Friday, October 21, 2016

Rocktober Deep Cut Artist #15: L.A. Guns

For the criteria for bands and artists to be considered "deep cut artists," click here.

Band or artist:  L.A. Guns
Where from:  USA (Los Angeles)
Years active:  1983–present
Number of studio albums:  14
Highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100:  "The Ballad of Jayne" (#33)
Highest-charting studio album on the Billboard 200:  Cocked & Loaded (#38)

L.A. Guns is one of the quintessential Sunset Strip glam metal bands from the '80s.  Their story is an interesting one.  Guitarist Tracii Guns formed L.A. Guns in 1983, along with several other musicians.  The lead singer was soon replaced by a guy named Axl Rose, who then left to form his own band called Hollywood Rose.  When Hollywood Rose broke up in 1984, Rose reunited with L.A. Guns, but then Hollywood Rose reunited.  Rather than have two bands, they combined to form Guns N' Roses.  Get it?

Guns and Rose then had a falling out, and Guns left Guns N' Roses, to be replaced by a guy named Saul Hudson.  Guns then reformed L.A. Guns, with lead singer Paul Black, bassist Mick Cripps (great name, by the way), and drummer Nickey Alexander.  Before recording their first album, Black was replaced by lead singer Phil Lewis, and Kelly Nickels was brought in as the bassist, while Cripps moved to rhythm guitar.

The band had its greatest successes on the charts with their first three albums, 1988's L.A. Guns, 1989's Cocked & Loaded, and 1991's Hollywood Vampires, which reached #50, #38, and #42 on the Billboard album charts, respectively.  They even had a Top 40 hit on the Billboard charts, "The Ballad of Jayne," off of Cocked & Loaded, which rose to #33 in 1990.  Their only other song to chart on the Hot 100 was the prescient "It's Over Now," which hit #62 in 1992, as the Hair Band Era was ending, making way for grunge.  L.A. Guns has continued to make music, in various incarnations, over the years since then, most recently releasing Hollywood Forever in 2012.

Like the Sunset Strip band London –- which is famous for the band members who left it to achieve fame with other bands (including Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P., Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe, Izzy Stradlin of Guns N' Roses, and Fred Coury of Cinderella) –- throughout its existence, L.A. Guns has had various band members who have either previously played with other bands or left L.A. Guns to play with other bands, including Axl Rose, there was Cripps (formerly of Faster Pussycat), Nickels (formerly of Faster Pussycat), Steve Riley (formerly of W.A.S.P.), Lewis (formerly of British glam band Girl), Alexander (who later played with The Cramps, The Weirdos, and The Germs), Ralph Saenz (who later sang with Steel Panther), Brent Muscat (formerly of Faster Pussycat), Keff Ratcliffe (formerly of Pretty Boy Floyd), Chris Holmes (formerly of W.A.S.P.), .  Even more confusing is that there were dueling versions of L.A. Guns that were touring in the 2000s, one fronted by Lewis and the other with Guns.

I've always thought L.A. Guns was kind of underrated.  I have their first two albums, and they are both pretty good rock and roll albums –- less glammy than some of their Sunset Strip counterparts.  The song I'm going with is "Never Enough" off of Cocked & Loaded.  It's a nice, catchy hard rock song.  This song should have been a hit.

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