Duff McKagan's Loaded
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Duff McKagan's Loaded

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle, Washington, United States
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"Coups and Security Checks for Duff McKagan"

I’VE been flying to work for the last quarter-century.

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Q. & A. With Michael McKagan (June 2, 2009) And I’ve had my share of foreign-soil adventures, like escaping a coup attempt by Hugo Chávez in 1992, when Guns N’ Roses was playing in Venezuela.

I didn’t know what a coup was. I didn’t even know how to spell it. All I knew was that it didn’t bode well for us.

Fortunately for me, Mr. Chávez liked our band and waited for our chartered plane to leave before he strafed the airport.

That particular trip to South America also involved a bribe of $30,000 to another country’s immigration service so we could play our show. Yes, this stuff does happen. We actually employed a guy who spoke both Spanish and Portuguese to go to some of these countries beforehand to find out which officials we had to pay off.

I rarely fly a charter anymore. Now it’s all commercial when I play with Velvet Revolver or my band, Loaded. All I want to do is to get from Point A to Point B with as little hassle as possible.

Although I’ve never been convicted of a felony or even a misdemeanor, I have a suspicion that I’m persona non grata in airports. I’m always the guy that gets “randomly” selected for a more thorough security check. I could be standing behind someone who is a jerk, and he gets waved through. Not me. If airport security was the lottery, I would be richer than rich.

No one can tell me why this happens. Maybe it’s profiling. Maybe none of the security people like my music. But I’m still unfailingly polite, even when I’m yanked out of line, which happens so often that I’ve lost count.

I’m really the most nonthreatening of travelers. I mean, how much of a scene can I cause when I spend time doing crossword puzzles? I’m actually a crossword puzzle fanatic.

But I look at this ritual as a chance for me to meditate and sort of be the river flowing downstream as opposed to a boulder, trying to hold the water from flowing at all. It’s almost like a ballet, as I know all the security moves by rote: arms out, palms up; sit down, shoes off, extend your legs. Little do these security agents know that I am happily aloof as they are checking me for whatever. It also gives me a chance to stretch my muscles.

I have learned that traveling alone usually works better for me. Traveling with a group always poses a risk if you are not sure of everyone’s past legal history. Foreign passport control employees get miffed when they find a felony on someone’s record and weren’t previously notified. And what if some roadie forgot about an illegal substance in a coat pocket when you are going to someplace like ultra-drug-stringent Dubai?

Don’t get me wrong, I am a social animal and absolutely love the people I work with, and there is camaraderie in traveling as a group. But my sanity is more manageable when I can get through customs in less than five hours.

I also don’t mind talking to seatmates, though everybody, including me, is generally busy working. Occasionally, someone on the plane will recognize me and will want to talk music. I like to talk about everything but music.

I’m still hoping for a seatmate who is a crossword puzzle fan so we can help each other out. Airplane cabins are my arenas where I experience many triumphs and failures against the legendary puzzle master Will Shortz and his wicked crossword makers.

Want to know a four-letter word for an upset? It’s a coup.

By Michael McKagan, as told to Joan Raymond. E-mail: joan.raymond@nytimes.com

- NY Times


"Guns n Roses Legend Duff McKagan Is Our Money Man"

By Duff McKagan

My name is Duff McKagan. By way of introduction, I play rock & roll music as a profession and have been fortunate enough to have been a founding member of both Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver. I’m not tooting my own horn here, just letting you people know who I am. The beer on The Simpsons was named after me and not the opposite. You see, I was also known to be a big drinker.

Playboy has asked me to pen a weekly column on finance. This first piece will serve as sort of “mission statement” to inform you of what to expect from now until they fire me. You may be asking yourself at this point, “What the hell does this dude know about money?” Well, here is a quick version of my story:

I got sober in 1994. I suddenly found that I had a ton of time on my hands—bars and drug runs are very time-consuming passions. I found a file cabinet in my basement that held all of my GN’R financial statements from the previous six years. I began to try to make sense of these. The problem was, they weren’t written for the common person to read, and perhaps they were even meant to mislead a typical over-busy rock guy. I was 30 years old and didn’t know what any of the technical terms meant. I didn’t know what a financial “vehicle” or a “bond” (tax-free or otherwise) was, never mind the inverse relationship of supply and demand! I enrolled in a class at Santa Monica College the very next week, and it was there that I found my calling and—don’t laugh—my love of academia.

As an aside: From my experience, once you are pegged as a “rock guy,” people just assume that you are either brain-dead or off high-flying on a private jet with hookers and cocaine. While I have definitely been guilty of both of the aforementioned clichés, my life these days is just kind of simple and book-filled. Yes, I still tour and make records, but I am much more informed and therefore involved in the everyday commerce that is the music business. My business.

From my short stint at SMCC, I moved back home to Seattle and got myself into the Albers School of Business at Seattle University. Suddenly, the world of finance became a living and fascinating thing for me. I found that I could apply lessons from class immediately to my work in the music business. The more word got around that I was serious about getting my degree in finance, the more serious I was taken in business meetings. I do think that there was, in a sense, fear that one of the “rock guys” was going to knock down the house of cards that is the record business. Cool shit.

As soon as Velvet Revolver started in 2004, all kinds of financial media wanted to talk money with me. From the Wall Street Journal to Neil Cavuto, PBS’s Frontline to Greta Von Susteren, everyone seemed to come to me as the voice of business from within the music industry. Pretty surreal.

