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1  Music, Bands & Projects / Walking papers / Walking Papers Tour June.2014 with Aerosmith on: May 19, 2014, 11:55:23 PM

from left to right:
Benjamin Anderson – keyboards, backing vocals
Duff McKagan - bass, backing vocals
Jeff Angell – lead vocals, guitar, piano
Barrett Martin – drums, percussion, upright bass, keyboards, backing vocals

And here are the Tourdates for Europe:


6/06 Faengslet State Prision Open Air Horsens/Denmark
With Aerosmith  

6/07 Rock am Ring Nuerburgring/Germany  

6/08  Rock im Park Nuernberg/Germany

6/09  O2 World  Berlin/ Germany
With Aerosmith  

6/11   Puschkin Club  Dresden/ Germany

6/12  Atlas Arena Lodz/Polen
with Aerosmith

6/13 Lucerna  Prag/CZ

6/14 Roncs Bar  Debrecen/Hungary

6/15  Nova Rock  Vienna/Austria

6/17 Rock Cafe  Hamburg/Germany

6/18  Westfalenhalle   Dortmund/Germany
With Aerosmith

6/20  Rock the Ring Hinwil/Swiss

6/21 Hell Fest Clission/France

6/25 Fiera Arena Milano/Italy
with Aerosmith

6/27 Graspop Dessel/Belgium

6/28 Calling Festival London/UK
with Aerosmith

For more information check out their Facebooksite:

So here is the official website for Walking Papers  
2  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #243 on: September 06, 2013, 06:58:34 PM
Uproar Tour: The Circus and the Serious
The skinny on the big rock festival hitting the Gorge.
By Duff McKagan Tue., Sep 3 2013 at 05:55PM  

I’m currently writing from 37,000 feet. I’m on my way to Oklahoma City where I will rejoin my new band, Walking Papers, to continue gallivanting around the U.S. and Canada with the Rockstar Energy Uproar Tour with stalwarts like Jane’s Addiction, Danko Jones, and headliner Alice in Chains. We’ve been at it since the beginning of August, but I had to schedule a quick trip back home, as my oldest daughter just turned 16 and I wanted to give her a quick kiss and a massive and embarrassing hug (to her, not me). There are a bunch of us dads out here—Perry Farrell and drummer Stephen Perkins from Jane’s Addiction are on this very same plane, as I suspect they did the exact same thing as me (but of course with their own kids).

All of these men have been friends of mine for a long, long time. There are a few of us in these bands who shouldn’t be here at all, and a few, sadly, who aren’t. The respect I have for these guys simply remains silent, unspoken—because there really are no words.

The musical celebration we have enjoyed every night on this tour is, of course, not silent. Alice in Chains is a band that is way on top of its game right now. Just epic, by all accounts. The guys in Jane’s Addiction are fresher and darker than I have seen them in years. They are musically astounding at this moment. Danko Jones is a guy who seems almost evangelical in his message and delivery of said message. Then there is us, Walking Papers, featuring Screaming Trees/Mad Season drummer Barrett Martin and Seattle’s newest favorite son Jeff Angell. For me it is just an honor to play with these guys on a nightly basis.

But there are other bands on this tour, new bands, that I have gravitated toward. Middle Class Rut is a five-piece alternative-ish onslaught that should be the biggest thing on modern-rock radio right now. Of course, American radio does indeed leave a lot of the good shit out (that is a whole other story).

Coheed and Cambria is another new-ish rock outfit that slants more to the prog side of things. They seem to sort of be a new Rush, and, thusly, there are prog fans coming to the Uproar Tour who might now be getting turned on to JA or Danko, and some AIC fans, conversely, getting exposed to a Coheed show that they might never otherwise have gone to. For me, this trading of ideas and exposure to other types of music seems to be the biggest “takeaway” from this year’s Uproar so far.

This traveling circus of a tour will be in its fourth week by the time it hits the Gorge this weekend (in partnership with KISW’s Pain in the Grass), and everyone on the bill will have earned their stripes. Some parts of this tour have been so damn hot and dusty that it almost takes the patience of a saint just to make it to gig time. The 200 or so people who work on this thing do so in relatively close quarters, and all of the men and women who are either performers, stagehands, carpenters, riggers, vendors, truck drivers, bus drivers, caterers, or general production . . . all get a massive dude-nod from me.

Up-and-comers Beware of Darkness had to leave the tour for a weekend to play the Reading and Leeds festivals, but are back. Charming Liars, from England, is a young rock band with a purpose that is undeniable. Circa Survive has been getting active and modern-rock radio airplay, and its progressive style of rock somehow seems to fit nicely in this whole thing. The Dead Daisies, from Australia, are doing their first-ever go-around of the U.S. This is a rock-and-roll band of the finest cut, and even though they do originate from Down Under, some of the members may be recognizable: Dizzy Reed, Richard Fortus, and Frank Ferrer from the newest version of GNR and bass legend Marco Mendoza. The Chuck Schaffer Picture Show won the Battle of the Bands on this tour last year, earning a spot on this whole mess this year. It’s been cool to watch that band learn the ropes.

But the coolest thing I’ve seen so far on this tour had nothing to do with actual music. Jerry Cantrell’s father, Jerry “The Rooster” Cantrell Sr., came out for a few dates. The tour sponsor honored him onstage on the date that has historically been set aside to highlight a U.S. serviceman or -woman (they have had Bronze and Silver star recipients on past Uproar tours). The Rooster, who served six years in “the shit” of Vietnam and indeed was never snuffed, was genuinely taken aback to now be honored for his career of service. The fans stood and cheered and generally lost their shit, and I may have hinted just a glint of moisture in Mr. Cantrell Sr.’s left eye. I’m glad I got to see this moment.

I don’t know what moments await us at the Gorge, but I know there will be some. This is one of the better groupings of artists that I can remember in recent memory. The music is pretty damn great and interesting, and all of it is the real deal.


KISW PAIN IN THE GRASS Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Rd., Quincy, Wash., 509-785-6262, rockstaruproar.com. Advance: $59.50 one-day, $99.90 two-day. DOS: $65 & $110. 2 p.m. Fri., Sept. 6–Sat., Sept. 7.

