DUFF MCKAGAN - "I Was Born To Play In GUNS N' ROSES"; Audio Interview
July 18, 2019, a month ago
“I’m in a band right now that’s playing the biggest rock songs in the biggest places, and I love it,” says Duff McKagan on a recent episode of the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast. “I was born to play in Guns N’ Roses.”
But the Guns bassist also found time to make an intimate, Americana-infused new solo album, Tenderness, which he discusses in depth, along with the mega-successful Guns N’ Roses reunion (including the reasons behind Izzy Stradlin’s absence) and much more in a career-spanning interview with host Brian Hiatt.
On becoming a lead singer: “I think if you’re me, you can’t really care,” he says. “I’ve never claimed to be Pavarotti. Being out on this tour with Axl, watching him, he is a master. The guy is a pure master. He preps for a show with an hour and a half of vocal warm ups. When we play these long songs like 'Coma', so we can’t, there’s no chance to breathe. It’s circular breathing. And then his warm down. I’m already in bed reading a book, man. And he’s warming down for an hour and a half up until like three in the morning.”
On whether the Guns N’ Roses reunion is finite: “I don’t have that feeling at all. Because we’ve done no press yet, nobody knows. And kind of dig it, to be honest with you. I’m not trying to keep you in the dark. But it’s kind of nice. It’s a thing where nobody needs to know our business. I think that’s where we got into trouble a long time ago, where people knew our all of our business So we talked about things with each other now — something that maybe we never did before.”
Tenderness sees McKagan reflecting on his experiences traveling the globe over two and a half years on Guns N’ Roses’ Not In This Lifetime tour. Encountering heartbreak, anger, fear, confusion and divide on his travels during this tumultuous time in our world history, McKagan channeled a collective hurt into songs of monolithic power.
“We’re becoming divided at a time when we need each other most,” says McKagan. “When huge industries get replaced because of modernization, it’s time to retrain and bolster up those who get swept aside. Homelessness and drug addiction are avoidable in this country if we come together and get private and public cogs turning together in a positive direction. We can at least try to tackle mental illness while we’re at it. But alas, we stump and lie, point fingers and divide. We’re way better than this. As a father, I must say and do something now because I love my girls and my wife, and I love my country, and I feel I must be strong and use my voice now, do it while I’m able or perhaps never get a chance ever again.”
"Tenderness" lyric video:
“Don't Look Behind You”:
McKagan, backed by Shooter Jennings and his band, has announced a full European tour in support of the Tenderness album. Confirmed dates are listed below.
22 - Stodola - Warsaw, Poland
23 - Astra - Berlin, Germany
24 - Blue Moon Festival - Amsterdam, Holland
26 - Gloria - Cologne, Germany
27 - Alte Feurwache - Mannheim, Germany
29 - Islington Assembly Hall - London, England
31 - Electric Picnic Festival - Dublin, Ireland
1 - Manchester Academy3 - Manchester, England
3 - Le Trabendo - Paris, France
4 - Ancienne Belgique - Brussels, Belgium
6 - Dynamo - Zurich, Switzerland
8 - Santeria Club - Milan, Italy