About the Bad Boys: Breezy, fun and handy
So Zakk Wylde, former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and founder of the band Black Label Society, auditioned for Guns N’ Roses in 1995?
That’s just one of several surprises found in the new Guns N’ Roses FAQ, All That’s Left to Know About the Bad Boys of Sunset Strip (Backbeat Books, $19.99), by Florida author Rich Weidman.
The 328-page book passes up the typical biography format and unfolds over 33 chapters with titles like “Another Dead-End Street: Pre Guns N’ Roses Bands,” “Always on the Edge: Guns N’ Roses as Opening Act” and “What Seemed Like a Memory: Cultural and Political References in Guns N’ Roses Songs and Music Videos.” There are also chapters covering each of the band’s five studio LPs.
Weidman — author of The Insider’s Guide to North Carolina’s Triangle, The Beat Generation FAQ and The Doors FAQ — has this style down pat. The book, which includes a bibliography and index, is breezy, fun and handy. It’s also exhaustive. Weidman goes deep into the woods, spotlighting the history of the Hollywood dives, strip clubs and hangouts the band frequented in its early days, singling out the more notorious shows on various tours, detailing bands that influenced them — Nazareth, AC/ DC, Queen, New York Dolls, etc. — and bands influenced by them — Manic Street Preachers, Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold and others.
There’s even a chapter about cover versions of GN’R songs — Sheryl Crow won a Grammy for her light ’n’ breezy take on “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and — whaaaaat? — blueswoman Etta James covered “Welcome to the Jungle” on her final album, 2011’s The Dreamer. Yowza.