Former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan has played for several bands, gone to business school, and become a writer for ESPN.com and the Seattle Weekly. Now he’s chronicled that journey through his new book “It’s So Easy (and Other Lies),” which was released Oct. 4.
The book (the “It’s So Easy” portion of the title is taken from a Guns N’ Roses song) was written after Playboy editor Tim Mohr, who edited a weekly column McKagan wrote for the publication, encouraged McKagan to tell his story. “It’s So Easy” chronicles McKagan’s beginnings growing up in a large family in Seattle on through to his life today as a member of the band Loaded, also called Duff McKagan’s Loaded, and his role as a husband and father of two.
McKagan was the bassist for Guns N’ Roses and has been a member of the supergroups Velvet Revolver and Neurotic Outsiders as well as the band 10 Minute Warning. He also briefly joined alt-rock group Jane’s Addiction. In the book, McKagan details how, living in his car in Los Angeles in the 1980s, he saw a wanted ad by someone named Slash who was looking for a bass guitarist. He then contacted the man who would be his future bandmate.
McKagan also discusses his drug and alcohol addictions, about which he said he got a wake-up call when he was in the hospital and his mother, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, came to visit him.
“She was suffering Parkinson's shakes and she was in a wheelchair,” McKagan, who credits kickboxing with helping to turn his life around, told the Associated Press. “I realized then and there that order of things was wrong. I was supposed to be taking care of her.”
McKagan told the AP he never thought his writing job for Seattle Weekly would last.
“I thought that maybe I would last a couple of weeks and I'd screw it up and they'd find somebody else,” he said. “But I really found a voice and I like it.”
McKagan has also formed the wealth management firm Meridian Rock, which helps musicians handle finances. He has two daughters.
“I am trying to enjoy this moment and be in the moment as much as I can,” he told the Seattle Times. “You don't have much time to reflect on what's left because you have to go to the paint store with your daughter and my dogs are hungry.”
Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.