DUFF MCKAGAN On ‘CD Vs. Vinyl’ Debate – Dec. 13, 2010

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Former GUNS N’ ROSES and current VELVET REVOLVER bassist Duff McKagan was asked by a reader of his column, which appears on Reverb at SeattleWeekly.com, what his take is on the analogue vs. digital debate.

“Yeah, well, in a whole shit-ton of ways, digital music fucking killed my business,” Duff replied.

“Back when CDs first came out, I had just started making real money in GUNS N’ ROSES. I had the best turntable and amps and speakers that money could buy, and I remember Slash and I going to a CD store on Ventura Blvd. to buys some CDs and a couple of CD players. This store had everything, and I remember just starting from ‘A’ and ending at ‘Z’, filling up a whole shopping cart while basically re-stocking everything I had on vinyl.

“It seemed like this was cutting-edge shit, and that I was at the forefront of the technology…until I got home and realized it ALL sounded like shit compared to my vinyl. Anyone who says different must just be so used to every bit of a digital track being used up, that actual ‘space’ in a song, must sound weird and maybe archaic.

“But back then, we didn’t realize that this was just a game being played by the major labels to do what Slash and I had fell hook, line, and sinker for; re-buying ALL of their product! Multiply that by everyone on this planet, and you are talking about trillions of dollars! What the major label powers were too short-sighted and greedy to realize is that home computers were becoming more and more popular, and that digital bits and pieces could be sent back and forth between users.

“The artist is STILL the one paying the ultimate price. With gas prices up so high, no one selling CDs, and lower ticket prices EVERYWHERE, it will be a miracle to have any other choice but seeing local bands for awhile. In Seattle, though, that ain’t such a bad thing!”