Thursday, April 30, 2009

There's That Word Again

Joe Bosso over at Music Radar always gets the best scoops:

Matt Sorum says Velvet Revolver need a singer "soon"

"We need a singer soon," Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum told MusicRadar in an exclusive interview. "We need the right guy in six months. We can't wait another year. Otherwise, it might not matter."

Sorum told MusicRadar that the band was recently close to deciding on a singer, whose identity he declined to reveal ("I want to protect him"), but after a few recording sessions, both he and various band members ultimately decided it wasn't the right fit.

"The way I like to put it is, we were 'dating,' says Sorum, chuckling. "We had already tried out Spacehog's Royston Langdon - came close there. Then we tried out a few more people, including this guy from Canada [Gord Prior], but nobody seemed appropriate. Then we found this other dude..."

"There was something missing in the swagger department. He felt like a slam-dunk at first, and then he didn't" Matt Sorum on the unnamed singer Velvet Revolver almost chose

Sorum heaves a sigh, seemingly deflated at what might have been. "This guy felt like he could be the one. So I took him into my studio and recorded his vocals over a bunch of instrumentals we have. Immediately, he blew me away. 'This is the guy!' I told myself. I was on top of the world."

Sorum describes the unnamed singer as being "way more rock 'n' roll than Scott Weiland. The guy almost had a Chris Cornell/Phil Lynott thing going on - he could really bring it, you know?"

After one recording session, Sorum and various Velvet Revolver band members were over the moon. "It seemed like a slam-dunk," says Sorum. But a second session proved disappointing. "The guy gave maybe 70 percent of what he had before. It was very sad. Already it was a case of diminishing returns, and you shouldn't get that so quickly, especially from a guy who really wants the gig."

According to Sorum, "There was something missing in the swagger department. His vocals were great, but the attitude, it wasn't really there, not all the way at least. Plus, I played his recordings for my girlfriend and a couple of friends and I didn't get the reaction I was hoping for. Nobody went 'Holy shit, that's amazing!' That really sent signals to me that something was wrong."

Although Velvet Revolver's 2004 debut album Contraband went platinum, Sorum now says, "We made a mistake with Scott Weiland. Even though he had a cool swagger about him, he was never 100 percent live. He was hit-and-miss when it came to performing, and eventually it became more 'miss' than 'hit.'

"When Weiland announced his decision to split the band ("He quit before we could fire him." says Sorum), the remaining Velvet Revolver members figured it wouldn't take long to find a suitable replacement. A year later, they're still looking.

"I'm shocked that we're still without a singer," says Sorum. "But if we're going to do this again, we have to find the guy who blows people away. Otherwise, why bother? We can do other things. I'm not saying we want to do other things - we'd much rather be doing a Velvet Revolver album or tour right now - but if it's not going to be awesome…"

He catches himself, then says, "The truth is, we can't wait another year or two. We need a singer. We don't want to lose momentum with one another, and we don't want to lose the fans.

"Face it: people forget. Contraband did great, Libertad did less well. We have to come back stronger than ever, or else we might be looking around for other bands, and nobody wants that. We're still very committed to Velvet Revolver."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fortus "We, Hopefully, Will Be Announcing Dates Soon, I Hope"

via Blabbermouth
Current GN'R rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus was interviewed yesterday (Monday, April 27) on the St. Louis, Missouri radio station KDHX 88.1 FM. The chat is now available for streaming at this location.

Regarding GN'R's current status, Fortus said, "I've been in rehearsals with Guns for the last little bit here — focusing more on that world right now. . . We, hopefully, will be announcing dates soon, I hope."

He added, "I don't know of any dates in the US yet; I haven't heard any talk. I'm sure that we will . . . Right now that's not where the focus is; I know that we're gonna be probably announcing other dates first."

I hope he wasn't misquoted.

Izzy Stradlin Makes List Druggiest Rock Star Stories

I am always on the hunt for Izzy Stradlin news.

Last week I found this "story" on the 10ZenMonkeys website:
Japan has a reputation for searching rock stars for drugs.

So when Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin was warned by his manager to get rid of any drugs he might have before going through customers in Japan, Stradlin put them someplace he knew he wouldn't lose them — in his stomach.

He must have had quite a stash, because he wound up in a coma for 96 hours.
I don't know how accurate this story is, if it's true, or if it really deserves to be mentioned on a "best of" list - because it's just not that great of a story.

However, this is a great story:
It seemed like a good idea at the time - saying hello to his father's dog chained there in the front yard.

His affections enhanced by a goodly portion of brew, Izzy Stradlin leaned over and bared his teeth in a big smile. The dog in turn put his teeth through Izzy's face.

It was a bad omen for Stradlin's flight to Phoenix later that day. Sitting in his airplane seat, with a hole through his nostril and another hole through his eyebrow, he couldn't figure it out.

He was playing rhythm guitar for the world's biggest rock 'n' roll band, Guns N' Roses, who were about to play Los Angeles with the former world's biggest rock 'n' roll band, the Rolling Stones. No musician could hope for greater success.

And yet ... his luck was growing inexplicably worse. He summoned the one proven method for dealing with such cruel irony: double Bacardi and Cokes, of which he downed several while smoking and enlightening the attendants with detailed critiques of their service.

Days later, he would find himself wishing that someone had just hit him, adding a black eye to his mangled features, adding a little more throb in his skull. As it was, he answered the call of nature.

Finding the lavatories occupied, he drained his nature in a trash bin in full view of a stewardess. Nothing was said at the time, so Stradlin returned to his seat where he passed out until touchdown.

