Duff McKagan: The 10 Albums That Changed My Life

Guns N’ Roses Duff McKagan giving the camera the finger
Guns N\u2019 Roses Duff McKagan: punk rock kid (Image credit: Getty Images)

Duff McKagan brought the punk rock edge to Guns N’ Roses. The bassist had passed through a string of punk bands in his native Seattle before heading down the coast to join forces with Slash and Axl Rose. From Kiss to the Germs, these are the bands who made him the man he is today.

The first album I bought was…

Kiss – Alive! (1975)

“When I was a kid I used to buy records just for their artwork – this stood out for obvious reasons. The LP had those cool letters on the inside, and you looked at the guys on the cover and you thought, ‘Wow, that guy’s from fuckin’ outer space! Wait, there’s a cat!’”

The best album artwork is…

Pat Travers – Puttin’ It Straight (1977)

“On this album cover, Pat is in a record company exec’s office. He’s about to play a chord and the exec is sitting there looking all stiff. On the back cover, all the guy’s papers are blowing off the table, and his tie is fucked up and everything. I remember thinking, ‘Er, the music isn’t really like the cover.’”

The album I break the speed limit to…

Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998)

“Easy choice. Punk has always been my thing, more than metal. The most I’ve ever been into metal is when I was in a punk rock band called The Fartz and I got into Iron Maiden and Tank and Motörhead.”

The album that broke my heart…

Prince – Crystal Ball (1998)

“This was completely forgettable! Way too many fuckin’ horns. I like that he’s directionless – there’s till brilliant stuff on there – but the whole three-CD thing was too much. I loved Diamonds And Pearls – that came out at a very memorable time in my life. I could talk about Prince all day; I’m his biggest fan.”

The album I wish I’d made is…

Soundgarden – Down On The Upside (1996)

“That last Soundgarden album was fuckin’ killer! I could name any Soundgarden record for this question, actually. I would love to have been part of any of their albums. I wish I’d been in Jeff Buckley’s band, too, or that I’d gotten to play with Prince.”

A kid asks me what metal is, I’d hand them a copy of…

Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast (1982)

“What’s the album that Run To The Hills is on? Number Of The Beast? Of course… duh! That’s what metal is to me. Or maybe I’d tell the kid to get British Steel by Judas Priest. Something like that.”

The album I’d want played at my funeral is…

Germs – (GI) (1979)

“That’s a cheerful question! You know, I take my life with a big fuckin’ grain of salt. It’s all fun and games to me really, so I’d want something pretty funny. Maybe I’d have a Germs song like Richie Dagger’s Crime or something. I don’t fuckin’ know really, but I suppose you gotta think about it, right?”

The first album I had sex to is…

Ian Dury & The Blockheads – The Essential Collection (2010)

“This is funny. I remember having my first sex. The girl was older than me: I was just a punk rock kid. She fuckin’ loved the song Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick by Ian Dury – yes, I know that the title is totally appropriate. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but she did, because she was 18 and I was 14, ha ha! I was like, ‘Whoa, I’m in another league now!’ It was kinda weird.”

No one will believe I own a copy of…

Kylie Minogue – Ultimate Kylie (2004)

“I have way too many guilty pleasures. I have two daughters, man – there’s a lot of pop at my house. How about Antony & The Johnsons? Not guilty enough? OK, here’s one: what’s the chick’s name? She’s about my age, Kylie Minogue! Her music is real good rubbish.”

The album I’d want to be remembered for is…

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction (1987)

“I played on Iggy Pop’s Brick By Brick and after that I was like, ‘OK, I’m done! I can retire!’ but everybody remembers me for Appetite For Destruction. And you know, that’s a fuckin’ fair representation of my youth. Is it a burden having that album mentioned in interviews all the time? Fuck, no!”

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Joel McIver

Joel McIver is a British author. The best-known of his 25 books to date is the bestselling Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica, first published in 2004 and appearing in nine languages since then. McIver's other works include biographies of Black Sabbath, Slayer, Ice Cube and Queens Of The Stone Age. His writing also appears in newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian, Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Rolling Stone, and he is a regular guest on music-related BBC and commercial radio.