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Life on Planet Rock: From Guns N' Roses to Nirvana, a Backstage Journey through Rock's Most Debauched Decadeby Lonn Friend
Synopses & Reviews
Welcome to My Jungle
THERE IS NOTHING STABLE IN THE WORLD;
UPROAR'S YOUR ONLY MUSIC.
I've never had trouble making friends. Probably has something to do with the name I was born with. The moniker has been both a curse and blessing. When I was growing up, kids would tease me. What's up, Lonn Enemy? Preschool sticks and stones, but I was born sensitive so it hurt nonetheless. When my professional train started rollin', however, that's when my name started to take on deeper significance.
Running a rock magazine, I was everybody's friend. Friend to artist. Friend to executive. Friend to whoever shook my hand or dialed my number in need of connection, acceptance, favors, ink, respect, or whatever goods and services I could provide. But the simple fact is, I like people and my intention when meeting someone new has always been to extend my hand and make a connection. Bricklayer to rock star, everyone seeks contact. If authentic, that union can take you to the craziest places. It sure as hell took me.
I was in the Guns N' Roses dressing room while opening act Skid Row heated up the L.A. Forum. The only thing flowing harder and faster than the love was the Jack Daniel's. It was July 29, 1991, my thirty-fifth birthday. Band manager Doug Goldstein handed me a brand-new Yonex 200 driver (this golf club was the shit back in the early '90s). The media was out in force: there was no other show in town but this one, and pity another band trying to get attention.
Hey, Lonn, you wanna bring us onstage tonight? asked Slash, the group's mop-top lead guitarist.
What, dude? Bring you onstage? I replied, thinking I may have heard the wily rocker wrong. It took a nanosecond for me to grasp the magnitude of the situation.
Let's rock I cried.
Slash smiled that perfect, disarming, drunken smile, sipped his Jack 'n' Coke and fired back, Yeah, man But listen, there's one catch. You have to do it in your underwear And wear my hat and boots
Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin were on the sofa smoking cigarettes. Do it, dude, they encouraged.
Stage manager Tom Mayhue grabbed me by the collar and planted me on a spot in the dark area off the stairs that led to the stage from the arena floor. All I heard besides the thumping in my chest was the roar of twenty thousand maniacal GN'R fans howling like hungry hyenas. Next thing I knew, the lights were still up and there I was, standing in front of the mike at the foot of the stage, staring down a sea of hair, boobs, tattoos, mascara, blood, sweat, and beers.
I think the audience was too shocked or too stoned to fully realize that a long-haired, bearded, overgrown child was standing in front of them in boxer shorts, black leather boots, and Slash's top hat. I'm Lonn Friend from RIP magazine, I roared, the veins in my neck commencing to protrude, and I'd do anything for this fucking band Tonight, they're going to do everything for you. Coming out in a minute, the heaviest fucking band in the world, Gun N' Roses
As I cut through the curtain, lead singer Axl Rose flashed me a grin and said softly, That was cool. The strawberry blond thunder from Lafayette, Indiana, proceeded to lay absolute waste to Angel City by conducting his band
A leading music journalist and editor of RIP magazine chronicles the heyday of heavy metal and grunge rock music, furnishing revealing portraits of Kurt Cobain, Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, Axl Rose, Elvis Costello, and other notable artists and capturing some of the watershed moments of the musical era. Original. 17,500 first printing.
For the generation coming of age in the years from 1987 to 1994, RIP magazine was every bit as crucial as Rolling Stone. Life on Planet Rock describes how Lonn Friend, the editor of RIP, became the Zelig-like chronicler of the biggest musical moments of that time—from introducing Guns N’ Roses (in nothing but a top hat, underwear, and cowboy boots) to sitting in during the making of Metallica’s Black Album. Life on Planet Rock provides revealing portraits of artists as varied as Kurt Cobain, Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, Axl Rose, James Hetfield, Steven Tyler, and many more. Part oral history, part candid and humorous memoir, it is a wormhole back to a fast-moving time in music that saw tastes flash from new wave to hair metal to grunge, told as only someone who was there through it all could tell it.
About the Author
LONN FRIEND was born in 1956, the year Elvis brought rock ’n’ roll to the mainstream. He has been around music, as a DJ, writer, reviewer, developer of talent and editor, ever since. He has had a regular spot on MTV's Headbanger's Ball, and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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