Saturday, October 22, 2011

United States vs. Kevin Cogill

On or about June 18, 2008, defendant received unauthorized copies of songs purporting to be nine musical tracks from the album Chinese Democracy performed by the rock bank Guns N’ Roses. A valid United States Copyright existed on each of the nine songs of the Chinese Democracy album, which on June 18, 2008, had not yet been released but was being prepared for commercial release by Guns N’ Roses and Universal Music Group’s Interscope-Geffen-A&M records (the record label).

Within minutes of receiving the unauthorized tracks, Mr. Cogill uploaded the tracks to his Internet website The tracks were not made available for downloading but only for listening in real time by a streaming player. At the time, Mr. Cogill was aware that the musical tracks were protected under United States copyright
laws, and he was aware that he did not have authorization to upload the songs over the Internet and that to do so was illegal.

To view the rest of the documents click HERE.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brent Fitz on recording Slash's new album

Anyone who saw Slash during his 2011 UK tour will surely agree that drummer Brent Fitz made the position completely his own, playing beats originally laid down by everyone from Josh Freese and Steve Ferrone to Steven Adler and Matt Sorum with a huge slice of style.

Slash obviously thinks so too because Fitz has come off the road with the top-hatted guitar ace and headed into the studio to record the former Guns N' Roses man's brand new album.

While he was over in the UK earlier this year we sat down backstage with Brent to talk about writing, recording and touring with the rock legend, hitting the clinic circuit and how his bass playing skills saved the day while on the road with Slash.

How are things shaping up with the new Slash album?

"Basically Slash has a lot of great ideas and he and Myles have been putting riffs and melodies together and the rest of us have been jamming in soundchecks. It's kind of like, I hate to say the old school way, but there's a lot of ways to record new music these days and instead of just going to the studio and creating something and then it becomes a ProTools adventure this is more of coming up with a cool guitar part, a good melody and then as a band we come in and come up with ideas."

"This will be the band that has been touring for the last year and a half, I think it will translate well. It will be a team effort with everyone's contribution as a band."
What are the challenges for you as a drummer?

"The cool thing as a drummer is that Slash already has an idea of what he's feeling or hearing. I really like working with other musicians that say, 'I'm hearing this, what do you think?' Nothing's ever written in stone."

And this time it'll be one band as opposed to lots of guest stars?

"I think this band is going to make a record as opposed to Slash's last record which I don't think he knew what he was getting into yet. He had a bunch of songs and heard a bunch of singers he wanted to sing on it and of course he had a great drummer in Josh Freese and Steve Ferrone was on it and Steven Adler. This will be the band that has been touring for the last year and a half, I think it will translate well. It will be a team effort with everyone's contribution as a band. It's not just the Slash and Myles project. Even though it's Slash's name on the marquee I think we've created a band. Slash has created a band. We're just all part of it."

Are there any plans set in stone for writing new material?

"I think we'll just do little spurts of writing. There's no real pressure which is great. Slash is full of great music so we'll take our time piecing it together. I'm hearing December so I'm sure early next year they'll definitely be some recording and a record released and then maybe next summer we'll be back on the road. I don't like to sit away at home not doing much. That's why clinics are great, because I get to get out and as drummers we've got to keep our chops up. I live in Vegas, it's not like I'll join some show band on the Strip. You won't find me backing Celine Dion."

Your versatility keeps you busy though

"I play guitar, bass and piano as well so I like playing other gigs too. I played bass with Slash on a show. I had to play in Russia when our bass player had to be flown home with a detached retina. I was able to move over to bass that night and our drum tech John Douglas moved to drums. I don't think Slash knew I played all these instruments. One of the reasons I got the Slash gig was I was introduced to some people in his camp through a show I was doing in Vegas called Monster Circus. Fred Coury was on drums and I got called at the last minute to play keyboards and guitar. Dave Kushner from Velvet Revolver was one of the guitar players. Dave and I became friends. Then I got the call to play with Slash and we did the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Dave saw the show and was like, 'I didn't know you played drums!' I love those kinds of things."

"...clinics are great, because I get to get out and as drummers we've got to keep our chops up. I live in Vegas, it's not like I'll join some show band on the Strip. You won't find me backing Celine Dion."

What kind of set-up will you be using in the studio?

"I would say what happens when producers get you in the studio and they're really set on, 'Hey this kit has been working on these ten great records, why don't you try this kit first?' I'm not adverse to trying a studio kit. Rick Valentine is Slash's producer, he's done a lot of great records and one of my favourite drum sounds is Songs For The Deaf, that is Eric Valentine right there. You totally hear it on Slash's record too. It's probably that one kit that has a certain magic. I'm going to start with that kit and see how it goes."

What did you think of the drum sound on the last Slash record?