3  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #242 on: August 23, 2013, 07:25:02 AM
Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Writing This Column
By Duff McKagan Thu., Aug 22 2013 at 12:23PM
It’s incredible to think that this week it has been five whole years since I started writing this goofy and sometimes inane weekly piece. Sometimes it’s been a lot of fun; other times, not so much. But it has been a great time all in all, now that I think back in retrospect. It has been an incredible little journey, and I have learned a lot here. Ergo, here is a “Top 10” list of things I have noticed along the way.

People Will Surprise: I came into this thing not really realizing that people could write back in something called a “comments” section. For every anonymous “you suck,” there were two-fold thoughtful insights to whatever subject was being discussed that week, often by far more grandiose writers than myself (uh, that part wasn’t too tough).

Books Are Popular: When I started writing a “book recommend” quarterly summary, these columns became the most viewed, shared, and commented upon posts. Book nerds are cool.

Apologies: When I wrote a column to Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl concerning my genuine heartache about never trying to get a hold of them when Kurt Cobain passed, it opened up a whole new writing slant that felt like a car wash for the soul. That is when I started writing those stories that eventually became my book.

Editors: Never being a writer prior to this gig at Seattle Weekly, I of course never had the experience of working with an editor. I owe a whole slew and ton of thanks to the wonderful and professor-like guidance of the great Chris Kornelis. He guided me through some tough spots, and some wonderful victories.

I Have To Write This Weekly? Crap! You mean I have to write this four times a month, month in and month out? Finding ideas to write about has really honed my ability to observe social behavior. The trick has been not to let my friends in on the fact that I was sometimes checking them out for the selfish reason of writing a column about them.

Funny Shit: Sometimes, life just gets funny. Writing about tour life always was the easiest place to find this stuff. “Fart Tennis” and “Ass-To-Ass Dog” are just two that come immediately to mind. Observing and writing about the humorous stuff in life is something I always hope I get a chance to do.

Great Peers and Colleagues: Writing alongside John Roderick, Krist Novoselic, and Jessie Sykes is something in this life I never imagined I’d have the honor to get a stab at. Thank you, guys.

The Readers: Have always kept things either educational, brutal, poignant, and forward thinking. We have discussed things here that came close to blows, or conversely, e-french kissing. You have been a class act every last one of you.

Interviews: While I will be the very first to say that I suck at these, it was completely fun doing the Jack White and Johnny Marr discussions and exposes.

You Fans Give Back: Whenever you have found a just cause here, like the Ronald McDonald House, or the father of a dying child who had his truck stolen, or the mountaineer Tim Medvetz who is taking limbless young veterans up high mountains, you all contribute to the world in meaningful ways with much more than your comments on my column.

I thank you all for these five wondrous years. I am indebted to you, and always look forward to meeting you in a coffee shop, bookstore, or airport line. My hat is off to one and all.

Duff McKagan


4  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #241 on: August 15, 2013, 11:34:13 PM
The English Guitar Tech Paul’s Top 10 American Experiences
By Duff McKagan Thu., Aug 15 2013 at 07:01AM

 I’m out on tour with The Walking Papers, and this is our first extensive U.S. jaunt. We have a four-man crew with us, two of whom are from the U.K.. These two lovely foreigners have never been to America, and it has been totally hilarious to witness some of their first impressions of “Merica,” because both these guys have killer senses of humor.

I’m sitting here now with Paul Spencer, our Manchester-born guitar tech, and we are drinking coffee on the tour bus which is currently sitting in a massive parking lot at a venue in Mansfield, Massachusetts. We aren’t actually playing in cities, but rather the amphitheaters outside of them, similar to the Gorge, which is nowhere near Seattle. We’ve been to places like Darien Lake, N.Y., Saratoga Springs, and Hartford, Connecticut, with a day off in Lake George, N.Y. While these are all cool places (and often scenic and beautiful), this isn’t exactly a metropolis tour.

So, what the hell are some of Paul’s observations of our country thus far?

Bigger Is Better: Paul has yet to have a meal in America and “clear a plate.” He is being nice, and doesn’t want to offend us, so he simply says that restaurant food portions are “generous.”

The Beer Sucks: Except for Seattle micro-brews, to Paul, the beer here is quizzical. He has been drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon, and it’s a bit hard for me to try and explain to him the hipster resurgence of this redneck culture brew.

People are Really Nice: Obviously, he hasn’t been to L.A. yet. Period.

We Don’t Get It: Paul’s uniquely British (read: dark) humor will sometimes leave a light-hearted American scratching their head. Unless you are able to access the more twisted nether-regions of your psyche, the English sense of humor may leave you calling home for your mother to soothe you back to normalcy.

America Is HUGE: New York State itself is bigger than England proper. It’s got to be a head trip for a visiting Brit.

Truck Stops: “Bloody hell, you could do your weekly shoppin’ in these!” Ah yes, we show our visitors only the best America has to offer.

The Ladies are Friendly: Paul says that he believes the women folk here may have a thing for his accent. He also states that back home, his accent—more succinctly, the things he says with aforementioned accent—will often just get him a slap in the face. But not here. Paul has a safe haven here in the warm cocoon of the bus. Poor bugger.

People are Welcoming: I explain to him that because we saved England from speaking German back in WWII, we have a savior-complex that pushes us Americans to be nice to our little English pals.

Sports: Everybody loves sports in America. He is fascinated with all of the different leagues, and college sports are MUCH bigger here than in the U.K. He’s impressed with how our MLS Soccer is coming along and even likes our Sounders. Yea, us!

We Have Some Things to Learn About Slang: Paul cleared U.S. Customs at the lovely JFK Airport which took two hours of standing in a line that seemingly didn’t move. It wasn’t “ream” (cool) says Paul. He didn’t feel like a “playa” (uh, player or cool guy), or even a “LDP” (little d*ck player). “He was right wanker innit,” Paul exclaims (translation: “Wasn’t he a slow man with an attitude?’). He had to wait so long that he had to go strait to the “loo” (bathroom), and “drop King Kong’s finger” (um…yeah).

