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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.

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2015.05.11 - LA Weekly - In His New Book, How to Be a Man, Duff McKagan Shares Rock & Roll Wisdom

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2015.05.11 - LA Weekly - In His New Book, How to Be a Man, Duff McKagan Shares Rock & Roll Wisdom Empty 2015.05.11 - LA Weekly - In His New Book, How to Be a Man, Duff McKagan Shares Rock & Roll Wisdom

Post by Blackstar Fri 30 Dec 2022 - 19:59

In His New Book, How to Be a Man, Duff McKagan Shares Rock & Roll Wisdom

LINA LECARO

Being in a rock & roll band doesn't teach one how to be man. In fact, the inherent hedonism of the rock lifestyle promotes the idea that boisterous boyishness is best.

But that gets old eventually, just as our rock idols do. The ones who stay in the game clean up their act, learn from their mistakes, and embrace life with a sense of purpose, even while they work to maintain their badass chops on stage.

Nobody embodies this kind of manly evolution better than Duff McKagan. The bassist has parlayed his time in Guns N' Roses into a myriad of ventures and projects over the years, not all of them musical. His career as a writer has clearly been one of his most cathartic undertakings. His first book, It's So Easy: and other lies, provided some insightful glimpses into his iconic band, his addiction and recovery, his family life and more. His latest, How to Be a Man (and other illusions), encapsulates his life and what he's learned in a highly readable way that everyone — man or woman — can relate to. (Read an excerpt here.) We spoke with him about all of it.

How did this book, How to Be a Man, come to be?

It came from my Seattle Weekly column, which was titled the same. I did observational pieces about my experiences and the things I’ve learned over the years. I’ve been raising two girls and I’ve observed how women grow, all the way from one-day-old 'til now, with a daughter almost 18. And then I have my wife. I can only write from a man’s viewpoint. I really know that now, but I empathize and understand women a lot more.

So is it literally about what being a man — a real man or a good man — is all about for you?

To sum it up, what the original column was, is what a guy thinks when he’s 18 versus when he grows up. It’s totally different once you have a couple kids, but you don’t realize it as it’s happening. It hits you all at once.

I was 37. I wasn’t getting in fist fights… which I thought was manly when I was 18. And I wasn’t drinking two cases of beer… which I thought was manly when I was 18. And I wasn’t carousing with a bunch of strangers. I was with one woman and I had a baby girl and a toddler girl, and I was at the grocery store getting diapers, and my wife was calling me on the phone and I just realized, ya know, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I wasn’t fighting, I wasn’t drinking, and I wasn’t carousing. It just happened.

The book is sort of an assortment of all this kind of stuff from the column. I put it all into a six-month period of my life. There’s a story line. And I also put in all the things that I had jotted down or maybe had for column ideas.

The book has a lot of good advice. But your column was more about personal experiences than advice, right?

It was everything. Rock music, politics, depression. Anything and everything. My first book was about my descent into addiction and finding my way out while surrounded by things that were happening in my life, such as Guns and punk rock before that. But if you were looking for that book to be a tell-all Guns N' Roses book, you were disappointed.

I’m sure many were.

There’s a code. When you’re in a band, it’s a close-knit thing. There’s a lot of emotional stuff. Friendships… it’s like a friend you have, for example. You’re not going to go and write a story about her… So there are a lot of things about others I decided not to write, because it's not their story, and I didn’t ask them.

You do provide some revealing perspectives in it though. Like the parts about letting go of resentments and how you rejoined Axl to play with his new Guns N' Roses line-up.

I think you can tell stories and give perspectives and yet still keep stuff for yourself, too. I keep a lot of my life private even in a public forum like writing.

Did you feel a responsibility to GNR fans to share like, the stuff about reuniting with Axl on stage in South America (and later in L.A. at the Golden Gods Awards) and how you felt during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction?

That was the first time I shared what that was like. A couple people wanted me to write about the touring, like Classic Rock magazine got ahold of me when I was down there, to write a piece about it. But I was in the middle of it and enjoying it, so I said I can't do that right now. I just shared it in the book because I thought it was a good episode in my life and it highlights some of the other things I talk about in the book, such as resentment and dealing with that. Ya know, the book is about, basically, being 50.

I appreciated the perspective in those chapters. It’s easy to just blame others (like you could have done with Axl) for everything, but we have to take responsibility for our role in situations. You seemed to do that.

I’d done a lot of work for the previous 20 years, and just dealing with, who the fuck am I and looking at those parts of your life that we don’t always examine. We have something to do with the good in our lives, but there’s some of us in the bad, too. Whether we didn’t act properly or ignored stuff while it was happening or whatever. I realize I could have made some different decisions.

If your former GNR bandmates had the same attitude you’ve come to have, maybe the reunion that people just won't let go of, could possibly happen?

