Duff McKagan Responds to Unsolicited Bob Dylan Shout Out
No matter how big a star you get to be, for many musicians there will always be a reverence for the musicians that came before them. In this case, a member of Guns N’ Roses received the ultimate compliment from Bob Dylan, and it had nothing to do with “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” That would be Duff McKagan who was on the receiving end of an unsolicited shoutout from Dylan in a rare 2022 interview.
At the time, Dylan was speaking with the Wall Street Journal when he was asked how he discovered new music nowadays. “Mostly by accident, by chance. If I go looking for something I usually don’t find it. In fact, I never find it. I walk into things intuitively when I’m most likely not looking for anything,” remarked Dylan, before rolling through a number of artists, some more well known than others, that are amongst his current favorites.
It was during this section when he mentioned McKagan, noting, “There’s a Duff McKagan song called ‘Chip Away,’ that has profound meaning for me. It’s a graphic song. Chip away, chip away, like Michelangelo, breaking up solid marble stone to discover the form of King David inside. He didn’t build him from the ground up, he chipped away the stone until he discovered the king. It’s like my own songwriting, I overwrite something, then I chip away lines and phrases until I get to the real thing. Shooter Jennings produced that record. It’s a great song.”
Duff McKagan, “Chip Away”
The song appeared on McKagan’s Tenderness album, and it didn’t take long before the bassist learned of the praise from the iconic singer-songwriter.
“I started getting texts from friends,” recalled McKagan to Classic Rock. “Axl [Rose] went: ‘Hey dude, have you seen this?’ I was a little stunned because… [shakes head] Bob Dylan?! I don’t know him, so for me to be recognized by him as a songwriter was great. I’m still a little blown away.”
The bassist says he reached out to Dylan with a thank you, explaining, “I sent him a deluxe version of Tenderness, and I sent a handwritten card saying: ‘Thank you very much for your kind words, here’s my record. And if you ever want to write a song together…'”
What Duff McKagan Is Currently Promoting
While McKagan is mostly known for his work in Guns N’ Roses, he has found time for his solo music, and this year he issued the new album Lighthouse. It’s currently available in both streaming and physical formats.
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