Hangin’ with Duff

Duff McKagan at SXSW

Duff McKagan at SXSW

Last week, at SXSW in Austin, I had the opportunity to hang with my youngest brother Duff McKagan for the good part of two days.  Usually we get together at family gatherings or in the safe confines of one of our homes.  But this was SXSW, a showcase of musical talent from across the world.  This is the center of Duff’s universe.  It continues to amaze me the celebrity my brother still has.  Everywhere he goes, people gawk, point, ask for autographs and pictures or just yell out, “Hey Duff.”  He always responds with a smile.  He’s simply a nice, sociable guy who appreciates his role. Coming from a family of eight, it comes with the territory… except for the celeb part… that’s all his!  The toll this takes on his time however is significant.  His entire day is planned around where he goes, how he gets there and the time it will take, factoring in the hundreds of mini-stops along the way.

But the remarkable thing is the genuine excitement and thrill shown by his fans just because of a simple smile or a “hi.”  Duff is like George of the Beatles.  Not the main figure like Axle or Slash or Paul or John, but beloved and recognized by all.

It’s been a long time since G N’ R last hit the stage, but the mystique lives on.  Duff has covered a lot of ground since then, including sobriety, marriage, two girls, business school, Velvet Revolver, columnist for Playboy, Seattle Weekly and ESPN.com, his own band “Loaded”, an upcoming autobiography, a new financial business venture, plus TV appearances with his wife Susan on E channel’s “Married to Rock.”  He’s as fit as a fiddle: an avid kick-boxer, cyclist and gym rat, and he loves his big new toy – thanks to his friends at Harley Davidson.

At the end of the day, Duff lives his life pretty much like the rest of us: picking up kids from school, then laundry at the cleaners, going to the movies with the family, or wondering if the Mariners pitching staff is going to get the job done this year.  He lives in LA most of the year and in Seattle during the summer months, both in neighborhoods with great neighbors and friends.  Most of the McKagan family lives in Seattle, except for me (Charlotte area) and our second youngest brother Matt (a middle school music teacher in the San Fernando Valley), so his ties to Seattle continue to be an important part of his life.

But at SXSW, as with everywhere Duff ventures into the public eye, his life seems to dramatically change… sort of.  In the middle of about 50 admiring fans, as he’s signing autographs and shaking hands he turns to me and says, “Whadya think about the new first baseman for the Mariners?”

Contributed by Bruce McKagan

Muzak Company Communications

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Tagged as: Bruce McKagan, duff mckagan family, Live Music, Music, rock star, SXSW


  1. So glad to see the recent publicity about you Duff and your blog Bruce. I know your folks would be beaming with pride about you, especially your continued relationships with each other. Congratulations! Dennis

  2. Glad to read of your continued relationships with each other and putting it together for yourselves and each other. You’re folks would be beaming with pride. Be well. Drop me a line. Dennis

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