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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.


2022.10.28 - Rockzone Magazine (Spain) - Interview with Tommy

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2022.10.28 - Rockzone Magazine (Spain) - Interview with Tommy Empty 2022.10.28 - Rockzone Magazine (Spain) - Interview with Tommy

Post by Blackstar Tue Nov 01, 2022 3:54 pm

Original text in Spanish:


Tommy Stinson Interview – Close to the Stars

The ex-bass player of The Replacements and Guns N' Roses is visiting us shortly.

Next week Tommy Stinson will start a tour of several concerts around the peninsula. A unique opportunity to see one of the musicians with a most peculiar career.

If Tommy Stinson already signed a deal with musical immortality with The Replacements, his solo albums or with Bash & Pop show a restless, free and brilliant guy. But it is that he was also Axl Rose's undaunted companion towards Chinese democracy. And he played on a Soul Asylum record. More than enough credentials to chat with one of the most charismatic rock bass players, apart from an excellent and exalted composer.

One of the songs you sang on tour with Guns N' Roses was 'Motivation' from the Village Gorilla Head album.

“It was great to be able to sing that song with the band. It wasn't exactly my idea. They asked me if I could sing one or two songs, for production reasons. I showed them a list of my songs, we tried several and I really felt comfortable singing that song, so they added it to the set list . It was great to be able to do that with a band like Guns N' Roses."

Bash & Pop seems like a great project to me. You have released two albums so far, Friday Night Is Killing Me and Anything Could Happen.

“We released those two albums at two different times and with different line-ups of course, but recorded the same way. The first one was recorded just after finishing a tour with The Replacements, so I wanted to do something similar, that sounded like a rock band. I set up a recording studio in my house and we started working. I didn't want to record the songs in parts, but wanted the band to play the songs as if it were live. I wanted to do the same for the second album Anything Could Happen. For me, it was much better to do it that way.”

How did you start playing bass? Who were your influences?

«My brother was the first to show me how to play the bass, when he was eleven years old. Together we were part of the first formation of The Replacements. My favorite bass players were Paul McCartney, Jim Lea from Slade, Paul Simonon from The Clash and John Doe from X.

I love X. Any favorite album? Los Angeles maybe?

“Hmm, no. I think my favorite album is See How We Are. Although it sounds strange, I love that record.

If you had to define your bassist style, what would you say?

“Well, I'm a very disciplined person and I try to play all styles, whether it's punk, rock or blues. I can improvise on any style of music or at least try."

Have you thought about releasing a new album soon?

“My songwriting partner, for at least the last thirteen years, has been Chip Roberts, who is friend and family, he is my second wife's uncle. Together we have been writing songs. We decided to call ourselves Cowboys In The Campfire because we're always playing acoustic guitar and singing here and there. At first we rehearsed, it was a fun concept, but we have been writing so many songs that it has become a serious project. We are going to release an album with Fat Possum Records, who released the last Bash & Pop album. It will be a quieter album but with several new elements, with wind instruments. If all goes well, it will be out early next year. The first single will be out this November 9th, a song called 'Dream.'”

What inspires you to compose?

“With Chip we write about things we see and do together, fun things. This album has a lot of humour, some songs are inspired by funny anecdotes that Chip told me”.

Let's talk about Guns N' Roses. What is your current opinion of Chinese Democracy ?

“I haven't listened to it recently, but I think it's a great album on different levels. There was a lot of dedication from everyone and it was also an extraordinary learning experience. Never before had I had to record with people from totally distant musical styles. The best of all was that, the experience. I've learned a lot recording that album."

How would you describe Axl as a songwriter? He has always tended more to Queen or Elton John than not just prototypical rock.

"He's a very interesting guy. To me he doesn't get enough credit in what he does. He's a very diplomatic person, he wants us all to be part of the process, to all have our input in the recordings. He's very good in the role of producer and that's not talked about very much. He is really very good at what he does. As a songwriter he is unique, he always tries to get us all involved in the process of a song, that no one is left out."

Now they're back, and I'd like to know your opinion of Duff McKagan as a musician.

“Oh, I think he's a great bass player. I love his style and we also come from similar places. I'm glad Guns N' Roses are back together. I only have good memories of when I was with them so it makes me happy to know that they are touring and playing for their public”.

What can you tell me about the songs 'Catcher In The Rye' and 'Hard Skool'?

“Mmm... not much. 'Catcher In The Rye' is a very interesting song, Axl was inspired by the book. He felt really identified with it. The recording process was very interesting too, we all brought different ideas to it. It's one of my favorite songs on that album. And about 'Hard Skool' I don't remember much. I think it's an old song of the band but I could be wrong.”

You coincided with Robin Finck. For me he is one of the best players of the last three decades.

