"Mine's not really a Guns N' Roses book, where I think Slash's ('Slash') really was...and I haven't read (Adler's 'My Appetite For Destruction')," McKagen, who plans to publish the book in October, tells Billboard.com. "I'm not saying one's better than the other. This is just my story. It's really my demise into addiction and stuff, and then my way out and my journey into things. My Guns N' Roses story is my Guns N' Roses story. My Velvet Revolver story is my Velvet Revolver story. It's my rock story, from my distinct viewpoint."
McKagan -- who writes regular financial advice columns for Playboy.com and SeattleWeekly.com -- acknowledges that "it was pretty gut-wrenching to write some of this stuff, just because I hadn't faced any of it until I had to write" the book. But while it's frank, he says the book is not a kiss-and-tell, either. "I didn't f*** around, but I didn't throw anybody under the bus, either," he notes. "There's some things you just don't break confidences on, even if you're warring with someone."
Last Tuesday (Apr. 19), McKagan released his band Loaded's "The Taking," which features the recording debut of drummer Isaac Carpenter, who joined the band in late 2009. "Music's my main deal; this writing's a side gig," McKagan says, though he acknowledges that pursuit makes an impact on the music.
"I think writing the book and just writing in general the last few years, I'm really proud of the lyric writing on ('The Taking')," he says. "You've got to be careful when you write lyics not to be too smarty pants, but I think there's some really great turns of phrase on this record."
The album, he adds, is also "the first record I've made in my career that I've come off a tour and gone right into an album. We wrote riffs on the tour, and when you're on tour you're just a lot more aggro and it's guys on a bus and there's testosterone and caffeine and loneliness. We came right off the road and came in and demoed these songs, so this record's got a bit more urgency than the two previous Loaded records."
In addition to the album, Loaded has also made a "crazy, madcap comedy-esque" film also called "The Taking" with director Jamie Chamberlin, though McKagan says the movie "doesn't even follow the storyline of the songs." Chamberlin hopes to debut it in June at the Seattle International Film Festival. Loaded also played a Record Store Day (April 16) show at Seattle's Easy Street Records and at the Golden God Awards show on April 19. It currently has some shows booked in Europe but plans on filling its schedule with more dates soon.
Also on McKagan's loaded plate:
-- There's no update on Velvet Revolver, and he says, "I don't know if there will be one for any time soon" despite reports the group was working with a potential new singer (rumored to be Slipknot/Stone Sour's Corey Taylor) earlier this year. "I know Slash is pretty happy right now doing his own thing. If Velvet Revolver is meant to happen, it'll happen when it's supposed to happen. I just feel like, don't force it. Things happen for a reason."
-- McKagan carries warm feelings from his short tenure with Jane's Addiction, which he says was always intended "to help them write some songs. My intentions were never to be in the band. I think some things just got blown out of proportion." Nevertheless, he adds, "It was a really great experience playing and writing with those guys. I've known them since the 80s and they're really gifted musicians and good guys and good company. And that was it."