"Slash's record reminds me of an AC/DC record that everybody's been trying to recreate. It seems like there's been a few records for drummers that everyone goes back to, like great Zeppelin albums, great AC/DC for that meat and potatoes rock sound. I would say the sound that Slash got on his last record was very similar to Back In Black, not identical but just enough. Snare drums that sound deep and fat as opposed to a lot of snares that sound like they're out of context with rock music. You hear a snare drum that's tuned so high it's not finding it's place in the mix. If you listen to Appetite for Destruction there's a perfect drum sound. I'd say if we could go back and get something like that, it was perfect then so let's bring it to now."

You can read the full interview HERE

Domino Records v. Interscope Geffen A & M Records [Schnauss v. "Guns N' Roses"]

This dispute is interesting because the musical material in question has no melody – i.e., the lynchpin for virtually every music copyright infringement claim. The two complaining numbers – collections of electronically produced sounds organized by Ulrich Schnauss – sound like the output of a jazzy white noise machine. The plaintiffs have claimed that the Geffen (ka-ching! la vache américaine) recording (i.e. “Guns N’ Roses’”) made unauthorized use of samples of the plaintiff’s two numbers. If, in fact, the defendants used a snippet of Schnauss’s recordings of “blips, bloops and bleeps” (as his music was characterized by the Guardian, 6 Oct. ’09) should this be almost automatically deemed infringement as the Sixth Circuit court established in Bridgeport Music (a well-known sampling case from 2007) regardless of the minimal musical content involved?

Music seems to have relatively little to do with the commercial appeal of numbers like "Riad 'N the Bedouins". Rather, the twaddle of the Axl Rose song that alludes vaguely to war in the Middle East offers seductive aromas of anarchy and violence to be enjoyed by pimply boys from armchairs of Middle America. One can only infer from the many photos of Mr. Rose posted on the Web that his physiognomy is a significant element in marketing his act and, like contestants on America's Top Model, he spends an extraordinary amount of time primping before mirrors, and rehearsing a repertory of poses, rather than on matters like the source of the electronic sounds that accompany the numbers he performs.

Here is a copy of the plaintiff's complaint (2 October 2009). It includes appendices of copies of copyright registrations filed on behalf of Schnauss's work, and the letter sent to Geffen by plaintiffs in February of 2009: Schnauss Complaint.pdf

Stephen Malkmus says "Guns N' Roses More Important than Nirvana"

I heard you were just in U2’s studio doing an LA Guns song?

That’s true, I don’t know how that got out. It’s not U2’s studio, but it’s a place they recorded recently. Some of their gear was lying around there supposedly. I don’t know what the deal was with the studio, it was kind of a cryptic place — that was the only thing cryptic was that U2 had been there.

Do you have kind of an obsession with LA Guns? I heard that you almost named your new album LA Guns, too. What is it about that band?

Like the videos and the rocking on the cars and the Sunset Strip and the will to power. If you have the will to power to make it on the strip you can make it, even with very few songs. You can just, like, evoke the Sunset Strip lifestyle and just be it and you are it, you know? I guess Juliana Hatfield said it perfectly: “Become what you are.” LA Guns embody that, you know? It’s just pretty amazing. You have to watch a lot their videos and look at their cover art and just stare at it. But don’t listen... So I was saying, I just stare at the covers while I look at the videos, just turn the sound down. It’s just LA. Tracii Guns was there when Guns N' Roses were founded. He met Axl Rose on the strip. He was just walking by the Whiskey or something, a couple of strippers on each of their arms. Or they bumped into each other, maybe at Guitar Center. I’m not really sure, but anyway, they were like “you’re guns, I’m roses.” And that’s how the band was made. And Guns N' Roses, obviously, is a much more important band than Nirvana in music history. Everyone is championing this band Nirvana, who is just like a pale imitation of Guns N Roses, really.

Do you really believe that?

Yes, absolutely. I do believe it. And I know that Guns N' Roses are much better than Nirvana, there’s no doubt about that. But I can name like 700 bands that were better than Nirvana that were from that year. So.

Are you not a Nirvana fan?

No, I love ‘em. I just think that LA Guns are there at ground zero at this very important time that we used to celebrate. And now people sort of make fun of people, they make fun of David Lee Roth and the party times and the good times. I was there in the ‘80s—I was there to experience it. That’s why I named the title LA Guns [the actual album title is Mirror Traffic].

But it doesn’t seem like you strive for the overkill and the grandeur of that era.

I know, but it was different times, you know? We were all just after — all we wanted, all of us, just wanted drugs and girls and money. There’s different ways to get there. Stand-up comedians do it one way. And in the ‘90s it was a different game. There was the rise of the indie girl. To get her, you could not play Guns N' Roses music. Not to mention the fact that there was also the rise of boob jobs, which I am not a fan of. And so indie girls were the way to go, so we made music to cater to them.

