The saga that has rocked the dad rock world this past week continues, and now former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan has weighed in, dismissing claims their 1987 hit Sweet Child O’ Mine is a rip off of Australian Crawl’s 1981 song Unpublished Critics.
“Any bands I’ve been in, you do the smell check,” McKagan told Opie Radio, via Loudwire. “You always run into Free Fallin. Oh man, that’s Free Fallin. It’s always some Tom Petty song, right? He’s the master.” Sam Smith, take note.
“Anything three chords, oh crap. It’s a Stones song or a Tom Petty. But that band, Guns, at that point, we would have…we were striving to be so original and different and do our own thing,” he continued. “There’s just no way we would have referenced anything. So if there’s any similarity, it’s complete happenstance.”
Once the claims of similarities between the songs began circling earlier this week, Australian Crawl frontman James Reyne admitted there may be a potential issue, but stopped short of accusing Guns N’ Roses of knowingly ripping him off.
“To me personally it’s not inconceivable, as I’ve said before there may be similarities,” he said. “Our song certainly came before them, I don’t quite know what to say.” It’s not quite the smoking gun, is it?
Former Gunners guitarist Gilby Clarke also echoed McKagan’s comments that the band’s modus operandi was to be original. “Obviously, when I heard the songs back to back, it’s definitely ‘Wow.’ But, in all honesty, there definitely isn’t a connection,” he told Florida radio station The Gater.
“The band was always about being original, being the first. So it’s really not in the DNA to have been part of something like that.”
He added, “Look, there’s only 12 notes out there — we haven’t been able to create any new ones in the fifty-plus years of rock and roll. And a couple notes are gonna go together the same on a couple of bands.”
Judge for yourselves, below.
Listen: Australian Crawl – Unpublished Critics
Watch: Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine