Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Slash by Slash and Anthony Bozza

"Sometimes the truth lies in front of your eyes and makes so little sense that you just don't see it; it's like confronting your reflection in a fun-house mirror - it's hard to believe that the twisted figure staring back is you. Guns had become a similar monster; we were such a bizarre version of what we once were that I could barely recognize us. But unlike the fun house, I couldn't escape; when I turned away from the glass, the reflection was still there."
Most people read a celebrity bio, especially of a sexdrugsrocknroll band, for the tales of excess, for the tales of debauchery, and for the gossip about the other band members. And in Guns, there's temperamental frontman Axl Rose. But Slash, in his autobiography, is incredibly gracious and rather forgiving when it comes former bandmate ie, there's little bitching or whining. While you can see the frustration Slash had with Axl, and sense the tension, he seems to be quite understanding about how it all turned out. He describes Axl as "a dramatic kind of individual. Everything he says or does has a meaning, a theatrical place in his mind, in a blown-out-of-proportion kind of way. Little things become greatly exaggerated, so that interactions with people can become magnified into major issues. The bottom line is, he has his own way of looking at things."

But let's hear the man speak on what he's best known for - music:

"Experiencing yourself out of context, divorced from your usual point of view, skews your perspective - it's like hearing your voice on an answering machine, it's almost like meeting a stranger; or discovering a talent you never knew you had. The first time I plucked a melody out on a guitar well enough that it sounded like the original was a bit like that. The more I recognized my own creative voice filtered through these six strings, but itwas also something else entirely. Notes and chords have become my second language and, more often than not, that vocabulay expresses what I feel when language fails me. The guitar is my conscience, too - whenever I've lost my way, it's brought me back to center; whenever I forget, it reminds me why I'm here."

The book could've used some tighter editing. It was a bit too conversational, with quite a few ' I'll tell you more about that later's. I've not read many other rockstar bios, except for the one by Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis, so I'm not going to be able to say too much here. But I felt that Slash's book was more heartfelt, and focused less on the sexdrugs part and more on the rocknroll. I felt that I actually understood Slash more, whereas Kiedis' book just left me quite quite appalled. I liked that Slash wrote about the group dynamics of the band, and the songwriting process. And I couldn't help hearing the songs in my head as I read on.

"If you've ever wondered what the sound of a band breaking up sounds like, listen to Guns N' Roses' cover of 'Sympathy for the Devil', which was recorded for the Interview With The Vampire soundtrack in the fall of 1994. If there is one Guns track I'd like neer to hear again, it is that one."

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