Author Topic: Duff blogging for Seattle Weekly  (Read 58470 times)

Offline Limberly

  • Staff
  • *****

Read It Or Repeat It
By Duff McKagan, Thursday, May. 6 2010 @ 10:19AM

The more books about history I read, the more I see history repeating itself. I have been reading fiction as of late, but it's when I read good historical nonfiction that I get completely lost in the story. Fact is, to me, always much more engrossing than fiction. The truly bizarre and heinous just can't be made up:

--Big lessons, like how "inside" Wall Street is, and how greed has made the common investor just a pawn in the game--starting about 125 YEARS ago (yes, it's not just a recent phenomenon).

--War and the displacement of indigenous peoples too. Just 40 years ago in Vietnam, by moving whole villages out of their ancient homelands, the invading U.S. Army bumbled and stumbled and created an enemy out of the friendly and, before then, helpful South Vietnamese. Heck, go back even further, and you'll see that Ho Chi Minh modeled his Declaration of Independence after ours, and that the U.S. backed Vietnam's struggle for independence in the late 1940s. How did we create such an ardent enemy within the following 20 years or so?

I received an e-mail from my best friend Andy yesterday. He and I are big "war buffs," and we sometimes trade tips on what books to read. He is an armchair historian like me. Neither of us are, however, military geniuses--just common, regular guys who try to figure stuff out as we go. Andy's e-mail was rather poignant and to-the-point, though. It DOES have something to do with books and reading too, so it should bring me back to my reading list:

    "I did read Three Cups of Tea; it explains a lot about the area of North Pakistan. I've been looking into that area for the last year or so. Pakistan and the Afghan area is a really fucked-up place. If we spent half the money we spend to bomb the shit out of them, we could "win." It's a lesson we learned in Vietnam, but it looks like they (our "leaders") forgot. It's like when we moved all of those little tribes in the way-out areas to new "camps." If we could have just helped them to live a better life somehow, they would not have worked with the VC; but instead, we moved them from a place that they had lived for thousands of years. If we could just get those Wahidis out of there (Pakistan and Afghanistan), and build new schools that somehow taught them not to hate us and make a better life, they would and could thrive."

I'm not trying to get political here at all. It's just that with all the reading I do--and reading from all different viewpoints (not just an "Anglo" one), I just start to bang my head against a wall sometimes!

--Three Cups of Tea (Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin): I think I was first attracted to this book because I had heard it was a story of a K2 mountain-climber who had gotten lost on the hike out of that area. While, yes, this is indeed how the story got its start, Three Cups is a heartwarming story of humanity, ancient tribal ways, fundamental-religious rule, and perseverance in the mountains above Pakistan and Afghanistan. If you haven't read this book yet, put it on top of your list.

--The Forever War (Dexter Filkins): Yes, I think I have written about this book here before, but it seems to become everyone's favorite read after I suggest it to them. Iraq and Afghanistan are two big cluster-fucks that have put so many people's lives on the line. We should all be as well-informed as we can, I think, and The Forever War gives a view with some scope and honesty.

--The Things They Carried (Tim O'Brien): This is an epic and poetic first-hand account of the brutality and humanity of the Vietnam War. If you were to read this book before Three Cups and The Forever War, you would surely scratch your head and wonder if our Western leaders can add two and two.

--The Moneychangers (Upton Sinclair): I'm not sure what the difference is between Goldman Sachs selling financial vehicles that are built to fail, and Sinclair's 1910 "Northern Mississippi Railroad" stock being sold to a public who had no idea of the bad intentions of its chairmen. In The Jungle, Sinclair did much to change child-labor laws and food-inspection laws; I wonder why Wall Street wasn't put on a tighter leash after it was exposed by Moneychangers? This 100-year-old book is suddenly very topical and relevant.

