The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
INTERVIEW 2013 Duff McKagan Loaded The Rockpit








It’s at the end of the day when we catch up with Duff. Interviews at the end of the day can be some of the best if you ask the right questions, but they can also be the worst: imagine speaking to a dozen people in three hours and answering the same questions again and again. I’m glad I’m on this end of the phone, and  I’ve already decided to pretty much give Duff a break on Guns and Roses , unless he wants to talk Gunners of course…


 The big news is that Duff is over here later this year with his band LOADED to play Soundwave 2013, it’s a show a lot of us are looking forward to. I did actually meet Duff once, many years ago that all of a sudden as Duff chimes in seems like yesterday.



Mark: Hi, Duff, how are you? I bet you’re about had it with all these interviews!


Duff: Hi, Mark, I’m OK, I actually took a year off from doing interviews so I'm still pretty fresh!


Mark: The last time we spoke was in 1987, I don’t know if you remember the venue, it was at a place called Rock City in Nottingham, UK.


Duff: Of course I remember it, it’s still there!     


Mark: Yes, it is, it’s still a great live venue.


Duff; What was I doing there?


Mark: You were playing with Faster Pussycat and Dangerous Toys. It was a very good tour!!


Duff: You saw that tour? Wow, that’s awesome!!


Mark: That was many years ago, and now you are coming back to Australia.


Duff: And we’re both alive!! (laughs)


Mark: Yeah, that’s a good thing!! I think you’ve probably had a few closer shaves than I have! I hear that one of them was fairly recently, half way up a mountain?


Duff: Oh, yeah, I wrote about it, but I think more was made out of it, because I was a little “stumbly”, and another guy from another team said,” Hey, this guy’s got cerebral oedema”. I knew I hadn’t, because I had read so many books on rock climbing, so I said in my column, the guy was just an alarmist! I did get some altitude sickness, but not cerebral oedema. I was wobbly, so you can die and wobble right off the mountain!!


Mark: You are playing at Soundwave with Danko Jones, do you know those guys?


Duff: All I can say is I really like the band, but I’ve never seen them. Danko has reached out to me a number of times, on Twitter and Facebook, and he seems a cool guy, and I like his records.


Mark: Yes, we spoke to him a few weeks ago, and he is very excited about it!


Duff: It’s great for us to play Soundwave; we’ve played plenty of big festivals where you have the chance to win over the big audiences. With Loaded, we are not that accessible, we work harder than the average band, and we’re a bit weird!! But we’ve converted fans, like at Download, we converted a shit load, we’ve played there twice, and that’s really rewarding, but to play your own shows to those who already know what you’re about is the best thing ever. The Soundwave thing is cool, because you can do both of those, it’s the same promoter, so you don’t have to worry about shit, you know!!


Mark: It’s great, we had Slash out here last year, Axl is over in March, and Steven Adler’s band is opening up some US dates at the moment as well.


Duff: After Australia, Loaded are going to Tokyo, and Steven’s going to come and open those two shows. I’m helping the guy, I don’t know if anybody’s given him any shows yet, so these might be the only two shows he’s done, and I think it’ll be great and it’ll work out good. He’s made a great record.


Mark: Yeah, it’s a pretty good album, and it’s great that all the members of Guns ‘n Roses are active musically, at the moment, you are obviously doing what you love to do. Do you get annoyed at being constantly asked if you’ll ever get back together again?
Duff: I don’t get annoyed because I understand. I haven’t done interviews for a year, so I have a bit more time for that sort of question. You get sick of saying, well; I don’t put anything outside the realm of possibility. I don’t really know what else to say about that! There’s been a lot said, and I certainly don’t want to add anything else.


Mark: That’s a good answer. You’ve been writing for a while now, and that culminated in the writing of your autobiography. What did you get out of that experience, of writing about yourself?


