DUFF MCKAGAN: 'My Life Is Not Defined By VELVET REVOLVER Or What I Do'

Australia's X-Press Online recently conducted an interview with VELVET REVOLVER/ex-GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

On touring:

"I think that people really think that touring is like the cliché — glamorous and chicks and cocaine or whatever else. But touring is about living out of a bag, going to an airport every day or every other day, going through security and sitting and waiting for a cancelled flight or a delayed flight. Getting to the next gig, checking into the next hotel, getting whatever you need out of your bag to get laundered you know? Like the great part, the easy part is the two hours you're up on stage. The exhausting part is just the constant, constant travel. Like last night we went from the stage straight onto the tour bus to the border, back off the fucking bus, into the border patrol. So I don't itch to go on tour anymore, you know? I'm not like, 'Oh cool, when do I get to go back through airport security again?'"

On VELVET REVOLVER's second album, "Libertad":

"We had the title of the record around, which was cool because when the record was done and mastered and we listened to the thing right through, the album kind of sounds like the title. And so I think maybe if anything, the title may have had some weird, really subconscious effect on how we wrote and all that. I mean, I dunno how, but it just sounds like the title. It sounds like one complete record that represents musical freedom. It is pretty cool."

On being raised as the youngest of eight children:

"There were no limitations there, I respected everything I heard as a kid. And there was no MTV or anything, so I just had whatever pictures were in my head of what these people looked like and who they were, and I just imagined they were these really free souls just doing what they wanna do. I didn’t think of like rock star limousines and that stuff at all. I've always really hated the term 'rock stars.' Rock stars were something that I hated. That was somebody in STYX, you know? It wasn't me, or the people I listened to when I was a kid. LED ZEPPELIN weren't rock stars, they were fucking geniuses, you know?"

On his family life:

"What I do for a living is pretty much one of the most odd things you can do for a living and have a family and have any sort of a schedule. You know, it's great because we were home for making the record. So I was home really for a year like every day. Taking the kids to school, picking them up, it really got us back into a schedule. My little girls, they know how to come out on tour. They love riding a tour bus. They're not really into our band, but they really love the whole thing of just going out and seeing the world. But there's not really any sort of happy way you can plan it out perfectly. I wasn't home for Mother's Day. That really fucking sucked. It's the first time I've ever missed one. So you can't plan that much. You hope that you and your family can stick it out.

"My life is not defined by VELVET REVOLVER or what I do. My life is defined by my wife and my two little girls. By far my life's defined by what happens inside of the four walls of my house. My little girls, who are six and nine, look to me with everything. They trust me with their lives, they look to me for guidance. I mean, here's a guy who, in my mind, I didn't think I was gonna live until I was 30, and I was fine with that. And now I look into these girls' eyes and they would follow me off a cliff if I said it was safe. So that's what defines me. My life in GUNS before and my life in VELVET REVOLVER now, that's all just extra shit."

On how much what he has really means to him, despite the airport security and exhausting travel:

"I see guys that I went to high school with or whatever. Guys that are my age that are just strapped, and they think their life is on its way down. They've lived the best years of their lives, and for me that's astounding. It's like, 'What has life done to you man?' I remember as a kid we had a one storey house and I jumped off the roof onto the lawn on my knees, and I would do it over and over again. Like nothing hurts you when you're a little kid and that's what I kind of still feel like. Like I could do whatever and it's not gonna hurt me and I don't need a safety net. I'm free to love as hard as I can to be in this fucking rock 'n' roll band and rock as hard as I can. And that's really important."

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