Known best for his stint as the bass player for Guns N’ Roses, Seattle rock star Duff McKagan has also proven himself to be a skilled writer by way of his popular columns for Seattle Weekly and ESPN.com, and his memoir, It’s So Easy (And Other Lies), acclaimed for its frank self-awareness. In May, he released a new book, How to Be a Man (And Other Illusions), full of insights from the trenches.
LOCATION: Guppy’s living room
DRINKS: Stovetop espresso with half-and-half and brown sugar
Nancy Guppy: What is your new book about?
Duff McKagan: It’s about life lessons learned through my own experiences and the experiences of my friends. It’s about being a father of girls and being married for 16 years. And it’s about not being sh**ty…and not taking sh*t.
NG: What’s hard about being a man?
DM: It’s easy to be a douche bag, a bull-in-the-china-shop kind of thing. I guess it’s being in touch with your male side and with the side of you that can be nurturing.
NG: Which is more fun—a book tour or a band tour?
DM: On a band tour, you get to do the thing that you love for two hours a night. A book tour is fun because it’s new to me. If I had to do this all the time, it probably wouldn’t be.
NG: What’s the biggest misconception about you?
DM: I don’t know what conceptions there are about me.
NG: How much of your wardrobe is leather, percentage-wise?
DM: 50 percent.
NG: Let’s talk hair, because yours is delicious. What’s the regime?
DM: No real regime. Just natural body oils. And I don’t look in the mirror.
NG: Anything you would change in a “life do-over”?
DM: No. And I’ve thought about this. Even the health problems I have now because of stuff I did are just a reminder that I did it to myself. I walked into that brick wall 100 times, and it took me 101 times to go, “Oh, you go around it.”
NG: What three songs would be on the Duff McKagan life soundtrack.
DM: “Stand!” by Sly and the Family Stone, “Little Red Corvette” by Prince, “Requiem” by Killing Joke.
NG: What’s more important, creative freedom or creative control?
DM: That’s such a good question. [Long pause.] Creative freedom.
NG: Have you had an artistic high point?
DM: I haven’t gotten there yet. You’re always searching for that perfect song, whatever that means. Once I get there, it’ll be like “OK, I did that. Now it’s gotta be the perfect song in three-quarter time!”
NG: What’s the best part about being clean and sober?
DM: Being alive right now.
Nancy Guppy showcases Seattle artists on her TV series, Art Zone (seattlechannel.org/artzone).