When it comes to music, Seattle is just that kind of city. You know, the kind where everyone knows everyone and at some point, everyone plays with everyone else. Take Walking Papers, a year-old heavy rock outfit whose self-titled debut album came out on Tuesday. The band includes bassist Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), drummer Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season), and — a little less famously — vocalist and guitarist Jeff Angell and keyboardist Benjamin Anderson, both of the band Missionary Position. But, occasionally, local bigwigs like Alice in Chains’s Jerry Cantrell and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready (the latter also plays on the album) jump on stage with them.
“It’s always gone on,” McKagan says of Seattle’s band-hopping stew. “I grew up playing in bands here and came back in ’93. There’s always been this brother and sisterhood thing of sharing gear, no questions asked, and sharing ideas. When I moved to L.A. I was struck by how competitive music is there, which blew my mind. I guess it’s a Seattle thing. It’s very incestuous here.”
Walking Papers started last year when Angell and Martin began jamming on the sultry whiskey-soaked blues rock songs that make up the album. Through his longtime friendship with both, McKagan came on board and then Anderson. For all the superstar power this band packs, McKagan is realistic about his new band’s long-term future.
“This band should be on the radio. It’s the most commercial, accessible band I’ve ever been in,” he says, sighing at rock radio’s demise. “We have hopes. We have a ton of new songs. The band writes a lot. We’re definitely going to do another record. You just cross your fingers and hope.”