For artists, no two paths to the spotlight are precisely the same. Triumphs and failures chart an individual’s course, and often times one’s response to the latter can dictate an artist’s trajectory. Though she’s still in the first stretch of her music industry journey, rising punk rock sensation Grace McKagan already has a firm grasp on the importance of failure. “I feel like you need to fail ten times before you truly succeed one time,” she says. “Failure means that you’re growing and making progress.”
Perseverance was just one of several topics that Grace pondered that afternoon. Following her ear-catching set at Rolling Stone Live Palm Springs, the 24-year-old stepped into our on-site media studio to share a bit of her story. Hosted by Origin 100% Natural Spring Water, the studio was a haven from the sweltering Coachella heat, where artists, DJs, and creatives of all pursuits could drop by to talk about their respective backgrounds as part of the brand’s Origin Stories series.
McKagan’s story began in her adolescent years, performing for just about anyone who would listen. She has vivid memories of growing up in musical theater and performing under the watchful eye of her family. As she got older, she channeled her birthright affinity for rock music—her father is legendary Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan—by starting her punk band, the Pink Slips.
After a few years of performing collectively, the group dissolved, and in early 2021 McKagan decided to strike out on her own. Since then, she’s dropped a string of intriguing, high-energy singles, including her 2022 release “Baby That’s Rock N’ Roll.” Released in February, the single is her commentary on music’s modern-day understanding of what is and isn’t considered a part of the genre. Says McKagan, “It’s about how the evolution of rock n’ roll in the mainstream, in my perception, has warped so much from my original understanding of punk rock.”
Check out the interview below where Grace reflects on her Rolling Stone Live set, Iggy Pop, and her love of London’s 70s punk music.