Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan has dropped a new EP called This Is the Song, which serves as his first bit of solo music since his 2019 album Tenderness.
The EP, released today (May 10) in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, features three acoustic songs — the title track, “Pass You By” and “It Can’t Come Too Soon.” The title track also has an accompanying music video, which can be seen below.
In a statement about the EP, McKagan explained that he moved into his own recording studio in 2019, which gave him the opportunity to explore bits of songs he’d written in the past. A few months later, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a global lockdown, and the rocker, who’s struggled with a form panic disorder since he was a teenager, felt the effects of the isolation intensely.
Thus, the title track of the EP mentions medications such as Lexapro, which is commonly used to treat depression and anxiety, and describes his experience “scraping for sanity.”
“‘This Is the Song’ was written in the middle of a panic attack. 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,” he wrote. “For those of you who have never experienced something like this, count yourselves blessed. To those of you who recognize what I am talking about: you are not alone!”
“It Can’t Come Too Soon” was inspired by McKagan’s experience recording a vocal contribution for Shaina Sheperd’s cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” in 2019. “Pass You By” was written after the rocker and one of his friends were riding their motorcycles in the Pacific Northwest countryside, and were circled and questioned by a woman on a horse. Given the rocker’s self-proclaimed mantra is “Don’t be a dick,” this situation clearly stuck with him.
“Anyhow, it was really just kind of embarrassing, and in the end, I could totally sense her fear of the ‘other,’ which I guess we were to her at that moment,” McKagan noted. “City boys, I suppose… coming out to stir shit up. But alas, this was just a sad indication of where things have gotten to in some places.”
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“Man, just be cool… We are all on this lovely planet together… No need to freak the fuck out,” he concluded.
Read the full statement behind This Is the Song on the musician’s website, and stream the EP below.
Though McKagan embarked on a solo tour in support of Tenderness throughout 2019, he’ll be busy over the next few months on the road with Guns N’ Roses. The band’s 2023 touring kicks off June 1 in Abu Dhabi, then they’ll hit Europe over the summer before returning for a North American run starting in early August. See all of the dates and get tickets here.
Duff McKagan, “This Is the Song” Official Video
Duff McKagan, This Is the Song EP Artwork
Duff McKagan, This Is the Song EP
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Big band behind, big things ahead!