5  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #240 on: August 13, 2013, 10:40:07 AM
Hey, Record Stores: Sell More Beer!
By Duff McKagan Thu., Aug 8 2013 at 12:09PM  

There has been much talk about the malaise plaguing record stores these days that are, as we all know, dying a slow death as a result of digital music sales and illegal file sharing. Locally, we have seen the slow die-off of neighborhood gems like Easy Street Records Queen Anne and Sonic Boom Capitol Hill. But recently an idea occurred to me...

A lot of record stores have live in-store performances once in a while. Most of us have hopefully been to one or two of these. Over the years, as a member of a bunch of bands, I have had the opportunity to actually play some of these gigs, and I did one at Easy Street Records West Seattle this last Monday with The Walking Papers. The store must have done a great job advertising this event, because it was absolutely packed. There are a few bars right on that street, and an espresso bar actually in the store itself, so by the time we played, the crowd was totally buzzed or wired, maybe both.

People get super excited about music when they are in a live music environment. We all get a bit more stoked when a live band is throwing down. Add caffeine and a little booze to the equation--like the other night at Easy Street--and people start looking through the record bins and spending money. Seems to me, for all the convenience digital music offers, as consumers and music lovers we still want something we can actually play and physically touch at after we see a live artist, perhaps just to re-live the experience. With a latte or a beer in the mix, the live music experience is even better--and from the looks of it Monday night, folks get a bit looser with the purse strings.

So here is what I’d do if I was opening a local record store, a national chain, or considering changes to an existing location: put a stage in, add a coffee bar, and sell beer. I’m serious. We need to save these places. Many of us have forgotten how cool record stores actually are, and hell, our kids don’t even really know what a record store is! The effect a good record store has on a cities’ music scene is often symbiotic--record stores help promote bands, and those bands bring in business! Record stores are the front lines where we discover new stuff and find out about older artists who have influenced what’s going on now in a knowledgeable environment that encourages learning. Like libraries. Of music. For sale.

We just cannot let these last record stores fade. They are our museums of musical culture while also being cutting edge in what is currently hip. When you go to a place like Easy Street here, or say, Vintage Vinyl in New Jersey, or Amoeba in Hollywood (all are still in business, and all have live music), you see firsthand the love of music discovery at work.

If folks actually went to these gigs at record stores that offered booze and coffee along with live music, I’m not going to go as far as to say it may save the whole dying music industry, but it may in some way help a struggling indie band sell a few more records so that they can pay for gas to get to the next gig in the next city. Maybe?

But for now Seattle, we have Easy Street and the ‘in-stores’ that they host, and that is indeed something. A really great something. It felt awesome to take part and witness a community come together through music and such a great setting for it: a fucking record store.

If my idea doesn’t take hold, hopefully someone has a better plan. If no other ideas surface, I’m terribly afraid of what will inevitably come of these last bastions of musical trade. Get to a good record store in your neighborhood soon, because if something inventive doesn’t happen soon, a visit to a record store may just be a memory.


6  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #239 on: August 13, 2013, 10:38:37 AM
There’s Such a Thing as Seattle Heat
By Duff McKagan Thu., Aug 1 2013 at 09:17AM  

This summer in Seattle has been one of the best I can remember. The weather has been stellar, and the outdoor music festivals we are fortunate enough to get up here have been sun-drenched and dry as a bone. All of that heat and lack of moisture can’t, of course, make music better, but it does enhance the experience and somehow, can make great music...greater.

Three gigs in recent memory come to mind:

Purity Ring: Electronic music with a flair for simple ambience and no guitars or drums probably wouldn’t sell a guy like me. I like shit to be real, and often, abrasive (in all of the best of ways). But, after an introduction through a teenage daughter, I came to enjoy PR’s first offering, Shrines. The mellowness of the record almost hides a mysterious and intangible darkness.

On my way up to the Capitol Hill Block Party with aforementioned teenage daughter, I was a bit worried that my “mellow” little band wouldn’t be quite big enough to handle the 9 p.m. headline slot on Saturday night. Would they be ruined by hecklers and other beer-infused jack-offs?

Nope. This ambient duo from Edmonton rose to the occasion. Live, Purity Ring recalls OG’s like Siouxie and the Banshees and Fleetwood Mac while remaining radically original and hip, and yes, mysterious. It’s the type of band that a crowd like the one Saturday on Capitol Hill need not necessarily know to like the music. Its infectious and groovy, and the light/video show on the buildings during the set were pretty damn fucking cool too. We are lucky to have such a well-run event as the CHBP. With fine weather to boot, the mixed crowd’s differences in background and social class were made null by the simple cadence and pulse of good music.

Peter Frampton (at the Tulalip Casino outdoor stage): I saw Peter Frampton once before. It was 1976 or ’77, I was 13, and that shit was at the damn Kingdome. I’m sure I was smoking weed, and I am sure I was all caught up with young teenage dreams of how cool mega-rock stardom must be. I didn’t understand then, the lineage Frampton encompassed at the time, with his rock group Humble Pie and the significance of British blues guitar in rock history.

But a long time has passed since then, and when I got the chance to go to the show last Sunday, I came fully versed as learned scholar of not only Frampton himself and Humble Pie, but also Steve Marriott, Small Faces, Rory Gallagher, Free, Bad Company, Eric Clapton, and many other contemporaries of Frampton.

The gig encompassed classics from his Frampton Comes Alive mega-hit live record from the mid-’70s along with Humble Pie’s “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and even his Grammy award-winning instrumental version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” which, this night, featured Mike McCready on guitar (Mike and Matt Cameron played on the recorded version too).

The encore version of “As My Guitar Gently Weeps” with McCready, Frampton, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd was absolutely mind blowing.

The Cult (at the Showbox): Yes, a decidedly non-outside venue housed this rock ‘n’ roll shot in the arm of The Cult playing the Electric album in its entirety, before launching into another set of songs from their latest Choice of Weapon and other rock gems from their illustrious career. I got to open for The Cult in 1987 with GN’R, and have seen them many times since, but it’s always inspiring to see a rock band like this, that somehow found a way to never leave their fucking prime.

Taking it all in under warm, clear Seattle skies is icing on the fucking cake.

