During a January 20 appearance on SEX PISTOLS guitarist Steve Jones's radio show, "Jonesy's Jukebox", on the 95.5 KLOS station in Los Angeles, GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan spoke about his involvement with Ozzy Osbourne's upcoming album, "Ordinary Man". Recorded in Los Angeles, the LP features Andrew Watt on guitars, McKagan on bass and Chad Smith (RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS) on drums. Asked how he came to play on the record, McKagan said (see video below): "The session I got called to do. I'd been playing these gigs with Chad Smith, the drummer from the CHILI PEPPERS — these wild cover-band things. Like, we'd play VAN HALEN with Taylor Hawkins singing and Mike McCready playing guitar. And we played Montana. But playing with Chad, playing bass, he's such an aggressive drummer, and our styles are pretty similar. And we love playing with each other as a rhythm section. "This guy Andrew Watt called," Duff continued. "I think it was a Saturday, and I happened to be in L.A. He said, 'Do you have some days this week in the daytime? I need to write an Ozzy record. We have four days to do it.' So, we showed up at Andrew's studio. Everything was kind of set up — Chad's drum kit was set up. And it was basically one of those things: 'Who's got a riff?' And it was really inspired. The three of us — Andrew Watt and Chad and myself — we'd never written together, and that can go sideways in a hot second. But it didn't. The first riff that we threw down… Mick Bob was there, my tech. He's, like, 'You know Ozzy likes THE BEATLES. Make sure there's some BEATLES in there.' So we just [approached it like], 'Who's got a riff, man?' And we just threw down in four days and wrote nine songs. 'Ordinary Man', the ballad, with Elton John on it, is one of 'em. And 'Straight To Hell' [was another one]. I think we wrote and recorded nine songs in four days, and the sounds and everything, which is perfect. And that was it. We were done." According to Duff, he, Watt and Smith "wrote all the music" for "Ordinary Man" and contributed "melody ideas" before Osbourne got involved in the project. "Ozzy came and Ozzy just loved it," McKagan said. "He just came in and started writing words and laid down the vocals. And it was kind of like that. There was definitely urgency to the whole situation. We had so much time to do it, which was only four days… So, it just happened to work out great. And I think the record is really, really good." Three songs from "Ordinary Man" have been released so far: the anti-drug anthem "Straight To Hell", featuring a guitar solo by GUNS N' ROSES' Slash; the ballad "Under The Graveyard", which was Osbourne's first new solo song in nearly a decade; and the "Ordinary Man" title track, which is Ozzy's duet with Elton John. Also appearing on the disc are Post Malone and Tom Morello. "It all just came together," Ozzy previously said of the guest stars. "Slash is a dear friend of mine, as is Elton. When I was writing 'Ordinary Man', it reminded me of an old Elton song and I said to Sharon, 'I wonder if he would sing on it?' We asked, and lo and behold, he agreed and sings and plays piano on the song." The "Ordinary Man" album will be released on February 21.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN drummer John Dolmayan will release his solo debut, "These Grey Men", on February 28. The eight-song LP contains covers of tracks by such varied artists as Madonna, RADIOHEAD, AFI, Eminem and David Bowie. The official music video for the disc's first single, a reworking of RADIOHEAD's "Street Spirit", can be seen below. The song features a guitar solo from RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's Tom Morello, as well as contributions from AVENGED SEVENFOLD vocalist M. Shadows, guitarist James Hazley, bassist Tom Copossela and keyboardist Danny Shamoun. "This song in particular is a really touching and moving song," Dolmayan told Rolling Stone. "I love the morose, in-your-room-and-it's-raining-outside, it's cold and your girlfriend dumped you feeling that this song always gave me… But when I listened to it, I'd be, like, 'I kinda wish the drums came in earlier,' or, 'How would [John] Bonham approach this song if this was a [LED] ZEPPELIN song?' Because I'm such a fan of the song, I wanted to do a version of it in homage." M. Shadows said about the track: "When John told me he wanted to reimagine some of his favorite songs for an album, I was very intrigued. I've always respected RADIOHEAD but wasn't familiar with their full catalog. When John sent 'Street Spirit', I instantly was blow away by the sounds. Since then, I have been on a huge RADIOHEAD kick. Adding Tom Morello to our version was the icing on the cake. I feel this recording stays true to the original while adding John's overall vision." The "Street Spirit" clip was directed by Vicente Cordero of Industrialism Films. "These Gray Men" also features Dolmayan's SYSTEM OF A DOWN bandmate Serj Tankian on a cover of David Bowie's "Starman" and the TALKING HEADS' "Road To Nowhere". "These Gray Men" track listing: 01. Hung Up (MADONNA) 02. Street Spirit (RADIOHEAD) 03. Beautiful Thieves (AFI) 04. Road To Nowhere (TALKING HEADS) 05. Rock Bottom (EMINEM) 06. Runaway (DEL SHANNON) 07. Starman (DAVID BOWIE) 08. What You Know (TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB)