Guns N’ Roses bassist and New York Times bestselling author Duff McKagan has released Tenderness, the first track from his forthcoming solo album. 

Tenderness was produced by – and features – recent Grammy winner Shooter Jennings.

McKagan, backed by Shooter and his band, has just announced two special performances: May 30 at TLA in Philadelphia and May 31 at City Winery in DC. Tickets for both shows went on sale on Friday February 22.

McKagan and Jennings began recording back in March 2018, working out of Station House studios in Echo Park, CA, where they wrote and recorded in-between McKagan’s tour with Guns N’ Roses and the release of Jennings’ eponymous album, Shooter.

“Before beginning this project, I was asked more than a few times if I was going to write a book on my experience of the two-and-a-half-year GN’R Not In This Lifetime …tour,” said McKagan. “While, of course, it had been an amazing experience, in the end, I decided the ideas swirling around in my head were better suited for a record. The heartbreak, anger, fear, confusion and divide I have experienced traveling this globe of ours coerced these words into songs that tell my truth and one that I hope will spread and help us all.”

McKagan saw a landscape filled with disillusion, injustice and fear. 

“The real point of Tenderness is not for me to be some damn politician or some other voice to add to what is already way too much noise,” he added. “This is a song of unity and peace…and I want this record to be a meditation and to bring maybe some healing, if that is not too high-handed or lofty of a goal. 

“I can use what marginal voice I have as an artist, to hopefully help arrest what seems like a fall. As a father, I must say and do something now…because I love my girls and my wife, and I love my country, and I feel I must be strong and use my voice now, do it while I am able, or perhaps never get a chance ever again.”

Duff Steer

Jennings added: “From the start of the development of this record, Tenderness stood out as a focal point. I was almost scared to cut it too early – before we had really mined the sound of the album. 

“I knew we had one shot to do it right with feeling. After it was done and we had a first mix, I wrote to Duff and said ‘this song has to come out right now!’ It has a simple message of celebrating life and each other and for everyone to take it easy on one another. It offered an empathetic solution for a divisive time in the world: Tenderness.” 

McKagan added: “Fortune shone my way when Shooter and I began to work on the structures of the songs. Shooter has a brilliant mind and a seemingly endless musical catalogue bouncing around in his head that he’s ready to tap into at any moment. 

“He believed in this thing from day one, and that gave me the confidence and energy to forge on. Shooter, seemingly, can play any musical instrument, but instead of that being sort of daunting to me, he works in such an honest way that I never once felt like I was in the company of a guy trying to show me up. 

“The contrary was, in fact, true. He made me a better acoustic guitar player, and more at ease as a singer. His ability to get real and authentic sounds in the studio are second to none, and making this record was one of the most inspiring musical experiences of my career.”

The upcoming album is McKagan’s musical follow-up to 2015’s bestselling book, How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions).

Photo credit: Jesse DeFlorio