Surviving Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver & Rock's Snake Pit

by Paul Stenning, IMP

Saul Hudson, or Slash, is probably one of the best known guitarists of all time. He has been playing ever since his grandmother bought him an acoustic guitar at the age of 15. He joined Guns N' Roses full time in early 1986 and went on to form Slash's Snake Pit, Slash's Blues Ball and, more famously, Velvet Revolver.

Paul Stenning is a freelance rock and metal journalist and has written numerous books on bands and has also written articles for various rock and metal magazines. This is an unofficial biography of Slash but the author has captured Slash's career in great detail. After a few chapters you begin to wonder whether he stalks Slash as he seems to know everything there is to know about him.

Slash was actually born in Stoke-on-Trent, UK and moved to LA at the age of 11 with his mother, Ola . The author moves on to recount stories of Slash starting with his rock lifestyle as a teenager and his first band, Road Crew. When he went to the audition for Guns N' Roses he was initially turned down but the band later changed their minds, and Slash was invited to join Guns N' Roses in early 1985 and he was soon touring the bars and clubs of LA. The band quickly started to kick off and they released 'Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide' in 1986 before the world shattering 'Appetite for Destruction' which features the infamous tracks 'Paradise City', 'Welcome to the Jungle' and 'Sweet Child O'Mine'. Slash later said that the world famous intro had been a joke, "Like a sort of carnival song", he claimed, but Axl decided it was good and refused to back down.

Guns N' Roses, as you would expect, features largely in the book, but you wonder how much extra research the author needed to do as he has already published the book 'Guns N' Roses - The Band That Time Forgot'.

Paul Stenning provides a good but unsympathetic description of Slash's drug and alcohol abuse, which started to drive Axl and Slash apart, providing comments from different viewpoints, and showing how Slash didn't give up but carried on to form first Slash's Snake Pit and then Slash's Blues Ball. Both of these bands never really took off, but when Slash got together with ex-Stone Temple Pilots front man, Scott Weiland, they formed Velvet Revolver, a Hard Rock super group with 3 ex Guns N' Roses members. The author goes on to depict the rise to fame of this new band in the book in an informed way; the subject for a new book, maybe?

Most of the information in the book has been gathered from websites and television or magazine interviews and Paul Stenning's writing style does not include much humour or empathy. The book is crammed full of detail, which includes a 'Did you know?' and 'Quick Facts and Trivia' sections at the back - useful for … well, something! There is also a collection of standard press photos.

'Slash' is a must have book for all devoted fans of the man and anyone who has a strong interest in metal, or for people with weird and obsessive interests in rock life styles of the rich and famous. If this sounds like you then go out and buy it now and buy it here!


Steffan Bones