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It's So Easy book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. A founding member of Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver shares the sto. Guns N' Roses epitomized all of the glamour of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. But, author Alex Stone writes, Duff McKagan's memoir shows the. How to Be a Man (And Other Illusions) is McKagan's follow-up to his New York Times bestselling autobiography It's So Easy (And Other Lies).
You were pretty fair. That's life, and I think when we go through life, it's easy to demonize people -- especially over things that fell apart. It's not just a rock band; that's human nature. The truth lays somewhere else, probably. What were you going through at the height of your addiction? To tell you that I drank a gallon of vodka a day would be right around it, but the thing is, days weren't days like they are now.
They ran into other days. Drugs, a lot of cocaine, to keep up. I was self-medicating panic attacks and I always thought, "I'll address it when I get a break, I'll see a professional. You don't get a break sometimes. And your pancreas burst.
Yeah, acute pancreatitis and there's nothing "cute" about it. The pancreas expanded -- it was overtaxed and it burst.
The enzymes that digest your food and are supposed to be inside were now on the outside. It burned everything outside. I don't wish it upon anybody. I wanted to die. I was pleading for them to kill me. The morphine that they had me on wasn't doing anything and they had me on Librium for the DTs [Delirium tremens, which include hallucinations and confusion], because you can die from that.
My mom came to see me and she was in a wheelchair with Parkinson's and she was crying. She's taking care of her youngest son; the order of things is wrong. I just about blew it and let this lion of a woman down. That was my clarion moment, when I saw my mom. I wanted to change. What was the hardest thing for you when you were newly sober?
Number one, the hardest thing to come to grips with was, if you're going to drink, you're going to die and I didn't have sober people around me.
I didn't know anything about AA. I'm stubborn and I work hard, so those were the two things I relied on. The first time I went into a supermarket, it was like being on acid I was sweating on the verge of a panic attack. I bought cigarettes and BBQ sauce. I guess I just wanted to go into the store and download something.
Why did you decide to go to college? Because those first months started to go by, and I did things to fill my time. Personally, I had made a good amount of dough for a year-old guy, but I didn't know a thing about money. I'm not a dumb guy but I couldn't figure them out. The book made me tear up twice - first when he recounts his reunion with Axl Rose after 13 years and again in the acknowledgments at the end to his daughters.
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Duff McKagan is an excellent writer with a highly accessible style and his story is nothing if not riveting. Indeed, McKagan himself comes across as highly accessible and deeply grounded in his art. All of which makes this a very, very enjoyable, if disturbing, read but, as the book progressed, particularly as it described his recovery, I found myself more and more removed from his story, and it took me a while to discover why that was.
All of these things are exceedingly common among addicts. I also personally related to his love of the outdoors especially mountain biking and his dedication to his art. He is an admirable and humble man by any conventional measure, and he's somebody most among us would probably be glad to call a friend.
So what is it that began to turn me off about his story? I guess there were a couple of things: First was, though he emphasized his common-man roots and he has indeed held true to his upbringing despite the temptations of his station, he seems to place an undue emphasis on the stature of those friends with whom he surrounds himself in his recovery.
Though McKagan is certainly one of the best at what he does and it makes sense that he would surround himself with people of similar ambition and achievement, his emphasis on this fact made his recovery seem considerably less grounded to me.
Secondly, his story begins to make clear that his initial recovery was actually the replacement of one addiction with another but he writes this section with what seems to be a complete absence of awareness to this fact. He does briefly mention seeking help after his relapse but it is the briefest of mentions. As such, I never really know whether he finally began to discover the roots of his addiction.
Mar 17, Eleven rated it really liked it. If you were into the whole punk-metal scene in the 80's, this has plenty of treasures to offer. Dec 28, Nathan Timmel rated it it was amazing.
What I'm about to do is unfair, because I am going to compare art, to art. The reason I hope to get away with it is because when it happened to my book, I enjoyed it. That out of the way, my proclamation is: This book is what "Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir" should have been.
The differences between the two books, and therefore What I'm about to do is unfair, because I am going to compare art, to art. The differences between the two books, and therefore the two authors, is vast, as stark a contrast as day to night.
Where Dave Mustaine is a finger-pointing child, always blaming others for his lot in life and ultimately taking the easiest of paths to justify all his previous behaviors by finding religion , Duff is a man. He takes responsibility for every single one of his actions.
