Thursday, July 04, 2024


 No person had better credentials to write up the story of Guns N' Roses than the late Danny Sugerman who, at an early age, got his first lessons in rock 'n' roll excess from the legendary Jim Morrison.

The back blurb reads: 'In 1987, GUN N' ROSES blasted their way out of the ruins of the Los Angeles Heavy Metal Scene - and announced to the world that they were the future of rock 'n' roll.

'Fifteen million copies of their first album, and half a decade of sex and drugs later, no other  band can match them for excess.'

The story begins with Axl's slagging off his own band in front of 83,000 people in the autumn of 1989 and using racist and offensive language. Rumours had gone round that the Guns would be opening for the Rolling Stones USA tour. In the end they played only four Los Angeles dates. The contrast between the two bands is carefully studied throughout.

This remarkable book not only provides a close-up picture of the band members and their full-on sex and drugs habits but also brings to life their battles  against the music business. Sugerman also makes comparisons with poets from the past like Shelley who was an opium addict. How drugs like heroin in music began with jazz. He delves into the origins of music and recognises that rock stars have links with the shaman of the past. His detailed interviews brings the band's characters to life. Surely this is one of the greatest music books about one of the greatest bands of our time who are always on the edge, right where they belong. 

[See my earlier review of Sugerman's 'Wonderland Avenue']

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