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Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. His memoir, It's So Easy (Simon & Schuster) is out now.
So I played a gig last


Hollywood, Class, and Kids in the Hall

Thumbnail image for duff004.jpg
Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. His memoir, It's So Easy (Simon & Schuster) is out now.
So I played a gig last night in Hollywood that commemorated Dimebag Darrel and Ronnie James Dio. The gig, called "DimeBash," is a very public fundraiser that sells out annually and draws press from around the world. Last week, Guns N' Roses was given the "nod" for the Rock Hall of Fame. I now realize that I use the word "overwhelmed" much too often in my life.

Music to me has never been a competitive sport. We do what we do, and if you connect with an audience and write the songs that feel good to you in the process, that is reward enough. Getting a Grammy or an American Music Award seems a little bit weird in this whole context. I mean, are you BETTER than all those other bands? No. You are just doing YOUR thing, and they theirs. It's not a competition.

But it became very apparent to me that fans of GN'R felt very motivated for our band to "get into the Hall." All of those fans ARE very important to me, and thus getting this RRHOF nod was a victory for them. And so I am deeply honored and feel very good about this whole deal. Thank you all.

I spent a lot of time revisiting my past in the book I just wrote. Living in the past, or just revisiting it, is something I hadn't done until I was in the process of writing that book. The process became personally poignant in how much I appreciated and loved most of the characters in my past, especially the guys in that little band from Hollywood that we formed just after I moved there in 1984.

I've done my best to avoid doing any interviews that pertain to our induction, and maybe this column will serve as all I really need to say for now. I am a grown-up now, and hope that we can achieve some grace and class when that ceremony comes. But in the end, I am only responsible for myself.

At that Dimebag gig, I rode down with Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains. We were talking about old demos of theirs and how AIC got signed to Columbia back in 1988. I became good buddies with those guys shortly thereafter, and we've seen each other go through many ups and downs . . . remaining friends through all of it. I love hearing those old stories, and always try to put myself into what those surroundings must have felt like for a band when they were first starting.

With Jerry's story still ruminating in my head, he and I took the stage at the Key Club in Hollywood. I avoided the press people who were there, and simply wanted to play my songs and "get in and get out."

VH1's Eddie Trunk was the MC for the night, and he introduced all the different players who were playing throughout the night. When he got to me, he said, "And recent inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Duff McKagan." I was suddenly a tad overwhelmed. It was a first. Jerry looked at me and gave me a nod of "FUCK, yeah!" The crowd there went nuts. I sheepishly waved, and then kind of awkwardly looked at the ground and pretended that I had to tune my bass or something.

My band Loaded has been asked to play a couple of shows with Axl this weekend in Seattle and Vancouver. I was somehow reluctant at first to do this. I love that dude, but wanted to sort of stay out of the fray, especially after that whirlwind tour of the world we had just done. AND that damn book tour.

But this fray is only a fray if I let it be. And now I am actually pretty excited to see my old pal. His band is the nicest bunch of fellas, and I will be home after all. The KeyArena will be rocking tomorrow night . . . and I hope you all show up.

After all, it is just some dudes doing what they know how to do best: connect with the audience, that fan-ship that has honored us with their presence for so damn long. And THAT, my friends . . . is overwhelming.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all.


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