7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Duff McKagan

Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan on his childhood dreams, Spinal Tap moments and more…


He’s one of the coolest people in rock’n’roll, but as a youngster Duff McKagan had entirely different ideas for what his future might entail…

People Thought I'd Had A Facelift At 31

“When I got sober in 1994, for the first year I really didn’t go anywhere. All I did was martial arts and ride my mountain bike. But at the end of being fucked up I was bloated, because everything was basically shutting down. But then I did a show with [former Sex Pistols guitarist] Steve Jones at The Viper Room [in California]. And when people saw me, because I’d lost weight, they said I’d had a facelift! I was 31 years old and they thought I’d had plastic surgery.”

I Once Got Stuck To The Stage

“I’ve got this killer belt that has big silver crosses on it, which are a little longer than the belt itself. During Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion tour, I laid on the ramps onstage, which was made of metal grills, and I got stuck; the crosses affixed themselves to the gaps in the stage. I was playing so I couldn’t undo the belt. It was full-on Spinal Tap and it was super embarrassing.”

I Talked To Prince's Right-Hand Woman

“If you look at the Prince albums Controversy, Purple Rain, Around The World In A Day and Parade, you’ll see that they’re engineered and mixed by Peggy McCreary. That’s the only other name on those records, and I always wondered what those experiences were like for her. So in the last week I got to talk to her at length, which gave me an even greater appreciation of his work and his songwriting. Prince is definitely my hero.”

I'm Afraid Of Wilful Ignorance

“When there’s so much information out there, and so many great books to read, and so much experience to gain from other humans by going out and interacting, the wilful ignorance of people scares me. Because what they do with that ignorance can be dangerous. And I’m not just talking about the latest crap, because this has been going for as long as I can remember.”

I Stole The Clash's Paul Simonon's Look

“I mean, come on, it’s a good look! Whether I look like that or not, I am that guy when I play bass. The way he looks on the cover of the London Calling album, where he’s about to smash his bass guitar, is just incredible.”

As A Child I Wanted To Be A Brain Surgeon

“In the ’40s my family pooled their resources so that my uncle – who was the only boy of three children – could go to medical school. He became a great doctor and was very influential in my life. He was a great guy and one of those people you always wanted to be around. Because of him I wanted to be a doctor, but a brain surgeon specifically.”

I Try To Live A Life Free Of Regrets

“I’m not one of those people who likes to look back on past mistakes and go, ‘Oh shit!’ But I do wish I’d have started martial arts at a younger age. I started when I was 31, which meant that I got my ass kicked an awful lot. Also, had I started earlier then perhaps I wouldn’t have drank so much, or taken so many drugs, because I would have had the discipline that martial arts instils in my life.”

Guns N’ Roses will play two nights at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on May 29 and 30. Get your tickets here.