If you feel, as I do, that ‘Tenderness’ is one of the best albums of the year, then this European tour (including just three UK dates) from Duff McKagan is an essential event. Why? Well, the band that Shooter Jennings has behind him, the cool cats who helped lay down the album, are a fuckin’ machine! These guys are so tight live you couldn’t wedge a sheet of paper between them.

Imagine The Band, The Stones at their peak, or even early 90’s The Black Crowes. It’s no coincidence that Duff hooked up with his long time friend Shooter and his band to sprinkle magic on a rootsy, laid back record full of emotion, and for want of a better word… tenderness.

On this tour, the band will be doing 2 sets every night. I’ve seen them do this before, at an album release show for Hellbound Glory at The Whisky-A-Go-Go a couple of years ago. First, they are opening with Shooter, then a full set with Duff. Who knows if they will do this again? This could be the only tour these guys do, and even though the tickets were a hefty £40, I felt it was an experience that I could not miss.

Academy 3 apparently holds 950 punters, although it certainly looks smaller. It is dark, rectangular and has a great atmosphere. You could call this an intimate show for a man who has been playing stadiums with Guns n’ Roses. But for Shooter Jennings and his band, this is probably about average.

The band open with ‘Bound Ta Git Down’, a boogie-woogie, barroom blast. The ever cool Shooter, shades permanently glued to his head, tinkles some ivories as his band jam out behind him.

The likes of ‘Denim & Diamonds’ and the epic ‘All This Could’ve Been Yours’ build on piano and mournful fiddle courtesy of Aubrey Richmond. You almost forget that bad ass bassist Ted Russell Kamp and guitarist John Schreffler Jr are there until it’s time for the guitar solo, then the pair take centre stage to shine. The rhythm section of Russell Kamp and powerhouse drummer Jamie Douglass are surely one of the best in the business and keep it all together. Pure, laid back 70’s rock ‘n’ roll at its finest, these songs are far removed from the rootsy, country that Shooter may well be known for.

The Guns n’ Roses fan base lap it up. Maybe the band intentionally chose a more rock ‘n’ roll based set for this tour, but the likes of ‘Steady At The Wheel’ and the grungy, riff heavy ‘Don’t Feed The Animals’ certainly bring the rock tonight. Aubrey and Shooter bring the sentiment and duet on a few of the more balladic numbers, but hell, this band are even better than I remember them being a couple of years back.

 

It’s packed by the time the band return to the stage with Duff at the helm. Dressed in black shirt and jeans, his tousled blonde hair framing his weathered face to perfection, Duff looks every inch the LA rock star. He plays a low slung acoustic for the majority of the set. As Shooter plays the opening piano chords to Gn’R’s ‘You Aint The First’ Duff asks us of we are ready to sing. The response is a resounding yes!

Having never seen him with Loaded live, I must say being the frontman comes naturally to Duff. He cracks jokes and swigs from a flask between songs. Laid bare on these emotionally charged tunes, his gravelly tones are spot on.

The ebb and flow of the set is perfect. A carefully chosen set mixes up mainly album cuts with ‘Use Your Illusions’ era Guns tunes and a few choice covers. The sound is fantastic; we can hear every word, every breath.

The countrified, hickey ‘Breaking Rocks’ is suitably ramshackle, Shooter takes a verse and shares vocals harmonies on the chorus, lap steel guitar and fiddle give a proper authentic feel.

As Shooter plays the piano refrain to ‘Tenderness’, Duff explains the idea behind the songs with passion and creates a feeling of camaraderie with his audience. It’s a beautiful moment and the crowd are deadly silent as he sings the verses, just with piano accompaniment, his voice on the edge of breaking, the vulnerability shining through.  At that very moment, this gig has become the gig of the year for me. In this setting, with this band, these songs give so much. I must admit to being blown away. “C’mon Manchester!” Duff shouts as we sing the chorus in unison, the euphoria builds to a crescendo. So, so good.

I mentioned the ebb and flow. The Stonesy rock ‘n’ roll vibes of ‘Chip Away’ follows , Hammond organs play out as Duff dedicates ‘Feel’ to Scott Wieland, Chris Cornell, Prince… the list of lost friends goes on. The band plays to perfection. Never overplaying they are there to back up Duff and his acoustic, to add colour and flair to the songs where needed. As before, you forget the bassist and guitarist are actually there, until they come stage front for a solo.

