Goodbye to Mike Starr, and the Story of My First Bass

Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. His sports column on runs every Wednesday. Send your questions to
Before I get to my planned post, I want to take a moment to express how sorry I am for the family and friends of former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr. Your loss must be suffocating in scope. A brother lost much, much too soon.

In my ongoing exploration of human interaction, through my stalwart backers at Seattle Weekly, it has become somewhat eye-opening to me what some of you have sent to me as questions that you seek my end of the query on. My answers to some of these are often snide or meant for a chuckle, but on other, more serious subjects, I hope that I have at least been a little helpful, as opposed to a pain in the butt!

It's fun for me too, to sort of find out things about myself in a bit more brutal detail (cause I gotta be honest with you guys, right?). Have fun, guys, and ask anything you want--well, at least ask those things that you think I may answer. The less about my personal experiences with old rock-band members, the better! If they want to tell their own story, fine. But it is not my place to break a confidence or trust. These are facets of life that I hold to a high benchmark.

With that in mind, here's the first of several questions I will answer this week:

How did you get the money to buy your first bass guitar? --Anonymous

Duff: I started pretty young, and hence I was still of the age to have a paper route when I first fixed my eyes upon a used Gibson SG bass guitar. I had my older brother's Gretsch six-string at home, and so with a bass, I thought, I could just complete my full complement of guitars for life (50 guitars later, I still haven't finished this quest!). Week by week, I saved up the $125 to get that Gibson . . . and it was the BEST feeling ever. It instilled a work/reward ethic that I still adhere to.

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