I am a Guns 'n' Roses fan, and I mean a huge fan. Appetite for Destruction is my favorite album ever, Chinese Democracy is brilliant, and hell, I even enjoy The Spaghetti Incident. So when original drummer Steven Adler released his autobiography, My Appetite for Destruction a short while ago, I had to read it. I wanted to love this book, I wanted Steven to do well, and I just wanted to know more about the band, but the bottom line is Steven's book was just a lackluster read...and it kills me to say that.
It is clear Steven was trying to deliver a quality product and I do not blame the end product on him. He has never written a book before, and based on what you learn about him in the book, I do not think he has read that many of them either, so I would not have great expectations from Steven without the proper guidance. I blame the dull book on the editors. They are the ones charged with working with the author to deliver a superior story, and I have no doubt Steven has an amazing story. The problem with the book is that Steven needed to dig deep, but he just never did. Everything in the book is very superficial and simply just face value. You never truly get the actual emotion that he was experiencing: the highs and the lows... and that is why this book is such a tragedy.
For example, Steven gives a very vague description of a tragic event that occurred during his teenage years, where it appears he was taken advantage of by several older men. In recounting this time in his life, he simply states that he won't go into details but it was a terrible incident. Well, unfortunately, the reader is looking for tragedy. Granted, I do not necessarily want to know the graphic details, but he should have gone into detail about how this affected him...his emotions, reactions and how he coped with what happened. That is the story people are looking for, and if you are going to write an autobiography, you need to be honest with the reader and go into detail about all aspects of your life.
Another example that drove me nuts was when he was writing about the trial when he sued Guns n' Roses for his publishing rights. The entire trial gets, maybe, two pages in the book, where he (again very vaguely) states that it was difficult for him to see his band mates saying horrible things about him on the stand, but NO DETAILS! That is what I want to know. What did Axl say? What did Slash say? But after reading the book, I know little more than I did when I started reading.
And what about "Wasted Time?" Skid Row recorded the song about Steven and his heroin addiction and the song was featured on the first-ever metal album that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, but there is no mention of the song in the book. And then Adler's Appetite hardly gets a mention either...what about when he bailed on the tour with Stephen Pearcy and Bang Tango? (I think that was the line-up...I saw it a few days before Adler dropped off).
If there is one theme that runs through the entire book, it is that Steven is always the victim, and quite frankly, that gets old. There are some great stories in the book like the time he overdosed and woke up in the hospital to Axl keeping vigil by his bed. There was the time he slept with Tommy Lee's sister and other rays of light contained within the book. But, the bottom line is I learned Steven is a naive, immature guy who got lucky landing a gig with a great band, but who just could not keep his act together. He still has an inability to accept responsibility for what he did while in the greatest band ever, and while he clearly has resentment over how he was fired, he spends far too much time praising anyone and everyone he mentions in the book. He claims responsibility at the end, but his words do not jive with his attitude throughout the book. At the end of the day, Steven has more than a 304 page story in him, and I just cannot believe that My Appetite for Destruction is it.