Again, I know I have previously covered a few of these books, but there are new readers here all the time, and these reads are just too important and good. Anyone want to chime in? eat_it.php

Offline Limberly

  • Staff
  • *****
Just Like You, I Put My Custom-Tailored Jeans On One Leg at a Time
By Duff McKagan, Thursday, May. 13 2010 @ 8:57AM

If you've seen me at any rock shows over the past few years, you will notice that I wear the same jeans at every gig. As a matter of fact, I wear those pants everywhere: to the grocery store, on the plane, to the kids' school . . . and to weddings. I had them custom-made. Not because I'm the kind of guy who needs to be the only one on his block with his pair of jeans. For the life of me, I cannot find a pair of pants in the store that will fit. Trust me, I've tried.

I am somewhere in between average and big-and-tall, I suppose. Nothing at either store seems to fit. It makes me feel all alone sometimes when I go to a clothing store only to find nothing in my pant size. I mean, when was the last time you saw a pair of 32/36s hanging on the racks? This, my friends, is the problem with being tall.

I'm not sure what the average adult height is, but I am most positive that it is much shorter than my 6'3". Why am I so sure of this? Well, because for most of my life I have had to stoop to grab something off of a countertop, desktop, or grocery check-out counter. Things that are meant for an average height have been much too low for me for many years now. I must constantly strengthen my back and keep it limber.

Now I am not one to complain about my lot in life. I'm well aware that things could most certainly be a whole hell of a lot worse. I have all my arms and legs and fingers and toes. My intellect and sanity are mostly intact and in working order. I have two children, so obviously all that stuff works, too. No, I am not complaining. I just have a few items that I want to throw out there:

I'm not looking down on you, I swear. Eye contact is polite, and I am a firm believer in it. But over the years my neck has started to ache from looking down most of the time. My work predestines that I must stand most of the time and "rock out" with my other band members. Over the years, only Jeff Rouse and Mike Squires of LOADED have been near tall enough for me to look straight in the eye onstage. About 12 years ago, Mark Lanegan, Ben Sheppard, Mike Johnson, and I were going to form a band together for the simple fact that we were all tall. It sounds funny now, but we were serious about it then. If you are the only tall guy in a band, you run the risk of looking goofy if you're hunched over all the time.

I'm not trying to kick the back of your seat, I swear. I am THAT guy you will see on those Alaska Airlines flights from Los Angeles to Seattle. You know, the guy in seat 9C who looks miserable as they are serving snacks. Miserable because the tray is too low to lay out flat when it is fully pulled out of its vestibule! I am also that grumpy guy whose knees are completely bruised after the person in front of him decides to recline their seat. I always wonder what the guys in the NBA do when they fly? What does Krist Novoselic do? He is a good 4 inches taller than me!

I really am not a slouch. I know we have all seen those tall people out there whose postures have become perma-hunches (for some of the reasons that I have just named). So I have been faced with the quandary of standing tall without seeming like I am sticking out like a sore thumb. How do tall people keep their heads up when making conversation in public? How will I "bend at the knees" for all that I do now, when my legs get too weak in my 80s and 90s? I want to stand tall for sure, but I still want to fit in.

Officer, if you weren't a short unhappy fellow, you'd be speeding, too. My legs are fucking long, but my arms are not proportionate. I must play an ongoing game of seat and wheel adjustment so that my back doesn't get too sore from stooping forward so that my hands can rest at the 10 and 2 positions, or so my legs don't get too cramped when I bring the seat forward to save my back. If I had to be a truck driver for a living and do long hauls, I'd be a cripple in no time for sure.

I married up! My wife is 5'11" and our daughters are very tall for their ages. At least in my home, we can all fit in together. My wife modeled for a living for a long time, and it is only in that career (and some sports) that you can actually make a living because of your height. When she picked me up at Burbank Airport for our first blind date, it was marvelous to be able to look her in the eyes without craning my neck. It still is!

I'm not sure why we have such small dogs, though. That is a study for a whole other column. I'm going to take some Advil now ... ustom-.php

Offline Limberly

  • Staff
  • *****
Girls, Girls, Girls By Duff McKagan, Thursday, May. 27 2010 @ 8:55AM

​Last week, I had the pleasure of being home alone with my two daughters. My wife Susan, at long last, made the trip that her mom, aunt, sister, and herself were planning, down to Mexico. This left me some good quality time with my 9 and 12-year-old bundles of girly joy . . . and hormones.

