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Duff McKagan reveals how was his life before Guns N’ Roses and how he met the band

Duff McKagan Guns N Roses

Classic Rock

Duff McKagan reveals how was his life before Guns N’ Roses and how he met the band

In an interview with Milana Rabkin Lewis, legendary Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan talked about his life before becoming a rockstar with the hard rock band.

He said:

“I came up in the punk-rock scene of Seattle. I saw The Clash in ’79, a band that was so exotic to me. I saw Zeppelin in ’77 play [the now-demolished Seattle stadium] The Kingdome. It was enormous, and the band was so small and so far away.

“I saw some other big bands – KISS and whatnot – and the punk rock thing hit, and The Clash were playing right in front of me.

“After the show, they came out into the crowd, and [Joe] Strummer said something on the stage that always left an indentation on me – ‘There’s no difference between us and you. We’re all the same. We’re in it together.’

“Thus was born a DIY, punk-rock scene in Seattle. We did everything ourselves – making fliers, booking shows, carting gear, booking VFW halls, lying to the police that it was a teen dance.

“Learning how to do the commerce of that – how to finagle the job you had to get to pay for rehearsal places, for an apartment and for fliers and for gear. You would trade for gear. I started really learning the value of things, and I was really driven.

“Music was going to be my thing. Was I going to make a living at it? That was kind of a joke. It was just my passion, and if I was broke doing my passion, so be it. I had to do it.

“I played in a bunch of bands in Seattle. One of them got signed to Jello Biafra’s label [Alternative Tentacles]. We got no money for it, but we put a mark on the American map of punk rock.

“I was working at a restaurant in Seattle, saving my money to move to LA… I moved to LA chasing my dream, and the first people I met was Slash and Steven [Adler] through an ad in the newspaper.

“We met down at Canter’s [Deli]. We stared at each other but found that we had a lot of the same musical influences… There was always a missing piece in the tons of bands I was in Seattle.

“I toured. I knew how to book a tour, I knew how to make a flier. But if you’re missing a piece in your band, like, there was always a weak link… When the five of us got in a room the first time in Silverlake in a rehearsal place, it was on. You could tell immediately. It was pretty ferocious.”

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I am a 23 year-old brazilian journalist, a classic rock and heavy metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When i became a journalist i knew i wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world!

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