Books n’ Roses: Capsule Reviews of the Three GnR Autobiographies

One of the best and worst things about working in a public library is you’re always seeing books come across the desk that you’d like to read.

That happened last summer when a patron returned the three autobiographies that have been written by founding members of G n’ R (so far) – one by Slash, one by Duff and one by Steven Adler.  I saw them all together and thought “that’s a great idea – reading all the books at once would give you three different perspectives on the same events.  Plus you’d get the added bonus of all kinds of tales of sex, drugs and general debauchery since GnR was one of the most notorious bands of the 1980’s for that kind of stuff.”

I proceeded to read them all (Duff’s then Adler’s then Slash’s) and would rank them in the same order that the aggregated ratings of people voting on GoodReads have.

It’s So Easy (And Other Lies)” by Duff McKagan (4.18 Stars)
The best book of the bunch, it’s telling that Duff is the only one to not use a ghost writer so his real voice comes through.  Plus he’s probably seen the biggest change in his life – after bottoming out with addictions, he regained his physical (through mountain biking and martial arts) and mental (completing a college degree) health.  For a guy who once drank his own vomit to get back the alcohol, he’s gone on to become a respectable, well-centered family man who takes his daughters to Taylor Swift concerts!

Slash” by Slash and Anthony Bozza (3.96 Stars)
No doubt about it – Slash is an icon.  He got an extended ovation when he was introduced in Regina and he’s the Keith Richards to Axl’s Mick Jagger.  He possibly also has the most interesting story of the three – child of mixed-race parents, had potential as a competitive BMX racer growing up, actually very shy in real life apparently.

My Appetite for Destruction: Sex, Drugs and Guns & Roses” – Steven Adler and Lawrence Spagnola (3.55 Stars)
The joke about Adler is appropriate – how messed up to you have to be to get kicked out of Guns n’ Roses?  But there you go – even as the band rakes it in with a worldwide reunion tour today, Adler is still on the outs with the band.  Even in his own book, he comes across as a self-centered, oblivious asshole.  Perhaps the only redeeming quality is that, as the worst of a bad bunch, Adler’s story is arguably the most debauched if that’s of interest to you.  (But all three put up some strong competition on that front.)

Now if we could only get Axl to write his autobiography?

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