A few months ago i plowed through the book Slash which is “written” by the Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash. I’m a huge fan so i really enjoyed the read. Here are some interesting things i learned in the book:
When Slash‘s parents got divorced, the first guy his mom started dating was David Bowie. Slash and her would go to his shows with him and just hang out with the guy
Slash’s mom was a professional costume designer named Ola Hudson. She was quite an artist and tailored outfits and album covers for such acts as John Lennon, Diana Ross and the Pointer Sisters. He dad also did album covers – for Neil Young and Joni Mitchell
His mom was also good friends with David Geffen. But when Slash was signed by Geffen’s label, he kept is a secret. One Christmas, Geffen was eating lunch with Slash’s mom and asked how Slash was and she replied, “you should know, you signed him a few months ago.” He was floored b/c he had no idea Slash was actually the same little kid that he knew for all those years.
Slash was really into BMX bikes and at age 12 was considered one of the best riders in the country for his age bracket
One of Slash’s good friend’s dad was Seymour Cassel, who is an actor (Max’s dad in Rushmore). He is the one who gave Slash the name “Slash” because he never sat still and was always scheming
Slash was so messed up on drugs the entire time that most of the success he realized has been forgotten. For instance, he went to the MTV music awards and didn’t even know he was a nominee. When they won, he went on stage and didn’t know that it was an acceptance speech. The whole night was a blur and along the way he left the award in a cab.
All the members of the band were so messed up on hard drugs that they really couldn’t function. They had to have a fix before shows to operate. Slash went to rehab several times and it never really worked until he was long done with GnR
Alx comes off as a total dick in the book. They were constantly waiting for him. He’s arrive late to almost every show. He wouldn’t show up for rehersals. While i’m sure he was much more sane than the rest of the crew, he was also the main source of anxiety and stress for all members of the band
The song November Rain was actually written for Appetite for Destruction but they left it off because they wanted only one ballad on the album and that was Sweet Child o’ Mine.
Paradise City was written when they were all driving down from San Fran way before they were even getting good gigs and was just a chant they wrote when they were excited to get back to LA. As the band grew and the egos grew, they never traveled like this again and lost all comraderie. Reading the book you realize why songs like Welcome to the Jungle, Sweet Child, Paradise City, Rocket Queen never materialized. They were written at a time when the band was incredibly tight and the lyrics of Alx, and the guitar playing of Duff and Slash were perfect compliments
It’s a good book and really interesting if you’re a Guns N’ Roses fan. It’s a bit longer than The Dirt – Motley Crue’s autobiography – and it only focuses on one member so it has much more depth. I recommend it. 3.5 to 4 stars (out of 5).
And there you have it. I keep hearing from lots of people who didn’t like Guns ‘N Roses to begin with that the new album Chinese Democracy is garbage. Of course it is – you don’t like the Guns N’ Roses‘ music. Me, on the other hand, happen to really like GnR and think that the new ablum is really interesting. Of course the music isn’t as good as Appetite for Destruction – nothing will ever be. But it is good. And even more than that – it is nice just to have it exist. It’s a moment, an event, something worth listening to.
I would argue the same for Star Wars Episode I or Rocky II. Are they good as the originals? No, definitely not. Am i happy they exist? Absolutely. Whether you love them or hate them – it just makes the world a better place.
I don’t think i’ll know how good the music is until all the hoopla dies down. Probably sometime in mid 2009 i’ll have a sense for how good the songs are. Right now i really like them and really enjoy just experience more GnR.
There is also a good review by Chuck Kloseterman about the new album. As a fellow fan and probably the most qualified man in America to review the album, he also appreciates the album but brings up some good questions that it raises. I’ll leave you to the article. It’s here in the AV Section of the Onion: Chuck Klosterman’s review of Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy
As compiled by Qloud, here were my top artists of last week:
Bob Dylan – i got the new Bootleg Vol. 8 album and it is fantastic. Dylan has had 8 multi-disc albums of previously unreleased tracks. These are new songs or alternate versions that were recorded at the same time (or live). Eight albums, all multi-discs. Some people call that a career – a good one too.
Blind Melon – sometimes you forget how good they are. I think they would fit in really well with the current music scene. Kind of punkish
Guns N’ Roses – oldies but goodies. Had the live album on alot this weekend
Led Zeppelin – Found the album Houses of The Holy in my apartment on Monday and was happy to revisit the classics
Okkervil River – they have a new album out that i’m trying to get used to. I have no opinion yet
As Axl Rose purportedly makes final preparations to put out Chinese Democracy any minute now (we hope!), Stephen Davis, the rock biographer behind 1985’s classic Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga, is releasing his long-awaited Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N’ Roses. In it, Davis traces GN’R’s illustrious history all the way back to Rose’s origins as a disaffected Indiana kid named Bill Bailey. Here’s an excerpt from the book’s introduction:
Some think the legend of Guns N’ Roses began in the nighttime Los Angeles of 1985, a distant echo of West Hollywood’s neon-lit Sunset Strip. Others think it should begin ten years earlier, at the confluence of two Indiana rivers, the Wabash and the Tippecanoe, in the 1970s. But in this telling, the GN’R saga begins in gritty New York, in upper Manhattan, on a sweltering, run-down street in the late afternoon of a summer day in 1980
The Whitest Boy Alive and Born Ruffians are two of my favorite new artists. WBA are really chill and easy to listen to while Born Ruffians are a better version of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I recommend you check both out.