Maybe. I don’t go that far because I guess I just don’t have time to think about that. I have a 17- and 14-year-old. Life is busy. And I work. And I have my wife and keeping a marriage healthy. It’s work. I write and that’s my work too now. It’d be a little conceited to say if everybody thought like me…

You have seem to have a good relationship with everyone from your previous bands at this point. You’ve even made a new EP, and Izzy Stradlin, who’s famously low-profile the past several years, plays on it, right?

We’ve continued to do music together over the years. He himself puts out records on iTunes, no publicity, he just puts them out. He’s so cool. He’s just the best. The songs on the EP all happened really quick, as rock & roll should. I had these songs. I had the bones and Izzy had the parts to complete the songs… So we recorded them. Then Jerry [Cantrell] came and played lead on them…

You know, they are just friends of mine. I hate it when it comes out like on social media, “featuring Alice in Chains' Jerry!“… I hate all that. They’re just my pals. I didn’t record this stuff to try to use them or their names to pimp my thing.

In the book, you said you don’t like the term “super group” and you think it’s “lazy journalism.” But you’ve played with such huge talents, it’s kind of inevitable: GNR, Velvet Revolver, Kings of Chaos, even Jane's Addiction.

I think it is [lazy]. I wouldn’t do it. Like with Velvet Revolver. We were a band. Our thing got abbreviated. Then we didn’t play with each other because there was all this weird shit. If we played together people would expect Guns. Ya know, it was just a lot of pressure. Scott [Weiland] was a friend. And you know we had families. And trying to get sober… there was so much more behind it than, “Oh, we came together for a cash grab.”

Maybe most writers mean it as a compliment to you and the others’ talents and stature.

Yeah I’ll get over it. You know I have my little Loaded band. And it’s not a “super group,” but I think it’s super group, 'cause they’re super fucking guys.

I know. I wrote about Loaded when you first put the group together.

Yes you did!

How does your sobriety fit into the wisdom you share in the book?

I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my sobriety. I’ve learned how to take a breath before reacting. My brain’s not tainted by other inputs. That helps. I’m able to be a good dad. I wouldn’t be present if I was still drinking and doing drugs… I wouldn’t be alive. So every day is a poignant day for me. I don't dwell on it but I do wake up and say it's good to be alive, man. That’s a really good way to start a day.

You’re known for your business acumen as well as your rock & roll life. Are still doing stocks and investing these days?

I went to business school in my thirties. In '93, '94, Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft were new companies. I was learning about companies and paying attention. I travel and see in San Francisco, the Starbucks had a long line. Then L.A. and the one in Studio City [has] a line. And I go, OK, they’re expanding, it’s obvious people want this product. I was just at the right place at the right time.

Do you still do that?

I don’t go a lot for single stocks. There’s a couple I’ve got a little piece of. But I’ll do index buys and balance it with equities. I get bonds from around the world, and real estate… So yeah I spread it out, and don’t let one piece of pie get bigger than the others, adjusting for a good portfolio.

Still do the column for Seattle Weekly?

Well, I’d been writing for them for five years and I got a call. I thought they’d be saying you’re doing a great job, we’re gonna up your worth, but instead they said can you write for free now? Then I said, “Think [my] time's up here.”

What are your plans moving forward? Might you be playing any of the stuff you did with Izzy live? With your other bands?

Izzy’s a private guy, and he hasn’t played a live show in a long time. I’d love to but eh, I don’t know. With Loaded I’m planning on recording some stuff with Steve Jones. A fun EP like the old-school days. I’m focusing on this book thing right now. I’ll do some Kings of Chaos gigs. My daughter is graduating from high school. We just had senior prom. I’m trying to be around right now for all of it.

https://www.laweekly.com/in-his-new-book-how-to-be-a-man-duff-mckagan-shares-rock-roll-wisdom/
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2015.05.11 - LA Weekly - In His New Book, How to Be a Man, Duff McKagan Shares Rock & Roll Wisdom Empty Re: 2015.05.11 - LA Weekly - In His New Book, How to Be a Man, Duff McKagan Shares Rock & Roll Wisdom

Post by Blackstar Fri 30 Dec 2022 - 20:02

Excerpt from the book published in LA Weekly, same date:
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Book Excerpt: Duff McKagan Recalls the Bitter Dispute Over the Guns N' Roses Pinball Machine

Former Guns N' Roses bassist and rock & roll badass Duff McKagan made his literary debut in 2011 with It's So Easy: and other lies, an entertaining and startlingly candid account of his wild years with GNR and how he rebuilt his life in the wake of the band's breakup. In his second book, How to be a Man (and other illusions), which arrives this week, McKagan uses stories from his checkered past to illustrate some of the valuable life lessons he learned on the path to (and from, and then back to) rock stardom.

In this exclusive excerpt, he remembers how a dispute over the Guns N' Roses pinball machine helped teach him the importance of friendship and letting bygones be bygones.