Read the full interview here:

Duff: I Was Born in Seattle. GN'R Became a Band on a Tour Back Home

​The following is an excerpt from Duff McKagan's memoir, It's So Easy: And Other Lies, out now via Simon & Schuster. McKagan reads at the University Bookstore at 7 pm Weds, October 19; Lake Forest Park's Third Place Books at 7 pm Thurs, October 20; and at Seattle University at 7:30 pm Fri, October 21. He performs at the Neptune at 9:30 pm October 20

On Thursday, June 6, 1985, we played our first live show with the Appetite for Destruction lineup. The bill at the Troubadour in West Hollywood included Fineline, Mistreater, and, at the very bottom, Guns N' Roses. Slash's high school friend Marc Canter--he turned out to be part of the family that ran Canter's Deli--came and shot pictures. He made prints of each of us the next day so we'd have head shots to put up in the places we played on our tour. That was Friday.

On Saturday, June 8, Izzy Stradlin, Axl Rose, Slash, Steven Adler, and I got together to set out for Seattle, a happy bunch of malcontents about to hit the road in search of rock-and-roll glory, ready to live by our wits in order to prove ourselves and our musical vision--or not. At the very least we thought we had real musical chemistry. That much was obvious even before the tour started.

A friend of ours named Danny had a huge Buick LeSabre with a powerful 455 big-block V-8 engine and a trailer hitch. Seven of us crammed into the car that Saturday afternoon: the five of us in the band, plus Danny and another friend, Joe-Joe, who had signed up to serve as roadies. These guys would go to the mat for us, really solid friends, and we were glad they, too, had not blinked an eye in the face of the uncertainties of a no-budget road trip. We rented a U-Haul trailer to carry our gear behind the LeSabre. Our plan was to drive straight through to Seattle--it would take something like twenty-one hours--and arrive there at some point on Sunday. My buddy Donner was going to let us crash at his house the first few nights before our show that Wednesday.

As we rose up out of the "Grapevine," a writhing section of Interstate 5 just south of Bakersfield, California, the car started to hiccup and cough and rebel against the weight it had to shoulder in the blazing late-afternoon heat of the San Joaquin Valley. By the time we passed Bakersfield, a mere 105 miles out of L.A., Danny's car up and died. A passing motorist stopped and tried to help, but the best he could do for us was to go to the next gas station and call AAA. The hope of grilling burgers the next evening in Donner's backyard quickly faded with the realization that Danny's car was going nowhere at all until it had some major work.

We were broke, hungry, and sweltering, hunkered down on the side of the highway. Dusk slowly descended but the heat didn't break. When the tow truck showed up, the mechanic was a bit put off to find a whole gang of sweaty, skinny rock guys who wanted to ride in his truck. We ended up walking to the next off-ramp, where there was a truck stop and gas station.

At that point, removed from the whizzing cars, we took stock of the situation. It was the middle of the night. We had thirty-seven dollars between us. If we went back to L.A., we would obviously not be doing this tour. That was not an option, regardless of our current dilemma. We decided that the five of us--along with three guitars--should hitchhike, continuing north while Danny and Joe tried to get the car fixed. They could then catch up, uniting us with our gear either along the way or in Seattle.

I called Kim Warnick of the Fastbacks from the gas station. Our first gig in Seattle was opening for them. I began to explain the situation. Actually I had to go back further and fill her in on the lineup change that had taken place since I set up the show.

"So Izzy, Axl, and I convinced Slash--"

"Izzy, Axl, Slash--and Duff," she said. "What kind of names are those?"

"Well, there is a guy named Steven."

She said it would be no problem for us to use the Fastbacks' gear if Danny wasn't able to get up there in time. Okay, that part was taken care of and now it was time to find a ride, someone willing to transport five guys and their guitars--a tall order for sure.

We knew it was going to be tough to hitchhike in such a big group. To make clear the magnitude of the task at hand, I should add that even though I was in my full-length leather pimp coat, I was not the most menacing- looking among us. Even someone who'd be willing to stop for one bedraggled rocker would never take us all. So we decided to try to catch a ride with a northbound trucker. Truckers had those big empty sleeper cabs and would surely love to have some company, right? Someone to talk to on that long and lonely stretch of I-5 that runs up through California's agricultural outback.

We approached several truck drivers and finally found one willing to give us a lift as far as Medford, Oregon, in exchange for our pooled cash. That was his end destination, and for us it was six hundred miles closer to our first out-of-town gig. It was a win for both parties: he would get thirty-seven bucks and we would be heading north at highway speeds.

It was obvious right from the start that this particular trucker was a speed-freak, and that our thirty-seven dollars would be used to supplement his habit. He had probably already been up for a few days, and riding with him in that state in a huge semi truck was a risky endeavor. Fuck it. We were on a mission. Do or die, we were going to make it to Seattle.