At this point in my fatherdom, I certainly know where I can be of service to my girls. I also know it when I am completely lost and flummoxed by the quandaries that perplex only females. I am still under the assumption that a hike and maybe some "catch" with a baseball in the backyard can fix any and all problems with my girls.

Twelve-year-olds want nothing more than to be grown-up. Right now! Grace cannot wait to drive, and have an apartment and a job and be in college and not be walked to school in the morning by her mom and/or dad (how embarrassing!). When I tell Grace that she should sort of "enjoy youth" and not rush everything she does, she gives me a look like I am the oldest and nerdiest coot that ever walked the face of the earth. I don't feel like a coot. I guess maybe I DO look like a coot sometimes . . . but still, I am only just trying to pass on some shining pearls of wisdom.

Nine-year-olds who have older sisters want to be just exactly LIKE them, and this can often be a tough row to hoe. Mae is going to be a tough chick one day, as she now has to deal with a fair amount of rebuffment and push-back from her older sibling. This is part and parcel of being the youngest--I should know, as I was the youngest of eight kids.

I was really kind of excited for the girls' mom to be gone. I really thought that this would give me a chance to have some serious "Dad time" with my girls, and that they would somehow respond to my soothsayer-like genius in all things that deal with life in general. In my mind's eye, I would sort of be just waiting patiently--in my easy chair or cross-legged in a yoga position--as my girls clamored to be the first to spill all their life questions and problems to me. On Day 1 after school . . . they both went to their rooms with only a cursory "Hi, Dad." Day 2 was the same. Day 3, too.

That's OK. I know that the girls' school is finishing soon and that they have a lot of tests and such to study for. But a kid can't live on schoolbooks alone. I decided to take my daughters on a hike after school last Friday, and they were . . . delighted. Actually, they both groaned. "C'mon!", I said. I thought that surely a little fresh air and exercise would loosen their tongues, and that finally they could talk to me about life and ask for my insight and knowledge.

Sometimes I just have to put up the flag of surrender. I realize that--more often than not these days--I just don't understand girl stuff. I'm just absolutely lost sometimes. I have become enlightened to the fact that I must let the mini-dramas pass me by, not unlike letting the eye of a hurricane pass. In the past, I would meet these problems head-on and try to solve it all . . . or scold when certain behavior traits didn't seem right to me. While I am fair for sure, I AM still a disciplinarian of sorts. Actually, it is really my "dad- disappointment" that does the most toward any type of scolding. It is sweet, really, that my girls don't want to disappoint me. They seem to know it even before I am aware of it myself.

So here we go! Off on our hike on a fire road in a conservancy that is conveniently in my neighborhood down here in Los Angeles. But first I had to convince my girls to put on tennis shoes in place of their fancy sandals. They both gave me a look of "Oh, my God! What if a BOY sees us?!" As we were climbing the first hill, I noticed that Grace had her purse with her. As a male, I just don't get the reason why a young girl will have a purse. When I asked Grace why she had brought it along on a wooded and not-so-easy hike, she replied, "Lip gloss! Duh!!" Duh indeed. Sometimes I just got to keep my mouth shut and trudge on forward.

In the meantime, Buckley and I have a game to watch

Offline duffdiver

  • Sniper Assassin
  • *****
  • JEES-IT! Pulling out the arsenal! GO DO! SAC'TO!
When Your Daughter's Got the Bieber Bug, the Whole Family Gets Infected
By Duff McKagan, Thu., Jul. 1 2010 @ 2:08AM

​I have a daughter, Grace, who turns 13 this summer. I have borne witness first-hand to the changing paradigm of how kids these days get turned on to new music, through everything from YouTube to the Disney Channel. Grace finds pretty hip stuff, and has turned me onto to bands like Phoenix, Le Roux, the xx, and many more. But she isn't immune to the really commercial pop stuff (neither am I, actually!).

