Duff McKagan talks about his new album and how he met and fell in love with his wife

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Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan talks with Yahoo Entertainment’s Lyndsey Parker about his new solo album, “Lighthouse,” and how it was influenced by his wife of nearly 25 years.

Video Transcript

LYNDSEY PARKER: So I definitely want to talk to you about Lighthouse, the album. But before we get into Lighthouse conversation, I want to ask you about the This Is The Song EP. It was Mental Health Awareness Month. And that was coinciding with that EP. So I would love to ask you about what spurred that project, and how that's also tied into Lighthouse.

DUFF MCKAGAN: So it's so tied in because This Is The Song, I started it-- I got that pain of a panic attack. I was up in bed with my wife. I don't like to tell her all the time, when I'm having panic attacks. It's just-- she loves-- she gets worried.

So I will often just get up and go, I'm going to go down and get some water. And I'll go and deal, and tear up my clothes and pour water on my-- whatever I got to do. But this time, I went and got on my acoustic guitar.

And I-- it was during the COVID time. So I grabbed onto the guitar. And I wrote this chord. And I started strumming chords.

And this song is going to save my life, because you really feel like you can't breathe, and you can't. And I love that little EP. And going into Lighthouse, that's a great first song. It's-- at the root of it, it's just a straight-up love song to my wife.

LYNDSEY PARKER: Yeah. I wanted to actually ask you about that, since we were talking about Susan. She's basically been your lighthouse. How long have you been married this point? 20?

DUFF MCKAGAN: Well, we got 25 years married next year. We've been together 27 years.

LYNDSEY PARKER: Congratulations. I'm sure you get asked this all the time. But what's the secret? Not only in general is it hard for a marriage to last that long. But certainly in your line of work, it's kind of an anomaly.

DUFF MCKAGAN: We're super cool to each other. We give each other room. We really dig each other in every specific way you could imagine.

And she takes my breath away still, when she walks in the room. Her perfume. That smell. I'm like, oh.

So I'm fortunate. I know that. Susan and I meeting was this period where I'd taken two years to just being sober. I didn't know if I could date a woman again. I didn't know.

I don't know how to-- I got no game, or whatever, you have to have at 32 years old. And I was sober and reading books. What woman's going to like some book nerd?

But I met her through a blind date. And we talked-- I could tell-- we talked on the phone first. And it was like this-- her voice makes me feel amazing, and reminded me of one of my sisters maybe, or-- but not in a weird way. Just like comfort. Home.

And then we met. She picked me up at the airport, and we went to dinner. And it was on. It was just on.

So that happened, and that's fate. That is fate. It's like, oh, that's good luck, dude. But she had put herself in a position to be open to a relationship like ours became, almost immediately.

And I was open to it. I was-- I'd done the work. I'd got myself sober. I didn't try to get a girlfriend, or something, right after I got sober because I didn't know who I was. So I had to do some finding out who the [MUTED] I was, and how I treat others. And I didn't want to bring somebody else into that until I figured it out.

LYNDSEY PARKER: Did Susan have any trepidation, or were other people telling her like, this Duff guy is bad news. Don't get your Guns N' Roses. They're bad boys, anything like that. Nice boys don't play rock and roll.

DUFF MCKAGAN: So she had some friends who said, no, no, no. And she-- we talked on the phone. And I'm like, I've been sober for a couple-- we were talking just about who we are. And I think she was like, oh no. He's not that guy.

And I just-- I don't know what that guy is, what you see in the videos of Guns N' Roses. And sure, there was some pretty vagabond reckless times. But I wasn't a dirtbag to women ever. I have three sisters and a mom. That's not part of my deal.

LYNDSEY PARKER: Who set you up on the blind date? I assume you thanked that person many times over by now, sending flowers every year.

DUFF MCKAGAN: Yeah. He-- Stain. He had a punk rock band in Toledo called Stain back in the 80s. And he wrote for Thrasher.


DUFF MCKAGAN: I knew him through Thrasher magazine. And she grew up with him. And so, he knew me. And he knew her.

And she had just moved to LA. And he's like, I know you haven't dated for a couple of years. But she's my-- she's great.

She's amazing. She's a model. Don't let that scare you away.

I'm like, I don't know if that'll scare me away. I don't even know. And-- but she's gorgeous.

Physically gorgeous. Mentally gorgeous. Even say spiritually, what she-- how she identifies with how we all do this as humanity. And that's what-- that's spirituality to me, how you identify with how we all get along.