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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.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2023.10.15 - Daily Express - 'My hard-partying days? They’re history!' (Duff)

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Post by Blackstar Mon Oct 16, 2023 3:46 am

'My hard-partying days? They’re history!' - Guns N’ Roses bass player releases new album

EXCLUSIVE: As he releases his new solo album, Guns N' Roses bass player and self-confessed ‘nerd' Duff McKagan reveals how he's replaced alcohol and drugs binges with battlefield visits with his British historian pal Dan Jones

By John Earls

As one of the most glamorous bands in music history, Guns N’ Roses epitomised cool, both through their long hair and flamboyant dress sense, and making rock classics such as Paradise City, Sweet Child O’ Mine and Welcome To The Jungle. They were a classic gang with swagger to match – but now the band are more likely to be enjoying personal tours of historical landmarks than partying hard.

The LA legends, who have sold more than 100 million records, reformed their classic line-up in 2016 after over 20 years apart. Since then, they’ve been bigger than ever, headlining Glastonbury this summer and stadiums throughout the world.

But their geeky off-stage love of history will surprise fans who still associate Guns N’ Roses with the mayhem they portrayed on classic albums Appetite For Destruction and Use Your Illusion I & II.

Bassist Duff McKagan has been a history buff since he overcame drug addiction 30 years ago, and is good friends with leading British historian Dan Jones.

Guitarist Slash is also a fan of the writer and presenter, who is in turn a Guns N’ Roses devotee.

McKagan tells the Daily Express: “Having Dan as a friend means I have my own damned personal historian.

“Because Dan is a fan of the band, we’ve done some really cool things in some countries when we’ve been on tour. I’ve studied battles between the Christians and Moors in Spain with Dan after a festival in Seville, and he took us round landmarks in Acre when we played Israel.”

The day before our interview over Zoom, Guns N’ Roses played a stadium in San Antonio, Texas, near the site of the Alamo battle of 1836.

“I’m such a nerd,” laughs McKagan, showing off the Alamo Rangers hat he bought the morning after the concert.

He also happily displays a tattoo on his forearm stating “Providence” – which the bassist had inked when he got sober, inspired by British explorer Ernest Shackleton’s belief that he was being guided by providence during his 1914 expedition to the Antarctic.

“I had the tattoo done early in my sobriety,” explains McKagan, 59. “I’d do martial arts twice a day, then I’d read and read about history. Learning what people like Shackleton endured, I thought, ‘If those guys could get through so much s***, the least I can do is to stay clean’.”

Although McKagan kept his partying under control during the early years of Guns N’ Roses’ fame, when Appetite For Destruction became a multi-platinum phenomenon on its release in 1987, he casually says that “I got a little foggy” during 1992.

Throughout the following 18 months, he was hooked on cocaine and Valium, and drinking “a gallon” of vodka a day. He got clean when his pancreas “exploded” in May 1994 and doctors told him he’d be dead within a month if he didn’t stop drinking.

“What I got into was so dangerous,” McKagan admits. “I wake up every morning and recognise that my addictions are sat right there, waiting for me to screw up. I know I won’t screw up today, so I can get on with my day.

"I don’t think about sobriety all day, but what I went through was so stark for a couple of years. I felt dark and hopeless, in a place I never thought I’d be as a young man.” Thankfully, McKagan’s memory was largely unaffected by his addiction.

But it’s Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose who is the band’s main historian, as McKagan reveals: “If me or Slash forget a particular detail from our past, we go to Axl. He has an incredible memory. He’ll remember a conversation from years ago with a detail that’s mind-blowing to me.”

The rockers have been on tour virtually full-time since they reformed seven years ago. They’ve released just two new songs, Hard Skool and Perhaps, but McKagan reassures fans a new album will happen eventually, promising: “Don’t worry, we’ve got this.”

Meanwhile, McKagan is releasing his fourth solo album, Lighthouse. The title track is an unabashed love song to his wife Susan, whom he met in 1996, two years after getting clean. “I don’t think my wife wants the attention of being written about,” McKagan smiles.

