SLASH (Book Review)

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SlashI finally got around to picking up Slash’s autobiography for some summer reading. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Duff’s 2 books and many of his columns online I thought it would be a nice perspective to read another original Gunner.

Let me begin by getting the harsh stuff out of the way. While Slash takes many shots and specifically continual ones at Steven Adler and his intelligence level, I cannot help but relate the writing in this book to the so-called grade 3-6 level Slash accuses his former bandmate of having. I thought reading this in 2016 would be further interesting since it was written prior to the 2015/2016 hoopla around the band “reforming”. It is around 480 pages, with about 100 pages of interesting stories. The majority really seems to focus on his drug use, over and over again. Slash tries to (or perhaps Anthony) come across as humble but it is flagrantly transparent that he is really trying to come across as the 15-year-old school boy smoking for coolness and attention. He even takes the opportunity to justify his attendance at 2 overdose deaths (Todd from Jetboy and someone else, sorry I forgot to make a notation and I cannot be bothered to re-read) as completely innocent. Slash, you were party to giving the smack, even as much as admitting to injecting them because they could not themselves.

Another childish aspect is his continual hate for Poison and the Sunset Strip scene. I can understand the Gunners were bringing something different, I was there firsthand in 1988 when they hit big and had their vinyl but one or two mentions of your dislike for Poison makes the point. After about a dozen times there is obviously an agenda…we know you didn’t fit their bill when you auditioned. That combined with not being able to admit your band was an evolution of the hair scene so at least respect it, just came across as bitter. A scene you were part of both in locale and costume for 2 years, stop pulling a Pantera!

g n r hair band pic

The only hint of humility is the story of Paul Stanley giving Slash some advice many years later about burning bridges, which Slash did to Paul during his potential production of their first full-length album. Other than that, it really is a look at me and what I did retelling at a low-grade level.

Also, having read this further solidifies my complete lack of desire to see the reformed G n’ R. This is one “band” that seems to have no respect for anything and even though I have heard and read mostly positive about the tour, I still have no desire. For me to even consider they would need to add Izzy/Gilby and Matt, even then not bloody likely! If you permit me to travel back in time to July 1991 when I had 2 front row tickets to the infamous Montreal Olympic Stadium show, that I bought for $45 each and resold to a coworker the night before because my gut told me not to go, enough shite had occurred already with the band and their shows….well I am thankful I didn’t and Kevin my coworker didn’t even ask for a refund! I cannot and will not provide info if there was a markup on my resale, for fear of litigation.

I realize Slash is now sober and had a couple other semi-successful runs with other bands and outfits, I do believe he holds onto the bitterness that a 5-year career in the biggest band in the world will bring, more than likely caused by the excesses that provide very few actual memories from the period. Just don’t take it out on us; we have had enough of that from your former and current bandmate over the years.

Summer reading is generally silly stuff for me (MTV stories, comedic novels, autobiographies) and this satisfies that in full. Glad I bought it second hand.

Blair De Abreu

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