After reading Steven Adler’s book I wanted to read Slash’s next, because Steven and Slash had such a close relationship in the early days. So #GnRWeek continues with Slash’s autobiography.

Slash's book

Slash's book

Like most autobiographies there is a lot about Slash’s youth at the start. Sometimes this can be boring, but in Slash’s case it was all very interesting. Born in the UK, Slash, or Saul Hudson, moved out to LA when he was young. He had very artistic parents, one of whom was even friends with David Bowie. That’s already a pretty cool start to life. He goes on to explain about his love for art and also riding BMX bikes. By all accounts he was a pretty damn good BMX rider. He explains that one day he put the BMX down and focussed purely on the guitar. The rest of his youth is very similar to Steven’s. Being a disruptive child, bit of a trouble maker, moving from school to school etc. But the core element throughout it all is the music. From then on the music was his downfall and also his saviour. The rock n’ roll lifestyle would be all he knew from that point on. ‘The perils of rock n’ roll decadence’, as the song goes.

Slash young

There are a lot of parallels between the start of Slash’s book and Steven Adler’s book. Many of the stories are the same but told from the other person’s perspective. Interestingly they tend to be more elaborate in Steven’s book and a little bit more downplayed in Slash’s book. Take from that what you will.

I just think Slash is a very, very cool guy. He’s just so goddamn mellow. His drink and drug abuse is ridiculous though. I mean, absolutely shocking in places. But you never really feel put off or disgusted by that. He has a way of doing what he does and still being chilled and cool with it. It sounds like he was an absolute mess at times, and yet he always managed to keep it together in terms of the music. So people just went along it. He did technically die once and had to be resuscitated, and he has had to have a defibrillator installed, but apart from that he seems to have come out pretty unscathed, which is astounding given the ridiculous amount of drugs and booze he has done.

There’s just something very likeable about the guy. He’s so chilled and mellow. He looks slightly mysterious but also part cartoon-like, with his hair over his eyes and the top hat on. A kind of larger than life character. Plus he is an incredible guitar player. There are two people that you couldn’t have a true Guns N’ Roses band without. One is Axl and the other is Slash. Apologies to Duff, but it’s the recognisable sounds of Axl and Slash that really make the band, in my opinion. I know Appetite was a total ensemble record and everyone plays their part totally equally but I just mean that I don’t really count Axl’s later line-up as a true Guns N’ Roses, but if Axl and Slash are on the stage together then that is the minimum combination that I would refer to as ‘Guns N’ Roses’.


In many ways Slash is the heart of the band, because he was so involved in every musical step. Axl is maybe the main figurehead but he became quite removed from the day to day runnings and music because of his ego. So Slash probably is the one who is most aware of everything that happened. The only problem is that he was totally f**ked up most of the time. It’s a surprise he can remember anything. I do wonder how many memories he had to have corroborated by other band members or entourage people while writing this book, or if he had to flesh out any memories to make them better stories. He seems a pretty high functioning addict though so my guess is that he can actually remember a lot of the stuff. And it’s very interesting to hear his perspective on a lot of the stuff that happened further down the line.

One thing that is interesting is that he gives in a lot. Particularly to Axl’s ridiculous demands. I guess he doesn’t like confrontation and often in those situations with Axl if he stood up to him then it might mean the end of the band. And there are several situations in the book where he tries to argue or fight something but then gives in to some crazy demand (like signing away the rights to the band’s name) just because it will keep the band going. It’s quite sad in a way in places. He ends up doing whatever he can just to keep the band going. Most of the band did this, except for Steven who would often stand up to Axl, and who ultimately got fired. The rest of them just had to keep things ticking over and that meant giving in to Axl’s crazy demands. That must have been pretty sickening to have to go through, but again Slash seems such a chilled character that he just gets on with the music.

One thing I do really respect him for is that he hasn’t bad mouthed Axl too much in the media. Sure there are a couple of interviews you can find which are obviously when things were still raw for him, but mostly no matter what crap has gone down he always can say a good word about how good a frontman Axl was or something like that. He doesn’t seem too bitter about everything. And if someone else ever badmouths Axl he immediately jumps on them saying, “you don’t have any right to badmouth Axl, you weren’t there”. Only he, or other band members, can say a bad word about Axl. I love that. That kind family bond that a band has. Despite all the crap Axl put them through, Slash still has a sense of loyalty and honour about it.


I mentioned earlier that I was impressed he could remember anything. There were actually a few discrepancies between his book and other sources like Duff’s book. Things like how Slash said they released the Illusion records and then had to get sorted for the tour, but Duff says they started touring before the albums were even released (which was strange for the band because the fans in the first few shows didn’t know a lot of the material). I’m not sure who’s story is the most accurate.

Something else that I was surprised at was how relatively chilled he was about was the death of two members of the audience at Monsters of Rock at Castle Donnington in 1988. Steven and Duff really dwelled on this in their books and said how much of a big and negative thing this was, particularly Duff. But Slash kind of glossed over it and hardly mentioned it at all, which I was surprised at. I thought he would have made a bigger deal of it.

In summary, Slash is such an interesting character. A loveable ex-junkie, a mellow ex-drunk, a creative genius and an iconic guitar player. Check out the book if you can. Some very interesting stories.

Main discography after leaving Guns N’ Roses.

Slash’s Snakepit
Velvet Revolver
Solo work