He never blames others, he never makes excuses, Duff always squares his shoulders and does his best to discover and explain why he thinks he acted in any manner he may have. Instead of blaming Axl for the downfall of Guns, Duff does what few people are willing to when reflecting upon the past: And as he examines, he does so with the clarity of thought that you cannot change the past, you can only improve upon your character and move forward.
There is no "I should have Like many memoirs before him--Andy Summers in "One Train Later," Juliana Hatfield in "When I Grow Up"--Duff takes us from past to present occasionally, giving the reader a moment to see where he's at in life while writing his reflections of yesteryear. Duff seems to wrangle the timeline switch a little better than those two books, however, and every time we bounce from the past to the present it is a nice respite from the story at hand.
Instead of any bit of the book becoming a drag, the narrative constantly refreshes itself, making you anticipate a return to the interrupted tale. This book is about being thoughtful, and demands focused attention from the reader. Personally, I devoured it in less than two days. Where Dave Mustaine ends his novel still a child, Duff emerges a father, husband, son, and brother Jan 27, Tamelyn Feinstein rated it really liked it Shelves: I have a soft spot for rock and roll memoirs, and I've read quite a few.
I've found that, overall, they tend to be quite self-indulgent, salacious, and entertaining; I've also found they tend to NOT be well-written, thoughtful, or deep. I've never been a big G'n'R fan, although I appreciate their unique contribution to the late 80s - early 90s rock scene. However, when I recently came across an interview with Duff McKagan on an afternoon TV talk show, I was struck by his intelligence, thoughtfuln I have a soft spot for rock and roll memoirs, and I've read quite a few.
However, when I recently came across an interview with Duff McKagan on an afternoon TV talk show, I was struck by his intelligence, thoughtfulness, and sense of personal responsibility three things one doesn't generally expect to see in a world class hard-ass rock star. So I decided to read his memoir. Imagine my surprise to find that his book is just as intelligent, thoughtful, and personally responsible as he appeared to be on camera.
His story is occasionally harrowing, yet he casts no stones at his bandmates and friends, only mourning the ones who didn't survive. Now a husband and father of two girls,he is discreet on some aspects of his past I. After these things nearly killed him, he managed to find a way back through exercise, martial arts, education, and the support and love of his family and friends.
The paragraphs where he described his redemption through his newfound joy of literature were incredibly moving to me. There is still debauchery and fun and the joy of raw musical expression to be found here, and his descriptions of the early Seattle punk scene made me feel like I was there.
This was damn near a five star book for me. Nov 06, Mitchell Caplan rated it really liked it. After reading Clapton's book terrific and then Keith Richards book even better I didn't know what to expect from McKagen. Clapton clearly didn't write his book himself, and Richards read as if he was talking to you. I expected McKagen's book to be a big tell all about the debauchery that was GnR, but instead I found a very well written, well thought out story about his personal journey.
I really enjoyed this story, but frankly, would have loved to hear more detail about GnR's amazing run. And I especially would have liked to have heard more about his relationship with Slash and Axl. And why I really enjoyed this book, it feels like McKagen held back on some of the more sordid details because he has daughters. Everybody is his friend While I wound up feeling good for Duff that his life turned out ok, I do wish he had taken the gloves off a bit more.
Dec 16, Tammy Hahs rated it it was amazing Shelves: I rarely give books five stars, even books I thoroughly enjoy. I like to reserve five stars for the best of the best. It's So Easy and Other Lies may just be my favorite book of all time.
Maybe it's because I wanted to marry Duff McKagan from about age obsessed may have been the right word. All of that aside, this book was well written, funny, and cra I rarely give books five stars, even books I thoroughly enjoy.
All of that aside, this book was well written, funny, and crazy! I thought I knew what the life of a "rock star" might be like, but I really had no idea. The story of Guns n' Roses was just part of this book, but there was so much more. I think anyone who has any interest at all in rock music should read this.
I also rarely reread books, but I am keeping this one. I will most likely read it again in the future. Feb 22, Carol Storm rated it liked it. Duff McKagan seems like a nice man, and you can't help but admire his honesty about the way drugs and alcohol almost ended his life. But if you're a Guns and Roses fan who wants behind the scenes stories, all blood and guts and swagger, or if you're looking for insight into why this was the last great rock and roll band, forget it.
