Here are 2 interviews for now...
Check the Kerrang Challenge with Duff & Matt
EVENT: Two shows at Sit & Spin: McKagan's Loaded plays on Thurs March 8, 2001; the Gentlemen play on Fri March 9, 2001.
You're in two bands at the moment?
"I was in this band a few years ago called the Gentlemen, with Taz from Reverend Horton Heat, Michael from Plexi, and Dex from Black Flag. We toured most of the U.S. We were good, but not great--I'd just had my first child, and I wanted to go back to school. A while ago I started the Gentlemen again, this time with Dave Dederer and Jason Finn, who's in something like 13 bands at the moment. We're playing SXSW this year, in hopes of getting a record deal. That's why you play SXSW, isn't it? Loaded already has a licensing deal in Japan. We're making a record right now at Jupiter Studios with Martin Feveyear."
You're a student at Seattle University. What's your major?
"I've claimed a business major, but I love English. Getting into Seattle University was quite a coup for me. I didn't graduate from high school. It was an alternative school and Kim Warnick was my counselor. I was playing drums in the Fastbacks and they gave me P.E. credit for carrying gear and I got some business credits for going to practice. So when I decided to go back to school, I went to Seattle Community College for a while, then got into SU."
Do the kids at SU recognize you from Guns N' Roses?
"The kids have kind of found out about it. You know, I was in this big band, and you get more than you could ever ask for from something like that. Now my life is really normal--I have a family, and I'm going to school... but yeah, recently the word has spread."
What do you think about playing small venues like Planet Hot Rod in Fife after having been in Guns N' Roses?
"I love that place! The people are having a great time there. It reminds me of punk rock a long time ago, before people really cared about anything other than having fun and listening to music. You go to that club and there's a bunch of people standing around with beer cans and their hair feathered back, having fun. They don't care about anything else."
Do you headline when you play Planet Hot Rod?
"My name PULLS in Fife, man!"
Thanks to "TheStranger.com" for the interview!
Interview by Daniel Oliveira
D : Playing with Steve Jones had the same impact on me that when Slash and myself played on Iggy Pops album, "Brick By Brick". Those are guys who influenced me. Playing in the same band, recording an album and going on tour with Steve was pretty incredible. It feels great to think that Steve Jones is one of my best friends. Guns N Roses already played in Seattle, at the Kingdome Stadium, but its only when I came back with the Neurotic Outsiders that I felt I had succeeded, because I played in my hometown, with Steve, one of my idols. I always respected Johns bass playing. When I was a kid, Duran Duran was just starting to become famous and everybody told me I looked like him. It was quite funny. John impresses me not only by his style, but also as a human being. Hes a very opened person.
HF : If NO makes you so happy, why dont you make it a full-time project?
D : We had a kind of agreement at the beginning : "Lets play for fun and be friends". When record companies started to show some interest in us, we were a bit reluctant, cause we were scared the business would spoil our friendship. It happens so often. So we got in touch with Maverick and were very honest with them : "This band is just starting, were friends first and foremost and we only play for fun". For me, this band was the opportunity to play with clean guys. In a way, I learnt to play again. Weve enjoyed all our little shows at the Viper Room and that never jeopardized our friendship.
HF : Will the band release another album?
D : Maybe. If the record company really asks for it, while leaving us alone, we could consider it. Im gonna go on tour with Loaded and currently thats my priority. This is a serious band and I dont want to be distracted by five parallel projects. But Ill make an exception for Neurotic.
HF : After you finished the tour with NO, the medias started to talk about line-up problems in Guns N Roses. Was this the beginning of the bands downfall?
D : Everything started when Slash turned his back and said : "This is shit". [referring to their musical differences.] He and Axl didnt talk to each other anymore. It had become quite irrational.
HF : The communication between them?
D : Yes. I was always in the middle, the one both came to see, and I got the impression I arbitrated little kids quarrels. Matt was never a full member of the band, he was on an ejector seat and Axl said : "Im gonna fire him". I answered that this decision required more than one person to be taken since we were a band, that he alone didnt own the majority. All of this because Matt told him he was wrong. The truth is, Matt was right, and Axl wrong indeed.
HF : Wrong about what?
