Duff McKagan (GUNS N’ ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER, LOADED, WALKING PAPERS) was recently interviewed on HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta’s official podcast, “The Jasta Show“. He covered several subjects such as when we can expect new music from Walking Papers and he also announced that his new book, How To Be a Man” will be released on Father’s Day 2015.
During the hour-plus long interview he talked about why he so accessible, he’s often times seen just meandering around festivals or clubs that he’s playing at and he explains that it’s fun for him. He’ll see a guy with nails sticking out of his head and he’ll want to know more about him.
Talking about money Duff says that the sheet-metal guy down in the industrial district might be making more money than him or Jasta but that it is none of his business what that guy makes or the Seahawks players make or anyone else for that matter. He says it’s just not polite to talk about money. He was of course referring to the somewhat common misconception that rockstars are rich and getting richer and that some fans complain about having to deal with “Meet and Greets” in order gain access to the bands.
McKagan says that the guilt that surrounds bands trying to make a living is something that is completely unique to their business. He says it’s kinda gross. The guy down the street who just started a business is not getting judged, people think this guys gotta make a living, so we bring our clothes in to have them dry-cleaned or whatever the business is. Or a pet store, a local one, we go there to try to support him but with new bands we don’t do that, we say I’m gonna steal their record and see if I like it.
He goes on to discuss G & R money:
“GUNS N’ ROSES, it’s a big catalog item for the Universal Music Group. It still is. It’s, like, the second biggest catalog item they have. It sells. In 1994, I’d just gotten sober and I was kind of figuring some stuff out. And our lawyer said, ‘We’re gonna audit Geffen,’ audit our record company. Before that, I lived in this sort of fantasy world that they were our partner in this thing. We were going out and attacking the world together. Well, they didn’t pay us on something like six million records. Six million records! That’s what we found. And they said, ‘Okay, fine. We’ll pay you for two. Or you can sue us.’ This is our record company. ‘You can sue us for the rest, but it’s gonna cost you. We have lawyers on staff.’ So you do an audit settlement. So you settle for about a third of what’s owed you. And we’ve done now an audit every three years. And it’s the same [procedure]. It’s not six million anymore. But it’s a hefty number.”
“I know we generated a lot of money on that ‘Use Your Illusion’ tour. Oh, crap, we generated a lot of dough. We were also… Our crew was a hundred and thirty people… A hundred and thirty! We had two stages going — we had an ‘A’ stage and a ‘B’ stage going — around the world at all times. That’s why we toured for two and a half years, ’cause it took us two years to break even — just to break even — on that tour.”
He says he still retains ownership of the music he helped create with Guns:
“I may sell it when I’m 65 or something. I might. I don’t know if it’s something I wanna pass down to my children. I don’t know if I want my kids to have the attitude of ‘Hey, cool, look at this. Free money coming in.’ I don’t know if that’s the right wayThat’s a parenting query that I’m going through at this point. My kids are growing up way different than I grew up.”
Duff also talked about a deep, deep subject…..streaming:
“Free online file-sharing service Napster, in 1997, said, ‘Hey, we didn’t invent the computer or digital music. We didn’t invent this. It’s out there. We have this central site where you can get all the music.’ They were talking to the four major labels. This was ’97. The labels were trying to sue ’em, sue Napster. And Napster was going, ‘You guys, it’s already out there. So we’re getting all this revenue from ads. Here’s what we propose: Just give us all your music. We’ll share in all this hundreds of millions of dollars of ad revenue that we’re getting, and we can probably get that huger now that we’re all together and you can pay your artists. It’s a win-win.’ And the labels, in ’97, basically buried their heads in the sand and said, ‘We’re gonna sue you and take you out.’ And Napster, the whole time, was going, ‘I didn’t invent this. It’s still out there. If it’s not me, it’s gonna be somebody else.’ And he was right. The Napster company was correct that once music was digital and everybody had a desktop computer in ’94, ’95 or ’96, that it was just… It’s gonna be out there. So I don’t know if there is anything we can do to stop that.”
Listen to the rest of this great interview below at the SoundCloud link: