Duff McKagan is a rock and roll legend. His work as the bassist for Guns N’ Roses made him one of the most notable bass guitarists in the late 80s and early 90s, and his later band Velvet Revolver showed us that he is a true staple of the rock industry. The man’s 2011 autobiography is a New York Times bestseller, and fans can now see Duff’s story brought to life in the new film It’s So Easy and Other Lies. We spoke with director Chris Duddy about bringing Duff McKagan’s story to the big screen.
Fandom: How did you wind up directing this film?
Chris Duddy: We were friends for about five years before he wrote the book. When the book came out, he asked me to read it and I really responded to it because I didn’t know his backstory. Like most of us, I only knew his story from Guns N’ Roses forward. I just thought that part of his story was interesting. It’s a total rags to riches and survivor story. I love inspirational movies. Guns was inducted into the Hall of Fame and Duff asked me to go to Cleveland with him and shoot some stuff. I went and I didn’t know what to expect.
Fandom: Who is the best audience for It’s So Easy?
Chris Duddy: I grew up with Guns N’ Roses and that era of rock. He’s got that fan base for sure, but he has a lot of the next generation of fans also because he’s stayed relevant in the music business. The story is one of inspiration, and I think it can reach a wider audience because it is that kind of a movie. It’s not just about Guns N’ Roses or Velvet Revolver; it’s about a man’s journey and the ups and downs in it. I don’t know many people who couldn’t relate to this kind of movie.
Fandom: What were your favorite parts of Duff’s story?
Chris Duddy: I survived a helicopter crash, and when you get a second chance like that something happens in your brain and you get this kind of clarity. The lucky ones that realize they get a second chance and they do something with it is an incredibly empowering feeling. One of the most fun and interesting things was when I went to Seattle and started meeting people he grew up with there. Duff was really pivotal to the music scene in Seattle in the early 80s. I didn’t know any of that pre-Grunge history and Duff reads these flyers to the camera. It was super cool.
Fandom: What are you a fan of?
Chris Duddy: I grew up in the same era and I loved Guns N’ Roses. I was a big Led Zeppelin fan. I’m kind of the classic rock guy. I love movies that are inspirational and uplifting and are hero stories. I always responded to those movies as a kid and even now. I hope this movie touches people that way. I hope it’s uplifting for people and they come away with some good feelings.
It’s So Easy and Other Lies will be shown in select theaters across the country this Friday, June 3.