Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Book Review (which is by no means professional)

I am on a sad, sad streak of reading.  I finally finished the first book in the month of February and the month is over tomorrow!  That's pretty bad for someone that usually reads 6-8 books a month.

My book review for today is Duff McKagan's memoir, "It's So Easy (And Other Lies)".  Duff used to be the bass player for Guns 'N Roses, Velvet Revolver, and currently has his own band, Loaded.  I hold a very special place in my heart for Guns 'N Roses and was immediately drawn to this book.

The first time I ever heard Guns 'N Roses was in 1988 when I saw the video "Welcome to the Jungle" on MTV.  I remember seeing Axl Roses's spiked up hair and thinking, "Well, that's different."  I watched with anticipation as this rugged group of five guys from L.A. rocked and rolled their way through this song.  I was hooked.  I immediately bought the album "Appetite for Destruction".  Now, keep in mind that I was 13 at this point and didn't pick up on all the lyrics and their meanings.  It has taken me 15+ years to do that.  It was so not appropriate for a 13-year old but hey, I had a cool mom.

Duff talks about his childhood in Seattle, his move to L.A. to start his music career, the rise and fall of Guns 'N Roses, crippling addictions to alcohol and cocaine, and his new start in life.  But what really resonated with me is his complete and utter love of music.  He states in his memoir that he makes music because he wants to share it with people and have a relationship with his fans.  He doesn't need the money and the fame, he just wants to play.  In a world where "rock stars" are idolized and unreachable, this is a breath of fresh air.

Duff doesn't hold back anything when he talks about his addictions and admits that he wanted to die.  And he almost did when his pancreas burst inside him and he had to be rushed to the hospital.  This was his rock bottom and he is one of the lucky ones that overcame his addictions and made himself into a new and better person. 

A very moving part in the memoir recounts Duff's chance meeting with Axl Rose, 13 years after Guns 'N Roses broke up.  During the "Use Your Illusion 1 & 2" tour, the band had troubles with Axl showing up on time to play scheduled concerts.  There were several riots (a really bad one here in St. Louis) and eventually bitterness and resentment grew within the band.  I will take a second here to say that I am proud I had the opportunity to see this tour and it went off without a hitch!  So, the group disbanded and Duff was no longer in touch with Axl until this chance meeting.  Duff knocked on Axl's hotel room door and when Axl opened it, Duff found himself with no thoughts of anger or resentment.  He had put everything in the past and moved on.  That really spoke to me as a person that deals with both of these issues on a daily basis.  It can be done.  I see that now.

Duff is now a father, husband, financial manager, and as always, a rock-and-roller.  This is definitely one of the best memoirs I have read.  At no point in time did I feel I was being manipulated into feeling sorry for Duff and was actually rooting for him to pull through.  And he did.

If you like memoirs, this is a good one.  But if you're a Guns 'N Roses fan, you'll love it.

From one of my favorite songs of theirs, "Dead Horse":

Sick of this life
Not that you care.
I'm not the only one with
Whom these feelings I share.

Nobody understands
quite why we're here.
We're searchin' for answers
That never appear.

But maybe if I looked real hard
I'd see your tryin' too.
To understand this life
That we're all goin' through.

Good health and reading to you all!


  1. Yay for Duff. Glad for any realization that anger and resentment are self-destructive and can be overcome. Thx for the recommendation.

  2. I think it's about time you read Cujo.