Exiting the plane, he was suddenly surrounded by 12 cops and arrested. Thus another set of headlines for Guns N' Roses and another year of probation for Izzy Stradlin, who'd pretty much had his fill of probation from a drug bust in the mid-80's.

Thanks to for the "Snake on a Plane" story.


A Lena Boone 'toon.

Steven Adler Schedules Australian Drum Clinics

via Blabbermouth
Steven Adler has scheduled the following Australian drum clinics (presented by Allans Music):

May 26 - Melbourne @ 7pm - 152 Bourke St
May 27 - Sydney @ 7pm - 228 Pitt St
May 28 - Brisbane @ 6:30pm - 90 -112 Queen St
May 29 - Adelaide @ 7pm - 58 Gawler Place

Tickets are $25 and they go on sale April 27 at Allans Music stores and online at

Sunday, April 26, 2009

American Idol?

According to Slash's Twitter, American Idol has asked the former Guns N' Roses guitarist to do the mentoring bit for their Rock Week.

Wow! It really is true that you couldn't find two musicians that are more different than Axl Rose and Slash.

I don't have a problem with Slash doing this - if it is true, I'll definitely be watching - but he really is the polar opposite of Axl.

Slash is everywhere these days, and Axl hasn't been photographed in public in almost two years.

It'll be great to watch Slash on TV, and I'm sure he can teach the contestants a thing or two about what makes a great rock song. However, I can't say that he's an expert on vocals. I'm curious to see how he gets along with the vocalists on Idol - he has had his problems with frontmen in the past.

I still think Idol contestant Adam Lambert would do a great job in Velvet Revolver.

Don't forget that Slash did some awesome guitar work on former American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry's LP.

The big question: Will Axl be watching and who will he vote for?


Related: What If Rock Week On "American Idol" Turned Into A Velvet Revolver Tryout?

Meanwhile, Chris Daughtry has posted a video blog announcing that his band will debut the first single from their hotly-anticipated upcoming second album on American Idol.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Latest News from Slash

Hard at work in the studio, we are 6 tracks into it & it sounds really great, great playing & super killer tones, not to mention stellar vocals so far. I'm still not at liberty to publically divulge any singer's names, but trust me, they're amazing. I know a lot of you out there know who at least some of them are.

I will however, give you working titles for a couple songs; "We're All Gonna Die" is one, "These Last Words" is another. There is one song called "Crucify the Dead" & another called "Beautiful, Dangerous." We have about 8 songs left to record & I'm really excited about every one.

On the VR front, not a whole lot news to report singerwise, which is a drag. But, this is one of those situations where just when you're ready to give up, something great happens. So, we're hanging in there until then, no matter what.

Slash's MySpace Blog

Thursday, April 23, 2009

GN'R to Play Chile's National Stadium?


Axl and the new Guns N' Roses coming closer to Chile.

The negotiations to bring GN'R to Chile in 2009 are firm.

The problem? The availability of the National Stage.

Chilean fans of 1990s Californian Rock will have the opportunity to see a band that made history: Guns N' Roses.

A local promoter is almost finished with negotiations to bring to the group to Chile.

According to a source near the production of the event, the contract is ready and the concert already has a date: Axl Rose and company would appear in Chile this September.

GN'R would visit within the framework of a world-wide tour in support of its new album Chinese Democracy.

But one detail is missong. This is nothing less than the lack of an agreed venue for the Mega-band.

Everything depends on if the promoter is able to rent the National Stage, which has closed its doors to concerts in favor of sport events.

The decision has forced the promoters of massive concerts, to establish meetings with government authorities so that the Stadium can be used. If not, we are afraid that Chile will leave the circuit of big concerts.

Yesterday, nevertheless, there was at least a meeting between the two parties.

Promoter Francisco Goñi met with the undersecretary of Sports, Jaime Pizarro, and with the head of cabinet Minister Carolina Tohá.

"We felt listened to," Goñi said of the meeting when coming out, and without going into detail regarding the content of the discussion, said that "we are keeping the talks private."

Goñi is looking for flexibility regarding the use of the Coliseum, with the purpose of allowing the Jonas Brothers concert to move from the Athletic Track to the Stadium or, at least, that the door is open so that future events can be realised there.

There is serious negotiations to bring to Chile U2, AC/DC, Coldplay and Britney Spears.

"When we get an answer we'll let you know" , Goñi said regarding a possible definitive decision by the authorities, that are now analyzing the arguments presented and displayed by the promoters to determine if they can authorize the use of the National Stadium for concerts.

Until now the sport leaders have been the main impediment of using the stage for concerts, arguing that the turf could be ruined by a concert.

Nevertheless, promoters are trying to assure sports leaders that has not happened at recent events and that, when damages have taken place, they have cooperated with the authorities.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Cat's out of the Bag

Thanks to "The L" for the videos.

Thanks to "The L" for the videos.

In other news, according to Ashley Morgan of Upstart Blogger, the forthcoming Guns N’ Roses World Tour, perhaps in 2010 or 2011, will take the form of a lavish stadium show, complete with a full orchestra.

New Rehearsal Info

I just received word that Guns will be in rehearsals for another month, and expect to be finishing up toward the end of May.

Believe it or not, drummers Frank Ferrer and Brain Mantia are both there.

"Sweet Child o' Mine" sounds absolutely killer with DJ Ashba playing the Slash/Robin parts!

They're also rehearsing "Sorry" and "Prostitute."

Related: Chinese Democracy World Tour 2009

Duff: "The Last Velvet Revolver Tour Was Brutal"

Once again, Duff proves that he is indeed the coolest guy on the planet in this interview with SPIN's John Seller

You famously met Slash for the first time in 1984 at Canter's Deli in Los Angeles. What did you order?

