How to Be a Man (And Other Illusions) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Duff McKagan

How to Be a Man (And Other Illusions)

Published by Da Capo

Jul 30, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


How to Be a Man (And Other Illusions) is the second book from Duff McKagan, sometime bass player for Guns 'n' Roses, among many other bands. McKagan's first book, the New York Times best selling It's So Easy (And Other Lies), focused on the juicy, page-turning details of his destructive lifestyle, addictions, and recovery. How to Be a Man focuses on the stable, healthy, and pragmatic person 51-year-old McKagan is now. Although McKagan has been known to say that despite the title, this is not a "how to" book, with no narrative and chapter titles that are directives, it's not not a "how to" book.

Stemming from a column of the same name McKagan penned for the Seattle Weekly, How to Be a Man imparts manly wisdom via anecdotes from his life, both rock 'n' roll and other aspects such as fatherhood, marital life, fitness, and travel. There are many tour stories, including Duff's brief rejoining of Guns 'n' Roses. There are entire chapters dedicated to albums you should own, which McKagan annotates with so much passion, his enthusiasm particularly palpable when connecting certain ones back to himself; and books you should read, which might only be of interest if you're a history buff as McKagan is.

At times too sentimental and at others too awkward, a hard-to-avoid pitfall when writing in first person, there are huge chunks of How to Be a Man where the tone is uncomfortable. McKagan sounds more natural in interviews about the book than in the book itself. Still, McKagan has many moments where his voice is touching, including his reunion with Axl Rose and an open letter from a fan regarding Guns 'n' Roses' induction in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame-which is not in McKagan's voice, but its inclusion makes his stronger. The feeling upon reading How to Be a Man is that McKagan is honest and grateful, and he is a fan. As far as his tips on how to be a man, this stuff is pretty elementary. If your guy doesn't already know most of it, you should probably cut him loose, or buy him the book. (


Author rating: 6/10

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