Duff McKagan is the founding bassist of Guns N' Roses and the leader of Seattle's Loaded. His column runs every Thursday on Reverb.
Don't get


How to Say No to Drugs (Even When You're Unzipped)

Duff McKagan is the founding bassist of Guns N' Roses and the leader of Seattle's Loaded. His column runs every Thursday on Reverb.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's actually a genuinely sweet offer when someone passes a joint to me. "I don't smoke weed," I say. I know the intent is probably good, so I never want to be the guy who passes judgment or otherwise looks at that situation with scornful disdain.

*See Also: The Rock-and-Roll Lifestyle: Single Moms, Students, and Upton Sinclair

Drugs are a funny thing. No one really wants to get high alone--when they are still in the "casual use" stage, anyway. Rarely will you hear of someone doing bumps of cocaine, or hits of crystal meth on their own. There'd be no one to jabber and talk mad nonsense with.

Rock and roll definitely has the stereotype of being connected to drug use. I get it. The cliche has been earned. But in our modern era, it seems like drugs have finally lost the status of being a mystical and romantic part of the rock persona. Maybe we've seen too many people implode, with public meltdowns, and worst of all, death.

OK, but wait, this isn't supposed to be a poignant and down column. No. Actually, something happened to me just this week--twice, actually!--that I always find pretty damn funny. If it happened to me twice this week alone, I must assume that we can extrapolate this occurrence to a certain degree.

I played three shows this week (well, I am actually on my way to the third right now, but our car broke down in the desert. But, yada, yada, yada, that's a story for another column). One of the gigs was a musical-esque version of the book that I wrote about my dive into addiction and my way out. By now, it's a pretty well-known story, I think. If you are buying a ticket to this particular show, it's a fair assumption that you probably know I don't do drugs. Right? Apparently not.

There are always those people who just love to go to different gigs to "hang out" and maybe party a little bit. That's cool, too. But when these two things meet, here is what happens:

Places like The Viper Room--and the old CBGBs, come to think of it--only have one set of bathrooms. Everyone shares. Your columnist went into the men's room at the Viper Room in L.A. Your columnist simply has to urinate. Your columnist is nervous for the show, as he patiently waits his turn for the urinal. Your columnist gets offered a bump of cocaine right there--dick in hand and everything!

I played a standard rock show the next night, and same thing happened--except this time . . . with weed!

Now listen, I will state it again: I find no fault with the people who offer me such things, it's just fuckin' odd sometimes.

If I were in my "heyday" of getting fucked up, these people would have offered me free drugs only once. Guys like me aren't dainty in their usage. All the drugs in that men's room would have been gone in an instant.

I guess my only point with this column is how it all relates to our recent presidential debate: With all of this sharing of drugs, the economy MUST be on the mend. NOW let's focus on getting our troops out of Afghanistan!

More Duff:

-- Q&A: Duff McKagan and Jack White Talk Happy Accidents, Lanegan, and Growing Up With GNR

-- J.P. Patches Made Seattle Bands a Little Bit Different. Seriously

-- Those About to Rock Need Slipknot, Slayer... and a Tall Ice-Cream Cone

-- Hey, What Happened to the Radio?

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