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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  May 2, 2017 4:30am-5:01am BST

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leader, kim jong—un, despite weeks of tough talk against his regime. however, a white house spokesman said the right conditions for a meeting did not yet exist. at the start the final week of campaigning in the french presidential race, the two rivals have criticised each other. marine lepen characterised emmanuel macron as the establishment candidate. he said she "fed off hate". britain's prime minister theresa may has dismissed reports of a sharp disagreement with the president of european commission during a dinner last week. a german newspaper has suggested they clashed over the terms of brexit. after months of anti—government protests, the president of venezuela, nicolas maduro, has called for a new citizens assembly with powers to rewrite the constitution. he said it would bypass the opposition—controlled parliament. time now for hardtalk. my
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my guest today nearly drink and self to death. duff mckagan is one of the founding members of guns n roses — the rock band who became as well known for their bad behaviour as for their music. for mckagan that stopped when, as he puts it, his pancreas exploded. it prompted him to sober up, go to university and now alongside his finance column for playboy, he has his own wealth management firm. how does a bad boy of rock become a businessman? duff mckagan, welcome to hardtalk. tell us about that moment, i suppose it was the moment that saved you, when your
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pancreas just gave up? yes, i kind of found myself getting closer and closer to insanity as my drinking got worse and the drug intake got worse. i knew something would give. i even got to a point... the reason i wrote this book, so many people have asked me how did you get so bad? how many drugs did you do? to a normal person it would sound like a huge number, it would not mean anything. i wrote about the journey into my insanity. fortunately for me my pancreas did go, or else i would have drowned in vomit or something. you nearly died. you were begging the surgeon to kill you.
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it was a real wake—up call. i was given morphine and lithium for the alcohol withdrawal, it was a general detox off the alcohol. it was a gentle relapse off the alcohol. i was in the hospital for a couple of weeks. it gave me time to think about how i got there. i saw things in that hospital. i am the last of eight kids. i saw my mother coming in, she had parkinson's. she came in and saw her youngest son with tubes running in and out of him. i was on my deathbed. she has parkinson's. i knew the order of things was absolutely wrong right there and then. i thought if nothing else i will make it better for my mother. i will rise to the occasion of being a good son to my mother.
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that is what started my upward swing. 0k. you talk about your pancreas exploding, you described it as third—degree burns on your internal organs. yeah, what it felt like to me... it started as a small burning pain. i did not know what it was. i thought maybe i had some gas or something. i was lying in bed and the pain kind of spread. itjust keeps on getting worse. suddenly, itjust went everywhere in my abdomen. i could not move. the enzymes that digest your food spilt out. how do you recover from that? are you still feeling the effects? that was 17 years ago now. they cut out part of your pancreas?
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no, they did not. that was the miracle thing. your pancreas expands, mine expanded to the size of an american football. the pancreas is not a large organ. it expanded and burst. my best friend found me upstairs. they took me to emergency. i knew about the effects of opiates... when i had the morphine and the pain was not going away i knew i was in trouble. the surgeon came and said that they would have to cut out some of the pancreas. and that i would be diabetic or whatever. that is when i asked, just kill me. the pain was so bad, the morphine was not doing anything for it.
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it was very real at that moment. everything was very real. it happened because of the drinking. you say that normal people just don't understand. the quantity you described, you moved on to 10 bottles of wine a day? that is when i was trying to taper down. and you swapped vodka for wine. i went down from vodka. give or take, many times give, a gallon of vodka a day. i was drinking ten bottles of wine a day. this is during the time of guns n roses, we are talking about years of abuse. well, yeah. there were a good two and a half to three years that were brutal. i was self medicating panic attacks that i had from my teenage years. i thought i would deal with my panic attacks when i have time. guess what folks?
