About the Bad Boys: Breezy, fun and handy

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - TRAVEL - — Sean Clancy

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.

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