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Songs That Give Me Chills

Obviously, anyone who enjoys listening to music is going to have hundreds and hundreds of songs that would say they “love”. Some songs strike an even more special chord with me though. Yes, that’s right. There are some songs that seem to inspire something within me WHENEVER I hear them. Songs that quite literally send a chill down my spine by their awesomeness. Off the top of my head, here’s a handful:

Avantasia – “The Scarecrow” (The Scarecrow)

One of the most epic metal songs of all time. The vocals are outstanding and I really enjoy the Celtic rock vibe of it. I can see this having a really cool set up on a live stage.

L.A. Guns – “OK, Let’s Roll” (Waking The Dead)

With lyrics written about the events of United Airlines Flight 93 from 9/11, this one really gets to me:

Skies of Pennsylvania became a battle ground
Two hundred miles away, the towers had come down
One last chance to say goodbye, he called her on his phone
Said he knew what must be done, “I am not coming home.”

Are you ready, okay, let’s roll

KISS – “Love Gun” (Love Gun)

One of KISS’ finest songs, I’ve loved it since I first heard it and thankfully I can now die saying I’ve seen them play it live. I’ll never forget seeing Paul zip-line over the crowd on the way to his platform as the intro played out. Picked a live version from 2005 just for something different.

KISS – “Modern Day Delilah” (Sonic Boom)

My favorite track off Sonic Boom. It’s a KISS classic with a mix of Zeppelin thrown in. Love the lyrics.

KISS – “I’m An Animal” (Sonic Boom)

Another instant classic from Sonic Boom and easily the best Gene song from the album. They’ve started playing this one live, too bad I caught them on the very first show on their previous tour, so they hadn’t added it to the set list yet!

Guns ‘N Roses – “Madagascar” (Chinese Democracy)

Chinese Democracy is one of my favorite albums of all-time and this one of the best songs on the album (and that’s saying something).

Aren’t there more? Of course but we’ll get those on a later date…

THE L.A. GUNS – American Hardcore

The L.A. Guns – American Hardcore (1996, CMC International Records)

1. “F.N.A.” … 0:21
2. “What I’ve Become” … 3:37
3. “Unnatural Act” … 4:10
4. “Give” … 3:16
5. “Don’t Pray” … 4:07
6. “Pissed” … 4:01
7. “Mine” … 3:35
8. “Kevorkian” … 4:47
9. “Hey World” … 5:01
10. “Next Generation” … 2:33
11. “Hugs And Needles” … 3:08
12. “I Am Alive” … 18:51

Band:
Chris Van Dahl – Lead Vocals
Tracii Guns – Guitar, Keyboard, Backing Vocals
Johnny Crypt – Bass, Backing Vocals
Steve Riley – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Producer: The L.A. Guns & Denis Degher

Yikes, what a difference from the days of Cocked & Loaded! American Hardcore is generally to be considered the worst album from L.A. Guns. Or should I say the worst album from The L.A. Guns? The band was really going for an image overhaul at this point in their career abandoning their traditional sleazy pop metal sound like rats fleeing sinking ship.

Just take a look at the album’s cover. With addition of “the” to their name, I guess it does make the group seem a bit more dangerous in conjunction with the album art. If I had never heard of this band before and picked this album up when it was released in 1996, I probably would have thought this was gangsta rap! Luckily, Tracii doesn’t chase that trend but along with new lead singer and ex-Cherry St. vocalist Chris Van Dahl (having replaced Phil Lewis) the Guns go for a much darker, heavier alternative vibe that sometimes comes across like Black Label Society, Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie. Hilariously, All Music Guide refers to this album as a return to the band’s “hair metal heyday” then calls it a “standard pop-metal” release that apes KISS, Aerosmith, Motley Crue and Led Zeppelin. Um… WHAT !!

Honestly, the album isn’t too bad. It’s heavy metal, it’s alternative, it’s angry and while none of those terms typically bring to mind L.A. Guns, it’s not half bad if you’re in the right frame of mind. Chris Van Dahl actually has a decent voice for this type of music. He does the whole deep, guttural screaming thing well.

