Readers of the NYT Book Review will have noticed one drug-addled rocker’s bio missing from its Music Issue this past weekend. While Clapton, Coltrane, and even seminal country rocker Gram Parsons all get the (usual) treatment, Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash‘s effort, Slash (HarperCollins, Oct. 30), is oddly ignored. Does the Times have a standards policy against books containing pictures of the subject getting his salad tossed by his wife at the Hard Rock Cafe? Seems prudish.
Like most, I prefer my guitar heroes served with a smack habit and a heaping helping of alcoholism, but too often their stories make for boastful, boring advertisements for legendary musicians’ tired images. For all his own debauched history, Slash (born Saul Hudson)—along with co-writer and Radar contributor Anthony Bozza—gives his story of skyrocketing fame and varying heroin and alcohol addictions an incredibly, um, sober rendering. Slash’s light-speed lifestyle is treated almost tenderly—an OD occasion breezes by in a few sentences—and it’s somehow noble that he remains standing among his various comrades-in-track-marked-arms—mostly bandmates, dealers, groupies, and porn stars. Even if you’re celebrating alone, what is rehab, really, without a vodka-drenched after-party?