7  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #238 on: August 13, 2013, 10:34:57 AM
A Few of My Favorite 2013 Gigs
By Duff McKagan Thu., Jul 25 2013 at 11:17AM  

Whether I am out on the road, or at home here in Seattle, seeing good live music for me always acts as a “restart.” We all have so much noise and even chaos in our day-to-day lives, that sometimes, a live gig is just the ticket to lift us out of the humdrum-ness and/or drama of matriculating normal life. Music is a positive mantra for us, and great live bands can spin that positivity to unimagined heights.

The SubPop Silver Jubilee in Georgetown earlier this month afforded me the chance to see a bunch of live music all in the same day. I discovered a few new artists that I somehow missed the boat on as of late, and I caught up with a few journeymen in their prime. Here are a few highlights from that weekend along with some other cool gigs that have helped me restart in the past few months.

METZ: It’s always great to “discover” a band through its live show. I was drawn to the main stage at the Sub Pop thing sometime around 4pm by the power and abrasiveness of this band live. This trio from Toronto is a Nirvana-esgue Bleach-period rock outfit, but somehow totally original and mean. I bought the record when I got home, and it is just as good.

ROSE WINDOWS: I saw these guys first acoustically earlier in the day as a three piece and was blown away. Before the gorgeous full-band set later that day, I went up to guitar player Chris Geveyo and praised his radical skills (really quite brilliant). He sort of nodded at me and walked away... fucking cool!

GREG DULLI: Whether he is an Afghan Whig, a Twilight Singer, a Gutter Twin, or on his very lonesome; Greg Dulli is a force of nature. He is the songwriter and performer who has the ability to inspire an audience, and lift them to a higher place. Killer and OG. Dulli is always good these days.

J MASCIS: He did a poignant acoustic show on the headliner stage, at a time of day when everyone else was turning their amps up to 11. A songwriter like J Mascis can strip it down like this and be confident, because the bare-bones essence of the songs themselves are so damn good. I’m truly glad to have stopped at this stage at this time. There was ton of stuff I missed that day. TAD with his Brothers…thing (saw it once before. Great!), Mudhoney, Catheters, and a bunch more.

The rest ...

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE: I got to see these guys in June in England at the Download Festival on the week their new record came out. This is one of those few bands that can make a huge festival gig seem like an intimate club. A band in its prime that simply remains not to give a fuck what you think. Perfect.

ALICE IN CHAINS: I had the good fortune to see these guys live recently when they played on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. We have all witnessed how their career has morphed over the years. Now however, and that night especially…I saw a band of 5 guys settle into their ginormous spot…with ease and ferocity. New songs or old, they owned it Again, perfect.

THE POSTAL SERVICE: The latest show I’ve seen (last week at Key Arena), the Postal Service put on one hell of a show (italicized because it really was a show. The lights and stage and sound were top shelf). These scant few songs mean so much to so many, that even with only a 75 minute set, there was enough brilliantly played and executed songs to please that arena-full for a long time … which is good, because, well, it may just BE a very long time until PS does another tour as big as this one.

MARINERS: Yes, I know its not a musical thing—but the way the M’s have been playing as of late can lift a person. We haven’t had a MLB team in town for some time with any hope. This Raul Ibanez-led team with the young bucks like Miller and Franklin and even Mike Zunino … gives us all hope up here, of getting some place higher in the not-too-distant future.

8  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #237 on: August 13, 2013, 10:32:06 AM
Put It There!
By Duff McKagan Thu., Jul 18 2013 at 10:09AM

 My sister and I went to one of those eateries recently where you pick up after yourself and return the tray and rubbish back to a three-station recycle/compost/trash section near the door. I paid for the food, and she thusly insisted on doing the “clean-up” afterwards as I went and grabbed the car. I grabbed the car just fine, but surmised that something was amiss as I waited near the front door of the eatery in my car. After a few minutes, I jumped out of the car and came back in to the restaurant to see if everything was cool and found my sister a bit bleary-eyed and sweating as she carefully and laboriously sorted every last item to be perfectly discarded in the appropriate bin. We had a good laugh about how conditioned we are to avoid the “recycle police” or the discerning eye of the lurking “eco neighbor” who could be in that line behind you, or sitting somewhere in that same restaurant.

Some cities are way more environmentally conscious than others, and Seattle probably ranks among the top. There are recycle bins at homes in Los Angeles along with straight-up garbage bins and yard-waste bins, but unlike L.A., the Seattle residential recycle bins actually get checked by those drivers who come around every two weeks to collect them; if a resident has anything that is not a recyclable item, that truck will leave your bin full and sitting at your curb….a sort of eco “fuck you, loser.”

We’re seeing more and more those self clean-up eateries with the three-bin choice when you go to discard your plates, trays, cups, left over food remnants, glass, etc. It’s a comical sight most times to see the people there trying to figure out just what the hell goes in which bin. We all try to do our best, as we all feel that we are doing our ‘part’ to save the planet, one region at a time.

The interesting thing is this: Does all of this recycling do any good? Or is it just a big aspirin that makes us feel better about the shit tons of waste we all generate?

In my ‘30s, I went back to school to get a business degree. The great Seattle University was my choice, and it being a Jesuit school, we undergrads had to immerse ourselves in a variety of courses that covered social anthropology, philosophy, and religion (all quite fascinating actually). In one of the social anthropology courses, we did a huge semester-long study of waste, recycling, and the garbage mounds that anthropologist excavators look for to discover ancient town sites. Yes, they look for strange looking hillocks that don’t fit the topography in a given area in say, the Middle East or somewhere; they look for garbage heaps that have been naturally covered over with dust, dirt, and vegetation. Every one from antiquity to now, has garbage heaps.

All of that old stuff returns to a degraded state. Most of our modern stuff will too. Plastics can degrade and eventually sluice into the water table and get crappy things in there, but most other things just go away…except for Styrofoam and disposable diapers. Right, when those anthropologists in 2,000 years come looking for us, they will look for the grown over piles of non-degraded disposable diapers. No shit (couldn’t help myself there).

