Touring Around the UK Without My Vision Again

Justin Dylan Renney
Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. He writes about what's circulating through his iPod every Monday.
A couple of weeks back I finally got Lasik surgery for my eyes, and it was like magic. Where before I could not see up close or far away without glasses, after the surgery I could suddenly see all without the assistance of eyeglasses. Cool! However, in these first few weeks, I was forewarned that from day to day, my vision may get blurry and/or sharpen up. Today it is completely blurry.

This week, I feel as if I have nothing really to write about, so I will just sort of let the words flow and see what happens. It's not as if I haven't been doing anything, though. I am on a rock tour through the UK, and therefore have been in a different city every day. As I write from the top lounge of our tour bus this morning, I am looking out over the English Channel from Portsmouth. Portsmouth is where the D-Day attack was launched on June 6, 1944. I am a WWII fanatic, so this is pretty cool. Later today, after my two hours of phone interviews to Brazil, I will try and visit the war museum here before soundcheck.

The gigs over here have been great for us. Our fan base over here is pretty hardcore, and they seem to understand our wry and brash sense of humor. There was even a gathering of our UK fans in a town called Leamington Spa a couple of hours north of London. It's really pretty cool to play some of these smaller towns and villages when we come over here, as you never know what you will chance upon. For instance, at the gig in Leamington Spa, our backstage room was Tammy Wynette's trailer from the 1950s! How it got over here is anyone's guess, but it was in pristine condition, all pink and chrome and glass. The village of Leamington Spa is rather upscale, extremely quaint, and is, I understand, a destination resort town with a couple of colleges. VERY English in a textbook sort of way.

I wandered into a record store in Nottingham yesterday, where I found Jeff Beck's Truth and The Band's self-titled CD for just three pounds each brand-new . . . such a deal for these benchmark pieces of work. I also got "Now This Is What I Call Music Volume 73" for 15 pounds. I WILL pay top dollar for the cheese. I absolutely LOVE cheeky British pop music. Some of it is so bad that it is genius. On a ferry ride from Ireland the other day, I got Kylie Minogue's Greatest Hits. I can't wait to listen to it, if only to bother our guitarist Mike Squires with it. He HATES cheeky pop, and it has become a little game of cat-and-mouse that we play in the bus or backstage. I will put something on, and he will instantly get up and move. I then follow him around and innocently put the CD on again wherever he has settled. It's fun for me, but I sense not so fun for poor Mike.

The questions game I devised for my daughters back home has really been a home run! They excitedly e-mail with their answers as to where I am at, and they have been receiving their hidden presents. It makes me feel really good that they know where on this planet I am. My dog Buckley gets real excited too, they tell me. He will look at the globe with them and jump up and down . . . or maybe he jumps up and down because he knows it's dinner time. Whatever. I believe what I believe and that is MY reality: that even my dog misses me and wants to know where I am. He always gets in my bag as I am packing it before I leave. It breaks my heart. I think it breaks his, too.

I broke my front tooth on the microphone the other night at a show--the same tooth I broke in the second grade when I fell off a chair. My hair is the same length and color as it was when I was 7, and somehow I suddenly look like a kid. Broken tooth and all. I miss my family.

Tonight I will be going to London, where things will become fancy. I will stay at a hotel on Park Lane and see my wife. Fancy! We will go to Vivienne Westwood on Bond Street to look at fancy clothes, and I will do a TV appearance on Channel 4 over here. Fancy. Loaded will play the Hammersmith tomorrow night. FUCKING ULTRA FANCY. I played this venue with GN'R in '87 and five more times with Velvet Revolver The Hammersmith is where David Bowie retired Diamond Dogs.

Well, there it is, a stream-of-conscience column written without the luxury of sight! I hope you enjoy. If you are about to come to one of our shows over here, and I don't recognize you . . . you now know why!

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