Cleveland Will Rock: It's Always Been About the Songs

Duff McKagan is the founding bassist in Guns N' Roses. His column runs every Thursday on Reverb.
I have a mishmash of topics that I thought should be discussed among ourselves here. We love books here-- that has become very evident. Sports? Well, some of you can get on board. There's also a happening in Cleveland this weekend. Let's start at the top:

Baseball! Optimism!

Hey, Seattle! Check out our Mariners in the AL West Standings today . . . QUICKLY! We are above .500, and this truly may be a rare occasion to witness this season (unless, of course . . . we overachieve on a rather large scale).

The team IS fun right now. It seems that we can produce some runs, at least so far. Last year was of course abysmal in that respect. Chone Figgins is getting on base as our new lead-off guy, Ichiro seems comfy batting third, Kyle Seager has some potential, and Justin Smoak has apparently got a bit of his promise showing. King Felix and Vargas could be a great one-two punch as our aces, and Justin Ackley is gaining ground in the "bigs."

Of course, we are in a division that touts the enormous and overwhelming strength of the LA Angels and Texas Rangers, but we here in Seattle CAN dream. We have the potential to win some unexpected games, and we have been quoted by sports experts as perhaps being the "new Tampa Bay Rays"--a team that has built strength through its farm-system and pure will.

I'M JUST EXCITED THAT BASEBALL SEASON IS HERE. John Roderick, Ben Gibbard, and I (yes, I AM namedropping) may be seen together at some games . . . and no, those are NOT crosswords and sudokus that we are working on at those games . . . we are keeping score, like the baseball geeks that we are.

Good Reads!

Finn (John Clinch): A Cormac McCarthy-esque look at a fella named Finn, a bedraggled and alcoholic man who fathers a son with a runaway slave in 1850s Illinois. This son has the name Huckleberry. Yes, this is the backstory, through Clinch's eyes, of Mark Twain's epic novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A very genius-if-not-dark take of what happened in Huckleberry Finn's early life. Recommended!

King (Upton Sinclair): Again, Upton takes a deep and eye-opening look into industry and exposes all the wrongs and class warfare between the "haves" and "have-nots." No one author has ever done so much to exert pressure and change our modern view of work conditions and inequalities. And all VERY dang page-turning. Another Sinclair classic!

Cleveland Will Rock!

I'm on a plane to Cleveland for a performance tomorrow night of my musical book-reading for It's So Easy. These things make me extremely nervous, as reading in front of people has turned out to be one of those things I just don't feel too comfortable with. I think a lot of people are coming because my band, GNR, will be inducted into the so-fancy Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

And on THAT night, I will honor not myself or the chicken dinner they will most surely provide, but I will be honoring all those people who call themselves the fans of our group called Guns N' Roses.

Adversity has followed this band since its inception. I get it. That seems to be my sort of "lot" in life . . . and I think that maybe through this whole sort of rub and honesty that GNR portrayed in a very real way in those early records indeed may have helped countless others overcome varying adversities in their own lives. It's a wonderful and poignant thing to hear from different fans from around this globe. I hope that I can do you all proud.

In the end, it's not about who does or doesn't show up from the original band, and I back whatever reason this guy or that has for not coming. It's all good. The songs are the important bit here . . . and the message they most certainly still must carry.

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