Duff: It was really eye opening, when you’re writing, as you know, you’re writing on a word document. When I was first writing these stories that became the book, I was like “Dude, you just fucking lied to yourself!!” You’re lying to a word document, how sad is that?!! You’re fudging the truth to make yourself not look so awful, or you want to make yourself look a little bit better!! So, erasing those passages and starting over again, and trying to be honest about my part in my life, was cool in some parts and exposing in others. I wasn’t trying to throw anyone else under the bus, or tell anyone else’s story, if you’re looking for a tell all book, it’s not going to be mine, and you’ll be disappointed. When I laid myself bare in a couple of passages in the book, it’s kind of a lonely feeling, when you’re writing it by yourself. Sometimes I’d write the book in a room with my daughters, or sometimes on an aeroplane, but most of it I just wrote in a room by myself. When I was writing those uncomfortable passages, I would try making myself uncomfortable on the chair by sitting on my left cheek, which would make my back sore, and I tried all this weird stuff, but I’m glad I did it. If anything it was hey, I write all these columns, can I write a book? Maybe I’ll write more books at some point in my life, I’ve at least got the first one out of the way.


Mark: I actually quite liked the fact that it wasn’t like a rock and roll memoir that you often read, that is designed to shock people and almost lose its value in doing so.


Duff: I’m not a fan of those books; I’m reading Rise and Fall of the Third Reich at the moment, I’m a fan of really good authors. I don’t want to tell all my ex band members secrets, or about their ex-wives, it’s not my place to!


Mark: Do you think you’ve got a novel in you? You have a wonderful style of writing.


Duff: I started writing about this guy, in the 1880’s in the American West, he was an alcoholic, and he was in the Civil War and he got fucked up and he got shot, and now he’s trying to make this life for himself in the American west. It’s really hard and it’s in the desert, but I’ve been writing these short stories about him. So, we’ll see, I don’t really know how, I read a lot of novels, but I don’t know how to write one! I’ll keep going with the short stories and see what happens.


Mark: It sounds like you’re on an exploration, and finding out about yourself and challenging yourself, to see if you can do these things. A couple of years ago you founded Meridian Rock, a wealth management firm for musicians, how’s that going?


Duff: It’s going good. I only realised when I went to business school myself, before Velvet Revolver, everyone knew I was at business school, and I started getting secret phone calls from my friends, and guys in the bands asking me how to invest money and asking for advice. But, I’m one of us, not one of them, one of the financial people, and there’s a lot of fear. I was terrified when I just got sober, and I didn’t know what a stock or a bond was, or what a mortgage meant, and most people still don’t. If you are a musician or a pro athlete and you make a bunch of money at one point in your life, you got people telling you what to do, or you think you’re going to make it for the rest of your life, and it’s a wakeup call when the cheques stop! Plenty of people get in to these spending habits, where they buy a new Ferrari, or a house, every place they like they buy a house! Then pretty soon, the cheques dry up and you’re stuck with all these mortgages! So, Meridian Rock is all about that, and talking to guys like me in plain English.


Mark: I guess a lot of musicians are in it for the art, and don’t really consider the long term financial implications.


Duff: Yeah, if you’re out there doing your art and you’re successful, art and heavy things like accounting and royalties just don’t go hand in hand! It’s a really scary area, and you don’t know who to ask about it.


Mark: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the making of any album or piece of music, in the history of rock, what would it have been and why?


Duff: Wow!! I probably would have said, “Exile on Main Street”, but I just watched that “Crossfire Hurricane” documentary, and that kind of exposed all of the stuff I was wondering about! So, maybe some Zeppelin record, like Led Zeppelin III. Just to hear how Bonham came up with that drum sound, or how John Paul Jones and Bonham worked together, how the guitars were put on, and how the stuff came together, so, I’ll go with that!


Mark: Excellent! Finally, what is the meaning of life?


Duff: I don’t know, probably just to live every day as happy and contented as you can be. Try and keep looking under the covers to try and see what’s next. Have you ever read, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich? There’s a book for you, man!!


Mark: I will definitely read it now! It will be great to see you at Soundwave in February. Thank you so much for your time; it’s been a real pleasure to speak to you.




Duff was interviewed by Mark Diggins 1st February 2013





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