You would think that somebody would have asked me that over all these years, but no one ever has. Sadly, I don't remember.

Come on!

Well, I don't think we had any money, so we probably didn't order anything. The owner was a childhood friend of Slash's, though, so he might have sent us over some soup.

As guitarist nicknames go, does Slash come in below or above the Edge?

Depends. I don't know how the Edge got his name, do you?

It supposedly has something to do with his angular facial features.

Wow. Then Slash is way cooler, if that's it. But I think the Edge is killer, man. The Joshua Tree was the soundtrack of my life when we were making Appetite.


Yeah. I listened to The Joshua Tree probably ten times a day. That was the record, man. Still is, like, a top ten record -- top five, maybe.

That's surprising, for some reason.

Why is that surprising? Axl's favorite record in 1987 was Faith, by George Michael. [Rhythm guitarist] Izzy [Stradlin] was into reggae. Actually, when we were recording Appetite, Izzy would play over and over and over the Georgia Satellites. It was like, "Dude, enough."

Thanks. Now I'm going to have "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" stuck in my head.

You know what's a great song that will be stuck in your head if I say it? "Single Ladies," by Beyoncé. [Laughs] Killer song. Isn't that a great song?

No comment. Got any other shocking guilty pleasures?

I saw Katy Perry a couple weeks ago. She's fucking amazing.

Why do you like her?

She's quirky. Takes the piss out of herself. And she plays really cool acoustic guitar, too. I went expecting nothing except making my 11-year-old daughter, Grace, happy, but she blew me away.

Cool. Can you give me a five-word review of Chinese Democracy?

Axl's voice sounds killer.

You have one more word.


Nice save. Do you have his number in your cellphone?

I do not.

Do you wish that everyone would just get along?

Obviously, yeah, I do. But I have no control over that. Look, I saw some really amazing stuff with Axl. We worked really well together. We were good friends. And I hope to perhaps have that friendship back one day, although it's not something I wait around for. But I look forward to it.

Are you and Slash more likely to reunite with him, or with Scott Weiland?

Axl, if I could only choose between the two. Some bad shit happened at the end of that last Velvet Revolver tour. It was brutal.

What went down?

There were late gigs and stuff that reminded me of [the old days in GNR]. Plus, I'm a sober guy, and I was trying to stay sober and honor our fans. I just wanted it to be over. But after saying all of that, I do have a lot of respect for Scott.

I assume that Loaded is a reference to your sobriety?

Yeah. When we formed [in 1998], I thought, "Oh, that's a funny name," because I had just gotten sober. Actually, Sober was on the list, too. [Laughs]

Looking back, can you believe how wasted you'd get?

I was pretty together until the middle of 1990. And that's when the wheels fell off and the cocaine came in. That's when beer wouldn't do.

Not strong enough?

Not at all. And then you drink too much vodka, you need some more coke. And then you're too high on coke, you do something else to take the edge off. And then you're...Yeah. You get my drift. But it happens. Some people make it, some people don't.

Well, you made it.

Yeah. I'm in extra innings, man. I shouldn't be here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Loaded's FREE Acoustic Performance!

Duff McKagan's Loaded will be performing a headline show at The Country Club on Wednesday, April 22nd. Tickets

Also featuring special guests Pop Evil and Stereoside.




Rock Bottom Music is located on the corner of Broad at 8th Street, in Downtown Augusta, Georgia.

Monday, April 20, 2009

First Footage of Adler's Appetite with New Singer

Fan-filmed video footage of Adler's Apetite performing the GN'R classic "Paradise City" (with a special guest appearance by Bulletboys frontman Marq Torien) on Saturday, April 18 at 4th and B in San Diego, California can be viewed below (courtesy of jimandersonmusic).

Adler's Apetite played its first show with vocalist Rick Stitch of the Los Angeles-based group Ladyjack this past Friday (April 17) at the The Galaxy Theater in Santa Ana, California. Check out photos on Adler's MySpace page.

Rick has been recording with former guitarist Gilby Clarke, and his song "Make It Right" recently appeared in the feature film The Grind, starring Danny Trejo and Tom Sizemore.

Remaining Adler's Apetite tour dates:

May 08 - Manifesto Rock Bar - Sao Paulo, Brazil
May 09 - El Teatro - Buenos Aires, Argentina
May 10 - Teatro Broadway - Rosario, Argentina
May 21 - House Of Blues - Houston, Texas
May 22 - South Texas Rock Fest - San Antonio, TX
May 23 - [to be announced] - Dallas, TX
Jun 27 - The Dam Rally - Monroe City, Missouri
Aug 15 - Storm Stadium "Rock Fest" - Lake Elsinore, CA

Singer Sheldon Tarsha announced his departure from Adler's Apetite last week, saying it was "time now for me to follow my heart and continue working with my original band."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Duff McKagan: The Cream Interview

Duff McKagan: The Cream Interview
By Adam Gold

Nashville Cream: After a 7-year hiatus, what made you decide to resurrect Loaded?

Duff McKagan: Well, Loaded didnt plan on taking 7 years in between records! Velvet Revolver just kind of happened out of the blue. Loaded is NOT a side-project or part-time band. We are here to stay!

NC: After riding shotgun with Axl Rose and Scott Weiland, how does it feel to front your own band?

DM: Singing and fronting a band has been something I have done off and on since my early punk days in Seattle. I had a record in '93 called Believe in Me and then was in a band (Neurotic Outsiders) with Steve Jones from the [Sex] Pistols in '95.

NC: I see that you are a blogger for our sister paper, The Seattle Weekly. How did you get into writing? After having been written about for so many years, how does it feel to be on the other side?

DM: My newfound writing career for the Seattle Weekly and Playboy just kind of happened out of nowhere. It sure is a challenge having two deadlines a week and touring a record and having a family...there is never a dull moment for sure!

NC: You write a financial column for Playboy; what is your proposed solution to the economic crisis as it relates to print media?

DM: I dont really have a formulated economic recovery plan but instead read a lot of history and realize that all things are cyclical. Try Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes.

NC: What have been your memorable experiences in Nashville?

DM: I have made some great friends in Nashville including Trey Bruce, Jeff Steele, James Otto, and Jon Rich. I had a great time a couple years ago getting onstage with the Mafia. Completely inspiring!

And lastly, Duff's message all you Cream readers: "Go out and get the Loaded Sick record. Rock is alive and well motherfuckers!"

Friday, April 17, 2009


It's Friday, Miller Time.

Do you love Rock 'n' Roll Music as much as I do?

Then crank up your little computer speakers, and enjoy this deep cut by The James Gang.

From the 1970 LP, Rides Again, "The Bomber."


Loaded's Sick First-Week Sales Numbers

Sick, the new album from Duff's side band, Loaded, sold 1,400 copies in the US its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Sick landed at number 43 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

Asked about the status of Velvet Revolver, McKagan told Reuters, "It is not done. We just haven't found a singer ... There’s a lot of criteria to fill."

McKagan rebuffed a suggestion that he could take over as lead vocalist. He sang harmonies with both Velvet Revolver and Guns N' Roses, and often took a solo spot during Guns N' Roses shows singing the old punk song "Attitude."

"I'm very comfortable singing, for sure. I know what my range is," he said. "(But) we need a standalone singer, for sure. We need that rock guy."

As for his colleague Slash, Duff revealed that the guitarist is recording a solo project with guest vocalists, including Black Eyed Peas frontwoman Fergie.

McKagan rolled his eyes at the mention of the pop singer’s name, but said he "completely" supported Slash’s creative decisions.

Video footage of Loaded performing the song "Wasted Heart" on April 9, 2009 at the Crocodile in Seattle, Washington can be viewed below.

Loaded will support Motley Crue at several European dates this Summer.

Buy a Cease and Desist From Axl Rose

The following message was posted on the Download Festival Forums.
I found it via MyGNR:

I remember before Chinese Democracy came out the funniest thing about it was the random stories that came up.

My favourite was when The Zimmers (a novelty rock band of pensioners, lead singer 93-years old) joked in an interview that they were gonna call their album Chinese Democracy, because they'd probably be dead before Guns N' Roses released theirs.

Then crazy Axl "Corn" Rose actually had his management send out a Cease and Desist letter warning legal action against them if they used the album title.

The Zimmers backed down and called their album Lust For Life.

Now The Zimmers' manager Neil Reed is putting the Cease and Desist letter from Uncle Axl up for sale, with all proceeds going to help the aged.

For anyone who wants to bid before it goes up on ebay you can contact Neil Reed on his YouTube page.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good Morning America, How Are You?

What does it mean?

Well of course, Axl Rose is referencing the Steve Goodman folk song, City of New Orleans.

Good morning, America, how are you
Don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

In this writer's opinion, the album art above is a response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

What do you think?

Monday, April 13, 2009

BEST BUY Exclusive About to Expire?

Today we saw the arrival of the new album art for Chinese Democracy via the Rock Band 2 videogame.

The next likely move is the expiration of BEST BUY's exclusive on the record.

We'll see what happens next. A tour is definitely in the works.

Will we see a re-release of the album with enhanced artwork, a new booklet, the two alternate covers and an additional track ("Atlas Shrugged")?

Will we see the "Better" video?

When will we begin to see dates for the international tour?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Brain: "Axl Wants to put out a Remix Album"

Bryan "Brain" Mantia
Interpreting Chinese Democracy

by Robin Tolleson

Brain gets asked to do a lot of interesting things these days, like playing time on a wagon wheel while recording with Tom Waits in an abandoned country church, or keeping a drumkit set up for six years in a haunted Masonic hall while working on Guns N’ Roses’ long-awaited latest album, Chinese Democracy. “Those situations are kind of opposite, but in a sense they’re the same,” the drummer suggests. “They’re different scenarios, but they’re both overblown. Somehow I feel comfortable in those situations. I don’t do too many studio sessions where I just show up with my set and read a chart. I’m used to getting involved and being part of the production and the ridiculousness of whatever it is. I just gravitate more toward that.”

Mantia was born in 1964, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area town of Cupertino, and was first alerted to the skins by stickmen like John Bonham and the drummers of James Brown. He got serious in high school and cemented some chops at PIT in Hollywood, and in the late 1980s he played in the popular San Francisco party band Limbomaniacs. In the ’90s he hooked up with producer Bill Laswell for several interesting projects and did a stint with his longtime pal Les Claypool in Primus. Brain now lives in the Oakland hills with his wife and two-year-old daughter, near his recording space at Studio 880, where he spends time on turntables and traps.

Today Brain is developing a new funk project called SociaLibrium, and he hopes to be on the road this summer with Guns N’ Roses in support of Chinese Democracy.

MD: I’ve never heard anything quite like Tom Waits’ Real Gone album.