I have to wonder the point of keeping the L.A. Guns name though. Tracii was obviously taking a desperate stab at relevancy yet was holding onto a name associated with the ‘80s (the ‘80s were sooooo lame in the mid ‘90s) in order to pull in the few fans this band had at the time. He was trying to have his cake and eat it too. He should’ve just gone one step further and renamed the band. This project might’ve been better received.

Further adding the the album’s weirdness is the final track “I Am Alive”. The song ends at 6:57 and there’s nothing but silence until about the 17 minute mark where there’s some weird scene playing out with violins, prison guards talking and then some murderer gets the electric chair and we hear him screaming.

Highlights: “What I’ve Become”, “Unnatural Act”, “Don’t Pray”, “Mine”, “Hey World”

www.laguns.net (Phil Lewis’ version, AKA – “the real one”)
www.myspace.com/lagunsofficial

www.lagunsofficial.com (Tracii Guns’ version)
www.myspace.com/losangelesguns

The Best Albums of the 2000s

Welcome to 2010!

I’m going to start the year off with yet another list except I won’t be limiting myself to “Top 10” or “Top 20” or whatever. I’ll be going chronologically, year by year (I didn’t put the albums in any specific order though) and if I thought it was a really good album, I’ll list it regardless of whether one year has four albums listed and another year only has two.

Looking back, the whole decade was pretty good for this rock/metal fan. The scene suffered greatly during the ’90s, but by 2000, the genre was turning the corner and I think most people had grown tired of depressed drug addicts and angry no-talent white rappers playing rock music. The legends were laying low during the ’90s and the next decade was made up of many comebacks, but that’s not to discount many newer acts who stepped up and played a vital role in rock ‘n’ roll.

2000
Marvelous 3 – ReadySexGo
Halford – Resurrection
Bon Jovi – Crush
Cold – 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage
The Union Underground – …An Education in Rebellion
Alice Cooper – Brutal Planet

2001
Puddle of Mudd – Come Clean
Megadeth – The World Needs a Hero
Alice Cooper – Dragontown
Lit – Atomic

2002
Dio – Killing the Dragon
Butch Walker – Left of Self-Centered
Bon Jovi – Bounce
Sentenced – The Cold White Light
L.A. Guns – Waking the Dead

2003
Anthrax – We’ve Come For You All
Alice Cooper – The Eyes of Alice Cooper
Dream Evil – Evilized

2004
Scorpions – Unbreakable
Megadeth – The System Has Failed
Tesla – Into the Now
Dream Evil – The Book of Heavy Metal
Brides of Destruction – Here Come the Brides

2005
Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution
Alice Cooper – Dirty Diamonds

2006
Edguy – Rocket Ride
Paul Stanley – Live to Win

2007
Avenged Sevenfold – Avenged Sevenfold
Sebastian Bach – Angel Down
Scorpions – Humanity: Hour I

2008
Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy
Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus
Whitesnake – Good to Be Bad

2009
KISS – Sonic Boom
Steel Panther – Feel the Steel

L.A. GUNS – L.A. Guns

L.A. Guns – L.A. Guns (1988, PolyGram Records/Vertigo Records)

1. “No Mercy” … 2:47
2. “Sex Action” … 3:42
3. “One More Reason” … 3:07
4. “Electric Gypsy” … 3:25
5. “Nothing To Lose” … 4:14
6. “Bitch Is Back” … 2:53
7. “Cry No More” … 1:18
8. “One Way Ticket” … 4:20
9. “Hollywood Tease” … 2:52
10. “Shoot For Thrills” … 4:30
11. “Down In The City” … 3:56

Band:
Phil Lewis – Lead Vocals
Tracii Guns – Lead Guitar
Mick Cripps – Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Kelly Nickels – Bass, Harmonica, Whistle, Backing Vocals
Steve Riley – Drums (credited but did not play)

Additional Musicians:
Nickey “Beat” Alexander – Drums
Alan Jones – Sax
Paul Kaufman – Washboard

Producer: Jim Faraci

I’ve seen some critics call L.A. Guns a combination of Guns N’ Roses and Poison. That’s a pretty good description of them, though I think there’s a dash of Motley Crue as well. The Guns have always seemed to straddle the line between the seedy, sleazy life that GNR wrote about and the sex & party world of glam metal poster boys Poison. It makes for some good rock ‘n’ roll and L.A. Guns have never fully gotten the respect, success and credit that they should have despite having two platinum albums in their catalog (this one and Cocked & Loaded)… They should’ve sold more!

