ThisIsNottingham.co.uk recently conducted an interview with VELVET REVOLVER/LOADED and ex-GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow.
On his side project LOADED:
"LOADED has been something I've had for years. When GUNS N' ROSES ended, the first thing I did was return to studying and LOADED started then — we'd be going off and touring Japan during spring break! When VELVET REVOLVER started and took off, that became my priority, but LOADED would still do charity gigs at Christmas. I didn't think there'd be time for any more but, with the Scott Weiland situation, it's worked out amazingly good. It gives VELVET REVOLVER time to make sure we pick the right guy and it's given LOADED time to record an album. I had a great bunch of songs which were different from VELVET REVOLVER and, I'm not kidding, it's the most inspired album I've been involved with since I was in my 20s!"
On whether he is a frustrated singer who has been sidelined?
"I feel at home with the bass and I feel it's what I'm best and most professional at, but I've been singing and playing guitar and drums for years too, so I just see them as other ways to express the same passion I have in the music. As a singer, I don't have a massive range, but I know where that range is and how I can use it without being repetitive. I did a lot of damage to my sinuses in the late 80s, but after I had surgery to fix it, it really helped my voice."
On the near-death experience which forced him to change his life dramatically:
"Basically, my pancreas exploded. I was in so much pain, I wanted to die. I actually asked them in the hospital to kill me! But after 12 days sober in the hospital, I realised that I hadn't been sober for that long since I was a teenager and I was actually seeing and thinking clearly. I was then given a choice and it's not often that choices are so black and white — the doctor said 'If you drink again, you will die' but the clarity made the decision easy and it's still a great feeling to wake up and have that clarity. I did think that my career as a musician was over since I always associated playing live with drinking, but [former SEX PISTOLS member] Steve Jones came to me and really helped me a lot. We got a band together [short-lived 'supergroup' NEUROTIC OUTSIDERS] and the first gig with them was like one of those magical moments."
On VELVET REVOLVER's current status:
"We have a singer we've been working with for a couple of months and he's actually a product of your fair country [UK] — but I won't say who. But we've also had a very interesting call from someone who's a big, big name, so it would be amazing if that worked out. Slash and I have been fighting adversity our whole careers, so the scenario of upheaval is nothing new."
Read more at ThisIsNottingham.co.uk.