Category Archives: Duff McKagan

Duff McKagan – How to Be a Man [EP Review]

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Duff McKagan – How to Be a Man

Buy the album

1. How to Be a Man
2. Punker
3. Kill the Internet

Musicians:
Duff McKagan – Lead Vocals, Bass
Jerry Cantrell – Guitar
Izzy Stradlin – Guitar
Roy Mayorgo – Drums

Earlier this year, Duff a book full of advice and tips on life called How to Be a Man (and Other Illusions). It seemed to be released a bit under the radar but it has gotten good reviews so I’m sure I’ll check it out at some point. To coincide with the release of the book, McKagan also put together a collection of three songs and released them digitally on the same day that the book was released.

Obviously, Duff McKagan is a rock legend having been an original member of Guns N’ Roses as well as Velvet Revolver. He also fronts his own band called Loaded and released a solo album back in 1993 that I’ve always loved. So while I knew of the book’s existence, surprisingly it’s only recently that I discovered new music from Duff existed when I was browsing through Amazon’s Prime Music service. I can hardly find any info about this EP other than what Duff has said in interviews.

What I do know is that Duff wasn’t stunt-casting musicians for the album as the people who played here are legitimate friends. Regrettably, despite assembling members of Alice In Chains, Stone Sour and Guns N’ Roses together, How to Be a Man is simply adequate.

“How to Be a Man” is an acoustic rocker that has that Alice In Chains vibe and sounds fitting for radio. “Punker” is what you’d imagine — a punk song. It’s “Kill the Internet” that I find most interesting. It’s got a killer (no pun intended) riff. Duff rails against social media, online privacy, ISIS, the Kardashians, etc. in this sound which kinda puts him into grumpy old man category, but the music itself is really good.

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DUFF MCKAGAN – Believe In Me

Duff McKagan – Believe In Me (1993, Geffen Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Believe in Me” … 3:23
2. “I Love You” … 4:14
3. “Man in the Meadow” … 4:50
4. “(Fucked up) Beyond Belief” … 3:29
5. “Could It Be You” … 3:08
6. “Just Not There” … 3:34
7. “Punk Rock Song” … 1:37
8. “The Majority” … 3:10
9. “10 Years” … 4:29
10. “Swamp Song” … 3:04
11. “Trouble” … 3:12
12. “Fuck You” … 3:24
13. “Lonely Tonite” … 3:03

Band:
Duff McKagan – Vocals, Background Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Synthesizer, Piano, Drums

Additional Musicians (*deep breath*):
Billy Nasty – Harmony Vocals
Bobbie Brown-Lane – Background Vocals on “Believe In Me”
Dizzy Reed – Background Vocals, Piano, Farfisa Organ
Doc – Vocals on “Fuck You”
Gilby Clarke – Background Vocals, Guitar on “10 Years”
Jeff Beck – Guitar on “Swamp Song” and “(Fucked Up) Beyond Belief”
Joie Mastrokolos – Background Vocals on “Swamp Song” and “Fuck You”
Lenny Kravitz – Vocals on “The Majority”
Matt Sorum – Drums on “(Fucked Up) Beyond Belief”
Rob Affuso – Drums on “Fuck You”
Sebastian Bach – Vocals on “Trouble”
Slam – Background Vocals on “Trouble”
Slash – Guitar on “Believe In Me” and “Just Not There”
Snake – Guitar on “Lonely Tonite” and “Trouble”
Suicide Horns – Horns on “Lonely Tonite”
Ted Andreadis – Organ, Clavinet
West Arkeen – Guitar on “Fuck You”, “Man in the Meadow” and “Swamp Song”

Produced by: Duff McKagan & Jim Mitchell

Whenever there was some GNR downtime, Duff would hop into whatever studio was available to write and record his own stuff. Believe In Me is the result of those spare time sessions and it’s a great album. I found it really cheap about 10 years ago in the used section of the ridiculousy overpriced Turtles Music (probably why that chain isn’t around anymore) and have cherished it ever since.

GNR turned in the weird The Spaghetti Incident? cover album in ’93, but Duff turned in something that same year that is pretty close to something of a Use Your Illusion III. Minus the epic and grandiose songs of Axl, this is pretty much a GNR sounding album circa early 90s. All the then-current Gunners performed on the album (except Axl, of course) and a few other high profile artists helped out as well like Jeff Beck, Lenny Kravitz, and Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach and Rob Affuso. Heck, even Jani Lane’s girl made a guest appearance!

Lenny Kravitz particuarly does a great job on “The Majority”. Just listen to his opening “YEEEEAAAH!!!!” and tell me that’s not awesome. Sebastian Bach brings it as well when he channels Axl on “Trouble”. I even like the rap-rock song “Fuck You” with rapper Doc “from the Mob”, whoever that is. But the rest is all Duff, bringing that his punk style of singing over GNR quality tunes.

A definite must for GNR fans as it doesn’t stray too far from that tree.

Highlights: “Believe in Me”, “(Fucked Up) Beyond Belief”, “Could It Be You”, “Just Not There”, “The Majority”, “Swamp Song”, “Trouble”, “Fuck You”, “Lonely Tonite”

Duff has no personal site or MySpace that I could find (looks like there’s a few dummy MySpace accounts though), so I recommend these sites to see what he’s up to these days in Velvet Revolver and his side project, Loaded:

www.velvetrevolver.com
www.myspace.com/velvetrevolver
www.duff-loaded.com
www.myspace.com/loadedlamf

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