"Tommy Lee stabbed my Powerbook:" Real-life rock star tales

slash-book.jpgWhen you’re navigating the rock and roll jungles with the wildest of rockers, your gear needs to be able to stand up to the elements. And to overzealous groupies. It’s a challenge that bestselling writer Anthony Bozza knows well.

A former writer for Rolling Stone, Bozza was the first national journalist to cover Eminem. In addition to the former Marshall Mathers, Bozza also penned cover stories on Trent Reznor, Slipknot, and others. He then turned his attention to books and wrote Whatever You Say I Am: The Life and Times of Eminem, and INXS Story to Story: The Official Autobiography. But it’s been his co-authoring duties that have given his gear the greatest workout. He co-authored Tommyland with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and just last week released Slash with the famous Guns n’ Roses guitarist.

During the writing of the Eminem book, Bozza relied on a PowerBook G3 Mac. “It was my first book, I was freaking out, it was over the Christmas holidays, I was working, and I spilled red wine on the keyboard,” Bozza recalled. The computer worked fine for a couple of weeks and then died. So the young journalist had to upgrade.
“For Tommyland and Slash, I wrote the whole things on a twelve-inch, Apple PowerBook G4 that I’m now retiring,” Bozza said. “A few bestsellers, that’s cool, it’s going to be retired. I’ve had this computer since my other one died and it’s done me right.”

And that G4 proudly features the scars of rock star living. “The best thing about it is that there’s a white dot towards the top of the screen where, when I was writing Tommyland, I made a funny joke and Tommy jabbed at it a little too hard and now there’s no color in that one spot,” he said.

During his time working with Slash, Bozza recorded marathon interview sessions that went from 11pm to 4am five nights a week for several months. He relies on a Cowon iAudio portable digital device to capture all the sordid details of rock star life. “I think it has like a 30 hour charge on the battery and can record some kind of ungodly amount of hours on here,” Bozza said. “Slash calls it the Porsche of MP3 players because of the shape of it, with a nice curve on it and a metal joystick controller.” The Slash book is ample evidence to the gadgets usefulness. Clocking in at 458 pages, Slash is interesting enough to captivate a casual fan and is also revealing enough to shock the most knowledgeable GnR expert.

Previously, Bozza used a tiny Olympus digital recording device. “This thing is better because it works more like an MP3 player and it’s harder to delete things,” he said. “One night, Tommy and I were doing some late night interview at his house and he was manning the Olympus recorder. Somewhere between the Jaeger machine and the recorder, we erased like ten hours worth of stuff. Luckily we were so lubricated at that point, we didn’t mind having the same conversation over twice. So we just started right back in.”

Bozza also laments the destruction of an old Sony digital camera that contained “some pretty explicit evidence. Stuff like that was pretty fun.”

Scott McKenzie writes the publishing blog Slushpile.net.