Duff McKagan Picks Axl Rose As Rock’s Supreme Vocalist

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In a revealing chat on the Broken Record Podcast, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses fame hailed Axl Rose as the premier rock vocalist of his era. McKagan’s admiration for Rose’s unparalleled talent was evident when he was asked to identify the ultimate frontman in rock history. Without a moment’s pause, McKagan championed Rose, attributing his choice to years of witnessing Rose’s dedication and rigorous vocal regimen, including extensive pre and post-show routines that have left a lasting impression on him.

McKagan delved into the nuanced vocal techniques he’s absorbed from Rose, from the intensity of delivery to the physicality of singing and the subtle art of vowel modification for tonal perfection. These lessons in vocal finesse underscored Rose’s meticulous approach to his craft, firmly establishing him as McKagan’s vocal mentor and a titan in the music industry.

While Rose stands atop McKagan’s list, the conversation also shone a light on other vocal powerhouses that have shaped his musical journey. He expressed admiration for the likes of Robin Zander, Ann Wilson, William DuVall from Alice in Chains, and punk legend Henry Rollins, showcasing a diverse palette of vocal excellence that has influenced him.

Further expanding on his musical inspirations in a separate discussion with Spin in November 2023, McKagan recounted his experiences with other icons like Iggy Pop, Lemmy Kilmister, and Prince. His time with Iggy Pop, in particular, was a highlight, drawing parallels to the legendary discipline of James Brown’s rehearsals. McKagan’s ambition was to elevate their collaboration to the highest standard, aiming to form the most memorable backing band in Iggy Pop’s storied career.

This array of influences reveals McKagan’s wide-ranging appreciation for musical talent, spanning beyond his Guns N’ Roses roots to include a spectrum of artists who have left an indelible mark on his artistic expression.

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