Mick Wall’s ballsy, Metal Gonzo MO is made for Guns N’ Roses (so much so that he’s already written an Axl biography). He’s in the room partying with them almost from the start, though not early enough to experience the squalor of Hell House, the LA address where the band earned their reputation for depravity. The music matched this arrogant chaos, and sales, money, sex and drugs on a scale no rock group would see again duly consumed them.
Lost, unhappy childhoods are sketched in as motivation, but Rose’s realisation that he was a meal ticket who would be infinitely indulged, leading to contemptuous fiascos like Reading 2010, is uniquely selfish. Wall’s late-night interview with a kinder, gentler Axl, waxing lyrical about 10cc, ELO and Elton’s weird chord progressions, forms the case for the defence.
The tragicomic saga of Chinese Democracy is told in forensic, excruciating detail, including abortive comeback gigs where the bloated, panicked singer realises he can no longer sing, though Wall makes a bullish case for the album itself. Meanwhile, Velvet Revolver’s parallel career gets its own sad coda, as the author has a last word with Scott Weiland, shortly before his death.
Last Of The Giants goes up to Axl’s unlikely, workaholic comeback fronting G’N’R and AC/DC, and you’ll need a detox after reading it.