But, more to the point of the trucks and facilities that have now been employed to pick up all of our recyclables and clean and sort them, and get them eventually back into a recycled newspaper or whatever. It is great that this industry employs people, but think of this: There are now two trucks emitting double the pollution, and now, not one but two plastic non-degradable-water table-sluce-making bins in your front yard. Most people who work on-the-go like driving a truck, perhaps get their food in to-go styrofoam containers, so we have to double that as well. And what about all of the pollutants that go into the water at these facilities that clean this stuff? And, are those workers there eating from styrofoam as well? Could be. What about the millions of tons of batteries that we discard? Where does all of that toxic acid go?

Our findings that semester at S.U. was that it was about a 50/50 proposition. Recycling is great, but the waste that the industry produces may indeed even the playing field, and we are running out of places to put our garbage (not to mention places to put our goddamn carbon emissions)!

But it makes us feel good to recycle. It’s one big ol’ aspirin…maybe.

There is more that we can do though. Use less paper when possible. Compost your own food waste, and use it in your garden if possible, instead of putting it in that “compost bin” they give you. Re-use your plastic milk cartons for something else, or get the paper cartons instead. The disposable diaper thing is what it is. They are just too damn convenient, and it would be a damn hard sell to convince a whole drove of new parents to go back to cloth (and what about that waste in the clean-up?). Drive less and car-pool more. Scan things like legal docs and get email tickets to concerts and sporting events and airline tickets on your iPhone. Eat at home and bring your lunch to work in a Scooby-Doo lunch pale. Drink water from a refillable water bottle from home when you need water throughout the day at work or at play. Our study at S.U. found these above steps—if done by everyone—would make a massive difference.

I’m not trying to suggest that we should all stop going out to places to eat; the food in Seattle is just too damn good. But next time you are at a restaurant or some such place with the bins that make you sort out your paper and plastic and compost, hurry the fuck up. I’m waiting outside with my car running!

9  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #236 on: July 10, 2013, 11:46:16 PM
Proud for Pride
By Duff McKagan Thu., Jul 4 2013 at 07:01AM

 This past Monday, just by chance, I actually—really—heard the lyrics for Macklemore’s “Same Love.” I saw the video last February in Australia and loved it, but hearing it on the radio and truly meditating on the lyrics a few days after the Supreme Court overturned Prop 8 was particularly poignant. Not to mention that it was Gay Pride weekend in Seattle and that the Seattle Mariners flew the rainbow flag on Sunday, a first in Major League Baseball. A good week.

Macklemore’s song highlights the fact that pre-conceived notions and stereotypes concerning gay culture are as widespread as similar notions were to African American civil rights up until the late ‘60s and women’s rights until more recently. We live in a country and world at this moment where it is still largely acceptable to say someone is a “faggot” if you are trying to belittle that someone. It is somewhat okay in large parts of our culture to say, “That is so gay.” I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Black or white, male or female, a lot of have said it.

A friend and I were recently discussing how bad ass it was for the Mariners to fly the rainbow flag. He was telling me how the Seattle Seahawks have proposed to fly a rainbow “12th Man” flag this season, and how some of the Hawks more blue-collar season-ticket holders may be a bit flustered by it. He is right—football is a bit different than baseball. But hopefully, Seattle will rise up to this occasion if and when that flag does fly. We passed the Referendum making same-sex marriage a legal thing after all.

In “Same Love,” Macklemore also states that same-sex marriage legalization is really just a piece of paper, and that the document doesn’t mean it’s going to change how people talk behind closed doors, or more succinctly, what kind of things people post on YouTube with aliases or whatnot. But same-sex marriage legalization is a start. Those prejudices will have less room to roam free.

Interracial marriage was illegal in many states here in America until the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. When we now look at this fact, most of us think how fucking archaic it is. Let’s hope what the Supreme Court did last week will be a giant step towards our kids looking back in 20 years and thinking how archaic the same-sex marriage ban was.

That is really all there is to this week’s column. Just a thought to chew on a bit. Love is indeed a universal thing. Even my kids know that—and they haven’t even experienced young love yet.

It’s a no-brainer, I’m glad to have seen it come to pass, and I’m proud to be a damn American, especially on weeks like this. Happy 4th of July!

10  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #235 on: June 28, 2013, 12:09:46 AM
Getting to the Gig
By Duff McKagan Thu., Jun 27 2013 at 10:15AM

No matter what, you get to the gig. Plan ahead. Think of worst-case scenarios and contingency plans. No matter what, you get to the gig.

 There is a lot of touring going on in the summer. A whole lot of bands are crisscrossing the world right at this very moment trying to get to that next festival or club show. Planes are not always on time, and highways are not always traffic-free. Buses, cars, and vans are not impervious to breakdowns and mishaps. Navigation systems don’t always give you the directions you need to get to the back-entrance of a venue in some medieval and twisted-road city like Bruges, Belgium, Nuremburg, Germany, or Tilburg, Holland. Trust me.

A couple of years ago—while on the road with my band, Loaded—we had thought we had plenty of time at 9 a.m. on the outskirts of Milan to make our 1 p.m. showtime at the Gods Of Metal festival. No problem, right? Hell, we’d be there by 10 a.m., and we’d be able to catch some breakfast at catering. Plenty of time to set up gear and all of the rest of that stuff you have to do before a gig. Plus, our German bus driver said he had done this festival ground countless times before. It was a piece of cake.

As we passed the same landmarks for the third time, and the bus/car sickness was starting to set in from going through all of those curvy streets over and over again, we realized we were lost and running short of time. It was now 11 a.m.

I always like to have an hour of “me time” before a show. Most bands do. “Me time” consists of the band hanging together in a room together, playing guitars, and maybe listening to music. It’s a sort of bonding/chill time before you unleash the onslaught, if you will. The gear is all set up, the interviews are done, and now you can just set your sights on being a musician. Simple.

It’s now 11:30 a.m. and we are stuck in a dead-end somewhere in Milan. This huge bus cannot turn around, as there is a car blocking the arc of the only route for a u-turn. The driver of said blocking car is nowhere to be found. You get to the gig no matter what, so we all piled out of the bus, picked up this car, and moved it out of the way. Yes, that’s what we did, with a gathering phalanx of local Milanese people gathering, gesticulating, and shouting in Italian. Whatever. We got a rock show to get to.

