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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 31 October 2014
I chose this as it was on my Kindle recommendations list and I'm glad I bought it. 20+ years ago I was a massive GnR fan - and this gives some insight into Duffs experience - whilst not exactly warts and all he doesn't really hide behind anything and it was refreshing to see the positive spin he looks for in life - Yes Axl could be a problem, they were all users at some point with drugs and booze was freely flowing whenever they wanted - but he pulled it together and seems happy with his place in the world and doesn't seem to have the arrogance you might expect from a 'rock star' - Just a chilled guy who went through an extraordinary time and is continuing to play the music he so clearly loves.
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on 14 May 2015
Very impressed with this book, found it to be somewhat inspirational. A story of growing up and moving on with life. I loved the ending in London, kind of a happy ending for a big Guns N' Roses fan like myself - I won't spoil it for any would be readers. It's up there for me with Chuck Berry's autobiography. Duff doesn't big himself up or play the superstar, I felt he was being honest and genuine. A lot of respect for this man! All the best to him and his family.
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on 29 November 2015
I grew up listening to G'n'f'n'R's and Duff was my hero. However, I did not know what to expect from this as I hadn't read all that much about the background of the band. I am glad I did read this as is sheds some light upon some of the rumours surrounding the band and, also, shows what an intelligent, thoughtful person Mr McKagan is.
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on 9 February 2012
For every 200 autobiographies that come out each year most should be instantly thrown into a fire or buried in a cess pit but you get one or two worthy additions to the book game. Jordan herself has now written close to 187 books and just knowing that these dangerous and repulsive items out there in the public domain is a scary thought that makes me want to lock myself away in a cellar blindfolded with white noise blasting from a TV on my hands and knees praying that I never cast my eye on one word of these satanic verses.
Celebrity autobiographies are plentiful and so many of these pathetic poison pen scribbling's are written by the `celebrity' before they have even lived a full life (or even a life worthy of a book). These non-entities write them as soon as they have done one thing that puts them in the public eye and often the book is hurriedly written and on the shelves years before their inevitable downfall or disappearance.
Kerry Katona even has a book out: 'Too Much, Too Young' (the title clearly doubles up as a harsh review of the self-indulgent self-obsessed content of the book and the fact she is just 31 years old and now writing a book on her life). This book should be handed out on death row to make inmates feel better about their own lives or used in schools to scare kids away from a wasted life chasing fame.
Book stores do not even have the decency to put these worthless crude warts n' all autobiographies on the top shelf like newsagents do with those dodgy adult magazines. It's no consolation that these filthy manuals end up in the bargain bucket after a few weeks because the shops tend to keep these `Sale' bins down on the shop floor at everyone's eye level near the door, won't they please think of the children.

Anyway, avert your eyes away from the tome written by the guy who came 6th on Big Brother 4 and pick up Duff McKagen's book.
I really like Duff and I love Guns n' Roses so I was very happy when I saw that the bass player for a band I grew up loving and still listen to now has recounted his life story in print. Ok, so there have been many books written about Guns n' Roses but most are un-authorised but some are pretty good, many are shockingly bad and others just feel like boring repetition. That was the worry here, would it be just like reading about the same stories re-told over and over or worse still would it be a self-indulgent and biased look at life in Guns / outside Guns from a bitter and washed up rocker......luckily Duff is neither of those.
The difference between Duff and not just his fellow rockers but also many celebrities is that this talented punk is a very intelligent guy. He has written a regular column in the Seattle weekly for years now, he is articulate, informative, witty and very passionate and it all comes across great in the book, his voice stands out and you really feel like he is on a rocking chair reading this back to you.

There is nothing quite like getting the juice from the horse's mouth, from inside the eye of the storm and he tells his tale with surprising self deprecation, candor, humour and great warmth especially when speaking about his family and ex-band mates. It is not unlike Slash's book (their lives have intertwined of course with the same bands and road to recovery) but each member of G n' R has a very different style and view point but both are worth reading for sure. I have not read Steven Adler's book and may do at some point but it is now Axl Roses memoir that I wait for with baited breath!
You will get Duffs side of the story on tales that have been through the press millions time but you will learn new things too that even a life long dedicated Guns fan may not know. Duff is the first to claim this is just his side of the story laid out in all its gritty glory, nothing more, he is clear when there is a dispute raised that he is merely recounting his side and draws you back to the title often! He is very honest and frank about the addictions that nearly killed him and he readily admits that sometime he barely even remembers what went down. The story of Guns n' Roses is always worth reading from every angle. In fact if anything he does talk more about his own life, the highs and lows, than about Guns itself but I love the way it's written, with self-deprecation and humour, I was never bored or dare skip a page. There are some really amusing and bizarre anecdotes here, but he is never shocking for shocking sake.
Seeing him play live with the new Guns n' Roses band at the O2 in London in 2010 was one the highlights of my life and he explains how it all went down here brilliantly.
If anyone was lucky enough, as I was, to catch his intimate spoken word tour, where he read out parts of the book in between acoustic renditions of Guns n' Roses and solo numbers then you will know how much putting his story into print means to him. You can see he is very proud of his journey and being able to share it with fans. He may not like me recalling this but in the London Forum at this spoken word show he got very emotional and had to take a moment to recover his composure. When he read out parts of his book involving his family and in particular his daughters, given that these followed extracts where his drugs and alcohol addiction nearly killed him, the tears that he tried to fight back on stage showed us what a sincere and sensitive man this hard rocker is. He seemed a little embarrassed and taken back that he had such a reaction, but this was the first show on this experimental tour but it was a very honest and human reaction and he affected us all in that room at that moment, like he did in his career. To quote a song from the Spaghetti Incident that Duff covered at this show: "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" but you can write a wonderful balls to the wall memoir using what little memory you have and we will all be rather thankful that you did. Now about that full reunion.................................
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I was a GN'R fan back in the 80s and I was curious to read Duff's autobiography. I was a little disappointed though. OK, I was expecting the whole stories about sex, drugs, more drugs and alcohol, but the first quarter of the book is quite a cliche. Young guy with disrupted family (dad cheated on the mum and moved out with his new flame), started experimenting with drugs and alcohol at a very young age trying to control his panic attacks. Deeply into music he struggled to make ends meet. He goes down to LA from Seattle and goes from band to band up to when the magic starts with GN'R. In this part of the book I liked the description of the passion these 5 guys had for music and the lengths they went through to pursue their dream (including a trip from hell to Seattle to play a gig that turned out to be not very successful, sleeping on the floor of their "studio" and working dead end jobs to pay the rent and trying to buy decent equipment). The tale delves into the story of the craziness that surrounded GN'R: from junkies to rock stars, with a lot of deaths for overdose around them - some of their friends and other musicians. Here Duff goes through his personal hell: drugs, more drugs, alcohol addiction and sex. He does not hold back or try to sugarcoat it. The blur of touring under the influence of all sorts (up to not remembering where he has been playing the night before due to being too stoned) and the internal battles in the band, culminating with Steven Adler being kicked out for excessive drug intake (he could not play anymore), Izzy Stradlin' leaving and Axl Rose playing the dictator. In the middle of this craze two of Duff's marriages ended in divorce.

