"I have to play or I'd jump off a cliff or hurt somebody," laughed Duff McKagan, describing to what drives him to make music in a recent chat with Noisecreep. "It's my ultimate outlet. If I couldn't make music, I'd go crazy."
McKagan is Grammy and American Music Award-winning songwriter and recording artist who has sold over 100 million records and helped shape the music of an entire generation. A founding member of and , McKagan formed the band Loaded in 1999. Though mostly known as a bassist, in Loaded McKagan sings lead vocals and plays guitar. Rounding out the band's lineup are bassist Jeff Rouse, guitarist Mike Squires, and drummer Isaac Carpenter.
'The Taking' is the latest release from Loaded. McKagan says the band plays a special role in his life. "Loaded is the perfect vehicle for me to address certain things in my life, certain pieces of darkness. Every band I play with owns a big part of my life. For instance, anything I do with Slash, it's hard to explain how positive the energy is with him, what that does for me. It's huge. But Loaded matters a lot and making this album has pushed me very far, creatively."
Last year, McKagan decided to share the proceeds from two of Loaded's new songs to benefit the general patient fund at the VA Puget Sound in Washington state.
"It's the least we can do," McKagan said. "These men and woman in the military do so much for us that many of us will never see or be aware of. The song 'Fight On' was actually inspired by the soldiers coming home. So if it can help in any way, I'm proud to contribute the proceeds." Loaded also performed the song at a Seattle Seahawks football game when the team sponsored its Military and Veterans Appreciation Day.
For now, McKagan is anxious to get out and play the album live.
"We'll be looking at a short tour I think, most likely some festivals," he said.
"I drink a lot of coffee," McKagan said. "At all the sessions, after like eight espressos I was like, 'This music is too cinematic. We've got to make a movie!' So that's what we're doing, and I think it will be nice addition to the album, which is sort of conceptual anyway. [It's about] the way we deal with pain, loss, triumph, and life. It felt like a visual approach might really compliment the audio, so we're doing it."
In addition to music, McKagan has recently embarked on a new career: financial adviser. McKagan attended Seattle University's acclaimed Albers School of Business and has become a partner at the wealth management firm Meridian Rock. From time to time, he shares his insights on all aspects of the business of art in Q&A seminars.
"Hey, I learned a lot of this stuff the hard way," he said. "We made a lot of money starting in our 20s. Now at least I can share some advice with other artists on how to avoid getting totally screwed when it comes to that part of the creative process."
'The Taking' is out this week and you can listen to the entire album now at the AOL Listening Party.