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Duff McKagan

He's not just a bassist, he's a multi-instrumentalist, he's blond and very tall and Guns are just part of his career. So let's learn a little about Duff McKagan...

(Photo: Kevin Winter)


= His full name is Michael Andrew McKagan and he was born in Seattle, USA on February 5, 1964.


= He got the nickname "Duff" when he was a baby as part of his Irish childhood.


= He is the youngest of 8 siblings and the son of divorced parents.


= Although he was an excellent student and even received an honorary degree he left school in the 10th grade and started working as a confectioner, but don't worry he completed his matriculation at a later stage.


= His brother Bruce is the one who taught him to play the bass guitar and he was mainly influenced by punk players like Barry Adamson and Paul Simonon.


= At the age of 15, he formed his first band "The Vains", while at the same time, he also played in "The Living" band, which received exposure by being an opening act for the bands "Hüsker Dü" and "D.O.A."


= In 1980 he joined as the drummer in the punk-pop band "Fastbacks". The band was active until 2001 and changed more than 15 drummers.


= Two years later, in 1982, he moved to become the drummer for the band "The Fartz" which was one of the most prominent bands in the hard rock genre in Seattle and became famous due to the fast and heavy style of music. Duff recorded a number of demos with them, some of which were included in one of their albums.


= Still in the same year, two members of the band, Duff and Paul Solger decided to form another band called "Ten Minutes Warning". Duff took the role of guitarist and they added two other members, one of whom is the future drummer of the band "Mother Love Bone" and he is Greg Gilmore.


(Photo: Media Punch)


= Some say this hardcore punk band paved the way for the Seattle Grunge scene to break out.


= In 1984 the band broke up and Duff and Gregg moved to Los Angeles to seek his musical future.


= Duff found a job as a waiter in a steakhouse and Greg, who couldn't get out of the shock of crazy Los Angeles, decided he was is going back home to Seattle (and it's a good thing because that's when "Mother Love Bone" was created).


= While still searching for his musical future, he decided to answer a newspaper ad for a band looking for a bassist.


= At the meeting, drummer Steven Adler and guitarist Slash were waiting for him and no...it's not what you think...


= The three decided they would form a band called "The Road Crew" and they started playing together and at the same time looking for a singer for the band, but since they couldn't find any singer and nothing connected the three decided they are breaking up the package.


= At the same time in another place in Los Angeles there was a band called "Hollywood Rose" in which the singer Axl Rose and the guitarist Izzy Stradlin were members and in addition, there was a band called "L.A. Guns" whose members were guitarist Tracii Guns, drummer Rob Gardner and bassist Ole Beich. Somehow it happened that these two bands broke up and together formed a band called "Guns N' Roses".


= In March 1985 Duff replaced Ole the bassist and in June Steven Adler and Slash replaced Guns and Gardner, thus Duff started his way in the biggest band of his career.


(Photo: Paul Natkin)


= Two years later, in July 1987, the band released their debut album "Appetite for Destruction" which became the best-selling debut album of all time in the US.


= Less than a year later, the band released the album "G N' R Lies", which also reached the top of the charts and took 2nd place.


= In September 1991, the band released the two albums "Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II" which together reached number one and number two on the Billboard charts, an achievement that no other band had achieved.


= In November 1992 the band released a covers album "The Spaghetti Incident?" in which Duff sang four songs.


= In September 1993 Duff released his first solo album "Believe in Me" playing all the instruments and also singing. He also hosts on the album many friends such as: Slash, Matt Sorum, Dizzy Reed, Gilby Clarke, Sebastian Bach, Rob Affuso, Dave Sabo, Lenny Kravitz, and Jeff Beck.



= In 1994, he became ill from drinking a lot of alcohol and his body has difficulty functioning radically as a result.


= Two years later Duff formed a supergroup called" Neurotic Outsiders" along with Steve Jones of the "Sex Pistols", Matt Sorum, and John Taylor of "Duran Duran". They released one self-titled album and went on a short tour after which they released a five-song EP called "Angelina".



= In 1995 Duff participates in the recording of Slash's debut solo album "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere".


= In August 1997, Duff officially left Guns and returned to Seattle saying that the main reason for leaving was his desire to be a father and invest in parenthood and himself as a musician.


= When the Grunge scene was in its decline Duff decided to reorganize his former band "Ten Minutes Warning" and they released an album under the band's name in 1998 under the Sub Pop record label.