D : About schedules and the way Axl was late for the next album. Susan, my girlfriend, was pregnant. We were going to have a baby, but this band was becoming a dictatorship, everything had to get done in Axls way or it wouldnt get done at all. It wasnt like that when we started out. At one point, we were offered a huge sum of money to play a concert in Germany. I thought : "I never played for money and Im not gonna start now!". Ive got a house, Im secure financially. Post-Neurotic was the worst moment of my career in Guns. I went out for dinner with Axl and I told him : "Enough is enough. This band is a dictatorship and I dont see myself playing in those conditions. Find someone else."
HF : Why did Axl become so egomaniac and arrogant?
D : Because many people around him maintain him in that state of mind. They kept telling him he was right. Some of them feared him cause they were scared they were gonna lose their job. Its as simple as that. I dont want to do anything that goes against what I am now. Im honest with myself and with the people surrounding me. Had I stayed with Axl, I would have acted against my personality. And nothing worse could ever happen to me. In this story, the real losers are Guns N Roses fans, unfortunately.
HF : Why didnt you pursue your career with Slash and Matt, in another band?
D : I believe this will happen. And I think that would be fabulous. Were very close friends as well as with Izzy. Were in daily contact. Slash, Matt and myself played at the Slamdance film festival (in Park City, Utah.) You cant create a good feeling between three or four people. It has to be already there. And when we played together, not only was there the feeling, but also a big energy. Those who attended that show probably remember it cause it was really powerful. We felt so good on-stage that the music just seemed to flow. It was one of those magic nights....
HF : Dont you think its a bit unfair to play this semi-Guns concert, given that the bands not complete?
D : We play together very often and what would be unfair would be to ask us to stop doing it. It would be like forbidding a kid to go play outside with his friends or telling him, if his parents were divorced, that he had to stop seeing one of them. But I think that, if we dont want to form a band right now, its because we want to get away from that Guns image. Wed like to prove to ourselves that we are musicians. I left Guns N Roses because the band didnt correspond to me anymore. Whats left of the band has nothing to do with what we had created. I even think whats left is not Guns N Roses.
HF : How did you react when Axl hired the bassist Tommy Stinson (ex-Replacements) and the guitarist Robin Finck (ex-Nine Inch Nails)?
D : I played with Robin a few times and hes a great guy. But if I were Axl, in no way would I call that band Guns N Roses. The kids know GNR. No need to explain you, just listen to the albums we recorded. You cant argue with that. For me, too much discussion would make the music lose its value. The kids have an idea of what that band is. My reaction? I thought : "This is not cool, its not the right thing to do, but its none of my business. If he thinks its right.... "
HF : So youre not friend with Axl any longer?
D : Yes I am, but it doesnt mean we agree on everything. Weve been thinking too much about this band. Weve been teenagers together, we became adults together. Nobody can ask me not to be friend anymore with my brother. But hes got a problem : too many people around him confusing his mind. To be honest, he probably doesnt live in the same world as you and me.
HF : We can only hope for better days.
D : Yes and I hope Axl wont feel like I let him down. I was just honest. I didnt wish to go on that way. I dont think its fair for our fans, and its certainly not fair for Slash and myself since we were the founders of this band too and contributed to its identity. But life is unfair, so Im not gonna waste my time complaining.
HF : You experienced a glorious career in Guns N Roses with whom you recorded one of the greatest rock nroll albums, "Appetite For Destruction". After all the troubles youve gone through, do you feel a love/hate relationship towards the band?
D : Not towards the music we created. You know whats great? I can come to France and play in bigger places thanks to my past in Guns N Roses. The public comes to see what I do now thanks to the interest they had in my previous band. And I do hope theyll like Loaded cause its a cool band. Its a plus. I dont want to be tied to GNR, but the fact is that it opens some doors if I want to go to Europe, South America or Japan and play big places. Thats the smart side of the story.
HF : Now the obvious question : do you think GNR has a future without you and Slash?
D : Fans will be the real test. The group is likely to get away with it if they can go on a big tour, but Im not even sure the public will come. When Led Zeppelin reformed without their bassist John Paul Jones, I didnt go see them. Page & Plant wasnt Led Zeppelin. In my opinion, John Paul Jones played as big a role as the others and the band without him was worth nothing. I didnt go see Aerosmith on tour with Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay (for the album "Rock In A Hard Place"). It wasnt Aerosmith to me.
