into the microphone if you're a backup singer, sing.

"And don't sing loud 'cause you're gonna get out of the bar soon enough, and the PAs are going to get better and you're going to be screaming through that P.A., and people are going to be putting their fingers in their ears."

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/guns_n_roses_bassist_duff_mckagan_speaks_on_his_relationship_with_fender_talks_what_made_him_use_chorus_pedal__no_other_effect.html
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