recently conducted an interview with Duff McKagan
(Velvet Revolver, Duff McKagan's Loaded, Guns N' Roses). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
AskMen.com: [Duff McKagan's Loaded's new album] "Sick" sounds amazing and I think reflective of some of your earlier influences, but it's a departure from your days with GUNS and Velvet Revolver. What would you say to fans of your more well-known work who are interested in picking this album up?
I think Loaded is its own standalone band and I think a really good band, from my experience, is the greatest sum of all of its parts. Every guy brought something to the table and we took the best of those parts and made it a whole. Same thing with Velvet Revolver; you still had Slash and I, you had those elements, but you got Scott Weiland in there and Matt [Sorum] as a songwriter and even Dave Kushner you take the best parts of them. With Loaded, we've always been sort of left of center; we're not a straight-up commercial rock band. People are saying it's ["Sick"] more punk rock, but punk rock to me was something that I experienced and I played in a lot of punk rock bands, but that was a long, long time ago. I'm certainly not going back; I'm not harkening back to those times.
"Sick" sounds very cathartic and retrospective; can you tell us what you were going through during the writing of the album?
You know, lyrics I wrote for Guns or Velvet or stuff even before that, were always just right on the nose, something that happened to me or an observation of mine. On this record, there are definitely a lot of observations, like "Mother's Day", I took three stories of three friends of mine who passed away because of drug overdose and I made it about a woman. So I try to get at least twice removed or once removed from the actual story and not have it be so "on the nose." But there are songs like "Wasted Heart" and "IOU" that are kind of direct odes to my wife. And there are songs that are playful, like "Flatline", it's the single, it's a classic breakup "f*ck you." It's nothing that happened to me directly, but we've all felt that way about a chick or if you're a chick you've felt that way about a guy. But I'm trying to get away from such autobiographical songs. I write a lot now for Playboy and Seattle Weekly, so I'm learning how to write and separate myself from the story. I'm writing every week for the Weekly and I don't want people knowing everything about me. So how do you get into that? How do I tell people about something I did but not give too much about myself? So I try to do that with my songs, but there are songs that influenced my life, drug use, sadness, and the good stuff.
What do you think of [Guns N' Roses' album] "Chinese Democracy"?
It's funny; so many people have asked me that question and I gotta figure out why people think my opinion matters... I think Axl [Rose] did a great job on that record and other than that, the songs and the band are a completely different thing, so for me to really comment on the band, I might as well be commenting on the new Slipknot record. It's that far removed from me. We [Guns] made our last record in '92 or '93 or something that was 16 years ago. That was a lifetime ago for me. I was still using and stuff back then. So, that's how long ago it was for me. It's great ["Chinese Democracy"]. There are songs on it that I like and there are songs on it that I don't like, just like any other record.
Read the entire interview from AskMen.com