Duff McKagan

Beautiful Disease

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In 1998, former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan was preparing to release his second solo album, Beautiful Disease, when his label, Geffen, was swallowed up in the massive Polygram-Universal merger. As a result, the album was lost in the shuffle and McKagan, who was dropped from the label, announced that it would probably never be released. Nonetheless, some promo copies leaked out and quickly became sought-after collectibles. It's easy to see why -- the album reunites McKagan with his fellow GN'R alumni Slash and Izzy Stradlin (playing together on record for the first time in seven years), and also features former Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin and ex-Black Flag frontman Dez Cadena. Even without the special guests, though, the album would be worth hearing. McKagan's writing had grown by leaps and bounds from his previous album, 1993's Believe in Me, which was uneven. There isn't a weak moment here -- from the thundering hard rock of "Seattlehead" to the gorgeous "Song for Beverly," the album hits the mark on every track. Though McKagan promised to re-record some of these tracks, it's a shame these original performances will most likely never see the light of day. Fans who would like to hear what the lost great album GN'R never made might have sounded like should make an effort to track this down.