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Duff McKagan Lists His Tour Bus Rules

Duff McKagan
Mark Metcalfe, Getty Images

After a few decades on the road, Duff McKagan has learned a thing or two about how to keep people from going crazy when they’re stuck with each other for extended periods of time. The former Guns N’ Roses bassist shared a bit of that wisdom in his latest column for the Seattle Weekly, titled ‘Top 12 Tour Bus Rules and No-Nos.’

McKagan, currently on tour in Ireland with the Walking Papers, has been traveling with the Kings of Chaos, a loosely assembled all-star collective that includes Slash, Matt Sorum, Def Leppard‘s Joe Elliott and Glenn Hughes. You can check out footage from a recent South African gig here and read McKagan’s touring wisdom below.

12. Pass ass-to-ass. We all know the most important “ass-to-ass dog” technique when passing each other in tight quarters (no, this not a yoga pose!). It can get a little cute if one turns frontal suddenly on an ass-to-ass pass.

11. Personal hygiene. This is key. Crap breath or stank butt can lower morale and kill an appetite (a band does need to eat, and stinky body odor from an orifice or two can kill one’s will for nourishment).

10. Don’t be serious. You will [be] ganged up on in no time, and the butt of every tour joke. Join in on the fun … be the river flowing down stream and not the rock trying to hold the river back.

9. Know some history. It’s always cool to know something about where you are. For instance, Dublin is in Ireland. Belfast is in North Ireland. Do not f–k this up (broken fingers aren’t good for guitar playing). History is good tour bus or van convo too, a bonus.

8. Don’t be a d–k. Life can be hard enough on the road with the mishaps that present themselves in everyday scheduling conflicts. Don’t be that guy making a mountain out of a molehill.

7. Have a look around: Go out a take walk where you are. People and different cultures are so damn interesting, and remember: Know where you are going. Getting mugged with tour-float dough ain’t good for the bottom line.

6. Don’t get stuck: If you are having a pint or five after the show, it is always a good idea to grab a card from the hotel where you are staying. One doesn’t want to go through the old “I have no idea where I am staying, Mr. Cab Driver” debacle. Could be an expensive cab ride, driving around seeing if things look familiar.

5. Listen up, Crew: Please don’t have a drink until the last bit of gear is packed away. Band members can be pretty unforgiving about a left-behind guitar (See No. 6).

4. There is no “I” in “Team”: It may be your name on the tour poster or the marquee, but it takes the efforts of everyone on that tour to make things happen. T.E.A.M. = Together Everyone Achieves More. (Again, No. 6.)

3. Remember why you are there: Music is a gift and one of the greatest human ways to communicate. Go kick some ass.

2. Shut it. Never miss an opportunity to keep your damn mouth shut. Whether you are talking to an audience, boring them with your banter or regaling stories on the tour bus, don’t talk too much!

1. Sleep, little baby, sleep: If one of you is sleeping, then everything is out of limits. Sleep is so hard to get enough of out here that if one of you is catching some zzzzs — anywhere — he or she must not be disturbed (and if you are that guy that wakes up a sleeper, the rule-of-the-road is that you must get kicked squarely in the nards. No ifs, ands or buts!).

So there you go. If you ever find yourself on a tour bus with McKagan, you now know the rules.

Next: Top 10 Guns N' Roses Songs

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