Brain: Yeah, it was Mark Ribot, me, Larry Taylor, and Tom. We recorded in this old…it was kind of a cross between a church and a barn. Tom says, “Show up at this place, this is where we’re going to do it.” I’m like, “Okay, is there a studio there? Should I call the studio owner?” He says, “Aw, no, nobody’s really there, there’s no phone service.” “Okay, is there a bathroom? A kitchen? Anything?”

Basically he just brought the studio in there. The producer kind of set it all up and made it pretty comfortable. We sat around and just started jamming. He’d come in with an idea and go, “Okay, so maybe it goes like….” He basically told me, “Don’t bring a drumset, don’t bring anything that you can buy at Guitar Center.” So I went to some pawnshops and some junkyards, grabbed whatever sounded cool, and brought it. And he has his own stuff. We’d make a drumkit out of, like, a manhole, a carburetor, maybe a traditional cymbal that was broken, a 1930s Ludwig 26" kick drum…. The snares were old, vintage, whatever was lying around. The other thing was, he asked me to bring hard leather-soled shoes. There was a bathroom that had a really nice-sounding ambience, and the tile on the floor sounded really good when you stomped on it. Most of the backbeats on that album were done by stomping on the bathroom floor.

MD: It definitely doesn’t sound like a traditional kit on Real Gone.

Brain: Tom had given me a cassette of him making all of these percussion sounds in his bathroom at like four in the morning. I took the cassette, blew it into Peak, which is a two-track editor, chopped it all up, and exported the WAV files. I have this program called MPC Maker, which allows you to create the programs on your Mac to put onto your MPC 3000. And so I just grabbed them, dragged and dropped them, threw them on the zip drive, and put them in my MPC. So when you hear [makes beatbox sounds] and all those weird vocal sounds, that was Tom. Next to the kit—which could have been me playing a log with a piece of metal in one hand and a mallet in the other—I also had the MPC 3000 with all those sounds set up. So that hip-hop-based beat stuff was me playing the MPC live—no programming—just live on the pads with his voice cut up from the cassette.

MD: It must have been quite a switch going from doing two takes per song with Tom, to the Guns N’ Roses album, which took about ten years to make.

Brain: [laughs] I think I have the record for my drums being set up for the longest time in any studio. I think they were set up at Village Recorders in Santa Monica for six years. Six years. That was another process entirely.

MD: How did you get into that situation, and what was that process like?

Brain: The Guns album was in the works for fifteen years. Matt Sorum started it, then Josh Freese did it for four or five years, and then Josh quit. Then [guitarist] Buckethead got in there, and he and I have been friends forever. He told me that Josh had quit and said, “Axl’s an awesome dude. You should come check it out.” So I went in there, and I didn’t hear back from them for a while. And then one day I remember Axl calling me and saying, “You know, if you want the gig you can have it, and you can still be on other stuff. You can still do Primus or whatever you want to do.”

MD: What were some of the more memorable things you recall about that session?

Brain: [Producer] Roy Thomas Baker drove us around L.A. in his Rolls Royce to try to find the exact drums that we wanted for the recording. We went to every company, and it wound up being a mash-up of all the best drums we could find around L.A. We pretty much gathered the most ridiculous kit you could ever have, to rerecord Josh’s parts. Josh had come up with some pretty good parts for the album. Axl was like, “Hey, I like what Josh did, so could we start out by you doing his parts, but with your feel? Because your feel’s different.” So I went over to Sony Music and found the dude who did their orchestrations for films and asked if he could transcribe the drums on the thirty songs. He’s like, “All right, yeah, I’ll let you know when they’re done.” He would do about six a month—literally these six-page drum transcriptions of what Josh had played.

So we brought all those drums into the main studio at Village, where Fleetwood Mac recorded Tusk. I set up and started playing, and I was like, “Wait a second, man. We’re doing Guns N’ Roses here.”

I talked to Jeff Greenberg, the owner, and said, “Jeff, man, we gotta have something better than this. I mean the room sounds great and this is cool, but you just had, like, Kenny G in here. We gotta get a vibe.”

He tells me there’s an old haunted Masonic temple upstairs where the Masons would give their speeches, and nobody ever goes up there. It was a theater. So we go up, he opens the door, and I’m thinking, We’ve got to set up here. We found the sweet spot and I set up the drums there…and that’s where they stayed for six years.

This was a Guns N’ Roses album — it had to be overblown.

I wasn't going to just sit in the studio. I was kind of coming from the school of Tom Waits. One of the best studios I ever recorded in was Bill Laswell’s Geenpoint Studio, just an open cement building, and the only baffling that he had were these little foam pillars, and it sounded amazing. We recorded the first Praxis album there, with Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins. Bucket, and Ali from The Jungle Brothers, and it was the best -the drums sounded killer. I was using Steve Jordan's Yamahas, and they just sounded incredible. It sounded so much better than the studios I had worked in, which were built for acoustics. So going into the Guns thing, it just felt like we had to do something better that what you'd normally get in a studio that's built to sound good. All of a sudden them was a vibe, and it clicked. I got the album then. I started getting what the drums should sound like. Josh's drums were kind of tight and precise, and we loosened it up. The sound became a little bigger, a little sloppier. And that became more of what the album is now.

MD: What were you guys listening to while you recorded your stuff?

Brain: We listened to some prerecorded tracks that Josh had already played on. Sometimes we did some stuff all together, but most of it was done when there were already bass and guitar tracks. And whatever feel that we put on it, maybe they'd go back and re-record to that. I took one song at a time, learned each as an orchestra piece literally note for note, every fill, every crazy thing. I replayed it with my feel and the new sound in the new building. And that process happened for a few songs, so it took a while. After that was done Axl said, “Okay, that was cool, now do your thing.” So I went in, forgot all of what I'd just done, and did my thing, and I think it became a combination of both. In the end I redid it again by kind or doing half my thing and some of what I remembered from Josh's original drum parts. We were also writing as a new band with me and Bucket. We had some songs that we started from scratch, where I just recorded myself without charts.

