Friday, February 12, 2010

G:TB's Friday Book Club

I had to change the topic from Whit's (likely-to-be) epic road trip to something I am much more familiar with these days - sitting on my fat arse and reading. So on that note...

I just finished reading Watch You Bleed, an unauthorized biography of Guns N' Roses, written by Stephen Davis, the man who wrote the epic Led Zeppelin biography Hammer of the Gods. I thought the book was a kick-ass read and I think many of you will agree. The book is salacious, but in the true sense, because these guys lived salacious lives. The sex, drugs and filth stories are not presented in a gratuitous way, like Nikki Sixx stuffing his filthy dong in a burrito to make it stink less during his month-long shower-free stretch in The Dirt, or the infamous red snapper story about Led Zeppelin and one passed-out groupie. (Not to say those stories aren't awesome. Because they are.) The back story of GnR is unbelievable because the guys lived the lives that painted the Appetite album - heroin, cocaine, alcohol, homelessness, fighting and screwing, which gives them street cred. But the band was absolutely as image-conscious as every other band playing on the Sunset Strip, from Poison to Faster Pussycat. While Bret Michaels was a pansy for wearing lipstick, Axl was somehow cool for wearing thong bikini bottoms and leather chaps while performing.

The book traces each member's journey from their hometown to the Strip and gives all the filthy details along the way. I always knew Izzy Stradlin was the secret force behind the band, but you get a lot more details about that in the book. He was apparently the coolest dude in the band, and the others admitted as much. He also went to high school with Axl, which I didn't know. (Random note: If you are not familiar with Izzy Stradlin & The JuJu Hounds, you're doing yourself a disservice. Buy this album or this one and you won't be disappointed.) The last third of the book drags as it focuses on Axl going from crazy to CRAZY over the last 18 years, but it's still interesting to revisit the band's history.

For some reason, the book has been poorly reviewed on Amazon. People rip Davis for merely stringing together source material, but that seems to be the best way to get the story, in lieu of interviews with the principal characters. And fans have nitpicking complaints about descriptions of Slash's guitar. Whatever. The book gives the back stories behind every song and lyric on the Appetite and Lies albums. And that's worth something.

Next up on the reading docket are more sober reads: Game Change, On the Brink and Yalta. I'll spare you my thoughts on them when/if I get through any of them.

65 comments:

TJ said...

I realize we have moved on to new posts, as the Tiny Decree calls for, but Whitney has reached Vegas.

Game on...

TR said...

As excited as you get when landing in Vegas, the perpetual 30+ minute cab line is always a big downer.

rob said...

the tiny decree will be studied by our ancestors for its insights into the human condition of 21st century dipshits.

Mark said...

Not if you're doing blow in the back of the cab it doesn't.

Nice heads up on the GnR book too. I thoroughly enjoyed both "Dirt" and "Scar Tissue" and plan on picking this up too as soon as I finish Simmons' "Book of Basketball" (a little over halfway done). Books about drugs and debauchery are my second favorite kind of books, just behind a good sports book (which are, admittedly, pretty rare).

rob said...

man, the vancouver games are not opening on a positive note. shitty weather, and now a luger from georgia has died after an accident on a training run.

Mark said...

So he did die. Wow, I heard it was a "life threatening accident" but I didn't really think he'd die. A shitty, shitty start indeed.

TR said...

I tried to finish Simmons' TBOB, and could barely do it. I found it pretty disjointed and disappointing. He does good research and cites some old books that sound like good reads, but it's just not that riveting. I did a lot of skipping until I got to his pyramid, and I struggled to keep it together for most of that.

Mark said...

I'm a basketball junkie so I have really enjoyed the book. However, I agree that parts of it were a bit tough to get through up until the Pyramid section. That was enthralling and I really enjoyed learning more about some of the older players who I only had basic or cursory knowledge of. Also, I would've been more interested in much of the early parts which focused on some of the lesser known aspects of early NBA history but due to my aforementioned basketball addiction, I already knew most of that stuff.

Still though, I have really enjoyed the book and will probably end up re-reading the Pyramid section.

Mark said...

Oh yeah, Sean Sutton...busted for felony pill possession. I guess we should be surprised it wasn't meth considering he spent most of his formative years in Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma

rob said...

that apple doesn't fall far from the drunk-ass tree, does it?

zoltan said...

