What the...??

Duff McKagan Could Have Saved Kurt Cobain AND Philip Seymour Hoffman


super mckaganI know we’ve been writing about Duff a lot lately. I promise that this is it for awhile. But this is the kind of story that’s just too morbidly funny not to share.

Because the story suggests that Duff McKagan is either the world’s shittiest superhero… or just the angel of death.

As you may or may not recall that, in a 2010 column for Seattle Weekly, McKagan claimed to be one of the last people, if not the last person, to see Kurt Cobain alive:

“I was on the same plane as Kurt on that flight up from Los Angeles a couple of days before his death. We were both fucked-up. We talked, but not in depth. I was in my hell, and he in his, and this we both seemed to understand.

“When we arrived in Seattle and went to baggage claim, the thought crossed my mind to invite him over to my house then and there. I had a real sense that he was lonely and alone that night. I felt the same way. There was a mad rush of people there in public. I was in a big rock band, and he was in a big rock band. We were standing next to each other. Lots of people stopped to gawk. I lost my train of thought for a minute, and Kurt said good-bye and left to his waiting town car. His new house was right down the street from my new house. I received a call from my manager two days later that Kurt had died.”

McKagan then went on to explain why he didn’t do more for his fellow depressed-junkie-rockstar:

“It is possible that I was incapable of feeling sadness, incapable of picking up the phone and calling Krist or Dave. In truth, I had such low self-esteem at that point, that I am sure I felt my call would have no impact on these fine men.”

Okay. So that’s a sad story, right?

Now, here’s where things get odd. In an excerpt The Village Voice has published from McKagan’s new book, How to Be a Man, the bassist recalls a more recent instance of seeing something and not saying something:

“The place we were staying at in the West Village was on a tiny street with very little car traffic. The din of the big city seemed miles away. On Saturday, we had plans to go to Times Square to see Super Bowl Lane. We were going to go see the Foo Fighters later that night and maybe get some Super Bowl T-shirts for friends and family back home. Exiting the apartment, we ran smack-dab into a very famous actor. Being as this was an almost private street, we simply nodded to him and kept on our way, not wanting to intrude on his private life. Ed commented that the actor had been clean for something like 23 years, but he’d heard that he’d recently started using again. Should we turn around and offer to take the guy for a coffee? As I said, keeping sober is a group effort. We trudged on through the cold, discussing the matter.

“Later that afternoon when we came back, we saw the actor in the street again and could tell that he was waiting to score. Should we offer our friendship and a safe place? This is sometimes the dilemma for sober guys — as we all know, you can’t force a guy to get sober. He has to come around to it himself. We went back into the apartment.”

And then:

“After the show, we were visibly giddy about the game, which was only a few hours away. We took a cab back down to the apartment and got dropped off in front of the place at about 1:30 a.m. We ran smack-dab into the actor again. On the street. Waiting. Again. Shit, man. We thought that maybe he was on a last run before getting clean. Surely if we saw him again in the morning, we’d have to say something.

“Bro, c’mon. We’ve been there. Come on out of the cold. We understand. We’ve been there. Really. We’ve been there.

“The next morning — Sunday, February 2, 2014, the morning of the Super Bowl — I heard a ruckus outside our front door. I went out to take a look. There was an ambulance and police, and a whole crowd of press people and fans. The actor had OD’d and died sometime after we saw him at 1:30 a.m. the night before.(Out of respect for his children and our joint association with a ‘fraternity,’ I don’t feel comfortable calling him out by name.)”

McKagan doesn’t feel comfortable calling the famous actor out by name, but he does feel comfortable telling you that the actor OD’d on February 2, 2014 in the West Village. Now, I’m no detective, but it seems to me that McKagan is either talking about Philip Seymour Hoffman, or he’s talking about Philip Seymour Hoffman. It’s also possible he’s referring to Philip Seymour Hoffman.


ANYWAY, the point is this: McKagan has now shared two stories in which he, a recovering addict, was one of the last people to see another famous addict before said addict died. In both cases, he claims he had thoughts about maybe trying to talk to them and to be a friend, especially as someone who has gone through the same shit they’re going through… and in both cases, he didn’t do anything.

Soooo… I wonder if he realizes that doesn’t make him look so cool?

But whatever. It’s not Duff’s job to be a hero! He didn’t know those dudes well, or at all. There is no reason to frame him as a “shitty superhero,” and I apologize for doing so.

I do not, however, apologize for calling him The Angel of Death. I dunno about you, but if I ever see McKagan while I’m drugs, I am calling my attorney and making sure all my affairs are in order, because, clearly, my hours are numbered.

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