The shock-based autobiography of the short-term drummer for Guns n’ Roses.
This book is not very good. I know that is a tough way to start a book review but the it is the truth. MY APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION embodies pretty everything that is bad about ‘rock’ star autobiographies.
Steven Adler was the drummer for Guns ‘N Roses for about four years before getting kicked out of G’NR for partying too much (or so the story goes). Let that sink in for a minute. You have to be a world-class screw-up to get to that ignoble fate. The book follows him as he went from highs to a prolonged twenty year low, roughly 1990 until this was published in 2010. The book itself is fine, there a few cool, candid photos and it is co-written by Lawrence Spagnola, the author who co-wrote Rodney King’s autobiography.
The book follows a conventional story; LA kids comes from broken home, skips school, discovers girls, drugs and rock all at an early age and makes it big with a famous band, gets hooked on drugs and then…? Adler does not come across as very bright and his memory is not that good. In addition he certainly seems to exaggerate his adventures. At one point he claims to have been skipping school going to downtown sex-clubs in LA and hanging out doing drugs…at age 11. I don’t care how old you look or how good your fake ID is, 11 years don’t just hang out in sex-clubs and do drugs, unless perhaps they are victims of human trafficking. I don’t doubt some of the horrible lows he suffered physically and mentally but it all seems to be played up for the book.
MY APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION is really lacking in detail but that is what happens when you fry your brain with drugs. His deep, long-term memory, childhood stuff (read: pre-drugs) is clear and interesting. After that there are huge gaps in the narrative as he moves around from apartment to apartment, girl to girl, city to city with no real purpose other than getting high. The book degenerates into an endless string of vague anecdotes about him getting high and almost dying, getting into trouble, detox, retox and the cycle goes on. Sure it has all the LA gutter/glam shock value that one might expect but it gets very tedious and boring after a while reading about him ejaculating on groupies faces and stabbing himself with needles and so on.
When Nikki Sixx’s book, The Heroin Diaries came out there some minor criticism about the authenticity of his story, with critics suggesting that junkies don’t really keep diaries let alone detailed ones ready to go in published form. I’d suggest that Adlers experiences are closer to that of a drug addict who loses everything and doesn’t really have much substance to contribute to his own life-story. It must have been hell for the co-writer to cobble his incoherent stories into something readable.
The book ends without any satisfying conclusion. A few years later ADLER’S mother wrote a book called ‘Sweet Child Of Mine: How I Lost My Son To Guns N’ Roses. It was also co-written by Spagnola so I think that would be an interesting companion read. As it stands MY APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION is just one of many pointless, bloated, self-indulgent rock star autobiographies lacking in substance designed to capitalize on what little fame the author has left by churning out a generic shock rock story and hoping it will sell. It did sell; it hit the Bestseller list for the same reason people like watching automobile accidents, it’s too gruesome to look away. I’m glad I got this used for only a few bucks. For die-hard Gn’R fans only.