Author Topic: Interview with Dave Kushner - Fly Magazine [Nov 2004]  (Read 2243 times)

Offline PSychomaniac

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Interview with VELVET REVOLVER
America’s biggest and baddest band

by Jeff Royer
press photo

“You don’t need drugs and alcohol to have drama in a band,” says Velvet Revolver guitarist Dave Kushner in between fits of laughter.

He’s somewhere in California, shacked up in a hotel with the rest of his band, who are in the background hooting and hollering and whooping it up like they were the biggest rock band in America. Which they are.

There might not be any drugs or alcohol involved, but Velvet Revolver comes with a built-in drama that has the music world sitting on the edge of its seat. They’re one of those bands that used to exist only in those late-night “what if” sessions between rock fans. The combination of former Guns n’ Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum, ex-Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland, and Kushner, who’s played guitar in more great rock bands than you can count – it’s the very definition of a rock and roll “supergroup.”

Just please don’t use that word around Kushner.

“I couldn’t have put together a better band. And not just talent-wise, but songwriting-wise and personality-wise and everything else,” Kushner says. “Oh, dude, it’s the best.

“But if it was meant to be a supergroup, they wouldn’t have gotten me in the band, because my marquee value as a name isn’t anywhere near those guys,” he insists. “If it was just about marquee value and selling out and doing a Damn Yankees thing, then they would have gotten someone with a bigger name. We’re just guys who wanna play music for a living, and that’s just what we show up and do every day.”

Velvet Revolver is a dream so good that you almost don’t want it to come true for fear that it might not live up to the impossible expectations. What if the band was a total letdown? Could any band with this much hype possibly live up to its potential?

The answer to that question comes in the form of Velvet Revolver’s debut album, Contraband, which just might be the first great rock album of the new millennium. It’s a headphones album, a panoramic attack of steel-toed guitars and grimy bass lines with the chameleon vocals of Weiland writhing around on top. It’s true rock and roll from five guys who’ve been defining the sound of rock for the past two decades.

Contraband debuted at No. 1, moving a quarter-million copies in its first week. The band’s first two singles, “Slither” and “Fall to Pieces,” have each hit No. 1 on the rock charts. Contraband is now officially the No. 1 rock release of 2004. You’re probably picking up on a pattern here.

“We had hoped that it would do well, but I don’t think any of us expected it,” Kushner says with a whistle. “It would just be a little egotistical to expect for it to debut at number one. I think we’re all a little surprised but definitely overjoyed by the fact that it’s being received so well.”

It’s a bit of a surprise to everyone. I mean, the band’s star power goes a long way, but not even that can reverse the fact that this kind of rock – deadly serious, swaggering, without a single drop of irony – just isn’t popular anymore. There’s no gimmick, there’s no nu-metal “I’m mad at my dad” grumbling, there’s totally no emo or pop-punk high-school appeal. So, why is this working?

“People say it all the time: What people listen to goes in cycles,” Kushner figures. “Rock and roll is one of those things that is never not popular. Guns n’ Roses still sells upwards of almost a million records a year, and their last show was in ’92 or something. And look at bands like Jet – they sound like a pop version of AC/DC. Rock and roll is always there, it’s just a matter of how popular it is on radio.”

There’s something reassuring about having people like Slash and Weiland back in the driver’s seat. There’s a shortage of believably bad-ass rock stars today and, even though the guys in VR claim to have cleaned up their act somewhat, it’s good to know that someone’s still trying to bring some danger back to rock and roll.

“The danger element is just the unpredictability, the outspoken-ness, being able to say ‘Fuck you!’ if you want to say ‘Fuck you!’ and not have to think twice about it,” Kushner snarls. “Or like when someone talks shit in the media, Weiland talks shit back. You don’t see it a lot because people are scared. It’s like, just because you’re in a rock band you should be OK with someone talking shit to you. But if some guy comes up to us and talks shit to us, we’re going to want to punch him.”

While drug binges may be a thing of the past for the been-there, done-that veterans in Velvet Revolver, this remains a volatile bunch of guys, any of whom would be more than happy to punch a snotnose reporter in the face. But Kushner insists that, behind closed doors, it’s been nothing but blue skies for the band. Give or take the occasional hiccup.

“We definitely have found a balance between the five of us as a unit. When we get on-stage and when we write songs, that’s the most precious thing that we have,” Kushner says. “The magic is all in those moments, when we’re writing, when we’re making a record, when we’re on-stage. What happens in between is sometimes just a roller-coaster ride.

“When you’ve got big personalities and you add not enough sleep – I mean, I’m not complaining, but I’m just saying, there was a point where we flew to five different countries in five days in a row and played five shows in a row,” he gasps. “It’s a lot. It takes a toll on you. So it’s a ride, but it’s the best ride.”

With two more albums on their contract, Kushner assures that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Velvet Revolver in the future. This is no one-off deal. And, barring any more legal snafus on Weiland’s part (Kushner swears up and down that the singer is clean as a whistle), up is the only way to go.

“We’re just getting started. It’s just the beginning,” he assures. “Every time we come back, we’ve gotta do something better than the last time we were here. So that’s really the immediate goal, is to not leave people disappointed.”

So far, so good.

Catch the band in action when Velvet Revolver rocks the Wachovia Spectrum, Philly, on November 10.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2007, 06:53:21 PM by Red Hot Lady »

Offline Sweet~Slash

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thanx for that interview it was really good dave so cool lol

Offline Just_Me

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Good to hear more from Dave as well.
He needs to talk about himself more!

But yeah, good interview. :)

Offline Cattivo

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Nice interview. Dave is a pretty cool dude, no one can out head bang the Kush

Offline MissSlash

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Hope the second album is better than the first.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2005, 06:04:51 AM by MissSlash »