“The real point of this record, and the lyrics for ‘Tenderness,’ is not for me to be some damn politician or some other voice to add to what is already way too much noise,” McKagan said of the track in a statement.
Unlike Guns N’ Roses’ stadium-filling fare, McKagan takes a softer approach with “Tenderness,” with the rocker relying mainly on piano and acoustic guitars on the dusty ballad.
“This is a song of unity and peace… and I want this record to be a meditation and to bring maybe some healing, if that is not too high-handed or lofty of a goal,” McKagan continued. “I can use what marginal voice I have as an artist, to hopefully help arrest what seems like a fall. As a father, I must say and do something now… because I love my girls and my wife, and I love my country, and I feel I must be strong and use my voice now, do it while I am able, or perhaps never get a chance ever again.”
McKagan’s in-the-works solo album is a “musical follow-up” to his 2015 tome How to Be a Man (and Other Illusions). The album, due out 2019, was written and recorded with Shooter Jennings during gaps in Guns N’ Roses tour schedule; the LP takes inspiration from McKagan’s globe-circling travels as part of the GN’R reunion tour.
“I wrote a couple of articles about historical places I passed through on this last tour and people kept asking if that was going to be the focus of my next book. But an unseen and irrepressible force guided me to write little vignettes of reflective prose…little instant-reactions,” McKagan previously said of the album.
“The heartbreak, anger, fear, confusion and divide I have experienced over the last two and a half years of traveling this globe of ours coerced these words into songs that tell my truth, and one that I hope will spread and help us all. I do this for my daughters…I do this for my love of where I grew up…I do this, because I truly feel it must be done and said right now.”