Guns N’ Roses bassist releases first new solo music in four years today

Duff McKagan is helping to raise attention for Mental Health Awareness Month with “This Is the Song,” the Guns N’ Roses bassist’s first new solo recording since 2019’s Tenderness album. “This is the song that’s gonna save my life as I scrape for sanity,” he croons while strumming an acoustic guitar. “Tried Lexapro and what else I don’t know, but still they can’t agree.” The track slowly builds into a swaying, multilayered ballad as McKagan sings, “Come along with me/We’ll get stronger,” before ending on a hopeful note.

The track leads a new EP, also titled This Is the Song, that McKagan recorded with producer Martin Feveyear (Mark Lanegan, Brandi Carlile). The other tracks on the record, available now on streaming services, are “Pass You By” and “It Can’t Come Too Soon.” Both continue the countryish acoustic direction of the title track, and the latter features a guest appearance by singer Shaina Shepherd.

In a lengthy statement on his website, McKagan explains that he moved into his recording studio in 2019 to work on some songs, and later, as Covid-19 shut down the world, he recognized the importance of mental health awareness. “I have dealt with a certain variety of panic disorder since the age of 16, and in these recent years, my panic disorder has morphed and twisted and brought along some darkness that seems to appear out of absolutely nowhere,” he wrote. “It can be terrifying.


“‘This Is the Song’ was written in the middle of a panic attack,” he continued. “I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t see straight, and lately, I have thankfully found my acoustic guitar as a refuge. If I just hold on to that guitar, play chords, and hum melodies, I can start to climb my way out of that hole. For those of you who have never experienced something like this, count yourselves blessed. To those of you who recognize what I am talking about: you are not alone!”

McKagan will be on tour this summer as a member of Guns N’ Roses. The band’s North American leg kicks off Aug. 5 in Moncton, New Brunswick.

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