Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan says that musicians and athletes should have the right to speak out on political or social issues, adding that they are perfectly justified in using their platform to voice their opinions on things they feel passionate about.

McKagan made his comments on the Sirius/XM program "Debatable," where he discussed the inspiration for some of the lyrics on his upcoming solo album, Tenderness, which is due out May 31st.

McKagan said, "(NBA superstar) LeBron (James) came out and said something (related to politics). He's a smart guy and he's an activist and he does stuff with his money and he's an American citizen . . . him voicing his opinion is what we're supposed to do, I thought. And I saw (people online saying) 'Shut up and play basketball.' And I was, like, 'Oh, wow! Where have we gone?'"

McKagan added, "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 recorded Tenderness following his two and a half years on the road with the Guns N' Roses reunion tour. McKagan will kick off a North American tour in support of the LP on May 30th in Philadelphia.