Duff McKagan On Axl Rose: 'He's Just A Guy Caught Up In Events'

Paul Whitington of Independent.ie recently conducted an interview with Duff McKagan.

Duff McKagan On Axl Rose: 'He's Just A Guy Caught Up In Events'
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Paul Whitington of Independent.ie recently conducted an interview with Duff McKagan (Velvet Revolver, Duff Mckagan's Loaded, Guns N' Roses). A few excerpts from the chat follow below. Independent.ie: Axl Rose rock's answer to Howard Hughes or misunderstood genius? Duff McKagan: I think when you don't talk to the media, then the media starts running a little crazy with things. There was a Rolling Stone story about him that painted him as a Howard Hughes sort of figure and everybody used that as the template to write about Axl. None of it is true. You know, he's just a guy caught up in events. As were the rest of you in Guns N' Roses. But he's the only one who spent 15 years slaving over an album in his basement. He was the singer of that band. And that band got bigger than anybody could have imagined. And being the singer you are the focal point, rightly or wrongly. You are. There is nothing that can prepare you for that. It must have been pretty crazy when GN'R blew up in 87? Man, the fame part... I remember walking into a grocery store and everybody started freaking out. Into a grocery store! The store I used to go to all the time. You know, nothing prepares you for that. And people deal with it differently. You build up these little defense mechanisms. You can't be a normal guy. Especially if you're the singer... Especially being a singer with red hair! You are recognizable everywhere. So yeah, if you call it "reclusive" that's one person's angle on what it was. Or if you want to say, he saved himself, that's another story. Between the groupies, the drugs and the boozing, it's a miracle you actually had any time to actually make music. Things were still wide open. Yeah, we were fucking and sharing needles. It was really, really debauched. Not just in our camp but kind of everywhere. It was probably the last great run at sheer hedonism. Does it get a bit old after a while? AIDS is what really put a damper on it. People were going on around not using rubbers, not using clean needles. It was just kind of a free for all. I don't think it was something anyone grew out of. It would probably be that way still if it wasn't for AIDS. Slash's heart actually stopped beating once and he had to be resuscitated by paramedics. Did you have any miracle escapes? Oh countless of 'em. Sure. It's a miracle Slash is alive. It's a miracle I'm alive. Or even Axl although he was probably the least [hedonistic] of us. He always sort of stayed away from going too deep into it. The 'hair rockers' of the 80s got a pretty hard time from grunge bands like Nirvana. Coming from Seattle, did that get under your skin? In one aspect, we weren't included in that. We were such a big band that, sticks and stones can break your bones... you know? But the other aspect was, "God, I could have stayed in Seattle and been in Soundgarden or Alice In Chains.' I wouldn't even have had to move. I probably wouldn't have had to become a drug addict. Of course, you always want what you don't have. I was in the biggest band in the world at the time. That's not half bad. Looking back at pictures of yourself from the GN'R days do you gaze fondly at the perms and the ridiculous clothes, or do you wince slightly? Hey, man, we were the one band of the many bands from that era who wore our hearts on our sleeve. We set trends as opposed to following them. We didn't give a fuck. So when I see pictures, I smile. It was a great time. Read more from Independent.ie.

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    edgeyyz
    I love how he's perfectly honest about how he feels and what he think is Axl's big issue. Kudos to him for being a cool dude.
    Unforgiven707
    Sami Philadelph wrote: Lol,I didn't know anything about Duff,now he's a cool guy in my book.
    Ha ya same here, but he seemed cool. Interviewer is a fag though.
    Ali-b912
    WesBizarre wrote: Slash, Duff, Izzy and Steven seem to have said nice things about Axl this past year now if only Axl saw this and they all re-united hahaha
    Axl and those guys, is like Dave Mustaine and Metallica. They'd probably get along fine if people didn't keep bringing it up.
    Kyle Crabbs
    God, I could have stayed in Seattle and been in Soundgarden or Alice In Chains.' I wouldn't even have had to move. I probably wouldn't have had to become a drug addict. lol
    Robert Gray
    joshro wrote: I expected Duff to talk really bad about Axl in this article because of the headline but I was pleasantly surprised. Kudos to Duff for being a good sport about everything. If only Slash could be like this then maybe a GnR reunion could be a possibility but I'm not getting my hopes up.
