Duff McKagan‘s new solo album, Tenderness, tackles a lot of current topics. One track in particular, “Feel,” was inspired by a number of musical deaths including former Velvet Revolver bandmate Scott Weiland, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Prince.
McKagan discussed the song in a recent appearance on Talkin’ Rock with Meltdown and said, “The song ‘Feel’ just kind of … wrote itself in about three minutes. It was just kind of that sigh of loss and also remembrance. And I don’t mention any of their names in the song. I just gave away what it’s about, but I think if you listen to that song with [all of this] in mind, it’ll have an impact.”
McKagan opened up about Weiland’s death saying, “Scott’s death was a thing that…He and I went through a lot before Velvet Revolver and him getting sober. He and I went to the Cascade Mountains for a month and basically did Kung Fu for a month, and it got him off what he was on.”
He continued, “We then started the band. He got his family back, and that was my intention. I have a wife and two girls. He asked me for help, and I said, ‘If you’re ready for help, I can help you, but the way I got sober was through martial arts. So, we can do that.’ And it worked for a while, for a couple of years…Seeing him kind of peel off from that was really sad to watch. I talked to him a bunch. I said, ‘Scott, this is only going to go one place. Both you and I know it.’ And we saw where that went with Scott. I didn’t really know where to place that in my whole thought process.”
As for Prince, McKagan referred to the icon as his musical “deity” and added, “You probably wouldn’t be able to tell by my playing or anything that I’ve done. We all have that person as musicians that really use as touchstones, and Prince was that person for me. Him dying like he did was completely unexpected for me.”
The deaths of Cornell and Bennington were also very personal to McKagan who said, “And then Chris Cornell…Our wives were pregnant at the same time. They had the kids two weeks apart. We hung out a lot when our girls were small, and I’ve known him since I was a teenager…And then Chester. My wife and I are friends with him, his wife and his kids.”
A studio version of “Feel” hasn’t been released yet, but a live version can be heard in the video below.
Tenderness comes out May 31 and is currently available for pre-order on multiple platforms here, with special edition album bundles available at DuffOnline.com.
This interview can be heard in its entirety below.
Erica Banas is rock/classic rock news blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.