“If you think you are too old to rock ‘n roll, then you are ”
Hello, young Padawan
(Let me try to explain to you my thoughts on a great book I read, with my terrible English. For those who don’t know, I’m French. Yeah, I know that one, “Pardon my French”. Let’s fucking go! ed).
By reading the title of this article and noting that it has been posted in the reading category, you must probably think that I have rediscovered Shakespeare or Shaw. Well no, even better. I’m talking about a book written by a bassist. Huh? !! I know.
A bass player who also knows how to play guitar, drums, who sings, who composes and I bet he can do the dishes. This is obviously Duff McKagan’s autobiography, “It’s So Easy (and other lies)”.
Let’s go back to the beginning, meaning, my passion for music. I’m a fan of metal, but also hard rock, two branches of the same religion, rock ‘n roll. I do not think we can appreciate one without the other, even if there are of course many other sub-families like nu-metal, goth or even punk if we consider D.O.A for example. All these branches come from the same family, near or far, but especially from the same passion: rock ‘n roll.
I mean rock ‘n roll as described by Lemmy (Kilmister, the singer of Motörhead, but also bassist, author, and composer, ed) who spoke about his music as rock’ n roll, whereas we would rather talk about heavy metal for his band, do you follow me? I’m sure you do, rock ‘n roll, so.🤘🏻
As for the music, I listen to bands by “moments”. I have my Slayer periods, my Mötley Crüe seasons, my Metallica moments, my Slipknot passages, one time I come back to SOAD or Marilyn Manson, then to AC/DC, I go back to Motörhead, then I fall back into the Guns N ‘Roses …. and I will not mention Megadeth and all the others because we will have many other opportunities to talk about music in this blog. Well, in short, my interest in a band is cyclical.
Let’s go back to the Guns. I am very guns right now. Being self-proclaimed, moreover, “the greatest fan of Slash to infinity and beyond”, my Guns moments come back very often. Velvet Revolver and the solo albums too, especially with Myles Kennedy, but that’s another story.
The universe, the sound and the riffs of the Guns are quite in my current mood. But when I immerse myself in these periods of listening, doing some research or reading a book or two on the band is not uncommon.
So with this passion for the Guns, I remembered that Duff McKagan, the famous and talented GNR Bassist, had written an autobiography. It’s been a while since I thought about reading it, as I read so much stuff for the blog that I thought it was not the priority.
This book is more than a priority. Sincerely, whatever your age, your sex, your profession, your desires in your life: read this book. I’m going to explain to you why, but never spoil the content so that every word of Duff hits your retina.
It’s super well written.
The man has written weekly columns before writing this book, which may explain his gift for writing; in any case, I will not reveal to you which ones, I will leave you to discover it in his book. A little clue? one of them is surprising.
We are immersed in Duff’s childhood, in Seattle. The different social class, the epidemic of heroin that was there (an opiate discovered by Bayer, them again, ed). Then, later, Los Angeles, this city that is so different from others in its configuration and style that you can only understand it when you’ve been there, or read Duff’s book. He has a so pictorially way of explaining and describing what he lived that you might think you are reading a novel.
The true story of the Guns n’Roses, but not only
It is essential when you love a band to discover their genesis because it allows you to understand better certain lyrics, some evolutions in the band … If you take for example a group like Anathema who went from great big fat Goth Metal to post-progressive ballad (but beautiful too, ed), yes, it is very useful. In the Guns’ case, we learn a lot in Duff’s book on the creation of songs, on who had the idea of this riff, who wrote these words, on the circumstances in which they were put on the albums, and that’s absolutely awesome.
We learn a plethora, about the Guns certainly, but especially before, during and after. We learn how they met, how the band came together, we get a lot of absolutely fantastic anecdotes, and later how Duff started Velvet, Loaded and other “supergroups” super-really good!
It’s great to discover the encounter, then the cohesion of a group, and also interesting to understand what happened thereafter. Whether you’re a fan or not, this story of a young man who loved music and left his hometown to live his dream is fascinating.
A true life
This man had a rock ‘n roll life in his early days, but nevertheless the parallel with your own life can easily be done. Like everyone on Earth, we live in highs and lows. Some with greater intensity than others, certainly, but reading his testimony brings a lot. Often, I try to put myself in the place of others to grow from their experiences. It is the very foundation of humanity, to learn from others.
With Duff, you’ll really understand what it’s like to be an artist, what they can have in mind when making such and such a decision; and that, despite everything, one always finds more extreme than oneself (Hi Mötley Crüe, ed). For those who do not understand the joke about Mötley Crüe: it is a group that is not only famous for its music, but also for its “legendary” drug abuse. Duff, of course, talks about his addictions, he explains the ins and outs of this “anvil around his ankle” he dragged a bunch of time, and especially how he recovered.
An extraordinary life, in the literal sense of the term, from which one enriches oneself. I’ll even go further, I finished this book in the same state as when I finished “Alchemist”, by Paolo Coelho. You realize through Duff that even when you have only a tiny breath of life left, you can always bounce back for the best. A slap in the face that makes you get up from your chair and makes you start projects that the fear until then prevented you from accomplishing.
A good man
Duff McKagan inspires me with respect. I would like to be, at least, half of the man he is.
After hitting rock bottom, he has become a truly great and mature human being, with his share of duties, responsibilities, and a beautiful soul, with his share of passion, compassion, and truth. He does not hesitate to describe to you a story that is far from putting him on a pedestal, with his mistakes, his fails, but all this made the smart and talented man he has become.
He tells us that a human being grows out of his mistakes, becomes wise of his faults and above all, that one must never lower his guard, but that, I leave him the opportunity to explain it to you in his book.
He can be proud to have had the courage to try and succeed in living his passion. It is not given to everyone to have the guts (you saw, I remained polite on this one, ed) to face what people could have said, his parents and his entourage to become today, an accomplished artist.
And finally, I would say that just for his sense of humor, his book deserves to be read! This guy is really funny. Even telling us the most terrible moments of his life, he manages to make us laugh. Go see him in concert too, he is as awesome as his book, maybe even better! You can follow him here.
That’s it, you know what you have to do. Support your artists.
Rock ‘n roll greetings 🎸💋