I was hoping Kim would spread the word in Seattle that we had broken down and were on the road without a car. Maybe someone would be willing to come down to Portland to pick us up if we made it that far on our own. For now, we piled into the eighteen-wheeler, guitars and all. The other four guys climbed into the sleeper cab. It was tight. I rode shotgun in the passenger seat up front.

The guy couldn't believe our story.

"Let me get this straight," he said. "You guys are fucking hitchhiking to a gig--a thousand miles away?"

"Yep," I said.

"And you don't have any equipment--or even any food?"

"Well, yeah, but our equipment . . . "

"I don't mean to sound like a prick, but, I mean, can't you play anywhere in Los Angeles?"

I tried to explain the swashbuckling magic of playing to strangers, in strange places, us-against-them, us-against-the-world . . . winning over listeners a few at a time.

He shrugged.

The drug-induced sleep deprivation started to take its toll on our driver about two hundred miles into the drive. By the time we hit Sacramento in the morning, he said he needed to rest his eyes and clear his head of the speed demons. It was okay with me. I had been talking with the dude for this first part of the ride and noticed that he kept looking into his sideview mirrors and sort of jumping around in his seat. This kind of stuff happens when you don't sleep for several days. I had a little bit of experience with speed from my teenage years, enough to know what was happening to the driver.

Sacramento sits at the top of the arid central California valley--the area became a center of agriculture only with the aid of intense irrigation. When it's hot in the valley, Sacramento always has the highest temperatures. Our venture into the valley coincided with an absolutely scorching heat wave. Now, for some reason, the driver stopped in front of the state capitol building.

"All right, boys, I'm going to need you to hop out here." We didn't know what to say, and were in no position to argue anyway. "I've got to take care of something," said the driver. "But I'll be back for you, don't worry." Yeah, right. I was convinced our driver had just tricked us and left us behind. I'm sure the rest of the guys shared the same suspicion. We were left sitting on the curb.

No one said a word. No one even made a face, sighed, or raised an eyebrow.

As we sat there in front of the capitol, wilting in the heat, exposed to the intense sun, it became clear: as of this moment, Guns N' Roses was no longer a band, but the band--our band. These are my fucking boys-- they're willing to fight through anything. I already knew this trip had set a new benchmark for what we were capable of, what we could and would put ourselves through to achieve our goals as a band. This band became a brotherhood under that oppressive Sacramento sun. Fuck yeah!

Then, as I sat there silently rhapsodizing about my friends and our collective determination, the eighteen-wheeler suddenly pulled up and the driver nodded.

"Let's roll, boys," he said. He had actually come back to pick us up. Unbelievable. "You have a fucking show to get to!" he said. I hopped back in the passenger seat. He was cranked out of his mind.

He must have dropped us off to go score some more speed, and to this day I have no idea how, in that state, he remembered to come back for us. That afternoon, just after Redding, I cautiously suggested we pull over at the next rest stop and take a break. I could see it was getting even more dangerous being in a huge moving vehicle with him. He had huge black circles under his eyes and he was sweating profusely. By some miracle, he agreed--and he actually slept there for a few hours while we just hung out nearby, trying to be as quiet as possible. We had no money for booze or food. I'm not sure what Izzy had with him, but he wasn't showing any signs of withdrawal yet. After the driver came to, he took us the final hundred and fifty miles up to Medford. "I'm actually sorry I can't take you any farther," he said. "Shit, I might even try to make it up there myself on Wednesday for your show."

It was now Sunday evening. We found a pay phone to check in with our contact person in L.A., who Danny was supposed to call with an update on the broken-down car. Danny hadn't been able to get the car fixed yet. The replacement part would have to be shipped down to Bakersfield from San Francisco on a business day.

With no money left, our only hope now was to straight-up hitchhike on the side of the freeway. From a less determined perspective, it would have seemed a hopeless long shot that anyone would pick up five fucked-up-looking guys with their guitars--if anyone even had enough space. But we didn't see it that way at all then. We just had no alternative.

After only about forty-five minutes, a Mexican farmworker in a Datsun compact pickup pulled over to give us a ride. In broken English, he made us understand that he was going only as far as Eugene, Oregon, but that we were welcome to pile into the back. After only a few miles, it became painfully obvious to us that this ride would not last. The little pickup couldn't bear the weight; the wheel wells kept pressing down on the back tires and began to take rubber right off of them. Our victorious feeling from just moments earlier sank as the man pulled over to drop us off. I will never forget how apologetic he was. I hope to this day he realized how grateful we were to him for at least trying to help us.

Back on the side of the road, we started to walk while we thumbed. I knew how far it was to the next town because I had driven back and forth from Seattle to San Francisco more than a few times on tours; it was too far to walk, that's for sure. But as driven as we were at that point, we thought at least we would be making headway. So we walked.

