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Guns N Roses - "My Appetite For Destruction" (Book)

Guns N Roses - "My Appetite For Destruction" Book cover image

Reviewed by on February 4, 2011

"[Steven Adler's] autobiography, 'My Appetite For Destruction,' was written to set the record straight, tell his side of the story, and as we find out in the final pages, keep him busy while he struggles with sobriety."

Steven Adler has the distinction of being not only one of the original members of the band Guns N Roses, but also the first member kicked out of the band for of all things, too much drug use. His autobiography, "My Appetite For Destruction," was written to set the record straight, tell his side of the story, and as we find out in the final pages, keep him busy while he struggles with sobriety.

I almost didn’t make it to page one when I saw the book was dedicated to television’s Dr. Drew, but I decided to give it a few pages and see. With autobiographies you either get a Wikipedia type phone-it-in type book or a heartfelt this is the reality written from the heart of the author. I was expecting the former, but much to my surprise got the latter with this book.

A disturbing childhood begins this story, detailing Adler’s drug use in his early teens along with accusations of molestation from the West Hollywood drug dealers. At the time it was clear Steven had no idea what was happening, essentially laying the foundation for decades of drug use to follow. To counter the molestations it appears that Steven tried to have sex with as many of his friend’s mothers as possible. I don’t believe this actually works, but than again different strokes for different folks.

Playing in a band was really Adler’s only dream. During the day he worked odd jobs to buy his drum set piece by piece, and at night ran the streets of Sunset, hoping to get a glimpse of Tommy Lee or Nikki Sixx, a couple of his heroes who would later become like Uncles, the type of Uncles that would share their drugs and women. Cool Uncles.

Growing up, one of his closest friends was Saul (Slash) and he would later meet Izzy and Axl and eventually Duff. A lot of time is spent on the band's first road trip up the West Coast, an adventure that would solidify the original lineup of Guns N Roses. Great detail is also put into the dynamic of the initial band (something not covered in Slash’s autobiography), specifically how the song writing changed and the changes Axl was incorporating into the band without resistance from the others. The marriage between Adler and the other bandmates didn’t last long. Steven continued to increase his drug use, having a direct affect on his playing and more importantly his decision making abilities. Adler was fired and replaced shortly after.

For the next twenty years Steven Adler would fight his addiction to heroin, crack, and pretty much every other substance he could get his hands on. During this time he suffered a stroke, had multiple visits to the hospitals, and burned every bridge he could find. Recently he has gone to rehab (Slash was part of one of the interventions) and has found reason to live through his new band, Adler’s Appetite.

Quite simply Steven Adler lost decades due to his drug use. Steven makes no excuse for this and understands the incredible level of selfishness and the effect this has had on his life. You also get the feeling that he’s not going to make it and will continue to relapse until drugs finally win. Even with this imminent feeling, I somehow felt sorry for him (a little bit), and in the end, found myself rooting for the author to beat his demons.

Highs: The energy of Adler’s voice through his words when discussing his music.

Lows: The on-again-off-again drug use becomes so monotonous to the point you know what happens next.

Bottom line: A true crash and burn rock and roll story.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)