Six years ago it was all about Britney Spears, until she got too "skanky," according to Grace. High School Musical was a huge deal for her, and I remember having to find a hotel in New York that had the Disney Channel so that we could see the world premiere of HSM 2 back when that came out. It would have been a huge blow to her if we hadn't gotten to see that on the premiere night.

The Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana have come and gone in her "what is cool" file, and now it is all about Justin Bieber. And this time it's different.

If you are not aware of Justin Bieber or the corresponding Bieber Fever that has been overtaking teenage girls over the past six months or so, then I guess perhaps you have been living under some kind of media-muted rock. This shit is huge. It must be like the Shaun Cassidy or Leif Garrett things that happened in the '70s. Just sheer screaming-girl mania.

The Bieber is playing Everett Events Center on July 13, and Grace is going crazy. I happen to be friends with Justin Bieber's tour manager. Grace stands a good chance of meeting him. She knows that his favorite songs on RockBand or Guitar Hero are Guns N' Roses songs. Grace is hoping and scheming to use these angles so that The Bieber will go down on one knee that night and ask her to marry him. She knows that his favorite eye color is blue (she has blue eyes). She knows that his favorite sport is hockey (she is, as I write, learning everything she can about hockey). She has already informed her mom and myself that we are not to plan anything for the two days leading up to the show, because she needs this time to get ready. Two whole days?! When I question her about what the hell could take two whole days, she gives me the look that solidifies the fact that we men don't know the first thing about our opposite gender. Not a damn thing . . .

There was a day when rock tours sold out arenas, and tours came through town all the time. It is rare these days for a bona-fide rock band to do an arena tour here in the States. Green Day, Metallica, and the Foo Fighters can do it, but few others. No, the real arena acts these days are things like Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, and The Bieber. I guess TV is the great difference-maker. MTV used to play music videos 24 hours a day, and these videos acted as commercials to whet the appetite for a ready youth market. These days, it's all about the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon and the product that they push.

My friend, Justin Bieber's tour manager, says that every arena is sold out and that they are averaging $27 per person on merchandise sold at those venues. These young kids tug on their parents' pant legs with hopeful eyes and get what they want. Trust me, I am one of those dads who will buy the tour program or shirt for their daughter. We parents are suckers for that kind of thing, for sure. Do the math here--20,000 people a night x $27. On top of what they are already making in ticket receipts. They are printing money over there. But that is off-topic.

No, I suppose the reason for writing this particular piece is really only to invite you all in as I take this journey. It's awfully damn sweet and cute and innocent. Heck, if nothing else, I scored some bonus "cool" points with Grace. Justin Bieber likes my old band. He can't be all THAT bad.

Offline maxxoccupancy

  • Sniper Assassin
  • *****
  • VF::fav::band
    • New Hampshire Liberty Alliance
Wow, just checked out Star Anna (from Duff's article today), and her band is great... AND they're from my neck of the woods.  Awesome.  Good for checking out, for folks who care about the music.

Offline Limberly

  • Staff
  • *****
This week's column deserves being posted at our forum!  Cheers to AxlReznor and JustMe! 

A Meeting of the Minds

By Duff McKagan
Fri, Mar 4 2011 @ 10:15 AM

Many of you readers of this column are also quite active in the comment area. If you are one of those people, then no doubt you are probably keenly aware of a gentleman who posts under the screen name "AxlReznor."

AxlRexnor can at times post difficult retorts that either fly in the face of an article's stated point, or stun you with a certain stark wise-assiness. But for sure, he always posts with thought and intense intelligence. It can be intimidating.

I remember the first time I became aware of this guy. It was on a Velvet Revolver fan forum, at the very beginning of the band's formation. I had never before this gone to any forums, and was caught unawares of the ridicule and insanity that an anonymous public can pile onto a rock band. AxlReznor was there then . . . and his screen name alone intrigued me. His critical posts back then always seemed to hit the mark--whether I liked it or not.

