From Guns N' Roses Bassist To Money Manager

Duff McKagan’s pancreas exploded in 1994 and he credits the event with leading him to his current role: money manager to the rock star posse.

The former Guns N’ Roses bassist was forced to recuperate after the pancreatic burst all those year ago, and, sober and bored, he stumbled across the band’s financial statement from the previous few years.

He told Fortune,

I couldn’t make sense of it. I didn’t know how much we had made or lost on the tour. As a 30 year-old millionaire, how do I admit to somebody that I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing?

I didn’t want to be 60 years old and broke, having made all this money in my twenties…that was my simple goal.

So what did he do? He enrolled in a finance course at a community college in California, and loved it so much, he pursued it. He was accepted into in Seattle University’s Albers School of Business, and in no time was managing his own portfolio, Fortune says.

When news traveled throughout the music world that McKagan knew something about managing and investing money, his phone began to ring. Other musicians were in the same jam he’d been in years earlier — they had no idea how to manage their finances.

The mere fact that his friends were looking for advice from a guy with just a few years of schooling under his belt led him to have another epiphany. Most rock stars know nothing about their finances. Some don’t want to know — but others are kept in the dark, or are too self-conscious to ask simple questions. And yet, they were comfortable talking about money matters with McKagan, who was one of their own — so what if he could bridge the gap between the musicians and the suits?

So he, along with former banker and venture capitalist Andy Bottomsley, founded wealth management firm Meridian Rock.

FYI, apparently Bottomsley’s own venture firm, Imprimatur Capital, counts Paul Tudor Jones as an investor.

Now the pair is interviewing money managers on both sides of the Atlantic.

McKagan says “most bankers overestimate the “window” in which music acts are guaranteed income, which he places at three to five years. The musicians themselves are equally clueless, he adds.” But McKagan, having been there himself, is not. And that’s why he thinks he can help.