Duff McKagan wants to be of service with more than his music these days.
The Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver bassist, who's now back to fronting his other band, Duff McKagan's Loaded, is also busy these days writing a weekly financial column Duffnomics, for Playboy.com. He's qualified -- McKagan holds a finance degree from Seattle University -- and McKagan tells Billboard.com that he wants to take economics and finances "back to basics" to help his readers understand what's going on in this current state of crisis.
"If you're like me, you get kind of sick watching guys talk about market-to-market and aggregates and...'What the hell did you say to me?'," McKagan explains. "I actually know what they're saying, but I know that 99 percent of us don't. We're getting all this information, and people don't really understand what happened to our economy, why it failed, what the credit crunch actually meant, what predatory lending practices were."
McKagan -- who predicts that the U.S. economy "will recover" in time -- says he's using reader feedback to help him determine what to write about. "People ask me, 'Is now a good time to buy a house?' so, OK, I'll write about that. Or I'll get an email, 'Hey Duff, can you tell us about' this or that, then I'll write about those things. I just want to give people solid information so they can get some knowledge and get prepared for when this economy turns around."
But economics alone could make Duff a dull boy, so he's rocking again with Loaded, a group he formed in 1998 but put aside when Velvet Revolver launched. The group's "Sick," its first full album since "Dark Days" in 2001, comes out April 7, and McKagan says getting Loaded going again was a nice antidote to the rancor in Velvet Revolver that led to Scott Weiland's departure last year.
"We got together and these songs started coming, and we were having such a good time," McKagan says. "I was saving myself, really, and it worked. I didn't know if Loaded was going to be the thing to save me or not. I was just kind of swimming around, but this was so much fun, and ('Sick') is one of the most inspired records I've been a part of."
McKagan is taking Loaded on the road this spring, starting with a gig at the 98 Rock Fest on April 10 in Tampa, but he says Velvet Revolver's search for a singer is continuing in earnest as well.
"We will find a singer at some point," he predicts. "We just have to find the guy. There's bee a couple guys I thought were perfect, but everybody's got to be 100 percent into it. We have an albums worth of material -- great, big, huge songs. Zepplinesque. Once we find the guy that can complement those and take it to another level, that'll take off. But I can't give any sort of timeline at all."