The Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival will give musicians and fans a chance to play the musical game Six Degrees of Duff McKagan.
The famed bassist, who will perform at the Monday event, was formerly with Guns N' Roses. And two members of The Dead Daisies, also part of the Usana show, are Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus both of whom now play with Guns N' Roses.
In addition, McKagan once was a member of Jane's Addiction, who is on the bill.
McKagan currently is the bass player for Walking Papers, which boasts drummer Barrett Martin. Martin used to be in the Screaming Trees with Mark Lanegan, and McKagan has played on two Lanegan solo albums. Martin also used to be a member of Mad Season, which featured the late Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley.
Alice in Chains will perform at UPROAR, too.
McKagan, 49, never intended to have relationships with so many bands. "If you had asked me at 21 if I wanted to be in a lot of bands, I would have said I just wanted to be in one band," said McKagan, who was the last founding member to leave Guns N' Roses. Original member Axl Rose, of course, is still there.
He is associated with L.A. bands, but actually grew up in and now primarily lives in Seattle.
"That whole conflict was made [by the media]," he said. "Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam would all come down and I rooted for them. Maybe [the media] tried to create something like a rap feud, East Coast versus West Coast."
Good vibes is why he joined Martin in Walking Papers, which was formed last year. The band's debut album features guest musician Mike McCready of Pearl Jam and Mad Season.
The idea of a band still appeals to McKagan. "It's four or five guys working towards a goal," he said. One of his best concert memories includes seeing Seattle sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson perform together as Heart.
Jane's Addiction • McKagan had a brief, yet amicable, stint with Jane's Addiction, and drummer Stephen Perkins remembers the time fondly. "We had some good times," said Perkins, who knew McKagan in the 1980s when Guns N' Roses and Jane's Addiction performed on the Sunset Strip scene.
Perkins has known Alice in Chains even longer, which makes the pairing of the two headliners even sweeter. The bands shared the same producer, Dave Jerden, on their earliest albums, and when Alice in Chains arrived in Los Angeles to record its 1990 debut "Facelift," the band stayed at Perkins' house for two weeks. Alice in Chains even borrowed Perkins' drum kit for the recording.
A few years later, Perkins played drums for a supergroup called Class of '99 that featured the last recorded performance of Alice in Chains' first lead singer, Layne Staley. It was a song for "The Faculty" soundtrack.
As for Jane's Addiction, Perkins has been with band members Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro for every band reunion in 1997, 2001 and 2008.
"I met Dave when I was 13, and Perry when I was 17," Perkins said. "There's a trust, and no sand covering any of the personalities. They know you, and you know them. â¦ We believe in the music, and we believe in the art."
Jane's Addiction is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its landmark debu,t "Nothing's Shocking," this year, but it's by no means a nostalgia act. The band released the well-received album "The Great Escape Artist" in 2011 its first album since 2003's "Strays."
"Great musicians aren't bored," Perkins said. "They're still hungry."
Musical reunion • Another Jane's Addiction member, Dave Navarro, told The Tribune that he has been friends with McKagan and Alice in Chains for more than 20 years, and the current tour feels like a reunion among friends. In fact, he said, "being on the road is more comfortable than home." With Jane's Addiction only playing about an hourlong set each tour stop, "Exhaustion is not an issue. â¦ I find it not as physically exhausting [as past tours]."
When not reconnecting with friends on the tour, Navarro can be found in his tour bus, catching up on one of his favorite shows, "Breaking Bad." He is such a fan that he tattooed the face of Heisenberg, the show's meth-making alter ego of Walter White, on his forearm.
Navarro has even appeared as a guest on an AMC companion show called "Talking Dead" about the TV series "The Walking Dead." "TV has gotten so good," he said, adding that he also loves "The Newsroom" and "The Killing."
A frequent attendee of the Sundance Film Festival, Navarro said he is four years into making his first documentary, which he describes as "overcoming trauma, in a nutshell."
Alice in Chains • The last band to play each tour stop is Alice in Chains, which regrouped in 2005 after the death of Staley and a decade-long hiatus. Founding bassist Mike Starr, who left the band in the 1990s, died in 2011 of an overdose while living in Salt Lake City.
Under the leadership of guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell, the band released "Black Gives Way to Blue" in 2009, its first album in 14 years. This year it released "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here."
One of the more interesting songs of late is the single "Check My Brain." Cantrell penned the song about how he was surprised to like living in sunny Southern California after spending most of his life in the Northwest. "It doesn't suck to wake up in December to the sun and go swimming," he said.
Alice in Chains doesn't revel in the past, and looks forward to the future. "We have never made the same record [twice], but we have never lost our sound," said Cantrell, whose guitar sound is perhaps the biggest example of the grunge sound that defined the early 1990s movement. "We're interested in going places we haven't been. We widened our possibilities from the get-go."
The band has been through plenty of trauma and drama, but that doesn't mean that Cantrell isn't grateful for his position. He said that once he had reached a financial level of success, he asked his father if he ever wanted anything. His father replied that he would like a ranch where he could raise cattle and horses. So every year, Cantrell vacations at his dad's ranch in Oklahoma.
Dead Daisies • One of the newest bands on the bill is The Dead Daisies. The band just released its debut album with a scorching new single featuring McKagan's Velvet Revolver and Guns N' Roses bandmate Slash as a guest.
Like Walking Papers, the band is a rock Who's Who, with Guns N' Roses veterans Dizzy Reed (whom was in Guns N' Roses during McKagan's tenure) and Richard Fortus. Leading the band is singer Jon Stevens, frontman of Australian bands Noiseworks and INXS. Other band members are Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Lynch Mob, Whitesnake) and David Lowy (Red Phoenix, Mink and The Angels).
Stevens said it was not a "deliberate" decision to create what some call a supergroup he just decided to call in some friends after he and Lowy started writing some songs together. It was a "real compliment" when famous musicians joined them.
The album sounds as if it could have been recorded at the height of the classic rock era. That's intentional, Stevens said. "We kept it really minimal on the recording," he said. "We want to keep things really raw. We wanted to keep it real all along the line."
Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival
When • Monday, Sept. 2, at 2 p.m.
Where • Usana Amphitheatre, 5150 S. 6055 West, West Valley City
Tickets • $20 to $74 up until Aug. 29; $25 to $79 after Aug. 29; at SmithsTix