I have since met this dude. Sometime in 2004 or 2005, I was talking with some fans after a show somewhere in England, when a tall fella came up to me and suddenly claimed that he was AxlReznor. I flinched a bit. Judging from all his posts, I wasn't sure if he was quite sane or not. Was he going to pull a knife? Was he going to start slagging me off in public? No. He was just a nice guy--who just happens to like questioning things . . . in general. Not just rock bands, but EVERYTHING.

I am in Birmingham, England, this weekend, and as it happens I am sitting right now having a coffee with one Anthony Hillman (AxlReznor), his fiancee Katy (she posts as "Katy(just me)"), and Sophia (she posts as "Sophia Shaikh"). I have my computer. I thought it would be kind of cool for him and I to try to write this column together. In a way, just "riff" back and forth. So here it goes.

AR: It seems that Duff had the same thoughts as I did when we first met each other in person. After so many years of posting on the Velvet Revolver, sometimes being less than complimentary, I was wondering how my introducing myself would go down. Would he want to kick my ass for some of the things that I'd said?

The first clue that my impressions were completely off was when I had to wait in the queue for far longer than I liked, because Duff was actually taking time to chat with everybody. "What is this?" I was thinking, "he's not supposed to take an interest! He's a rock star! He's supposed to sign whatever is put in front of him and all, but tell them to fuck off and move onto the next person in the conveyor belt!" But no, he genuinely took an interest in chatting with and finding out about his fans. And, I quickly discovered, was more than willing to put up with whatever criticisms that I had thrown his way over the years . . . even the ones where in retrospect I feel I have gone too far.

Over the years since, we have met on various other occasions whenever he was in town with his band Loaded, and have struck up a friendship that seemed completely unlikely a few short years ago. In a shocking twist, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Duff (and everybody else from Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver), because without this music I would have never met the woman who is now my future wife . . . our first contact was arguing with each other on the Velvet Revolver forum, funnily enough.

Duff: OK, now the niceties have been served here, I am going to ask a few pointed questions . . . just to maybe highlight how different our tastes are:

Top 5 movies:

AR's choices--
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
The Matrix
The Dark Knight
Star Wars

Duff's choices--
The Godfather
Citizen Kane
The Wrong Man (Hitchcock)
No Country for Old Men


Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
The Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Watchmen by Alan Moore (it's a comic, but it was in Time's list of the top novels of the 20th century . . . if they say it counts, so do I).

The Road, Cormac McCarthy
Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
From Beirut to Jerusalem, Thomas Friedman
The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair

Musical Artists:

Guns N' Roses
Nine Inch Nails (now we've got the obvious out of the way)
Pearl Jam
The Dresden Dolls (this will change, but I've been listening to them so much lately I have to mention them).

Duff (at the moment)--
Black Flag

Top things that bother you:

Crowds (I often have to duck into a coffee shop in busy shopping centres to stop myself having a panic attack)
People who only listen to rock, and believe anything else is not really music
People who only like music that isn't popular/in the charts (different extremes of the same thing)
Having to not say what I think when a customer is being an unreasonable little bitch
My favourite songs in commercials (yes, I went there)

People asking me if VR has a new singer.
People asking me when "GNR is getting back together."
People not knowing to take off their belts and shoes at airport security (shit, my DAUGHTERS know to do that!)
Corporate greed

The thing you missed out on, the year you were born:

I missed the Jackson 5/Michael Jackson Victory Tour.

I missed the Bay of Pigs conflict.( by a year)

I forgot to mention, that Anthony is 26, and I, 20 years his senior.

I am a young older-guy.

He? A grumpy, young older-guy! s.php#more

Offline Velvet Revolver

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Location: Reality
That's awesome.  And AR and JM - what are you two waiting for? 

Offline Just_Me

  • Moderator
  • *****
That's awesome.  And AR and JM - what are you two waiting for? 
We're not organised people! But it's happening, this summer to be exact.

Offline Captain Tophat

  • Sniper Assassin
  • *****
  • Official Stamper Out of Idiots
^^Great!! Where's the invite!?  :P

Duff is a great writer...I loev sports but not sports writers, yet he does quite a good job.

