Duff McKagan’s Road Rules
Want to go on tour with Duff McKagan? Here’s what not to do.
In a new blog in Seattle Weekly, Duff McKagan, best known as the bass player for Guns n’ Roses outlines his rules for the road. Duff says that he put this out there to help young bands survive on tour.
Number one? “Don’t be a dick. Yes. That simple”. I personally think that should be rule number one just in life, but not everyone adheres to that.
Number two is “Get used to having little to no personal space.” He says that “a tour bus or van can be small enough, but add small back stage dressing rooms and rehearsal rooms and you have the condition for someone in your band to blow up.” I guess this rule wouldn’t apply if you’re one of the biggest bands in the world like GNR was for quite some time in the mid 80’s and early 90’s. Then you all have your own bus or airplane plus your own hotel room and people to do things for you. Duff also recommends that you mind your personal hygiene because those spaces are so small.
Respecting off limits places is also in his list of rules. If someone has the curtain drawn on their bunk, don’t mess with that person. No junk punching and wives, husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends. They’re off limits. OK, who would punch someone in the junk? That’s just plain mean. God meant for that area to only be treated nicely.
Duff encourages young bands to keep informed and read. It’s hard to keep up to date on the latest world news, but make time for it and talk about it. He says that gossip and locker room talk “only go so far”. Have good topics to bring to the table and that includes new ideas for songs. Keep writing music and lyrics and bring in fresh ideas. A lot of times, bands write about what’s going on in the world. Take Rage Against the Machine, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and others. Some of their biggest songs are born out of their take of what’s happening in the world, so pay attention. Duff says it’s important to not only keep in touch with what’s happening in the world, but what’s happening with your family, so call home often. Mom likely worries about her little boy or girl, so call or text often. It keeps you sane.
And finally, my other favorite is “don’t poo in the same room that someone is eating in.” My first thought here is, “I’m sorry. WHAT?! Who the hell eats in the bathroom?” Of course, I’m sure he’s referring to the cramped quarters of the tour bus, but still. Duff says you need to get the “OK” first before pooing near someone’s food and if they say it’s fine, “You have a band that will NEVER break up!”