Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses
By Mick Wall
Hardcover, 432 pages
You could build a library solely dedicated to books written about Guns N’ Roses, the genre is that deep. Band members Slash, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler have all written books about their time in the infamous band. Slash’s childhood friend Marc Cantor was able to cash in on a book, even Adler’s mom was able to get a publisher for Sweet Child of Mine: How I Lost My Son to Guns N’ Roses. So, did the world need yet another book about GNR? Probably not, but I’m glad Mick Wall decided to write one.
Wall, a longtime British music reporter, has the benefit of having chronicled the band since the very beginning (he even managed to piss off Axl Rose so much that he became one of several subjects in the song “Get in the Ring,” off Use Your Illusion II). The other benefit to Wall’s tome is that he’s more objective to the GN’R narrative and likely has a clearer memory than most of the band members.
The book is filled with quotes culled from articles (including many from Wall’s), other books and a slew of interviews the author conducted over the past several decades with band members and those closest to them like former managers Vicky Hamilton, Alan Niven and Doug Goldstein. It’s Niven and Goldstein who share the most insight into the band and their lives as they were first taking off and eventually imploding one at a time.
The book is an exhaustive, yet compelling narrative, of one of the most intriguing rock bands to ever exist. Mixing at times brilliant song writing with massive egos, erratic behavior and rampant drug abuse, the Guns N’ Roses story was destined for destruction and Wall chronicles it masterfully.
The book ends on a cautiously optimistic note with most of the band, matured and cleaned up, coming together to tour the globe once again as part of the aptly-titled Not In This Lifetime tour, an endeavor that is still going strong as of press time to the surprise of just about everyone.