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SoulMonster
APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2009.04.18 - Kerrang! - 'Groupies? I Never Had Much Game!' (Duff)

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2009.04.18 - Kerrang! - 'Groupies? I Never Had Much Game!' (Duff) Empty 2009.04.18 - Kerrang! - 'Groupies? I Never Had Much Game!' (Duff)

Post by Blackstar Sun Jun 27, 2021 11:31 pm

"Groupies? I Never Had Much Game!"

Legendary Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan reminisces about the highs and lows of a life spent in rock.

Words: David McLaughlin

Duff McKagan has survived it all. Gruelling world tours, drugs and booze addictions, and 13 years in the company of Axl Rose. But even after the toll of 25 hard living, hedonistic years the bassist is still alive and kicking out the jams. How's he managed it? The iconic hell raiser reflects on the ups and downs of a colourful career and reveals how he's lived to tell the tale.

What's been the secret to your survival?

I don't know, man. I still feel a ferocity inside me. I still love to cuss, spit and go wild on stage! People probably think I'm trying to hang on to my youth, but that's just who I am. At this point in my life, though, I just don't give a shit what people think!

Do you ever feel nostalgic about the Guns N' Roses days?

Oh no, never. The best days of Guns were in '87. We were on top of our game then. It started to go downhill - maybe not downhill - but it was different after that. When we were the biggest band in the world in '91, the whole thing was really bloated and I was too fucked up. It was a machine and we weren't having a good time anymore. We kept trying to stop the machine, but it just got bigger and worse.

What killed the fun?

By '91 we had 115 employees, so it wasn't just a band anymore. There are ways around that, but we were too inexperienced to deal with it. I've seen some bands keep it small: Green Day and the Foo Fighters somehow managed it. Maybe they learned from our mistakes. I've heard bands say that, actually. I remember Lars [Ulrich, Metallica drummer] saying they learned what not to do by touring with us.

It must have been a blast though, right?

Hell yeah, it wasn't a totally dismal period - I had some amazing times. Being in the practice room, building a brotherhood through hard work together, getting to the point where you're rocking and people start believing in you, that's the most amazing feeling. When you loose that brotherhood and feeling, then you're dying. The girls, the drugs and all that other stuff is just no substitute.

The girls?

Truthfully, the whole sex thing gets boring. If you're in the game to get some every night, it's there if you want it. But I never had much gamesmanship! For a few months in '92 I decided, 'Okay, I'm going to get me some,' but I didn't have enough game. It's pretty shallow, really. I'm not going to say I didn't do it, because I had my fair share, but I just wasn't very good at it. I was just stumbling my way through that whole period. Hell, I still do! The difference is now I've built a pretty stable life for myself, and I don't think I had that then. I'm sure of myself and comfortable in my own skin now. I don't fuck around anymore and I've been married for the last 12 years.

The drugs and booze almost killed you at the height of GNR's fame. Is it weird thinking about that?

It's not cool, all of that stuff. I'm glad I had the experience and I'm glad I didn't die. Those three words, 'I didn't die,' probably sum it up. It's kickass at 19, but when you're addicted at 20 it's not fun anymore. Being strung out all the time is horrible. I was so full of terror.

What kind of terror?

Like 'what if I don't score?' terror. 'What if I can't get some booze?' terror. That's fucking terror, dude. I was the archetypal 'live fast, die young, don't give a fuck' guy. I thought I would only live until I was 30. Most people call that hedonism, but it's actually really fucking sad, because most people do die. Guys like Slash and me should be dead, but somehow we survived. When we toured with Velvet Revolver we would eat dinner before the show and talk about that. Not in a morbid way, but in a celebratory way. If you can drink, do drugs and go to work the next day and not be strung out, then more power to you, but I couldn't.

Why do you feel like you were one of the lucky ones?

Probably my kids. There was some greater plan for me. I believe in fate and that there are paths in life that we have no control over. Having kids changed me, but now my girls are getting older and starting to take care of themselves more, it's given me the freedom to go 'OK, let's rock again.'

How would you feel if your kids wanted to follow in your footsteps?

I think it would be killer, but I know they won't. They've been on tour with me since they were babies. They see that it's really a 19-hour a day job with too much travel, not enough sleep and you never have any time off.

Have you told them about your darkest days?

I've talked to them about why daddy doesn't have a glass of wine when everyone else does. I explained how, if I started drinking, I wouldn't be able to stop because I have this disease, and warned them that they might have it, too. They're in their teens now, so the next few years could be interesting. But I'll be around for them.

What lessons has rock n' roll taught you?

You gotta laugh a little and you can't take yourself too seriously. I've seen people loose their grip and I know I have, too, but you must forgive, forget, work hard and laugh. It's just rock n' roll - it doesn't make you better than anyone else. When people call me a rockstar, I hate it. I cringe when I hear those words.

How do you stay motivated after 25 years in rock?

I don't think I've even scratched the surface of my capabilities yet. I'm in my 40's now and in my head I'm still that 13 year old kid vibing off the music. I just feel like there's so much more in me. I have done a lot. but I haven't done it all yet.

So finally we have to ask, what did you make of Chinese Democracy?

I love Axl's voice and always have, but it's not like I'm listening to my old band. It might be the same name, but that band died. Actually, it was more like it was killed off - (laughs) - by self-strangulation without the pleasure of jerking off before dying. It's kind of sad, really.
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