Rockin Out in Hollywood: Memories of Slash, Bancroft Junior High School, and Growing up Biracial

Kristal Brent Zook
7 min readMay 23, 2023
Slash and me

Adapted from The Girl in the Yellow Poncho

We were at the food truck at Bancroft Junior High, where kids smoked cigarettes between classes. Steven Adler, who played drums, was flirting with my cousin Lisa, 13, who was a year older than me. Steven was asking if she was going to the beach that weekend, but she wasn’t interested. She had her eye on a red-haired dude who hung out with the vatos.

As for me, I fell for a boy who was like us: neither black nor white, but somewhere in between. Saul Hudson had another thing going for him, too. He was a real guitarist. Before long, he would transform himself into “Slash” of Guns N’ Roses, with Steven Adler as his drummer. Just a few years out of high school, he would achieve global fame as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, his signature black top hat and dark sunglasses recognized by adoring audiences around the world.

Saul’s rock & roll persona appealed to me infinitely, since Lisa and I already fashioned ourselves into miniature groupies. We spent our teen-aged years in an apartment building on Hollywood Boulevard, between Martel Avenue and Vista Street, where we sometimes ran into Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go’s, who lived in our building, as did Charlene Tilton from “Dallas.” That was the Hollywood of my youth — aspiring rockers carting their guitars up and down Sunset Boulevard and wannabe starlets living in dumpy apartments, waiting for their big break.

Saul was painfully shy, with thick, curly hair that covered his forehead and eyes, as if he wanted to hide. Since I was also shy — not to mention deeply insecure — there wasn’t much to our conversations.

“I like your hair,” I offered during recess.
“I like yours too.”
“Well. See you.” I blushed.
“Yeah. See you.”

“He likes you.” Lisa noted as we turned to leave.
I let out a giddy, nervous laugh. “No, he doesn’t.”
“Yes, he does. He gets all googly-eyed whenever you’re around.”

I hoped and prayed she was right. In my imagination, Saul and I were the…

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Kristal Brent Zook

Award-winning journalist/professor; race, women, justice. My latest book is #1 in New Releases for Mixed Race/Multiracial! Order @ thegirlintheyellowponcho.com