DUFF MCKAGAN: SLASH Is 'The Most Amazing Guitar Player On The Planet'
December 11, 2023
In a new interview with Riff X's "Metal XS", Duff McKagan spoke about his relationship with his longtime GUNS N' ROSES and VELVET REVOLVER bandmate Slash. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "My buddy just happens to be fucking Slash — the most amazing guitar player on the planet.
"We just have a — I think it's a great relationship. We've been through… Imagine the things we've seen together and what we've been through. And there is a kind of a survivors brotherhood in there too, I think. We looked down to the darkest pits together and went there. We didn't just look at it; we went and explored.
"I still marvel like nightly playing with him because never plays a song or a solo the same every night, any night, any given night," he continued. "It's always different, always something I'm, like, 'Dude, where did you come up with that in the last 48 hours? We just played two nights ago. Now you're playing some completely different theme and they're all cool.' And so I really respect him. And I learned a lot as a guitar player myself, just watching him, watching chord choices. If you sometimes see me looking at his fretboard, if you see GUNS N' ROSES live, I'm learning some chords. Like, 'Oh, that's interesting. What is that?' So I keep doing that. And that comes from where we were 19, 20 years old, like, 'Oh, what is those chords?' So some things just never change."
McKagan added: "He's a radical fucking dude. And I can't say enough about him."
Back in April 2021Duff told Spotify's "Rock This With Allison Hagendorf" podcast about the first time he met Slash: "I met him and Steven Adler [former GUNS N' ROSES drummer] at Canter's [family-owned 24-hour Jewish deli that's been in business since 1931]. It's a restaurant [in L.A.]. I had never been to Canter's. [Canter's third-generation owner] Marc Canter was Slash's boyhood friend. These guys grew up with each other in L.A. It was so foreign to me. I had come down [from Seattle] and played punk rock gigs [in L.A.], but I didn't know anybody in Hollywood, and here I was. I walked in. His name was Slash in the ad. We talked on the payphone, and I thought he'd be some, like, punker guy like me. 'Cause it was '84. By '84, and GREEN RIVER is a good testament to this, by '84, people were looking, like, 'Whatever's gonna be next is gonna be on our shoulders. Punk's done.' The hardcore had come in and kind of ruined a lot of punk scenes. It was these suburban jock guys who shaved their heads and started beating up people and doing 'sieg heils.' It was, like, 'This is not punk, guys.' So whatever was next, it was gonna be up to."
He continued: "So this guy's name was Slash. The influences he liked were FEAR, AEROSMITH, Alice Cooper… I'm, like, okay, but this guy's going kind of where I'm going. I had blue hair, short blue hair. I walked into Canter's. And they told me what booth they were gonna be at. So I found the booth, and it's these two long-haired guys, and I'm, like, 'Woah.' It was kind of a culture shock, and I think I was a little bit of a culture shock to them. But we sat down and started talking, and we talked about music. And that's the thing that — it's a universal thing. We went back to Slash's house, his mom's basement, and he started playing acoustic guitar. [Prior to that] I had played with these guys. Stone mentioned Paul Solger — he was the guitar player [at the time]. He could play leads and he was smooth and slick, and I thought he was the best guy on the West Coast. And I got in this basement with Slash, and I'm, like, 'Oh, wow.'"
Last week, GUNS N' ROSES released a new single titled "The General" via Geffen Records. "The General" is the B-side of GUNS N' ROSES' limited-edition seven-inch vinyl single titled "Perhaps", which was made available for pre-order in August.
"The General" and "Perhaps" followed GUNS N' ROSES' two 2021 singles "Hard Skool" and "Absurd", which marked the group's first new material since reuniting with Slash and McKagan in 2016.
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