Thursday, January 27, 2011

Duff McKagan: life lessons learned from his autobiography

Duff McKagan has reviewed the first draft of his upcoming autobiography, and shares his thoughts on some life lessons learned with readers of his Seattle Weekly column.

Many of you already know that I have been writing a book over the past year or more. Well, this week I got back a first and very rough edit, and I have, for the first time, sat down and read the whole thing.

Here's the deal: In writing so much about my own life, I have found so many places where for so long I have placed blame on others for this failure or that shortcoming. It's not like I haven't worked on resentment in my sober life, because I really have. Or so I thought.

Both of my parents passed away within the past 10 years. My mom was a saint in my eyes, and raised us eight McKagan kids with the courage of the whole Allied Forces in WWII. I think she knew how much I loved her and appreciated all her lessons shared, but did I tell her all this when she was still alive? Surely not like I would now.

It is common for all human beings to experience a traumatizing childhood event. I think when we are kids we have these idealized models of what life should be like and what grown-ups should adhere to. In my case, my own father didn't live up to my idealized "father-figure" model, and I ended up resenting him for the rest of his life.

To sort of throw my dad under the bus now that he isn't here to defend himself is not my intent. There were many things he did in my life that were amazing and righteous. We just didn't have a real knack for communicating, especially when I witnessed first-hand my parents' marriage falling apart. When they divorced, I placed the blame squarely on my dad's shoulders and never looked back.

After I got sober, my wife Susan sort of forced me into having a relationship with my dad again. We had a new daughter, and Susan asked me to try and forgive my Pop so that Grace (and then Mae) could have a grandpa around in Seattle. I'm glad that Susan did this.

I didn't go all the way, though, with my dad. I didn't have the guts or fortitude to address with him alone the things I address in my writing and forgive him for wholeheartedly. Sadly, it's just too damn late.

For Duff’s thoughts on how to address issues like this, read his full column at Seattle Weekly here.

Guns Guns N' Roses

Guns N’ Roses – November Rain (1991)


See also:

Duff McKagan’s Loaded: new release date, album title
Motorhead: Duff McKagan raves about new film, “Lemmy”
Duff McKagan: new columnist for ESPN.com
Duff McKagan shares his New Year’s resolutions
Duff McKagan writes about surgery and cocaine abuse
Duff McKagan writing autobiography