INTERVIEW: Duff McKagan

Duff McKagan was always one of the most proactive Guns N’ Roses members. While Slash almost seemed to drop out of the mainstream for a couple of years at a time and Axl pulled off a pretty impressive disappearing act for a while there, Duff was putting out albums like his own solo CD Believe In Me as well as releases with Neurotic Outsiders, his pre-G’n’R Seattle band Ten Minute Warning, and Loaded. During downtime with Velvet Revolver he hooked up with Jane’s Addiction (for a while), and now he’s back in full Loaded mode with the release of The Taking, an often dark and heavy collection of tracks which knit together to form a concept album based on the fracturing of a relationship. McKagan is front and centre in Loaded, singing and playing rhythm guitar, and it seems he couldn’t be happier.

 

I bought the album off iTunes yesterday…

…Oh wow, you have the record before I do! Awesome!

Yeah! It’s great. You worked with Terry Date this time around.

He’s awesome. We recorded at Studio X where he’s done Soundgarden, Deftones, Pantera, all those records. I love that studio, and he knows that room so well. We brought in our gear and he said “You know what the most important thing to me is? I’m not a music guy. I don’t play guitar, I don’t know anything, but I want you guys to do all of my playing for me. I want you guys to really perform and be a fucking gnarly rock band.” He mic’d the cabinets up and mic’d the room up, the drums, and just got the best performance possible from us. There’s no trickery, nothing, just this guy who knows that room and how to mic it, and how a song should feel. And that’s it!

Speaking of how a song should feel, track two, “Executioner’s Song,” I’ve been trying to write that riff for years and you beat me to it!

Yeah! That’s one of those songs that feels just… once in a while you hit it and it’s just right. It’s like, “Who did we steal that riff from? It sounds so familiar!” But it’s not, y’know? We racked our brains. “We must have stole that. It is a Black Sabbath song we just listened to on the tour bus?” It’s just one of those things that happens once in a while, once in a blue moon.

Another monster song is “Indian Summer.”

I don’t write all the songs but I’ll take the credit on that one more than the rest. It’s a song I’ve had since Sick (2009). It was on my Garageband, just me playing acoustic guitar. I had a melody but I didn’t have words for it. I’d kinda forgotten about it then Isaac Carpenter, our drummer, heard it on my Garageband while he was going through my songs, and was like, “What the fuck is that?” and I said “It’s …something I’d forgotten about!” and we worked it out from that. We recorded it once with Terry and I said “I don’t like it. It’s too light.” But Terry was like, “No! This is great!”

How do you divide up the guitar parts with Mike Squires?

I play all the good parts on the record. That’s me. The other parts that are sort of pedestrian, that’s Mike. Haha. No, he does all the killer shit, all the leads. I don’t want people to say “Oh, he’s dissin’ Slash,” but Mike has become my favourite guitar player, besides Slash, on this planet. This guy fights his guitar, he bends a lot of strings – heavy gauge strings – he plays leads, he almost looks like he’s uncomfortable in his stance, and I think he likes that. He’s always kinda tortured himself. he’s had a tortured sort of life. He put himself into the Marine Corps to escape this life by putting himself into this even gnarlier thing where they scream at ya and beat the shit outta ya. He’s a really interesting character. He’s tattooed from head to toe and he looks like the meanest guy you’ve ever seen but he’s just the nicest guy you’ve ever met. And he’s just gifted. He picked up the guitar and played when you and I were like 14 and fuckin’ struggling. It’s like Slash: when I met Slash when I was 19, he was like an old blues guy. It’s like, “You’re 19… what the fuck?” But how do we split it up? We just know. I think I’m a really good rhythm guitar player. Rhythm is where I excel, when I’m playing drums or bass or rhythm guitar. I just know. It’s my little wheelhouse. I’m not technically the best guitar player – I’m technically a way better bass player – but I’ve got a good feel with my right hand for rhythm guitar. That has a lot more weight in a rock band like ours.

What gear did you use on the album? I understand you have a pretty special modified Marshall?

Yeah! I have a JCM800 that was modded out by Mike Soldano. That’s been my head, y’know? It’s been my head since then. I think I got it from Slash. I also use ENGL Fireball heads too – I tour with that – and ENGL cabinets. I have an old Marshall cabinet here in town too. Either one of them’s great for me. I don’t use any effects. I use my volume knob as my effect.

I was really psyched to hear you’ve got a book coming out. I’ve been reading your Seattle Weekly columns for ages.

Oh cool!

What can we expect from the book?

Okay, so you know my column voice, right? I just kinda figured out that I can express myself more clearly writing than I can talking, and I can kinda tell people who I am, or about a situation, or whatever: be funny, or write about dark shit, whatever. I was approached about doing a book because of my columns. It’s a rock book, sure, because I play in rock bands, but if you know my column voice you know it’s not going to be the typical stuff. It’s not the typical rock fare, but I do tell way more in depth than I ever have about my life in playing rock music, from punk rock to the present. But I talk about my addition and how I got into that. How’s a kid who’s 13 get all the way into the point where it’s like, “I’m gonna die by the time I’m 30!” and I was fine with that! How do you get from that point A to that point B? And then a lot of people ask me how I got sober. So I wrote about getting sober, but going into the complete spiral down that was my 20s, addition-wise. It was really interesting to write that. I let the narrative fall apart. I read a lot and I get inspired by really great writers. I did my best. It’s my first book, y’know, the true story of me. It’s my truth, anyhow. I didn’t throw any of my friends under the bus, old bandmates or anything. I think that’s a little tacky to do that kinda shit. But I tell the story, and my part in the story. I think it’s good – I don’t know. I wrote for 14 months, so you get so locked into it. It’s like writing a song: “Goddammit, is this good any more?” But I wrote it, I’m done and it’s coming out October 4th.

The Taking is out now. There was more to this interview, which you can read at Gibson.com.

NEWS: Faith No More, Jane’s Addiciton, Meshuggah to play Australia’s Soundwave

Here’s the first round of bands announced for Australia’s Soundwave festival. Lots of great bands there but my personal highlights are Faith No More, Meshuggah, Trivium, and of course Jane’s Addiction. I’m especially happy about Jane’s, because this means I can remove them from my Enemies List, which they were placed on when they cancelled their recent Australian tour. The other good thing about them being booked for Soundwave is that it will hopefully force them to stay together until March.

Watch this space for information about sideshows. If there are any Faith No More sideshows you bet yer ass I’ll be there. I saw them at Melbourne’s Festival Hall in 1997 on the Album of the Year tour and I never thought I’d get to see them again.

Faith No More
Jane’s Addiction
My Chemical Romance
AFI
Paramore
Him
Alexisonfire
Taking Back Sunday
Trivium
Sunny Day Real Estate
Eagles of death Metal
The Get Up Kids
Reel Big Fish
Meshuggah
All Time Low
A Day To Remember
It Dies Today
Escape The Fate
Clutch
Anti Flag,
Isis
Gallows
A Wilhelm Scream
Theweakerthans
Emarosa
Anvil
The Devil Wears Prada
Comeback Kid
The Almost
Dance Gavin Dance
Four Year Strong
You Me At Six
White Chapel
The Aquabats
Rolo Tomassi
Baroness
RX Bandits
Maximum The Hormone
The Creepshow

February 20, Brisbane, RNA Showground
February 21, Sydney, Eastern Creek Raceway
February 26, Melbourne, Showgrounds
February 27, Adelaide, Bonython Park
March 1, Perth, Steel Blue Oval

More info at the Soundwave website.

NEWS: Jane’s Addiction cancel Australian tour

*(&$#*$#. Jane’s Addiction have cancelled their Australian tour, which was due to start on July 25, because drummer Stephen Perkins has something funky going on with his arm. No information yet on rescheduled dates or refunds but I’ll try to keep you posted.

According to Frantik Mag:

Jane’s Addiction have been forced to cancel their Australian tour after percussionist Stephen Perkins was admitted to the Infectious Disease Ward at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles for treatment of an infection in his elbow.

Perkins is expected to make a full recovery from the infection, but will be held at the hospital for a few days while anti-biotic treatment continues.

The infection was discovered after Perkins noticed severe swelling and pain building in his elbow.

And according to Dave Navarro on Twitter:

Time to address the rumors. Our Australia tour has been canceled. Stephen Perkins has injured his arm and is in the hospital being treated.

