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Duff McKagan’s new band Walking Papers

| 16 July 2013 | Reply


Sometimes an album sounds nothing like you expect yet still blows you away. That’s the case with the self-titled debut from Seattle-based Walking Papers.

The band began with two well-regarded Seattle musicians, singer/guitarist Jeff Angell and former Screaming Trees/Mad Season drummer Barrett Martin, then got fleshed out with keyboardist Benjamin Anderson and ex-Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan. Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready plays on two cuts on the album, which comes out Aug. 6 on Loud & Proud Records.

But if you’re expecting some supergroup-sized combination packages of Northwest grunge and California metal, you’d be way off base. It’s powerful yet nuanced, a kind of rock confident enough in itself that it rarely needs force to make its point. Throughout the album, Martin plays vibes and marimba, instruments that change the entire complexion of the record.

“It’s beautiful, it’s poignant,” says McKagan, who has known Angell since the late ’90s and even got him to audition for Velvet Revolver before Scott Weiland got the gig. “The tones of some of the songs are almost morose. But they rock, too. It’s got all that stuff in it.”

McKagan half-jokingly calls Leave Me in the Dark, premiering at USA TODAY, “The Dark American Classic.” In the song’s first verse, Angell sounds like a self-mythologizer in the tradition of Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love or the Rolling Stones’Jumping Jack Flash.

“I was born with bloodshot eyes and a broken heart/I’ve got the experience, but I’m not very smart,” he sings, as the band builds beneath him. “I was raised on a shoestring, I was thrown to the wolves/I cut my teeth on minor chords, I was trampled under hooves”

“I think this is really that journey through life: ‘Here’s what almost broke me in the last 15 years,'” McKagan says. “Jeff did go through some rough stuff in his life, as we all have. But Jeff’s somewhat more colorful about it than how I could choose to paint the rough portions of my life.”

Walking Papers began as Angell and Martin’s duo, with Anderson and McKagan coming in last year. The group began selling a self-released recording at their shows but soon realized the music they were creating deserved a better fate.

“The music was too good, the band was too good for us to fall flat because we wanted to be indie and indie didn’t go anywhere,” McKagan says. “You don’t want to be that indie. The music industry’s tough enough at this point.

“I didn’t want to go out and suffer the deal where you book your a** off. I’ve done it, trust me. Going out and touring an independent release and selling CDs at gigs is all well and good, but it’s a lot to do. People do buy them at gigs, which I really appreciate, but if that’s the only way you’re selling them, it’s a long, hard road.”

Walking Papers recently released its first single, the riff-heavy The Whole World’s Watching, to radio.

The group will headline the second stage at this year’s Uproar Festival. The tour, which features Alice in Chains and Jane’s Addiction at the top of the bill, begins Aug. 9 in Scranton, Penn.

Don’t miss your chance to catch Walking Papers live. Uproar tour dates are as follows:

Fri 9-Aug        Scranton, PA                Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Sat 10-Aug        Hartford, CT                The Comcast Theatre

Sun 11-Aug        Darien Center, NY        Darien Lake Performing Arts Center +

Tue 13-Aug        Saratoga Springs, NY        Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Wed 14-Aug        Mansfield, MA                Comcast Center

Fri 16-Aug        Bristow, VA                Jiffy Lube Live

Sat 17-Aug        Holmdel, NJ                PNC Bank Arts Center

Sun 18-Aug        Wantagh, NY                Nikon at Jones Beach Theater +

Tue 20-Aug        Toronto, ON                Molson Canadian Amphitheatre

Thu 22-Aug        Tinley Park, IL                First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Fri 23-Aug        Noblesville, IN                Klipsch Music Center

Sat 24-Aug        Clarkston, MI                DTE Energy Music Theater

Tue 27-Aug        Oklahoma City, OK        Zoo Amphitheater + #

Wed 28-Aug        Dallas, TX                Gexa Energy Pavilion

Thu 29-Aug        The Woodlands, TX        Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion * + #

Sat 31-Aug        Albuquerque, NM        Isleta Amphitheatre (Revolt On The Rio Grande)

Sun 1-Sept        Denver, CO                Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre (Lo Cura Festival)

Mon 2-Sept        Salt Lake City, UT        USANA Amphitheatre

Thu 5-Sept        Nampa, ID                Idaho Center Amphitheater

Sat        7-Sept        George, WA                The Gorge (Pain In The Grass)

Sun 8-Sept        Ridgefield, WA         Sleep Country Amphitheater

Wed 11-Sept        Mountain View, CA        Shoreline Amphitheatre

Fri 13-Sept        Irvine, CA                Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

Sat 14-Sept        Phoenix, AZ                Ak-Chin Pavilion (Desert Uprising)

Sun 15-Sept        Chula Vista, CA        Sleep Train Amphitheatre (Operation KickAss)

# No Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands for this date

* Main Stage bands only

+ Show does not include COLDCOCK Herbal Whiskey Showcase Stage

Category: Articles

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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