Book Reviews


  • Corey Mitchell


My never-ending pursuit of rock star book excellence continues. This week it’s Saul Hudson of Guns N’ Roses fame with his 2007 autobiography Slash, co-authored by Anthony Bozza, and it is the epitome of a killer rock star autobiography.

I had serious doubts about whether or not I was going to like this book. First off, I have no love for Guns N’ Roses beyond Appetite for Destruction. I was one of the band’s biggest fans behind the strength of their Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide EP and AFD. Once Lies came out though, I was done. Couldn’t stand it (the non-Suicide tracks, that is) or them. So that was strike one.

Strike two came in the form of co-author Anthony Bozza, who also performed the same chores on Tommy Lee’s horrendous autobiography Tommyland (read my review here). What a terrible book that was; I lay much of the blame on Bozza’s shoulders.

Obviously, I was skeptical about reading Slash.

I’m happy to report that my skepticism was unfounded. Slash kicks ass!

This book weighs in at an imposing 458 pages, and not a one of them is wasted. Hudson, a.k.a. Slash, goes through the whole spiel: birth, parents, youth, drugs, BMX bikes, more drugs, girls, drugs, booze, guitars, more drugs, bands, GN’R, drugs, success, Axl, groupies, break-ups, more drugs, etc.

If you’ve read one rock star autobiography, you’ve read them all, right? The failure or success of such a book lies in the organization and telling of the tale, obviously. Slash succeeds in both categories and pulls off the unthinkable: turning the most enigmatic figure from Guns N’ Roses into a likable (or unlikable, depending upon your own personal frame of reference) character who you want to learn more about as you flip through his book.

Of course, most of the dirt is here. The drug intake, the booze intake, the groupie intake all permeate the work. What sets Slash apart from some of the other books out there are the smaller details. Learning about how certain songs such as “Mr. Brownstone” were recorded is just as fascinating as learning about how much he loved to insert a needle into his arm; even more so. Or how he recounts the Axl Rose peculiarities that led to the band pulling out of a concert and was a precursor for a full-scale riot.

Slash is also not shy about calling out names as he writes about everyone from Mötley Crüe (seems he was not as enamored of Nikki Sixx as the latter was of him) to Dave Mustaine of Megadeth to the late porn star Savannah. He also does not pull punches when it comes to management, record label personnel, and most of all, his bandmates in Guns N’ Roses, especially troubled drummer Steven Adler and, of course, Axl.

Slash is not perfect. He has a weird habit of mentioning a subject or someone’s name and then assuring the reader that he “will get to that in a moment.” Once or twice is acceptable, but it occurs at least a dozen times throughout the book. Slash also has a weird tendency to skip around chronologically when it makes no sense to do so. There is nothing Pulp Fiction-esque or remotely artistic about it. It just seems to come across as a bit discombobulated in a few parts.

Finally, I am not convinced that the explanation of the demise of Guns N’ Roses is fully addressed. Yes, he talks about Axl’s penchant for not going on stage on time during the Use Your Illusion tour and the shitty legal maneuverings Axl pulled against him and the other Gunners, but Slash seems to stop a bit shy of supplying us with a full-on, balls-to-the-wall explanation as to why they all got their panties in a wad and called it a day. Furthermore, he seems to shirk responsibility for the demise of GN’R with his own abusive, drugged-out behavior.

These minor quibbles, however, don’t lessen the quality of this book in any way. They simply prevent the book from being the definitive rock star autobiography. But it comes pretty damn close.

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(4½ out of 5 horns)


Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of true crime books and founder of In Cold Blog. Join him on Facebook and Twitter. His next book, SAVAGE SON, can be pre-ordered now.


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