IT’S SO EASY (And Other Lies)
McKagan is as changed a man as anyone could be after being an integral part of the excesses and madness of the Guns n’ F’n Roses circus of their heyday - why, in the introduction to this guts-spilling volume of memoirs, he agonises over how strict he needs to be at his teenage daughter’s birthday party.
McKagan is engaging as he details his teenage struggle through punk bands, angst and girls… his struggle, indulgences and eventual meteoric rise of The Gunners… and when he was bassist in the biggest rock band in the world, his struggles with alcohol and drugs which led to a near-death experience due to a much-abused pancreas… and his struggle with sobriety – which he then replaced with fanatical mountain biking and martial arts.
He is an interesting soul, and he can write – by himself, unlike the bio’s of his ex-bandmates, which have been to larger or smaller effect, ghost written.
McKagan, of course, has been writing a column for a Seattle magazine for some years now, and whilst the relentlessness with which he throws himself into training whilst recovering from his addictions is daunting, it only mirrors the reckless abandon with which he threw himself into his addictions to start with.
What emerges over the course of these 366 pages is a portrait of a man who understands his strengths and weaknesses, who knows what he needs to do for himself and for his family, and holds few grudges or bitterness for the past.
Having said that, he’s not pulling his punches either, and every member of his former band is tarred with the same brush he paints himself with – selfish, addictive, egotistical, greedy & naïve in different measures.
Interestingly, having read 3 of the original members’ books now, the main thing they all agree with is the power and magic of that original line-up, and the greed of the management sharks – so perhaps a one-off reunion at the Hall Of Fame induction later this year isn’t as unlikely as it might seem - even if it might be without their original lead singer?
Review Published 14 April 2012