I was recently introduced to the music of Duff McKagan’s Loaded. Duff was the bass player in the original Guns N’ Roses and has since gone on to be the bass player in Velvet Revolver. Loaded is his side project, and I guess they play fairly often here in Duff’s hometown of Seattle.
I got the latest Loaded CD, Sick, a few days before I saw them play live at the Crocodile. I immediately liked what I heard, but it’s only been in the week and a half since I saw them live that I’ve truly come to appreciate what a great rock record this is.
Duff is featured on vocals and guitar, joined by lead guitarist Mike Squires, bassist Jeff Rouse, and drummer Geoff Reading. Their credo, according to their website is, “Punk rock ethic with a rock n’ roll slant that tilts a bit ’left of center. LOADED are here to impress no one; choosing instead to create a safe place where creative minds can flourish.” Whatever that means.
01 SICK – A dark, hard rockin’ kick-off song. This is one of the hardest songs on the record. ★★★½
02 SLEAZE FACTORY – This one really rocks. A devil horns-pumpin’ anthem. ★★★★★
03 FLATLINE – The hit single. A catchy tune that, what do you know, rocks. ★★★★
04 IOU – Some pretty good harmonies enhance this song which, if you took out the screeching guitar and pounding bass and drums, could almost be mistaken for a Cure song. ★★★
05 THE SLIDE – This one is probably the most overt punk rock song on the record. Just not one of my favorites. ★★½
06 TRANSLUCENT – This one sort of reminds me of Alice Cooper. I have no idea why. ★★★★
07 MOTHER’S DAY – The obligatory ballad. Mellow, but still a decent tune. A little depressing. ★★★
08 I SEE THROUGH YOU – This kicks off my favorite section of the album right now. A driving rocker that’s one of the heaviest songs on the disk. ★★★★½
09 FORGIVE ME – My current favorite. Fucking rocks with a kill guitar solo. Doesn’t get any better. ★★★★★
10 NO SHAME – Another good, melodic rocker. ★★★½
11 BLIND DATE GIRL – This has just a touch of honky tonk rock. The weakest song in the set. ★★
12 WASTED HEART (ELECTRIC VERSION) – This could easily be Use Your Illusion-era Gn’R. The acoustic version is available as a single, with the previously unreleased track, “Executioner’s Song”. ★★★
13 NO MORE – A great way to close out the album with a nice, straightforward rocker. ★★★★
Let’s face it, you’re never going to know if you like it or not until you listen to it. Buy it, listen to it all the way through, and if you don’t like it, well, there’s nothing anybody can do to help you.
OVERALL SCORE: ★★★★
If you’re looking for good, solid hard rock, you can’t go wrong with this energetic collection of stripped down, dirty rock and roll.