    Actually, I'd say Axl is equally to blame - let's remember that. Axl on Slash in one of his two official 'Chinese Democracy' interviews: "In a nutshell, personally I consider him a cancer and better removed, avoidedand the less anyone heard of him or his supporters, the better".
    Slap-happy
    aic_rooster wrote: "God, I could have stayed in Seattle and been in Soundgarden or Alice In Chains.' hmmm....not sure I like this comment. A bit presumptuous at least.
    Maybe not - since Duff was a key member of Ten Minute Warning and The Fartz - both were pretty influential bands on the early Seattle scene, inspiring the likes of Malfunkshun, Mothra, Soundgarden and Fecal Matter. I suggest you do a little research of some of those names are unfamiliar.
    Slap-happy
    rickyj wrote: doesnt he write sumthin for playboy?
    He writes a finiancial column and an on-line column in a similar vein for a Seattle based newspaper. After his panceras exploded and he'd left GN'R he studied accounting and was considering taking a job at Microsoft's headquarters in Seattle.
    Peter Reardon
    Sami Philadelph wrote: Lol,I didn't know anything about Duff,now he's a cool guy in my book.
    Same, it's good to see cool guys still exist.
    Scum_PunkRocker
    I've never been a fan of GNR (not that I hate the music, just don't care to put it on) but of all the members Duff and Izzy seem the most down to earth.
    roundwoundsound
    duff is a nice guy,most bass players aren't really over their head in shit.but what i wanna know is why the **** he had to ask about the whole glam/grunge thing,cause G'N'R isn't exactly glam if you ask me. if anything guns took away from alot of glam's popularity back then
    mattiwillohouse
    'Hey Duff, does everyone hate Rose like we really want them to?' 'No, no they don't' 'Erm, well, is it true he's g4y?' 'Nope' '..Damn'
    hendrix n page
    Interviewer: so Duff do you hate axl? Duff: no Interviewer: can you please say something bad so we don't have to make ANOTHER MISLEADING HEADLINE!!!!!
    [travis]
    Comeback Kiddd wrote: i was mad at Duff when months ago Duff was a special guest in That Metal Show and when they asked him on the current status of the singer of VR he said he already had the name of the singer but in future news they said they had noone. hmm :[
    I miss "That Metal Show," they need to bring it back on T.V., it only lasted for about 3 months didn't it? At one point, Slash also said that he had about 3 guys that they really liked to fill in the singer's spot.
    Demon Wolf
    duff is awesome as usual. but the interviewer sucked badly. and axl is an amazing singer, writer and above all, frontman. he does not deserve half the hate he gets.
    Fintrollx
    Ikonoklast wrote: I don't like GnR or any member of GnR but strangely i enjoyed this..
    Same here, Duff is a cool guy
    Slap-happy
    Stratogibson wrote: Slap-happy wrote: aic_rooster wrote: "God, I could have stayed in Seattle and been in Soundgarden or Alice In Chains.' hmmm....not sure I like this comment. A bit presumptuous at least. Maybe not - since Duff was a key member of Ten Minute Warning and The Fartz - both were pretty influential bands on the early Seattle scene, inspiring the likes of Malfunkshun, Mothra, Soundgarden and Fecal Matter. I suggest you do a little research of some of those names are unfamiliar. He and his bands had absolutely no influence on Fecal Matter. Scratch Acid, The Melvins, Butthole Surfers, and some elements of Black Flag would be appropriate influences...not The Fartz. Maybe you should do some some listening instead of throwing band names out there.
    I did. Kurt sat near McKagan on his final flight from LA to Seattle. It's been mentioned before - just because they don't sound identical doesn't mean that there's no influence out there. Fecal Matter > Skid Row > Nirvana - influenced by the bands you mention - and also Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Vaselines, FrightWig, Bay City Rollers, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Buzzcocks... I could keep going but this isn't about who's right or wrong regarding the influences of a young Kurt Cobain, I was merely pointnig out that Duff had been involved with bands that had been inspirational to the grunge-scene (whatever that actually means).
    aic_rooster
    Slap-happy wrote: aic_rooster wrote: "God, I could have stayed in Seattle and been in Soundgarden or Alice In Chains.' hmmm....not sure I like this comment. A bit presumptuous at least. Maybe not - since Duff was a key member of Ten Minute Warning and The Fartz etc.. I suggest you do a little research of some of those names are unfamiliar.
