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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2011.04.15 - Guitar International - Duff McKagan: The Taking was Born from a Caffeine High and Testosterone

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2011.04.15 - Guitar International - Duff McKagan: The Taking was Born from a Caffeine High and Testosterone Empty 2011.04.15 - Guitar International - Duff McKagan: The Taking was Born from a Caffeine High and Testosterone

Post by Blackstar Mon Nov 15, 2021 10:48 am

Duff McKagan Interview: The Taking was Born from a Caffeine High and Testosterone

By: Rob Cavuoto

A Grammy and American Music Award-winning songwriter-recording artist who has sold over 100 million records, Duff McKagan helped shape the music of an entire generation. He was a founding member of Guns ‘N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, and formed Duff McKagan’s Loaded in 1999. Though most widely known as rock’s premiere bassist, Duff once again takes front and center on lead vocals and guitars in Loaded with long time band members Jeff Rouse on bass, Mike Squires on guitar and drummer Isaac Carpenter for their latest release The Taking.

I had the rare and cool opportunity to go on a virtual ride with Duff as he shuttles his two daughters to school while we chatted about his latest release from Loaded, the hunt for a Velvet Revolver singer, and being a regular family guy.

Rob Cavuoto: It’s cool knowing that even Rock Stars aren’t exempt from family chores.

Duff McKagan: Dude I haven’t been a Rock Star since I was 22 years old. Those days are way gone.

Rob: Do you get stuck with taking out the garbage?

Duff McKagan: If I don’t do it, who’s going to do it? [Laughing]

Rob: Tell me a little of the bands history and the making of The Taking?

Duff McKagan: We also have a little known first CD from 2000. After a few starts and stops we made a group effort in 2008 to write and record Sick. We said to ourselves, we’ve been a band for eight years, let’s see if we can find a something that’s a culmination of those shared years. I’m really proud of the song writing on Sick. It was really fresh. We made it in two and a half days of preproduction.

At the time, the energy in Velvet Revolver was going sideways and it was nice to be involved in something with a bunch of fresh and vibrant guys, and that’s no slight on Velvet Revolver. That’s just the way life goes. We went out on tour and didn’t have a lot of help from the record company.

The tour really solidified us as a band. We came off the road with all these songs or at least the parts of the songs that made up The Taking. We went straight into the studio and started demoing them, with energy from the left over caffeine high, testosterone, loneliness, anguish, happiness and insanity. These songs are the trials of what happened on the road.

Rob: I really pick up the punk and pure rock energy of The Taking. Tell me about the musical influences behind this CD?

Duff McKagan: I really can’t say that I’m influenced by one thing or another when I write songs. I don’t even listen to one type of music more than another. I think it’s just being on the road seeing all bands perform live, from Slipknot to Sound Track of Our Lives, which is a wide range of styles. It’s really live bands that influence me.

Rob: Was it a difficult transition from bassist in Guns ‘N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver to frontman in Loaded?

Duff McKagan: I’ve been playing rhythm guitar in bands since 1980. I did it for my Believe in Me CD in 1993 and Neurotic Outsiders in 1996ish. So for me it’s easier to sing and play guitar than it is to play bass and sing. I like to feel outside of myself when I’m playing a gig, and if I’m playing bass and signing I’m just too self-aware.

Rob: I love “Dead Skin” and “Cocaine” off of The Taking. Do you have any song that resonates as a favorite for you?

Duff McKagan: Playing “Executioners Song” live is killer. “Follow Me to Hell” is one of favorites, just because my intent on that song was really clear. It’s like when I write a great sentence in my articles and say exactly what I mean. Like the perfect turn of phrase. That song is like that perfect sentence in a paragraph to me. I don’t know if it’s the best song in the world, but some of the terms in the verse and chorus are so weird they work.

Rob: The name Duff McKagan’s Loaded is that tongue in check for the years of partying?

Duff McKagan: Yeah of course, I thought it was really cute in 1997 when I had 3 years of sobriety under my belt. I was recording some music and I didn’t want to call the band “Duff McKagan.” I wanted a band not to be a solo-artist-guy. So I thought Duff McKagan’s Loaded, that’s cute. Looking back it’s not that cute or funny, but here I am!

Rob: You’ve accomplished so much over your career. What do you think is your greatest musical accomplishment?

Duff McKagan: Oh Shit, wow. That’s a tough one! It has to be Guns ‘N’ Roses getting signed to a major label and getting the deal that we wanted. That’s was a magical time when we were being touted by major labels. We got a baby-band deal, but a really good one. LA was a buzz about our band, it was big town. Bands come out of the entrepreneurial spirit, making something out of nothing, so it was truly special.

Rob: Both Velvet Revolver CDs in their own respect are great, yet they are both different. Contraband was more popular and well received yet Libertad sees the band coming into their own as stronger unit and writing team. What’s your take on the two CDs?

Duff McKagan: In 2004, you had a chance to sell more CDs. By the second record, that new band sheen, and “these guys are going to save rock and roll” had worn off. I don’t think people and music journalists gave Libertad the chance that they did for Contraband. I don’t think I like one more than the other, there are great songs on Libertad too. I look at music that I created as what’s fun to play live. I never listen to a CD after I’m done recording it – ever! Maybe for Loaded I’ll sing along to the CD to relearn my vocal parts a week before the tour, to get my chops and abs in line.

Rob: Why do you think it is taking so long to find a singer for Velvet Revolver?

Duff McKagan: I don’t know how much I want to say about that. I think Slash is very happy doing his solo thing, and why not. I think if Velvet Revolver is going to happen again it will happen when it’s supposed to happen. We played with some good singers and Scott Weiland is tough guy to replace.

A lot of singers are daunted by that. You don’t want to go out there and fuck up. Some things are better left as is. There’s a lot going through you head. Should we fuck with this or leave it alone? The things you put into a band you don’t want it tainted. Like I said, if it’s supposed to happen well do it.

Rob: You and Slash have known each other for 25 plus years. What’s one thing you know about him that most people don’t?

Duff McKagan: I know a lot of things about him that most people don’t know. [Laughing] That he’s a really sweet guy and has a great heart. He’s a fucking soulful dude. He is the real deal. That what you see with him is what you get with him. He’s actually that cool!

Rob: I spoke with Steve Stevens two weeks ago and we chatted about his involvement in Married to Rock. How did you get involved?

Duff McKagan: [Laughing] Um, well….because I love my wife. How’s that? She’s backed me good or bad for the last 14 years. So when she asked me to do this one simple thing I couldn’t say no. I really kept out of it though. Steve was in it a lot more than I was. God bless him for that. I stayed out of it as much as I could. Steve was a good sport about it and really funny on the show.

Rob: What are the tour dates for Loaded?

Duff McKagan: We have some dates in the UK and Europe in June opening for Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne. Then in August we have a run in the states. We have to do a States run that makes sense for this band. It’ll be a conglomeration of large club dates and opening for bands on summer tours. Clubs are where Loaded excels. We also want to do Canada; we’ve never gone there before with Loaded.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150923024604/http://guitarinternational.com/2011/04/15/duff-mckagan-interview-the-taking-was-born-from-a-caffeine-high-and-testosterone/
Blackstar
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