Offline tntnoyes

  • Straight Shooter
  • ***
    • TN Youtube
That was a very cool read. Thanks for posting and congrats AR and JM!

Offline Velvet Revolver

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Location: Reality

Panic! at the Terminal

I just had a panic attack.

I'm on a plane. It's smaller than I'm used to. As soon as the door closed, my breathing got shallow. I kicked off my shoes, yanked of my coat, and started to swig my bottle of water. Drinking water, for me takes away the full concentration of actually breathing for a moment or two, and offers me a bit of a reprieve.

I've thought of writing about panic here before here, because I know that so many of us suffer. I've thought of writing about it when I am actually HAVING one, so that we could get a real-life inside peak at one through the words written within. But when I had this attack, I couldn't think straight to write.
Many people around us suffer from some form of panic disorder-ranging from mild anxiety, to full-blown acute panic disorder. I have been a sufferer of the later since I was 17 years old.

It can be an extremely terrifying experience, but also the source of embarrassment. You never know when it might happen. What if you are in a place with a bunch of complete strangers? They are probably going think you are crazy or on drugs.

At the onset of a panic attack, your heart will start to race and your mind will start to get flooded with way too much information. A tight band with start to clamp down around your chest, your extremities get cold and you have an urge to shed your clothes because of the sense of suffocating claustrophobia. Not fun.

Different people have different inputs that will jump-start their episodes. Elevators. Freeways in a car. High floors in a building and about a million other experiences.

Initially there were many things that I couldn't do because of my affliction; and that "narrowing down" of your life just kills your self-confidence, spurring on more and more attacks. It's a merry-go round that seems to go faster and faster and out of your control.

I've been able to narrow or pare all of that back in the last bunch of years with the help of martial arts, but still, I have problems with planes.

It's not the plane "going down" and crashing that does it for me- it's the claustrophobia of when that door shuts, and I know that I will be stuck in a tube that I cant get out of for a set amount of time. It is a totally and all-encompassing fear for me...and every flight is a trip into full-on martial arts meditation and practice of all of the things I have worked on. Remember, I can't drink or do drugs.

I'm okay now. I'm feeling better. My clothes are back on, and my bottle of water is gone, but I have fully recovered.

Why is it that some of us have panic attacks? Are we more sensitive than others? Is THAT why we get these things? Is our "fight or flight" mechanism in our brains a bit more altered that most people's? Do we have less natural dopamine or serotonin than other people have? Did something happen in our childhoods that later showed up as some sort of dastardly panic?

I don't know. I've heard so many different theories, and have tried to explore all of them. I DO know though, that there are so damn many more like me that it sometimes eases my mind by the fact that I don't feel so all alone. It's a comfort to know that I am not "crazy" or whatever, and that there is a certain fellowship among the all of us. Right?

Offline Velvet Revolver

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Location: Reality

Sure, Fleet Foxes Put "Seattle Folk" on the Map, but Don't Overlook Mark Lanegan and ... Heart!

Ah . . . Folklife is just around the corner (Memorial Day weekend), Seattle: Spring is in the air, acoustic instruments are being tuned, beards are being grown, and the oft-missing sunglasses in the rainy season are once again donned. Yeah, man: Fucking FOLK music, brothers and sisters! Dig it!

It may seem a far stretch for some to think that a rock dude like me would be writing about or have any idea or knowledge basis regarding this idiom of "folk" music. And, yes, I fully admit I once embodied John Belushi's guitar-smashing "Bluto" character in Animal House. We have all come a long way since then.

Seattle has become something of an epicenter for what is cool and good with new indie-folk. Of course, Fleet Foxes and their millions of records sold did a lot for this cause. But even when that band was in their developmental stages here, there was a burgeoning acoustic-driven scene makinig noise around town (albeit lower than some of us had grown accustomed). And how did this happen in a town well known for loud and distorted rock?