MD: It sounds like some different kits were used on Chinese Democracy

Brain: It was a constant sound thing. Each song started from scratch, so it was like. "Okay. here's 'Madagascar.' This DW 13” tom, a Timeless Timber model that my drum tech had - sounds huge. And it sounds really great with this Gretsch floor tom. And this aluminum DW snare sounds great with this particular setup...." Then, next song… “Okay, this is a tighter kick drum, let's use this one.” And every cymbal would change. That was fun. Like I said, I’m kind of a studio tweaker, and it was fun to be able to do that. We had the budget, so I was like, lets just do this. When am I ever going to get a chance to do this again?

At one point I probably had four snares lined up on the ground...twenty different kick drums…cymbals just thrown all over the place - it was insane. But then I’ve got pictures of the Tom Waits thing, and it's the same thing, but it's just junk. All of the great albums that I’ve been lucky enough to play on have always had that kind of overblown type of tweaking. I feel comfortable and at home when it's like that. I was a chameleon or every song, just like on the Tom Waits stuff. Every song I was like, Okay, now I'm this, now we're in this situation.

MD: And like you said, by nature a Guns N’ Roses recording has to be over the top.

Brain: Yeah, it's that rock 'n' roll thing, which I guess everybody wants to live at one point. I figured that was my chance to live it. But I'm studio geek, so I had to live it in the studio. I'm not really a rock star in that way, you know. l'm not going to go pose in front of a plane – I’m just going to tweak on fifty different snares.

MD: You must have recorded to a click with Guns N’ Roses.

Brain: Oh, yeah, we definitely used a click, and even live on some of the new songs I'll play to a click. We don't really have any backing tracks - though if there's something that we can't re-create they might add that. "Riad N' the Bedouins” and “Madagascar”
are done with clicks Iive because they start with loops. In the studio I think everything was done to a click.

Now, with Tom Waits, if you ever mention that, I dont think he'd be in the room. There's no such thing, ever. And if they‘re going to splice something together, it's done with a razor blade. I don't think Pro Tools is allowed with him.

MD: You always manage to make a groove swing, even on a driving rock tune like “Shackler's Revenge” off Chinese Democracy.

Brain: Yeah, I’ve always been a fan of Mitch Mitchell and John Bonham. Then there’s Bernhard Purdie, I’d listen to a lot of R&B, a lot of Stax recordings. My dad was heavy into Curtis Mayfield and Shuggie Otis when I was growing up, and he'd play those records all the time. He took me to the Keystone Korner to see Tony Williams when I was really young, and I think I gravitated toward that kind of swing and groove. I think [Josh] Freese is the precise, technically proficient, perfect kind of punk drummer - I saw him with Nine Inch Nails recently and it was incredible. He was killing it. But my style is a little looser, and I've always had that kind of swing to my feel, even if it's rock. I just hear music that way. I think that’s what Axl heard and thought. Okay, Brain puts the pocket in a different slot, a different place.

“Shackler’s” was a song that Bucket and I wrote a Iong time ago, just jamming. Axl asked if anybody had any songs or grooves, so we brought that in. It was a riff that we'd been jamming on since the Praxis days with Bill and Bootsy and Bernie. Axl loved it and put some lyrics to it, and it became “Shackler's.” That one might have more of a swing because it came more from me.

MD: The tune “Better,” and several others, list you and Frank Ferrer as the drummers. How did it come about that you now share the drum chair in Guns N' Roses?

Brain: I was having a baby girl at the beginning of a tour in ’06, and l told them before I started that I would have to leave early. I got Frank Ferrer, who had played with [Guns guitarist and bassist] Richard Fortus and Tommy Stinson, to fill in, and that was cool. When I got home, I was kind of diggin’ being home. The album wasn't out yet, and Frank was doing a great job and I was getting a lot of production gigs just staying home. I'm really into computers and music, and I have my own studio. I rent a room at Studio 880,and I built this MIDI studio with all these MPCs and outboard gear, and I just started doing production - commercials for TV, that kind of stuff. And I kept getting more and more gigs and making almost as much money doing that as I was from touring and being a drummer. I also started taking theory lessons, piano lessons, ear training, computer and music lesson, going that route.

When I left I was only supposed to be gone for two weeks, and then that turned into a month, and then that turned into three months, because I was getting a lot of studio work. "Hey, can you do this Gatorade commercial?” “Hey, we’ve got this Best Buy commercial." Write the music or make the beat for this...." I do a lot of work with Bootsy Collins on that side of things, the commercials and stuff. “Hey Brain, can you put a beat to this?” We're working on a Gatorade commercial right now. I’ve been a Bootsy fan for years, so I'm just honored to be working with him on any level. Anyway,
I started doing more of that, so I was like, “Hey Frank, I’m kind of doing this and they're digging your playing. Would you mind hanging out and staying?”

He was thrilled - "Oh, man, this is the greatest gig in the world. I’m so happy, this is awesome." And nobody else in the band was complaining, though they were like, "Well, are you ever coming back?" I told them, “Well, yeah, we’ll see what’s going on, but right now let Frank do it" Frank is more rock. He's more like the original Guns N' Roses drummer [Steven Adler], which is more like straight-up rock, open hi-hat bashing, hitting as hard as you can.

