DUFF MCKAGAN: AXL ROSE Is 'A F***ing Master'

October 21, 2023

During an appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation Power Trip Special", Duff McKagan said that GUNS N' ROSES' long-running reunion tour is going incredibly well, in part thanks to the great musical relationship he, singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and the other bandmembers are currently enjoying.

GUNS launched its long-rumored and long-awaited reunion tour with an April 2016 club show in Hollywood and appearances in Las Vegas and at California's Coachella festival.

GUNS N' ROSES' reunion tour features classic-lineup members Slash, McKagan and Rose backed by guitarist Richard Fortus, drummer Frank Ferrer, keyboardist Dizzy Reed and second keyboardist Melissa Reese.

Reflecting on how GUNS N' ROSES has been since it launched seven and a half years ago, Duff said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):  "If you would have asked me [in 2016] — I really do this; I'm not kidding. My mantra is today is today and I have to do that. It's what keeps me sane, and I do everything I can do today… I tell people I love 'em. I do that… If you were to ask me then, 'What's going to happen in seven?' I'd say, 'I don't know, but I'm gonna get through today.' And that's what I do.

"This band is kicking ass," the 59-year-old bassist continued. "Axl is a fucking master. He's a master. I mean, I see him sing every night for three hours. And what he does, I've learned so much from his singing. And Slash is a fucking master, and the band is slamming. So it's really fulfilling to be in that band and to be a part of it is great. We play long tours. We play long shows. We're getting near the end [of the tour]."

Less than two years ago, Slash told CNN about how GUNS N' ROSES' reunion tour has been going: "When we got back together, that whole chemistry and that thing that makes what GUNS N' ROSES is for me and Axl and Duff, it all just sort of came together. After that long a period of time, we'd sort of forgotten what that was like.

"Everybody got along great," he added. "That's actually why the tour has kept going, because initially it was just going to be a couple of shows."

In a 2020 interview with Guitar Player's "No Guitar Is Safe" podcast, Slash spoke about what it felt like for him to step back out on stage with GUNS N' ROSES for the first time in over two decades at the band's concert at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California.

"That was our first gig back," Slash said. "I think probably the last time that we ever played there was in 1985. I don't think we even played there in 1986. Probably '85 was the last time we played there. "[The April 2016 concert was] our first show together after 20 years. We obviously had more gear and more crew than we did back in the day, I'll tell you that much. And it was loud. But it was a lot of fun. It was an almost poignant moment to fucking stand there and look at that crowd in that sort of room and have that kind of nostalgic feeling."

In 2019, Slash told Guitar.com that his first concert back with GUNS N' ROSES was an "overwhelming" experience. "It was so cool," he said. "Because it was a long time — we're talking more than 20 years from the last show in 1994… it was 22 years since the last time we'd played together. And obviously I'd played with Duff [since then] but there's a certain dynamic in the three of us together. It was awesome, and it's a really great experience."

As previousy reported, GUNS N' ROSES will return to Los Angeles this November to play the iconic Hollywood Bowl for the first time ever. This headlining two-night stint on November 1 and November 2 will also feature special guest THE BLACK KEYS. These shows will mark the first time the band has played L.A. since 2021 and also wrap up GUNS N' ROSES' U.S. tour. The band's 2023 global tour has been their largest run to date, consisting of headlining stadiums and arenas across Europe and North America, and will conclude with a headlining performance at Hell & Heaven festival in Mexico City on November 5.

In conjunction with these Hollywood Bowl shows, GUNS N' ROSES has announced a partnership with the Los Angeles County Parks Foundation (LACPF). A portion of the proceeds from every ticket will be donated to the organization, which supports park programs for under-served communities, seniors, and youth, including the development of environmental education programs. In addition to the donation, GUNS N' ROSES will be designing a special commemorative t-shirt with proceeds also going to LACPF. This limited-edition t-shirt will only be available at the Hollywood Bowl shows.

This two-night stand on Hollywood's most hallowed stage continues a triumphant California homecoming for the band that began over the weekend when they delivered a seismic set at the inaugural Power Trip festival in Indio, California. Over the course of their career, GUNS N' ROSES have left their mark up and down the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, The Troubadour, The Forum, BMO Stadium, Dodgers Stadium and at The Palladium a few blocks down the road. However, this will be the first time the band descends upon the Hollywood Hills' Hollywood Bowl. It is a full circle moment and the perfect way to cap off their recent North American tour.

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