 A couple of things that haven't been talked about much:
1. Heart's Dreamboat Annie showcased a band that took Joni Mitchell-esque acoustic music to a whole new level. Yes, folk music got its popular start here in the Northwest in the '70s . . . with Heart!

2. A lot of loud rock bands write their songs on acoustic guitars. They are usually lying around the house, and you don't need an amp. Hey, if a song doesn't sound good on an acoustic guitar, you can assume it won't sound good through loud amps, accompanied by a huge drum kit. You can't hide a bad song.

3. Mark Lanegan's Whiskey for the Holy Ghost, way back in the early '90s, became a high-water mark for this new Seattle hipster-folkie thing. Lanegan took the volume down a notch, exposing the dark underbelly of life. It was the story of a man who lived a tough life. A people story. Another word for people is, indeed, folks. Folk music.
4. Nirvana's MTV Unplugged made it "cool" for the masses and Seattleites alike to pick up an acoustic guitar and play Bowie songs, etc. Exploration of old-school folk music was a natural next step from there.

There are movers and shakers in Seattle and "tastemakers" on Capitol Hill. But the truest stuff usually comes from someplace else. From pure and raw talent, far from those tastemakers and scenesters. The scenesters usually adapt their image accordingly from there.

Sub Pop was smart enough to see ahead a bit, and sign Fleet Foxes a few years ago. Would YOU have thought that folk music might be the next big hip and commercial wave in music? From Seattle?! Neither did I.

I've been able to take part in both of the Hootenannys that STG's Deb Heesch and Ashley O'Conner McCready have put on -- one at the Showbox to benefit relief for Haiti, and the other at the Moore that funded help to clean up the Gulf oil spill. Both gigs were huge folk-music acoustic affairs, and both were sold out to the rafters.

Seattle likes live music, and it seems that another reason softer music is blossoming here in the Northwest is because there simply is a paying audience that will support it. Beards, sweaters, and hollow instruments make dollars up in here. Solo artists, duos, and bands can actually survive and matriculate a career doing this type of music.

Well, that is . . . until polka becomes the next big thing. If that happens, I may just very well smash a tuba.

Offline Velvet Revolver

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Location: Reality
Screw The Postal Service. I Hope Your Cute Indie Clothes Chafe You All Summer Long

The braintrust here at Seattle Weekly asked me to respond to the above leaked video. This is my response.

Look man; I didn't even really want to go to the tryout at all. I'm not a try-out-for-a-band type of musician. But it was 2002, and I was going to school at Seattle U., and they DID say that Weird Al was going, too. And, hey, I liked the song. So ...

The Postal Service? Dumb name for a band, I know. I may be coming off as a bit resentful, and maybe I am. They told me that the video they made for this tryout deal was strictly for internal use. They told me no one other than Jimmy would ever see this.

Jimmy! You've got it coming, pal. I've heard that most recently you have been training in MMA and visit cross-fit gyms around your 'hood and are generally trying to be a badass. I heard you've put on 30 pounds of muscle, too. Doesn't scare me. I have the dark and ancient martial art of surprise on my side. I'll get you dude. Just like I was surprised by this video clip showing up everywhere on the internet while I've been down here in Australia touring with Metallica, Slayer, Ghost, and ... Slayer!

The guys in those bands keep coming to my dressing room and laughing at me. Thanks Jimmy and Ben. Thanks a lot. Can you even fathom what it might be like to have a demonic guy in a Satan-worshiping band who wears the crown of the dark pope come over and snicker at you every half hour? It ain't cool. I didn't even know an evil pope could snicker! They can, Jimmy and Ben. And that dude from Ghost has been snickering...a LOT.

Oh, and now I am made to understand that you guys are going out and headlining all of the huge festivals this spring and summer. Fuck you guys. Fuck you. Just think how big it would have been if Moby and I would have also been in the band. Yes, dwell on that for a second. Morons.

Whatever. Oooh... The Postal Service is releasing a 10-year anniversary edition of its debut ... ooooh. Indie! Oooh. Who gives a rat's ass? All of those people who bought your records and who are going to attend your shows, probably got free tickets and downloads. Don't get too excited, Jimmy and Ben.

