Duff McKagan has detailed the conflicting feelings he experienced following the success of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”

The single, released in 1988, became GNR’s first No. 1 hit. In a conversation with Stereogum, McKagan recalled how strange things felt at the time.

“It was kind of mind fucking blowing,” the bassist admitted. “You go through life, nobody recognizes you in a grocery store, why would they? And then suddenly, people are looking at you at the grocery store, because you’re on the cover of Rolling Stone, where they have the magazines right by the checkout stands. And you’re plastered across, and they’ve seen your video [on MTV] every fucking 20 minutes. And that kind of being recognized, it was mind blowing.”

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“I had punk rock guilt, that’s an actual thing,” the bassist explained. “But then I realized, nobody gave any of this shit to me. I worked my ass off for this thing. I don’t know how to deal with it. Yeah, and it took me many years to learn how to [McKagan using air quotes] ‘deal with it.’”

McKagan went on to clarify exactly what “punk rock guilt” felt like.

“There’s plenty of other good, great players too. It’s almost like, ‘Why was it me?’” the rocker explained. “It was that kind of thing.”

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The bassist noted that his guilt started going away when other musicians whose talent he admired started getting their own success.

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“What kind of alleviated that was a lot of my friends from Seattle, their bands started to just, about two years later, break through,” McKagan remarked. “So I’m like, ‘Okay, Soundgarden, Kim [Thayil] and Chris [Cornell]. They’re breaking. So okay. Now I feel alright. Now things are becoming even. Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam… Mike McCready finally got his. He’s a good player.’ He was one of the guys. I felt guilty, like, ‘How come not him,’ you know?”

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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff

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