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rarely... life is busy. you rarely get the time to deal with that thing you are self medicating for. ifound booze could dampen down a panic attack. and i found it out fairly early. let's go back. 1986, you describe this in your book, it is an autobiography, it's so easy and other lies, you describe how one year in 1986 the group members of guns n roses are in a one—room rented flat, no money, a pretty abysmal life. you are ransacking the girls‘ handbags to take money. some of you are selling drugs, it is a pretty low of life for you, but within one year of that you have
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this best selling debut album of all time. that change must have been phenomenal? there is no how—to video or manual for what happens in your life when a record like our first record finally takes off. we all played in bands before guns n roses. we were used to punk—rock tours and living from hand to mouth, it was not that abysmal to us. we were just living. we had our band and we believed in our band. we were excited, we were 20 years old. barely men. not even men. we believed in the group. we finally got a record deal and we made the record that we wanted to make. we toured and toured, one year later the record took off. and the change was quite amazing. let's have a reminder
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of one of those songs from that first album. 0k. # brave all the thunder and the rain. # to quietly pass me by. # whoa, sweet child of mine. that was sweet child of mine, that was at a time you were hiring private planes for your tours. in 1988 when that single came out, that is finally when the record took off. that went to number one in america. we were making $100 a week and then the records started selling. we came off that tour and i remember the first big cheque i got was for $80,000.
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it might as well have been $1 billion. i did not know anything about money. but i could not go to my elder brothers and sisters and ask, what do i do with $80,000? what is a stock and a bond? what is a savings account? what is a mortgage? what is in a mortgage? what is a loan? getting that $80,000 was just a windfall. that was the beginning of a lot more cheques to come. when you listen to that music, and you think back, how do you feel? i listen to that song a lot. i do not spend a lot
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of time looking back. going forward, my life's always going forward, i have two daughters, i have a business, i write two columns a week. everything is so much in the present. sitting down to write the stories in this book, for the first time i took some time and evaluated my thing, my life. how i got to that point. how i got out. what happened to me with guns n roses... and what happened with velvet revolver. all the bad stuff that happened, you always think it was someone else's fault, all the good things it was me involved. writing the book, i was involved in some of the bad stuff. one of the charges against the group was a charge of misogyny,
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in part because of the first album cover. a picture of a robot standing over an assaulted woman. robert williams. she is exposed. her knickers around her calves. and you were criticised for that. also for the lyrics, "turn around, bitch. i've got a use for you." were you guilty of misogyny? i wrote those lyrics for that song. it was very much a tongue—in—cheek song. not misogynist in any way. how do you explain it to your daughters? you have teenage daughters. there is a spirit of rock n roll that to me is far and above misogyny
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or homophobia or any of those things. there isjust like this primal sex. and rock'n'roll are just hand in hand. how would i explain it to my daughters? you make the point that you are responsible for some of this stuff. isn't that spirit of rock'n‘roll responsible for influencing people in the way that they see things? um, ithink... i give humans a lot more credit. if something i write influences them in a bad way, which i rarely ever hear about — 99.9% of the time people say to me,
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your music changed my life. it is always a positive thing. it is only one or two instances, usually something that happened at a concert, maybe someone falling in the mud and drowning, that is way more brutal for me. you had two fans crushed to death in 1988. at one of your concerts. the lifestyle that you were leading, the influence you must have had on people, part of it, we could not have made the music if it was not for what you're doing... what do you mean? there was one point at which he talked about: "we have to go out on the edge to get the songs that we got." i think so. yes, you have to live. for honest rock and roll you cannot imagine, especially the subjects we are talking about, cops and crime.
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it is all about the life... the drink and drugs were essential to the rock music? to our songs — i'm not saying essential to rock music, period. they were essential to that record that we made in 1986 that came out in ‘87. it was a record that spoke to an awful lot of people. i wonder if you think it influenced them ? i think we were just being honest about what was going on around us. i think that's why it spoke to so many — because what was on the radio at that time in rock music was just sort of a lie. it was sprinkled—up pop—rock music, and it wasn't speaking to anybody. it was speaking to little girls who were going to the mall. and there was a whole rest of us who were out there that were living
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this real life, and if you remember, there was a recession in the early ‘80s and there were all these things that people my age lived through. we were this band — a lot of other bands like us were speaking the truth. there were great punk—rock bands and so on and so forth that were speaking the truth. it wasn't like we were making a political statement, or anything close to it. we just wrote honest songs about stuff we were going through. that it spoke to a lot of other people wasn't — were we trying to speak to a lot? we didn't think ten people would buy our record, but a lot more than that bought our record. 0k. when you look at the price of that — there was a moment, as you describe it in 1991, where you find yourself in your walk—in closet with a gun, ready to follow the guy you knew, kurt cobain, a few years before? we're mixing up a few different things. my addictions and so on and so forth had — guns n' roses made my life,
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in a band that got huge. didn't get any time to address my panic disorder, which was really the root of my whole drinking and self—medicating. so i don't want to confuse or certainly not blame guns n' roses or rock'n‘roll or anything that silly for my addiction. my addiction is my addiction. it was something i had to come to terms with outside of rock'n'roll. so you would have had the same addictions, irrespective of the band and the success? who knows? the only life i know is the one i lived, you know? i know addicts — a lot of them — in recovery that had wholly different experiences in life than i did. completely different.
