Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently conducted an interview with Duff McKagan (GUNS N’ ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER, DUFF MCKAGAN’S LOADED). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Icon Vs. Icon: What spawned your literary side and is it something that you have always been drawn to?
Duff: I wasn’t always drawn to writing. It just kinda came out of nowhere! Someone from men’s Italian Vogue asked me to write an article for them about three years ago. One thing led to another. I wrote another article for Playboy and then they asked me to write a weekly column at the same time that Seattle Weekly asked me. So it was a trial by fire. I just started there and now I am also writing for ESPN. I feel like I have found my voice in writing and I am very comfortable writing. I can express myself much better writing than I can by talking. The book deal basically came from my Seattle Weekly column. As for the autobiography [“It’s So Easy (And Other Lies)”], I kinda write in my column voice. It is my story as I would tell it in my writing, not as I would sit down and tell you my story because I wouldn’t really know how to tell you my story. I can write it and get into the bleaker, darker things a lot easier and the more joyful things that have happened, especially after I got sober. It is basically a story of “How did a guy like me get from Seattle to addiction, totally, fully addicted? How did that happen?” Because the most common question that I get asked in private is, “How did you get sober?” I get asked that a ton by people that are still out there using. So I wrote about it. I wrote about how I got into that place. [Laughs] It is also my story of playing in punk rock bands up here and going down to L.A. and the first band that formed was GUNS N’ ROSES. That band wasn’t the reason that I got addicted. It was just the situation that I was in. Drinking, drugs and whatnot was completely condoned, especially by our band. I am not blaming anyone else. I take my part in my life. I take accountability for myself. I think that too often we go through life and if something like that happens in your life, you are quick to point a finger and say, “Well, those motherfuckers …” or “That guy…” or “Us going on late was that guys fault …” or “it was management.” I just took accountability for things that I probably could have done differently. Going all the way into the addiction part was gnarly to write about. I really hadn’t figured that to happen but I went through a couple of months of really saying, “Whoa! Fuck! I never even thought about this stuff. It is in my past.” I think it is a good book [pauses] because I wrote it! [Laughs] I am editing it so I have written and read the words, different edits, about eight to 10 times! I think it is good. I can’t tell anymore.
Icon Vs. Icon: Did you have any reservations about telling your story?
Duff: Well, here’s the deal. I wrote the book myself. You write alone. You don’t write with someone else sitting there. I was sitting there like, “I’m not going to sit here and throw someone under the bus.” No one else that is part of my story asked me to write about them here, ya know? In making that sort of my mantra, I started to discover my part in things. I had reservations about confidences of old bandmates and friends. If you are a bandmate or a friend of someone, you don’t leave that band or friendship and start telling everyone things. That is sorta like gossiping. Kinda like “chick shit.” But whatever, that isn’t the point. I wouldn’t do that. I think that my story is interesting enough and will have relevance to the people. I think that “rock people” will like the book. You know, I’m a dad and I think that parents will like the book. The book starts off at my daughter’s 13th birthday and then unravels to the past and comes forward again. I don’t know if you have read any of my Seattle Weekly columns but, like I said, it is told in that voice, from now. My reservations were, “What does the book company want? Do they want a GUNS N’ ROSES book?” because if they want that, there are enough of those out there. I don’t need to write another one of those and I don’t have a burning desire to unleash and I don’t have some burning secret that I need to tell.
Read the entire interview from Icon Vs. Icon.