By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Rock & roll’s all fun and games until the same stripper from the Seventh Veil gives everyone in your band crabs. The cautionary tale of sex, drugs and rock & roll is as old as last year’s fruitcake. But no one wants to hear his or her own obituary on the radio. And no band should ever take advice from a member of Kiss. So in this season of giving, pass on these books — some of which require wearing a hazmat suit while reading — and save a life.
The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, Nikki Sixx(Pocket Books). Oh, those bed-wetting, penis-injecting, 43-person gangbang days of yore. Sixx’s diary entries aren’t an extended VH1 Behind the Music, though. An absentee dad and neglectful mom made him angry, and Motley Crue made him rich enough to snort, smoke and inject his way through years of rage. So the way Sixx writes it, he spent all of 1987 holed up in the bedroom closet of his Van Nuys home in heroin-induced paranoia, convinced the police and SWAT team were after him. He recounts in gross detail shooting up in the bathroom of the Denny’s on Sunset and Gower using a Pepsi bottle cap, and attending Tommy Lee’s wedding, where he was the best man, with syringes hidden in his boots. And the night he was pronounced clinically dead was actually the second time he overdosed; the year before, he was left for dead in a dumpster in London. If you can find anything amusing here, it’s the time Sixx and Lee got a Toronto radio DJ drunk and high on cocaine live on the air. And there’s some hilarious fire-and-brimstone talk from singer and onetime Prince protégée Vanity (formerly Denise Matthews, currently Evangelist Denise Matthews), Sixx’s then girlfriend and drug buddy, now a born-again. “True happiness comes when you obey the Scriptures,” she preaches.
Did you know? Sixx’s mother dated Richard Pryor. Sixx was approached to produce Appetite for Destruction. Sixx didn’t meet his sister, who had Down syndrome and lived in a sanitarium, until her funeral.
Slash, Slash (Harper Entertainment).With Axl Rose MIA and the other members weary of press, Slash gets to have the last, definitive word on Guns N’ Roses. This is not only the story of a Hollywood street kid turned rock star, but a tour through ’80s hard-rock L.A., when aspiring longhaired musicians strolling the Strip and Hollywood Boulevard were as much a part of the city’s landscape as palm trees and freeways: Slash stealing his first top hat from Retail Slut on Melrose; getting busted for shoplifting at Tower Records on Sunset; going off and getting drunk in the mezzanine of the Starwood club when he was supposed to be working as an extra in the film Sid and Nancy. And just picturing Slash having to chew off his black nail polish on the bus ride to county jail for a jaywalking ticket is a hoot.
How does Axl come off? Like a narcissistic nut prone to walkouts, no-shows and causing concert riots, one of which got the band permanently banned from St. Louis. And who was most gypped? Poor Steven Adler; funny how GNR’s original drummer was kicked out for drug addiction, yet Slash himself overdosed only a few years later, and eventually had to have a defibrillator implanted in his heart. Don’t worry, there are musical tidbits galore, especially the making of Appetite, including all the moaning on “Rocket Queen” that came courtesy of Axl having sex with his girlfriend in the studio.
Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga, Ian Christe(John Wiley & Sons Inc). Dutch immigrant Jan Van Halen sails to America and raises two musical prodigies, they form a band with a blond “himbo with a scream” whose ego gets too big for his Capezio ballet slippers, he’s replaced with an even blonder mop-top of equal vocal power but not equal love from the fans, he too is replaced, by a singer of no vocal power, love or importance, but Himbo heard you missed him, so he’s baaaack. There, Van Halen 101 in record speed. But think of this not as a retelling of V.H.’s history — cleverly divided into the “Rothozoic,” “Hagarlithic” and “Cheronean and Neo-Rothozoic and Neo-Hagarlithic” eras — as much as a compendium of David Lee Roth–isms: “My haircut’s alright for heavy metal, but baby my shoes are all wrong”; “When you’re on the road for nine months a year and you always have all these cute little chiquitas running around in their halter tops, it’s kind of hard to worry about things like nuclear proliferation”; “I’ll never have all the women I want, but I’ll get all the women who want me.” It should be noted, however, that author Christe learned to play “Eruption” before writing the book.