= In the same year, Duff participates in the recordings of his friend Eazy's second solo album called "117°" and his third solo album "Ride On" and later also in the following albums of Eazy.


(Photo: Kevin Winter)


= In 1999, Duff's second solo album "Beautiful Disease" was supposed to be released, but following the breakup of the Geffen record company, it did not materialize and Duff founded the band "Loaded" in order to tour the album (if it is not released, then at least perform with it).


= Although the band broke up soon after, they reassembled in 2000 and released their debut album, "Dark Days Cab", in 2001.


= In 2002, together with his friend Dave Kushner from the band "Loaded", Duff founded the supergroup "Velvet Revolver" with his friends from Guns, with none other than Scott Weiland as the singer.


(Photo: M&M Group)


= This crazy supergroup releases its debut album "Contraband" in 2004 and it climbs straight to the top of the charts and with it, they also win a Grammy.


= In 2006, Duff joins as a backing guitarist for several performances of "Alice In Chains".


= The band's second album "Libertad" comes out in 2007 and brings much less success than the first album and the members to go on hiatus in 2008 due to the reunion of Scott's band, "Stone Temple Pilots".


= In the same year Duff reunites his band "Loaded" and they release an EP that year called "Wasted Heart" a year later they release their second album "Sick".



= In 2010, Duff received an offer he couldn't refuse, to be the bassist for "Jane's Addiction". He wrote several songs with the band and even performed 4 shows with it, but 6 months later the band broke up.


= In October 2010, 17 years after he left Guns, Duff performed with what was then "Guns N' Roses" for four songs during a show in London.


= Returning to "Loaded", Duff records with the band their third album "The Taking" which is released in 2011 when in the same year they appear twice as an opening act for Guns.


= In April 2012, Duff entered together with Guns into an institution that in 2021 received a lot of slander, which is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


= That same year he went on tour with a supergroup called "Rock N Roll All Stars" which later became "Kings Of Chaos".


= In 2014, Duff replaces Guns's bassist for five full shows, which seems to be the beginnings of a big band reunion.


= At the Coachella festival in 2016, Slash also joins Guns, and from there the famous union of Duff, Axl, and Slash to Guns was created and they go on the amazing tour named "Not in This Lifetime..."


= In May 2019 Duff releases his third solo album "Tenderness" which is inspired by Duff's experiences from the Guns tour.



= In August 2023, another wonderful thing happened (although we have disagreements), the band released the first single of their current line-up, "Perhaps". A single that might signal that the band is planning to release an new album in the future or maybe it's just a test that checks how they feel together again in the studio.



= In addition to his musical talent, Duff also writes. He writes a column for SeattleWeekly.com, a weekly column called "Duffonomics" for Playboy, and a column for the sports website ESPN.com.


= Duff's autobiography "It's So Easy (And Other Lies)" was released in October 2011 and four years later he released a book called "How to Be a Man: (and other illusions)" which was accompanied by a three-song EP.


= He is married for the third time to Susan Holmes and they have two daughters.


= Duff was among the last to see Kurt Cobain. He was with him on the same plane on the way to Seattle, saw that his mental state was not good, and invited him to his house. Kurt refused. Two days later he committed suicide.


= He is left-handed and learned to play the left-handed bass guitar from his brother who was also left-handed. When his brother left with the guitar and he couldn't find a left-handed guitar, he taught himself to play right-handed guitar.


= Duff trains in kickboxing and even competes in it professionally.


= He once "wrangled" Chris Holmes from W.A.S.P. And broke two of his ribs because he went down on Slash.


= He is color blind.


= His favorite movie is "A Clockwork Orange".


= He was a member of the supergroup "Hollywood Vampires" which also includes actor Johnny Depp, guitarist Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, and Matt Sorum.


(Photo: Cereal Kyler)


= He claims that the imaginary beer that Homer Simpson drinks "Duff" is named after him.


= He participated and co-wrote several songs on Iggy Pop's "Brick by Brick" album.


= In 2012, he founded the group "Walking Papers", a kind of supergroup that included, among others, members of "Screaming Trees" and "The Missionary Position". In the band's first album released in 2013, Mike McCready from "Pearl Jam" collaborated with them.


= He is an ardent fan of Prince and was heavily influenced by his "1999" album which he also wrote in the booklet included with his deluxe edition about how it influenced him. Even his bass guitar features Prince's iconic logo.


= He is part of Ozzy Osbourne's backing band on the 2020 album "Ordinary Man".


Listen to his latest solo album "Tenderness" on: Spotify, Apple Music


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