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Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. He writes about what's circulating through his iPod every Monday.
I was in a recording studio the

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All Apologies

duff004.jpg
Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. He writes about what's circulating through his iPod every Monday.
I was in a recording studio the other day and had some time to kill. If I am not reading a book or writing, I will often scavenge around for a newspaper or magazine. On this day, I came across Cobain, a tribute put out by Rolling Stone some months after Kurt's death in 1994.

I can't really pinpoint the reasons, but suddenly there in that dingy studio, I was enthralled and emotional. I read this book from beginning to end, and while of course I remember this time well, I don't think the scope of the sadness came to me until this moment. A profound sadness that stirred up a lot of emotion that maybe I haven't dealt with yet. I don't know, to be honest.

I was on the same plane as Kurt on that flight up from Los Angeles a couple of days before his death. We were both fucked-up. We talked, but not in depth. I was in my hell, and he in his, and this we both seemed to understand.

When we arrived in Seattle and went to baggage claim, the thought crossed my mind to invite him over to my house then and there. I had a real sense that he was lonely and alone that night. I felt the same way. There was a mad rush of people there in public. I was in a big rock band, and he was in a big rock band. We were standing next to each other. Lots of people stopped to gawk. I lost my train of thought for a minute, and Kurt said good-bye and left to his waiting town car. His new house was right down the street from my new house. I received a call from my manager two days later that Kurt had died.

I suppose I was numb to this sort of thing at this point in my life. I had lost two of my best friends to drug overdoses. People in my own band had overdosed multiple times. My life and addiction were spinning out of control, and my body was failing in so many different ways. It is possible that I was incapable of feeling sadness, incapable of picking up the phone and calling Krist or Dave. In truth, I had such low self-esteem at that point, that I am sure I felt my call would have no impact on these fine men.

I had been really excited back in 1991 or so, when bands from my hometown of Seattle started to rise up and get recognized for magnificent music. I was proud because I knew the scene there was truly unique and self-supporting and open to new and different ideas.

A few years later, at the MTV Awards where my band and Nirvana both performed, I blew my lid when I perceived a slander toward my band from the Nirvana camp. In my drunken haze and drug-induced mania, I heard what I wanted to hear, and I went after Krist Novoselic backstage. I had no control of myself then. And Krist, I am sorry for that day.

Krist, my colleague and friend, I am so sorry for your loss, too. I am sorry I could not be your friend back then. We had so, so many things in common. We have so many things in common today.

I am sorry that I didn't have the faculties to just come up and talk to you at the MTV Awards in 1992. I was mad and insane then. My scope of dealing with any sort of conflict had narrowed down to barroom brawling. Kim "Fastback" Warnick, my mentor, called me the day after my embarrassment and scolded me for it. I felt so low. I simply did not know how to call you and apologize then. My dream of being in a band that everyone in the world believed in had come to life. The complications that came with that dream were also making themselves present. You were dealing with the same things I was. We could have had a lot to talk about together.

I am glad that you have overcome that mad season in your life. It takes a strong man to have that sort of devastation not permanently handicap you. Your band should have been one of those that kept setting new benchmarks for what a rock band is. Your career and vision was cut short. We musicians just don't talk about this kind of stuff, thinking maybe it's a little too touchy-feely. We are expected to just get over it. Why, don't we have piles of money to make ourselves feel better with? If only people knew.

I am not trying to embarrass you, Krist. Maybe I am only trying just now to come to grips and exorcise some of my own hidden monsters. I am glad that we are now friends and I hope that this part of the story will last a lifetime.

More From Duff & Krist:

-- Duff McKagan: I've Been Listening to Aerosmith, Frampton, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

-- Duff McKagan: Starting Over

-- Krist Novoselic: Duff, We Don't Need More Politicians, We Need the Rock Party

-- Krist Novoselic: Tea Party or Rock Party? There's A Mood Brewing For Both

 
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