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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth?, 30 Jun. 2008
R. Mullaney (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
From the seedy Sunset Strip clubs of 1980's Los Angeles emerged a rock band so blisteringly intense they would later be labelled 'the most dangerous band in the world.' Led by Indiana youngster W. Axl Rose, Guns 'N' Roses would blow up into the most relevant band of a generation and complete World domination would eventually be overshadowed by their offstage antics. General hellraising eventually gave way to big egos, power trips, cancelled shows and rumours of huge rifts between band members. At the centre of it all, the complex but undeniably talented Axl.

I've been a fan of Guns 'N' Roses ever since I was introduced to 'Appetite For Destruction' by a pal at middle school. I was slightly too young to catch them live during their 1987-1992 heyday but I've listened to their albums regularly ever since. Much has been written about the bands eventual splitting up and I was pleased to get my hands on former Kerrang! journalist Mick Wall's biography of Axl, hoping it would clear a few things up.

So does it?

No. Not really. Whilst the book is interesting enough, there's very little here that a Guns 'N' Roses fan wouldn't have heard already. Having being in the fortunate position of being granted access to Axl's inner circle, there are a few interviews and personal experiences Mick draws upon but ultimately no revelations or new information. For the most part, Axl is portrayed as a totally unreasonable ego-maniac who alienated his bandmates, management, friends, family and girlfriends. There is probably a lot of truth in this as it's difficult to ignore the fact that Axl has fallen out with virtually everyone he ever worked with but Mick Wall does often seem to have another agenda. Wall wrote a magazine article about an interview with Axl in which the singer had threatened Motley Crue member Vince Neil over an alleged dispute with Guns 'N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin. Wall claims to have checked with the singer before submitting the article but Axl was angry with what was printed and publicly humiliated Wall in the song 'Get In The Ring.' After this, Wall was not welcome in the Guns 'N' Roses camp so perhaps this book is a little bit of revenge? Whatever Wall's motives, this book is an interesting read although would probably be more appropriate for new fans who may want to learn more about the band's history. There is much written about the bands huge 1991-1993 world tour which ultimately spelled the end for the original lineup. The last part of the book is mostly speculation surrounding Axl's reclusive activities and the new lineup's much hyped 'Chinese Democracy' album which has been over a decade in the making. Again nothing is said here that we didn't already know.

On the whole, a good book but shouldn't be taken literally as the whole truth and maybe slightly disappointing to old G'N'R fans who were expecting new revelations.

Like this? Try: Guns 'N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction
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W.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose
W.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose by Mick Wall (Paperback - 20 Jan. 2009)
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