Date Shed, Wednesday, October 17 @ 9 pm
By Lisa Morgan
Duff McKagan, known predominantly to the world of Rock and Roll fans as the bass player for Guns and Roses has long become his own man in this ever changing music industry, and it shows with his band Loaded and their new release Taken. Taken is an album best described in Loaded’s own words as a dark album with “earthy ground and pound” and an “undeniable streak of platinum level hookery and crookery” that took Duff to the very top of the Rock and Roll industry.
With over two decades in an atmosphere known for severed friendships, band break ups and feuds, Duff has managed to maintain an incredible rapport with past and current collaborators with whom he’s consistently working with on various projects. He was on a Seattle radio show with Nikki Sixx (former bassist for Motley Crue) just last week complaining in unison about audiences missing the shared moment of a concert when they stare through an iPhone or iPad recording the moment instead of being in it. And just recently, he was in the studio recording with Mike McCreedy and Barret Martin of Seattle’s rock super group, Mad Season.
One of his most unique and tight ongoing relationships is with guitar phenom, Slash, whom he befriended just prior to the evolution of events that brought Guns and Roses into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status. “There’s something about it,” Duff says regarding his relationship with Slash. “We can NOT play together for years, then come back and play together, and it’s just like an old pair of gloves. He challenges me. He’s taught me a lot musically. He was always that gifted musician, not that he sat and taught me how to play chords or anything, but I learned a lot just by watching him play and watching his work ethic. There are some of them that are more attached than the rest of us musically. It’s just easier and it just comes to them. You learn a lot just being around that. We have a real push and pull relationship that seems to work great together. I played with his band in Seattle a couple months ago and suddenly, it was just a different thing when he and I were on stage. I can’t really explain it but, it’s cool.”
That is very much how Duff explains how he and Slash first found themselves in a room with the other members of Guns and Roses. “I’ve tried to write that into my book and make it more poetic or even give myself more insight, but all I can really say about it is wrapped up in three words: everything just clicked. It felt right and you could just tell.” 25 years removed from those early beginnings, Duff, now a seasoned musician, performer and song writer has learned to “click” and to play to other people’s strengths making him a huge asset to any collaboration.
Having come face to face with a decision at 30 to find sobriety or die, Duff, chose sobriety. With that he had to get very honest with himself and everyone else, mending all the fences he could. That honesty and humility has brought him full circle to enjoy a rich life of music and love. Now, married and the father to two daughters, Duff has traveled excessively with his band Loaded, mostly overseas.
“Loaded is a band that hasn’t played the states a lot. We’ve never played Indio.” says Duff. “I don’t think I’ve ever played Palm Springs or Indio. Cool little music scenes start up out in places like that.” In regard to his band, Loaded, Duff says, “The band sounding unique and different (on the album Taken) is a product of the different players and surroundings coming together in the little society that we’ve built around each other. Ours is mostly funny and the album is dark, but you need dark and light in your life. I live with 3 women and it gets so I can’t have pink and fluffy all the time. This record is a product of me getting real honest with my own life and some of the pain that comes up that you didn’t think was still there; then getting around these guys that are my really good friends.”
Drummer Thomas Burke, echos that as he says, “Loaded is fun. I get to travel to places I’ve never been, play all American rock n’ roll every night and I’m treated with respect. Plus, these dudes are really funny. I get to be my weird self and they don’t care.”
You can be assured that your musical experience in front of this band will be epic, especially in the unique, up close and personal setting The Date Shed Provides. “We’ve travelled the world together a bunch and we love each other.” says Duff. “We’re not heavy metal, but we can get as hard as any band out there.”