He is going to make a full recovery and we are planning on making the dates up as soon as possible. We are extremely sorry to our fans in OZ

We were looking forward to bringing the band to you and PROMISE to return a.s.a.p. Right now we are focused on supporting Stephen as TBC

he is mending…

More information to come but we wanted to let you guys know as soon as we could. Again we are very sorry for the delay…

But this is merely a delay, we WILL be back. I will see him later today and will share your well wishes…

I wish Perk a speedy recovery so Jane’s can get back here and rock, dammit.

NEWS: Jane’s Addiction box set out today

The Jane’s Addiction box set A Cabinet Of Curiosities is out today. Here are some fun facts from the press release:

First-ever Jane’s Addiction boxed set: 43 tracks on 3 CDs—spotlighting demos, live tracks and other rarities—and a bonus DVD with videos and live performance footage.
30 tracks are previously unreleased!

Deluxe: Housed in a collectible, limited edition wooden box designed after an old-fashioned “CABINET OF CURIOSITIES.”

Standard slipcase version available May 5th

Over 3 hours of music from the band’s legendary original incarnation: Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Eric Avery (bass) and Stephen Perkins (drums).
Disc 1 opens with five songs recorded during a 1986 session in Venice, CA including an unreleased version of the signature track “Jane Says.”

Also features 11 unreleased demos from ’87, among them seminal versions of future Jane’s classics including “Three Days,” “Ocean Size,” “Summertime Rolls,” “Stop!” and more.

Disc 2 highlights include previously unissued demos for “Ted, Just Admit It…” and “Maceo,” a 12” remix of “Been Caught Stealing,” the Grateful Dead cover “Ripple,” a rehearsal of “My Time” and rare and unreleased 1987 live cuts including the band’s concert staple “Bobhaus” and a roaring version of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”

The band was legendary for their live shows, and Disc 3 presents a complete concert recorded on December 19, 1990 at the Hollywood Palladium including peak-form unreleased performances of “Mountain Song,” “Whores,” “Ocean Size” and “Been Caught Stealing.”

DVD Disc 4 opens with Fan’s Video: Soul Kiss, previously unavailable only on VHS—selections include the MTV-banned video for “Mountain Song,” a clip for “City” and candid footage of the band.
Also features all eight music videos from Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual plus a trio of unreleased 1990 performances taped in Milan for MTV Italy.

For additional information, please visit http://www.janesaddiction.com/.

NEWS: News for March 23, 2009

New free NIN, Jane’s Addiction, Street Sweeper tracks

In anticipation of the NIN/JA (Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction, geddit?) tour, the three bands have each contributed two tracks to a free downloadable EP. Along with two rather live-sounding NIN songs (‘Not So Pretty Now’ and ‘Non-Entity’), there are re-recorded, Trent Reznor-produced versions of early Jane’s tracks ‘Whores’ and ‘Chip Away.’ Street Sweeper is Tom Morello’s new band, combining rap and rock in a more straightforward way than Rage Against The Machine.

Source: www.ninja2009.com

Bedroom Philosopher: Songs from the 86 Tram.

While not necessarily the kind of high octane guitar geekery I Heart Guitar readers are used to seeing covered in these pages, I encourage everyone in Melbourne to check out The Bedroom Philosopher – Songs From The 86 Tram, part of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I used to go to the same uni as this dude and we lived over the road from each other in Canberra for a while. If you can’t make it to Melbourne, look for his new album, Brown & Orange on iTunes.

Source: http://www.bedroomphilosopher.com/
Buy:
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/season/2009/show/the-bedroom-philosopher-songs-from-the-86-tram/

NEWS: Jane’s Addiction/Nine Inch Nails (NIN/JA) tour dates

Here are the tour dates for Jane’s Addiction and Nine Inch Nails’ NIN/JA tour. The opening act will be Tom Morello’s new band, Street Sweeper. 
Please please please bring this tour to Australia!