Eventually we found ourselves in the middle of an onion field. When you're hungry and don't know where and when your next meal is coming, you can eat almost anything. Those were the best damn onions I've ever eaten. At that moment they tasted as sweet as apples.

After a few more hours of walking, I was only slightly aware of the passing cars. No one was going to pick us up, I thought to myself. My hope was that maybe we would come to a farmhouse with a phone and I could call Donner or Kim up in Seattle. Maybe someone would be able to come get us.

By morning, I was so fucking hungry and thirsty. We all were. Just then, a full-size pickup swerved to the side of the road and stopped in front of us. Two women in their mid-thirties told us to get in the back. They were sorry, they said, and explained they had passed us without picking us up when they first saw us. They were scared. But then they had talked about the way they, too, had been passed so many times on the roadside as hippies back in the early 1970s; they scolded each other, turned around at the next exit, and came back for us.

They asked us if we were hungry. We were. They asked us if we were thirsty. We were. They asked us if we were broke. We were. They pulled over at the next gas station, bought us sandwiches and beer, and told us they could take us all the way up to Portland. Almost three hundred miles! These women were like angels sent from heaven. Food and drink never tasted so fucking good. Friendship from strangers couldn't have come at a better time.

I tried Donner's number from a pay phone at the gas station and he actually answered.

"Dude, here's the deal. We broke down in Bakersfield and we've been hitchhiking for a day and a half. We're in Medford now and some girls are going to drive us as far as Portland. We'll be there early this afternoon."

Donner grew pot. He had grow operations going in a couple of unused buildings. He always had dough. And he had already met some of the other members of the band--Donner had visited me in L.A.

I asked him, "Can you help us out somehow?"

So we started talking: could he arrange bus tickets maybe? Then he blurted out, "Fuck that, I'll pick you up. We're going to have a party at my house tonight, we'll have a feast, there'll be girls, it's going to be a Seattle welcome."

We made it to Portland on Monday afternoon, and Donner was there. By the time we arrived in Seattle, it seemed everyone I knew had apparently heard of our trials. They welcomed us with open arms, open liquor bottles, and open drug stashes. People in Seattle knew me as a drinker--they knew that as a result of my panic attacks I was not into drugs back then. For this reason, I guess, nobody offered anything hard. I think Izzy was a bit disappointed by this, and by then perhaps a tad sick from withdrawal.

Donner had, however, baked a batch of pot brownies. I think they were intended for people who would be coming over to the party later that night--people familiar with the potency of local weed.

Izzy just needed to catch a buzz off something, and I guess he thought pot brownies would be a lightweight short-term fix. Axl followed suit so Izzy wouldn't be alone.

"This shit is strong," Donner warned them. They ignored him.

In the 1980s, Seattle led the nation in the fine art of hydroponic pot growing. I'm not sure why the city excelled at it so, but the weed up there was getting potent. Really potent. Around 1982, a new strain of weed was developed for the basement water growers--the luckiest and most deep-pocketed started to cultivate what would be known as "a-strain" and later as "chronic." Up in the Northwest, we knew the strength of this shit, and also knew it was nothing to trifle with. It was like a mix between a strong muscle relaxer and LSD. Until you knew what was right for you, the best thing to do was to take just the tiniest puff and see where that got you; you had to build up a sort of tolerance.

Next thing I knew, Axl and Izzy went and curled up on Donner's couch with wide, scared eyes. I went over to make sure they were all right.

"What the fuck did they put in these brownies?" Izzy asked me. Nothing, I assured them, it was just very strong weed. "No way, man," he said. "I think there's acid in here." They were completely paranoid. I told them not to worry. I felt horrible. I was hyper- sensitive to what my new bandmates were experiencing that first day in Seattle. They were a curiosity to my friends, that's for sure. But we were all dead tired and hungry, and I wanted to make sure that Axl, Izzy, Slash, and Steven were well taken care of. I was proud of my city and my friends and wanted to cast them in the best light. It took Izzy and Axl hours and hours and a lot of beers to come down off of their first a-strain high. Fortunately, by the time the party started to get into full swing, they were returning to earth. But to this day, I am sure, they still think they were dosed with something.

Donner threw a barn-burner that night: barbecue, beer, girls. Life was suddenly really, really good.

Danny, Joe-Joe, and our gear still hadn't arrived when we played the show on Wednesday night at Gorilla Gardens. We were sloppy on borrowed gear, though on the plus side only about a dozen people were subjected to our set. Kurt Bloch of the Fastbacks is always nice, and made a point of telling all the guys we had played great. We knew we were better than the actual gig--or at least we now knew we would be. The important thing for us was that we had made it there at all. Together.

