“I think that ‘blues’ is a valid description,” singer Jeff Angell says of his band, Walking Papers. “You can find blues and soul in hip-hop or metal or even electronic music. That’s the key ingredient for all good music. But people can hear the term ‘blues’ and put it in a little compartment.”
So, if you hear the term “blues-rock” in reference to this band’s self-titled debut (out now), it’s worth noting that they don’t sound like Eric Clapton or B.B. King. Their sound is closer to the dustier, warped blues of Tom Waits, or Screaming Trees.
As it happens, their drummer Barrett Martin used to be a member of the latter, as well as another classic Seattle band, Mad Season, which also featured Alice In Chains’ late singer Layne Staley and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam – who guests on the album, and has contributed to records by R.E.M., Queens Of The Stone Age and Stone Temple Pilots.
Their bass player, local boy Duff McKagan, has also played in a few bands prior to this as well. He’s the frontman of Loaded, and a former member of the punk bands 10 Minute Warning and the Fartz. He also spent time with hard rocker Neurotic Outsiders and Velvet Revolver. And, oh yeah, he’s a Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer as a member of Guns N Roses.
“I’ve learned my lessons with humility and egos,” Angell told Radio.com, in references to the singers his fellow bandmates have worked with like Axl Rose, Mark Lanegan and Layne Staley. “I’m just going up there to make the best music possible with the best players that I know. I’m just as big of a fan of these guys and these records as anyone who comes to see us play. I feel like I’ve got the best job in the world. I think it would be awkward if I was trying to imitate those [other singers].”
McKagan agreed, “We’re all fans of each other’s music.”
Indeed, he’s been a fan of Angell’s for a long time. He said that he saw the singer in 2000 as part of his then-band Post-Stardom Depression — “Who should have been the biggest band in the world,” McKagan said as Angell looked on smiling – and has wanted to work with him ever since. He suggested Angell for the singer gig in Velvet Revlover, but they ended up going with a more famous guy named Scott Weiland (perhaps, you’ve heard of him?). Though Angell may have been a better choice in retrospect.