GN’R’s Duff McKagan remembers friendship and jamming with Mark Lanegan

Mark Lanegan passed away February 22, 2022 — two years ago Thursday. Among his many admirers in the music industry is Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, who was good friends with the late Screaming Trees frontman.

“I met Mark sometime in the mid-’90s,” McKagan tells ABC Audio. “He’s also from the Northwest. We became friends and I started playing on some of his recordings, just as friends. Because we were both sober guys, to be frank.”

With Screaming Trees, Lanegan helped pioneer the grunge sound that would make Seattle and the Pacific Northwest the defining music scene of the early ’90s. He also had a prolific solo career, and sang with Queens of the Stone Age. In 2008, he released a collaborative album with Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs under the moniker The Gutter Twins.

McKagan was a fan of all Lanegan’s work and remembers jamming with The Gutter Twins during a benefit concert some years back.

“It went so well,” McKagan shares. “I played rhythm guitar and I sang, I knew all the songs. I’m like, ‘I’m in! What backup do you want me to sing? I’ll sing that one."”

According to McKagan, that live collaboration almost continued into the studio.

“They’re like, ‘Man, maybe it’s gonna be The Gutter Trio next record, what do you think?"” McKagan recalls. “I’m like, ‘I’m in!’ But we weren’t able to do that.” 

McKagan’s new solo album, Lighthouse, is dedicated in part to Lanegan.

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