After hearing so many sides to this story, McKagan’s rings truest. Even Axl Rose comes off (somewhat) sympathetically, as a guy who just basically lost the plot. But this is Duff McKagan’s story, and his descent into drugs, and especially alcohol is harrowing. His eventual sobriety really was a life or death choice. Thankfully, rather than taking on the self-righteous tone of many newly sober people, he lays it out in a completely straightforward manner. He also does not revel in the glory days of his addictions, which is another common practice among the recently “converted.”
What emerges today is a pretty mundane lifestyle, albeit a wealthy one, thanks to Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver. He went back to school, eventually earning a degree from Seattle University. He also has a family, and revels in the fact that his children are not doing what he was doing at their ages. As a guy who was born just a couple of weeks after Duff, I can certainly relate. It is a wonderful feeling to have teenagers who do not think of drugs and petty theft as cool.
Duff McKagan lived the dream, and found out that the other side is pretty much what most parents hope for their kids in the first place — that an education and a stable family are worth a fortune. If this sounds like the “feel good” story of the year, then so be it. The conclusion of his tale certainly made me feel good.