Duff McKagan Shares How Slash Saves Hims From His Panic Attacks
Duff McKagan in Joey Diaz's podcast, The Church Of What's Happening Now - Joey Diaz / Youtube
Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan has released his first solo album since 2019’s Tenderness, titled This Is the Song, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. The three-track EP was written “in a middle of a panic attack,” McKagan says. “I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t see straight, and lately, I have thankfully found my acoustic guitar as a refuge. If I just hold on to that guitar, play chords, and hum melodies, I can start to climb my way out of that hole.”
McKagan recorded the lead single “This is the Song” with producer Martin Feveyear and it serves as the lead single off their new EP of the same name. Other songs on the album that can be heard online right now include “Pass You By” and “It Can’t Come Too Soon.” Both follow the title track’s country-tinged acoustic path, with the latter also featuring a cameo by vocalist Shaina Shepherd.
McKagan has discussed his struggles with mental health openly. In 2020, he participated in Lily Cornell’s interview series, Mind Wide Open. McKagan said he’d had his first panic attack when he was 16, and that through the years he’d developed a few strategies for dealing with his anxiety, some of which were more effective than others. He began using meditation and martial arts to help with his recovery from substance abuse in 1994.
He then mentioned how his bandmate Slash helped him cope with this. “Slash has kind of been a safe person for me throughout this,” McKagan continued. “I met him when I first moved to L.A. I told him I have these panic attacks. He listened. He’s like, ‘OK, well if it happens, we’ll deal with it.’ I had plenty around him, and he knows just to talk to me about something – anything but the panic attack. He’ll start talking about, ‘Hey, that first Led Zeppelin record, did you notice they went into a … ?’”
Check Duff McKagan’s new song out now.