Book Review: “Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses” by Mick Wall

“Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses”
Author: Mick Wall
Lesser Gods
Hardcover: 432 pages

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Guns N’ Roses exploded during the 80’s glam metal scene and boldly redefined rock ’n’ roll for a new era. Mick Wall met Guns N’ Roses when the band members lived together in Los Angeles and became a part of their inner circle. Thanks to Wall’s longtime friendship and connections with Guns N’ Roses, he conducted exclusive interviews with all the original members and, for the first time, their original managers, who were in the trenches with Guns N’ Roses (from 1986 to 2004). They share all-new revelations about the band’s rock-star debauchery in the studio, on tour and behind the scenes. “Last of the Giants” is a celebration of Guns N’ Roses: the last of the extraordinary, excessive, not-giving-a-shit rock stars.

Imagine you are a fly on the wall during some of the most pivotal and monumental moments during Guns N’ Roses career. Arguably one of the most legendary rock and roll band in the last 3 decades “Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses” is the account of that such fly (Mick Wall). Told through third person accounts and candid interviews with members and associates pass and present “Last of the Giants” is brimming over with behind the scenes stories and fresh interviews which shine new light on the bands fame and persona. Probably my favorite part of the book was amidst the chapters were 28 pages of full color photos highlighting the band at various points. These photos are not the same old reprints we have seen time and time again but new fresh photos that helped accentuate the text before and after each section.

“Last of the Giants” gives readers the inside track via behind the scenes firsthand accounts and through newly conducted interviews with those directly involved in some of the most important moments of the bands career. You get all the details and more in the latest offering from Mick Wall. I think I would have been more in to the book if this was an official release from the band however after reading this book you may understand why something of that nature hasn’t come to fruition. That aside no matter how intense of a G N’R fan you might be “Last of the Giants” is worth checking out.

Reunited Guns N’ Roses announce Cities for upcoming tour

PATIENCE…

Atlanta, GA
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Cincinnati, OH
Dallas, TX
Detroit, MI
Houston, TX
Kansas City, MO
Nashville, TN
New Orleans, LA
New York
Orlando, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix, AZ
Pittsburgh, PA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA
St Louis, MO
Toronto, ONT
Washington, DC

 www.gunsnroses.com
#GnFnR

Guns N’ Roses’ Gilby Clarke talks about solo tour with Quiet Riot and Faster Pussycat

Gilby Clarke is a guitarist/producer best known for a 3-year tenure as the rhythm guitarist of Guns N’ Roses replacing Izzy Stradlin in 1991. Following his departure from the group, Clarke began solo career as well playing guitar with a number of groups such as Slash’s Snakepit, Heart and Nancy Sinatra, Clarke recently announce he will be heading out on the road this summer for a solo tour along with Quiet Riot and Faster Pussycat. Gilby spoke with Media Mikes recently about the upcoming tour as well as his new single and the new video for his song “Tijuana Jail” which was originally released in 1994.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some info on your new single?
Gilby Clarke: I had been trying to put a record together however I just wasn’t happy with things. In the past I always put a record out when I felt I had 10 or 12 strong songs that I would be happy listening to. I just didn’t have that and to put something out that I ‘m not happy with was not what I wanted to do. I decided that I am just going to release singles now. I have a couple tours lined up so I figured I would put out one good song and then follow it up with another a couple months later.

AL: Did the music industry and how music is distributed these days have any impact on your decision to release only singles?
GC: I think the industry being the way it is now allowed me to do things this way. (Laughs) It didn’t drive me the decision but it did allow me to do things this way.

AL: You also recently released a video for an older song of your “Tijuana Jail” correct?
GC: Yes. Before I dropped the new single I wanted to put out a few other points of interest. “Tijuana Jail” is an older song as it came out in 1994 but it’s the most popular song when I play live. We play the song differently now than we did 20 years ago so I wanted to do a video for the song and put a new touch on it. When I originally recorded the song Slash played the solo so to go all these years with a song I didn’t play lead on was something I wanted to fix. (Laughs) We worked on the song at my home studio and it’s really just a recording of our rehearsal of how we do that song live.