Anyway, this a really good debut. Phil Lewis rocks, guitars are great (Tracii also does not get the respect he should), there’s plenty of sleaze and fun for everyone! But the band has a softer side — there’s “Cry No More”, a pretty instrumental, to break up the album and it leads into the ballad “One Way Ticket”.

“Sex Action” was a small hit for the band, but I tend to think that’s an overrated song. It’s a good song, but I’ve often seen it mentioned as a LAG fave but I think there’s plenty of other songs here that overshadow it. “One More Reason” is my favorite from the disc. Cocked & Loaded is regarded as the quintessential L.A. Guns release. That album is a bit more catchy and melodic, but this one is heavier. I like them both equally.

Original LAG drummer Nicky “Beat” Alexander played on the album, but it was Steve Riley (coming over from W.A.S.P.) who got the album credit and his face in the band photo as he joined the band just before the album was released. Most of these songs were written with L.A. Guns’ previous singer Paul Black. Maybe that’s why Phil was able to get “Hollywood Tease” (from his previous band Girl) on the album?

Picked this up online for about $6. Definitely worth the cash. The cover is really cool too — you’ve got guns, a skull and a Hollywood night in the background. The art was done by Tyler. I wonder if he’s ever done anything else in the hair metal arena?

Highlights: “No Mercy”, “Sex Action”, “One More Reason”, “Electric Gypsy”, “One Way Ticket”, “Shoot For Thrills”

www.laguns.net
www.myspace.com/lagunsofficial

THIS IS ’80s HAIR METAL

This Is ’80s Hair Metal (2003, Deadline Records/Cleopatra Records)

Disc One: STUDIO FUELED
1. “Cherry Pie” by Warrant … 3:05
2. “Someone Like You” by Bang Tango … 4:24
3. “Cum on Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot … 4:38
4. “Smooth Up” by Bulletboys … 5:03
5. “Pissed” by Dangerous Toys … 4:10
6. “Sex Action” by L.A. Guns … 3:53
7. “Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz” by Pretty Boy Floyd … 4:07
8. “Bathroom Wall” by Faster Pussycat … 4:58
9. “Little Teaser” by Jetboy … 3:14
10. “Love Removal Machine” by Great White … 4:29
11. “Make It Go Away” by Michael Monroe … 3:01
12. “Tooth & Nail” Lynch Mob … 3:24
13. “Mean Street Machine” by King Kobra … 4:24
14. “River Gold” by Hurricane … 4:04
15. “Black Out” by Love/Hate … 2:56

Disc Two: LIVE & DANGEROUS
1. “Gypsy Road” by Cinderella … 3:39
2. “Kiss Me Deadly” by Lita Ford … 4:21
3. “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)” by Great White … 2:38
4. “One More Reason” by L.A. Guns … 3:49
5. “(You Can Still) Rock in America” by Night Ranger … 5:37
6. “Hollywood” by Junkyard … 2:50
7. “Dressed Up Vamp” by Bang Tango … 4:30
8. “Around Again” by Union … 5:53
9. “Teas’n, Pleas’n” by Dangerous Toys … 4:41
10.  “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” by L.A. Guns … 2:18
11. “Wrathchild” by Paul DiAnno … 2:48
12. “Somebody Save Me” by Cinderella … 2:57
13. “Ramble On” by Great White … 4:36
14. “What You Say” by Saigon Kick … 3:49