I mean, forget it. For an eyewitness to history, Duff McKagan does an amazingly poor job of making history come alive. You can put on "Rocket Queen" or "Dust and Bone Duff McKagan seems like a nice man, and you can't help but admire his honesty about the way drugs and alcohol almost ended his life.
You can put on "Rocket Queen" or "Dust and Bones" and immediately sense the menace and charisma of Axl Rose, but in this book, he's little more than a shadow. No dirty stories, no anecdotes, no intimate details of the early days.
You'd think Duff was an eighth grader who researched Axl Rose on Wikipedia. And that goes for the rest of the Gunners too. At least fifty seven times, Duff calls the other guys his "brothers" and insists that Guns and Roses were "a band, a gang, a family. Or Slash. Or Izzy. It's so bizarre! I couldn't tell whether Duff was terrified of lawsuits, or whether Axl Rose still has some sort of Hitler-In-the-Bunker hypnotic powers that keep his terrified generals from spilling his secrets or questioning his orders even when Russian tanks are parked right down the block.
I bring up Hitler deliberately, of course, because the band's greatest notoriety came from Axl Rose's shocking use of the n-word and the f-word in songs like "One In A Million.
All of a sudden tough rock and roller Duff sounds just like sleazy, sophisticated Claude Rains in Casablanca: To find that there is racism in this song. Have them shown to my dressing room at once. And the same with the f-word too. So I have to wonder, how did they get in a band together? What did Duff see in Axl?
And what was he determined not to see? And how did that shape the way the band evolved? And what really happens when a punk rock kid becomes an arena rock god by embracing the crude ignorance of his red-neck alter ego from Indiana? These are the questions this book does not answer. On the other hand, there's some great stuff about mountain bikes. Apparently they're a lot of fun!
Dec 31, Monica rated it it was amazing. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I finished it in under two hours, it is that good. What a talented writer Duff is. His story is captivating and I am so glad he is in such a good space now.
A very humble, intelligent man. Perfect book to start the new year with, so inspirational. I hope Duff writes another book on anything, just so I can read his writing again. Will have to check out his columns. I confess to tearing up a couple of times whilst reading but it's all good. Thank you for this book Duff. May 28, Winter Sophia Rose rated it it was amazing.
I Loved It!!! Feb 10, Vickipedia rated it it was amazing Shelves: The book was recommended to me by a friend who knew I liked to read, so I finally picked it up.
She should have told me to put on a seat belt! I read some reviews here and there saying they wished McKagen went into a little more detail about his life with the band, the women he bedded, and all the fun and lascivious details that gossip rags are known to When I picked up "It's So Easy" I hadn't the slightest clue who Duff McKagen was let alone know that he was the bassist for Guns N' Roses.
I read some reviews here and there saying they wished McKagen went into a little more detail about his life with the band, the women he bedded, and all the fun and lascivious details that gossip rags are known to publish. I'm actually glad he kept things short and simple as much as he could since I was more interested in McKagen's growth as a person and his days as a musician in one of the world's hottest rock bands in the late 80's to his journey toward sobriety.
There's a lot of name dropping--like a LOT of name dropping in the book, but not for the intent of bragging. Musicians and punks happen to run in the same circle a lot of of the time and my inner teenager was excited whenever I came across names like Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, and hell, even Slash Hey, he said it! It was also nice to come across locations in the book that I was already familiar with, like Canter's Deli if you're in town, you should try their sandwiches, cheese blintzes, and potato knish , the Whiskey, and other LA landmarks and intersections.
I don't know if this counts as a spoiler, but since there's a follow-up book, I'm gonna say it anyway. That one sounds a bit more tongue in cheek and apparently is the name of a column he wrote for the Seattle Weekly. I'd say 3 and a half stars. I enjoyed it. It kept me reading. A few things of interest. McKagan essentially wrote his own book rather than telling his story to someone else. McKagan is a pretty decent writer but still learning so that explains why some of the work, especially early on, jumps around quite a lot.
By that, I mean jumping around in time, from past to present to future. Later in the work, this smooths out. One difference in this work than other rock musician biographies that I've rea I'd say 3 and a half stars.
One difference in this work than other rock musician biographies that I've read is that there is more focus on the recovery aspects, and, particularly, on McKagan returning to college to complete and further his education. I was really glad to see that. I also like the self-deprecating quality of the work when McKagan talks about his family, particularly his two daughters.
