Culture shock

Duff McKagan Reflects on the “Culture Shock” Moment of Meeting Slash

Duff McKagan recalled the “culture shock” moment of first meeting Slash in Los Angeles in a new interview.

McKagan shared the story on Rock This with Allison Hagendorf. The future bandmates met at the famous Canter’s Deli. Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler was also present at the reunion. McKagan said, “It was so alien to me. I went down [from Seattle] and played punk rock concerts [in L.A.], but I didn’t know anyone in Hollywood, and I was there. 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 1984… Hardcore had arrived and kind of ruined a lot of punk scenes. It was these suburban sportsmen who shaved their heads and started beating people up and doing “sieg heils”. It was, like, ‘This isn’t punk, guys.’ So whatever the next step is, it would depend.

McKagan continued, “So this guy’s name was Slash. The influences he liked were Fear, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper…I’m, okay, but this guy kind of goes where I go. I had blue hair, short blue hair. I entered Canter. 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, “Woah.”

Duff added, “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 — that’s a universal thing. We went back to Slash, his mom’s basement, and he started playing acoustic guitar… and I was like, “Oh, wow.”

McKagan is currently promoting the album The Living: 1982 of his pre-GN’R group The Living. The new album was originally recorded in 1982, but the album was considered “lost” until the tapes were recently found by band drummer Greg Gilmore, who would later join Mother Love Bone.

The Living: 1982 was released last Friday (April 16) via Stone Gossard’s Loosegroove label and features seven songs, all written by the then 17-year-old McKagan.

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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who knows the label well and is extraordinarily nice.