So I think Axl wins like, “Hey. Frank plays this way, let him play the chorus to 'Better,’ because that's supposed to be open. Let’s see what it sounds like.” So I think it's me playing all the way up to the chorus, then it's Frank in the chorus, and then it goes back to me. We never actually played together. It was all done after the fact. I asked the engineer how much Frank is on it, and he said, “It’s mainly you, with Frank playing a chorus here or a bridge there.” So that’s why I'm listed first on those tracks.

MD: I like the way it goes to the toms on the chorus

Brain: That song was brought in after Josh and was written by the band. It was Robin Finck's song. We jammed it for a couple weeks, and then went into the studio and recorded it. So that tom part was kind of written by me more than Frank, but it could be Frank playing it because he plays more bombastic. Or … oh, who knows.

MD: The tune "Scraped” is a vicious groove, and it sounds like you’re playing of the guitar a lot as well as staying with the bass.

Brain: That's another Buekethead song, I was keying off the guitar riff- we've been playing that style for years, so when he came in with the riff I knew what to do. Bucket and I have been playing for twenty years now. Before I was even in Primus, Joe Gore, the editor of Guitar Player, turned me on to him. We've been playing together since Bill Laswell and Praxis. So to get into that song was so simple - right away I hear his style, and I know what to play and what to feel.

MD: I love the groove where you're playing quarter notes with your right hand and there's other stuff going on with your other limbs. It feels slow, but fast at the same time.

Brain: Yeah, that’s based off some Zeppelin-type licks. I noticed with Bonham that he’ll play something straight up top and then it'll be kind of busy underneath. But that straight thing in the hi-hat kind of keeps it together, holds it back and makes it bigger sounding than it really is. From the beginning, the reason I played music was from watching [the Led Zeppelin concert movie] The Song Remains the Same, and that Bonham style was one of my first influences. And that song in particular and that feel are kind of based on that.

MD: "Madagascar" is another tune with some great grooves.

Brain: Yeah, it’s got that Bonham thing too, the big long fills. The loop at the beginning I just created from the MPC. Then we went into the main parts where Axl comes in, and that's when we added the drums, played live. It was the first we we had the drums set up in that theater, and it just sounded really Bonham-esque. In the spoken-word section we took away the baffles and had it completely opened up because we wanted it bigger. That’s totally my style and the way I like to play. I was just biting off Bonham the whole time on that track.

MD: You've brought Guns N' Roses up to the minute with these drum tracks, like the break-beat intro before the big grooves come in.

Brain: Axl is really interested in having everybody bring what they do into the picture. I just did a remix of "Shackler’s,” - made it kind of more club. And I think he wants to put out a remx album of some of the other songs we did. The great thing is he lets you do what you do. He still has the final say and wants it to work as a Guns N’ Roses cut. But he definitely will let you stretch it out in that way, and I think that’s where my influenes come in. I listen to a lot hip-hop and R&B. I listen to all of Questlove's productions. Every time a Roots album comes out I'm in line at the store, I’m still a fan that way.

MD: I’ve never seen three people credited for a drum arrangement before on an album.

Brain: I think Axl really went back and thought about who added what where, and gave people credit for it. It's incredible. He wants me to add what I know about modem music and what I'm into. I’m not just a rock dude. Somehow I get the rock gigs, but I really listen to every style, and I'm on top of of whatever's happening in hip-hop and R&B.

MD: That leads to me the topic of your new funk band. SociaLibrium, with Bernie Worrell, T.M Stevens, and Blackbyrd McKnight.

Brain: Blackbyrd is the closest thing to Jimi Hendrix that you're going to run into. And Bernie is the Jimi Hendrix of the keyboards. I don't know who's heavier than Bernie as musician, or anybody that I could pick right now, other than Prince that I'd like to play with. We did a gig in San Francisco and we were learning some old songs and revamping them. Everybody brought in some jams that they had played before, some Praxis ones that Bernie and I had played, T.M. brought in some, Blackbyrd brought in some of his stuff. We listened to it very quickly and decided: Let's make this a band. Don't copy... don't learn "Super Stupid" or “Red Hot Mama" the same way they were played on the albums. It would be more about, which way would you play it, what is your favorite beat right now, or what are you listening to? Just play a beat.

So we just made up new grooves, and then those started morphing into more jamiming, almost like the band-jam thing, but more Miles-y. I love the’70s miles stuff. Agharta - I’m a huge fan of that. Al Foster. I love the open hi-hat rawness, and the fact that it’s these jazz people trying to play rock and twisting it in a weird way. So anyway, it started to get more into that, and I can't tell you how awesome it's been. Musically, I’ve been so happy … I hope we can make an album and continue it. Because I really see this thing stretching into that Miles side, and that's my favorite stuff.

MD: You’re also into selling your own beats these days.

Brain: I started the web site and before that I made a beat DVD with Big Fish Audio, Pro-tools 24-bit. I just went to a studio, played all my grooves, and did a deal just selling it for producers, people who just want to have the tempo. Now with time stretching and stuff it can pretty much he any tempo, but back when I made it I had specific tempos and specific grooves. Now, I am trying to do that on my own through my site, just because I have a whole HD Pro-tools rig in the studio and a place to play the drums. So every time I get bored I just make a new beat. I flip it, do some weird stuff to it, and then try to sell it. I'll probably make another DVD set. hopefully through Big Fish and try to sell that to producers and stuff. I'm really trying to get more into the production side.

My heroes in drumming have been the John Bonhams, the Keith Moons. the Tony Williamses. But in terms of longevity and having a career it's been more about Stewart Copeland and Narada Michael Walden, the people that have gone from drumming into production...and into doing soundtracks and writing songs. So during that whole Chinese period I was studying up on technology, reading evert music magazine that I could get my hands on that had to do with Iogic, taking private lessons, and just learning everything I could about that stuff.

