All Hail The Velvet Revolution!
We caught up with former Guns N' Roses legends Slash & Duff McKagan to chat about parenthood, heroin addiction, Axl's Christmas
card list, festivals, the Greatest Hits album... and did someone mention their new band 'Velvet Revolver'?
Festivals' founder and editor Steve Jenner: "If it wasn't for Guns N' Roses, I wouldn't
be running this site now. None of this would exist, plain and simple. That band turned me on to music - in particular the
life-changing power of live, outdoor rock n' roll - back in the early nineties when they ruled the world, and here we are.
So, when I was offered the chance to meet my heroes - the guys I still considered to be the two coolest people on Earth
- I knew it would be a pretty amazing experience. And I wasn't to be disappointed."
The setting was, appropriately, a guitar
shop in London's West End. Everyone knows about Axl Rose's increasingly bizarre new [non-]adventures
with the old band name, since the original, 'classic' incarnation split in the mid nineties. Fewer would be aware, however,
that Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum have more recently
re-united - abandoning solo projects in the process - to form a new hard rock outfit called Velvet Revolver, featuring former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott
Prior to Slash and Duff's arrival, we were treated to a five
track playback of new material from their forthcoming album 'Contraband'. VF can reveal that the album sounds
absolutely awesome. It's straight-down-the-line classic LA rock, and yes there is a definite (but unashamedly acknowledged)
GNR influence. However, they're in no way a poor halcyon days imitation. In fact, for those who never quite
got to grips with Axl's yelps, the vocals of former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland
bring an entirely new and welcome depth to the proceedings.
Shortly afterwards, Slash and Duff swaggered into the room, surprisingly bright-eyed
and amiable (for rock legends). We spent the next hour or so desperately fighting the compulsion to just sit silently,
in open-mouthed submission to the uncut awe rampaging through our humble veins, whilst our idols sat and chatted openly with
us, regaling tales of rock n' roll excess from the glory days old and new. And we have proof that Duff really
does drink low alcohol beer these days!
You can read the full interview on this website from Tuesday 30th April, in which Slash
n' Duff shed light on their ongoing relationships with former Gunsmen Axl Rose, Izzy
Stradlin and Steven Adler, on the events that led to the creation of the new band and album,
on helping Weiland overcome heroin addiction (a subject both are rather familiar with), on why they are
glad to have swapped mega-stadiums for small clubs, and how fatherhood has only enhanced their rock n' roll
spirit. The latter was of particular interest to VF editor Steve, who had only the week before become a proud new dad himself!
admits: "I never thought that if I ever got to meet Slash, we'd be talking about babies!"
Axl's Guns n' Roses are set to headline the Rock In Rio
festival in Portugal this summer, whilst Velvet Revolver have their sights set on some UK Festivals, with Download
as a possibility...