Released: 2007, Harper Collins
Having read enough of these ‘rock star’ autobiographies (with guest writers) I’ve come to understand the formula, which meets the expectations of the average reader. Namely, the average guy (or girl) who may or may not be the world’s most devoted music fan, but want to read about Slash ‘the rock star’. My gut feeling is that Anthony Bozza, who also co-wrote Tommy Lee’s autobiography (also reviewed on this site), knows what to give the people, namely the shock and awe but not much else. This book is not really about Guns’ n’ Roses or even Slash’s career as a musician although that is certainly the backdrop for his phenomenal success.
Harper Collins did a nice job, it’s an oversized paperback logging a generous 450 pages with 30 or more full colour pictures and dozens more black and white ones scattered around the text. It looks good.
SLASH is one of the more popular autobiography in recent years making the New York Times Best Seller list. I read this back-to-back with W.A.R. (William Axl Rose) by Mick Wall another well-known rock scribe. It was fun to compare the stories between the two titles. I reviewed W.A.R. this month as well, so feel free to check out that review. Slash talks about Axl quite a bit, mostly with regret these days but it is interesting to read about their relationship and Axl’s quirky habits.
Slash the person writes his story in a sincere and entertaining fashion. Like most people he dwells on the past. The book carries us through his life up until 1996 and then drops off the radar with very little detail. The last 15+ years of his life are glossed over in a mere 50 pages. Unfortunately we don’t get a ton of info on Snakepit, Velvet Revolver, or his other stuff. He touches on it out of necessity, realizing that people (again the average rock reader) wants to read more about his endless stories about crime and addiction from the Guns ‘N’ Roses days, 1985-1993 or so. Fair enough, give the people want they want, it will sell lots of copies, but his book could have been much more.
Slash doesn’t dwell too much on the groupies and affairs but does go into shocking detail about his life-long love affair with heroin. So in one sense he shows some restraint, by not bragging about his sexual exploits in detail (perhaps to shield his wife and kids) but on the other hand he gets very intimate about all the drug and alcohol abuse over the years. He is not apologetic or remorseful, not is he exaggerating or boasting, he just a matter of fact about his habits.
My final thoughts of his life were not unlike those I’ve had reading other Rock/Metal bio’s and autobiographies. An uneducated kid from a broken home has crime problems discovers sex, drugs rock ’n’ roll at an early age and also discovers that he has a glimmer of talent and the drive (or stubbornness) to make it happen. See what I mean about formula? This could be Ozzy’s autobiography, Mustaine’s autobiography, Di’Anno’s autobiography, it’s all virtually the same.
Does that mean it’s bad or poorly done? Not at all. Quite the contrary. I really enjoyed SLASH and would recommend it to anyone. Slash has this sincerity and world-weariness about his writing. He carries a low tolerance for bullshit and fake people, preferring to hang with his snakes and pets, get high, get laid and play guitar. Maybe he already has life all figured out, while I’m in working a 9-5 job, and writing about his life as my hobby. There are already at least a dozen book about or by members of Guns ‘n’ Roses and this is one of the better ones.