"Yes, I agree. I always thought he was a better guitar player than DJ Ashba..."

Of course. (I burst out laughing and the laughter becomes contagious.)

“Ssshh , don't make me laugh. Robin is a very interesting guy, like a Renaissance man. Besides, he is a very good person, I love Robin".

What do you remember about the Brian May collaboration on Chinese Democracy?

“Oh , I remember it very well. When we were recording that record, Brian showed up to play some guitar parts. He started with one of my songs, 'Riad N' the Bedouins'. And it was really cool to see Brian May from Queen play one of my songs. We both had a good time together because I was living in Burbank at the time and his house was in Hancock Park in Hollywood. So he used to pick me up. It was great. Sometimes we would go for a few beers. He also tried to approach one of my friends (laughs). I remember one moment in particular, he was recording one of my songs and suddenly everything stopped, he took the microphone and said to me,'Tommy, what are these damn jazz chords?' (laughs) . And I had to teach him the jazz chords that were part of the song."

What is your favorite Queen album and your favorite song of theirs?

I don't know if I have a favorite Queen album because I've always listened to the greatest hits albums. I remember when News Of The World came out , I was in a friend's basement and the brother had bought that record. It was great when we heard 'We Will Rock You'. Maybe that's my favorite album, because of the memories I have. Favorite song? 'You're My Best Friend'. It's a brilliant song with a great feeling. I always think of that song when I think of my best friends.”

It was written by John Deacon.

“Oh really? I did not know, I did not know it".

How about Deacon on bass?

“I think he's a great bass player and also a great songwriter. Much of Queen's musical brand is thanks to him and under him. I really think he's a genius, he took the bass sound to another level. Like Paul McCartney or Brian Wilson."

Among many projects, you got to be with Soul Asylum.

“I only recorded one album with them, The Silver Lining. What can I tell you… I grew up with them. I've known Dave and Dan since high school. We are old friends, neighbors, family. It's funny because just this morning Dave texted me and we've been talking. When Karl Mueller died, his wife told me that one of his last wishes was that his place be taken by one of the 10 bass players he had selected. And the first name on that list was mine. It was a great honor for me."

Regarding The Replacements, if I don't ask you about their albums, they'll kill me (laughs). I'll mention three: Let It Be, Tim and Pleased to Meet Me.

“With Tim, my brother's era in the band ended. He was already taking other directions, and also substances, so it wasn't working. It was a very difficult album for me. In fact, of all our albums it is the one with the worst sound, despite having the financial support of Warner Brothers. But we had the wrong producer. Let It Be is probably our last big record, with Bob of course. We were able to get away a bit from the punk rock and hardcore that we had been pigeonholed into. We were able to do that thanks to songs like 'I Will Dare'. With Pleased to Meet Me, after Tim, we tried to find a twist to the concept of the group with Chris and Paul. We didn't want to stop being The Replacements despite my brother's problems. We didn't want to give up. We worked hard to make the best record we could. Of course, there are things that I now think we should have done differently. But the reality is that we were able to achieve one of our best records.”

They censored you on Saturday Night Live.

“Well, it was for a couple of reasons. One of them, which nobody talks about, is that Harry Dean Stanton got drunk before going on the air as a presenter. And he did it with our drinks, the ones that were in our dressing room, they hadn't left anything for him. He was with us drinking vodka. Then, well…he could barely stand. The second reason was that we changed some lyrics and they didn't like that at all. They didn't want us to say offensive words."

Let's talk about your tastes. Let's start with literature.

“One of my favorite authors is Roald Dahl. Many years ago my first wife had a book by him with many short stories. It was a huge yellow book. The stories were very interesting. Quite dark but very well written. It was captivating and I wanted to read more. Roald Dahl wrote books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory . Books for children but also valid for an adult. Oh, and he wrote the script for the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice . "

Just following this up, cinema is next.

“When I joined Guns N' Roses, I found out that Axl's favorite movie was Once Upon A Time In America, with Robert De Niro. Turns out it's also my favorite movie. So as soon as I found out I asked him and we talked about it, it was one of the many things we had in common.

Finally, the other day I was talking to Lee Rocker, from Stray Cats, about rock and roll today, we commented that it's not like it used to be. The new generations prefer to listen to artists like Rosalía, trap music and reggaeton. Apart from giving you only thirty seconds of attention with tik tok.

“You know, I think it's not that rock doesn't exist anymore. It's rather cyclical, rock always comes back and takes other forms. The world changes, the music changes. Access to music is also not the same. What we used to call rock and roll, the image, the feelings, have changed. It has morphed into other styles of music. It's hard to accept, but I think rock is always there. It will always be still in its most traditional form. We'll see in about ten or twenty years (laughs) ."

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