Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. His memoir, It's So Easy (Simon & Schuster) is out now.
Here in the U.S., every city


Dancing Dogs Always Steal the Show

Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. His memoir, It's So Easy (Simon & Schuster) is out now.
Here in the U.S., every city large and small seems to have their own wacky morning news show. You know the ones. They have news and traffic and weather, sure. But there are also a lot of diet tips, fashion-accessory secrets, or some dumb-ass author coming through town flapping his gums about "my book, my book." They are fun to watch if you are caffeinated. If you are not "on coffee," though, you may end up feeling a bit confused and overwhelmed.

And yes, I DID do that book tour, and it was ME suddenly who was that guy on the morning news show. It was fun for sure, but I experienced a different world there on those chaotic live-TV, just-post-dawn shows.

I'm the sort of guy who doesn't really want to know what and where I am going if there is a lot of work to do. I just prefer to stay in the moment, and do the work that is in front of me. In the case of doing promotion, I believe this approach lends itself to fresher and more genuine interviews.

And it was in this approach that I suddenly found myself live on CNN's Wake Up Call with Ali Velshi. Again, it was live. There I was, with only maybe a quad latte inside of me, and there was Ali, that real famous dude on the news . . . and he was FULLY on 10. Actually 10+++. I remember a red light on the camera being illuminated, and that was about it.

Lesson learned. I would drink more coffee before I left my hotel on the mornings after that one. But that was still not enough.

The next morning, I was on a FOX affiliate's morning show in New York, but this time I drank TWO four-shot lattes. No one was going to get one over on me. I was pumped and alert and ultra-sharp.

But the anchor just wasted me, as far as energy level went. He was firing question after question, and before I knew it the interview was over. I asked that anchor what his deal was, as in: "Dude! How are you SO awake?" He told me that he gets up for work at 3:30 a.m. "Oh," I replied.

So that was it, huh? All right. Got it now.

My next morning show was in Minneapolis. I decided to get up at 4 a.m. so that by the time my 7 a.m. slot came, I would already be caffeinated AND gone to the gym. I was HYPED when I arrived on set. But it was a Sunday show. Really mellow and low-key and nice and Minnesota-ish.

I think people may have gotten the wrong message when I came storming on to that show. Like, maybe I had still been up from the night before.

In Seattle, our morning shows are a little bit kinder and smarter and gentler, and with full disclosure being my mission statement, my wife and I watch the Q13 show when in town . . . every morning. The crew on that show just gently caresses you into a new day.

But being a guest on these shows can be a challenge. You don't have the time to be righteous or poignant. One MUST be FULLY caffeinated too, or else suffer the consequence of being waylaid by a whole crew of impossibly up people, with a million questions that often go a million different directions. Example:

Q: SO, we are so happy to have you here. Are you in town for a while?

A: Nice being here. No, unfortunately I am just in town for the day.

Q: How many women have you slept with?

A: What?

Q: Your wife is so beautiful. You are a lucky guy. How did you guys meet?

A: Well, uh . . . jeez . . . uh, OK. We met on a blind date, and, uh . . .

Q: How much cocaine did you do?!

Also, in the green rooms of these shows, you are kind of given a preview of who else is on the show, because those people or animals are also in that green room with you.

Yes. I said animals.

I'm a big fan of Margaret Larson on KING 5's New Day Seattle, and I was naturally excited to find that I was invited onto the show to have a conversation with her about my book. It is the closest thing to the old-school variety shows we used to have back in the '70s. She often has live music too, along with the guests.

To my pleasure and surprise, Reverb's own John Roderick just happened to be the musical guest for that day's show. But then the dogs showed up . . .

OK, I am a big-time dog guy. But as a rock guy too, you just never want to be on the same bill as an animal (or, in Spinal Tap's case, puppets). But there John and I were, sharing a dressing room with two "dancing" dogs.

We watched as these dogs and their trainers practiced their tricks. You know . . . back up, standing on their hind legs, roll over, bark on command, etc.

John was warming up on his guitar, I was warming up my genius intellect; both of us smug in our being the kings of Seattle . . . when one of the dogs took a poop. Oh yeah, dogs do that. It kinda brings a guy and his "genius intellect" right back down to earth.

By the way, those dogs didn't really "dance," they just did their tricks to music. OK? They weren't as good as me and John. Even though I liked them better than us . . . because I really love dogs. OK, maybe they WERE better than me and John.

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