Duff McKagan: Axl Rose has become a vocal master

Guns N' Roses (Image credit: Katarina Benzova)

Duff McKagan has praised Axl Rose, saying that the Guns N’ Roses frontman has become “a master” of vocals.

The bassist and vocalist, along with guitarist Slash, reunited in 2016 for their mammoth Not In This Lifetime tour, with hopes high that new material from the band could possibly arrive before the end of the year.

And in a new interview with the podcast Mohr Stories, McKagan has reflected on getting back together with GNR and what the journey has been like.

He says: “I had a lot of respect for us as a band as I was pre-rehearsing all this stuff before the tour. Then when Axl came in to rehearse, and when we played our shows… what he's done to his voice!

“The first time I saw him sing, I was this punk rock kid from Seattle, and I saw him in late 84. He was like Henry Rollins, but he had this vocal range and had the intensity of Rollins, but he could sing. He had this dual-voice thing. 

"He'd do a low and a high thing at once. Sure, he was born with certain gifts, singing-wise, but he works his ass off. 

“He was doing vocal lessons, he was doing vocal warm-ups, warm-downs back then. 

He was born with certain gifts, singing-wise, but he works his ass off

Duff McKagan

“Now, when we go out and play, he does an hour and a half of pure vocal warm-ups. And then we play three and a half hours, sometimes at altitude. The guy has become a master.”

Meanwhile, in a now deleted Facebook post, it was reported by Kruse Kontrol Amplification that Slash was due to record with Rose over the weekend.

The original post showed Slash’s 1987 Silver Jubilee Marshall amp, with the caption: “Dropped off by GNR producer Caram Costanzo himself, the amp needs to be serviced and tuned up to sound stellar for this Saturday's recording of new material at Axl Rose's studio in Malibu."

Guns N’ Roses were recently confirmed for Louder Than Life in Louisville and Tennessee's Exit 111, with Slash telling Futuro 88.9FM: “With Guns N’ Roses, we have a little tour between September and October. 

"There’s been a lot of talk about an eventual new album with Guns N’ Roses, but in reality we haven't done anything, so we can focus more on that there.”

McKagan will release his new solo album titled Tenderness on May 31.

Duff McKagan: Tenderness

Duff McKagan: Tenderness
Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan will release his new solo album titled Tenderness in May. It was produced by Shooter Jennings who also appears on the record.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.