    Well I suggest that you don't know it all either. You forgot his band The Living where he first hooked up with Gilmore and first made his himself known in Seattle. But the important bit is that Duff bailed to L.A. (his choice) around the same time members of bands like Soundgarden and AIC were just starting to meet each other. It really wasn't until mid to late eighties when Duff would have found his way to them. And for what reason would you of Duff suggest that those bands would accepted him with open arms? They both had functioning bassists Yamamoto and Starr who were practically best friends with Cornell/Cantrell + Kinney which didn't really leave a whole lot of room for him. I was simply saying it is quite a bit presumptuous to claim you could have just been in another band that made it big if some other band didn't work out. How many musicians from the Seattle era never hit the big time but were just as worthy?
    roundwoundsound
    Slap-happy wrote: rickyj wrote: doesnt he write sumthin for playboy? He writes a finiancial column and an on-line column in a similar vein for a Seattle based newspaper.
    true,i saw the website for the seattle news one,lol,and on the one page he was having a conversation with krist novoselic! apperently they are good friends now...
    GIBSONroks6167
    STOP TALKING ABOUT GNR!!!! I'm so sick of hearing the same old story from 5 different perspectives again every month! It's over people! As long as there's no reunion in the works, we really don't need to hear any more about this little feud...
    Stratogibson
    Slap-happy wrote: aic_rooster wrote: "God, I could have stayed in Seattle and been in Soundgarden or Alice In Chains.' hmmm....not sure I like this comment. A bit presumptuous at least. Maybe not - since Duff was a key member of Ten Minute Warning and The Fartz - both were pretty influential bands on the early Seattle scene, inspiring the likes of Malfunkshun, Mothra, Soundgarden and Fecal Matter. I suggest you do a little research of some of those names are unfamiliar.
    He and his bands had absolutely no influence on Fecal Matter. Scratch Acid, The Melvins, Butthole Surfers, and some elements of Black Flag would be appropriate influences...not The Fartz. Maybe you should do some some listening instead of throwing band names out there.
    RustInPeaceJoel
    Is it just me or every time a ex member of GnR gets interviewed they are always forced to answer questions on their feelings about Axl its like the media wants them to bag him at to let the fighting continue ????
    tomo542
    the title immidiately reminded me of hitchhikers guide to the galaxy - Q. "what do you think about Zaphod Beeblebrox?" A. "He's just a guy, you know?"
    SaiNt adEL #13
    i have IMMENSE respect for duff. the fact that he's sticking up for a drug-crazed jerk like axl would normally cause me to have less respect. but actually, it gives me more respect for axl. in all honestly, axl's a cool guy, he's just an idiot lol. duff is amazing tho. have you guys heard his recent band? i believe it's called loaded. look it up
    wouldyakindly
    AXE187 wrote: why wold he wince at the sight of the clothes. they looked amazing.
    Haha, that's a matter of opinion. he's certainly right about one thing though, GnR had integrity and that matters a lot.
    DBguitar11
    "hedonism" ...for some reason i always feel like i learn a new word every time he speaks lol
    Metallicam
    Minkaro wrote: tl;dr: Interviewer: Axl sucks, right? Duff: No. Interviewer: But Axl sucks, right? repeat ad infinitum.
    This. Interviewer is a tool.
    J_Producer
    Duff gave great, clever answers to what was a horrible interview! The interviewer was constantly trying to coax 'headline quotes' out of Duff for his own personal gain. Prick. Would be funny as hell to see Duff in AIC. That made me laugh!
    FearOfTheDuck
    Met him in 07, got an autograph, and later that night i went to VR's last gig with scott, for free
    aic_rooster
    "God, I could have stayed in Seattle and been in Soundgarden or Alice In Chains.' hmmm....not sure I like this comment. A bit presumptuous at least.
    aaciseric
    Awesome interview. Love what he said about Axl, maybe that will inspire some people to actually go and learn something about Axl, rather than just bitching about him. Duff is a ridiculously cool guy. Hope VR get some more stuff out soon.