Revolver has an exclusive Translucent Ruby vinyl variant of The Living: 1982, the newly unearthed debut album from the Living, Duff McKagan's early punk band. Quantities are extremely limited — order yours before they're gone!
Stone Gossard is Seattle rock royalty. Beyond the guitarist's hugely impactful work as a founding member of Pearl Jam, Gossard is also revered for his output with influential Nineties acts Green River, Mother Love Bone and Temple of the Dog, the grunge supergroup with Chris Cornell.
But years before the worldwide recognition, big paydays and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions, Gossard was just another punk-rock-loving kid finding his way in the Pacific Northwest.
Gossard recently had the opportunity to revisit those seminal years with Loosegroove Records, the label he runs with Brad drummer Regan Hagar. A few years ago, Gossard's longtime friend, and Mother Love Bone collaborator, Greg Gilmore reached out to the musician asking if he wanted to hear the unreleased early Eighties album from the Living — Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan's teenage Seattle band that also featured Gilmore on drums.
"I had no idea what to expect," Gossard recalls of that first listen. But what he heard hit him hard. "From the moment I heard it I have been lobbying for someone to put it out. It's insane that this record didn't come out and define what Seattle music was ..."
Now — after nearly 40 years — those recordings are finally getting their due thanks to Gossard and Loosegroove. Dubbed The Living: 1982, the mini-album presents seven McKagan-penned cuts that serve as a fascinating time capsule and link between Seattle's Eighties punk sounds and the alternative music that would define the region the following decade.
Below, Gossard looks back at his formative punk days in Washington and explains how McKagan's early musical expressions became a "complete inspiration for everything I tried to do since."
TELL US ABOUT YOUR INTRODUCTION TO PUNK ROCK.
STONE GOSSARD Meeting Steve Turner [guitarist of Mudhoney, Green River] at Northwest School and falling in love with his ethos about amateurism and the beauty of noise and bands. Honestly, I was never very punk. I did love Dead Boys, Subhumans, Bad Religion, Motörhead ...
HOW MUSICALLY SEGREGATED WAS THE SEATTLE SCENE IN THE EIGHTIES? WAS IT LONG-HAIRED ROCK AND METAL FANS VERSUS THE PUNKS?
Seattle in the Seventies and early Eighties seemed very segregated between rock, punk and disco. It was thrilling to see the lines blur as the Eighties went on. Today I think it really is different [and people] straddle genres with pride.
YOU'VE TEAMED WITH DUFF MCKAGAN FOR THE RELEASE OF THE LIVING: 1982. WHEN DID YOU TWO FIRST MEET?
I didn't meet Duff until after he was in Guns N' Roses. He has been a gentlemen every time we've hung. In the early/mid Eighties he was a larger-than-life punk icon in my mind. I was obsessed with 10 Minute Warning, [another early Eighties punk band featuring] Duff, Paul Solger, Greg Gilmore, David Griegs. They were doing insane grooves and psychedelic punk. It was a complete inspiration for everything I tried to do since, honestly. I saw them twice maybe ... I never saw the Living.
THE LIVING ALSO INCLUDED GREG GILMORE, WHO WENT ON TO PLAY WITH YOU IN MOTHER LOVE BONE. WERE YOU FRIENDLY WITH GREG BACK IN THOSE EARLY PUNK DAYS?
Later I met Greg when we asked him to try out for Mother Love Bone. Those early days playing with [vocalist] Andy [Wood] and that band were magical. It was a pretty thrilling combo. About two years ago Greg wrote me an email to see if I would listen to some old Living music. I had no idea what to expect. From the moment I heard it I have been lobbying for someone to put it out. It's insane that this record didn't come out and define what Seattle music was ... when Regan and I started talking about bringing Loosegroove back it was with records like this in mind.
HOW DID MCKAGAN AND GILMORE'S WORK, EITHER WITH THE LIVING OR THE PROJECTS THAT FOLLOWED, INSPIRE YOUR OWN CREATIVITY OR MUSICAL ASPIRATIONS?
I can hear the elements of what I love in 10 Minute Warning, and the riffs are classic Seattle ... I couldn't believe how good and developed the [Living] songs were ... singer John Conte is killing, the fact that Duff wrote all of these realized tracks at 17 is amazing … Greg's drumming is so slamming. The band is so tight. Such great breaks and dynamics.
IS THERE A PARTICULAR LIVING SONG THAT STANDS OUT AS A FAVORITE, OR ONE THAT YOU FEEL EPITOMIZES THE SOUND OR SPIRIT OF THE TIME?
My favorite track right now is "Live By the Gun." Its hooks, arrangement, grooves and point of view are all fully realized. Classic hard/punk rock.