For every 200 autobiographies that come out each year most should be instantly thrown into a fire or buried in a cess pit but you get one or two worthy additions to the book game. Jordan herself has now written close to 187 books and just knowing that these dangerous and repulsive items out there in the public domain is a scary thought that makes me want to lock myself away in a cellar blindfolded with white noise blasting from a TV on my hands and knees praying that I never cast my eye on one word of these satanic verses. Celebrity autobiographies are plentiful and so many of these pathetic poison pen scribbling's are written by the `celebrity' before they have even lived a full life (or even a life worthy of a book). These non-entities write them as soon as they have done one thing that puts them in the public eye and often the book is hurriedly written and on the shelves years before their inevitable downfall or disappearance. Kerry Katona even has a book out: 'Too Much, Too Young' (the title clearly doubles up as a harsh review of the self-indulgent self-obsessed content of the book and the fact she is just 31 years old and now writing a book on her life). This book should be handed out on death row to make inmates feel better about their own lives or used in schools to scare kids away from a wasted life chasing fame. Book stores do not even have the decency to put these worthless crude warts n' all autobiographies on the top shelf like newsagents do with those dodgy adult magazines. It's no consolation that these filthy manuals end up in the bargain bucket after a few weeks because the shops tend to keep these `Sale' bins down on the shop floor at everyone's eye level near the door, won't they please think of the children.
Anyway, avert your eyes away from the tome written by the guy who came 6th on Big Brother 4 and pick up Duff McKagen's book. I really like Duff and I love Guns n' Roses so I was very happy when I saw that the bass player for a band I grew up loving and still listen to now has recounted his life story in print. Ok, so there have been many books written about Guns n' Roses but most are un-authorised but some are pretty good, many are shockingly bad and others just feel like boring repetition. That was the worry here, would it be just like reading about the same stories re-told over and over or worse still would it be a self-indulgent and biased look at life in Guns / outside Guns from a bitter and washed up rocker......luckily Duff is neither of those. The difference between Duff and not just his fellow rockers but also many celebrities is that this talented punk is a very intelligent guy. He has written a regular column in the Seattle weekly for years now, he is articulate, informative, witty and very passionate and it all comes across great in the book, his voice stands out and you really feel like he is on a rocking chair reading this back to you.
There is nothing quite like getting the juice from the horse's mouth, from inside the eye of the storm and he tells his tale with surprising self deprecation, candor, humour and great warmth especially when speaking about his family and ex-band mates. It is not unlike Slash's book (their lives have intertwined of course with the same bands and road to recovery) but each member of G n' R has a very different style and view point but both are worth reading for sure. I have not read Steven Adler's book and may do at some point but it is now Axl Roses memoir that I wait for with baited breath! You will get Duffs side of the story on tales that have been through the press millions time but you will learn new things too that even a life long dedicated Guns fan may not know. Duff is the first to claim this is just his side of the story laid out in all its gritty glory, nothing more, he is clear when there is a dispute raised that he is merely recounting his side and draws you back to the title often! He is very honest and frank about the addictions that nearly killed him and he readily admits that sometime he barely even remembers what went down. The story of Guns n' Roses is always worth reading from every angle. In fact if anything he does talk more about his own life, the highs and lows, than about Guns itself but I love the way it's written, with self-deprecation and humour, I was never bored or dare skip a page. There are some really amusing and bizarre anecdotes here, but he is never shocking for shocking sake. Seeing him play live with the new Guns n' Roses band at the O2 in London in 2010 was one the highlights of my life and he explains how it all went down here brilliantly. If anyone was lucky enough, as I was, to catch his intimate spoken word tour, where he read out parts of the book in between acoustic renditions of Guns n' Roses and solo numbers then you will know how much putting his story into print means to him. You can see he is very proud of his journey and being able to share it with fans. He may not like me recalling this but in the London Forum at this spoken word show he got very emotional and had to take a moment to recover his composure. When he read out parts of his book involving his family and in particular his daughters, given that these followed extracts where his drugs and alcohol addiction nearly killed him, the tears that he tried to fight back on stage showed us what a sincere and sensitive man this hard rocker is. He seemed a little embarrassed and taken back that he had such a reaction, but this was the first show on this experimental tour but it was a very honest and human reaction and he affected us all in that room at that moment, like he did in his career. To quote a song from the Spaghetti Incident that Duff covered at this show: "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" but you can write a wonderful balls to the wall memoir using what little memory you have and we will all be rather thankful that you did. Now about that full reunion.................................
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