Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N' Roses (Rock Reads)

by Anthony Kuzminski

.
Stephan Davis made a name for himself by writing one of the most viral and controversial rock biographies of all time with Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga and later with the authorized Aerosmith biography, Walk This Way. In fact, his legacy exists from the publishing and controversy surrounding these books, so hopes were extremely high that he would deliver another tour de force tale of debauchery with Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N' Roses. The book is epic at 448-pages so one would assume that this bio would be the definitive resource on this band; sadly it's not…not even close. While reading the book, I couldn't help but feel that Davis had an ax to grind with the members of Guns N' Roses. This pessimism blinded him and it ultimately hurts the final product and makes it a bargain basement buy only.

What Stephen Davis is able to succeed in is the definitive genesis story of Guns N' Roses. He managed to find several early interviews with the band from 1984 to 1986 which give the reader a first hand look at the chaos and confusion that surrounded their lives. Unlike many of the other books on GNR recently, he delves into the background of all five members and not just the key players. The early unpublished or forgotten stories from this period are what make the book desirable. No one has ever delved this deep into the infancy period of the band and anything and everything you wanted to know is here. However, this proves to be the book's Achilles' heel as it appears that Davis stopped researching events after 1987. The childhood stories, tales and interviews of this band are unprecedented, but one the rocket ship takes off, Davis goes on cruise control relying on memory and what are most likely bad sources. Much of this latter day material I have read before…dozens of times before. Not only that, but he manages to have a few dozen factual errors throughout this time in regards to television performances, awards, songs performed and even the years! What amazes me is the depth of research he undertook with a pre-1987 Guns N' Roses and yet he called in everything from there on out. Ironically almost all of his factual errors could have been alleviated with a simple Google search. I spent three-years assisting in the writing and research of a book earlier this decade and trust me, the research is a full time job in itself, and someone here dropped the ball. This may not seem like a make or break item, but there is no excuse for lazy journalism and it hurts the potential legacy of this book.

While the early chapters take the reader into a junkie and juvenile wonderland of information, Davis relies heavily on quotes and excerpts from old magazine articles. He has very little to offer in terms of insight without these excerpts. He did secure some in-depth interviews with Vicky Hamilton (GNR's first manager), but aside from that, Davis comes across more lucky than devout. Another issue I took with the book was its overall tone. I always believe a journalist has the responsibility to showcase the light and the darkness of an artist and their music; Davis appears to not just focus on the darkness but he relishes it. Chastising all music the band created post Appetite For Destruction one gets the sense he never cared for GNR's brand of music and merely wrote a book on them because there was a market for it and some prime source material from the early days fell into his lap, which is a shame because Davis has a way with words and his eclectic prose suits Guns N' Roses very well. However, most of the latter part of the book is spent bashing the band or Axl. Make no mistakes, this was a decadent band that did a lot of bad things however, I never sensed that Davis had a genuine love for this band or their music and this was merely a paycheck for him. This is demonstrated in the last few chapters of the book which prove to be a Cliff's Notes of the band's history post 1993, most of which he seemed to lift from Slash's 2007 biography and Mick Wall's recent book on Axl Rose. While Watch You Bleed has some truly unique material in it that makes it essential reading, the book by no means is essential. Get it from your library as it's a half-baked affair, which is a shame, this could have very easily been the biblical source for the band with a little more time, care and research.

Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMusic Network and his daily writings can be read at The Screen Door and can be contacted at thescreendoor AT gmail DOT com.


Info and Links

Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N' Roses (Rock Reads)

Preview and Purchase This CD Online

Visit the official homepage

More articles for this artist

tell a friend about this article

.



advertisement

advertisement

News Reports
Day in Rock:
David Lee Roth Responds To Ex-Van Halen Manager's Tell All- Allman Brothers Reunion Ruled Out By Derek Trucks- Foo Fighters' Debut Of Three New Songs Goes Online- more

Van Halen Icon Wants Reunion But Not The Drama- Tedeschi Trucks Band Star Suffers Massive Heart Attack- Black Sabbath Announce Limited Edition Box Set- Foo Fighters- more

Guns N' Roses To Play Rare Intimate One Off Show- Blink-182 and Linkin Park Stars Collaborate At Special Event- Chris Cornell Featured On Forthcoming Johnny Cash Album- more

Day in Pop:
Dierks Bentley's 3-Year-Old Son Injured On Tour- Bruno Mars Shares Prince Tribute Rehearsal Footage- Dr. Luke And Kesha's Mother Address Defamation Case Dismissal- more

Foo Fighters' New Album Features 'Biggest Pop Star In The World- Miley Cyrus Kicks Off Summer With Bikini Photo- Liam Payne's The Tonight Show Performance Goes Online- more