“Some friends of mine from Seattle wrote this song” sparks up Duff before breaking into Mad Season’s ‘River Of Deceit’. That opening little riff he trades with John is sublime, and the feel of the song fits the set perfectly. He gets some crowd participation going too. Duff straps on a telecaster and they take things right up with ‘Dust n Bones’. High energy rock ‘n’ roll, just what the doctor ordered, we sing every word and it sounds utterly fantastic. A killer solo and the crowd out-singing a cortisone-fuelled McKagan makes it a highlight.

Elsewhere this evening, ‘Last September’ and ‘Parkland’ are truly moving and about as relevant as you can get. Chillingly, Duff changes the words in ‘Parkland’ to include the most recent shootings, one that happened just a few days ago. The Clash’s ‘Clampdown’ is suitably ace, and the following ‘Dead Horse’ is downright amazing. Aubrey gets stage front to take the second verse, it’s chaotic. I’ve never heard it live before, I feel privileged.

It’s a rollercoaster of a set to be fair. The more fragile moments of ‘Tenderness’ are played out perfectly and when the band rock out, they are on fire. A final one-two and the band bows out. ‘Don’t Look Behind You’ sounds beautiful, full of sentiment, just like the goddamn record! And the closing cover of Mark Lanegan’s  ‘Deepest Shade’ sees our hero take off his guitar, jump into the pit and scale the barrier to get up close and personal with those at the front.

I knew tonight was going to be good, but I never imagined it would be this good. What I expected to be a laid back, acoustic affair turned out to be a full on rock ‘n’ roll show by a band who play like they have been on the road for years.

While ‘Tenderness’ is one of those ‘late night, stoner’ sort of albums rather than a ‘blast at full volume in the car’ sort of albums, it transfers very well in a live environment with a full band. Good songs are good songs, and coming from the heart and from the soul, Duff has an album full of them.

The tour may have just begun but Duff McKagan and his band have the camaraderie of a well seasoned touring band already. £40 well spent I say.

Author: Ben Hughes

With summer fading fast its time to cwtch u to your stereo or however you currently listen to your music and check out the RPM Spotify Playlist to hear who are the movers and shakers at RPM Towers.  From the albums, we’ve reviewed and are reviewing and the shows we’re attending to the interviews we have coming up.  Here is a playlist to accompany your reading.

 

This month we feature the following bands who have new albums or are playing live shows.

Hollywood Brats, Andy McCoy, The Bar Stool Preachers, Cock Sparrer, Jim Jones and the Righteous Minds, Duff McKagan, Jesse Malin, Queen Zee, Subhumans, Black Star Riders, Strung Out, Dead Shed Jokers, Pardon Us, Paradise Alley, Dead Furies, The Chuck Norris Experiment, TSAR, New Model Army, Ginger Wildheart

 

This month on RPM we have plenty of awesome albums to review as well as celebrating important players who’ve had an impact on us all.

 

We’ve put together another playlist championing some of the records we’ve covered or will be covering as well as tipping the hat to some of our brothers who’ve passed away and people we won’t forget and if it makes you go investigate a back catalogue or discover new music then Awesome! that’s our job done.  Tell your friends – tell us – buy music and keep Rock and Roll Evil oh and stay sick!

Californian Singer-songwriter Jordan Jones has a record coming out via those good people at Beluga Records (Swe) and Spaghetty Town Records (USA) here is the first track taken from it and if it’s on those two labels then that’s good enough for us. 

Coming this week we have the fantastic new long player from The Satanic Overlords Of Rock And Roll reviewed by Gerald the record will be available from Savage Magic Records – Get in touch and let em know who sent you!

Whilst there is some fantastic new music coming at you this month we also tip the hat and pay tribute to some of our musical heroes who are no longer with us – the brilliant Nick Marsh, Stiv Bator and Dee Dee Ramone, Ronnie Lane and Roky Ericson who passed this month. Lives well worth celebrating I’m sure you’ll agree. What better way to remember them than to indulge in their music.

Back to new records released one of the best albums to hit the shops in June and a shift of gears from the day job, Duff McKagan released ‘Tenderness’ this month and Ben reviewed it for RPM. Whilst he rightly noted it won’t sell like GnR it’s right up there with the likes of Izzy Stradlin and the JuJu Hounds for quality so we’ve picked the title track to go in our playlist but think you should check out the whole record.

We also carried an interview with Birchy from Black Bombers who of course aren’t on Spotify neither are Gunfire Dance (both would be on our playlist if they were) so we’ve included another band he plays with currently and The Godfathers and their classic ‘Birth School Work Death’.

