Welcome to My Jungle book review

With Guns n Roses being the focal point of so many events in metal lately- a new 3D movie hitting theaters and DVD, headlining the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, Rock on the Range, numerous international festivals , Axl Rose receiving a lifetime achievement award and being named the top vocalist of all time on numerous all-time lists, it’s a perfect time for the release of Welcome to My Jungle, the memoir of Craig Duswalt- Axl Rose’s personal assistant on the Use Your Illusion Tour in the early 90’s- attention is on the band as it is.

Duswalt is very open and honest in his accounts of touring with Guns n Roses and talks about touring before getting the job with the band. He was working as a backstage hand at a local venue when Air Supply came through town one night. Their tour manager liked Duswalt’s work ethic and performance and offered him a chance to tour with Air Supply.

After a successful run with them, Duswalt got the call to tour with Guns n Roses and that’s where the story takes a fun and interesting turn.

One thing that fans will find interesting about the book is Duswalt’s accounts of working with Axl Rose. Duswalt gives us a different perspective of Rose, who’s often seen in one of the most negative lights in all of music.

The first experience Duswalt had with Rose was when he went to Rose’s house for his first day of work and Rose’s first assistant was on the phone with Brian May of Queen, telling him that Rose had found a doctor he thought might be able to help Queen singer Freddie Mercury’s condition.

Numerous spots in the book tell stories about Rose’s good side and will be good for some of the man’s  critics to read as it really offer a different take on the man behind the band.

Obviously touring with Guns n Roses had it’s crazy moments and Duswalt shares those as well, as expected- everything from Rose “making a run for it” in front of a hotel surrounded by crazed and obsessed fans and getting mobbed and engulfed in a sea of people and having to dive in to protect them to having to hide in the freezer of a Buenos Aires McDonalds because a hoard of insane fans thought he was in the band when he left a hotel to go get some food.

Guns n Roses love pranks and there’s almost a whole chapter dedicated to those too- Rose and the band paying a crew member  $1000 to run completely naked up to a cop and shake his hand (which led to the crew member getting fake arrested as Rose had also paid the cops to be in on the joke), the crew ordering a Dominos pizza to be delivered on stage during a song (Rose took the pizza from him, and let the guy play bongos on stage for a song), Duswalt tricking his friend who worked for the band into thinking the band would “initiate” him into the crew by making a banana split in his rear end on stage (did it happen? Read the book) and much more.

Whether it’s Axl Rose’s creative moth extermination system, the reasons and experiences behind Rose’s on-stage teleprompter, being serenaded by Steven Tyler in Tyler’s hotel suite, dining with Liz Taylor, Elton John and other A-list celebrities or numerous other experiences, Welcome to My Jungle is loaded with stories that will make for a fun read for any Guns n Roses fan of any era and is a quick, easy read.

At just under 300 pages, there’s no shortage of interesting reading material. Not only that but having spent almost every waking minute of every day with Rose and being his right hand man, Duswalt paints a positive picture of Axl Rose and shows him in a light and perspective most people wouldn’t normally get to see.

Rating: 9/10

-Reggie Edwards