After the Fastbacks set, we helped pack up their gear then hung out for a while with the crowd at the club--which was pretty much just old friends of mine at that point. Hanging out, of course, meant drinking, and drinking heavily.

One of the people I was most glad to see was Big Jim Norris. He was a tough guy from the wrong side of the tracks who had finally found a comfort zone in our little Seattle punk-rock scene. Jim had always had his struggles with drugs and drink, but he was one of those guys who had the spirit of life in his eyes. Jim was a leader. And when I left for Los Angeles, he made it a point to keep in touch. Once I got my apartment, he sent me letters, and we talked on the phone when we could afford to. Our friendship had actually deepened since I left.

Finally, as the place cleared out, the members of Guns went back to the club owner's office to pick up our gig money, no doubt looking like a pack of hungry wolves. When I had booked the show, I somehow managed to finagle a $200 guarantee out of the venue. Of course, I hadn't gotten a contract--not for this show or for any of the others. But then again, I'd never gotten a contract. Back in the day, punk shows were always handshake deals--and often the handshake part was just implicit because you had to come to terms over the phone. Our plan now was to wire this first $200 to Danny and Joe-Joe the next day and continue the tour.

English was not the owner's first language, but he quickly made it clear that he wasn't going to pay us.

We were stunned. I tried to reason with the guy. Then I played the sympathy card, telling him of our plight and our long journey, of the sunburn and hunger, of onion fields and tweaking truckers. But the club owner didn't give a shit.

"You not bring any people to show," he said. "How I pay when I no have money from ticket?"

We made vague--and then probably more explicit--threats of violence. He held the office phone in his hand ready to speed-dial the police, and made sure we understood this.

Eventually we left his office and went back into what was now a deserted club.

"Fuck that asshole," said Axl. "We went through HELL to get here and play this show. And he treats us like scum?"

Suddenly there was just one thought in my head. It was the only solution I could see. The only way to get justice.

"Let's burn this fucking place down!"

The members of the band looked around the empty club and at one another. There were no objections.

"Let's burn it the fuck down," I said again.

Axl and I threw matches into a garbage can full of paper toweling, and we all hauled ass outside.

Nothing happened.

We had failed as arsonists, but the mere attempt was enough to exorcise our ill will for the night. And it may have saved us a stint in the slammer.

After running out of Gorilla Gardens, we went out to see a local band called Soundgarden. The initial rumblings of what would become the Seattle sound were just starting to happen then. Buzzing on our newly solidified camaraderie--and plenty of booze--we stormed the stage when they were done and asked to play a few songs on their gear. They looked at us blankly and explained in the nerdy kind of way a kid on a playground might respond to a request to share his toys, "Um, no, that's our gear."

It didn't matter. Nothing could bring us down that night: we had played an out-of-town show.

The next day we found out we had also played our last out-of-town show for a while. Danny and Joe-Joe weren't going to make it. That didn't matter either. The shake-out tour had already accomplished everything I had hoped and more.

One of Donner's friends drove us all the way back to L.A. a few days later, and we arrived home a genuine band--a gang with the shared experience of a road trip gone wrong, an out-of-town gig, and the knowledge that we were all fully committed to Guns N' Roses.

The AV Club Reviews Duff's Book

AV Club
In spite of Guns N’ Roses’ legendary status, it’s as unlikely that the five original members will all publish memoirs as it is that they’ll reunite onstage. Even if Axl Rose eventually unburdens himself in print, it’s a pretty sure bet that drifter rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin will avoid inviting that dramatic attention into his life — much as he did in the years immediately subsequent to Appetite For Destruction.

But charismatic lead guitarist/pop-culture fixture Slash and exiled, troubled drummer Steven Adler have recently shared their versions of a parallel life story (they grew up together in LA) via 2007’s Slash and 2010’s My Appetite For Destruction, respectively. And those books now have an essential companion and counterpart: Duff McKagan’s It’s So Easy (And Other Lies). The current Loaded frontman and Velvet Revolver co-founder is a reluctant storyteller, but his robust, understated first-person account of life in and around his iconic rock band grounds the cumulative Guns N’ Roses mythos and reinforces its seeds in a street-level punk ethos.

Where his bandmates collaborated with journalists for Slash and My Appetite, McKagan drafted It’s So Easy on his own, and as a result, the book’s strength is its focus. Whether he’s detailing his teenage years as a Seattle punk-scene utility man — McKagan famously played with regional superstar Fastbacks and hardcore hero Ten Minute Warning — and his corresponding adolescent drug abuse, Guns’ rise and fall, or his own transformation into holistic family man, his voice is introspective and cautiously distant from all related sensationalism. For the married father of two and amateur martial artist, It’s So Easy was as much about establishing a philosophy for himself to reference and others to implement as appeasing readers’ thirst for gossip and hazy truths they can get almost anywhere else.

