It's So Easy
Duff McKagan
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Buy *It's So Easy: And Other Lies* by Duff McKagan online

It's So Easy: And Other Lies
Duff McKagan
384 pages
March 2012
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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The problem with most self-written autobiographies from rock musicians is that most of them can't write, or their memories are so selective that the history revealed bears no resemblance to what really happened. McKagan, former bassist for Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver, is a college grad, an avid reader and loves the written word. That comes across in his very honest accounting of how he went from playing in local rock bands in Seattle to becoming a member in one of the biggest and most influential groups of all time.

McKagan talks about growing up in a dysfunctional family where an absentee father forced his mother to raise him as part of a large Irish-American family. He loved music, found solace in it and dropped out of high school to pursue it. Early on, he suffered from panic attacks and would self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. This would ultimately turn into a full-blown addiction to cocaine and booze, a battle that would bring him to his knees many times before he ultimately got sober.

He uncovers the facts behind the first meeting with future GN'R members and how they created a little sanctuary for themselves at a dumpy rehearsal space in Hollywood. Adopting an all-for-one/one-for-all attitude, the band would finally sign a major record deal and, with the release of their debut album, Appetite For Destruction, would completely rewrite the history of rock. As the album title suggests, Duff and his cohorts engaged in every kind of bad behavior--and he nearly paid the price for it when he suffered a near-fatal attack of pancreatitis.

But Duff was stronger than his disease, and replacing drugs with the pursuit of martial arts, exercise, biking, and finally a thirst for knowledge--attending college--he managed to outrun his demons. While certain elements are dismissed in a page or two--the actual behind-the-scenes revelations for the recording of Appetitee are given short shrift--McKagan is an honest and accurate documenter of what happened and does manage to convey what it was like being a member of GN'R.

This is one of the better rock autobiographies out there. Well-written and offering a vulnerable and self-effacing look at its author, It's So Easy should be read by anyone who wants the truth about Axl, Slash, Scott Weiland. and life on the inside of a rock and roll legacy.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2012

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