Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan was recently interviewed by Galore Magazine. Read excerpts below.
You guys were able to chart and have mainstream success in a way that a lot of rock bands can’t today. Why do you think it’s more fragmented now?
If you were around our band in 1985 and 1986, we were not what was going on MTV or on the radio. Too many “fucks” in all the songs, too many swear words. It was too hard. There were no keyboards.
What was going on then was really dense pop, and if there was metal or hard rock on the radio, it was very sugary. So it’s kind of like… it goes in cycles. We were this underground band, so was Jane’s Addiction, but we kind of came out and suddenly something hit. They showed our video at 3 in the morning, and this was back in the day when people would call MTV and demand [the videos they wanted to see].
We struck a chord with this disenfranchised section of kids our age and younger, and that kind of opened the door for that kind of music—left of center music. Then Alice in Chains came out, then Pearl Jam, then Nirvana, and all that stuff started to really hit, and then it went away again.
I guess it’s just kind of cyclical. I feel like it’s set for another sort of underground resurgence. I don’t want to say mainstream, because I don’t know what that means, but it seems like there’d be this youth movement, like, We have to make rock and roll again. We have to scare people.
Maybe if Trump wins it will bring out everyone’s inner rebel, like Reagan in the 80s.
That’s true. When Reagan came into office, [it inspired] all those punk rock bands. I mean, that’s my age group. I had to sign up for the draft when I turned 18. I was a punk rock kid. I drew missiles and penises on the thing I had to sign for the government, but we all did.
But you just said, “if Trump wins.” That’s the scariest thought ever in American history, it really is. But yeah, it might create good art.