Duff McKagan
Believe In Me



by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
October 29th, 2007 | 3 replies

Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A fairly good distraction from G'n'R. Duff is competent on all the instruments, but his vocals could be much improved.

Duff McKagan – Believe in Me

Back in 1993, Guns’n’Roses were just about the hottest band in the world. Every aspiring guitar player wanted to be Slash, every aspiring guitar player’s girlfriend wanted to spend the night with Axl Rose. But the tyrannical frontman’s iron-fist ruling was starting to have its toll on the group. Steven Adler had already quit, only to be replaced by Matt Sorum; Slash was only two years away from departing to form Snakepit; and bassist Duff McKagan was secretly plotting his solo album.

Allegedly recorded during breaks from the recording of G’n’R’s [i]Use Your Illusion II[i], Believe in Me seems a bit more planned than that. Oh, like I buy into the story that The Majority’s boogie-riffic stomp wasn’t written for guest vocalist Lenny Kravitz, and that he just «happened» to be passing by and recorded the vocals…yeah, right.

Be it as it may, the fact remains that Duff hás a lot of luxurious guests on his álbum. Most notorious among them are Mr. Kravitz and a certain Mr. Jeff Beck. But for our money, we also get Sebastian Bach, the lead rapper from The Mob, as well as fellow G’n’R members Slash (who has two surprisingly med*ocre solos) Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum (who each co-write a song and play on it).

Other than for these contributions, this is a solo album. And I do mean solo. Duff plays rhythm guitar, bass, drums and sings on almost every track, except those where the guests intervene. He gets some help from one West Arkeen on a couple of tracks, but mostly he is left to himself. And how does he do? Fairly well, considering.

The best thing about Duff is that he acknowledges his shortcomings. He is no great guitarist, so he leaves the sparse solos to someone else – usually slash or Jeff Beck. Similarly, he is no great vocalist (on the contrary), so he never tries to strain his natural, middle-range vocal tone.

Now for the downside: his vocals really do grate. No wonder the best tracks on here are those sung by Kravitz or Bach. The glorious exception is Man in the Meadow, the third and best track, where Duff does his best Axl Rose impression. This is a ballad, but not a sappy one, rather a country/rock extravaganza that sometimes reminds us of Bob Dylan (who Duff also emulates somewhat vocally). Up until now, the record hadn’t really taken off yet, but this track sets the train rolling, and it never stops again.

In fact, every track from track #3 onward (except maybe the last one) is mildly to very interesting. Highlights include the aforementioned Kravitz-fronted track, The Majority, the Bach-sung Trouble, the rapped infidelity story of *** You (that must have helped set the bases for rap-metal). Downsides include the clichéd I Love You (even the title is uninspired) and Lonely Tonite (ditto). However, not even these low points can detract from what is essentially a fairly entertaining solo Project, and a welcome diversion from regular Guns’n’Roses albums.

Recommended Tracks

Man in The Meadow
The Majority
*** You

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Comments:Add a Comment 
October 29th 2007


How is Duff's playing on his main instrument on this CD? Playing (incorrectly) the bass line from "Sweet Child of Mine" made me really appreciate him as a bassist.

October 29th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

on bass is probably where he delivers the most, although his playing is much more straightforward than on aforementioned track.

March 9th 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

Album's not bad for what it is, I've heard a lot worse.

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