Saul Hudson aka Slash is telling his story – the first of Guns ‘n’ Roses to do so. As he himself concedes this is not at the end of a career, but closure on the end of an era and an important part of his life. Whilst there is a -never say never’ ethos in the world of free market economies, this book fairly safely confirms that a Guns -n’ Roses reunion is not on the cards any time soon.
The autobiography itself is an easy read. Largely dictated to Anthony Bozza, it maintains an amiable spoken word or dictated feel throughout. That said, it is a thorough book – some 450 pages charting the virtuoso guitarist’s career from pre G’n’R through to Velvet Revolvers second album (Libertad).
As we progress, the dynamic, perhaps not surprisingly, focuses more upon the relationship between Slash himself and Axl Rose. The two were perceived at the time as the explosive Jagger and Richards of the band. Slash puts forward a very convincing argument, however, for the sum of the parts being greater than any one member, supported perhaps by the non-stop decline in quality as members left from the iconic Appetite line up to what became the tepid Chinese Democracy of Axl and co.
The songs themselves could perhaps do with a bit more depth of explanation and clarification on the creative process that went into them, especially the Velvet Revolver period. Bearing in mind this was published on the back of Libertad, their second album, this is possibly a conscious decision.
The book is interesting though often apparently contradictory – but more importantly reads like an auto-boast-ography rather than an autobiography. Yet it achieves a balance between self deprecating humour and cold observation. He regularly concedes frankly that ‘I don’t actually know what happened there’!
It is also a good anti-drugs narration in many ways – but the simplicity with which Saul Hudson kicks the habit on a few occasions runs the risk of simplifying the problems and compounding the -coolness’: ‘I was just starting to become one of those junkie musicians that assumes that what they are doing is so common place’.
There is a feeling of slight rush towards the end unfortunately – with the focus on the G’n’R years – The Spaghetti Incident album (and event) is glossed over in a simple sentence.
There are also inaccuracies and understatements. For example, the observation that Faith No More “left the tour” (1992) and “broke up shortly afterwards” (1998 -though Jim Martin did leave in 1993 on the back of that tour) implies that they were at fault on the tour as opposed to Axl’s actions or Guns’ arrogance and splintering.
Overall, though, an interesting read and worth discovering for those with more than a passing interest in the most energetic rock -n’ roll band of the late 80’s and early 90’s.