 

Back to the newer bands you might not have come across yet and for your listening pleasure, we have the stunning new album from The Sweet Things reviewed on RPM so we include one of the best songs on the album.  Coming up we have the review of Dangers Of Love have a listen in our playlist then order the record – you know it makes sense.  There is also a choice cut from the Bat!  June seems like a good minth to review a few compilation albums so we give you the tribute to Dead Moon out on Ghost Highway Records and it seemed like as good an opportunity to play one of the original tunes so we included Dead Moon ‘Walking On My Grave’.  Seeing as this week marks the passing of Stiv Bator and also the release on DVD of the movie ‘Stiv’ we’ve put ‘A Million Miles Away’ in this month.

With the sad news of the passing of Roky Erickson, we thought it would be fitting to include one of our favourite tracks from the guy so ‘If You Have Ghosts’ makes the cut  Rest In Peace Roky!

Before we sign off we thought we’d leave you with another banger and one to watch out for.  From the Spaghetty Town compilation record, we include RMBLR  and their epic tune ‘Next Time’ so until next time go check out some Rock and Roll via our playlist but better than that we hope you discover a new favourite band and go search out the record and support Rock and Roll buy buying off the bands and labels who are keeping Rock and Roll alive. Over and out.

So click the Spotify link give us a follow and spread the word.  Maybe we’ve missed someone you think should be making our playlist why not get in touch on social media or email us at rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com

 

 

There was always more to Duff McKagan than just being the punk dude bassist from Guns n’ Roses. That much was evident on ‘Believe In Me’, his first solo album, released way back in 1993.

That album was recorded on downtime during the massive ‘Use Your Illusions’ world tour. Similarly, ‘Tenderness’ was written and recorded during Guns recent ‘Not In This Lifetime’ world tour. The difference? 25 years of sobriety, 25 years of losing friends to addiction and depression, and 25 years of life experiences and raising a family in a world that is increasingly dangerous and more fucked up by the day.

 

As the title suggests, ‘Tenderness’ is a much more sombre and reflective body of work than anything Duff has ever recorded. Observations of life on the road during Guns world tour gave the inspiration, and musically, it’s stripped bare. A rootsy, rock record, more akin to Exile-era Stones than the sleazy, Sunset Strip that made the band (and the man) famous.

Hooking up with Shooter Jennings to produce and shape his first solo album since those hedonistic days was a masterstroke. Like he did a couple of years back with Leroy Virgil from Hellbound Glory (check out the marvelous ‘Pinball’ album), Shooter used his own backing band to help sprinkle Nashville style magic all over the album.

Now, this backing band is like a modern day version of The Band, proper cool cats. I saw them perform 2 sets in a night at The Whisky-A-Go-Go, one with Hellbound Glory and then another with Shooter. They will be doing the same on Duff’s forthcoming European tour. When this rhythm section of bassist Ted Russell Kamp and drummer Jamie Douglass get together with fiddle player Aubrey Richmond and John Schreffler Jr on guitar, some sort of magic happens. It’s no surprise they are Shooter’s go-to guys. He knows what sound he needs and they deliver.

 

The title track opens the album and sets the scene. “Blackened days, we’ve lost our way” sings Duff over Shooter’s haunting piano, it sets the scene for the next 45 minutes. The country-tinged arrangement is perfection and the sentiment delivered with sincerity. The sparse musicianship never overplayed, just enough in all the right places to accentuate the melodies and the vocals.

By the time the last chorus is played out, you already have the desire to gather the ones you love and sing along in unison. Moving stuff indeed.

The social commentary Duff is laying out is perfect for these trying times and it’s something we can all relate to. “Turn off the screen, take a long walk and meet your fellow man…it’s not too late’ he sings on the following ‘It’s Not Too Late’, delivered with sincerity over mournful pedal steel and heartfelt violins.

The juxtaposition of the sweet music and the honest lyricism is on point and Duff is not afraid to tackle any subject, from addiction and homelessness to school shootings and abuse. Take ‘Last September’, a hard-hitting, yet beautifully delivered countrified look at the ‘#metoo’ movement.  A lone acoustic breaks the silence like a ‘Nebraska’ outtake, before haunting, choral backing vocals join the lead vocals. Fragile, almost to the point of breaking. “She said no, he said yes, he held her down and choked her neck”. The hard-hitting lyrics are brutal and to the point, sung over laid-back, bare-bones Americana.

