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
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

2023.10.17 - The Guardian - Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan on panic attacks, addiction and rock’s fallen heroes

Go down

2023.10.17 - The Guardian - Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan on panic attacks, addiction and rock’s fallen heroes Empty 2023.10.17 - The Guardian - Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan on panic attacks, addiction and rock’s fallen heroes

Post by Blackstar Tue Oct 17, 2023 11:12 pm

Interview
‘I drank to self-medicate’: Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan on panic attacks, addiction and rock’s fallen heroes

The bassist suffered in silence with a panic disorder and alcohol problems took him to the brink of death. He explains how he turned his life around

By Christopher Lord

If Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose upholds the band’s sense of chaos, and lead guitarist Slash is behind its flair, bass player Duff McKagan brings the attitude. He was born in Seattle and his musical roots are indebted to punk from both sides of the Atlantic; this summer, GNR have covered the Stooges’ TV Eye on tour, McKagan snarling through Iggy Pop’s vocal parts as all six-foot-plus of his wiry, tattoo-covered frame bounds around.

McKagan’s recent solo music channels the same outlaw spirit, but instead through acoustic twangs and a weathered voice – a lively meeting of reflective Americana and sonorous rock’n’roll. Lighthouse, his third solo album in 30 years, comprises 10 songs carefully selected from a batch of 60 recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that title holds multiple meanings. “I have an amazing wife – she’s always been a real beacon of hope, beauty and excitement, and I would go through anything for her,” he says. “She’s got me through so much shit. She is my lighthouse, but on the grander scale of the record, we’re all searching. It’s about hope and wondering what’s next.”

McKagan is adept at this kind of robust metaphor, and even Bob Dylan has singled him out for praise. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Dylan was complimentary about Chip Away – a song from McKagan’s previous album, 2019’s Tenderness – likening its message to Michelangelo’s sculpture of David and an artist’s innate prerogative to overwrite and chip away at themselves, mining for creative gold. His interpretation is testament to McKagan’s own transformation, from struggles with drugs, alcohol and mental health towards sobriety and a measure of stability.

McKagan’s solo career stretches back to 1993’s Believe In Me, its cover depicting a skeletal cartoon of him bathing in a martini glass, wine bottle in one hand, cigarette in the other. Months later, McKagan was admitted to a Seattle hospital with alcohol-induced pancreatitis. Doctors warned him that he was weeks from death.

“I was so fucked up when I made my first solo record,” McKagan says. “It’s a great snapshot of where I was at in 1992. I could still play. I played drums and all the shit on there, but I couldn’t sing. I had so much cocaine in my throat, and you can hear it all in my sinuses. Tenderness was a great snapshot of how I’d progressed, and this album is another progression for me.”

Lighthouse follows an EP called This Is the Song, released in May to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month in the US. Its unflinching title track addresses the panic disorder that McKagan recently revealed he has struggled with since the age of 16. He wrote the song during a lockdown-induced panic attack, strumming his acoustic guitar and attempting to hum melodies as he struggled for breath: “This is the song that’s gonna save my life / As I scrape for sanity.”

He says: “It can be helpful when one of us raises our hand to say, ‘Hey, I suffer with this. You’re not alone. I get it.’ With panic disorders and depression, it’s not being bummed out about life, it’s a chemical imbalance that’ll sweep you off your fucking feet.”

He recalls his first panic attack as a teenager: “I was taking a shower before school, and it felt like the ground sunk three feet. I thought it was an earthquake. I’d done acid when I was 13 and heard horror stories about having a bad trip for the rest of your life. My mom took me to see a psychiatrist who gave me Valium and got out this whiteboard to visually explain what had happened with the panic attack. I felt like I was the only person in the world who got them.

“You have safe people who can talk you through a panic attack. Slash was, and still is [a safe person]. Having a few rips off a vodka bottle would also stop it. I drank so much in my 20s to self-medicate and that’s not the way to do it.”

The music industry’s mental health discourse is changing. In 2022, Sam Fender, Wet Leg, Arlo Parks and other high-profile artists cancelled tours to prioritise their mental health, and more recently, Lewis Capaldi announced a break from touring after struggles with Tourette syndrome. McKagan says things were different 30 years ago.

“It just wasn’t talked about. I don’t know who I would have told about it. I just thought I was going fucking crazy. I’m a sensitive human.” Guns N’ Roses were the very picture of rock’n’roll excess and swagger, but McKagan claims: “I didn’t really go through any of that macho rock star stuff. I wanted to be a great musician, and musicians are sensitive souls – even the gnarliest, like Mark Lanegan! Getting addicted to drugs and alcohol was never my intention. There’s nothing glamorous about it, and I was lucky to survive.”

Not everyone does. Scott Weiland, the enigmatic yet gifted ex-Stone Temple Pilots frontman and McKagan’s former bandmate in Velvet Revolver – the platinum-selling hard-rock supergroup also featuring Slash – died in 2015 from a drug overdose. “Scott, God bless him,” McKagan says. “We really tried to help.”

Guns N’ Roses were one of this year’s Glastonbury headliners, and McKagan watched Foo Fighters the day before without Taylor Hawkins on the drums – he died in 2022, with multiple drugs in his system. “I was very close with Taylor, we were best buddies. There couldn’t have been a better guy than Josh [Freese, the band’s new drummer]. I just sat at the side of the stage and wept. Josh paid such service to Taylor.”

Does McKagan feel like a survivor? “Absolutely,” he says. “We’ve had so much loss from drugs that you end up feeling like you’re here for a reason, man. My reason is that I met Susan and we had our children. And if I can raise my hand about certain issues like panic attacks, depression and sobriety while I’m here in my second act, I’ll do it.”

Not only has McKagan covered Iggy Pop, he is also in his backing band, the Losers, and hosts a rock radio show called Three Chords and a Truth with his wife. Earlier in the year, he let slip that GNR were to perform at Glastonbury: “I did, didn’t I? Susan and I have such a good time talking.” The elder of his two daughters, Grace, is also a musician. “I’m so hands-off with [her career], but I love to go see her play. She’s a badass”, he says. “Since she was 16, I’m like: ‘Hey, do you wanna write a song together?’ and it’s: ‘Dad, no!’”

He says that these days Guns N’ Roses concerts are a family affair, with three generations of fans showing up. “I’m seeing grandparents, parents and kids. There are a lot of little kids. They’re right at the front, little girls and boys with big eyes. You see all these people coming to our shows and I’m super grateful. I’m a fortunate man.”

Lighthouse is released 20 October on BFD/Orchard/Sony.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2023/oct/17/guns-n-roses-bassist-duff-mckagan
Blackstar
Blackstar
ADMIN

Posts : 13735
Plectra : 89955
Reputation : 100
Join date : 2018-03-17

Uli likes this post

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum