Tag Archives: Guns’n’Roses

Reading of Books #29

I’ve been reading some books and they were good. I read work by Duff McKagan, Peter Criss, Roddy Doyle and Robert B. Cialdini. A bit of music, a bit of thinkers work and a bit of literature, it was a good and inspirational series of titles. Check them out.


Duff McKagan – How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions)

source: goodreads.com

Duff McKagan managed to grab my heart with his first book It’s So Easy (And Other Lies). That book deals with the glory days in Guns’n’Roses, drug- and alcohol abuse and getting on your feet again. It ends on a high note, with the little family and new projects in place. By writing a follow-up, McKagan shows himself to be a true story teller. We find the man back in the van again with the Walking Papers a new project (and brilliant music), picking up where he left. It’s interesting, because it takes you to a place you wouldn’t imagine to find the sober Duff to be at again, but he is and it immediately becomes glorious.

Where the previous book had something cathartic to it, something confessional while remaining light, this one is flat-out funny at times. Duff has a miraculous amount of self deflating jokes lined up and keeps tricking the readers. He takes you into one direction, only to baffle you by switching it all around on you. This book could actually count as an inspirational book, it gives good advice for people trying to find out what to do is right. As long as you take things with a grain of salt. A great read for music fans and allround humans.

Roddy Doyle – The Commitments

source: goodreads.com

You might have seen the film. I think I have, but I’m not sure so I’ll rewatch it. This writing debut of Roddy Doyle takes Irish English to new hights in a street-talking music adventure with the rowdy youngsters from Dublin getting into soul music. Jimmy Rabbite is approached by some of his mates to help them set up a band. He agrees but only if he can manage them. This turns into an interesting journey for the young folks, who actually do what most bands do: break up before they make it. It’s a great story, written in a language that every reader can easily relate to, with a lot of cool references to music.

Doyle is Dublin through and through and you can read that in the manner of detail and local references. This could not have been written by a thorough study. There’s a raw realism to the writing, to the story as well. Nothing is overblown or overly hefty, it’s all normal stories but told in such a natural way that you’ll be captivated. I’m not even sure if that’s the language, but maybe simply the form of a continuous narrative. I’ve really enjoyed reading this, though I went through it so fast that it was over before I knew it. The story of The Commitments, bringing soul to soul-starved Dublin.

Peter Criss – Makeup to Breakup: My Life in and out of Kiss

source: goodreads.com

Peter Criss succeeds in the one thing, that no other Kiss biography did. His former bandmates all managed to end it on a high note, where they were sort of the good guys (except for Gene, because he doesn’t care). Peter Criss manages to make himself look like an even bigger dick than any of the others put him down as. His book reads as that of a man, who contradicts himself every step of the way (sometimes with only a few lines between them). Everything is the fault of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley and Criss goes at them with a vengeance. At the same time he never shies away from giving his piece of mind about other people surrounding the band, apart from the ones he likes. Those are all cool with him it seems (some people just escape his wrath).

At the same time, Criss constantly laments the bad luck that befell him throughout his career. It makes him sound bitter and sad about things. He reveals stuff about people, that are just not done (particularly the sexual skills of his wife were not necessary). In thaqt way he tries to legitimize the weirdest stuff, like with Lydia the fact that he couldn’t get her to do weird stuff in bed made cheating, drinking and drugging fine. That being said, Peter Criss’s biography has a rawness to it, the others lack. There’s an honesty that makes you doubt the three other books. Yet again, he seems to say conflicting things with all three other books and sometimes his theories are so far out that it makes no sense at all anymore.  A great read though.

Robert B. Cialdini – Pre-Suasion

source: goodreads.com

Sometimes you find these marketing books that are inspirational at the same time. This book by Robert Cialdini is a tome focussed on the act of pre-suasion, of priming your target to the persuasive message that is to come. It’s a gentle nudge in the direction that you wish to take the reader in. It makes for a fascinating read and Cialdini has a way of writing that is very engaging and accesible. Honestly, to read this book you don’t need to be a marketing genius. There’s advice that can help you in daily situations you might be struggling with.

Cialdini uses plenty of examples to clarify the point he is making, which is not too complex. The dense amount of data that the author produces to support the theory is though, which is what makes this books so singularly powerful and convincing. There’s something there for sales people, marketeer, policy pushers and project planners, but also for teachers, managers, coaches and people that simply wish to get more done. It’s really well worth your time to check out this highly enjoyable book. Revolution only needs the right nudge.

Reading of Books #28

Another edition of my book bit, with a lot of new books read. R.A. Salvatore is very present with the last two trilogies of Drizzt, Paul Stanley from Kiss and Duff McKagan from Guns’n’Roses. Totally not geek + music geek edition.


