Culture shock

Duff McKagan felt “culture shock” when he met Slash

Duff McKagan recently opened up about the “culture shock” he felt when he met Guns N’ Roses teammate Slash.

McKagan joined Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard on Spotify’s latest episode Rock This with Allison Hagendorf Podcast. The rockers discussed their formative years in Seattle’s burgeoning punk scene in the early ’80s, as well as McKagan’s move to Los Angeles, where he quickly bonded with Slash and the original Guns N’ Roses drummer. , Steven Adler.

“I met [Slash] and Steven Adler at Canter’s,” McKagan said, referring to the 24-hour Jewish deli off the Sunset Strip that has become a 24-hour hotspot for rock musicians. “I entered. His name was Slash in the ad. We talked on the phone booth, and I thought he’d be a punk guy like me. Because it was in 84.

By this point, McKagan explained, the popularity of early ’80s punk had begun to wane, and he and his future bandmates were considering their next moves.

“In 84 – and [Seattle grunge pioneers] Green River is a good testament to that – in 1984 people were like, “Whatever comes next will be on our shoulders. Punk is over,” McKagan said. “Hardcore came along and kind of ruined a lot of the punk scenes. It was these suburban jocks who shaved their heads and started beating people up and doing ‘sieg heils.’ It was like, ‘ It’s not punk, guys.’ So whatever happens next would be up to us.

You can listen to the interview below.

McKagan, whose musical style and aesthetic was still clearly indebted to his Seattle upbringing, was a bit surprised to see two long-haired rockers waiting for him inside Canter’s.

“So this guy’s name was Slash. The influences he loved were Fear, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper. I’m, like, okay, but this guy kinda goes where I’m going,” McKagan said. “I had blue hair, short blue hair. I walked into Canter’s. And they told me what booth they were going to be at. So I found the booth, and it’s these two guys with long hair, and I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ It was kind of a culture shock, and I think I was a bit of a culture shock for them. But we sat down and started talking, and we talked about music. And that’s the thing – that’s a universal thing.

The initial culture shock obviously didn’t deter the musicians, as Guns N’ Roses went on to huge success and earned the best-selling debut album of all time with appetite for destruction. As soon as McKagan started jamming with Slash, he knew he had found a great collaborator.

“We went back to Slash, his mom’s basement, and he started playing acoustic guitar,” McKagan said. “I had played with those guys. Pierre mentioned [Seattle punk guitarist] Paul Solger – he was the guitarist. He could do lead roles and he was sweet and slick, and I thought he was the best guy on the West Coast. And I walked into that basement with Slash, and I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ »

Last week, McKagan’s pre-Guns N’ Roses band The Living released their seven-song debut album, the aptly titled 1982, which they recorded that year. The band also included drummer Greg Gilmore, who later played with Gossard in Seattle grunge and alternative metal band Mother Love Bone. The Living Liberated 1982 on Gossard’s Loosegroove Records.