And Death Cab is just a fluke, too. Right, I know it's, like, seven records in....but its still a fluke. You guys probably don't even see it that way, after all of those #1 hits and all. Never heard of a #1 hit band being a fluke? Well, neither have I...but still, that's the way it is. The fall from your fake grace will be hard. Guess who's not going to be there to soften your fall?

Aimee Mann is also crushed that this video leaked. Now you guys have messed with America's damn songstress. Nice work, guys. Nice work.

I hope your cute indie clothes chafe you all summer long.

Good luck getting chicks.

Offline Velvet Revolver

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Location: Reality

So, Yeah, I Was Kicked Out of a Guns N' Roses Bootleg Shop in Tokyo

Flying and layovers are a key component to tours--like the one I just wrapped up through Australia and Japan--where there is no traveling by van or bus. In fact, if you've seen Anthony Bourdain's TV show about layovers in different cities around the world, you have a pretty good idea of what a rock tour is like (if you add a gig and takeout, that is).

One of the first things I do when I travel to a new city is try and discover what the locals do. I'm not too big on the touristy type of stuff, unless I'm with my family. Tourist food and tourist factoids all seem to blend together into a homogenized stew of ersatz nachos and cardboard hamburgers.

From Perth, Australia, to Tokyo, we had a 10-hour layover in Singapore. Singapore sits just 70 miles from the equator, so heat and mugginess are factors if you choose to go out of the airport (which I did). Although a cab into the heart of the city is only $9, you do have to make sure that the area you are going to is open. The area I went to was not "open," so I treated myself to a long and aimless walk in the heat. I finally found a local place to eat, and I was so damn hungry by the time I was served my meal that I will forever love the taste of fishheads over goats' innards (or whatever the hell I ate).

But all this travel talk is really just a lead-up to something that happened when I finally got to Tokyo.
My family was to join me there for the end of my trip. My daughters had never been to Japan, and they were super-excited to go to an area in Tokyo called Harajuku (it has a trippy, Capitol Hill-esque vibe . . . on steroids). The day before they arrived, I decided to cab it over to Harajuku and do a little "recon" of the area so that I could guide us through the maze with as much ease as possible. (I have learned this recon tactic by getting lost with kids in tow too many times. Not cool or fun.)

During my cab ride, my stomach started to rebel from my questionable meal in Singapore the day before. This happens all the time on the road, and my cure-all (passed down from our road-dog forefathers in DOA and Black Flag. No shit.) is salted peanuts. Upon my arrival in Harajuku, I ducked in to a 7-11 type of store and got a nice peanut-and-rice cracker mixture. Perfect for eating and recon-ing on the go!

Harajuku is all connected by alleyway streets lined with themed shops in amazing contrast to each other: punk-rock clothes next to pastel-only skirt shops next to early-'80s NY beat-boy clothing next to a Star Wars store. It becomes obvious that many of the printed T-shirts with band names or Star Wars characters are bootlegs (last time I checked, Skywalker's first name is "Luke," not "Look").

It was in one of these alleyways that I stumbled upon a rock-and-roll (bootleg) T-shirt store. What caught my eye was a Metallica/GNR split-band T-shirt in the front window. Of course, this shirt never existed in real life back in the day, but it got me to further peruse the inside of the store. I was met with a dazzling array of O.G. Guns N' Roses shirts with some "artwork" close to the original and other "artwork" comically missing. Just as I was looking at a skull-guys-on-the-cross GNR shirt (where we all looked more like chimps than dastardly rock-and-roll hellions), I was asked to leave . . . for eating inside of the store.

I was relieved that they didn't recognize me. I rather hope that I look nothing like a skull-chimpy type of rocker. Nope. I'm a rock-and-roll hellion, with salted peanuts . . . on a mission to find the bunny-petting cafe and nail salon and Alice in Wonderland-themed restaurant in Harajuku.

I'm a bad-ass