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Guns N Roses - "Reckless Road" (Book)

Guns N Roses - "Reckless Road" Book cover image

Reviewed by on March 18, 2012

"it’s the little nuggets that make turning each page exciting, not knowing what is next."

Classic Rock Magazine presents “RECKLESS ROAD: Guns N’ Roses and the Making of Appetite For Destruction”
By: Marc Canter with Jason Porath

Did we need another Guns N’ Roses book? Within the last few years Stephen Davis has given us “Watch You Bleed” and band members Slash, Steven Adler, and Duff McKagan have all released books. After three minutes of thumbing through “RECKLESS ROAD,” the answer is: Yes, apparently we do. How is this possible? Well Marc Canter is a photographer and part of the family of owners of Canter’s Deli in L.A. For anyone familiar with the Hollywood eighties scene then you may remember the name; Canter’s was the deli where many of the Sunset Strip bands hung out, including Guns N’ Roses. Marc has been friends with Guns N’ Roses for over three decades, including the beginning, when he documented their rise and making of the songs for their debut album, “Appetite for Destruction.” This is the result.

The book is dripping with information for die-hard fans; pages 16-17 shows a timeline of each member before the original Guns N’ Roses line up was formed. Check out what Slash looked like in Fairfax High School, Duff playing with The Vains, Izzy with his first band, Naughty Women, and Axl as the front man for Rapid Fire. For rock fashion gurus, you’ll love the shots of Axl Rose in his pink leather jacket and Slash discussing his home-made leather pants he would later sell for smack.

The book reads like a documentary (in a good way), littered with tidbits of information throughout, like did you know Axl Rose only sang in his low baritone voice when he first started singing in L.A.? This is the type of information scattered in between the stories behind the songs from “Appetite for Destruction;” it’s the little nuggets that make turning each page exciting, not knowing what is next.

Tying the book together is pictured memorabilia. Set lists from the Troubadour, Stardust Ballroom, and Madame Wong’s East clubs tell a story of their own. June 6, 1985 the original lineup’s first show; July 20, 1985, the first time they played “Welcome To The Jungle.” In addition to the set lists Cantor and Porath lists out ALL comments and song introductions made by Axl Rose during these shows. Pages 58-59 are a map of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, mapping the clubs played by the band and the houses they lived in. Pages 246-247 offers a collage of magazine covers of the band after the release of “Appetite for Destruction.” Again, turn the page and often there is a surprise waiting for you.

There is no great tale of addiction or band tension, no, this is a documentary on paper of a band (in hindsight) at the top of their game the year they put out one of the greatest rock records of all time.

Highs: Hundreds of pages of never before seen Guns N’ Roses photos and commentary from the live shows; all printed for the first time.

Lows: If you are looking for reflection and reaction from the members of Guns N’ Roses, read their autobiographies, “RECKLESS ROAD” stays the course of focusing on the making of Appetite For Destruction and the gigs that shaped the album.

Bottom line: A must have for any die-hard Guns N’ Roses fan.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)