GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan spoke to Yahoo Entertainment about the inspiration for his solo song "Parkland", which was written after the school shooting that occurred on February 14 last year.
There have been at least 111 school shootings in the United States since 1970, according to a New York Times analysis. A total of 202 people were killed in these attacks and 454 were injured, including the shooters. In 16 cases, shots were fired but no one was injured.
"It's beyond heartbreaking to look at the list [of school shootings over the years], and this thing's going on, on the TV," Duff said. "And that song just came out of me… I was trying to pay respect and be earnest about a very serious situation, especially as an American, this particularly American thing. I have daughters... When you're fearful of your kids going to school, something's fucked up. When you see your school's got armed guards when you walk your kids to school — we walk to school — something's fucked up. This is a school. And as a dad, as a human, just a fucking human, anybody."
McKagan added that "Parkland", which appears on his upcoming solo album "Tenderness", is "not a commentary on the Second Amendment; it's not a commentary on gun owners. But it's a commentary, I think, on if there's national emergencies that we're gonna call out, this one should've been called out some time ago.
"I don't know what the answer is, but I sure would love to explore an answer," he said. "I don't care if you're in the deepest, darkest corners of the NRA, or the most progressive whatever; something's gotta be done. I don't know what it is, but I hope with ['Tenderness'], I can get involved with some organizations and [use] what minimal platform I have to do something. The record's about healing. It's about togetherness. But within that, I have to expose some darkness. And I expose, I think, more of fair share of darkness on the record. But there is hope at the beginning, and there's hope at the end."
A March poll found that more than nearly 50% of adults blamed school shootings on bullying and the availability of guns. But McKagan doesn't single out any one politician or political party as being responsible for the epidemic of gun violence in schools.
"I'm not gonna talk about current administrations ever," he said. "I read too much history. You and I could barrel down on one person right now; it would be a useless conversation in eight months.
"I think after 9/11, here in America, I saw something extraordinary," he continued. "I saw neighbors looking after neighbors. I don't think anybody asked who anybody voted for. It was people taking care of other people. At the grocery store, everywhere you go, people were like, 'Are you okay? Is everything cool here?' Looking around, taking care of each other. And that's the America I know. That's the one I choose to see throughout all this stuff that we're experiencing right now, all this hyped-up tension and news and crap. Fuck that."
"Tenderness" will be released on May 31. The disc sees McKagan reflecting on his experiences traveling the globe over two and a half years on GUNS N' ROSES' "Not In This Lifetime" tour.