* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *
I've been a fan of Guns N' Roses since my teenage years and their music formed the basis of the soundtrack of my adolescence. I enjoyed reading Slash's self-titled autobiography in 2011 but when I heard Mick Wall was writing a book on the band, I was eager to read it. Mick Wall has written about other bands including: Metallica, AC/DC, Prince and Led Zeppelin - to name a few - and seems to have an acute understanding of the industry.
In The True Story of Guns N' Roses - Last of the Giants, Wall introduces the reader to each member of the band and then shows us how their paths converge and the band we know as the original line up of Guns N' Roses was formed. Their time living together in the 'hell house' was shocking and informative and it was interesting to learn about the slow and steady rise of their first album Appetite for Destruction. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover just how popular and successful they were.
Wall goes into great detail about the managers and staff around the band, contracts, concerts and tours and of course background on each of the songs. The inability of the band members to handle their fame and new found wealth is discussed as is the effect drugs had on Duff and Slash, almost killing them, and in Slash's case, killing him 5 times.
Wall documents the gradual decline of the band and the impact Axl's behaviour had on each of the band members. Steve Adler's drug habit and eventual firing from the band is covered as is Izzy Stradlin's eventual resignation.
Axl's perfectionism and controlling behaviour is discussed - with a few surprises - as is the way in which he slowly took over control of the band until he was the last original member left. We learn about the new/replacement members of the band and the formation and success of the 'new line-up.' My favourite tidbits in the book were on page 178 and 228 and provided insight as to who wrote which songs. Little known facts such as You Could Be Mine was originally recorded during the Appetite for Destruction sessions made for interesting reading.
Reading The True Story of Guns N' Roses - Last of the Giants in the lead up to attending their Not in This Lifetime Tour earlier this month was the best preparation possible and gave me a better appreciation of just how far they've all come. I thoroughly recommend The True Story of Guns N' Roses to fans of their music all over the world.
My rating = ****