Watch Guns N' Roses' Duff McKagan and Nirvana's Krist Novoselic perform ‘Sweet Child O' Mine’

Duff McKagan and Nirvana's Krist Novoselic on stage
(Image credit: Neptune Theatre)

One day a film should be made about the story of Guns N’ Roses, perhaps the last and greatest hard-rock stars of the last century. The LA band built a reputation for their anthemic songs (and their relentless debauchery). You can get the gory details from the autobiography (opens in new tab) of bassist Michael ‘Duff’ McKagan, but for our purposes it suffices to say that much of GN’R’s drive and success can be attributed to the bass-playing ex-punk from Seattle who moved to Hollywood in the mid 80s, joined the band and became a huge star.

Committed GN’R-heads will recall Duff’s proudest bass guitar moment, a slinky four-bar bass solo executed in the upper register over the intro to their best-known song, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. (How did he come up with the solo? “It just happened,” says Duff. “Really, it’s all a product of what you listen to and what influenced you, and then what you hear and what you think is right for the part – and it’s either gonna happen for you or it’s not.”)

But, back in the early 90s, no-one would have expected him to play the song with Nirvana's Krist Novoselic. 

Guns N’ Roses and Nirvana raged a bitter feud in their early days, when GN'R were global megastars and Nirvana's game-changing grunge rock threatened to make Axl and co look a little bit dated. Nirvana had called GN'R "corporate rock" and things escalated at the 1992 MTV awards (opens in new tab)

In the 21st century, however, tempers have cooled and there has been a series of collaborations between the two camps, with Dave Grohl appearing as a special guest during GN'R's 2021 world tour and famously lending Axl Rose his iconic light-up throne back in 2016 after the singer had broken his foot at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

Singer Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses performs onstage during day 2 of the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival Weekend 2 at the Empire Polo Club on April 23, 2016 in Indio, California

Axl Rose performs onstage with Dave Grohl's custom light-up throne. (Image credit: Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

A year earlier, on May 17th at The Neptune Theatre in Seattle, Duff McKagan hosted a release party for his second book How To Be A Man (and other illusions) where he was joined onstage by Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic; the pair talked about Duff's book, and also treated the audience to an instrumental rendition of ‘Sweet Child O' Mine’ with McKagan on bass and Novoselic on accordion. Watch the fan-made video footage below.

In addition to the book, McKagan also released a companion EP (opens in new tab) featuring Izzy Stradlin on guitar, Alice in Chains frontman Jerry Cantrell and Stone Sour drummer Roy Mayorga.

How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions) (opens in new tab) is the follow-up to Duff McKagan's critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling memoir, It's So Easy (And Other Lies) (opens in new tab).

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Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.

With contributions from