Duff McKagan on How His New Solo Album Came Together and the Surprising Reunion on the LP
Duff McKagan is a month out from the release of his new solo album, Tenderness, and its supporting tour with Shooter Jennings, who produced and appears on the album with his backing band. However, if McKagan followed his initial plan for his latest release, he’d be going on a book tour instead of a rock tour.
McKagan recently spoke with WDHA’s Terrie Carr and explained the origins of Tenderness and how Jennings got involved with the album.
“I just made a lot of observations as we were traveling on that Guns [N’ Roses] tour, and I was at such a good place in my head,” said McKagan. “…It’s just a really interesting time in our history, not just here [in the U.S.] but around the world. This was no statement either way, and I thought, ‘I’m just going to write a book.’ I kind of saw a whole different angle and decided to do a record with not necessarily a message but address some topics.”
McKagan said about Jennings, “I’ve known Shooter since he moved to L.A. in 2001…The music community is kind of small. The true believers, the lifers, we all kind of know each other, and Shooter and I have stayed in touch and remained good friends since I met him…He took my vision of these songs. It was just he and I. I had an acoustic guitar; he was at a piano. We then took it to the next level and took [the songs] to his band, and we started recording. It was such an easy process.”
The collaborative effort on Tenderness doesn’t stop with Jennings. Featured on the track “Don’t Look Behind You” is The Suicide Horn Section and The Waters Family, both of whom appeared on GN’R’s Use Your Illusion albums.
“The Waters [Family] singing group, I don’t want to peg them as a gospel singing group, because they’re so much more than that,” said McKagan. “They sang on [Guns N’ Roses’ cover of] ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ in the [‘Use Your] Illusion’ days…They came in and started harmonizing on these melodies we had. We were alone in a room with them and they started this harmonization without any music going on. They picked their parts and started singing them in front of Shooter and I, and I texted my wife and said, ‘This is what God’s voice sounds like.'”
Tenderness comes out May 31 and is currently available for pre-order on multiple platforms here, with special edition album bundles available at DuffOnline.com. McKagan’s tour kicks off May 30 in Philadelphia. A full list of tour dates can be found at DuffOnline.com.
This interview can be heard in its entirety below.
Erica Banas is rock/classic rock news blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.