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Duff McKagan Kicked Out of Guns N’ Roses Bootleg Shop in Japan

Duff McKagan
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Duff McKagan isn’t just a famed bassist for bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver and Loaded, he’s a hell of a storyteller as well. In McKagan’s Seattle Weeky column, he tells a tale of being thrown out of a store in Japan for eating a lovely peanut-and-rice cracker mix, but here’s the kicker … the shop McKagan was removed from specializes in selling bootlegged Guns N’ Roses merchandise.

McKagan is a regular columnist for Seattle Weekly, where he’s been blogging for the past five years. Having covered a wide range of topics in the past, McKagan will make your day with this particular story. After checking out a shop entirely devoted to fake GN’R merch, the only real thing from the band to ever enter the store was promptly thrown out.

After partaking in some questionable food, McKagan grabbed a light snack to settle his stomach before wandering the streets of Harajuku, Japan. “Harajuku is all connected by alleyway streets lined with themed shops in amazing contrast to each other: punk-rock clothes next to pastel-only skirt shops next to early-’80s NY beat-boy clothing next to a Star Wars store,” McKagan describes. “It becomes obvious that many of the printed T-shirts with band names or Star Wars characters are bootlegs (last time I checked, Skywalker’s first name is “Luke,” not “Look”).”

“It was in one of these alleyways that I stumbled upon a rock-and-roll (bootleg) T-shirt store,” the bassist continues. “What caught my eye was a Metallica/GNR split-band T-shirt in the front window. Of course, this shirt never existed in real life back in the day, but it got me to further peruse the inside of the store. I was met with a dazzling array of O.G. Guns N’ Roses shirts with some “artwork” close to the original and other “artwork” comically missing. Just as I was looking at a skull-guys-on-the-cross GNR shirt (where we all looked more like chimps than dastardly rock-and-roll hellions), I was asked to leave . . . for eating inside of the store.”

How did this bizarre eviction resonate with McKagan? “I was relieved that they didn’t recognize me,” says the bassist. “I rather hope that I look nothing like a skull-chimpy type of rocker. Nope. I’m a rock-and-roll hellion, with salted peanuts . . . on a mission to find the bunny-petting cafe and nail salon and Alice in Wonderland-themed restaurant in Harajuku. I’m a bad-ass.”

Check out the full article and McKagan’s other writings at Seattle Weekly.

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