I know you all have been waiting with bated breath to find out if Slash has finally managed to get clean and become the more "down to earth" guy I thought I heard being interviewed. The answer, at least as of the writing of the book, is yes, but it was a long time in coming. The book was 457 pages long, and I believe he got truly clean on about page 450. He had some half hearted attempts here and there throughout the book, but the final time seems to be the one that he was most committed to during the process. It also seems that he actually wants to be successful at being clean this time.
What was the catalyst that finally caused him to want to change?
Was it having his heart stop beating for approximately 8 minutes after many hours of hard drug and alcohol use? Don't be silly. In fact, a few short hours after the incident, he checked himself out of the hospital (against medical advice, obviously), found a bottle of Jack Daniel's, cracked it open, and had a drink.
Was it the time in Arizona when he was extremely messed up on heroin and cocaine, and was having hallucinations about little mean, nasty "gremlins" out to get him. He believed so truly that they were trying to kill him, he smashed through a glass shower door, ran across the glass...cutting his feet badly, ran out the door of the bungalow where he was staying (still naked from the shower mind you), and proceeded to run all over the grounds and lobby of the hotel for quite a long time before being subdued by one of his managers? Not so much.
Was it the time that he checked himself into the hospital because he wasn't feeling very well, only to be told that he had done so much damage to his heart with drugs and alcohol that he had about 6 days to 6 weeks to live if he didn't have a defibrillator implanted in his chest immediately? Surely, you jest.
All of the above did happen, but the event(s) that finally helped him find the strength to get clean was something much more powerful than any of those incidents. What finally helped him was the birth of his children (2 boys). It didn't happen right away, but he finally realized that his love for his children was stronger than his desire to continue his self destructive behavior. His boys are beautiful and I hope their dad really means it this time, because they need him in their lives.
I can't say that I wholeheartedly recommend the book. It was quite disturbing at points and did get bogged down in some technical music mumbo jumbo, but it was rather interesting in a morbid curiosity kind of way. It also gave quite an illuminating look into the music industry. Slash and his behavior were definitely the rule not the exception. In fact, almost without exception, all the bands discussed in the book lived lives of total debauchery...very far removed from the suburbs to be sure. Also, I don't think I would be going out on a limb to say that Slash is a much better guitar player than he is an author. I did appreciate his candor, however, and I am hopeful, as I already mentioned, that the cleanliness sticks for the sake of his kids.