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Guns N’Roses’ Duff McKagan Talks About The First Time He Met Slash

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Duff McKagan recalled meeting Guns N’Roses bandmate Slash for the first time in a recent interview.

McKagan was speaking on Spotify’s Rock This With Alison Hagendorf Podcast alongside Pearl Jam’s Steve Gossard. They spoke about a number of topics including how McKagan met Slash in a Los Angeles deli.

“I met him and (former Guns N’ Roses drummer) Steven Adler at (Jewish deli) Canter’s”, McKagan said. “It’s a restaurant. I had never been to Canter’s. (The owner) Marc Canter was Slash’s boyhood friend. These guys grew up with each other in L.A”. 

McKagan continued, “It was so foreign to me. I had come down (from Seattle) and played punk rock gigs (in L.A.), but I didn’t know anybody in Hollywood, and here I was. I walked in. His name was Slash in the ad. We talked on the payphone, and I thought he’d be some, like, punker guy like me. ‘Cause it was ’84″.

Adding, “By ’84, people were looking, like, ‘Whatever’s gonna be next is gonna be on our shoulders. Punk’s done.’ The hardcore had come in and kind of ruined a lot of punk scenes. It was these suburban jock guys who shaved their heads and started beating up people and doing ‘sieg heils.’ It was, like, ‘This is not punk, guys.’ So whatever was next, it was gonna be up to”. 

“So this guy’s name was Slash”

McKagan called clapping eyes on Slash for the first time a “culture shock”. 

The bassist said, “So this guy’s name was Slash. The influences he liked were Fear, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper… I’m, like, okay, but this guy’s going kind of where I’m going”. 

He added, “I had blue hair, short blue hair. I walked into Canter’s. And they told me what booth they were gonna be at. So I found the booth, and it’s these two long-haired guys, and I’m, like, ‘Woah.’ It was kind of a culture shock, and I think I was a little bit of a culture shock to them. But we sat down and started talking, and we talked about music. And that’s the thing that, it’s a universal thing”.

McKagan continued, “We went back to Slash’s house, his mom’s basement, and he started playing acoustic guitar. (Prior to that) I had played with these guys. Stone mentioned Paul Solger – he was the guitar player (at the time). He could play leads and he was smooth and slick, and I thought he was the best guy on the West Coast. And I got in this basement with Slash, and I’m, like, ‘Oh, wow”. 

Before moving to L.A and forming Guns N’Roses, Duff McKagan was part of a band during his teens called The Living. New recordings were released featuring a 17 year old McKagan with this band. Check out more on that story here and here.

Guns N’Roses also rescheduled their European Tour to 2022. More here.