GUNS N' ROSES Bassist DUFF MCKAGAN Says AXL ROSE Has Become A Vocal 'Master'

April 28, 2019

GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan was recently interviewed on "Mohr Stories", the podcast hosted by actor and comedian Jay Mohr. You can now listen to the chat below.

Speaking about the evolution of his GN'R bandmate Axl Rose as a singer, Duff said: "I had a lot of respect for us as a band as I was pre-rehearsing all this stuff [before the 'Not In This Lifetime' reunion tour]. And then when Axl came in to rehearse, and then when we played our shows… What he's done to his voice...

"The first time I saw him sing… I was this punk rock kid from Seattle, and I saw him in late '84," he continued. "And he was like [Henry] Rollins — he had the intensity of Rollins, but he could sing. He had this dual-voice thing — he'd do a low and a high thing at once. Sure, he was born with certain gifts, singing-wise, but he works his ass off. He was doing vocal lessons, he was doing vocal warm-ups, warm-downs back then. And nowadays, when we go out and play, he starts his vocal warm-ups… He does an hour and a half of pure vocal warm-ups. And then we play three, three and a half hours. But the guy has become a master."

Duff went on to say that he "has really started to appreciate" his bandmates, in particular guitarist Slash. "All he does is play guitar all day long," McKagan said. "He gets up, goes to the gym, and just starts playing guitar all the way up to the gig and then plays the guitar… He gets so lost sometimes… We have this part of the set where he does a guitar solo — it's just him on stage — and he gets lost in himself, lost in what he's doing. That's his purest form of communication. He'd sit down and talk to you and talk for a while, but he's a man of few words, and his words are all through his guitar. And there's times his guitar solo will just keep going, and I don't wanna stop him. The cue is when we come out on stage and start playing this thing, and then he'll come back. 'Come back to us, Slash.'… Sometimes [he'll play] for 20, 25 minutes. [We] just let him go. And he carries a crowd of 50,000 people all along his journey; it's not just this guitar solo."

GUNS N' ROSES will head out on a short tour this fall and is already confirmed as one of the headliners at Kentucky's Louder Than Life festival, scheduled for late September. This will mark the band's first live show since ending its reunion tour in December 2018.

GUNS N' ROSES' "Not In This Lifetime" tour began in April 2016, and after 159 shows in 41 countries, it played its last date at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 8, 2018.

"Not In This Lifetime" is now believed to be the second-highest-grossing tour of all time, having generated more than $500 million since it began three years ago.

Since the end of the tour last year, Slash and McKagan have both returned to solo endeavors.

The "Not In This Lifetime" 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.

Photo credit: Katarina Benzova

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