Slash - Book Review
I have wanted to learn to play guitar since I was six. When I was 13 years old, my grandma bought me an Esteban guitar along with the note that she remembered one time I told her I wanted to learn. It came with a little dvd of how to learn to play Esteban. Combined with the frusterating Esteban crappy guitar, pathetic lessons, and the initial difficulty of learning guitar, I was ready to about give it all up. Then one day I saw Justin Sandercoe's video lesson on how to play sweet child o' mine, and I realized, I want to be able to do that.
But even before that, I loved Guns N' Roses, and every time I asked myself what it was that I liked about their music, it always came back to Slash. His guitar playing captivated me, and even before I learned guitar I wanted to be like him. So when I finally picked up his book, I knew I was in for a huge ride.
There is something interesting about reading an autobiography though. You know that annoying co-worker that always has some boring story to share? And every once in a while he actually has an interesting story? That kind of sums up my feelings about Slash's life story. Don't get me wrong, I didn't actually find any of his stories boring, but I had a hard time staying motivated to read the whole book.
The most interesting parts of Slash's book weren't the stories of all his drug adventures, the girls he dated, even the dynamics of the band. The most interesting parts to me were when he gets down to it and talks about the guitar itself. What it feels like to stand on stage with all that energy, and how amazing it feels that every ounce of your energy can just be channeled through the piece of wood you have slung around your shoulder. Those were the moments that I loved to hear about.
I definitely did enjoy hearing some of his stories about what it was like to be on drugs. On one of his capades, he broke a TV in a hotel room, broke a window, walked all over the glass, ran naked across a golf course, through an area filled with people, and eventually locked himself in a utility shed.
I also enjoyed actually understanding the dynamics behind the break-up of GNR. I always knew that most of the anger was always directed at Axl, but here read from Slash's perspective. He doesn't have ill feelings towards Axl, even though he does attribute a lot of bad events to himl. I remember watching a video on youtube about Axl leaving a concert mid-show, but in the book Slash talks about how this was preceded by a lot of events. Axl actually caused riots that did tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. Showing up a few hours late to concerts, leaving mid concert, it was really such a mess.
However, when the band pulled together, they worked magic. I love hearing about how some of my favorite songs came about. Slash makes it seem so easy how they write songs; trust me, it's not. Paradise city, patience, welcome to the jungle, Civil war, their cover of Knockin' on Heaven's Door, and my all time favorite Sweet Child o' Mine. These songs were pure magic then, and they still are now.
However, one thing I was a little disappointed in was the amount of stories that were added in for nothing other than the shock factor. I mean, the front cover of the book does state that "Just because it sounds excessive, doesn't mean it didn't happen". But some of the stories seem almost too excessive. The constant path of destruction in Slash's wake, how time after time he gets drunk, does drug, and makes a mess of things. How is this man not dead?
One thing I didn't like, is how the book goes from Slash just leaving GNR to all of a sudden one quick chapter of life afterwards, his work with Velvet Revolver, his plans for Slash's Snake pit. It just has a way too short chapter to wrap up the book. It almost makes it seem like the part of his life that he really wanted to embezzle was his life prior to the one he has now. Personally I would be more proud of being a good dad than a rockstar, but that's just me.
All in all, if you are into auto-biography's, Slash as a guitar player, or Slash as a person, then this book is a good read. I definitely enjoyed hearing Slash recount his crazy life that makes him the amazing guitar player he is.