GUNS N' ROSES' DUFF MCKAGAN opens up about his panic disorder
In a new interview with People magazine, GUNS N’ ROSES bassist Duff McKagan spoke about his ongoing struggles with panic attacks which have plagued him since age 16.
“They always said panic disorder is a symptom of depression, but I didn’t realize I had depression until I was about 50,” he said. “I had this massive fall off the cliff, and it lasted about three weeks. It wasn’t anything going on in my life, my life was great. It’s a chemical fucking imbalance. It’s not my fault. When people think of depression, it’s like, ‘Oh, snap out of it, man.’ I couldn’t drive or fucking tie my shoes! And it’s happened to me a couple of times. It’s broken a couple of times. I’ve sought and received help, and I have a weekly help. And I had to medicate through that, and that’s totally fine. I needed it.”
McKagan admitted that he still deals with panic disorder, is a well-recognized form of anxiety disorder affecting approximately 2% to 3% of Americans annually, while he is on the road with GUNS N’ ROSES.
“I’ve had some panic attacks out here, but not the darkness,” he said. “Two of the guys I’m with, I’ve been with since I was 20 years old, and we’ve been through so much together that it just feels like a place of safety for me. We’ve seen so much that we can’t explain to anybody else. I can’t even explain to my wife Susan what it was like. I can tell her a story, but those two other guys truly understand, and they’ve seen me having panic attacks since we met.”
McKagan released third solo album, “Lighthouse”, last month.
The last GUNS N’ ROSES single “Perhaps” was released last August. The official release of the shelved “Chinese Democracy”-era song, was originally eaked on TouchTunes machines at bars and other locations. As the fans showed up at their favorite watering hole and went to play a GN’R song, they noticed the new selection in their catalog. The track came with what is apparently the official single cover art, and was attributed to Geffen Records, which is the band’s longtime record label home owned by Universal Music Group.
Watch the official video for “Perhaps” in part below.
GUNS N’ ROSES reportedly soundchecked “Perhaps” ahead of the band’s concert in Tel Aviv, Israel on June 5 but ended up not performing it at the gig. However, astute fans who stood outside the venue during soundcheck were quick to bust out their phones and record the rehearsal, with low-quality clips surfacing online immediately thereafter.
Like GUNS N’ ROSES‘ 2021 single “Hard Skool”, “Perhaps” was originally written and recorded during the sessions for “Chinese Democracy”, and a rough demo version of the song had previously been leaked and uploaded to YouTube.
Last month, GUNS N’ ROSES‘ longtime production manager Tom Mayhue confirmed that a new single from the band was coming soon.
Mayhue discussed the Axl Rose-fronted outfit’s future plans while speaking to the media ahead of GUNS N’ ROSES‘ July 13 concert in Paris, France. Noting that GN’R will finish the North American leg of its tour in mid-October, he added: “And I know that the band’s gonna start working on new music. They’ve got a bunch of stuff recorded already. So there will be new GUNS N’ ROSES music very soon. In fact, I think they’re trying to get a single out any day now, so you may hear something very, very soon.”
Regarding what the new GUNS N’ ROSES material sounds like, Mayhue said: “It sounds great. It’s a lot more kind of ‘Appetite (For Destruction)’-orientated. They had a lot of songs. When the band went in originally and recorded ‘Appetite For Destruction’, I think they recorded, like, 29 songs. So there’s a bunch of other music that was left over that didn’t make the first record. I think there’s only 11 songs on the first record.”
This past June, Oslo’s Urban Sound Studios shared a new photo of Rose and GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist Slash, apparently taken the day after the band’s performance at the Tons Of Rock festival in Norway’s capital city. The picture was posted on the Urban Sound Studios Instagram account along with the following message: “We got to hang out with these 2 rock legends in the studio today. Really cool guys! The two in the middle…. The band wanted a nice studio with a variety of speakers and headphones to listen to new mixes before they head for Glastonbury. It sounds awesome!”
During an October 2022 appearance on SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” show, Slash was asked about GUNS N’ ROSES‘ plans for new music in the coming months. He said: “I wanna go in and cut a whole brand new record at some point, probably sooner than later. But other than that, we have stuff that we’ve still got to come out. So that’s gonna be coming out piecemeal over the next — I don’t know — over the next few months or something like that. So that’s basically it. We have one more tour left to do next summer, and then that’ll free us up to be able to go in and work on a new record.”
GUNS N’ ROSES‘ most recent release was a four-song EP, “Hard Skool”, which came out in February 2022. The effort, which was exclusive to the GUNS N’ ROSES‘ official store, contained the two new songs the band released in 2021 — the title track and “Absurd” (stylized as “ABSUЯD”) — as well as live versions of “Don’t Cry” and “You’re Crazy”.
In September 2021, the guitarist and his bandmates dropped “Hard Skool”, which came more than a month after their performance and subsequent official release of “Absurd”, a reworking of GUNS N’ ROSES previously unreleased “Silkworms”.
According to Slash, several other older GUNS N’ ROSES tracks have also been reworked during the pandemic. “There’s a handful of those songs that we actually fixed up and did when we were in lockdown,” he explained to “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”. “So those have yet to be released. So those are gonna come out. They’re really good, too. So I’m excited for those. We’re just gonna put out like one or two songs, and another one or two songs. And I think that’s gonna be pretty much all of ’em. I’m not sure exactly how many we did in total.”
When host Eddie Trunk noted that “Hard Skool” in particular was a strong cut, Slash said: “These other ones, they don’t have the same kind of amount of history, ’cause I know ‘Hard Skool’ seriously has… it goes way back. But there’s a couple of epic ones coming out, so I’m excited about that.”
If and when it happens, the new GUNS N’ ROSES studio album will be the first under the GUNS banner since “Chinese Democracy” and the first to feature Slash, singer Axl Rose and bassist Duff McKagan since 1993.
Slash previously spoke about “Hard Skool”, one of the first two songs he recorded with GUNS N’ ROSES in more than 25 years, this past February in an interview with Rolling Stone. At the time he said: “‘Hard Skool’, in essence, was a completed song when I was first introduced to it. And Duff and I went in and redid the bass and the guitars. It’s a simple song, so it didn’t take a hell of a lot of thought and analysis. I think it was a lot of fun just because it was part and parcel of a bunch of stuff that we were working on that was all sort of new — at least to Duff and I — so we had a good time.”
In October 2021, Slash told Audacy Check In host Remy Maxwell that GUNS N’ ROSES had yet to begin writing new material after releasing the two reworked songs from the “Chinese Democracy”-era sessions.
“As far as new GUNS is concerned, we haven’t even gotten to that point of really in earnest sitting down and writing,” Slash said. “We’ve been doing a lot of material that’s been sort of sitting around for a while. So that will be a whole focused endeavor unto itself.”
As for how “Hard Skool” and “Absurd” came about, Slash said: “They both have a lot of history. What happened was Axl has all these songs that he recorded at some point along the way. And so Duff and I went in and re-did them, basically… Like, I wrote my own kind of parts to what else is going on, and we just sort of took the drums and re-did everything else.”
Written by Rose and co-produced by Rose and Caram Costanzo, “Hard Skool”, which had the working title “Jackie Chan”, was originally recorded during GN’R‘s “Chinese Democracy” era but was eventually omitted from that album. Short clips of the song were later posted online and a full version was leaked in August 2019.
On “Hard Skool”, Axl sings: “But you had to play it cool, had to do it your way/Had to be a fool, had to throw it all away/Too hard school and you thought you were here to stay/ If that were true, it wouldn’t matter anyway.”
“Absurd” came out on August 6, 2021, three days after GUNS N’ ROSES performed the tune live for the first time during its concert at Boston’s Fenway Park.
GUNS N’ ROSES last performed “Silkworms”, which was also reportedly written during the “Chinese Democracy” sessions, in 2001.
Des fans ont enquêté et ont fini par trouver la réponse: "Perhaps", le nouveau single de Guns n' Roses que certains ont pu entendre lors de soundcheck sur la tournée en Europe sortirait enfin vendredi prochain le 11/08/2023! Lien pour pre-save: https://t.co/THBPh1EY4Q #GunsNRoses pic.twitter.com/F5ZRyBncNh— Guns N' Roses France (@gnrfrance) August 5, 2023