Seattle Rock Star's New Book is Full of Insight from the Trenches

Nancy Guppy rocks out with Duff McKagan

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, 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 (


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