Loretta Lynn Cancels More Dates As She Recovers From Stroke- Drake Premieres New Track 'Signs'- Niall Horan Doesn't Rule Out Collaborating With One Direction Bandmates- more

advertisement


Reviews

• Road Trip Missouri: Get Your Sips on Route 66

• Rock Reads: 45 RPM (Recollections Per Minute) The Morrell Archives Volume 3

• The Fatal Pursuit - Sinful

• Root 66: Evan Michaels - Ain't No Stopping This

• TBT Van Halen

• Root 66: Jeffrey Halford and the Healers - Lo-fi Dreams

• MesAlfie - Hey, Super

• On The Record: Five Alarm Funk - Sweat

• Remembering Gregg Allman - TBT 2007 Live Review

• MorleyView: Kelley Ryan

• Saint Motel - Arrival

• Edge of Free's Self-Titled Debut

• Little Steven - Soulfire

• BJ Wilbanks - Self-Titled

• TBT - Black Sabbath Rock Lollapalooza 2012

• Wild Iris - Wild Iris

• Bang! The Bert Berns Story

• Remembering Chris Cornell

• Lane Change - Rise

• Carly Van Skaik - Carly Van Shaik EP

• On The Record: The Bill Evans Trio - On a Monday Evening

• Through Fire - Breathe • more

Rock News Stories
• David Lee Roth Responds To Ex-Van Halen Manager's Tell All (top story)

• Allman Brothers Reunion Ruled Out By Derek Trucks (top story)

• Chris Cornell Posthumous 'The Promise' Video Released (top story)

• Gene Simmons Announces Tour Dates For Solo Band (top story)

• The Dead Daisies To Rock With Full Orchestra At Music Festival (top story)

• Foo Fighters' Debut Of Three New Songs Goes Online (top story)

• KISS Star Peter Criss Retires From Touring After Final U.S. Show (top story)

• Metallica Open To Revisiting Garage (top story)

• A Perfect Circle Announce North American Fall Tour (top story)

• Lynyrd Skynyrd Sue Former Member Over 1977 Plane Crash Biopic (top story)

• Slayer, Faith No More Supergroup Dead Cross Release New video (top story)

• Halestorm Announce Halloween Scream Tour (top story)

• Riverdogs Release 'American Dreams' Video (top story)

• Linkin Park Are 'Super Grateful' For Latest No. 1 Album (top story)

• Twenty One Pilots Say They 'Can't Stand' Coachella (top story)

• Iron Maiden vs. Michael Jackson Near 666,000 Streams (top story)

• Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Beatles Landmarks Recognized (top story)

• Five Finger Death Punch Playing Free Show For Tilburg Fans (top story)

• Imagine Dragons Stream New Song and Announce TV Appearances (top story)

• Arcade Fire Release 'Creature Comfort' Video (top story)

• YOB Return To Performing Following Emergency Surgery (top story)

• Bob Seger Adds Classic Albums to Streaming Services (top story)

• Cradle Of Filth Announce New Album and Tour (top story)

• Bruce Springsteen Reportedly Going Broadway (top story)

• Paramore Surprise Fans With Fleetwood Mac Cover (top story)

• more

B-Side Stories
• Dierks Bentley's 3-Year-Old Son Injured On Tour

• Bruno Mars Shares Prince Tribute Rehearsal Footage

• Dr. Luke And Kesha's Mother Address Defamation Case Dismissal

• Radiohead Makes Special Dedication With 'OK Computer' Reissue

• Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds Bares His Soul Online

• One Direction Stars React To Harry Styles Family Tragedy

• Vince Staples Releases 'Rain Come Down' Video

• Ariana Grande Manchester Concert Backstage Footage Goes Online

• Janet Jackson 'Excited To Get Back To Her Day Job'

• Camila Cabello's The Tonight Show Performance Goes Online

• Luke Bryan Debuts New Song 'Like You Say You Do'

• Queen Latifah And Jada Pinkett Smith Duet On 'Carpool Karaoke'

• Britney Spears Does Bikini Cartwheels of Joy

• Fall Out Boy Release New Track 'Champions' Featuring Post Malone

• Chance the Rapper Tweets Apology To Dr. Dre and Aftermath

• Wu-Tang Clan Stream New Track 'Don't Stop'

• Wyclef Jean Releases Two New Track and Announces Album

• New Politics Release 'One Of Us' Music Video

• 'Jerry Springer: The Opera' Going Off-Broadway

• Rihanna Shares Breakup Advice With Heartbroken Fan

• Blake Shelton Teases Carson Daly For His Birthday

• Lil Jon Says Club Owners Don't Want Him to Play 'In the Pit'

• Flo Rida Parties Hard With Rob Gronkowski

• Eminem Sports New Look For The Defiant Ones

• Kendrick Lamar Shouts Other Rappers Via Social Media

• Lindsay Ell Announces New Album 'The Project'

• more



Follow Us:

Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.