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2002.06.22 - Seattle University Online - Feature Stories: Duff McKagan

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2002.06.22 - Seattle University Online - Feature Stories: Duff McKagan Empty 2002.06.22 - Seattle University Online - Feature Stories: Duff McKagan

Post by Blackstar on Sat May 09, 2020 7:20 pm

Duff McKagan

Sitting in class, Michael "Duff" McKagan is just another SU business student—one with a few more years on him than some of his fellow undergrads, maybe, though the yards of tattoos and bleached tips give nothing away.

There is no overstating the importance of this anonymity. Were they a few years older, he knows, they might see him for what he was instead of who he is today.

And what Duff McKagan was was a phenomenon. As bass player for Guns N' Roses, arguably the most successful hard rock band of the late '80s and early '90s, Duff rocked nightly to tens of thousands of screaming fans, sold millions of recordings, earned music awards and tabloid headlines and repeatedly circled the world.

By the time he officially left GNR in 1997, Duff was a different man: clean, married, a new father. And when he relocated his family from Los Angeles to an elegant Seattle home, Duff began mulling over some long-held plans.
"My mom always wanted me to be a lawyer, and my Uncle John graduated from SU in '48," he says. "And in the back of my head, I knew I always wanted to further my education."

Though he had achieved professional and financial success of the kind few people—particularly musicians—will ever know, Duff was cowed by the prospect of facing college admissions officers. A high-school dropout, he earned his GED before signing up for a handful of classes at Seattle Central Community College, then applying to SU last fall.

"Business is a natural for me," he explains. "I'm still a principal in GNR Corp., we still sell a million CDs a year. It's something that seems practical to me."

Ultimately, he says, he'd like to earn an MBA, maybe work for a corporation. "Why not?" he asks. "I've been in a band, I understand working as a team. There's probably an accountant downtown somewhere who's dreaming about being a rock star. But I've already done that.

"I've grown up a lot in the last year, intellectually. For me, this is like a dream."

— Tracy Glisson

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