Nine Inch Nails / Janes Addiction [NIN/JA] tour dates

Fri-May-08 West Palm Beach, FL [Cruzan Amphitheatre]
Sat-May-09 Tampa, FL [Ford Amphitheatre]
Sun-May-10 Atlanta, GA [Lakewood Amphitheatre]
Thu-May-14 Albuquerque, NM [Journal Pavilion]
Fri-May-15 Phoenix, AZ [Cricket Wireless Pavilion]
Sat-May-16 Chula Vista, CA [Cricket Wireless Amphitheater]
Mon-May-18 Las Vegas, NV [The Pearl]
Wed-May-20 Irvine, CA [Verizon Wireless Amphitheater – Irvine Meadows]
Fri-May-22 Mountain View, CA [Shoreline Amphitheatre]
Tue-May-26 Englewood, CO [Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre]
Wed-May-27 Kansas City, MO [Starlight Theatre]
Fri-May-29 Chicago, IL [Charter One Pavilion] NINE INCH NAILS Only
Sat-May-30 Noblesville, IN [Verizon Wireless Music Center]
Sun-May-31 Clarkston, MI [DTE Energy Music Theatre]
Tue-Jun-02 Toronto, ON [Molson Amphitheatre]
Wed-Jun-03 Darien Lake, NY [Darien Lake Amphitheatre]
Fri-Jun-05 Camden, NJ [Tweeter Center At The Waterfront]
Sat-Jun-06 Holmdel, NJ [PNC Bank Arts Center]
Sun-Jun-07 Wantagh, NY [Nikon at Jones Beach Music Theater]
Tue-Jun-09 Columbia, MD [Merriweather Post Pavilion]
Wed-Jun-10 Burgettstown, PA [Post-Gazette Pavilion]
Fri-Jun-12 Charlotte, NC [Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre]

NEWS: Janes Addiction box set

Here are the details of the long-awaited Jane’s Addiction ‘A Cabinet Of Curiosities’ box set. Check out that awesome packaging and all the little bonuses. It’s cool to see the band go so very all-out with this set.

JANE’S ADDICTION FINALLY UNLOCKS THE CABINET

3-CD/1-DVD Boxed Set, A Cabinet Of Curiosities, Offers
Extensive Collection of Never-Before-Heard Demos, Live Performances and
Rarities, Plus Unreleased and Hard-To-Find Videos

Limited Edition Set Available April 21 From Rhino

LOS ANGELES — Jane’s Addiction aggressively melded avant-garde, funk, metal, and punk sounds with raw sexual energy and became an incomparable orce. On April 21, Rhino celebrates the legacy of Jane’s Addiction and unearths A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES; a 3-CD/1-DVD Jane’s Addiction boxed set of demos, live performances and rarities that includes 30 unreleased tracks. The set will be available from Rhino in stores and at www.rhino.com in a striking, limited-edition wooden cabinet for a suggested price of $74.98. A digital version will also be available at all digital retail outlets. Audiophiles and vinyl geeks take note that on April 18, to celebrate this year’s Record Store Day, Rhino will release 180-gram vinyl versions of the seminal Jane’s albums Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual De Lo Habitual for a suggested price of $17.98 and $24.98 respectively.

CLICK HERE to preorder A Cabinet of Curiosities from Amazon.com

The CABINET collection focuses solely on the band’s original incarnation of vocalist Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins. Last year, this founding foursome played together for the first time in 17 years and has since raised eyebrows with a trio of celebrated secret underground shows in tiny clubs around Los Angeles. Now, with 43 tracks on CD, A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES offers a comprehensive look at the band from demo recordings of key tracks from Nothing’s Shocking (1988) and Ritual de lo Habitual (1990) to live recordings of the band roaring through its best songs onstage.

The set opens with five songs recorded in 1986 during a session at Radio Tokyo studio in Venice, CA, including an unreleased version of “Jane Says.” The remaining 12 songs on disc one are unreleased demos from 1987 that feature futures Jane’s classics including “Three Days,” “Ocean Size,” “Classic Girl,” “Summertime Rolls,” and “Stop!”

The second disc contains more unreleased demos (“Ted, Just Admit It”) along with a recording of the band rehearsing “My Time” and a 12″ remix of “Been Caught Stealing.” The disc also rounds up stray songs from various compilations (Grateful Dead cover “Ripple,” “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey” with Ice-T & Ernie C) as well as rare and unreleased live cuts including roaring covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and The Stooges’ “1970” as well as the live staple dubbed “Bobhaus,” which features lyrics from Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” sung over the music of Bauhaus’ “Burning From The Inside.”

Jane’s Addiction made great albums, but it’s the band’s live shows that cemented its legacy. All of the darkness, soul, aggression, and musical zealousness came pouring out night after night as the foursome gelled into a thunderous and dangerous machine. The third disc features a complete live show from December 19, 1990. This performance was the second show from the band’s legendary three night run at the Hollywood Palladium and features a number of fiery, unreleased performances including “Mountain Song,” “Whores,” and “Ocean Size,” and “Been Caught Stealing.”

The DVD included with A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES begins with Soul Kiss, previously available only on VHS, which features the video for “Mountain Song” that was banned by MTV, a video for “City” and candid home movies of the band. The DVD also brings together six additional music videos as well as a trio of unreleased 1990 performances taped in Milan for MTV Italy.

The wooden curio cabinet that houses the limited edition set looks like a shrine to the band made by an adoring fan. The box opens to reveal recreations of early concert fliers, ticket stubs, a set list and other memorabilia.

For additional information, please visit www.janesaddiction.com.

A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
Track Listing

Disc 1
1. “Jane Says” < Radio Tokyo Demo *
2. “Pigs In Zen” < Radio Tokyo Demo
3. “Mountain Song” < Radio Tokyo Demo
4. “Had A Dad” < Radio Tokyo Demo
5. “I Would For You” < Radio Tokyo Demo
6. “Idiots Rule” < Demo *
7. “Classic Girl” < Demo *
8. “Up The Beach” < Demo *
9. “Suffer Some” < Demo *
10. “Thank You Boys” < Demo *
11. “Summertime Rolls” < Demo *
12. “City” < Demo *
13. “Ocean Size” < Demo *
14. “Stop!” < Demo *
15. “Standing In The Shower…Thinking” < Demo *
16. “Ain’t No Right” < Demo *
17. “Three Days” < Demo * Disc 2
1. “Ted, Just Admit It…” < Demo *
2. “Maceo” < Demo *
3. “No One’s Leaving” < Demo *
4. “My Time” < Rehearsal *
5. “Been Caught Stealing” < 12" Remix Version
6. “Ripple”
7. “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey” < with Ice-T & Ernie-C
8. “L.A. Medley: L.A. Woman/Nausea/Lexicon Devil” < Live 1989
9. “Kettle Whistle” < Live 1987 *
10. “Whole Lotta Love” < Live 1987 *
11. “1970” < Live 1987 *
12. “Bobhaus” < Live 1989* Disc 3
1. Drum Intro < Live 1990 *
2. “Up The Beach” < Live 1990
3. “Whores” < Live 1990 *
4. “1%” < Live 1990 *
5. “No One’s Leaving” < Live 1990
6. “Ain’t No Right” < Live 1990
7. “Then She Did…” < Live 1990 *
8. “Had A Dad” < Live 1990 *
9. “Been Caught Stealing” < Live 1990 *
10. “Three Days” < Live 1990
11. “Mountain Song” < Live 1990 *
12. “Stop!” < Live 1990
13. “Summertime Rolls” < Live 1990 *
14. “Ocean Size” < Live 1990 * Disc 4 (DVD)
Soul Kiss: The Fan’s Video
1. “Mountain Song” < Unedited Version
2. “City”
Music Videos
3. “Had A Dad”
4. “Ocean Size”
5. “Stop!”
6. “Been Caught Stealing”
7. “Classic Girl”
8. “Ain’t No Right”
Live at the City Square, Milan, Italy (for MTV Italy) (10/11/90)
9. “Whores” *
10. “Then She Did…” *
11. “Three Days” *

* previously unreleased

NEWS: Dave Navarro back with Ibanez?

Check out this footage of the reunited Jane’s Addiction rocking the Echoplex in Los Angeles on Monday February 16. Notice anything different? Yep, Dave Navarro’s using a white Ibanez RG with a humbucker and two single coils, black headstock, gold-plated hardware, PRS-style knobs and a PRS tremolo. This appears to be an Ibanez LA Custom Shop creation. So is Dave no longer with Paul Reed Smith?