L.A. Guns’s New Album “Checkered Past” Review by Tanis Enos


Editor’s note: Metal Odyssey proudly introduces Tanis Enos to our staff. She embodies the talents of being a writer, photographer, concert aficionado and interviewer. Enjoy her review below! Welcome aboard, Tanis!

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Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis have joined forces once again to give fans another electric album. They teamed up yet again with the Vampiric Shredder, Ace Von Johnson, and “Stud” Johnny Martin. Checkered Past was released on November 12th, 2021. Before the release, the band gave fans a taste of the new album releasing not only 3 singles (Cannonball, Knock Me Down & Get Along) but also 2 new music videos for Cannonball and Get Along.

Checkered Past has a beautiful mix of both the fast pasted Sleazy sound that fans have come to love and slowed-down emotion invoking melodies and lyrics. The day of the release, If It’s Over Now was part of Apple Music’s Best New Songs list. This song alone leaves fans wondering “Who hurt the writers”. The slower-paced guitar paired with the low vocals and emotional lyrics makes for a truly theatrical experience that gives fans the ability to picture their own story. The same can be said about Let You Down. The feeling of this track can be compared to “a heartache in the rain” scene in a movie. Even though it can’t be seen the feeling of sadness can be heard.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, LA Guns have turned out another group of hard rock in-your-face songs that will make you want to grab your leather pants and even your pirate hats. Cannonball is an explosive way to start the album with heavy drums and fast riffs. Living Right Now is special because of its punk-sounding undertone during the verses and Blues Rock sound for the rest. If you didn’t know Phil was British you did after listening to bits of that song.

Though the band has gotten older, Phil’s voice hasn’t changed a bit. Just listen to That Ain’t Why and try to say that it doesn’t sound as clear and clean as listening to Electric Gypsy on their debut album. Tracii Guns will never not have flair, showing off his Jimmy Page like abilities on lead guitar. Now take the talent and grit of Tracii and add the style and skill of Ace Von Johnson and you have the dynamic duo that every band needs.

What is that old saying? “A band is only as good as its bass player”? Well, good thing they have Johnny Martin slapping the bass on this album. You can really hear him shine in songs like Living Right Now and Get Along and he adds the deep groove with the drums in Dog.

The diversity of songs in this album alone is incredible and truly makes it hard to skip any song. Checkered Past will continue the musical high that was given to fans by the release of their 2019 album The Devil You Know. Fans are already crazy about the album, making it the number one best-selling Blues Rock album on Amazon the day it was released. – Tanis Enos

Vocals: Phil Lewis

Lead Guitar: Tracii Guns

Rhythm Guitar: Ace Von Johnson 

Bass: Johnny Martin

Drums: Adam Hamilton / Scot Coogan

Track List: 1. Cannonball, 2. Bad Luck Charm, 3. Living Right Now, 4. Get Along, 5. If It’s Over, 6. Better Than You, 7. Knock Me Down, 8. Dog, 9. Let You Down, 10. That Ain’t Why, 11.Physical Itch

LONG LIVE L.A. GUNS

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