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SoulMonster

1993-12-DD - Interview with Duff

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1993-12-DD - Interview with Duff

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:24 am

Taking a break from his solo tour, DUFF McKAGAN shares his opinions on punk, metal, lawsuits, and lots of other things with Chris Marlowe.

What prompted your solo album?

I went through a very hardcore emotional period, and I wrote a lot, a lot of songs, and I recorded them on my little eight-track up in the loft in my house, and then I said, 'Well, fuck. I'm going to see if I can do this in the studio.' And I could. It was just a matter of getting the shit out. Out, out, out! Not out on the market, just out of myself. Like, 'Go away bad demon!' And I couldn't ask Axl to sing songs about my troubles. It wouldn't be fair to ask him to sing a song called 'I Love You' or something.

It seems like a really personal album.

Yeah, it is. And no, [laughing] I don't hate girls! I went through a heavy pperiod. After the 'Appetite' record, and after we toured for 2-1/2 years on that, coming home and buying the big house and all that shit and all of a sudden all these people like you - it's like, 'Whoa, what's going on here?' So I use a girl in a couple of songs, but it's not even about a girl - it's an analogy. Like 'Ten Years', which is not a hateful song at all, it's about a group of people. I just used a girl to make it romantic and sweet.

Since it is so personal, would you be hurt by a bad review?

Well, it's not an Yngwie Malmsteen or a Steve Vai record, obviously. [laughing] I've never professed I can actually play these instruments good. And I purposely under-produced it, because it's a very human record. So I left mistakes on there and everything. And I never professed to be a fucking singer, that's for damn sure! It's just what it is, and it's my heart and soul on a record. So if somebody wants to step on my heart and soul - get in line! [laughing] I'm used to that shit!

What songs are working well live?

The ones that aren't, we aren't playing! I don' know - 'Could It Be You' works great, 'Man In The Meadow', 'Fuck You', '(Fucked Up) Beyond Belief', 'Believe In Me', 'Trouble' - we're opening with 'Trouble'. 'Majority'. [laughing] She's going, 'Well, that's all the record, Duff.' But they all really do work well live.

Do you play any Guns songs?

We do 'Attitude', 'So Fine', and 'It's So Easy'. But it's not a Guns N' Roses Rock And Roll Revue or nothing. In between some songs some guy in Frisco goes, 'Play something you know.' Meaning play something he knows, right? He was up in the balcony, and I just flipped my finger at him, 'Fuck you, man! Suck my cock! Why are you here, man?' Go away. Go listen to a record, you know? Or wait for another three years, and when you wait for that three years, [laughing] wait for about five hours until we go on stage!

Is it strange scaling down from Guns N' Roses?

It's cool! Riding on a bus - no 747s, you know? That's a good way to really go broke, man. And we actually asked to go on stage earlier, so we could play more songs. And it's cool, because I know if I make a mistake - for some odd reason this is a good feeling - I know at least it's me making a mistake. And I don't have to cover for anybody else. So it's fun fucking up. Oh great - that's going to be the headline!

Do you recognise yourself when you read newspapers?

No. I mean, I try to get real - like we're talking - and I think I can get through to people. I just talk like this when I do interviews. And it will come out, 'Duff was in a bitter, sullen mood.' What?!?! Wait, I was laughing and talking! They make the interview so cut and dried. [laugh] Am I really that boring? Fuck!

You've kicked your alcoholism again. What prompted that?

I just got up one morning and looked at myself in the mirror, and went, 'Whoa - who is this guy?' I was like bloated sort of, and my face got puffy. I looked over, and I saw like three empty bottles of vodka. I was just so used to it - me and Slash don't even notice how much booze we go through. Plus, I get physicals all the time, and I'm like, 'Please tell me something's wrong with my liver. Please tell me something's wrong with something.' But nope, flying colours. So I'm like, well, cool. But so it was just me going, 'Fuck. I'm not looking good.' So I quit cold turkey on a flight to Israeal from LA. We played the first three nights - you know Guns N' Roses [laughing], it takes about two weeks to play three nights - so the first three nights we did, I'm fucking just jonesing on stage. Oh god, just sweating and - bleugh! It was really horrible. It's harder to quit alcohol than it is anything else. Dope, anything. By far. Trust me.

What happened with your plans to go to law school?

I got accepted at Harvard just a couple of years ago. Actually, I was really good in school. I was like in the gifted program and shit. But I really see what lawyers are all about these days, so I really fell out of love. Because I was going to. I thougt, 'This is what I'm going to do. Mom - check it out!' But I'm not going to do it any more. I've been sued so many times - I might as well have just given all the money to you. Like I beat up two guys one time, okay? Two guys who asked for it, and they were stupid, and I ain't saying I'm a karate expert or nothing - I just know how to hold my own. And I broke both their noses, and BOOM! 400 thoused dollars later. You know, if I got in a fight and I lost, I wouldn't go around and suck dick and fucking sue the guy. That's so unmanly.

Johnny Thunders, the late New York Dolls guitarist, used to cite problems with how they were perceived.

I actually did a cover of his 'You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory' for my album, but the guys in Guns liked it so much it's going on our covers record. So is 'New Rose' by the Damned - Brian James, he's like on of my fucking guitar idols. And 'Raw Power' by the Stooges. Iggy Pop - we're friends now, it's cool. You know, I got too high on muchrooms once, when I was like 16. Way too high. And all I could do was to clutch on to my ticket for Iggy Pop. And somebody got me there, and I didn't watch the band or anything - I just stood there and watched him. And he got me out of the fucking mushroom high, it was like the coolest thing. We did some cool fucking songs. Some really cool shit.

Guns N' Roses have always been generous about their influences.

Yeah, we don't lie. It's not like, 'Oh, we never listened to anybody. We never copped.' If I could list the shit that we - I wouldn't say rip off, but you use everything you've heard in your life for your writing. And anybody who says they haven't is full of shit. Back in the old days, we were styling like Hanoi Rocks and shit, you know? Crimped hair! Well, we needed to get girls so we could get something to eat. [laughing] There was a reason, you know? Like, 'Hey, can I borrow that?'

Being acknowledged by 'Spaghetti Incident' should make some of your influences very happy.

[laughing] And very rich!
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