 

On a personal highlight, Shooter teases out Duff’s Johnny Thunders influences on ‘Wasted Heart’. The soaring vocals and sweet brass courtesy of The Suicide Horn Section (featuring Duff’s brother Matt McKagan on trombone) is sublime to these ears.

The hard-hitting ‘Parkland’ name-checks the schools affected by shootings and highlights the crazy US gun laws. It could have easily come across as being cheesy, but it’s handled in just the right way by someone who has bought up daughters in that environment. The more upbeat ‘Chip Away’ has a killer Rolling Stones vibe, as Duff drawls about smoking crack over Hammond organ, skiffle beats and handclaps that take us to church…divine.

Elsewhere, the hickey, hard luck story of ‘Breaking Rocks’ is brilliant in its simplicity. It fits the bill nicely, as Duff’s wavering vocals meet in a great duet with Shooter himself. Mental wah-wah guitars seal the deal. A song to sit on the porch and drink moonshine too.

The album closes with the reflective ‘Don’t Look Behind You’. Riding on acoustic and sparse accompaniment, before veering into almost lounge territory as the brass section are left to their own devices, with even a saxophone solo for good measure.

 

Duff McKagan has nothing to prove. He’s been there and done it all. He’s been (right next door) to hell and back and survived to become a better man. But every great musician needs to create and right now Duff has something to say and recording this album is the best thing he could’ve done.

For me, it’s as good as, if not better than Izzy’s Ju Ju Hounds, and it’s up there with Gilby’s ‘Pawnshop Guitars’.

As with past Guns n’ Roses members solo albums, ‘Tenderness’ will go largely unnoticed by the music buying (or streaming) public, which is a crying shame, as it is one of the finest releases this year and probably the best thing the man has put his name to since ‘Appetite For Destruction’.

Buy ‘Tenderness’ Here

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Author: Ben Hughes

 

Ahead of the release of his new solo album Duff has announced a string of tour dates in support of ‘Tenderness’.

GUNS N’ ROSES’ DUFF McKAGAN ANNOUNCES EUROPEAN TOUR

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2019

Thursday 30th May 2019​​TLA, Philadelphia, PA USA

Friday 31st May 2019​​​City Winery, Washington, DC USA

Saturday 1st June 2019​​City Winery, Boston, MA USA

Monday 3rd June 2019​​Irving Plaza, New York, NY

Thursday 6th June 2019​​Thalia Hall, Chicago, IL USA

Saturday 8th June 2019​​Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, TN USA

Monday 10th June 2019​​Historic Scoot Inn, Austin, TX USA

Thursday 13th June 2019​​El Rey, Los Angeles, CA USA

Friday 14th June 2019​​​Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA USA

Saturday 15th June 2019​​Aladdin Theater, Portland, OR USA

Sunday 16th June 2019​​Showbox Presents, Seattle, WA USA

Thursday 22nd August 2019​​Stodola, Warsaw POLAND

Friday 23rd August 2019​​Astra, Berlin GERMANY

Saturday 24th August 2019​​Blue Moon Festival, Amsterdam HOLLAND

Monday 26th August 2019​​Gloria, Cologne GERMANY

Tuesday 27th August 2019​​Alte Feurwache, Mannheim GERMANY

Thursday 29th August 2019​​Islington Assembly Hall, London UK

Saturday 31st August 2019​​Electric Picnic Festival, Dublin EIRE

Sunday 1st September 2019​​Manchester Academy3, Manchester UK

Tuesday 3rd September 2019​​Le Trabendo, Paris FRANCE

Wednesday 4th September 2019​Ancienne Belgique, Brussels BELGIUM

Friday 6th September 2019​​Dynamo, Zurich SWITZERLAND

Sunday 8th September 2019​​Santeria Club, Milan ITALY

European headline dates go onsale at 9am GMT Friday 26thApril, 2019.

For tickets please see www.livenation.co.uk

TOUR WILL SEE McKAGAN BACKED BY SHOOTER JENNINGS + BAND

Pre Order Duff McKagan ‘Tenderness’ Here

Duff McKagan is giving fans another sneak peek launching “Don’t Look Behind You” – click HERE to listen.

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Los Angeles, CA (23rd April 2019) – “People are going to herald this as one of the best albums of the year.” That’s what SiriusXM radio host Larry Flick said about TENDERNESS, the upcoming solo album from Guns N’ Roses Duff McKagan. “This is Americana-Duff McKagan,” says Flick. “It’s not what you expect.”

