The mid-80s live music scene is Los Angeles was a veritable desert, with tumbleweeds of decent music rolling through the Sunset Strip. The one group that shot some adrenalin not only into live music, but also into rock ‘n’ roll was rough and tumble Guns ‘n’ Roses. They skyrocketed to stardom in 1985, setting the music world on fire with their hard-driving rhythms and lead singer Axl Rose’s wide-ranging, sharp-as-a-knife vocals reminiscent of Robert Plant’s searing voice. Marc Canter, general manager and owner of L.A.’s world-famous Canter’s Deli, grew up with GnR’s dark angel-like guitarist Slash and gives a heady, note-by-note photographic chronicle of the band’s formulation and ascent in Reckless Road: Guns ‘n’ Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction. The 348 page first edition was released on November 1, 2007 by Shoot Hip Press and should be required reading for any true rock ‘n’ roll or GnR fan.
The book is chocked full of memorbilia:band flyers, ticket stubs, handwritten lyrics and press-clippings. There are also in-depth interviews with people associated with the band, as well as bandmembers. What’s most captivating about the book is its raw, not-ready-for-prime-time photos of the band. Candid and revealing, the pictures illustrate the many facets of the band, proving them to be much more complex than their rock star facades. The book spans 1982-87, beginning at the band’s nascent stages and leading up to the release of their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, which was a mega-monster hit: it also focuses on the growth of each bandmember’s persona, showing how each eventually locked into their role in the group. Written with Jason Porath and containing additional photos by Jack Lue, it’s a vivid documentation of a band that turned the music world on its ear, combining old school rock ‘n’ roll fever and new school in-your-face bravado. Audio and video snippets are also currently available at enhancedbooks.com.
This substantial paperback book is the definitive tome on the band that personified 80s decadence and wildness and brought the infamous Sunset Strip back to life because it pulls no punches. When Canter started photographing the band as an amateur photographer, he had no clue how big they would become. However, he instinctively knew his friend Saul Hudson, aka Slash, had “it.” Living and breathing sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll, GnR became the ultimate bad boys of rockerdom, defining an era and capturing a spirit of wantoness, which is deftly and compellingly conveyed through Canter’s insider perspective.