The last quarter of the book is more upbeat and positive: Duff goes through the pain of having his pancreas literally exploding because of his substance and alcohol abuse, coming to the realisation that life is more than sex, drugs and R&R. It will be his new born passion for mountain biking and kickboxing that save him from death. I liked the openness about his fears (hanging around with junkies? For what? Am I able to play sober? Can I stay sober?) and how he was able to overcame them and to have the confidence of becoming himself. He finally found also true love, became a father of two, got into Velvet Revolver, got a degree and developed a passion for education. The relapse with pills and the recovery, up to his decision to set up a new company helping rockers with their financial investments and an accidental meeting with Axl Rose in London.

Overall a light read - I enjoyed reading the story behind some of the songs I have been listening to for years, but the way the book is written is really basic (maybe a ghost writer could have helped giving it more depth?). The part on the GN'R tour is quite predictable with all the drugs, alcohol, drama. I am pleased he sobered up and found his way for a fulfilling life. I really liked the definition that he gives about a rockstar - just a job!
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on 8 February 2014
Having read Rex Brown's autobiography just before this one (he was the bass player in Pantera) I didn't go into the Duff McKagan work with particularly high expectations. But I was absorbed soon enough. It's a very well written work, partly because it has an honesty about it that seems truly authentic, but also because Duff's life has had an unusual amount of seemingly unconnected stages, which together add up to a fascinating and unpredictable tale.

There's very little of the 'yawn' anecdotes of decadence and excess that seem to characterize so many rock-star autobiographies; and when Duff does talk about alcohol and drugs, it's engaging not only because the stories are told with the benefit of hindsight but also because he has since done so much to turn his life around that you find yourself convinced that here is a guy who really stands behind what he is saying.

The book is even like a small adventure story in places, with its lessons in self-overcoming and will power. Of course, at the back of my mind there was the cynic saying that all his money and connections enabled him to seize ready-made opportunities to turn his life around in a way not open to the rest of us - but he still had to choose to seize them.

More generally, Duff doesn't come across as having been unduly affected by the rock-star complex that fame with Guns n' Roses and Velvet Revolver could so easily have brought in toe. He even champions the academic life, which is not a sentence I would have expected to be writing before reading the book. I can't confess to have known much (or anything) about Duff before reading this book - I was always focused exclusively on Slash and Axl, I guess; but I'm very happy that I now know more about Mr McKagan.
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on 1 December 2012
I loved this book. What a journey. Well detailed, humble, genuine and interesting. Why read self help books when you can read the real thing? I travelled back to my teens when guns and roses where just breaking through here in England and shared Duffs anguish of wondering why it all fell apart far too soon. All in all a fantastic, thought provoking read.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 January 2016
A friend loaned me this book, having enjoyed it himself. I’m not a huge Guns N’ Roses fan, or a huge Velvet Revolver fan but I decided to give this book a few chapters to see if I got into it. I found Duff’s life fascinating and his personality winsome as he talked about early punk rock days, being a pastry chef, mentioned Mick Jagger’s willy and sought for the eventual discovery of the true meaning of the phrase “Today is a good day to die”. There was also (as you’d expect) a fair bit of information about Guns N’ Roses. Axl and Duff didn’t speak for thirteen years. Finally a coincidence led to them meeting and you can read about it in this book. Duff is a smart guy and while reading I was rooting for him to overcome addiction and he did. Mostly this is the story of a man learning when to walk away from things and when not to. I’d say it’s a must for Guns N’ Roses fans and a great read for anyone who likes a well-crafted rock autobiography.
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on 21 September 2015
A really compelling book which may well be the best autobiography that I have read. I have always been a fan of Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver but have a new found respect for Duff and how his life has progressed.
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on 11 October 2015
After reading motley crues book which I loved it put me in the mood for more rock n roll insight.this was ok but bit too much on his personal life & not enough about guns n roses or the life that went with it.
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