Lonn Friend,
Life on Planet Rock:
From Guns N' Roses to Nirvana, a Backstage Journey through Rock's Most Debauched Decade

(Broadway, 2006)

What can a book reviewer say about a memoir written by the editor of RIP magazine and endorsed by Cameron Crowe, Scott Ian, Paul Stanley, Alice Cooper, Lemmy Kilmister and one of the founders of MTV? Lonn Friend was in the inner circle of Larry and Althea Flynt when he was offered the editorial helm of Flynt Publishing's fledgling rock magazine. For seven years, RIP chronicled the American heavy metal scene as it transformed from the heyday of hair metal to the era of grunge rock.

Friend's memoir marks a critical contribution to the history of heavy metal. It reads like an impeccably verified collection of bar-room tales from a top notch storyteller. The opening chapter alone is worth the paperback cover price -- it represents some of the first new material published about Guns N' Roses in the last decade. Friend greenlit Guns N' Roses' cover shot in 1988, months before the debut of Appetite for Destruction went platinum. He cavorted with the band as well as members of Metallica and Skid Row, well into the Use Your Illusion era for the band. In Life on Planet Rock, Friend reveals for the first time how well he knew of Slash's heroin addiction during their 1990 interview. (Slash himself has now gone on record about the addiction, so Friend was comfortable revealing the whole story.)

Other chapters focus on the legendary antics of Alice Cooper, The Who, KISS, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue. This book is Who's Who highlight guide to the brief reign of RIP magazine -- only with the wisdom of hindsight and the freedom to tell all! Friend turns highly introspective in the closing chapter, examining his own turbulent relationship with the music industry and rock journalism.

review by
Jessica Lux-Baumann

4 September 2010

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