Disc Three: POWER BALLADS
1. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Bret Michaels … 4:49
2. “When the Children Cry” by White Lion … 6:17
3. “Headed for a Heartbreak” by Kip Winger … 2:56
4. “Ballad of Jayne” by L.A. Guns … 5:15
5. “House of Pain” by Faster Pussycat … 7:50
6. “Ready for Love” by Great White … 4:40
7. “Sometimes She Cries” by Warrant … 4:38
8. “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (‘Til It’s Gone)” by Cinderella … 5:39
9. “Dream On” by Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie Malmsteen … 4:28
10. “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger … 5:15
11. “Close My Eyes Forever” by Lita Ford … 5:02
12. “Lights” by Tuff … 3:11
13. “Still Lovin’ You” Steve Whiteman & George Lynch … 4:52
14. “Here I Go Again” by Bernie Shaw & Bernie Madsen … 4:01
15. ??? … 3:59

Oddball hair metal compilation that I picked up from FYE shortly after it’s release. I can’t remember how much I paid for it, but I don’t think it was too much. Maybe around $15 or so, which is a good thing because as you can expect from an indie hair metal compilation — these are not the original recordings. In some cases, not even the original artists are used! Ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch and his band Lynch Mob sub for Dokken on “Tooth & Nail”, Bret Michaels stands in for his own band Poison and then there’s the odd inclusion of Great White’s cover of The Cult’s “Love Removal Machine” (this cover has apparently made its way around many a compilations). Another odd bit is that for some reason, Love/Hate’s “Black Out in the Red Room” is now simply called “Black Out”.

Back to the re-recordings, I actually like some of these versions better than the originals (though I think it’s also possible some of these songs were demos). Working on a small budget and stripped of the overproduction that was common in the ’80s, many of these songs sound fresh, raw and energetic compared to the originals. Disc One is nothing but studio recordings and Warrant’s re-recording of “Cherry Pie” is my favorite track and I think I actually like it better than the original version. Not all of Disc One is as enjoyable though– Joe Leste and Marq Torien struggle to hit their notes on “Someone Like You” and “Smooth Up”, respectively. Then there’s the awful industrialized version of “Bathroom Wall”. Look, why does this industrial garbage version of Faster Pussycat keep getting work on these hair compilations? If Taime Downe doesn’t want to represent the music in an accurate manner, I’m sure most hair metal fans would rather Faster Pussycat is not included at all.

Disc Two is nothing but live songs. The quality (and performances) vary greatly. Disc Three is power ballads, re-recordings again, but there’s some live versions as well. On Disc Three, there is a 15th track that I cannot find any info on (my slipcase/jewel case are in storage), but the song definitely does not belong here. I’ve never heard it before and it sounds like some mellow acoustic rock/pop you’d hear on the pop stations. I’m sure there’s some hair metal connection, but sonically, it’s not there. Anyone know the song title and artist?

Personally, I wouldn’t really say “this is ’80s metal”. Not when there’s so many cover songs (by Great White alone!), re-recordings and original artists are missing. The inclusion of Union alone is enough to strike down that this is a tribute to the ’80s (they didn’t formed until 1997)! Basically, the album is hit-or-miss. It’s an inconsistent three disc set, but despite the shady marketing, I still think this is a decent collection for anyone who is heavily into the hair metal scene. There’s enough gems here to make up for having to dig through the garbage to get to them.

Highlights:
Disc One: “Cherry Pie”, “Pissed”, “Sex Action”, “Love Removal Machine”, “Tooth & Nail”, “Mean Street Machine”
Disc Two: “Gypsy Road”, “(You Can Still) Rock In America”, “Hollywood”, “Ramble On”
Disc Three: “When the Children Cry”, “Ready for Love”, “Dream On”, “Still Lovin’ You”

Buy THIS IS ’80s HAIR METAL at Amazon.com

L.A. GUNS – Tales from the Strip

L.A. Guns – Tales from the Strip (2005, Shrapnel Records)

1. “It Don’t Mean Nothing” … 5:07
2. “Electric Neon Sunset” … 4:41
3. “Gypsy Soul” … 3:04
4. “Original Sin” … 4:25
5. “Vampire” … 4:22
6. “Hollywood’s Burning” … 3:44
7. “6.9 Earthshaker” … 4:07
8. “Rox Baby Girl” … 4:12
9. “Crazy Motorcycle” … 4:20
10. “Skin” … 3:11
11. “Shame” … 4:53
12. “Resurrection” … 3:46
13. “Amanecer” … 3:13
14. (Can’t Give You) Anything Better Than Love” … 4:45

