Seattle Native Duff McKagan Tells His Story at the Excitement and the Excess as the bass player in one of Rock and Roll’s most notorious groups.
I love Guns n’ Roses, I always have, unashamedly.
Director Christopher Duddy has put together a compelling look at the life of an early Seattle music scene pioneer. From his days as a punk rocker to his departure to Los Angeles, Duff McKagan’s story plays out like every young musician’s dream. However, with every accomplishment along the road, there comes peril – and Duff’s story is not without that.
Based on McKagan’s best-selling biography of the same name, It’s So Easy‘s narrative is provided to us by way of McKagan himself reading from his book and performing with his band at a 2014 show at Seattle’s Moore Theater. By way of animation, many of the early stories are illustrated with some great comedic moments that help better understand McKagan’s naivete towards the situations that he found himself in. The interspersing of these readings and performances help the story flow and allow you to get in a little closer with the film’s subject.
I went into the film expecting some substantial GnR footage and screen time based on the trailer that I was shown, but I was pleasantly surprised with how well balanced Christopher Duddy was able to tell Duff’s stories episodically. We watch as Duff falls victim to the Rock n’ Roll excess of the 80’s and then to his ultimate rock bottom as he clings to life while battling near fatal pancreatitis.
From there his story is an inspirational one, but still marred with challenge and temptation and setbacks. His return to the scene by way of the super-group Velvet Revolver is chronicled and in that environment old habits come back hard and viciously.
This is great documentary for Rock fans, it plays like a really bad-ass Behind the Music but with some one-of-a-kind footage of the early days of GnR. According to Duddy, he was given access to the first fifty concerts that GnR performed during the early days of the band and said having to pick only a select amount of footage was the most difficult part of the project. What is shown is awesome and I hope that somehow this will eventually be widely released. He also made mention of a possible GnR reunion in the coming future, so as long as Axl doesn’t have another freak out, we may be treated to some more of the best Rock n’ Roll of the last thirty years. Go see this emotional and inspirational documentary, you won’t be disappointed.
It’s So Easy and Other Lies plays one last time as part of SIFF on June 4th at 9:30pm at the Egyptian Theater.