with Duff McKagan of Guns 'n Roses
Rock 'n Roll Roulette
Fast paced, rapid fire, and unedited
"We had success as Velvet Revolver and I think it ran its course. You can't replace a singer like Scott Weiland, and I think we should just let it stay there. There were a lot of good times there, some great music. But that's in the past, and we're all just looking at today and hoping for another tomorrow."
Duff McKagan is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and author. He played bass for twelve years in the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980's and early 1990's. McKagan rejoined the band in 2016, following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Toward the end of his first tenure with Guns N' Roses, McKagan released a solo album, Believe in Me (1993), and formed the short-lived supergroup Neurotic Outsiders. Following his departure from Guns N' Roses in 1997, McKagan briefly reunited with his pre-success Seattle punk band 10 Minute Warning, before forming the still-active hard rock band Loaded, in which he performs lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Between 2002 and 2008, he played bass in the supergroup Velvet Revolver with his former Guns N' Roses bandmates, Slash and Matt Sorum. He briefly performed with Alice in Chains in 2006, with Jane's Addiction in 2010, and joined the Hollywood Vampires in 2016. He has also collaborated in several projects with fellow Seattle-native musicians, Mike McCready (primarily of Pearl Jam) and Barrett Martin (formerly of Screaming Trees) including Walking Papers and Levee Walkers.
In addition to his musical career, McKagan has established himself as a writer, in weekly columns on a wide variety of topics for SeattleWeekly.com, Playboy.com, and ESPN.com. He attended Seattle University's Albers School of Business and Economics in the early 2000's, and subsequently founded the wealth management firm Meridian Rock.
By Kreig Marks, July 2022
KM: Hi Duff. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine's Rock 'n Roll Roulette segment. This is going to be fairly painless and pretty brief. About 10 to 12 questions I'm going to throw at you off the cuff. Are you ready?
DM: Yep. Let's do this. Sounds like fun. I think? LOL
KM: How difficult was it for you when GNR first split up? Did you ever imagine the band getting back together and really not losing a beat with fans?
DM: How difficult was it when we split up? Man, it was hard because I felt that we were nowhere near finished. We had so much we had accomplished at that time, but there was so much more we had to do to give to our fans, to ourselves. So yeah, it was hard but I kept busy making music, spending time with family, friends, finding myself, bettering myself. I always felt that one day things would smooth over and we'd be back to doing what we all loved, and finish the book, I suppose. And, that's where we are now.
KM: What was it like the first time back on stage with the guys? That must have been pretty surreal.
DM: I don't know if it was surreal but it sure felt great. It was as if no time at all had passed us by. I think the 2nd go round, we're all clean and sober and probably better musicians now.
KM: Sounds great! You've been married 3 times now. Your first two marriages ended in divorce after a couple years for each. Now, you and Susan have been married a long time, over 20 years. What was different with Susan that was missing in the first two marriages? How do you keep a Rock 'n Roll marriage going strong?
DM: Yeah, 3's a charm! And, with Susan, I got it right and won the lottery. She's an amazing woman, so supportive, always has been, and is my best friend. My first 2 marriages, I was just too young and not in a good place. Sobriety was not in my nature at that point, and both those marriages unfortunately were not destined in my opinion. Well, not destined to last.
KM: How have you and Susan kept things going?
DM: Communication and respect are very important to both of us. Sharing times together, being there for each other, supporting each other through the good and bad times. And, did I mention that Susan is beautiful?
KM: You don't have to. Yes, she's very beautiful. I know you are into health and fitness these days. Is that something both of you share?
DM: Yeah, we are both into healthy living. LOL. I can't imagine me saying that 25 years ago. Back then, healthy living was looking to score my next hit of something and eat whatever I could find, when I would eat. Now, it's really a lifestyle that Susan and I share together. It's really transformed my life, personally and professionally.
KM: While GNR was apart, you often shared the stage with Axl and you also played in Velvet Revolver with Slash. Do you think you've always been the intermediary between Axl and Slash?
DM: I don't know if you'd call it that but I've always been loyal to both of them. I understood each of their arguments as to why the band should not be together, and then why the band should get back together. I never chose sides. They're both my brothers and I love them both. I'm glad it all worked out and we're all back together doing what we love.
KM: When is the new GNR record going to come out?
DM: Hopefully soon. "Hard Skool".
KM: You think there would ever be a Velvet Revolver reunion with a new singer?
DM: Honestly, I don't think so. Slash isn't up to it and I think he's right. We had success as Velvet Revolver and I think it ran its course. You can't replace a singer like Scott Weiland and I think we should just let it stay there. There were a lot of good times there, some great music. But, that's in the past and we're all just looking at today, and hoping for another tomorrow.
KM: Any chance on doing another show like 3 chords and the Truth?
DM: Never say never but I'm just so busy with GNR and some other projects and with my family. But, again, I guess you never say never.
KM: Duff, thanks for the time and speaking with me today. This has been pretty cool.
DM: Thanks Kreig and thank you Tru Rock Revival Magazine!
For further information about Duff and what projects he's involved with, go to https://www.duffonline.com/
Kreig Marks, Publisher / Founder TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.