Now, on to my mission statement. Initially, I think that this column should serve two purposes:

1) To educate
2) To bring down The Man

As for the first point, when I stated before that I found myself at 30 not really knowing which way was up as far as financial terminology and complexities went, I also found that I was not alone. I know that I was too embarrassed to actually cop to the fact that I was in the dark when it came to finance. I think this rings true for most of us. Unless you are a CPA, lawyer, or stockbroker, why would you know much about what they are talking about on the financial news? Those boneheads on TV just want to make themselves come off as smart anyway…hoping to maybe score some pussy that they didn’t get in their youth! I hope to shed some no-nonsense light on day-to-day money issues. In these days of financial woe, we can all use a little help.

And as for the second one, I am sick and tired of hearing of these Wall Street assholes getting huge bonus packages from our bailout tax dollars. What a lot of these people did to all of us in the first place is just plain criminal. I have never been keen on executives getting golden parachutes; I’m more apt to give them a golden shower. I will do my best to expose frauds and criminals, one at a time. Care to join?

I also look forward to comments from readers to let me know how I am doing and whether there are directions you would like me to take. Until next week.


- Playboy Magazine


"Duff McKagan Restarts Loaded, Says U.S. Economy 'Will Recover'"

Duff McKagan wants to be of service with more than his music these days.

The Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver bassist, who's now back to fronting his other band, Duff McKagan's Loaded, is also busy these days writing a weekly financial column Duffnomics, for Playboy.com. He's qualified -- McKagan holds a finance degree from Seattle University -- and McKagan tells Billboard.com that he wants to take economics and finances "back to basics" to help his readers understand what's going on in this current state of crisis.

"If you're like me, you get kind of sick watching guys talk about market-to-market and aggregates and...'What the hell did you say to me?'," McKagan explains. "I actually know what they're saying, but I know that 99 percent of us don't. We're getting all this information, and people don't really understand what happened to our economy, why it failed, what the credit crunch actually meant, what predatory lending practices were."

McKagan -- who predicts that the U.S. economy "will recover" in time -- says he's using reader feedback to help him determine what to write about. "People ask me, 'Is now a good time to buy a house?' so, OK, I'll write about that. Or I'll get an email, 'Hey Duff, can you tell us about' this or that, then I'll write about those things. I just want to give people solid information so they can get some knowledge and get prepared for when this economy turns around."

But economics alone could make Duff a dull boy, so he's rocking again with Loaded, a group he formed in 1998 but put aside when Velvet Revolver launched. The group's "Sick," its first full album since "Dark Days" in 2001, comes out April 7, and McKagan says getting Loaded going again was a nice antidote to the rancor in Velvet Revolver that led to Scott Weiland's departure last year.

"We got together and these songs started coming, and we were having such a good time," McKagan says. "I was saving myself, really, and it worked. I didn't know if Loaded was going to be the thing to save me or not. I was just kind of swimming around, but this was so much fun, and ('Sick') is one of the most inspired records I've been a part of."

McKagan is taking Loaded on the road this spring, starting with a gig at the 98 Rock Fest on April 10 in Tampa, but he says Velvet Revolver's search for a singer is continuing in earnest as well.

"We will find a singer at some point," he predicts. "We just have to find the guy. There's bee a couple guys I thought were perfect, but everybody's got to be 100 percent into it. We have an albums worth of material -- great, big, huge songs. Zepplinesque. Once we find the guy that can complement those and take it to another level, that'll take off. But I can't give any sort of timeline at all." - Billboard


"Hard-Hitting Rock n Roll with a Punk Soul"

see link below - www.clashmusic.com


Discography

Episode 1999: Live (1999)
Dark Days (2001)
Wasted Heart (2008)
Sick (2009)

Photos

Bio

The original line up of Loaded was Duff McKagan on bass and vocals, Dez Cadena, of Black Flag fame, on guitar, Michael Barragan, formerly of Plexi, on guitar, and Taz Bentley, formerly of The Reverend Horton Heat, on drums. They put out the live record, Episode 1999: Live, due to McKagan's second solo record, Beautiful Disease, becoming lost in the legal shuffle when Geffen and Interscope Records merged and McKagan was dropped from the roster of the "new combined" label. He had lost all commercial rights to release the record. The group soon disbanded with McKagan and Bentley becoming part of Izzy Stradlin's rhythm section for his tour of Japan supporting Ride On.
In 2000, McKagan reformed Loaded, remaining as the lead vocalist but switching to rhythm guitar, adding drummer Geoff Reading, of New American Shame and Green Apple Quick Step, guitarist Mike Squires, of Harvey Danger and Nevada Bachelors, and bassist Jeff Rouse, of Alien Crime Syndicate. Although both Squires and Rouse joined after the recording of debut album Dark Days, Dave Dederer formerly of The Presidents of the United States of America took up recording duties for the album, this would remain the main lineup of Loaded until 2009.

In 2002, while on tour, both Squires and Rouse left Loaded to join the reformed Alien Crime Syndicate, former Wasted Youth and Electric Love Hogs guitarist Dave Kushner[15] and former Asva and Burning Witch bassist George Stuart Dahlquist were brought in to replace them. McKagan and Kushner went on to form Velvet Revolver, putting Loaded on hiatus.

In 2008 Loaded returned with Squires and Rouse returning to the group. They recorded a new album and released Sick in 2009, they also released the EP Wasted Heart months earlier in 2008. They have since toured with Mötley Crüe and Black Stone Cherry.In 2009, Geoff Reading departed the band with Isaac Carpenter, formerly of Gosling, Loudermilk and The Exies joining the group as his replacement. They plan to record and release a new album in 2011.