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Duff McKagan's Loaded - "Sick" (CD)

Duff McKagan's Loaded - "Sick" CD cover image

"Sick" track listing:

1. Sick (2:51)
2. Sleaze Factory (3:47)
3. Flatline (3:02)
4. IOU (3:36)
5. The Slide (3:10)
6. Translucent (3:08)
7. Mothers Day (3:50)
8. I See Through You ( 3:57)
9. Forgive Me (4:12)
10.No Shame (3:32)
11.Blind Date Girl (5:10)
12.Wasted Heart ( 4:57)
13. No More (4:33)

Reviewed by on May 14, 2009

"'Sick' has heart and sleaze without going overboard in either direction."

I just finished reading Greg Prato’s excellent book "Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music," and Duff McKagan is quoted liberally in the first few chapters of the book, along with the usual Pearl Jam and Nirvana crowd. Seattle native McKagan played in local faves Ten Minute Warning and the Fartz, plying his skills as a punk rocker before moving to L.A.

After Guns 'n Roses, he moved back to Seattle and earned a finance degree from Seattle University. He's currently a financial columnist for Playboy.com, and is on tour with his Seattle-based band, Loaded.

Now that Velvet Revolver has imploded, Duff is back to his Seattle hard rock roots. "Sick" is Loaded’s third CD. It's better than McKagan’s post-GNR solo CDs, and a notch above the other Loaded releases. The 13 songs on "Sick" remind us that McKagan, along with Izzy Stradlin, were the no-frills bluesy, rocking heart of GNR. Axl added the showmanship , horn sections, and psychodrama, and Slash contributed guitar histrionics, but Duff and Izzy were the core of that band.

"Sick" is just a simple hard rock album, and that's a relief amid all the sub-genre death and thrash metal that leaves the basic metal fan out in the cold. Duff plays guitar, not bass, and sings lead. He’s got a raspy voice that’s fine for the material here. The tunes have heart and sleaze without going overboard in either direction.

"Three" is the obligatory heartfelt ballad IOU, an apology to his wife for putting her through rock 'n roll hell, the pensive Mother's Day, and lots of songs about past encounters with skanky broads and backstabbing friends. "Sick" kicks off the CD with the line, "Well, I’m sick/Yeah, I’m sick of you/You’re like Typhoid Mary/Mixed with Asian flu." It's safe to say Duff's lyrics won't be quoted on any Hallmark greeting cards soon.

The unabashed rockin' continues with "Sleaze Factory," "Blind Date Girl," and Duff’s take on Use Your Illusion’s Coma, called "Flatline." All the required rocker subject matter is here.

The band’s name is officially Duff McKagan’s Loaded, at the record company’s insistence - name brand recognition and all that. If you liked Duff’s contributions to GNR and Velvet Revolver, you’ll like "Sick."

Highs: Great hooks and an effortless hard rock sound.

Lows: Needs more distinctive guitar licks here and there.

Bottom line: A rockin' good time for mainstream listeners and metalheads alike.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)