Having just released his much-buzzed-about new book, "How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions)" (Da Capo Press), former GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan issued a three-song companion EP, "How To Be A Man". Made available on the same day as the book (May 12), the disc features former GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Izzy Stradlin, ALICE IN CHAINS vocalist/guitarist Jerry Cantrell, STONE SOUR drummer Roy Mayorga and drummer Taz Bentley.
The "How To Be A Man" title track, which features Stradlin, Cantrell and Mayorga, can be streamed using the SoundCloud widget below (courtesy of RollingStone.com).
Regarding how the "How To Be A Man" song came about, Duff told Artisan News (see video below): "Somebody mentioned to me, 'You should write a song to coincide with your book.' And I'm, like, 'How do you write a song for a book?' I've never written a theme song for [a James] Bond [movie] or any of that kind of stuff. We [GUNS N' ROSES] recorded 'Live And Let Die' back in the day, but that was Paul McCartney who wrote that. So I wrote a really awful song. Like, first, I was, like, [singing] 'How to be a man…' And it was just awful. And I couldn't figure it out. And out of frustration, I hit on this riff that became the main riff for the song, and I just sang along to it: 'What it takes to be a man. How I wish I knew.' And that really sums up the book. And I sent the riff and the chorus that I had to Izzy. And I said, 'Izzy, you got something…? I need something to tie this in.' And he sent it back with a bridge, and he played drums on the demo, and he put a slide lead on it. He goes, 'Let's go and record it.' And we did. We just went down and recorded it. We got Roy, who plays drums for STONE SOUR — a good friend of ours. And Jerrry Cantrell came and played lead. It was so natural."
"How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions)" is the follow-up to Duff's critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling memoir, "It's So Easy (And Other Lies)".
Speaking about how the two books are different, Duff told Artisan News: "[Writing 'How To Be A Man' didn't involve] the heaviness of digging deep into my own dark soul and figuring out stuff, mistakes I've made. This is… just more a journey into what is a man. Some of the stuff is things I've pulled from columns, or thoughts I've had discussing columns with my editor at Seattle Weekly. Just a whole list of things we discussed over the years. Yeah, it was a lot lighter [subject matter], for sure."
In "How To Be A Man", McKagan shares the wisdom he gained on the path to superstardom — from his time with GUNS N' ROSES and VELVET REVOLVER to getting sober after a life of hard living to achieving his personal American Dream of marrying a supermodel, raising a family and experiencing what it's like to be winked at by Prince.
Among the book's many highlights:
* McKagan discusses the need for communication in your relationships, especially when you want to see the BUZZCOCKS in Manchester and your lady has her sights set on DURAN DURAN in the tropics.
* Together with DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE's Ben Gibbard, he solves one of life's most staggering math problems: if you've seen a million faces, is it truly possible to rock them ALL?
* He spills the beans on some of his fellow rock stars ("Gene Simmons is a kick-ass dancer," "Perry Farrell is an NFL historian and aficionado").
* Travelers will benefit from his plethora of globe-trotting tips, including what shots to get for malaria, how to pack lightly ("hair conditioner makes for good shaving cream, so no need to bring both") and, of course, "don't smoke crack on a leased private jet — the smell gets into everything."
* McKagan, who still uses a Blackberry ("because loyalty is important"), stresses the importance of not being a dick (and don't be a pussy, either). Oh, and get a dog.
* He recalls the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony and reuniting with GUNS N' ROSES frontman Axl Rose for a handful of South American dates.
* He runs down the list of albums that every man should listen to (from ABBA's "Gold" to ZZ TOP's "Tres Hombres"), the books they should read (Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" and Dexter Filkins' "The Forever War" are particular favorites) and what they should tell the first dude who shows up at the door to date daddy's little girl ("you pull him aside and tell him, 'everything that you do or try with my daughter tonight, I will do to you when you get back to my home'").
* Of course, no advice book would be complete without tackling the age-old question: when given the choice of taking a private jet to a yacht to hang out with Steven Tyler for a trip to San Juan Islands or going home to stain your deck, what do you do? (Remember, "those boards in the backyard are not going to stain themselves").
McKagan's wisdom has been sought out on everything from financial planning and relationships to surviving the summer festival circuit and escaping a military coup. Expanding on his popular weekly columns in Seattle Weekly, Playboy.com and ESPN.com, McKagan equips readers with the knowledge they need to rock fatherhood, manage their money, and remain a good dude in spite of it all.