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Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan says ‘The Simpsons’ should own up to using his name as inspiration for Duff Beer

Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan has insisted that The Simpsons named Duff Beer after him.

The rock n’ roll star first made the claim in his 2011 autobiography It’s So Easy and Other Lies, stating that a “production company working on a new animated series” contacted him in 1988/89 to ask if they could use the name ‘Duff’ for a band of beer in the show,” owing to his reputation as a “big drinker”.

Believing it was a low-budget animation project, McKagan laughed off the request and said “no problem”. However, he began to take notice when Duff became an integral part of the show, and merchandise started popping up all over the world. A number of writers on the animation have since stated that the bassist’s claim is untrue.

In a new interview with Stereogum, McKagan was once again asked about The Simpsons and he reiterated his stance on the story, adding that he was the self-proclaimed “King of Beers”, and even wore a Budweiser belt bearing that motto on stage.

“Here’s the deal,” he said. “So I was Duff, the King of Beers. But this is 1988, 1989 and our management, I remember they called me and said some arthouse-like cartoon wants to use your name as the beer, like a college arthouse cartoon. There weren’t any adult cartoons at this point.

“I didn’t know about branding or anything like that, but that show took off. And then they started selling merch and stuff. I never went after him [creator Matt Groening], but I’m like, ‘Hey, motherfuckers,’ you know?”

Duff McKagan performing with Iggy Pop & The Losers in 2023. CREDIT: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

He added: “So I think it’s very probably business savvy of them to say that’s not true. But if you just do your own math behind it, look at when they started off with the King of Beers, and I had my King of Beers belt I wore all the time.”

When the interviewer suggested that The Simpsons should own up to it, McKagan replied: “They should. I’m not going to ask them for money.”

In other news, Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria recently announced that he is starting his own Bruce Springsteen tribute band, named Hank Azaria & The EZ Street Band.

The actor and comedian, known for voicing characters including Moe, Apu and Chief Wiggum, will lead the band for the first time on August 1 at New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge, with all profits going to the Four Through Nine Foundation, a social justice charity. Get tickets for that show here.

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