Duff McKagan: It’s So Easy and Other Lies – Book Review

Duff McKagan - It's So Easy and Other LiesThere have been quite a few books published about the antics and crazy life of Guns N’ Roses and its members as they struggled through the streets and battled the evils of fame. Most tell the same stories, which are outlined with sex, drugs, addiction and personality disorders, but none are quite as personal and inspirational as Duff McKagan’s ‘It’s So Easy, and Other Lies’. This is by far the best book written about Guns N’ Roses to date and could serve as therapeutic reading for those suffering from addictions.

For those unfamiliar with his fame, Duff was the original bassist and a founding member of Guns 'N Roses, he started Velvet Revolver with his friend Dave Kushner and fellow ex-GNR mates Slash and Matt Sorum, and is the leader of Duff McKagan’s Loaded. He’s also the founder of Meridian Rock, with British investor Andy Bottomley, to aid other musicians with their finances.

Early in the book Duff makes it clear he knows that a lot of the stories have already been told, and his version might he even be different from those already published, but these were his stories as he remembers them. With that in mind, there are a few déjà  vu moments in the book, but the perspective is always Duff’s rather than that of an outsider. When he’s talking about getting wasted backstage while fans are destroying the arena because vocalist Axl Rose delayed the show for hours, we are sitting there in the concrete room with him and a case of wine. There was so much booze and drugs during those moments that the pages almost felt pre-soaked with vodka.

It’s definitely not the typical rags to riches story. It’s a “poorer” to “richer” story all right, but there are many factors at work that keep this biography from getting its typical storybook ending. Duff was an addict at a young age and has struggled with the disease his entire life, culminating in an experience where his doctor expected him dead in mere months.

Duff overcame his near-death moment with healthy activities such as bike riding and kickboxing, as well as keeping strong and healthy people around him at all times. His recoveries and relapses almost seem to be never ending, but he explains that once he become an addict, that was it, he’ll always an addict. It’s the battles, struggles, friends, family and love in between the addictions that make life worth living.

Duff’s story is one that can be read more than just once. It’s a friendly, easy to read adventure to fame, fortune and addiction. Just one read through and you’ll have had your share of sex, drugs and rock and roll.