HF : Lets move on. After the Guns N Roses nightmare, you returned to your first punk band, Ten Minute Warning, from Seattle. How did that idea come up?
D : The guys from Sub Pop (an underground label of punk and grunge bands) called and told me : "Weve got all the Seattle bands since 1985 but you were there before and wed like you to record an album." Ten Minute Warning was quite a legendary Seattle band and Sub Pop would have completed their collection of the citys music history with our album. We talked about it, we played together and it felt right. So we recorded an album. Afterwards, we didnt think : "Lets go on tour, lets form a real band." We recorded this album just for fun.
HF : After Ten Minute Warning, is it true you had begun a parallel project with Mark Lanegan, the ex-singer from the Screaming Trees?
D : Nothing is done yet, but its very likely to become a reality in the future. Were friends. I think Im gonna play on his solo album first. Actually, right now hes downstairs (in his house in Seattle) so I dont want to talk too much about him. He would become big-headed....no, Im kidding!
HF : You spent all of 1998 working on your second solo album, "Beautiful Disease", which finally wasnt released due to the panic storm following Polygrams purchase by Universal. What happened?
D : Last December, the album was recorded, mixed and masterised. I met the Geffen staff and everybody was really enthusiastic. I started the promotion and tons of magazines reviewed the record. Then Seagram (the company that owns Universal) came, bought Polygram and fired everybody at Geffen in less than a month. So I had another reunion and I just wanted to know if the album was going to be released or not. The only answer I got was that it was impossible to answer me! I was out of my mind : I had a band, we had started the promo, the tour, everything was ready and the only thing they could tell me was: maybe. Finally, the album was supposed to come out on the 9th of February and that very day I discovered it wouldnt.
HF : Thats awful!
D : Yes, but nothing happens without reason. One week later, I still hadnt recovered, especially when I thought about all this fucked-up work. I had worked every day, except on Sundays, during one year. Put yourself in my shoes. I got this phone call, I had to face the situation, and the ones who helped me the most were members of my band. I used to pay everyone, and spontaneously they told me they felt involved and didnt want to get paid anymore. Michael, the guitar player, owns a loft in the center of Los Angeles and he proposed to rehearse there. It was really cool. Then we launched a website, with no publicity at all, but the kids found it nevertheless and started sending us tons of messages : "Wheres the album?" So I launched a live chat on the Internet and I received hundreds and hundreds of questions. Most of them dealt with the album. I explained the whole situation with Seagram and suddenly that idea came up to me. The only way to get round Seagram was to turn the album into a live one. I asked kids their opinion, and the response was so straightforward that we adopted that solution. A live album shall thus soon be released with most of the songs present on "Beautiful Disease". We recorded sixteen tracks at two shows in LA. We mixed the whole thing and the result sounds very convincing to me.
HF : On which label will it be?
D : It wont be on a label, because we dont want the kids to spend too much money. Were gonna make the cover ourselves, very independently. Cargo records will distribute the album in Europe but itll also be for sale on the Internet. I also think of pressing a limited edition for the fans. The idea is theres a request from the most die-hard fans and I really want to satisfy it.
HF : The original "Beautiful Disease" will never be released?
D : Were rerecording it, but the version with Slash, Izzy and Mike Bordin will never come out. Currently I have four offers from labels who are interested in Loaded. Weve already started the rerecording and weve done half of it. Were gonna choose the best label and go on tour throughout the world. We want to be a big band.
HF : Why did you choose the name Loaded and not Duff McKagan Band?
D : Were more than that, were a real band. As I told you, the name Duff McKagan can only open some doors and allow us to play in bigger places. And I prefer to find a name for the whole band, its more representative than just one musician. Im not the only one involved, and youve got to keep that in mind.
HF : With Guns N Roses, you had the most amazing career imaginable : you played in front of millions of people, and as many bought your records. How does it feel to be at the bottom of the ladder again?
D : You always want what you dont have. When we filled stadiums, I dreamt of playing in clubs. Now that we play clubs, I dream of bigger places. Thats a challenge and the whole point of life lies in these challenges you must take up to go forward. I played in front of millions of people, but now I must prove it again. If we can play in good places and make a few festivals this summer, Ill be OK with it. I dont want to go too fast, everythings alright at the moment. Im in a band, some labels show interest in us. Its real good to be hungry!