Rich Weidman, who has written “The Doors FAQ,” (which included a foreword I wrote) has released his newest book, “Guns n’ Roses FAQ.” Right from the start Guns n’ Roses were influenced by The Doors. It seems Axl Rose was aping the more controversial aspects of Jim Morrison’s personality, even going so far as to get arrested in the Phoenix airport much as Morrison had done thirty years before. It’s been rumored that Pam Courson babysat Slash. Danny Sugerman saw the similarities in the spirit of their music too and wrote one of the first “biographies” of Guns n’ Roses (mentioned in Weidman’s “Guns n Roses FAQ”). Although separated by time, and Guns n’ Roses never performed with any members of The Doors, there’s a strong psychic connection between the two bands.
When Guns n’ Roses released “Appetite for Destruction,” “Welcome to the Jungle” immediately caught peoples’ attenttion. A girlfriend told me “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was her theme song. The stories of rock and roll excess started pouring out; in other words Guns n’ Roses was my generation’s time on the edge, and it was a statement of the angst felt at the street level by people my age. I thought I was well versed in Guns n’ Roses history and lore until I read Rich Weidman’s “Guns n’ Roses FAQ.” It filled in the blanks on stories I’d heard about the band, and gave me all the information and details to be a Guns n’ Roses expert.
For those of you unfamiliar with the FAQ series, it’s an expanded format of a FAQ you would see on any website, positing and answering some of the most frequently asked questions on a given subject, in this case Guns n’ Roses. The “Guns n’ Roses FAQ” covers topics like the most notorious concerts, all of Guns n’ Roses’ major releases, what bands Guns n’ Roses members were in prior to G n’ R, obscure G n’ R tracks — in short, anything you want to know about Guns n’ Roses. The chapters are short and easily readable but stuffed with information, facts, and trivia. One such tidbit is that when you’re through reading the “Guns n’ Roses FAQ” you will know a rock and roll tale of excess that far exceeds Jimi Hendrix’s choking on his own vomit, one that even out-grosses Spinal Tap’s drummer choking on someone else’s vomit, and it’s true.
You can tell Weidman is a fan of the band, not a prerequisite for writing a book, but you can feel Weidman’s enthusiasm for the subject as he walks the line between fandom and being a rock journalist. He doesn’t pull any punches (in anecdotes or language) or try to minimize or rationalize the band’s shortcomings or controversies.
Like Weidman’s other contributions to the FAQ series (“The Doors FAQ,” and “The Beat Generation FAQ”), “Guns n’ Roses FAQ” is packed with information you may or may not have been aware of. Weidman delves into the full story, the story behind the stories. The “Guns n’ Roses FAQ” is definitely a book you want to add to your rock and roll library.
The “Guns n’ Roses FAQ” is now available from Amazon and other bookstores.