A Little Help For My Friends

Duff McKagan takes your questions.

Have you ever had a week where you just have too much crap in your head, and are just plain overwhelmed by, well, life? That has been my week. So instead of ranting and/or overly praising some asshole/saint, I shall go back to the old question files here at Seattle Weekly. I want to see just what the hell YOUR problem is! Hey, Duff: I kind of get upset when people call me buddy or big guy, especially if I don't know them. I just want to be like, "Hey, buddy was my dad's name. You can call me pal." How do you feel about that? Sincerely, Adam Kearney Hey, Adam: At least "buddy" and "big guy" are terms of endearment. Or at least I imagine the tone that they are used in is hopefully non-threatening (as opposed to something like "Give me your fucking MONEY, buddy!"). Nah. I don't really mind it if somebody calls me "Big Guy" or whatever . . . I AM tall. It reminds me of one of the first bus drivers that GN'R had as a band. We were just completely stoked to have a bus at all—and our first-ever driver had been driving around bands and their crews for, like, 30 years. The dude had just plain met a lot of people over those years, and could in no way even start to remember all of the names of these people. So, "Johnson," our bus driver, just called everyone else . . . "Johnson," or Jimmy Johnson. Or Jimmy Joe, or John, or JJ, or John Jimmy Joe, etc. But it was the WAY that he called us these names. He smiled and looked us straight in the eye. He meant no harm—and soon enough, the rest of us were calling each other Jimmy Johnson or John Jimmy Joe, etc. Ever since old Johnson the bus driver, I have had no problems whatsoever with somebody calling me a nickname. Hell, I know who I am! Dear Duff, Why is it that no matter how much hard work and countless hours my band and I put into our music, I still feel that we suck? Andrea Jasek Well, Andrea, I've been in some great bands that have really been good songwriters and live performers, etc., but there were those moments or nights where we did just plain suck. The important thing for you to do right now is to figure out if your band is just bad, or if your outlook and expectations are skewed too high for now. If music is something that you want to do on a full-time basis, and you don't feel that you are with the right people—then perhaps it is time to move on. Hi, Duff: My name's Liz and I'm from Jersey. I'm 17, and after this last year of high school I'll be expected to do something with my life. But the thing is, I'm definitely the stupidest person in the world! I get crap grades in school, I took my written permit test for my license five times so far and still haven't passed! I can't find a job so I'm currently unemployed while all my other friends have their license and jobs and know what college they're going to already! And my dad tells me that I'll be fine and everything will happen in time, but my mom is really being horrible about it and makes me feel really bad that I haven't accomplished any of these things yet. I've just been really down-and-out. I even thought about suicide once but decided against it. I just don't know what I'm doing wrong. Help? Hello, Lizzy, my friend! OK . . . here is the deal. At 17 years old, you are in that perfect storm of being too old to be a kid and too young to be an adult. It is a really, REALLY confusing age. I too had those dark thoughts when I was around your age. I think a lot of us do. Lizzy: DO NOT EVEN WORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BECOME right now. Some of us are early bloomers, and some of us blossom much later. Crap, I couldn't have gone to college yet when I was your age. Try something else for me, too. Stop thinking of yourself as "the stupidest person in the world." Just because you may not pass a certain written test really doesn't mean much. Your brain just isn't working along those particular lines right now. Do this, and I call it "Act As If" (yes, I do this). When I am feeling down or confused or overwrought or ugly, I "act as if"— I act as if everything is OK. At least outwardly I do. I smile and hold my head up and put my shoulders back. Don't curl up in a ball and wither. Soon enough, and I swear it is true, other good things come from this acting job. Act as if you and your mom are friends. Act as if she is on your side. She will notice, and things may change from this piece of theater. Act as if you are not overwhelmed by this life. Charge back at it, with your ears pinned back, your shoulders wide, and the wind helping you along, young lady. And listen to some Prince! We are pulling for you, Lizzy. dmckagan@seattleweeklycom

 
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