Next up, we had a rather pointed discussion with this German bus driver. No more fucking around. We got out an iPhone and found our own directions (and, the right ones it turned out). With the iPhone Google Map dilly-bob- gadget-thingy in the driver’s face, we made it to the gig at 12:45 p.m. The gear went straight on the stage, and so did we, still bus/car sick and without that “me time.” But we made the gig.

Last week, The Walking Papers had somewhat of the same ordeal. Our trip was to be a four and a half hour northeastern trek from London to Tilburg, Holland. There is a ferry crossing of an hour and a half from the White Cliffs of Dover to Calais, France (Dover is really only an hour from where we were in London). Calais is about two hours south of Tilburg, so giving that we made our ferry on time (we did), we’d have no problem getting there for our 5:30 p.m. load-in time in Holland, right? We left London at 10 a.m. GST. Showtime is 8 p.m.

Of course, continental Europe is one hour ahead of the U.K., so as soon as the ferry docked, we were working with less time. Alright, but we had planned for this, I think (as a side note: at this point, Walking Papers is a small operation. Our tour manager, Andy, is also the driver, and sells merch at the shows. A tour manager usually calls the shots as far as when to leave a city and how long the next drive will take. But in this band, you have Barrett Martin, a damn college professor, and Ben Anderson, a genius, and Jeff Angell, who runs his own construction company, and me, the jaded-touring-don’t-worry-about-it-been-there-done-that guy. We are all grown-up adult men who probably don’t take to direction too well, and surely, we have out own thoughts on the best way for a planned day to go). Suffice it to say, Andy has a lot more opinions than his own floating around in that van. Poor fucker.

Calais, 3 p.m. The ferry schedule we had previously based our route on was still operating with the winter schedule and hence, our particular ferry was an hour later that we had thought. We are still in Calais at 3 p.m., but still, even with the two hour drive ahead of us, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Problem #1: We hid a satanic traffic jam just ten minutes out of Calais. There is a jack-knifed truck just ahead of us, and we ain’t movin’. As they say in France, merde.

They get the wreck cleared somehow, and we finally get on our way, but it is now 4:45 p.m. No worries, we shall haul ass. We make a call to the production office of the venue in Tilburg and say that we may be a “tiny bit later than 5:30 p.m.” No problem.

Problem #2: Highway construction just 20 minutes later. We are all being re-routed to an arterial road that is a frontage road that runs along the highway. It has stop lights, and with this whole heap of new traffic to the arterial, the stop lights cause a sort of gridlock that Belgium probably doesn’t see too often. Sacre bleu!

We call the production office again, and say we will most likely not be there until 6:30 p.m. Images of Milan start to flash in my head.

Problem #3: Once free of the detour, we are now on open freeway again. A wide open four-lane, and we start to fly, until another fucking jack-knifed (or, hoorgaansvoord truck, we are now in Holland after all). We are again at a standstill.

We get free of this thing finally, it is now 7:15 p.m., we are absolutely careening down the freeway, calling the production office, sweating, having to urinate. We get to Tilburg, where the streets are all one-way and windy and made out of ancient brick. The navigation doesn’t know how to get us to the street we need. We finally ask a Dutchman on a bicycle, and he points to the next street “that one there.” We finally arrive, with 10 minutes to spare.

Still car/van sick.

No “me time.”

But we made the gig. No matter what, we made the gig.

11  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #234 on: June 21, 2013, 12:10:42 AM
Top 10 Tour Tips for the Uninitiated (or, How Not to be a Dumb-Dumb)
 By Duff McKagan Thu., Jun 20 2013 at 10:13AM
Last week, we went over some simple living-together-as-a-band-on-the-road tips. This week, I’d like to review some of the more mundane, technical aspects of being in a touring band. Mundane they are, but if you fuck them up, you could stand to look like a real dummy in front of an expectant audience. Here’s my top 10.

10. Don’t climb up onto a speaker cabinet unless you are really going to jump. Have you ever seen that gig where the performer gets all the way up to the top of a cabinet, and then realizes it is just too damn high? The awkward climb down is one of the most embarrassing moves in rock ‘n’ roll.

9. Put the guitar cable through the back of your guitar strap. Stepping on the cable while you are mid-rock, and thus pulling the cable from your guitar, is a key sign of the rock novice.

8. Always have an “oh, shit!” cable. Guitar cables are notorious for going bad in the middle of a set of songs. Don’t be that guy who has to stop the show as people scurry around back stage looking for another cable. Always have a back up sitting on top of your amp, neatly bundled, curled, and ready to go. We call these oh shit! cables.

7. Be on time. Uh huh.

6. Turn problems into opportunity. On a summer tour, there are sure to be tons of obstacles. The van breaks down. Some piece of gear goes awry. A promoter is being a complete dick, etc. Get your Zen on. Turn your set inside-out if a guitar breaks or whatever. Take that opportunity to just jump into the crowd and say hello to your peeps. If your van goes tits-up, take that opportunity to become a better V8 engine mechanic. If a promoter is being a dumb-dumb, make that a time for enlightening said dick to the better side of humanity. Walk away, and thank the gods of rock and roll that you are not a dick. Thusly…

5. Don’t be a dick. Though this isn’t a truly technical item, it is perhaps the most important step to having a successful rock experience. I recently had the opportunity to do a couple of shows way down in South Africa with some lofty rock characters. Joe Elliott, Slash, Matt Sorum, Myles Kennedy, the great Glenn Hughes, Gilby Clarke, Ed Roland from Collective Soul, and Dave Kushner from Velvet Revolver. All of these guys are cool as fuck, and there is not a ‘knob’ in the bunch. Whether you are a man or a woman, just don’t be a dick.

4. Have your shit sorted. Don’t pack too much or too little. Put all your vitamins in one bottle. Forget keeping underwear clean, simply get used to not wearing any! Don’t forget your passport, and always have a high-res photo of it in your phone just in case. Have a kick-ass backpack for your day bag. Know where your shit is in your bag, so that you aren’t the one holding up the show when everyone else is ready to leave in the hotel lobby. Oh, and hair conditioner makes good shaving cream, so don’t bring both.

