Duff McKagan: Inspiring and Painful

Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb.

So I have finally arrived back home in Seattle after being on the road for the last two months. Traveling and playing gigs sometimes gives me a chance to witness or be a part of some pretty spectacular events. Whether getting a chance to see another inspiring band play or slipping and falling in a unfamiliar shower, life on the road is never without a daily event, it seems. Here I will list a few events that have highlighted my last eight weeks:

1) As I have previously written about, I had a chance to see Soundtrack of our Lives twice in Germany. If you are looking for music to set a tone for your summer, may I suggest getting Communion, SOOL's new double record. Super-cool and vibey.

2) Was bestowed the honor of sitting at the "big kids' table" with Billy Gibbons and Jeff Beck at the MOJO Awards in London: Whoa...! Was also given the pleasure of presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to the Manic Street Preachers that night. Pretty damn cool for sure.

3) Lost a bag: Well, in truth, I didn't lose it, Iberia Airlines did. It's been gone for some 12 days now, and the chances of ever getting it back are looking bleaker and bleaker. I have made four in-person lost baggage reports at various Iberia counters across Europe. It seems now, however, that they have no record of me OR my bag. Friends, don't let friends fly Iberia. The worst customer service I have ever witnessed. GIVE ME MY FUCKING BAG BACK!!!! Oh...sorry, Weekly readers.

4) Lost a tooth: Yep, the same day I lost my bag, half of one of my back teeth just broke off. That same day we played in 70 mph winds in Zaragosa, Spain. The wind was so strong that it blew me off the microphone a couple of times and blew cymbal stands over, etc. . . The sound out front must have been atrocious. I attribute this triumvirate of bad luck to the fact that my wife and kids had just left after their visit to me out there on tour. I was sad and apparently vulnerable to asshole bad luck.

5) Fell in the shower: Or maybe it was a "quartet" of bad luck. A couple of days later in Cologne, Germany, I decided to get a hotel on my own and fly to our next gig (as opposed to staying on the bus and getting more bedbugs . . . you heard me right). I was going to sleep in a nice bed, work out in a nice hotel gym, and take a soft, warm shower with real soap. I had had a tough weekend prior (what with the winds, lost tooth, lost bag, and all), and just wanted a little "me time." Well, I slept great, had an awesome workout, AND the shower rocked! As I stepped out, however, my foot landed on a wet part of the bathroom floor, and I went flying. I broke my toe and banged the back of my head. Glamorous . . .

6) Saw NINE INCH NAILS: The reason I spell their name with all large caps is certainly not because I didn't spell-check. These guys are certainly the best live rock band out there this summer. Stripped down to just four members, they are raw and made me want to break stuff. Last summer's NIN show at KeyArena was amazing because of the scope and enormity of the undertaking (eight band guys and the biggest light show on the road back then). Last Friday's show in Milan, as I watched from side-stage, shed light on just how good their musicianship and songwriting is. The new drummer kid from the UK is nothing short of prodigious. I could easily write a whole article alone on just the first two songs of that evening. A truly great show, and it didn't suck to be me that night.

7) Visited Amsterdam and didn't get high: If you can get through this town and not have at least an urge for a hit off a hash pipe, then you are indeed superhuman. For a guy like me, who has a king-sized sweet tooth, the number of chocolate and ice-cream stores per capita are a great bonus of having a largely high-on-weed environment.

8) Czech this out: While visiting a very old church in Prague with my wife and kids, I found out that the 1300-era Czech army was one of the first to use psychological warfare. When the Czech army were at the gates of the then-walled city of Milan, they made babies shaped out of dough to roast over their open fires in sight of the petrified Milanese. The Italians surmised that these brutish Czechs ate their own babies and must be heathen animals. The gates to Milan went down REAL fast, and the Czechs won without a fight. Sick, but genius!

9) Got the secondary security check . . . again: Hey, U.S. Immigration Services, I got one question . . . PROFILE MUCH?! It is only when I re-enter my home country (which I LOVE), that my stomach tightens when the plane lands. My port of entry was the Detroit airport on Monday, and the result was no different. I got sent to "secondary inspection." When you come into a new country, you must first get your luggage and then proceed through customs (you recheck your bags afterward if you have a connecting flight, which I did). Usually they wait until you have your bags and are standing in line for a cursory look-through of your passport. This time they didn't even wait for me to get my luggage before the officer came up to me and put a blue line through my entry paperwork. The officer probably thought he had a "live one" when he scoped me out. He was truly bummed when he found nothing in my baggage or clothing. I smiled and wished him an excellent day.

10) Got home to my family: This part for me is simply the best part of the story.

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