Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan is gearing up for the release of his upcoming solo effort, Tenderness, followed by a North American tour to support it. According to a recent interview he did with SiriusXM's Volume, the album covers several social topics like the opioid epidemic, tragic shootings and sexual assault. McKagan believes that speaking out on public issues is "what we're supposed to do."

People in the public eye, particularly celebrities, have an advantage in the sense that whatever they say will reach a large audience. McKagan cites musicians as well as athletes as figures who should use their popularity to their advantage when it comes to spreading awareness and giving their opinions on certain matters.

The bassist uses something basketball player Lebron James once said on Twitter. "He's a smart guy and he's an activist and he does stuff with his money and he's an American citizen. And it is 'we the people,' last I checked. And him saying, him voicing his opinion is what we're supposed to do, I thought," says the musician. McKagan then mentions he saw a lot of people responding to James' tweet, telling him to "shut up and play basketball."

"The first newspapers that we had in America, it was in the Northeast. The printing press, they could print, like, six newspapers per town. This is 1620, let's say," McKagan explains. "And the back page was blank. They would have the articles, and then 'John Smith' could write his commentary on whatever article. He'd put his commentary, his address, his name and he passed it around...But you had to put your name and your address. This is before America was even born. But this is what we were trying to form a country around - everybody having a voice. And somewhere along the way, 'Yeah shut up and sing,' 'shut up and play basketball,' and even saying 'shut up.' This is America. Speak out."

McKagan's Tenderness is a collection of songs inspired by what he saw over the last few years on his travels around the world with Guns N' Roses. The title track was released in February. Produced by Shooter Jennings, the album will be out May 31, and the two will hit the road together with The Suicide Horn Section to support it. See the dates here.

See Duff McKagan in the Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Bassists of All Time