Duff McKagan Launches Wealth Management Firm Meridian Rock
March 4, 2011
Mino Kimes of CNNmoney.com reports: In 1994, Duff McKagan’s pancreas exploded.
The former Guns N’ Roses bass player says years of drug and alcohol abuse caused the rupture, which left him sidelined for months. As he recovered from the incident at home and sobered up, he found himself with hours of free time and little to do. McKagan wandered into his basement one day and came across a file cabinet containing GnR’s financials from the previous six years. While thumbing through the reports, he realized he had no idea what they meant. Then, he panicked.
“I couldn’t make sense of it. I didn’t know how much we had made or lost on the tour,” McKagan recalls. “As a 30 year-old millionaire, how do I admit to somebody that I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing?”
Now, 17 years later, McKagan is starting his own wealth management firm for musicians. The company, called Meridian Rock, will be headed by McKagan and Andy Bottomley, a British investor. Their goal is to educate rockers about their finances instead of pandering or lying to them — no small feat in the music world, where businessmen, a.k.a. “suits,” are often seen as the enemy.
McKagan, 47, says his epiphany in 1994 was a wakeup call. He enrolled in a basic finance course at Santa Monica Community College, which he says gave him a hunger for academia. McKagan moved to Seattle four years later and signed up for more classes at a local community college.
“It took me twice as long as an 18 or 19-year old just out of high school to do the homework, but I got through it,” he says. By the time he was accepted into in Seattle University’s Albers School of Business, McKagan had become actively involved in managing his portfolio, which included everything from stocks and mutual funds to property.
A few months into his last year of business school, McKagan, who had left Guns N’ Roses in the late 90’s, formed a new rock supergroup, called Velvet Revolver. The band — which also included GnR’s Slash and Scott Weiland, the singer from the Stone Temple Pilots — was a surprise hit. Velvet Revolver’s album debuted at No. 1, and McKagan took a hiatus from business school to go on tour (he is still one semester short of graduating). When Velvet Revolver broke up a few years later, he played a short stint with the band Jane’s Addiction, and then fronted his own outfit, Duff McKagan’s Loaded.
It was around that time, McKagan says, that word started spreading that he knew something about managing money. He began getting regular calls from musician friends with questions about everything from whether to buy a house to where they should invest their money.
Though McKagan has spoken publicly about the business of music and authored a column in Playboy on finance (“Duffonomics”), he is quick to downplay his investing expertise.
“I’m not a financial planner — I was just trying to figure this out for myself,” he says. “I didn’t want to be 60 years old and broke, having made all this money in my twenties…that was my simple goal.”
Read the entire atricle at http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/04/pf/duff_mckagan_meridian_rock.fortune/index.htm.