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RECKLESS ROAD by Mark Canter


Guns N’ Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction

by Mark Canter and Jason Porath

Pub Date: June 25th, 2010
Publisher: Vook

Oral history of the making of an iconic rock album.

Canter is described in the meta-material of this e-book as “best friend” of guitarist Slash for 30 years. Who better to tell the story of Guns N’ Roses than an eyewitness (and obsessive collector of memorabilia) who knew the guitar hero since fifth grade? But to say Canter wrote this Behind the Music–style account of the origins of the best-known and beloved version of the Los Angeles band is, perhaps, a bit of an exaggeration. The videos Porath shot featuring snippets of interviews with three of the original band members (absent Axl Rose, of course, and Izzy Stradlin), several girlfriends, managers, hangers-on and employees of Geffen records, as well as with Canter himself, are actually the basis for much of the text. In fact, sometimes the text takes the form of a transcription of the videos. This makes the e-book occasionally redundant, particularly when several interviewees tell the same story on tape and in the text. But redundancy can’t make the story of these unusual rockers and their brilliant first record anything less than riveting. Simultaneously glam, grungy, metal and punk, GNR made their own rules and stuck to them ferociously. They lived hand-to-mouth on the streets of L.A., sacrificing normalcy, security and safety for an art that they created collectively. And for a moment in the mid-1980s, they were rock ’n’ roll because of songs from the album like the ubiquitous anthems “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child of Mine.”

Somewhere in this Vook is a great rock movie waiting to be made. But for lovers of rock lore, this will do until it comes out.