3. Have a guitar that stays in tune. Don’t take that delicate axe that you love simply because you just love it. If that shit ain’t gonna stay in tune, leave it at home.

2. Don’t roam. Holy hell! Turn your data off on your phone if you are going international. Just turning on your phone when you land in say, London, can cost you like 30 British Pounds (that is, like, 10,072 U.S. Dollars) when your emails load. Either get some cheap phone when you land at that airport, or wait for wi-fi at the venue you are playing.

1. In any language, a smile is worth a thousand words. And at least try to speak the language of the country you are in. If you can’t understand a person in Glasgow, Dublin, or Wales—even though they are indeed speaking your mother tongue—just nod and pass them a beer. It’s probably what they’re asking for anyway!

12  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #233 on: June 14, 2013, 12:21:20 AM
Top 12 Tour Bus Rules and No-Nos
By Duff McKagan Thu., Jun 13 2013 at 10:35AM

 Again, your erstwhile scribe is on tour. I’ve gone from amazing South Africa to the green and poetic isle of Ireland. I’m currently on a ferry on the Irish Sea en route to Scotland, where I’m traveling with 5 other dudes, and it’s 6 a.m. We played a late gig last night in Belfast, and we have another one tonight in Glasgow.

Of course, with all of this travel together, you’ve got to be somewhat cool to each other or things can go sideways in a hot second. Ergo, today I thought I’d enlighten some of you to some golden rules of the rock ‘n’ roll road.

Top 12 Tour Bus Rules:

12. Pass ass-to-ass. We all know the most important “ass-to-ass dog” technique when passing each other in tight quarters (no, this not a yoga pose!). It can get a little cute if one turns frontal suddenly on an ass-to-ass pass.

11. Personal hygiene. This is key. Crap breath or stank butt can lower moral and kill an appetite (a band does need to eat and stinky body odor from an orifice or two can kill ones’ will for nourishment).

10. Don’t be serious. You will ganged up on in no time, and the butt of every tour joke. Join in on the fun…be the river flowing down stream, and not the rock trying to hold the river back.

9. Know some history. It’s always cool to know something about where you are. For instance, Dublin is in Ireland. Belfast is in North Ireland. Do not fuck this up (broken fingers aren’t good for guitar playing). History is good tour bus or van convo too, a bonus.

8. Don’t be a dick. Life can be hard enough on the road with the mishaps that present themselves in everyday scheduling conflicts. Don’t be that guy making a mountain out of a molehill.

7. Have a look around: Go out a take walk where you are. People and different cultures are so damn interesting, and remember: Know where you are going. Getting mugged with tour-float dough ain’t good for the bottom line.

6. Don’t get stuck: If you are having a pint or five after the show, it is always a good idea to grab a card from the hotel where you are staying. One doesn’t want to go through the old “I have no idea where I am staying, Mr. Cab Driver” debacle. Could be an expensive cab ride, driving around seeing if things look familiar.

5. Listen up, Crew: Please don’t have a drink until the last bit of gear is packed away. Band members can be pretty unforgiving about a left-behind guitar (See #6).

4. There is no “I” in “Team”: It may be your name on the tour poster or the marquee, but a takes the efforts of everyone on that tour to make things happen. T.E.A.M. = Together Everyone Achieves More. (Again, #6.)

3. Remember why you are there: Music is a gift, and one of the greatest human ways to communicate. Go kick some ass.

2. Shut it. Never miss an opportunity to keep your damn mouth shut. Whether you are talking to an audience, boring them with your banter, or regaling stories on the tour bus, don’t talk too much!

1. Sleep little baby, sleep: If one of you is sleeping, then everything is out of limits. Sleep is so hard to get enough of out here that if one of you is catching some zzzzs—anywhere—he or she must not be disturbed (and if you are that guy that wakes up a sleeper, the rule-of-the-road is that you must get kicked squarely in the nards. No ifs, ands, or buts!).

13  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #232 on: June 07, 2013, 01:08:07 AM
Rock’n’Roll [Art] Will Never Die
By Duff McKagan Thu., Jun 6 2013 at 01:01AM

The What: Artist Rebecca Miller’s one night solo show, New Works: Charcoal Drawings on Antique Sheet Music.

The When: 6-10 p.m., Thursday (that’s tonight!) June 6th.

The Where: Alki Arts at the Harbor Steps, 55 University (at the base of the building).

Like most of us, I can appreciate all kinds of art in a range of mediums. For me though, art has to somehow feel right. I’m no expert, and—like so many of us, I’d assume—it’s annoying if I don’t know what I’m looking at is supposed to be good. I’ll see something at a tattoo shop that hits me and other stuff that really doesn’t (this happens at SAM). Hell, I’ve been to the Louvre and seen stuff that I thought was pedestrian or just too “cool” for my tastes. I view art the same way that I hear music: it either moves me or it doesn’t.

Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune of getting to know some truly talented artists and one of them lives right here in Seattle: Rebecca Miller, an artist I’ve been acquainted with for over a decade.

Rebecca is a transplant to Seattle who has fallen in love with this place, and I’ve witnessed first-hand how her work has come to gain more and more accolades, from local rockers and the upper-echelon art crowd to just regular everyday folk. I’ve observed several different periods in her work and her latest mode is genius: it starts with antique sheet music on canvas which she then overlays with images ranging from Billie Holiday, Iggy, Prince, and Salvador Dali to Alice in Chains and everyone in between. This is “Artist Art,” if you will. (I would go on but describing her work is sort of like trying to write about music: dumb and nay impossible.)

Seattle. We are lucky to have such a talent in our midst. We are a city that holds our arts in a lofty place, and we can chalk up another good one here with Ms. Miller.

Don’t be surprised if you see some rock luminaries at the show. Don’t be surprised to see those cool-looking art-expert types at the show. But also, don’t be surprised to see a bunch of people like you and me; folks who just simply like and appreciate cool fucking art and good rock n’ roll imagery.

Rebecca Miller is an original and for this first public showing ever, I know she’s nervous as hell. Check out the link here and have a look for yourself, or better yet, go to the show and check it out. Rebecca, if you’re reading: The best of luck to you. Break a, er, brush!

