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Album Review

Duff McKagan's Loaded, 'Sick'

April 13, 2009
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Hard Rock
Duff McKagan's Loaded Sick
Century Media
ESSENTIAL "Wasted Heart"

It's amazing that former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan is even alive. His pancreas exploded after a drug binge 15 years ago, which shocked him into sobriety. He has since played with Velvet Revolver and become a respected writer, penning a weekly column for the Seattle Weekly and - get ready - a new financial advice column for Playboy. He's back to the business of rock 'n' roll with this fine new edition of his band Loaded. McKagan lets fly with a feverishly punk-metal batch of songs that recall Iggy Pop (think back to Iggy's "Brick by Brick" album, which McKagan played on) and the Ramones in the fast punk of "The Slide," where McKagan remembers his coke-snorting days. Further echoes are of Lou Reed in the spoken-word on "Mother's Day" (about the fragility of life), and the Stones in the funky "Blind Date Girl." McKagan takes some shots at ex-girlfriends and ex-biz partners (some might interpret these as knocks on Axl Rose or Scott Weiland, but Duff says no). The highlights are the riff-laced love songs with a domestic edge, as he lauds his wife who stood by him and gave him a couple of daughters. (Out now)

STEVE MORSE