Snakes Eyes: Confessions Of A Replacement Rockstar (Book Review)
Released: 2009, Indie
This is the autobiography of Stacey Blades. Who the hell is Stacey Blades you may ask? Well, he is a guitarist. He was in Roxx Gang for almost a decade and is currently in (the fabulous) L.A. Guns.
I have a little bit of a personal connection to this book. I’d heard through the local music community that some famous LA guitarist used to live in Calgary. Now I know who he is. Stacey’s early life has a few similarities to mine. We are about the same age. He grew up in Calgary, Alberta. So did I. We both moved to Toronto. We both used to hang around a killer rock bar called Rock ’n’ Roll Heaven. He was in a band called Fraidy Katt who I actually saw but I didn’t know who he was at the time. That’s where the similarities end. I moved to Vancouver, went to university, got married and got a job. He moved to Florida, joined Roxx Gang and his career took off, he joined L.A. Guns, toured the world five times and now he has written a book and I’m writing a review of a book.
SNAKE EYES falls into the same category as many other independent, self-published autobiographies, like those of Blotzer, Vollmer, and Diesinger. Either you know who they are and care, or you don’t. Well, I happen to like Roxx Gang and L.A. Guns quite a lot, so I was quite curious to read this guys life-story.
Like many of the other autobiographies, this is a little rough around the edges; things like spelling, grammar, syntax, flow and editing are not as high a priority. It’s a standard 225-page book, divided into 13 chapters and quite a few black and white photos. Another interesting feature is that there are quite a few guest quotes about Stacey from friends and family who have contributed a memory or two. It adds flavour to writing.
Stacey is a pretty good storyteller. He writes like people many people speak, informal, casual and full of energy. His life follows a standard tale of early memories, families, vacations, first girl, first guitar, parties etc. It sounds like he had a pretty stable normal life growing up but he got bitten by the rock ‘n’ roll bug early and never lost that drive to succeed.
The story really gets going when he moves to Florida after getting the gig with Roxx Gang. Then we get many chapters of parties, strippers, couch-surfing, drugs, alcohol and all the related elements of the rock and roll lifestyle. Around 2001 he ended up in Los Angeles and ended up replacing Tracii Guns in L.A. Guns around 2003. He has held his position in the band ever since.
There are many stories about traveling, lots of vivid detail written with a compelling enthusiasm. Blades, despite many hardships seems to have had one hell of a ride and seems genuinely grateful for the opportunities afforded him. One part I really, really appreciate is that he doesn’t cut his story short. So many biographies and autobiographies (ie. Anvil, Ozzy, Mustaine) leave out entire decades of recent (post-2000) material, but Blades keeps us going right until 2009. Its current, it’s relevant (for fans anyway) and SNAKE EYES is a great read to get a glimpse into the life or a working professional musician.