Guns ‘N Roses bassist Duff McKagan’s early punk band The Living has unearthed an album that was recorded in 1982, and is entitled as such. The Living were based in Seattle and consisted of McKagan (then aged 17) on guitar, John Conte on vocals, Todd Fleischman on bass, and Greg Gilmore (of Mother Love Bone) on drums.
The song, “I Want” brings a lot of ’80s Californian punk impressions to mind. The lyrics are about the struggles of finding a job which is still a struggle for many to this day. Especially for teenagers who are seen as “not experienced enough” and yet the only means of experience is through working. The message seems similar to Alice Cooper’s “Lost in America” in that, “I can’t get a car cos I ain’t got a job. I can’t get a job cos I ain’t got a car.”
What’s more frustrating is that many of these old songs still ring very true to a new generation that struggle on finding work and good livable pay.
Singer John Conte explains, “We were in the first recession under Ronald Reagan. Jobs were very hard to get but I happened to work consistently. I worked 5 different jobs during that time and I was still living at home with my parents. All the money I made went to the band. So none of the rest of the guys have jobs and Duff has been trying to get a job. He does not tell us about his experiences because he keeps getting rejected. This frustrates him and so I think that is what this number is about. Duff is letting out his thoughts and feelings about how to make money and/or get a job.”
The Living’s songs were rediscovered by Greg Gilmore, who also spearheaded the idea of releasing the album, who then approached Seattle’s own Loosegroove; a label owned by Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone, Brad), and Regan Hagar (Satchel, Brad).
The album will have seven original songs written by McKagan and will be available digitally as well as in three different color variations of vinyl: white, canary yellow, and translucent ruby. The first single, “Two-Generation Stand” is available now.
“The Living was the beginning of all things Seattle for me –a turning point in my life. I joined a band and a community. These guys are still my brothers. I’ve cherished these recordings since the days we made them. This record is a fantastic document of a loaded moment. I love it,” said Gilmore.
The Living placed an ad in the local music paper, The Rocket to find drummer Gilmore. They took a lot of inspiration from their punk heroes The Clash, Germs, and Generation X.
The band went into the studio for a day, with no plans or clear outline of what they planned to do and recorded their songs; the result was this unearthed album.
Duff McKagan will also be featured in Dave Grohl’s What Drives Me documentary.