R.A. Salvatore – The Companion Codex (Night of the Hunter, Rise of the King, Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf)

source: Goodreads.com

In this series of books, we pick up the dark road that the party of heroes seemed to have ahead of them in the inbetween book ‘The Companions’. Drizzt is reunited with his Catti-Bri, his friends Bruenor, Regis and Wulfgar. It seems however, that war is brewing everywhere and the Orcs are marching with support of the drow. The Silver Marches are besieged by the thousands and cities fall. The dwarves are locked in their underground citadels and no one seems to be able to push them forward. That changes when Bruenor Battlehammer picks up his plight as king among dwarfs. When he starts listening to the whispers of the old dwarven gods and the counsel of his friends and fellow Dwarf kings.

In the most desperate situations the united dwarfs of the Forgotten Realms find their brightest moment. They unearth their greatest treasures after millennia. It is not an easy fight though and much will be lot and much must be sacrificed to get there. In these novels, the world turns a bit more dark and grim and many mechanisms seem to be at work. The wheels are turning and Drizzt and the companions of the hall find themselves in the middle of it all, but also in the middle of their own turmoil and demons. Salvatore creates the profound story that looks at a world, where good and evil are not such simple concepts anymore. What is war if one loses all that holds value? What is a war if you forget the values that you fight for?

Paul Stanley – Face the Music: A Life Exposed

source: goodreads.com

Paul Stanley has always been the most mysterious member of Kiss. His biography is one of the most anticipated ones among fans of the band. The singer has always been a bit of a puzzle for most people, but in this biography he is very open about himself. Even though at times it isn’t pretty and some band experiences come out, he manages to touch his readers. Paul Stanley is the first Kiss member to write a biography that leaves him standing as a victor in the end. The book is also not as filled with spite and dislike. I can’t say that for the other ones by Kiss members and that is a pleasant thing to be sure.

Paul Stanley describes his life from his early days onward. Being born with only one ear intact (and working), turns out to be the source of most angst and insecurity in his life. It’s the red threat through his whole carreer and experiences. Reading this, it outshines even all the fame and fortune. Everything related to the ear problems seems to be key in his development. The surgery to reconstruct it, the way he positions himself on the stage and in the end how he starts working for a childrens organisation. Sure, there’s the necessary amount of rock’n’roll extravagance going on as well. You’ll get some good stories about the women, sustance abuse (of others, since Stanley never really was the crazy one on that front) and quite some Gene Simmons. Pauls story is touching and captivating, never free of a good critical look at himself, but at times blissfully unaware of his own being and impression. A joyful read for sure.

R.A. Salvatore – Homecoming (Archmage, Maestro, Hero)

That was the respons I got from mr. Salvatore himself about my earlier thoughts on the series. Now, I did get here and after 33 books I was fearful for quite a few pages that all would end horribly in tears. For the characters, but also for me since after all this time I had become quite attached to the figures in the book. This whole series has the vibe of an endgame. Things are getting serious in here and that makes for some really daunting reads. Some surprising developments and character innovations take place and we all somehow get them together for a final push.

source: goodreads.com

We find Mithril Hall at peace for once, but things are always stirring in the Forgotten Realms. The drow in Menzoberranzan have not finished with their prodigal son. Internal power struggles literally open the gates to hell and demons flood into the realm. They happen to be causing more havoc to the drow themselves than to their enemies. The primordial under Gauntlgrym stirs and Yvonnel the Eternal is reborn. Facing these great enemies are our heroes; Drizzt, Catti-bri and Bruenor. Their other two friends are on a quest of their own, where Regis and Wulfgar will find great challenges and old companions on their road. Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxl site with the heroes…  but things get really interesting when a runaway archmage joins them and a very important priestess of Lolth. But what if your real enemy is within your own mind?

There’s a promise of more to come though. This is good, because I love these books. Unfortunately, mister Salvatore has announced he will not answer any questions on the matter for now.

Duff McKagan – It’s So Easy (And Other Lies)

source: goodreads.com

I’ve never really been a fan of Guns’n’Roses, but when I heard their bass player talk on the Danko Jones podcast about his book. I knew I had to read it. Duff McKagan is the epitome of cool, the laid back voice, the self awareness and self depricating jokes… In his book he is telling the world his story including all the stupid decisions, bad choices and all about the rampant drug and alcohol abuse that brought him to his knees and made him rise up again a new man. The book starts with the McKagan of now. He is walking out of the backdoor of his house during his daughters birthday party and finding two kids making out. He goes through a mental checklist of drugs, sex, alcohol and other things… it’s a funny opener and shows how comfortable McKagan is in writing about himself. Then the good stuff starts.

Duff McKagan is a Seattle-born musician. People sometimes forget that he was in a bunch of bands in the past. It’s good to get some info on that too with his early bands. Also a near death experience at an early eage seems to have contributed to his personality. The writing style is casual, almost off handed as if things just emerge and happened, but sometimes we get back to the internal monologue from the start. Especially when bad things happen. A rock’n’roll book with drugs and alcohol has a lot of grief in it. McKagan never makes light of that. He is funny when he talks about himself, jovial when it concerns weird things that happened to a bunch of guys and cordial when he writes about problems in the band. He always seems  to have the right tone for all situations, never goes down avenues of boring thoughts and just keeps this easy to read. One of the best rock’n’roll bio’s I’ve seen this far.