“Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse” was Duff McKagan’s mantra in the late 80s and early 90s, when he was the hard-partying bass guitarist for Guns N’ Roses.
GnR, as the legendary rock group was known to fans, might have been at the top of the world, but McKagan’s out-of-control lifestyle nearly left him at the bottom of a grave.
Having survived his 20s, McKagan emerged a wiser man with a re-found appreciation for work and life. “Work creatively, live richly, ” has been McKagan’s mantra for the past several decades, as he has remade himself into a Renaissance Man: an author of magazine columns and New York Times best-selling books, founder of a wealth management firm, member of several popular bands that continue to sell out arenas worldwide, and doting husband and father.
“When I was in my 30s, I thought by now I’d be retired and lounging in a big overstuffed chair at home, ” said McKagan in a recent interview from his Seattle home, a respectably gentrified Tudor on the shores of Lake Washington. “That was the fantasy. The reality is that I’m 51 now, and life hasn’t slowed down at all, and I don’t know when it will.”
To manage his busy life, McKagan relies on his BlackBerry device, most recently a Porsche Design P’9983. Indeed, McKagan devoted a whole chapter in his most recent book, How to Be a Man (and other illusions) on why it lines up perfectly with his workstyle
“A BlackBerry is for business. For my business, it’s a place to check and respond to e-mails, post my gig dates through Twitter, and write my columns, ” McKagan said. “I’m a grown man now, father of two teenaged girls, a working musician, published author, who lives a clean, healthy lifestyle. People ask me how I manage all of this. I tell them there are no secrets. You wake up every morning and you have a certain amount of hours to fill with whatever you want. Use those hours, be passionate about creating things, and working with people, and creating community and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.”