plus special guests:
Duff and his gang have been building a sound full up with earthy ground and pound. Sure theres an undeniable streak of the platinum level hookery and crookery that took Duff to the very top of the candy mountain. But more so, look for a trashing about with the likes of Johnny Thunders and Hanoi Rocks, rifled through with a cocked ear to what was best about churning hard-edged alt. and indie rock through the 90s and noughts....
Whats the motivation now? is the multi-million dollar question one might ask the youngest of eight kids, an angry young punk who lived to see all his rock dreams come true. Well, this is our third record, and man, I just think every band is in search of that perfect album or that perfect song – youre still chasing it. It doesnt matter. People will ask me, How come youre still chasing the perfect song? And I think any musician, doesnt matter how old you are or how long youve been doing it, is thinking I havent written THE song. Loaded are a good band, we like each other and we genuinely love creating and playing music and touring together. So those things combined there is still a carrot out there and were pursuing it.
And one can sense this enthusiasm in the heat-steeped grooves of The Taking. Your Name rocks and roils on craggy, dark chords, drummer Isaac Carpenter (new for this record, although he toured for Sick) laying down a bashing, infectious groove over which Duff (guitars/vocals), Mike Squires (guitars) and Jeff Rouse (bass) build textures inside of a melody that perches somewhere between Soundgarden and Voivod. Indian Summer conversely embraces passionate pop melody as the band strums over tribal drums during the verse, before kicking into a cloud-busting chorus potentially smashing on radio – this one recalls ardent obscurities such as Saigon Kick and I Love You, accessible rock but for the feverish and knowledgeable fan of song construction.
For restraint, pace and dimension, theres the thorny post-punk of Easier Lying, Wrecking Ball and King Of The World, the latter sending up a churning metal squall that nonetheless evokes Dead Boys, Killing Joke, In Utero-era Nirvana and, through riotous gang vocals, incendiary UK hardcore.
The most intense song on The Taking might be Follow Me to Hell, which again somehow the guys have tapped into a Voivodian vortex, topping this tale of rape revenge with vitriolic hardcore vocals, interlacing it with chord changes that build smart movements executable by only the deftest of song constructors.
Duff admits he could never pull and peel off track after track of such dark hookery without the firepower of a band as encyclopedic and open-minded about rock as he himself has always been. Indeed, its inspiring to see Duffs enthusiasm for his band.
Isaac is the newest member, and hes an incredibly diverse and imaginative drummer, begins McKagan. He had an amazing band called Loudermilk, one of those bands that was a bit before their time. And Isaac can play every instrument. Hes a better guitar player than I am, hes a better singer than I am, and he runs ProTools. So we did most of the demos together, plus hes a great songwriter. Obviously hes a very strong addition to the band (laughs). Hes very opinionated, which makes it very interesting because our guitar player Mike Squires is very opinionated too, and very kind of hardcore, and Mike Squires, if youre a Loaded fan, you know Mikes style of guitar playing. Its very bizarre, outside of the norm. And on this record, I think hes become one of those guitar guys that other guitar guys are going to want to try and emulate. Hes just never done anything straight down the middle. He cringes at the thought of doing something like somebody else is doing. And Jeff Rouse, man, Jeff is the only bass player that I know that is not afraid to be a bass player with me, the bass player from, you know, two big bands. Hes a better bass player than me, and hes got his own groove, and the ladies love him. Good-looking fella (laughs). So hes got that going for him. Jeff and Mike are both very, very good songwriters. Mikes stamp would be Executioners Song, but he also has the sensitivity to pen a diddy like Easier Lying. Rouse wrote arguably the catchiest song, Shes An Anchor
Whats very cool about The Taking, besides its eclecticism, is that a unifying principle of stripping down, simplifying and courting pregnant pauses seems to have been applied to all the bubbling under smartness, an idea that helps Loaded (on, for example, We Win or Shes An Anchor), continually achieve a catchiness reminiscent of penultimate Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots anthems. In other words, the listener can detect that the quietly talented Loaded cabal has kept in mind that these songs live and breathe most robustly if they kick ass in a sweaty club, if they touch people on record and then through the souvenir memory of a live show that imprints itself on the forehead of a fan converted.
When we play live, I think thats what sets us apart, says Duff, belying the importance of that side of the equation. Were definitely a hard rock band, and the songwriting is honest. Were not in it
its not just Duff trying to line his pockets – were a working rock band. And I dont know why, but I think this record is harder and even darker than Sick was. It might have something to do with the fact that we wrote some of the songs when we were on the road for the Sick record. Our band, our bus
you sort of get into this gang mentality, hanging together, thinking the same, watching the same news, witnessing the same things
Still, as with anything Ive done, with Guns or with Velvet, youre definitely seeing my mark, reflects Duff, in closing. My stamp is on Loaded as much as it is on either of those two bands. But we definitely have our own twist. Sometimes were like the heaviest metal band, and sometimes were the jangly, poppy, nerdy Seattle band. Id say were kind of a mix of those two extremes. But sure, overall the album is darker and sicker and more twisted. Its still got our humor – our sort of wink wink, for sure, all over it – but I mean, if youre listening to our record, youre in on the joke. But youre also in on the plot to overthrow! (laughs). And thats kind of our thing. Boy, thats a good quote, huh?! (laughs).