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Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N' Roses Hardcover – August 26, 2008

3.0 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Rampant rockin' sex ... a lurid tell-all."
-- "New York Post"

"The gold standard of rock biographers."
-- "Boston Globe"

"Stephen Davis - America's rock biographer."
-- "ABC News.com"

"Five stars! Stephen Davis's real coup is to show how Guns could be electrifying one moment and spectacularly stupid the next. You might not like Axl Rose upon finishing the book, but you may understand him better."
- "Mojo"



?Rampant rockin? sex ? a lurid tell-all.?
-- "New York Post"

?The gold standard of rock biographers.?
-- "Boston Globe"

?Stephen Davis ? America's rock biographer.?
-- "ABC News.com"

?Five stars! Stephen Davis's real coup is to show how Guns could be electrifying one moment and spectacularly stupid the next. You might not like Axl Rose upon finishing the book, but you may understand him better.?
? "Mojo"



--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stephen Davis is one of America's pre-eminent rock journalists. His many rock biographies include, most recently, Jim Morrison: Life, Death, the bestselling Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith and Hammer of the Gods, the definitive account of the Led Zeppelin story. He lives in Massachusetts. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; First Edition edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592403778
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592403776
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book was a total disappointment.

This was my third Stephen Davis book. Maybe he set the bar too high in the first two. The problem with this book is that it offers no more insight than the VH1 Behind the Music on Guns N Roses that aired a few years ago. As a matter of fact, he quotes that episode throughout the entire book. It doesnt seem like he talked to anyone close to the band. It seemed to me that his research was limited to the Behind the Music, Mtv interviews, and Rolling Stone articles. All of which I had already seen or read. This book told me nothing that I didnt already know.

Davis mentions in his credits that most employees of GNR had to sign confidentiality agreements in order to keep their jobs and that 13 people interviewed for the book asked to remain anonymous. Maybe thats why this book lacks any punch. Nobody in the band wanted anything to do with it, and nobody that knows anything is talking. The inside information feeling that I got from his other books didnt show up this time around.

If you insist on buying this, I would recommend that you at least go to the bookstore and read the credits. When you see that its all from interviews that you remember watching or reading, you may think twice about spending your hard earned cash on a rerun.
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Format: Hardcover
Davis' book is passably written but marred by factual errors that even a 13 year old rock fan would pick out. Jimi Hendrix is described as lighting his Les Paul on fire (he played a Strat 99% of the time), Paul Stanley is apparently Kiss' bass player (even my mother knows Gene Simmons plays bass), Joe Perry and Brad Whitford typify a kind of guitar playing known as 'flash' (never heard of it) and didn't play on Get Your Wings, Slash showed up at the studio to record Appetite with the 'original strings on his guitar.' (absolutley unbelievable). Davis attempts a fly on the wall approach that never lets the truth get in the way of a good story...Axl apparently arrives in NYC where an old black wino yells "do you know where you are? You're in the jungle, baby! And you're going to die!" And on and on and on...

Having said that, the Guns' saga is too filthy and compelling to not read. Too bad a better writer willing to do the proper research (never mind a publisher that employs a fact-checker) hasn't picked up the ball yet.
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Format: Paperback
I'll be mercifully brief here as this book is hardly worth the effort to tear it apart.

The previous reviews are quite correct when they point out the copious amount of laughable errors in "Watch You Bleed". My personal favorite, which these reviews seems to have missed was The Scorpions being from England. Yep.

Stephen Davis is not a bad writer. I've read and enjoyed his other error-riddled tomes on Zeppelin and Aerosmith. They are typically engaging and briskly paced, and deliver the kind of minutiae that we rock bio dorks crave. The main reason he strikes out so badly here is simply his clear and obvious ignorance and disdain for Heavy Metal in general (at least Zeppelin and Aerosmith were bands that this child of the sixties could somewhat wrap his noodle around). I don't think there is a single example in the early chapters (concentrating on the Sunset Strip scene)where he doesn't feel the need to flat-out insult and sneer at every band he mentions. Ratt, Motley Crue, Poison, etc all mentioned only with a nasty adjective preceding their name. Although there are chuckles galore to be had at his utter cluelessness in this regard. German Power-metal pioneers Helloween being referred-to as "Kiss clones" was one of my personal favorites (as if this clown had ever heard Helloween, no less heard OF them). His smarmy contempt is even directed at the very band he's covering, describing Slash receiving an award for his "alleged" virtuosity.

Probably the all-time award winner for the "I was much too busy to research anything" award though, is his hilarious contention that Motley Crue, immediately following the Girls, Girls, Girls tour, were consigned to "the scrapheap of history". No, I'm not making this stuff up.
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Format: Hardcover
First of all, I'm not a die-hard Guns n Roses fan. For those who, like the gentleman below, already know a ton about the band, I suspect this volume will add little to their understanding of the Guns for the simple reason that the book seems written mostly from library research, footage and interviews that were already out there along with original interviews with ancillary characters. There is no indication that Davis talked to the band at any time or knew them.

That said, since I knew little about Guns n Roses beyond fond teenage memories of Appetite for Destruction, Davis' book was a breezy, enjoyable read. He does a great job bringing those hundreds of interviews and insights together, and by the end I felt I knew Axl, Slash and the rest of the band as well as anyone not witnessing their wild lives first-hand ever could. The book is almost 80% about Appetite and the lives of the band until then. It devotes little time to Use Your Illusion and the lesser albums like Lies and Spaghetti Incident, and that's probably a good thing. I finished it in a few days.

If you are a general reader just looking for a great book about the glam-metal-rock era, there's a much better book out there: The Dirt, the story of Motley Crue, by Neil Strauss. It's hard not to compare the two works, and what makes The Dirt so great-- it's told largely in the voices of the band members, looking back on their years of debauchery-- highlights the weaknesses of Watch You Bleed.

By no means a must-read, but an enjoyable and easy trip into the insane lives of Guns n Roses. A whiskey bottle is thrown, on average, every ten pages.
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