I'm just starting to do what Questlove is doing, but I really enjoy that. I enjoy tweaking on a kick drum for six hours, playing with sounds and synths and learning how synthesis works. After taking the two years off front play ing live since my kid was born, I kind of miss playing now. The SociaLibrium thing was kind of like, "Man! -- you know, getting that rush, that kind of Zen feeling of being on stage and just being comfortable in what you're doing. I don't know if I just want to be a road dog for the rest of my life. Doing a little bit of both is where I'm trying to head.

Modern Drummer
Thanks to GypsySoul at HTGTH for the scans!

What an awesome article!

Chinese Democracy Coming to Rock Band 2


Next week’s Rock Band Music Store lineup will feature 13 songs from Chinese Democracy. With "Shackler’s Revenge" from Chinese Democracy already featured on the Rock Band 2 soundtrack, the DLC album includes the following tracks:

Chinese Democracy
Street of Dreams
If the World
There Was a Time
Catcher in the Rye
Riad N’ the Bedouins
This I Love

(All tracks are original master recordings)

The tracks will be available for purchase as an album or individual tracks for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 system. The tracks will be available for purchase as individual tracks only for Wii.

Release Date:
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Official Announcement

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Duff "Can't Give Any Sort of Timeline at All"

Duff McKagan recently spoke to Billboard about Velvet Revolver's search for a new vocalist.

"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."

Talking to about sacked singer Scott Weiland, Duff said that he and his Velvet Revolver bandmates kicked the frontman out of the group when it became clear Weiland couldn't stay away from drink and drugs.

"There is a part of him that I became friends with. He's a really good guy and funny. I know that guy is there somewhere. It just got lost again. We tried to pull Scott back, but we couldn't. When he's into that other side, it's not cool. It's not friendly. You try to help, but then after a while you realise you can't."

Duff's other band, Loaded, kicks off their 3 month world tour in their home city of Seattle tonight at The Crocodile.

Related: A Message From Slash

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Slash, Ozzy, Ron Wood & Jason Bonham!

According to the Norwegian paper, Bergens Tidende, Slash will be joined by friends, Ozzy Osbourne, Ron Wood and Jason Bonham at Oslo's Quart Festival on June 30, 2009.

Now that's a lineup I'd pay to see!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Izzy Stradlin is 47

Izzy Stradlin was born Jeffery Dean Isbell on April 8, 1962 in Lafayette, Indiana.

He was a childhood friend of Axl Rose.

Rose later who followed Izzy to Los Angeles where they played together in the bands A.X.L., Hollywood Rose, and of course Guns N' Roses.

Izzy played rhythm guitar, and wrote many of the band's most well-known songs, including the hits "Patience" and "You Could Be Mine."

Izzy left GN'R in 1991 to begin his solo career. He went on to release 9 albums and 2 EPs in the ensuing years.

His most recent effort, Concrete, is available exclusively at the iTunes music store.

You can learn more about Izzy on the [un]Official fansite

Izzy - We Love You - Happy Freakin' Birthday, Man

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chinese Democracy World Tour 2009

I hear that GN'R have moved into phase 2 of their rehearsals for the Chinese Democracy World Tour.

The band spent half of February and all of March auditioning guitarists in a rehearsal studio in beautiful downtown Burbank.

As we know former Sixx AM guitarist DJ Ashba landed the gig.

As of today, phase 2 has begun and the band is putting together their stage show in an nearby arena.

Preperations for the tour are definitely underway, and we have every reason to believe the other rumors we've heard so far are true.

As expected, the setlist will contain a mixture of old and new songs, including "Prostitute."

Loaded's Seattle Gig to be Filmed by Playboy

Blabbermouth is reporting that Loaded's April 9 Seattle Gig will be filmed by Playboy.

The band is kicking off their 3 month world tour in their home city at The Crocodile. Tickets are $10.

The band will play and answer your questions on the April 8 edition of the nationally-syndicated radio program Rockline.

April 7 sees the release of the band's third full-length album, Sick.

You can check out the band's complete tourdates here.

Their new video for "Flatline" is embedded below.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Message From Slash

Hey gang, what's happening?

Things are going fantastic in the studio, Josh Freese & Chris Chaney are one hell of a rhythm machine & the guitar sound is FAT! "Fucking Awesome Tone!"

All is going perfect so far. We start recording vocals today & I'm really excited about working with this particular individual, its going to be quite an event.

In reading your mail I find that I've been receiving a lot of questions about VR. Mostly about if we have found a new singer & if we're going to tour again. In response to the former, no we haven't found a singer yet.

There was a lot of talk about our announcing a new singer in March but it obviously didn't happen. We had somebody that we thought was a really good candidate, but it just wasn't meant to be. So, we're still looking. In response to the latter question, of course VR is going to tour again, we just have to find the right person to front the band. We have a bunch of new material & we're all anxious to get going, but the key ingredient for a rock & roll band such as VR is an amazing frontman, & we haven't found the right man for the job, yet.

As far as upcoming events, I'll be playing the Quart Fest in Norway, June 30th with special guests. Also, I will be doing a few big shows TBA in support of my solo album at some point. I'm sure there will be some other gigs here & there as well, so stay tuned.

I think that pretty much covers it for now, VR is still looking for a lead vocalist & I'm busy in the studio getting this record together. Hopefully by the time I'm done with my record, Velvet Revolver will be announcing some new plans, if not before. R & F'n R! /,,/