DUFF MCKAGAN Looks Back On Decision To Attend Seattle University: 'I Was Really Hungry For Knowledge'

November 2, 2023

In a new interview with Australia's The Project, GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan spoke about his decision to attend Seattle University more than two decades ago, majoring in business and finance. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It was [something] I did when I got sober. I felt like I was behind; I'd not utilized my 20s to the fullest extent. And so I got into Seattle University. And I thought I could just write them a check to get in, but you can't. And they were, like, 'We need your high school transcripts.' 'High school? I left high school.' So I had to do some jump some hoops at what we call community college here, which is like a junior college. I had to take all the basic math and all this stuff. And I was really hungry for knowledge, so I did really well and I did really well in school and I learned as much as I could. And I was just discovering who I was, who I truly wanted to be. So, being a student and being an athlete and meeting my wife, who's like the best thing that's ever happened to me… But meeting her and having our first daughter, Grace, while I was in college was really all killer."

A high-school dropout, Duff earned his GED before signing up for a handful of classes at Seattle Central Community College, then applying to Seattle University.

McKagan didn't follow a traditional path when deciding to attend college at Seattle Central. He started playing in rock bands while a teenager and landed in the international spotlight as part of the hard rock band GUNS N' ROSES in the late 1980s and early '90s.

"Attending Seattle Central was an awesome experience," Duff said a decade ago. "It taught me a lot about discipline in a great way. Having a college education has also helped my reputation. Ever since, people take me more seriously in my industry, because most people in the music industry do not go to college."

After Seattle Central, Duff attended Seattle University and the composition skills he learned have spawned another career — writing. In addition to producing a regular column for the Seattle Weekly, he has been published in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Playboy, Gentlemen's Quarterly and also wrote his autobiography, "It's So Easy (And Other Lies)", in 2011.

During his last year of business school, McKagan, who had left GUNS N' ROSES in the late 1990s, formed a new rock supergroup, VELVET REVOLVER, with GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Slash and STONE TEMPLE PILOTS singer Scott Weiland.

Back in 2011, McKagan started his own wealth management firm for musicians. The company, called Meridian Rock, was headed by McKagan and Andy Bottomley, a British investor. Their goal was to educate rockers about their finances.

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