Band:
Phil Lewis – Lead Vocals
Stacey Blades – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Adam Hamilton – Bass, Backing Vocals
Steve Riley – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Andy Johns

When Tracii Guns jumped at the chance to form Brides of Destruction with Nikki Sixx in late 2002, the rest of L.A. Guns decided they weren’t going to sit around and wait until Guns turned his attention back to the band he had originally formed. The band rebounded by selecting ex-Roxx Gang guitarist Stacey Blades to step in for Tracii Guns (They brought a knife to a gunfight?) and releasing the covers album Rips the Covers Off in 2004.

With this album, they released their first slab of original post-Tracii material and it stands up quite well. The absence of Tracii hurts, but Blades jumped right into the creative process and every song was written by the band as a whole (and isn’t that how it SHOULD be?).

If this is how L.A. Guns is going to sound without Tracii, I think they’re doing just fine.  I must have had a lot going on in my life when this first came out, because I didn’t give it an extensive listen but this album rocks! Phil Lewis is still one of rock’s vocalists and this is L.A. Guns churning out the same solid L.A. sleaze they’ve been doing since their 1988 debut, and they’ve retained that modern/old school sound Waking The Dead had. So, c’mon, guys– when’s the next album coming out?

The one thing that I found humorous about this album is that it’s a concept album about that world-famous Sunset Strip. Is that really much of a concept? Isn’t that the dominant theme of practically every hair metal album released in the 80s?

It’s sad to not see Tracii in the “real” L.A. Guns. Especially after his final work in the band was the awesome Waking The Dead, which was a great blend of old school Guns and modern hard rock. To me, it seems like the second chance at stardom went to his head and he decided L.A. Guns, his own band, was beneath him. Karma got him in the end though because Nikki himself ditched Brides for a better gig by reuniting the original Motley Crue and now Tracii is stuck with his own unofficial version of L.A. Guns, which seems to change members by the month. I’m sure he’ll eventually reunite with Phil & Steve, but when will so many of these “80s” rockers realize they’re better off working together than feuding together?

Highlights: “It Don’t Mean Nothing”, “Electric Neon Sunset”, “Original Sin”, “Vampire”, “Hollywood’s Burning”, “Crazy Motorcyle”, “(Can’t Give You) Anything Better Than Love”

www.laguns.net (Phil Lewis’ version, AKA – “the real one”)
www.myspace.com/lagunsofficial

www.lagunslive.com (Tracii Guns’ version)
www.myspace.com/losangelesguns

L.A. GUNS – Cocked & Loaded

L.A. Guns – Cocked & Loaded (1989, Vertigo Records/Polydor Records)

1. “Letting Go” … 1:22
2. “Slap in the Face” … 3:54
3. “Rip and Tear” … 4:11
4. “Sleazy Come Easy Go” … 4:01
5. “Never Enough” … 4:10
6. “Malaria” … 5:22
7. “The Ballad of Jayne” … 4:30
8. “Magdalaine” … 6:05
9. “Give a Little” … 3:29
10. “I’m Addicted” … 1:51
11. “17 Crash” … 3:39
12. “Showdown (Riot on Sunset)” … 3:18
13. “Wheels of Fire” … 4:56
14. “I Wanna Be Your Man” … 3:36

Band:
Phil Lewis – Vocals
Tracii Guns – Guitar
Mick Cripps – Guitar
Kelly Nickels – Bass
Steve Riley – Drums

Produced by: Tom Werman, Duane Baron, John Purdell

Another great find in the used CD section during my late-90s rummaging for any and all hair band CDs. I picked this one up at Turtles Music/Wherehouse Music. They had a decent used section, but were even more of a ripoff than a major chain like FYE when it came to new releases (or even older releases).