14  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #231 on: June 05, 2013, 06:19:30 PM
What about the Beginners?
Thu., May 30 2013 at 09:17AM
We got a lot of feedback from last weeks’ “Humble Musician” column. There were way too many questions to actually even attempt to answer; but in the same breath, there were enough good questions to warrant a follow-up here this week.

 First off, and before you make an investment into a new instrument and/or amp, make sure that playing music is something you will be doing for a while. Gear can be expensive, especially if it is only a passing fancy. Alright?

I had a paper route when I was a kid, and also some summertime regular jobs of cutting peoples lawns and whatnot. An older kid at my middle school knew I was into music, and offered to sell me a Gibson EBO bass for $125 (pretty sure it was, er, “hot”). Paper routes and cutting lawns is tough work, and when I paid this older kid for this bass in installments, the fact that it was my own hard-fought dough put an extra emphasis on my taking the next step and following through with actually starting a band. Walking Papers keyboardist Ben Anderson picked cantaloupe all summer in Arizona when he was a teen to get his first guitar. Paying for your own gear might help!

My first amp was a Peavy TNT 100 that I bought new on a monthly payment plan (my dear Mom co-signed for me).

Getting the very best and top-shelf gear from the get-go is probably not the most important thing. Gibson and Fender do make really good entry-level guitars and basses these days, and places like the big-box Guitar Center, and even American Music, can have ridiculous deals on these axes.

Amps are a bit different. There are entry level guitar and bass amps, but the sound varies a ton. You will never go wrong with a Fender combo guitar amp with tubes. Different pedals for distortion, or whatever, can be added between your guitar and amp to help achieve whatever added sound you are looking for.

Bass amps vary just as much. Make sure you have at least 100 watts, and that your tone isn’t too brittle. Listen to Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones’ sound before you go shopping for an amp. You can never go wrong with his tone.

Drums are a whole different animal. Entry level kits are fine, but the sturdiness factor of inexpensive hardware can end up costing you to replace time and again. Good cymbals are expensive too. So if you are a new drummer, I’d suggest just going for it, as far as getting a good and not-so-inexpensive kit. Make sure the hardware is the best quality. Note: I was a drummer in my teens. I just couldn’t afford replacing cymbals anymore.

M-audio makes a great midi-keyboard with what is called “waterfall” action for around $100. Not the same feel as a piano, but with all of the computer software that comes with it, you can get whatever sound you need. And if you want a real piano, and have some cousins with strong backs, Craigslist always has free pianos just about every week.

Craigslist, in general, is a good place to find stuff if you’ve got all of the money now. You can often bargain, and just find plain old good deals left and right. Know what you want first, though, and don’t just jump on something if you have a feeling it isn’t “you” … if that makes sense. You have got to want to play the instrument that you get. It must inspire you!

A lot of you may have just got back from Sasquatch Festival. You have seen your heros play, or maybe found some new hero. Just remember, all of those artists who played over there last weekend have gone through what you are going through now. Forge on. Practice. Start a band. Music needs you!

15  Current Events / Duff's Corner / Duff's SW Blog #230 on: June 05, 2013, 06:17:13 PM
Keeping Humble as a Musician
By Duff McKagan Fri., May 24 2013 at 08:01AM

 One of the most important parts of a musicians’ mindset is confidence. If you aren’t constantly terrified of your instrument, there is an ease-of-mind that starts to set in. When your head isn’t completely messing with you as much, your playing will start to flow. Put it this way: Do you even think at all when you walk or ride a bike? Probably not. It is effortless, and playing your instrument, hopefully one day, will be somewhere in this same frame-of-mind as walking and chewing gum.

 But remember, there is always someone better than you (unless your are Prince!). One should never let the confidence that comes with hard work get in the way of being humbled by either playing with other killer players, or learning riffs and beats off of records from some of the many greats who are greats from yore … or even contemporaries.

A guy like me took influences from growing up around great ‘70s records, morphed those influences into my own approach and “style,” and then kind of just stuck with that one thing. Hell, it worked for me, so why even try to challenge myself to stuff that may not be in my wheelhouse? I got this thing, man! Ah, but at around 30 years of age, I realized that I wasn’t experiencing any growth in my playing. I was relying on the same old tricks, same old approach. It was time for a challenge if I wanted to get better.

I never used to learn other artists’ songs. Well, scratch that actually. My old band would sometimes cover other bands’ songs … but certainly not in a note-for-note way. We would do our own interpretations and versions of said songs. Just sort of winging it at best.

In my 30s, I started to playing less bass and more guitar. Guitar was something I always did, and wrote most all of the songs I was part of, on the 6-string. But I never really delved into it fully. At some point in my early 30s, I saw Brian Setzer play, and I was fully inspired. I got some Beatles song books and learned all kinds of chords. I played guitar all of the time, and got to play with some other really good guitar players who would show me stuff. I saw music again in a fresh and energetic light. Note: Being in a band with Slash as your guitar player can make guitar playing seem like an unattainable mastery. Dude is just so damn good and gifted. But he DOES practice all of the time, and constantly challenges himself.

We may all think as players that we have our own clear forte. Whether it is the fact that maybe you can retain more information songwise than some of your peers, or maybe you know more music theory, or that you can just simply shred better than most, or are a dynamic live performer. But I think growth as an actual player is needed to truly keep the spark — and hence your personal love affair with music — alive and flourishing.

The reason I write this now is that all this week I’ve been learning a bunch of songs from Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and Mott the Hoople on the bass. I’ve really gotten back into the bass in the past bunch of years and even started taking some lessons. If you want to stay humble when you just think that you are “all that” on the bass, just try playing some John Paul Jones or Deep Purple. Holy shit. Holy, holy shit. I am back to square one apparently … but completely inspired. I mean, what if I can master these lines?! I will be the greatest! (These are those crazy day-dream images that play through my twisted and mis-informed mind.)

Alright. Enough about me. Just my two cents. A lot of people have asked me music questions, and here is one little stab into informing you all of just a thing or two that I have culled along the way. Perhaps there will be more in a later column. Write with any tips of your own.

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