LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 31: Musician Duff McKagan of Loaded performs onstage during the 8th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit at Club Nokia on May 31, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The MusiCares MAP Fund benefit raises resources for the MusiCares MAP Fund, which provides members of the music community access to addiction recovery treatment. More information at musicares.org. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)

Duff McKagan has struggled with panic attacks in the past. Now, the Guns N’ Roses bass player has released a three-track EP, This Is the Song, to help recognize mental health awareness month.

This Is the Song was written in the middle of a panic attack,” McKagan said in a press release. “I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t see straight, and lately, I have thankfully found my acoustic guitar as a refuge. If I just hold on to that guitar, play chords, and hum melodies, I can start to climb my way out of that hole.” He added, “For those of you who have never experienced something like this, count yourselves blessed. To those of you who recognize what I am talking about: You are not alone!”

Duff McKagan: Panic attacks history

This isn’t the first time McKagan has opened up about his mental health. Back in 2020, he spoke with Lily Cornell, Chris Cornell’s daughter, about it in her interview series, Mind Wide Open. McKagan went in-depth about his experiences with panic attacks and said he experienced his first one at 16. He added that he coped with those attacks in some healthy and not-so-healthy ways. In 1994, he got sober, and now, he uses meditation and martial arts to help with his mental health.

His bandmate has also been a help. “Slash has kind of been a safe person for me throughout this,” McKagan said. “I met him when I first moved to L.A. I told him I have these panic attacks. He listened. He’s like, ‘OK, well if it happens, we’ll deal with it.’ I had plenty around him, and he knows just to talk to me about something – anything but the panic attack. He’ll start talking about, ‘Hey, that first Led Zeppelin record, did you notice they went into a … ?'”

Listen to McKagan’s new EP here.

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Anne Erickson's love for music drew her into radio. She started on the airwaves shortly after graduating from MSU. Anne has a passion for rock and metal, and she also fronts the band Upon Wings. Email Anne at erickson@WRIF.com, follow her on Instagram at @EricksonAnne and tweet at her @AnneErickson! Anne covers the Detroit, Philadelphia and Las Vegas markets and beyond.

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