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some that were stockbrokers. and some that were very successful, and still are. and some that aren't, and were never successful. who knows where addiction really comes from? it was fascinating to read the account of how you got out of it. the conventional route is via rehab. you didn't do that. it was mountain biking, in a sense, that first saved you? yeah. and that was — i mean, you shut yourself off in la and in your house on your own, and you just rode a bike? yeah. and became obsessional about it. well, i rode my bike because — for the first few months, i still had the shakes, so riding the bike was the only thing... i didn't know anybody sober, so i didn't have, like — i didn't know anybody in those fellowships that i know about now. but i just didn't
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know anybody there. so all i knew was i had this bike, and i rode it, and i got this sort of — at first it was like self—flagellation — you see the catholic parades — i felt like i was that guy going up the hills. kind of beating myself up a bit forfailing my mum, some of my friends and those types of things — my family. but it also started to make me feel whole. i was drinking water. i was doing really — i didn't drink water for like ten years. literally. i started eating food as fuel, like healthy food, and reading books. i watched a ken burns documentary on the civil war and got fascinated and started reading about the civil war, and ijust started reading. you also came across some financial statements in your basement you didn't understand, and were too embarrassed to ask anybody. and that set you off on this quest to understand finance, which is, in large part, your life now. it is.
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it is a part of my life. so yeah, i found these financial statements in my basement, and i was 30 years old, i was sober, i was — a millionaire. yes. and i didn't know what a stock or a bond was. i was too embarrassed to ask anybody else, really. and i didn't trust a lot of people in my industry. and i didn't have anybody to really go to. so i went to school. i went and got into this class at a community college in which it covered financial statements. i could take the information i got at class one night and take it straight home. i could be in class and say, "that's exactly what i'm looking for!" eventually i brought a financial statement, blacked out the numbers, and brought it to my professor and said, "i'm having a problem with this." he said, "they are misleading. these aren't classic financial statements. they're a little misleading."
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we weren't blatantly ripped off, but there was, um, commissions and things taken off in places that i would never allow to happen now. as i matriculated through school, i got very interested in academia. got into a school, eventually — seattle u. i didn't graduate high school, so getting into seattle u, i had tojump through a bunch of academic hoops — community college, junior college, taking math, taking things to get myself to the level to get in there. such that you were in a situation where your first playboy column — they approached you, you've got this duffonomics — you refer to "my love of academia — don't laugh." you love it? i do love it. i hope to continue at some point. i've been in the uk for the last couple weeks, and i love to work
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out, as we were talking about. i was in oxford the other day, and some guy tells me, "there's a gym down the street." i saw a guy in gym clothes and i said, "where's the gym?" he said, "it's down the street." it was the oxford gym, oxford university gym. there i am on the campus working out in the gym. i just love those places, those places of higher learning. my point is, i was in school, taking math — i wasn't even in business school yet — and i started getting calls from my peers. fellow musicians. guys who were in my shoes, who had made money, didn't know what it was, what to do with it. you don't want to make money in your 20s and 30s and be broke at 45 because you didn't know how money works. and also because, as you've said, the whole industry is set up for managers — they're not going to say to their rock bands, "you've only got three years of productive life." what manager will say that to an artist? an artist will say, "i've only got three years? i'll find a manager who tells me
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i've got 10 or 20!" managers will shy away from that. you've referred to your luck, you're in a situation now where you're healthy, clean, you've turned your life around. there are others — people like amy winehouse — who didn't. is there any way that somebody can be protected and be saved, in a sense — stop what happened to her? no. you can't save a person who doesn't want to help themselves. there's nothing you can do for them. and anybody that was around somebody like amy winehouse, who maybe feels guilty or whatever at this point, or is placing blame on a manager or whoever — well, you shouldn't have allowed her to do that. she's going to do it. but you yourself, when you describe your own managers, say, "if someone entrusted with the health of the band actually cared about the health of any of us,
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guns n' roses would have been pulled off the road and put into therapy years ago." a lot of the book — i see the humour in the story, too. when you read the words — excuse me — yeah, if a dialogue would have been started, perhaps, about, "hey, guys, think about it." you use the expression "gold." they're interested in the gold. we were making money right then. there was a lot of gigs coming up that would make those managers a lot more money. they're a little less apt to say, "maybe you guys can talk about getting healthy, duff," you know? any chance that guns n' roses could — you've been nominated for the rock and roll hall of fame. any chance of a reunion? um, is there any chance? there's always a chance of anything in this life. there's a chance.