Anyway, this is an essential album for any hair metal fans. It’s arguably L.A. Guns’ best with all the right amounts of swagger, attitude, and a cool loose rock ‘n’ roll feel that combines Guns ‘N Roses and Motley Crue. This is the kinda album you wanna hear playing while sitting in a smoke-filled tattoo parlor getting inked up at 1AM by a hot busty chick.

The initial hook for me with this album was “The Ballad of Jayne”. I’m a huge sucker for hair ballads and this is one of the best. “Never Enough” is another great song and one of my favorites from the Guns.

“I Wanna Be Your Man” was bonus track for the CD version of the album.

Highlights: “Rip and Tear”, “Never Enough”, “Malaria”, “The Ballad of Jayne”, “Magdalaine”, “Give a Little”

www.laguns.net (Phil Lewis’ version, AKA – “the real one”)
www.myspace.com/lagunsofficial

www.lagunslive.com (Tracii Guns’ version)
www.myspace.com/losangelesguns

BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION – Runaway Brides

Brides of Destruction – Runaway Brides (2005, Shrapnel Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Aunt Biente” [Instrumental] … 1:09
2. “Lord Of The Mind” … 4:22
3. “Dead Man’s Ruin” … 3:01
4. “Criminal” … 4:12
5. “This Time Around” … 4:02
6. “White Trash” … 3:46
7. “Brothers” … 3:27
8. “Never Say Never” … 5:14
9. “Blown Away” … 2:56
10. “Porcelain Queen” … 4:23
11. “White Horse” … 3:14
12. “Tunnel Of Love” … 4:39
13. “Dimes In Heaven” … 5:11

Band:
London LeGrand – Lead Vocals
Tracii Guns – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Scott Sorry – Bass, Backing Vocals
Scot Coogan – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Andy Johns

One year into B.O.D.’s existence, Tracii Guns was left without the support of Sanctuary Records and Nikki Sixx, who was co-captain (and co-writer) of the Good Ship B.O.D.

Tracii decided to continue with the group while Nikki rushe back to the Motley Crue reunion and this album is definitely hurt by the lack of Nikki’s presence (though he does hold a few co-writing credits here and there). The album is much more serious, darker, and takes on a much more modern rock/metal sound than Here Come the Brides did. It just isn’t as catchy and throws out some of the 80s L.A. Strip sound the previous album had. The haunting instrumental opener “Aunt Biente” sets the mood for the rest of the album and is a good indicator and where they were heading.

It’s not a bad album by any means, it just fails to live up to the potential the band showed with their debut. Again, I think Nikki leaving the band hurt this album and I really would have to liked to have seen Brides at least put on hold for whenever the next Motley down time came up. I don’t blame Nikki though because what would YOU rather do, play clubs or play arenas?

In 2006, the band was put on hold when Tracii Guns (VERY temporarily) joined Quiet Riot. Since then, Tracii has gone on to form his own version of L.A. Guns to compete with the legit Phil Lewis version.

Is the band done? I hope not, but I fear so. I’d like to see them continue in some form, though with the success of SIXX:AM and the revitalized Motley Crue, I highly doubt B.O.D. is of any concern to Nikki. Maybe Tracii can snap out of his current fake L.A. Guns band mindset and decide to do give us something new again and bring London along as well.

The curse of B.O.D. struck again: The Wildhearts‘ Ginger had joined the band as guitarist, even co-writing a handful of songs for this album, but had left by the time recording started.

Highlights: “Aunt Biente”, “Criminal”, “This Time Around”, “Never Say Never”, “Porcelain Queen”, “Dimes in Heaven”

www.myspace.com/bridesofdestruction

BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION – Here Come the Brides

Brides of Destruction – Here Come the Brides (2004, Sanctuary Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Shut the F*ck Up” … 3:03
2. “I Don’t Care” … 3:21
3. “I Got a Gun” … 3:48
4. “2x Dead” … 5:38
5. “Brace Yourself” … 4:04
6. “Natural Born Killers” … 4:31
7. “Life” … 3:32
8. “Revolution” … 4:37
9. “Only Get So Far” … 5:07

Band:
London LeGrand – Lead Vocals
Tracii Guns – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Nikki Sixx – Bass, Backing Vocals
Scot Coogan – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
John Corabi – Rhythm Guitar
Kris Kohls – Drums

Produced by: Steve Bruno

Brides of Destruction were a “supergroup”, which was put together by Nikki Sixx (while Motley Crue took one of their many breaks) and L.A. Guns’ Tracii Gun. Ex-Motley Crue singer John Corabi was recruited to play guitar and nu-metal band Adema’s Kris Kohls was to be the drummer, but both were out of the band by the time of this album’s release.