 

Produced by (and featuring) recent Grammy winner Shooter Jennings, TENDERNESS (UME) is released on the 31st May 2019. McKagan is giving fans another sneak peek at the much-anticipated record with the release of its closing track, “Don’t Look Behind You” – click HERE to listen.

 

“’Don’t Look Behind You’ was truly inspired by a sense of peace that washed over me after a few months of turning off the TV and social media,” says McKagan. “It was also inspired by the sense of real community I felt while traveling and talking to people around the world on tour during this somewhat tenuous time. This period of sturm und drang will indeed pass. The song seemed to be the final summation that rang loudly from the topics on Tenderness.”

 

“The recording sessions for this album also saw us re-assemble, for the first time since the Use Your Illusion recordings, The Suicide Horn Section, featuring my brother Matt McKagan on trombone, the great Chuck Findlay on trumpet, and the impossible Brian Scanlon on sax,” he adds. “On the very last day of recording, they came down to the studio and laid down the amazing horn lines for ‘Don’t Look Behind You.’ I’ll never forget the culmination of Matt and The Suicide Horns mixed with the Waters singing group sending this song and album out, as Shooter and I just watched it all with goosebumps.”

 

“Don’t Look Behind You” follows previously released songs “Chip Away” and title track “Tenderness” and all three are available as instant downloads by clicking HERE to pre-order TENDERNESS ahead of its 31st May release.

 

TENDERNESS sees McKagan reflecting on his experiences traveling the globe over two and a half years on Guns N’ Roses’  Not In This Lifetime tour.  Encountering heartbreak, anger, fear, confusion and divide on his travels during this tumultuous time in our world history, McKagan channeled a collective hurt into songs of monolithic power.

 

“We’re becoming divided at a time when we need each other most,” says McKagan. “When huge industries get replaced because of modernization, it’s time to retrain and bolster up those who get swept aside. Homelessness and drug addiction are avoidable in this country if we come together and get private and public cogs turning together in a positive direction. We can at least try to tackle mental illness while we’re at it. But alas, we stump and lie, point fingers and divide. We’re way better than this.”

 

With that in mind, McKagan has created a campaign that puts the album’s themes into action and he’s inviting fans to join him in an effort to give support to organizations doing great work. Those include Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission320 Changes Direction, and To Write Love on Her Arms, among others. For more information, please visit propeller.la/duff.

 

McKagan, backed by Shooter Jennings and his band, will be taking these songs on the road for a North American tour that kicks off on 30th May at TLA in Philadelphia. Announced today is a full European tour, below in red, that begins on the 22nd August in Poland. Tour dates are as follows:

DUFF McKAGAN

FEAT. SHOOTER JENNINGS

 

Thursday 30th May 2019​​TLA, Philadelphia, PA USA

Friday 31st May 2019​​​City Winery, Washington, DC USA

Saturday 1st June 2019​​City Winery, Boston, MA USA

Monday 3rd June 2019​​Irving Plaza, New York, NY

Thursday 6th June 2019​​Thalia Hall, Chicago, IL USA

Saturday 8th June 2019​​Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, TN USA

Monday 10th June 2019​​Historic Scoot Inn, Austin, TX USA

Thursday 13th June 2019​​El Rey, Los Angeles, CA USA

Friday 14th June 2019​​​Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA USA

Saturday 15th June 2019​​Aladdin Theater, Portland, OR USA

Sunday 16th June 2019​​Showbox Presents, Seattle, WA USA

Thursday 22nd August 2019​​Stodola, Warsaw POLAND

Friday 23rd August 2019​​Astra, Berlin GERMANY

Saturday 24th August 2019​​Blue Moon Festival, Amsterdam HOLLAND

Monday 26th August 2019​​Gloria, Cologne GERMANY

Tuesday 27th August 2019​​Alte Feurwache, Mannheim GERMANY

Thursday 29th August 2019​​Islington Assembly Hall, London UK

Saturday 31st August 2019​​Electric Picnic Festival, Dublin EIRE

Sunday 1st September 2019​​Manchester Academy 3, Manchester UK

Tuesday 3rd September 2019​​Le Trabendo, Paris FRANCE

Wednesday 4th September 2019​Ancienne Belgique, Brussels BELGIUM

Friday 6th September 2019​​Dynamo, Zurich SWITZERLAND

Sunday 8th September 2019​​Santeria Club, Milan ITALY

 

European headline dates go onsale at 9am GMT Friday 26thApril 2019.

For tickets please see www.livenation.co.uk

 

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