In some sections, McKagan’s version of events within Guns N’ Roses varies wildly from Slash and Adler’s accounts: For example, all three have markedly different recollections of the moments leading up to Adler’s firing. But McKagan is transparent about being less concerned with getting the minor details right than with emphasizing his larger takeaway: Even if you’re in the world’s biggest band, that doesn’t define you, and it’s never too late to take control of your own life and happiness.

The final chapters — which span Duff’s recovery from drugs, relationship with his wife and daughters, new musical ventures, and explorations in business management, writing, and rugged outdoor adventures — lose their cool somewhat as he attempts to convey personal sentiment without sounding sappy and clichéd. But surprisingly, those passages aren’t merely indulgent, perfunctory, or tacked-on epilogue to a meaty yarn of debauchery and unsurpassed notoriety.

Granted, not just anyone can recover from drug abuse with the help of world-famous Ukidokan fighter Benny the Jet, but McKagan’s core insights into his struggle back to a healthy life full of value and hope resonate longer than most of It’s So Easy’s theoretically juicier anecdotes. Though the book does contain plenty of those, too (even toward the end, when he discusses his first encounter with Axl in 13 years), along with a personal backstory that helps illustrate just how unique Guns N’ Roses was in its prime, and how significantly each member contributed. But McKagan appears to have put all that into proper, humble perspective. And aside from occasional lapses into dude-speak navel-gazing, he committed it to writing with purpose and care.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Slash: New Songtitles Revealed

via Blabbermouth
Slash has completed the first recording session for his upcoming solo album at Barefoot Recording in Hollywood, California with producer Eric Valentine. Joining Slash in the studio were the members of his touring band: vocalist Myles Kennedy, bassist Todd Kerns, and drummer Brent Fitz.

Slash played three of the newly recorded songs — "Halo," "Standing In The Sun" and "Bad Rain" — for VH1 Classic That Metal Show co-host Eddie Trunk, who tweeted yesterday, "I can tell you the three songs I heard are heavy with killer riffs and vocals. It's the same band that he has been touring with last couple years on the album, and it sounds more cohesive because of it. Really strong!"

Slash's as-yet-untitled new album is tentatively due next April.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Duff is a Best-Selling Author!

Duff’s new book, It's So Easy (And Other Lies), has entered the New York Times Best Sellers List at #17.

Check out the Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list here.

MacKagan has been out on a book-signing tour since its October 4 street date, starting with an appearance in New York City; most of the stores are on either the East or West coast of the US.

Prior to its release, Duff offered fans a preview by sharing the first 80 pages online - that’s 9 chapters of material (10 if you count the prologue).

The preview is still available - check it out here.

Read more:

Steven Adler Teams Up with Asking Alexandria

Asking Alexandria and ex-Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler will join forces to perform songs from Guns’ classic ‘Appetite for Destruction’ album on Halloween at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. The set will be filmed for an upcoming DVD.

While Asking Alexandria are best known for their mix of blazing metalcore and searing melodies, the band have a soft spot for ‘80s metal, as they revealed on their 2010 EP ‘Life Gone Wild,’ which featured covers of the Skid Row song ’18 and Life’ and ‘Youth Gone Wild.’ Ex-Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach joined the band onstage at the 2011 Revolver Golden Gods Awards on April 20 in Los Angeles and at this years Rock on the Range Festival in Columbus, Ohio, on May 21.

Adler is working on a new band with Adler’s Appetite guitarist Michael Thomas and Lonnie Johnson and the first single is expected to feature Asking Alexandria vocalist Danny Worsnop. Adler’s group are tracking at NRG Recording in North Hollywood, California. After the first day of recording, Adler tweeted, “What an amazing day. We finished our first song today. I’m soooo thrilled we [are] headed in the right direction.”

Modern metal acts Winds of Plague, We Came as Romans, D.R.U.G.S. and Stick to Your Guns will also play the Halloween show with Adler’s Appetite and Asking Alexandria. Professional wrestler the Ultimate Warrior will join Winds of Plague onstage to perform his spoken word part from the band’s song “The Warrior Code,” marking the first time the Ultimate Warrior will take the stage in full costume with a rock band.

Friday, October 14, 2011

GN'R Plans 1st Indiana Show in 19 Years

Axl Rose has scheduled his first performance in his home state of Indiana since 1992.

Guns N' Roses will perform December 8 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Tickets, $30 to $75, go on sale at 10am on October 22.

Lafayette native Rose moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s and formed Guns N' Roses, a hard-rock phenomenon that's sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

Rose, however, is the lone remaining member from the band's best-known lineup.

Guns N' Roses presently consists of Rose, guitarists DJ Ashba, Richard Fortus and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, keyboard players Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman, bass player Tommy Stinson and drummer Frank Ferrer.