I remember London LeGrand catching a lot of flack before the album was even released, with some of the more negative rock/metal sites saying he “sucked” and was a horrible singer. Just not hearing that here. The guy’s voice is fitting this music perfectly, which is a blend of 80s hard rock, punk, power pop, and modern hard rock. I love London’s performance on “I Got a Gun”.

The band never took off though, even though they did manage to get an appearance on The Tonight Show. They chose “Shut the F*ck Up” as their lead single, which was a mistake because it was heavily edited for radio and received very little play. The band even chose to play that song on The Tonight Show and it sounded horrible without them being able to utter that four-letter word.

I remember as soon as the album was released, Nikki was crowing about how much more material they had and that they would be releasing ANOTHER album in 2004, but it never happened. Eventually, Motley came calling again and Nikki ditched the band, though they soldiered on without him and released Runaway Brides in 2005.

This album shows a lot of promise though, I don’t think there’s any filler here and I’ve often wondered what the follow-up album would’ve sounded like if Nikki had remained fully involved.

“Only Get So Far” was originally written by Nikki with Faith Hill & Tim McGraw in mind, but that didn’t pan out. And if anyone still has complaints about London’s voice, they should check out that song as well.

Highlights: “Shut the F*ck Up”, “I Got A Gun”, “2x Dead”, “Brace Yourself”, “Life”, “Only Get So Far”

www.myspace.com/bridesofdestruction

L.A. GUNS – Waking the Dead

L.A. Guns – Waking the Dead (2002, Spitfire Records)

Track Listing:
1.  “Don’t Look At Me That Way” … 4:00
2 . “Ok, Let’s Roll” … 3:54
3.  “Waking The Dead” … 3:23
4.  “Revolution” … 3:26
5.  “The Ballad” … 5:21
6.  “Frequency” … 4:38
7.  “Psychopathic Eyes” … 3:04
8.  “Hellraisers Ball” … 3:23
9.  “City Of Angels” … 3:39
10.  “Don’t You Cry” … 4:22

Band:
Phil Lewis – Vocals
Tracii Guns – Guitar
Adam Hamilton – Bass
Steve Riley – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Ricky Beck Mahler – Guitar (“The Ballad”, “Call Of The Wild”)

Produced by: Andy Johns

I’ve never been a huge L.A. Guns fan. I mean, they’re okay, nothing against them, but outside of picking up a used copy of Cocked & Loaded in the late 90s, I never gave anything else a try (though I’ve been tempted to get their debut every now and then).

I had heard good things about Waking the Dead though and I believe I bought it a few months after it’s release. What a great hard rock album. It’s not a nostalgic trip, but it still retains that Guns sound while still sounding like a current release. I played this album nonstop for months and still listen to it occasionally. My first extensive listen was on the run from one of the hurricanes that was hitting northwest Florida in 2002.

“OK, Let’s Roll” is easily my favorite song here and it’s based on Flight 93 from 9/11. It’s a great hard rock song with a very emotional story.

Unfortunately, this was Tracii Guns’ last album with the group before doing the Brides of Destruction thing and then eventually going on tour with his own version of L.A. Guns, that runs separately from this group. Shame too, because the lack of Tracii’s input from the next original studio album definitely hurt the quality.

Highlights: “Don’t Look at Me That Way”, “OK, Let’s Roll”, “Waking the Dead”, “Revolution”, “The Ballad”, “Hellraisers Balls”, “City of Angels”, “Don’t You Cry”

www.laguns.net (Phil Lewis’ version, AKA – “the real one”)
www.myspace.com/lagunsofficial

www.lagunslive.com (Tracii Guns’ version)
www.myspace.com/losangelesguns

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