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my daughter might think i'm not the nerdy dad that she thinks i am right now in a year. she might think, "my dad's cool." so, who knows? you know, i know in this life, you don't know what's gonna happen. i don't know what's gonna happen next month in my life. duff mckagan, thank you for coming on hardtalk. 0k, cool. thanks. that was easy. hello good morning. we just had the warmest day of the year in northern ireland. 20 degrees in county tyrone. a lovely day in the sunshine. we also had some similar temperatures in the south—west of scotland. again, nice and warm with some sunshine. the best of the weather over the week ahead will probably be across western scotland and northern ireland. we have more cloud coming into eastern scotland, north—east england, quite low cloud
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and these are the temperatures by the time we get to early tuesday. seven or eight degrees typically. a little bit of mist and fog towards the south—west after that rain on monday. the showers that we had, some lively, have headed southwards into the near continent and high pressure will come to dominate eventually, but this weather front here could spoil things a bit, coming in off the southern north sea. we'll see some showers. a mishmash in the morning with sunshine and areas of cloud. but more cloud and perhaps few showers coming in off the north sea into more central and southern parts of england. for much of the day, the south—west is likely to be dry as well as wales, nice and warm in the sunshine, but feeling cooler under this cloud, especially as the wind picks up. showers will be light, but there could be a few heavy ones in south—east later on. showers as far north of northumberland, to the west it is likely to be dry. and temperatures not quite as high across northern ireland and scotland as they were on monday but 18 degrees is quite likely.
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cool for eastern scotland under the cloud, though that should break up for a while. showers through the evening head in to wales and the south—west and they fade away and then we see, after a brief respite, some more showers coming in again from the southern north sea. a lot of cloud for england and wales, perhaps further north for scotland and northern ireland, but again on the chilly side in the highlands. as we head into wednesday, these showers and cloud thickening, mainly from the humber southwards into south—east of england, further west into england and wales, there will be some sunshine at times but the sunniest weather developing after a bit of a cloudier start for scotland and northern ireland and again we will find temperatures here in the west into the high teens. another lovely day to come. not the sort of weather for dipping your toes in the north sea, perhaps, where the temperature will be eight or nine degrees. starting to warm up at this time of year. those temperatures are significant because the wind is coming in off the north sea. this high—pressure that's dominating our weather, fairly typical weather pattern for this time of year but means strong winds later on in the week. a lot of dry weather
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through the rest of the week. there will be sunshine around as well but it is always going to be cooler in the east, near the east coast in particular. more sunshine and higher temperatures further west. this is bbc world news. i'm chris rogers. our top stories: after weeks of escalating tensions, president trump now says he'd be honoured to meet and have talks with north korea's leader, under the right circumstances. anti government protests continue as venezuela's president says he's creating a new citizens national assembly — which could give him much greater power. and — the faces of war.
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a new exhibition focuses on the americans who fought in iraq and afghanistan. and i'm sally bundock. back in the black — after two years of losses, bp‘s set to reveal it's making profits again thanks to the rise in the price of oil.
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