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Days of Guns N' Roses
Court cases! Vintage wines! Smack! Bad craziness! A burst pancreas! And a chart-topping album! It can only be the posthumous but never-ending saga of the defining rock band of the ’80s and ’90s. Stuart Clark gets the latest from Duff McKagan
Stuart Clark, 27 Apr 2004
Let us dispense with the pussyfooting and come straight to the €52,390.91 question. Is Axl barking?
“You need a doctor to answer that, but what I will say is that he’s impossible to work with. Otherwise we would’ve tried to keep it going. There was nobody with more passion and stick to it-ness than Slash and I. Unfortunately, the heart and soul of what Guns N’ Roses was, the family vibe of the thing, was gone.”
The Duff McKagan sat in an Amsterdam hotel bedroom today is a far healthier one than the person who at the height of Guns N’ Roses’ fame was guzzling 25 bottles of wine.
“They were great vintages, though,” he deadpans. “No, things became so fucked up that my pancreas burst. Early on, Guns N’ Roses was so much fun it should have been illegal…and most of it was! Then, at the mid-point of the two-and-a-half-years we toured Use Your Illusion, it stopped being fun. There were riots and cancelled gigs and having to appease Axl so that we could just play the fucking gig.
“Anyway, as if that wasn’t bad enough, my pancreas burst which halted the enzyme you need to digest your food. Consequentially I had third-degree burns all the way down from my intestines to my thigh muscles. If they didn’t slit you open to let the steam out you’d die.
“Then,” Dr. Duff continues, “I started getting the DTs, so I had morphine to stop the pancreas pains in one arm and librium to fight the alcohol detox in the other. They were going to cut my pancreas out which would have left me a diabetic, but right before the surgery they did an ultrasound and discovered that it had miraculously started coming back down to size. I’ll never forget the doctor, whose face was white, saying, ‘You’ve been given a second chance, dude. Don’t fucking waste it!”
Asked by hotpress whether he plans on writing his autobiography, David Bowie said “No” because he was too out of it at the time to remember much about the ’70s.
“I wasn’t too bad during the Appetite… period because we were really going for it. There were rules like, in the studio, drink beer rather than vodka. ’91 to ’94, on the other hand, I didn’t really do! Thankfully, Matt Sorum has a fucking elephant memory, so if there’s anything I need to know about …Illusion I ask him. There’s also thousands of hours of shit on film which we’ve got to edit down one day.”