Book Review: Slash with Anthony Bozza

For a guy like me with an undeniable case of undiagnosed A.D.D, it’s an almost unattainable task to finish reading an entire book. Comic books are fine with me because their brevity in the word department and generosity with images make it feasible for me to run through maybe 2 or even 3 at a time if I am feeling saucy.

I’m a big fan of autobiographies. Learning about my favorite celebrities or icons is interesting because it’s coming straight from the source rather than a tabloid, old myth, or Internet rumor. Having read books like Motley Crue: The Dirt, and David Lee Roth’s Crazy From the Heat, I was immediately seduced when I heard Velvet Revolver’s Slash was writing an autobiography.

Being a huge fan of Guns N Roses from their inception, I was always curious to know more about the truth behind their various controversies. MTV news barely scratched the surface at that time, releasing only punches of information. “Hello this is Kurt Loder with MTV news, while my manner of speech is inexplicably dull and boring, what happened with Axl Rose last night isn’t. He beat a fan in the audience at a concert because he was videotaping the show.” If knowing more of the legend and lore regarding the badass bunch of guys that GNR were in the ’80s then you’ll appreciate Slash’s book.

What I found most amazing in “Slash,” is that his heart and soul lie within his love of playing guitar. So many musicians get into music because they just “thought it was cool” or “wanted to get laid.” In Slash’s instance he has this snake charmer relationship with his guitar. His devotion to playing and his enthusiasm for the techniques that he has developed over the years is the most interesting revelation in the book. Of course it was fun to hear about all of the drugs and the sexual romps that went on, but finding out that Slash is way more than just a guitarist only added to his appeal as a rock icon.

In today’s musical climate, it’s been harder to see music as an art form. With bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco, and even Daughtry who had Slash guest on his album, it’s easy to see that corporate “sure things” are what gets the push and the radio play. Playing guitar on the level that Slash does, where he almost merges with the instrument, that kind of sorcery just isn’t appreciated anymore.

Slash explains thoroughly his life from his youth and family issues, all the way to the present time with his latest band, the saviors of rock Velvet Revolver. Slash thought he was going to be a BMX racer until he fell in love with the guitar. He discusses which bands and players inspired him while he also describes the first time he heard certain legendary rock albums. That’s the type of stuff I find interesting. Some people might find those minuscule details irrelevant and they would rather skip to the part where Axl walks off the stage, but I’d rather hear the romance between Slash and his discovery of guitar.

With his persona being bigger than life, almost a caricature, it’s easy to forget that he’s one of rock’s all time best and most versatile guitarists. Learning about the process of how Appetite for Destruction was recorded, and how the band would get together and write songs was the juicy stuff for me. If you ever thought that Slash would just go in and record with the band it’s not like that at all. Slash has his own methods that are pretty damn cool and helped his signature sound stand apart from the rest especially at a time when there was no originality and you couldn’t tell Britney Fox from Nitro.

Although he’s careful not to go into detail or lambaste Axl, Slash feels that he’s one of the only people that can talk about Axl. Even though they have barely been on speaking terms for several years Slash still comes off like he has a brotherly relationship with Axl. He seems like he’s still protective of him. It was that gang type of mentality that played a huge role in their success. Slash reveals that once that dynamic started to crumble Guns was never the same. Possibly one of the more telling ideas that came up more than once was a common thread among Guns. It was their persistence in being the anti-hairband which lent a major hand in their success at the time. Something tells me that their anti-hairband attitude had a lot to do with why Slash is still popular today and enough in demand to sell a ton of copies of his own autobiography. Does Erik Turner “warrant” his own autobiography?

“Slash” made for a most satisfying reading experience. You can tell that Slash didn’t embellish or tell sensational stories just to make the book entertaining. Sure he described crazy times but the routine moments were just as good because it’s interesting to read about Slash being in those instances and how everything is different when seen through a celebrities eyes. Certain parts of the book are damn funny, and other’s tell the story of a eccentric, drug addicted, rocker. Before you pick this one up, it helps to have or have had an interest in rock music, or Guns N Roses to enjoy “Slash.”