It seems like our editors don't read fiction. Good. I never liked fiction. An entire section of the library devoted to lies! But the Yalta Summit? Didn't that happen in Harvey's room 15 years ago? I'm surprised it's already a book.

rob said...

why hello, tanith belbin

rob said...

t-pain autotuned on the remade 'we are the world' is priceless

rob said...

it's possible that was lil wayne

zoltan said...

Floyd smoked the letter!

rob said...

is it wrong to find it sexy when a woman sings the canadian national anthem in french?

rob said...

teejay's boy ryan rossiter hasn't gotten any less gawky with age

TJ said...

That kid is like 7th in the country in rebounding...

rob said...

still looks like the sidekick from 'wonder years'

rob said...

these canadian first peoples aren't nearly as synchronized as the chinese were

rob said...

bob huggins is such a dick

TR said...

The Canadians probably don't fear corporal punishment if they step out of rhythm.

34,000 residents in Liechtenstein. That is about what you'd expect from that speck of land, but it still seems goofy to have a nation that tiny. I wonder if they rip on Andorra to feel better about themselves.

And there's a 51 year-old Mexican skier in the Games?

TR said...

Monaco has 33,000 people. Another country for Liechtenstein to rip on.

And none of the Mongolians look like they have 47 chromosomes. I'm just saying.

TR said...

And what's up the slowly fast dancing Canadians in all white? They must feel like fools, having to strut in place for hours. They look like bored strippers working the lunch shift when I'm the only one in the place. Not that I'd know what that is like.

TR said...

Me likey the Norwegian ladies. And the Pakistani staches.

rob said...

the mongolian flagbearer was kinda cute

TR said...

Kevin Durant is dressed like a gay bellman.

TR said...

They should feed ecstasy to the dancers in white at the Opening Ceremony to keep them going.

TR said...

I don't remember Peter Forsberg's face looking so jacked up. Did he grow an extra dozen teeth in the last couple years? He's an ugly bitch.

TR said...

The figure skating Swiss flag-bearer could not be any more flaming.

TR said...

Tajikistan. Not a real country.

Merge all the -stans, I still say.

TR said...

USA getting a nice hand. Joe Biden and his hair plugs seem happy.

TR said...

This is Canada's 3rd time hosting the Olympics in the last 34 years. Pretty good run for that country.

rob said...

lindsey jacobellis looks like dee snyder

TR said...

Yeah, most women snowboarders are not sexy. Kelly Clark is a tough-looking broad. Her folks own a tavern in Mt. Snow, VT that features a lot of her memorabilia. Not a sexy mug.

TR said...

Is that Bryan Adams singing?

TR said...

Wow. That is him. He looks 30 years old.

Mark said...

The Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics draw a much bigger crowd of G:TB staff that I would've expected. True to form, I've been busy flipping between Pitt-WVU and the Rookie-Sophomore game. Sophomores looking frisky midway in the second half.

Mark said...

And Tyreke Evans gets more layups than any non-big man I can ever remember watching.

TJ said...

We just made an El Salvadorian place turn a soccer game to these ceremonies....

Mark said...

Ugly American. Good though, El Salvadorians are dicks.

Mark said...

This fish/water thing is cool. In related news, I'm stoned.

TJ said...

So is Greg.

And..

Mark said...

...everybody in the crowd.

TJ said...

Some hispanic dude and I just made the same Sarah MacLachlan joke at the same time.

Olympic Spirit bitches...

Mark said...

When are Bob and Doug McKenzie performing?

TJ said...

I think I'm in a Telemundo Hooters add, but not sure...

TJ said...

Greg has seized control...

Mark said...

So things are out of control?

TJ said...

Flock of Seagulls!!

TJ said...

And I've blown my cover...
/brasco

Mark said...

Brandon James continues to have fantastic hair.

Mark said...

Or Brandon Jennings...take your pick.

TJ said...

That's a Tatoinne Moon...

TJ said...

Cir-de-gheor-ghe

TJ said...

OK, so we have reached a language barrier...

TJ said...

The Teej has entered district 9...

zoltan said...

What's everyone's best guess as to what whitney is doing? Closest wins a swiss flag bearer.

Mark said...

In case you've missed it (and I'm pretty sure you have) Pitt-WVU has been one hell of game thus far.

/3 OTs

Shlara said...

Steve Nash!

Greg said...

Steve Nash and lesbians......same haircut

TJ said...

Gretzky gets torch ass.

Dan said...

happy valentine's day eve

TJ said...

LaceDarius...still not even remotely a name.

Greg said...

Lateejius......