Thursday, March 1, 2012

It’s So Easy + and other lies+ by Duff McKagan

(Touchstone) The former Fastback who went on to become Guns n Roses’ bassist, and a hard drinker who seems pretty sure the Simpsons producers told him that their fictional beer was named for him, Duff lived it ruff in the years following the phenomenal success of Appetite for Destruction.  What’s probably most interesting about this book is that it’s an addiction diary/memoir told from such a sober/removed perspective that, while still painful and honest, it’s neither boastful nor blurry about the facts of the ridiculous alcohol consumption that ravaged his body, and the cocaine he took primarily because it allowed him to stay awake to drink more booze. What’s classy about this book is that McKagan, the punk rocker of the Roses, who you’d expect to have d.i.y. integrity, is brutal in his tales of his own fuck ups, but does not really engage in dirt dealing on his famous bandmates. Sure, he mentions all the famous mischief and mayhem Axl caused (already public knowledge) and might drop the word “dictator,” but he’s pretty respectful and discrete, and portrays his colleagues as caring about his well being (and any humanizing of Mr. Rose at this point is interesting). It’s interesting to learn that Appetite took a year to peak on the charts, and that slow ascent meant that the band, at their artistic and commercial peak, were actually still slogging it out like low budget also-rans, and the road tales are more gritty and down to earth than you’d expect. I had forgotten about them coming to Chicago to write Use Your Illusion. I wonder if his bad memories of Wrigleyville will keep Duff from singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the Cubs broadcast booth?

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