What do you do when you’ve been in one of the biggest and most important rock bands in history and they break up before you hit middle age? If you’re Duff McKagen you leave the cliché L.A. rock n’roll lifestyle behind and move back to your native Seattle, study business and economics in your spare time and choose your musical projects wisely. Since leaving Guns N’ Roses in 1997 the bassist has played high-profile gigs with Velvet Revolver and Jane’s Addiction and others closer to his heart such as his reformed ‘80s band 10 Minute Warning and his solo band, Loaded. His latest project is Walking Papers with fellow Seattle scenesters Jeff Angell on vocals and guitar, former Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and multi instrumentalist Benjamin Anderson. Unlike the full-throttle hard rock of his previous bands, the sound of Walking Papers is weathered, bluesy and broken in by years of experience. This is hard rock as made by grown ass men with stories to tell and no one to please but themselves. Jeff and Duff sat down with Tuner while they were in the midst of this summer’s Uproar tour with Jane’s Addiction and Alice In Chains. Read more…
With the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony looming (April 12th), everyone still only has one question — will inductees Guns N’ Roses perform on the night? So far it looks like they won’t, but it seems there’s a “you never know” addendum to their appearance on the night. Drummer Matt Sorum told Billboard, “We’re all sitting at the same table, so it should be cool. After we get a little bit of food in us, hopefully someone will get up and want to play, but I don’t know. I’m not the guy to ask. I just hope it works out.” So according to Sorum, food makes GNR play? We certainly hope so!
He went on to add that, “There’s no real plans,” but the you-never-know uncertainty is, “in tradition, Guns N’ Roses style.” With all original members of GNR attending the induction ceremony, Sorum said, “I feel great about it… I`m glad I made the cut. I don’t know who that secret society is that votes you into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but I’m glad I have some friends in there, somehow. The original band got in and I got in and (keyboardist) Dizzy Reed and that’s it, seven of us. It’ll be a great night.” Finger crossed the boys get up on stage for what we can only image would make for a historical performance.
Back in the late eighties, MTV broadcast a series of concerts called Live At The Ritz, which aired on Saturday nights and were filmed at the famous concert venue in New York City’s East Village. A number of notable acts appeared on the program (The Cult and The Smithereens are two examples), but there’s only one episode of the show that is considered canon-worthy: Guns N’ Roses‘ February 1988 visit to the intimate rock club. It’s an incredible time capsule of GNR performing while at the peak of their powers, having just released the stone classic Appetite For Destruction and having not yet succumbed to the jealousy, in-fighting and substance abuse that eventually tore the group apart. The concert is especially memorable because it was filmed just before the band graduated to stadium-sized shows; Watching the videos, it’s remarkable to witness the palpable sense of electricity that existed that night between the band and their rapturous audience.
Now, I don’t need to tell you that the Guns N’ Roses of 1988 bares little resemblance to the Guns N’ Roses of 2012. But you know what? That’s perfectly okay with us, in a whole “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” sort of way. (Translation: I, too, bare little resemblance to the 1988 version of me, and I’d bet you dollars to donuts that the same is true of you.) It’s true that the only constant between the two eras is one W. Axl Rose, but when news broke late last month that he would be taking Guns N’ Roses out on a rapidfire mini-tour of club-sized venues, rock and roll fans instantly snapped up tickets for a chance to re-connect with Axl in a way that has not been possible since the Reagan era.
In a nod to the famous concert that took place there 24 years ago, New York City’s Webster Hall rechristened itself as The Ritz for last night’s Guns N’ Roses concert (for one night only). The set time was billed only as starting “after 10 p.m.” and, true to form, the band didn’t take the stage until 11:54 p.m. The crowd didn’t seem to mind in the slightest, though; it was as if everyone in the audience stepped through a time portal as they entered the venue and were instantly granted the stamina (and alcohol tolerance) they had back in ’88. The crowd was well-lubricated and excited to connect with the mysterious enigma and consummate showman that is W. Axl Rose, so no one gave a rip about either the wait OR the fact that the band’s first song was “Chinese Democracy” and not their traditional show opener, “Welcome To The Jungle” (that song came second).
As you know, 2012 is still an infant — yes, just like Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s baby girl — so while January welcomes us with open arms, here is a list of things that need to happen in the next 12 months to help ensure a high-quality year of music:
1. Adele Needs To Sing
No word yet if Adele will be performing at the Grammys, but she will be singing at the Brit Awards in March. You can’t have an album as big as 21 and not tour. And because Adele’s sophomore album was so huge, she may have to play arenas, the type of venue she fears playing (ironically, her voice is made for such big places).
2. Buy A Ticket To See Madonna
Every young pop star needs to buy a ticket to see Madonna when she inevitably goes out on tour this year in support of her forthcoming album, MDNA. Yes, there are pop stars younger, sexier and more talented than Madonna, but this is a lesson in longevity and consistency. Madonna is 53 years old and is going to put on a high-energy, non-stop show that will humble the artists who drive on the pop-highway she paved.