Duff McKagan (born February 5, 1964) is an American musician and bassist who is best known for his eight-year tenure in the 1980s heavy-metal band Guns n Roses.
He was born as Michael McKagan in Seattle, Washington, the youngest of eight children born to Elmer and Alice Marie McKagan. It was his brother Bruce who introduced him to the bass. He describes his home city as a rowdy rock n roll town with a hip underground.
McKagan played in thirty-one rock bands around Seattle - including Ten Minute Warning and a hard-core punk band called The Fartz - and then headed to Southern California when he was nineteen where he hooked up with GNR axeman Slash and one-time drummer Steve Adler in a band called Road Crew after answering an ad about a bass player in a loco magazine. He met Slash and Steve at Canters (L.A.s legendary 24 hour deli and rock hangout). Duff expected some punk with a penchant for 70s rock, but when he kept the appointed rendezvous at Canters he found two long-haired guys instead.
When I met Slash and Steve Adler for the first time, he said, it was weird, cause Id never met guys like this before - L.A. locals. We went out that night and got drunk, and then we had this ill-fated band. It was Slashs band, Road Crew.
After recruiting L.A. Guns members Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin, Guns n Roses was born. Before Guns n Roses became Guns n Roses, they (Duff, Slash and Steve) played together in L.A. GUNS. After a while Axl Rose left his band Hollywood Rose for L.A. GUNS. This created some problems because in the meantime Izzy (who played in the same band as Axl) had booked a gig for Hollywood Rose, and there was no band left. Then they booked a gig for L.A. GUNS and there was no band there either. The problems in those two bands was the beginning of a new band, they mixed what was left of them and Guns n Roses was born. The new line-up was finalized on June 6, 1985. Duff became the bands bassist, and after two days of rehearsal Duff & Co. played their debut gig with GNR on a Thursday night at the Troubadour.
He is a huge fan of Sid Vicious of Sex Pistols and punk in general. In 1990 Duff and Slash co-wrote and played a few songs on Iggy Pop Brick by Brick.
He was married for the first time On May 28, 1988 to Mandy Brix, a hostess in a Japanese restaurant in L.A. who also had her own all female rap-trio, The Lame Flames. They divorced in 1990. He was married again in September 1992 to Linda Johnson, (believe she was a playmate) and divorced in September 1995.
Plagued by drug and alcohol addiction, McKagan survived for eight years in the highly volatile band, while Adler and Stradlin departed in 1990 and 1991, respectively. After a half-hearted attempt at drug rehabilitation, he kick-started a solo career with 1993s Believe in Me. GNR officially called it quits a year later. That same year, 1994, McKagan underwent emergency surgery on his pancreas. This forced him to give up drinking for good.
On August 27, 1997, he had his first child, Grace, with Susan Holmes, they got married on August 28, 1999 and on July 16, 2000 they had their second child, another girl, Mae Marie.
In the following years, McKagan sobered up his act, became a father and concentrated on his solo career. He recruited drummer Abe Laboriel, Michael Barragan and Izzy Stradlin to help him record Beautiful Disease, slated for a 1999 release on Geffen Records.
In 1995, he collaborated with Slash and his new band the Snakepit, he co-wrote a song called beggars and hangers on, which he also played live at the Palace during a Snakepit show in May 1995. He formed Neurotic Outsiders, a heavy-metal super-group consisting of Matt Sorum (GNR drummer), Steve Jones (Sex Pistols guitarist) and John Taylor (Duran Duran bassist). They played some clubs in L.A. and toured the U.S. in 1996. They also played clubs in 1998 and 1999. They have an album out, called Neurotic Outsiders, that was released in September 1996. After that he put together different bands, like Duff McKagans Black Dog and 10 Minute Warning, they made an album and some clubs dates, and recently Loaded.
Duff also tried as an actor in 1997. He had a part in the TV serial Sliders, which aired in May of that year, as a dead rocker vampire.
Duff lived between Los Angeles and Seattle from 1994 to 1999, because his mother was battling Parkinsons disease and he felt he had to be with her. His mom died in early April 1999 and since then, he lives in Seattle.
He put together another band called Mad for racket or also known as The Racketeers in 2000, and they played in London in December 2000. Duff did not play on that show. In 2001, he reunited with Loaded and they are playing the clubs in Seattle. He also ran a marathon in 2001. In August 2001, Loaded toured Japan and also toured that country with Izzy Stradlin on Stradlins tour for his new album River.
Since April 2002, Duff has played bass guitar for Velvet Revolver together with former members of Guns n Roses, Slash and Matt Sorum.