The work actually protects the identity of a few people who are mentioned but not named in the story. That's also different from most such books. I respected that. I probably didn't start out with a very high opinion of Duff McKagan. I've always felt that Guns N Roses was overrated. However, I came away from this work with much more respect for GNR's bassist. Overall, the work kept me reading and involved.
Apr 07, Jason McNamara rated it liked it.
Less sensational than Slash's autobiography, Duff's is ultimately more relatable. McKagan's book is a personal journey of a man finding himself. You won't find ANY details about the recording of Appetite one of rocks greatest achievements in my opinion or the songwriting process. It's almost entirely about him getting fucked up and finally getting healthy.
It's a great story and that I watched it unfold during my MTV watching teen years makes it historically appealing to my generation. Ultimat Less sensational than Slash's autobiography, Duff's is ultimately more relatable. Ultimately the difference between this and Slash's book comes down to the drugs they did. Apparently heroin improved Slash's detail orientation while booze made Duff remember the broad emotional strokes of a life under water.
Jan 11, Sebastian Bach rated it it was amazing. What an incredible book. So well-written and so classy and so cool, and Duff never throws no one under the bus. Highly recommended. Jan 23, Arlene rated it really liked it. This is a great read. The stories of rock n roll excess are what you'd expect, but his life after he got sober is far more interesting.
A fascinating life, very entertainingly told with honesty and a brutal sense of humour. Oct 31, Vince rated it did not like it.
I'm so angry after having read this. The last pages were torture! My God! Where to begin with this diatribe? Ok, it starts out fairly good and after all how can it not? There was a time around the age of thirty when I had my own appetite for destruction and 'Appetite' proved a fitting soundtrack.
I always had my reservations. They loo I'm so angry after having read this. They looked like a hair metal band. I mean, they looked like shit.
The album's production was messy. There was no ART to it. By that I mean it was just an imitation of everything else. No big deal. Like Oasis they just weren't that good because they weren't original but just sort of rocked out quite well through imitation. It's the same chords! Slash could play guitar but he just sounded like everyone else. But now we get a glimpse into the reality. The reality is a psychopathic, delinquent singer surrounded by nice guys!!
Duff does himself no favours in this book. He clearly demonstrates what a fucking wimp he and Slash and the rest really were.
And he revels in it! The big clincher is when Axl demands he and Slash sign away the rights to the band's name. He does. And then says that he felt he had to because there may have been a riot and someone may have been killed if he hadn't!! Around this point the book just gets uglier and uglier. Long pieces stretch out where our hero turned family man bores the fuck out of us describing family life and comparing his dog dying to his own near death from drugs.
It really couldn't be any worse. But yes it can. It can't. But it just goes to show boys and girls that tattoos don't maketh the man. Or martial arts. Or riding a motorbike. Or university degrees. A man either bends over for it or he doesn't. This one did. A real girl. Like they said: And nice boys don't write anything of interest either.
I just want to fucking throw up it's so sad. May 13, Jesseporker rated it it was amazing. When I first encountered this book, I assumed it was going to be another book about a drugged up rock star.
Having already read a few other autobiographies, I was quickly growing tired of the format. And Duff? It turns out, quite a bit.
Sure, the other autobiographies mention this, but almost in a way that it portrays it was too easy for them. But Duff actually dedicates so much more of his novel to the effort and challenge of this process. What else this novel outlines wonderfully is the business side of music.
For me, a sign of a good book is not wanting it to end. As I came closer and closer to those last pages of the book, I just wanted it to keep going. There was still more for me to learn here.
What I was learning from this book, was how to become a better person, a better artist, and how to strive for everything I want, no matter the challenges. Jun 03, Manny rated it it was amazing.
Awesome, Awesome, Awesome. When I first started to read this book, I though, "Here we go, another book about partying like a "rock star", drugs, women, destruction" I was partially right. However this book was gripping, insightful, motivational and truly inspiring.
How this man survived the 80's and is even alive today is beyond me. McKagan takes you into the dark annals of his life story. This man "partied like a rock star". From his early days of his panic attacks to the heavy alcohol induced h Awesome, Awesome, Awesome. From his early days of his panic attacks to the heavy alcohol induced hospital stays, McKagan takes you step-by-step into his dark world and the life saving steps he had to take. The chapter describing his first use of crack was so vivid, I thought myself to be the one using.