AL: Can you tell us about your upcoming summer tours?
GC: Over the past 10 years or so I have been playing as a trio. When I first started doing my solo stuff I always had another guitarist with me. As the years changed it started to become more fun to just do things by myself. I like the challenge of makes a multi guitar song in to a single guitar song. I am having a lot of fun doing things this way and that’s really what it’s all about. For my solo tour I’m going to be going overseas for some shows including a show in Hungry which is a country I have never been to before as a solo artist. We also will be hitting Spain which is another place I haven’t been to in awhile. After that wraps up I will back in the states for a summer tour with Quiet Riot and Faster Pussycat.

AL: What do you find to be the biggest difference in performing overseas as compared to here in the states?
GC: The biggest difference I have noticed performing overseas is that a lot more people come out to the shows. In the states the rock market is sort of fashionable and it goes through phases of being cool or not. Right now big bands like Black Sabbath and Aerosmith are doing great but smaller bands like mine are having a tough time unless you do a multiband line up. My solo band is more of a club band and right now clubs are rare in the states. Things are the complete opposite overseas as there are tons of clubs to play and the scene is thriving.

AL: You recently performed with Guns n’ Roses minus Axl at the Rock Hall inductions can you tell us a little about that?
GC: Most of the Guns guys still play together quite often. The hard rock scene is relatively small and we all know each other fairly well. What was different about the Rock Hall show compared to the other times we have gotten together was it was specifically Guns n’ Roses tunes. It was a little strange playing some of that material as I had never performed it with some of the other members. I had played with Steven Adler before but we never did any Guns material. It was both interesting and fun as Steven has a completely different feel than Matt Sorum who I played with more often. Personally I had the time of my life and I think we did a great job under the circumstances. It’s something I will never forget.

AL: What were the rehearsals like leading up to the performance?
GC: We really only decided to do the show a couple days before. Duff had called me I think the Thursday before the induction he told me they had decided to play and they wanted me there. I couldn’t refuse my friends. I know Izzy is the guy’s first choice and I get that as I am a fan of the band myself. Knowing Izzy wasn’t going to be there I was happy they asked to be a part of it.

AL: Was there any animosity leading up to or during the event?
GC: We all knew that Axl wasn’t coming. We all got the same information as everyone else. There was no extra phone call or anything like that. In a way that sort of lifted what could have been a black cloud over everyone’s head. I do think however that if Axl had shown up things would have been fine. It’s been a lot of years and this was a celebration of the band and the fans that supported it. I don’t think there would have been any problems but that black cloud was there. We just all went about our business and didn’t really mention his name. Duff did a show in Cleveland the night before and I think it was about 1 or 2 in the am when we all finally got together. We did a few songs with Matt and a few with Steven and then went and did the show. I think we kicked ass and it turned out well.

Blu-ray Review “Billy Rose’s Jumbo”

Starring: Dean Jagger, Martha Raye, Doris Day, Stephen Boyd, Jimmy Durante
Director: Charles Walters
Distributed: Warner Archive
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 124 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Jumbo” was a film that was troubled from the star. It took nearly a decade to get made and was a financial disappointment once it was finally released in 1962. The film is based on the 1935 Broadway play of the same name. In fact the film actually brings back Jimmy Durante, who was also the star of the play. This film also was Doris Day’s last screen musical. There is no shortage of talent here and the film is quite the production even for today’s standards. I remember seeing this film as a kid and it just stuck with me over the year and though I haven’t seen it since then I never forgot it. “Jumbo” is not perfect and feels a little bit aged but overall it is still quite enjoyable and worth checking out.

Official Premise: Jumbo is a mighty talented elephant. It’s also the ideal word to describe this big-time, big-top extravaganza bursting with laughter and love, sang and dance, circus stunts and star power. Radiant Doris Day sings beloved Rodgers and Hart tunes and does her own horseback riding tricks in a razzle-dazzle musical based on Billy Rose’s stage spectacular and featuring circus sequences directed by Busby Berkeley. The story revolves around a circus owner (Jimmy Durante) with only two real attractions: his daughter (Day) and popular pachyderm Jumbo. Three-ring pandemonium breaks out when a handsome rival (Stephen Boyd) infiltrates the circus, and father, daughter and Dad’s wise-cracking fiancé (Martha Raye) are suddenly at risk of losing the greatest show on earth!

Since the beginning of this year, Warner Archive has been breaking into the world of Blu-ray. This was not a title that I expect would need a Blu-ray but it still looks quite impressive on the disc. The 1080p transfer is presented with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The colors are aged a little but still solid. The DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 is awesome, period. It works very well with the musical numbers and the film’s dialogue. In terms of special features, there is some decent content included. There is a musical Short titled “Yours Sincerely”. There is a fun Tom and Jerry Cartoon, “Jerry and Jumbo”. The original overture has been rejoined to the film for the first time in over 50 years, so this will be a main draw for hardcore fans of the film. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.

Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler talks about new solo album “Back from the Dead”

Steven Adler is probably best known for his work as the original drummer for the multi-platinum selling band Guns N’ Roses. After being fired from the group in 1990 Steven went on to work with a number of other acts and also appeared on the VH1 reality show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”. More recently Steven and his new band simply titled Adler released their debut album “Back From the Dead” and Media Mikes had a chance to ask Steven a few brief questions about the album and the bands touring plans.

Adam Lawton: What type of writing process did the band take when putting songs together for the new album?
Steven Adler: Jacob Bunton and Lonny Paul would bring me songs and then Jeff Pilson and I would add our thing to them. Jeff also produced the record as well as played bass. Everyone in the group was real open to changes and ideas. That made the whole writing/recording process very fun and creative.

AL: How was it like working with Slash again?
SA: Slash and I have been friends since we were kids. I have always loved the way he plays and was honored that he took the time to play on our record.  Back in the GNR days, we took each other’s talents for granted.  At this stage in my life, I’ve learned to appreciate these moments.

AL: Are there plans to shoot any more videos for songs off the album?
SA: In a perfect world we would shoot a video for every song on the record.  But I can tell you from firsthand experience, we don’t live in a “perfect world”, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

AL: How did the band get involved with playing on this year’s Kiss Kruise?
SA: Our singer Jacob told us about it and passed the information onto our managers. From there they called Doc McGhee who is KISS’s manager and they made everything happen.

AL: Does the band have any tour plans in the works you can tell us about?
SA: Yes! We are playing some shows with Duff McKagan’s band “Loaded” in Japan starting in early March. Our manager and agents are working on some other things as well but for right now it’s nothing we can officially say. The band does plan on touring everywhere.

Dj Ashba talks about working with Guns N’ Roses and Sixx AM

Dj Ashba is the guitarist for the hard rock/metal groups Guns N’ Roses and Sixx AM. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Dj about his work with the groups and hit recent connection with Bullyville.com.

Adam Lawton: How did you first get hooked-up with Axl Rose?
Dj Ashba: Sharon Osbourne introduced me to Axl in 2000 during the time I was recording the Beautiful Creatures album.

AL: What is the hardest part about balancing your work in Guns N’ Roses and your work with Sixx: A.M.?
DA: Well due to the fact that Sixx: A.M. is not really a touring band it makes things much easier. That’s not to say we won’t ever get out and play some shows, but we really enjoy just writing and putting out great albums. We tour a lot in Guns but we have some nice breaks which allows me to focus on my other passions.

AL: What was it that made you want to start your own media company “ASHBA Media, Inc.”?
DA: I was an artist before I was a musician, and in my mind art always goes hand-in-hand with music. When I was in Jr. High, I had a cartoon in the local newspaper and I have always been the “artsy kid”. I created ASHBA Media, Inc. when my artwork was seen by Virgin, and they appointed me as their agency of records to brand and market all of the Virgin Megastores worldwide.

AL: You are involved in a number of different ventures (music, art, clothing, etc.). Is there one that you find more satisfying than the others?
DA: No, One is a nice head break from the next, but they are all part of the same world.

AL: How did you get started with BullyVille.com?
DA: I had bought a brand-new house in Las Vegas, and my neighbor happened to be James McGibney-the CEO of Bullyville. After sitting down and talking to him I felt I needed to get involved. I think it’s a wonderful thing that he is giving people a place to go online to raise awareness. Because of what I had been through in my childhood, I wanted to help and Bullyville.com was the perfect vehicle.

AL: What other projects do you have in the works?
DA: I started a corporation called ASHBA AUTOMOTIVE GROUP with Ryan Freidlinghaus of WEST COAST CUSTOMS. We will be launching the brand-new, Limited Edition ASHBA CHALLENGER, by Dodge. We are very proud. It is the ultimate, modern “Rock N’ Roll Hotrod”. Rock N’ Roll and hotrods used to go hand in hand, and it’s an American tradition that we want to bring back in a big way. I will also be launching a social network, called “ASHBALAND.COMA Rock n’ Roll community”. It’s the ultimate place on the net for fans to unite, come together, and share their love for music.