Guns N’ Roses Bassist Says Welcome To The (Investment) Jungle

04-Mar-2011

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Guns N’ Roses Bassist Says Welcome To The (Investment) Jungle

Mar. 4 2011 – 2:04 pm | 1,179 views | 1 recommendation | 0 comments
By CHRIS BARTH
Duff McKagan's Loaded Image by jeffjsea30 via Flickr

Sex, drugs, and sound financial advice? Not your typical mix for a rock and roll star, to be sure. But bassist Duff McKagan – who has played with legendary bands Guns N’ Roses, Jane’s Addiction, and Velvet Revolver – thinks it may just be crazy enough to work. McKagan, along with British investor Andy Bottomsley, is in the process of launching Meridian Rock, a wealth management company geared toward musicians, according to a report by Fortune.

After health problems sidelined him in 1994, McKagan found his mind wandering and realized he wasn’t guaranteed a lifetime as a golden god of rock. “You think the money is going to keep coming,” McKagan told Fortune. “When you get that big contract, or your record goes platinum and you’re selling out concerts, you don’t see that it’s going to end.”

So McKagan took matters into his own hands, enrolling in classes at Santa Monica Community College and then at Seattle University Business School, while working on a solo career and musical side projects. As word of his financial pursuits spread from tour bus to tour bus, the legendary guitarist began getting phone calls from fellow musicians.

In 2009, McKagan began writing a financial column for Playboy.com. In an article on SeattleWeekly.com, he explained his transition from rocker to financial guru.

How the hell is it that I will to be writing about money matters for Playboy? Well, over the last few years, I have been doing more and more TV and print interviews regarding some faction of finance. It started in 2004 when a writer for some music newspaper asked me about my experience going to business-school after my career with GNR. That interview in turn prodded other writers to ask me about money issues within the music biz. From there, PBS’s ‘Frontline’ interviewed me about the ‘valuation of a rock band’ and the cork was officially off the top of the bottle as far as me being an ersatz ‘go to’ guy for anyone looking for financial insight from inside the music industry. Sometimes I DO wish more artists would go to business school just so I wouldn’t always be getting the calls to do these interviews. 

Now, he’s taking the next step and launching Meridian Rock; McKagan and Bottomsley are currently looking for money managers to join the company.

Although he is the very public face of Meridian Rock, McKagan will not likely be personally taking a hands-on approach with client portfolios. Behind the scenes, things may run more like Bel Air Investment Advisors, an L.A.-based wealth management firm that manages celebrity money. When Steve Forbes talked with Todd Morgan, senior managing director of Bel Air, he asked about managing celebrity accounts. Morgan’s perspective sounded a lot like McKagan’s:

You ask, ‘What about saving money?’  Well, a number of them haven’t saved a lot of money and they thought that it lasted forever. So, the last few years, they realized that the income is not there. So, for a number of people in that industry, it’s problematic. And they don’t have the reserves that they should have to keep it going.

Like Morgan, McKagan and Meridian will likely try to steer rockers and divas toward putting their money into wise investments. Then, when the albums stop flowing and the stages stop rocking, musicians can retire to a Paradise City of their own.

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