Duff McKagan: “Lemmy’s bass playing reminded me that you can still be punk as f**k on bass”

McKagan calls the late Motörhead leader “an amalgamation of all the best things within punk and metal.”

Lemmy and Duff McKagan from Guns N' Roses

Image: Getty Images

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The bass playing of Lemmy Kilmister is a study on how one can be “punk as fuck on bass”, according to Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan.

Speaking to Bass Player, McKagan shares how the late Motörhead leader played an instrumental part in shaping his sound, saying: “Lemmy’s bass playing reminded me that you can still be punk as fuck on bass.”

“But the thing with that is you have to hit the notes, you know? You’ve got to hit the notes; you can’t go out there and be a sloppy motherfucker. Lemmy showed me the importance of being aggressive, and that when you play with a pick, you can jump, but don’t be playing two notes at once.”

He continues: “It’s so important to hit your notes, and that guy was so fucking good at doing that. His sound was massive; it sounded like it was just a mess of bass, but he was fucking hitting all the notes.”

McKagan also says that those who’ve seen Motörhead live would know that Lemmy “knew what he was doing”.

“It was obvious. But also, come on, man, Lemmy was an amalgamation of all the best things within punk and metal. He didn’t take any bullshit, and I loved that.”

In other news, Duff McKagan recently shared his thoughts on the use of AI in songwriting, saying [via NME]: “You’re gonna always have guys like me who [have] just got their middle finger up. They’re gonna just keep creating and not even pay attention to it, really. I don’t pay attention to it. I’m not worried about it. It’s not gonna affect my creativity.”

The musician added that much of his songwriting is inspired by the support he has from his family: “I’ve got a really good situation at home… having that kind of ease at home and that support has really done wonders for me.”

McKagan’s upcoming solo album, Lighthouse, will be released on 20 October.

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