"It’s So Easy: And Other Lies" (Book)
Reviewed by Rockstar_Scribbler on November 13, 2011
Duff McKagan has written an autobiography titled “It’s So Easy: and other lies.” For those hesitant to read another rock star drug book or are burned out from reading ex-Guns N’ Roses bios, I’m here to say this one is better than most.
The book begins with Duff preparing for his teenage daughter’s birthday party. From this setting he reflects on his childhood (taking acid, sex, and stealing cars) and the height of his addiction, culminating with him in bed unable to move because his pancreas has exploded. Back to his daughter’s party; then toggle back to bad decisions and dropping out of high school.
McKagan’s transformation from punk fan to Guns’ bassist is covered in the first half of the book. There are a few nuggets not covered in the other books (autobiography’s written by Slash and Steven Adler), but most of the stories do in fact match up. Sleeping (living) in the same storage unit rented for band rehearsal, the back alley parties, and yes, frequent trips to the pet store to buy a certain item used to cure Syphilis. From a band standpoint, this is all Duff ever wanted. Then his band blew up, followed by his drinking. Then his pancreas blew up.
Most of the Guns N’ Roses tales parallel McKagan’s growing dependence on alcohol and cocaine. The panic attacks on airplanes, the long tours, and going on late (a reoccurring issue leading to a felling of disappointment, masked by more drinking); escalating to consumption of gallons of vodka, or cases of wine on a daily basis. It was after his pancreas exploded, and seeing his mother (who was also ill) put her life on hold to care for her son, a time when he should have been caring for her.
As for Guns N’ Roses, Duff discusses his relationships with the other members in a mostly positive manner. Despite some frustration with lead singer, Axl Rose, McKagan admits he never said anything, too afraid of his own problems being brought to light. When he left the band there was no animosity, it was time to move on.
From chapter 36 through the next ten chapters is a story of rehabilitation. McKagan obsessively takes up mountain biking, shops sober for groceries, and finds that now in his thirties; he is functioning sober for the first time of his life. Duff begins investing in Microsoft and Starbucks, goes to college, and starts a family.
The last third of his book details his new life as a family man. Despite what many would call a full life, it appears McKagan values his wife, daughters, and even dogs more than any experience up to this point. He is no longer running from his anxiety or masking his frustration with alcohol. He continues to make music and has taken up writing (in addition to his autobiography) columns for Playboy.com, SeattleWeekly.com, and ESPN.com. He is happy.
The final chapter reunites Duff McKagan and Axl Rose together (after many years of not speaking) in London, laughing and reminiscing of the good ‘ole days. They shared their time over virgin Mojitos. Later that night Duff would join the “new” Guns N’ Roses on stage.
Highs: Duff McKagan’s rise from near death, overcoming his addictions and taking control of his life.
Lows: Despite McKagan’s side of the story, a lot of the early Guns N’ Roses stories have been covered.
Bottom line: It’s So Easy… is a great read for anyone who wants REAL honest and personal story of what it was like to be in one of the biggest rock bands of all time!