The band's Use Your Illusion tour included two stops in 1991 at Verizon Wireless Center (known then as Deer Creek Music Center) and one stop in 1992 at the RCA Dome (known then as the Hoosier Dome).

For more information about the Dec. 8 show at Conseco Fieldhouse, visit or call 1-800-745-3000

Friday, October 7, 2011

How Axl Got the GN'R Name ...

... According to Duff
On this last European leg of the tour, we sometimes weren't all together in the same city except for the performance itself. On a few occasions, we weren't even in the same country. Our plane could drop some
of us here and others there.

On July 5, 1993, we all rendezvoused in Barcelona for a huge outdoor show at the Olympic Stadium. Axl came in from Venice. I returned from who a visit with Linda to the Spanish island of Ibiza. Slash was already in Barcelona.

After Suicidal Tendencies and Brian May had played their opening sets, our manager, Doug Goldstein, sent an oddly formal request to see me and Slash before the show. This was unusual.

When Slash and I arrived at the vibe room, one of the tour managers was sitting there waiting for us. The guy was clutching some papers. He put a slim stack of pages down in front of each of us. I leafed through it. It was a legal document giving Axl the right to continue to play as Guns N' Roses even if either Slash or I - or both of us - were not part of it. Though it didn't affect our status as shareholders in the operation, Axl and Axl alone would control the name if we signed this agreement.

"What the fuck?" I said.

"Look man," the tour manager said. "The truth is, you guys are not in good shape - you know that yourselves. If one of you dies, nobody wants to have to spend years in court battling your families or whatever."

That was not what it said, however. There was nothing about death in these documents.

With the crowd outside already getting rowdy, the guy then implied Axl wouldn't go onstage that night unless we signed the documents.

I pictured people getting hurt if a riot started - at least that was my fear. And I was so fucking exhausted - it felt as though I'd been dragging a house around behind me for the last two years. Besides, at the time I never thought GN'R could possibly exist without us. The idea seemed ridiculous. And in that case, maybe the documents didn't need to be fixed?

Fuck it.

I signed, so did Slash.

Guns N' Roses - the trademark now owned by Axl - took the stage.

The next day, I grabbed Doug Goldstein on the tarmac at the airport. I had woken up really upset about what had happened the previous night. Slash and I shouldn't have signed those papers. But management wouldn't let the whole thing go forward anyway. Right? I shouted at Doug, saying he needed to fix things.

"Look, Duff," he said, "you're a smart guy. I manage Guns N' Roses."

"Yeah, I know, Doug. And that's why we have to - "

"No, you're not getting it

"Are you trying to tell me you manage the name Guns N' Roses?"

I was still a member of the band. Not a paid hand. Slash and I still had the same equity stake as before. We had just relinquished control of the name.

Doug looked at me with no expression.

"You manage the guy who owns the name Guns N' Roses - is where you're going, Doug?"

He shrugged. That was where he was going.

I was apoplectic with rage. I couldn't even speak.

We boarded the plane.

Only five more shows in Europe. Five. More. Shows.

You can make it.

After twenty-six months, the final concerts of the Use Your Illusion tour appeared on the horizon.
See also: Axl Rose Sets the Record Straight
Slash: "Why I Chose Not To Continue On With GN'R"
Alan Niven Responds to Axl's 'Homework'

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Guns N' Roses at Rock in Rio

Tonight/Tomorrow morning (approx 1:10am Monday 10/3 Rio de Janeiro time) GN'R will play their first show in 10 months in front of 90,000 fans in Rio, and millions all over the world.


More US Dates Announced

GN'R will embark on its first US tour in five years this fall. The trek will kick off October 28 in Orlando, Florida and will include stops in 30 cities — fueled by Monster Energy — from October to New Year's Eve.

Before hitting the States, GN'R will tour Latin America, starting with a sold-out, headline slot for the closing day of the Rock In Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 2 in front of 75,000 fans.

The tour is scheduled to hit the following cities:

Oct. 2 - Orlando, FL - Amway Center Arena
Oct 29 - Miami, FL - American Airlines Arena
Oct 31 - Greenville, SC - Bi-Lo Center Arena
Nov 02 - Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
Nov 04 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
Nov 05 - Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion
Nov 08 - Omaha, NE - CenturyLink Center
Nov 09 - Norman, OK - Lloyd Noble Center
Nov 12 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
Nov 13 - Minneapolis, MN - Target Center
Nov 15 - Rosemont, IL - Allstate Arena
Nov 17 - East Rutherford, NJ - IZOD Center
Nov 19 - Hartford, CT - Comcast Theatre
Nov 20 - Wilkes-Barre, PA - Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
Nov 25 - Worcester, MA - DCU Center
Nov 26 - Camden, NJ - Susquehanna Bank Center
Dec 01 - Auburn Hills, MI - The Palace of Auburn Hills

More dates, cities and venue information to be announced very soon.