From How to be a Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Press:


In the maelstrom that ensued after GN’R’s Use Your Illusion tour, my good friend Gilby was somehow chucked from the lineup. I say “somehow” because, in all honesty, I don’t remember precise details about the second half of 1993 and the beginning of 1994. All I know for sure is that we had a new Guns N’ Roses pinball machine.

I don’t intend to get into a whole video game versus pinball machine war here, but it’s hard to deny the romance of the blinking lights of a pinball machine. The sound of the pinballs dropping into the catch still raises the heart rates of us ’70s kids. We can still picture the other kids gathering around the glass as we took our turns. If you were good, you gave off a Steve McQueen–like mystique. The kids who were good at pinball got laid more (kind of like video gamers of today, right? Oh, wait…).

Slash was always one of those Steve McQueen–like pinball studs. He was good at every pinball game out there. Not that this should come as a surprise: whether it’s guitars, snakes, dinosaurs, or pinball, Slash studies and excels at the things he is passionate about.

Sometime during the Use Your Illusion tour, Slash—a collector as well as a player—hooked up with manufacturer Data East, and the idea of a Guns N’ Roses game started getting floated around.

We grew up with some great pinball machines. The Playboy machine was epic. The Rolling Stones had one. KISS had one. There were gambling-themed games and Western-themed games. For our band to actually be entered into a conversation of having our own game was a totally cool and unbelievable step in our otherwise totally unbelievable ride up the rockandroll escalator.

Like I said, I wasn’t very conscious at the time, but I remember going to a recording studio in the San Fernando Valley to do voice-over sound bites for the game (the “oh, dude!” when you lose a ball is me… I think). McBob laid down an introduction for the game the same way he ushered us onstage every night: “Of all the bands in the world, this is definitely one of them!” McBob has a huge, deep voice and can sound exactly like the guy on one of those monster truck radio commercials. McBob also has a very dry sense of humor and would change up his intros of the band to fit certain opportunities. For example, when we were late to take the stage, McBob would announce us as “the band that put the punk in punctuality.”

Slash worked hard on the design of the game and was rightfully proud of the finished product. I was blown away when the machine showed up at my house (we each got one for free). I still have it, and it has a little plaque in the bottom right-hand corner with my name on it.

The game was designed after Izzy Stradlin left the band and Gilby started playing with us. It’s obvious that it was a forgone conclusion that Gilby would be in the band for keeps, as his picture was included on the big mural of the band on the game. Ah, but rock bands can be a fickle bitch, and Gilby, in a flash of confusion and a hiccup of GN’R growing pains, suddenly wasn’t in the band anymore.

Gilby, pissed off for sure, sued us for using his likeness on the machine. I remember thinking back then that this was a point when Gilby rightfully could have written me off (for life) for not standing up for him, and I could have just carried on without him in my life ever again as well. I think we both did that for a while.

There was a lot going on. My drinking began to drive Matt Sorum and Slash away from me. After the Use Your Illusion tour, even though Gilby was out of GN’R, he kept on playing live with Matt and Slash for a project they had all just finished (Slash’s Snakepit). I guess I could have resented that, and they could have just kept resenting me.

In the US, we are all told that at eighteen years of age, you are an adult. For me, real adulthood didn’t come until I was thirty-one. I had no idea how to take responsibility for my actions before then. I’m still trying to figure it out.

It came to me all at once, up onstage at the Avalon: “I like these guys!” I thought. No, I love these guys. I’ve passed some of life’s most momentous mile markers with Slash, and Gilby is a good guy and great friend. Matt and I sometimes fight like cats and dogs, but at the bottom of it all, we have sincere respect for each other. We can all be motherfuckers from time to time, but that’s life. When I became an adult, I made a concerted effort to repair my friendships with these guys.

Resentment is a brutal thing. In the first year or two after I got sober, I found myself swimming in a dense, black swamp of resentment and regret. I heard stories about myself in which I was the punch line. I started to recognize what alcoholism had kept me from doing, from experiencing.

My peculiar life path at the time, though, led me to a martial arts discipline that dealt with taking responsibility for your own actions and bettering yourself for yourself. Self-discipline and self-respect were completely new ideas to me. I was desperate for a new way of living, and because I was (and still am) in such awe of how much at peace my martial arts teacher was, I followed his instruction to the extreme. I wanted just a little part of that peace.

Working past regret and resentment was key to me actually liking myself. The more I liked and trusted myself, the less I blamed others. I stopped thinking about what could have been and focused on the things I could do now.

But that was just my own personal story, and these three guys had found their own way past some of the resentments and regret. We all eventually became friends again, played in bands together, and found ourselves in faraway places playing great rock songs together, in front of a ton of people— with Billy Ray Cyrus in support.

https://www.laweekly.com/book-excerpt-duff-mckagan-recalls-the-bitter-dispute-over-the-guns-n-roses-pinball-machine/
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