A rocker's life seems to be an endless party. But what happens when the partying takes over?
Steven Adler's memoir, "My Appetite for Destruction: Sex & Drugs & Guns N' Roses," offers a heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at the band's creation — and eventual separation. He also describes his tendency toward self-destruction from a very young age.
Adler started skipping school and doing drugs when he was 11 — and never looked back. He was kicked out of his mother's house on numerous occasions before he was old enough to vote. His only consistent relationship was with drugs and alcohol.
Adler was the drummer for Guns N' Roses from 1985 to 1990. He says he handed future bandmate Slash his first guitar when they were 13 years old. They would jam day and night on the stoop of Slash's grandmother's house. Adler explains that he never questioned whether he would be a rock star; it was just a matter of when.
Drugs were a large presence in his life, Adler writes, but he never saw it as a problem. Then he was kicked out of Guns N' Roses because of it.
After being booted from the band, Adler spiraled down into depression and more drug use. Brushes with death only kept him sober long enough so he could pull the tubes out of his arm and walk out of the hospital. But Adler had to get clean. One more confrontation with the law and he was facing serious jail time.
Adler writes that he can only achieve a natural high when he's on the stage, so he dove into what he hoped would be a new great band — Adler's Appetite — and his key to sobriety.
"Destruction" is a jolting look at what Adler did as an addict and a rock star, in that order. It's a haunting tale, yet manages to come off with an air of innocence.
Rock-star memoirs tend to sound whiny. Adler never pretends to be anything other than a kid who fell down the rabbit hole. He faced a lot of demons and did a lot of things he isn't proud of, but in the end, he blames no one but himself.
Adler recently finished a stint in reality television on VH1's "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew" and "Sober House." It's too soon to know how his tale will end. But if "Destruction" is any indication, it's sure to be a great read.
"My Appetite for Destruction: Sex & Drugs & Guns N' Roses" by Steven Adler with Lawrence J. Spagnola (It Books, 304 pages, $25.99)