“But that’s tough luck. I love my wife, so I’m going to write songs about her. That’s the deal when you’re married to a songwriter. I still fall for Susan every day. I’m so grateful that I’ve got someone who, when she walks into a room, I think, ‘Woah! I’d better get this right, because she is hot.’”

The couple have two daughters, 26-year-old Grace and Mae, 23.

McKagan believes his attitude to marriage and fatherhood was shaped by his parents, Mac and Marie, divorcing when he was a youngster. He writes movingly about their bitter arguments in new song I Just Don’t Know, which features the line: “I heard the yelling from the living room.”

“My parents’ divorce was a million years ago and I don’t blame them for anything,” he insists. “But the way I grew up still influences how I think about how to behave.

“I have three sisters, so I grew up with the right attitude around women. I had to, else I would have got my ass kicked. Seeing what my parents went through, that also made me have the feeling of: ‘Honey, I’ll never be unfaithful’ when I met Susan. She’d had some bad boyfriends before me and being in a rock band gives you a certain image, so my wife was, ‘Okay, sure. We’ll see.’ But I think I’ve finally convinced her after 27 years that I’m on the level.”

I Just Don’t Know also describes how McKagan quit school in Seattle when he was 15 in 1979 to pursue his dreams of being a rock star. He formed his first punk band, The Vains, the same year and played in a succession of groups before joining Guns N’ Roses when he moved to Los Angeles in 1983. “I left high school early because I just knew I was going to be a rock star,” he grins.

McKagan, who now lives back in Seattle, admits he was blindsided when his addictions slowly became more important than his music.

He reflects: “I just wanted to be in a successful rock band. That’s the same for everyone. I don’t think anyone goes into music hoping they’re going to be an alcoholic or a drug addict. That wasn’t part of my plan.

“The trouble is, there’s no manual on how to deal with success once it happens. No-one sits you down and says, ‘Here’s what’s going to happen, steps one through five.’ It’d be great to be shown: ‘Here’s how you can deal with it.’ But even if they had, you can still choose to be a dummy and fall for every cliché going, because that’s what happened to me.”

Despite that troubled past, McKagan is eloquent and chilled out in equal measure these days, though new song Just Another Shakedown is blistering and furious punk with a contempt for out-of-touch politicians educated at wealthy universities.

But McKagan can afford to relax a little about his lyrical abilities, after none other than Bob Dylan praised the song Chip Away from 2019’s previous solo album Tenderness. In a rare interview with The Wall Street Journal, Dylan said: “It’s a great song that has profound meaning for me.”

Guns N’ Roses had a huge hit in 1991 with a cover of Dylan’s 1973 classic Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, and McKagan laughs: “Getting that praise was stunning. I woke up to a whole bunch of messages on my phone, including a text from Axl saying: ‘Dude, the Bob Dylan thing!’ Reading that made me relax about my lyric writing, because I thought. ‘If Bob Dylan says that, I must be going in the right direction.’”

Duff McKagan’s new album Lighthouse is released this Friday on BFD

https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/music/1824074/duff-mckagan-guns-n-roses-new-album
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Post by Soulmonster Mon Oct 16, 2023 9:42 am

Phew, they "got this".
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Post by Uli Tue Oct 17, 2023 11:31 am

Nice to hear historian Dan Jones is his pal, a while ago I watched a tv show about the Knights Templar, in which Dan Jones had a part (visiting Acre and such places)...
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Post by Blackstar Tue Oct 17, 2023 11:07 pm

Uli wrote:Nice to hear historian Dan Jones is his pal, a while ago I watched a tv show about the Knights Templar, in which Dan Jones had a part (visiting Acre and such places)...



https://www.instagram.com/p/CuH_3OGsdBE/

They have done an interview together, too:

https://www.a-4-d.com/t6563-2021-11-02-dan-jones-in-conversation-with-duff-mckagan
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