Duff McKagan Looks Back at Coke-Filled Past, Mom-Inspired Sobriety in Memoir
Lots of rock stars say they're lucky to be alive, and when former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan says, "On a lot of accounts I shouldn't even be here," we believe him. But McKagan is one of rock's true success stories, a guy who furthered his education to the point that he now has a finance management company, writes multiple columns, fronts his own band, Loaded, and has a family.
For him, that last accomplishment is the most important. "It's very possible none of this should've been here," he tells Spinner. "And every morning I sort of wake up and go, 'Oh yeah, it's all good. I'm happy to be here.'"
He also recently released a new album with Loaded, 'The Taking,' on which he looks back at his own decadent past. "There's a song on this record called 'Cocaine' and it was about the year 1993 and I'd quit cocaine," he says. "Cocaine was the drug that made me be able to do more drugs and drink more and so when I quit I was really proud of myself. Everybody was still on me, like, 'Dude, you're f---ing drinking too much.' 'Hey, at least I quit cocaine.' Now, how ridiculous is that? You're drinking whatever, 20 bottles of wine a day and doing 15 valiums a day."
So, what finally made him change his mind? "I ended up in the hospital. That's when there was a profound [moment]. Seeing my mom come in there, I'm the youngest of eight kids and there's our mom with Parkinson's, fine," he says. "It's like, 'OK, the order of things is f---ing wrong. You let your mom down, you let a lot of people down.'"