Just how fucked up do you have to be to get kicked out of Guns N’ Roses for being a druggie? If you’re original drummer Steven Adler, pretty fucked up.
In his highly addictive (see what I did there?) memoir, Adler with a little help from co-author Lawrence J. Spagnola, will likely garner very little sympathy from most. Yes, he had a rough childhood, kicked out of the house as a teen, but even as he tries to relay how tough it was growing up, he comes off like a spoiled brat and you can’t help but side with his mom for tossing him out.
The book is chock full of early GN’R lore – that which Adler can actually remember – but he was already out of the band by the time the group started work on its second full length, so it’s hardly a definitive look at how one of the world’s most successful bands managed to implode. Yes, Axl comes off as an asshole, and Slash, Adler’s best friend going back to junior high, comes off looking not so stellar either, but after reading story after story of Adler trying to explain how he just ended up drinking too much or taking just a little more drugs than the others, it is extremely difficult to try and side with the drummer.
The book was clearly written as an apology, of sorts to those he has harmed, and reads like countless other autobiographies of cleaned-up rock stars, but Adler vacillates between apologizing and blaming those around him. He directs a lot of his vitriol at his mother, though never really explains why (you’d think a memoir would be the best place for an explanation like this, but…)
Hearing Adler recount his backstage conquests with other hair metal has-beens like Motley Crew in detail that would appeal to a 12-year-old boy just sounds simply pathetic in 2010. It’s also odd how Adler glosses over how he actually achieved sobriety after decades of drug uses. In the last few pages he mentions that he was on the VH1 train wreck reality show “Celebrity Rehab” and “Sober House,” but aside from crediting Dr. Drew with saving his life he has very little else to say about the topic.
The book, vulgar at times and often frustrating given the mind-numbingly stupid things Adler does, is still nearly impossible to put down and rather aptly titled.