By Mike Ritchie
Of the many, countless 80’s era bands, LA Guns were one of the few big names that not only carried the city’s initials but had several big hits, toured the planet and even when grunge came to change the world, kept the sunset strip flame burning from the late nineties to present day.
With songs Electric Gypsy, Never Enough, Kiss My Love Goodbye, Rip & Tear and the monster Ballad of Jayne they played a blues laden, bullet spread, booze, babes and biker blazoned path to rock n roll infamy. Even today, though a bit older and wiser, putting out new material with Hollywood Forever they played the Whisky Friday July 25th like seasoned pros, turning back father time’s hand proving, there’s no place like home.
Before Fear Factory pops in your head Shock , a talented cover band and original tune maker from Pomona California, compared to Rush, Blink-182 and Wolfmother they’ve won fans from Florida to Tokyo, where the band was formed. The young trio could also be future top porn stars, but would probably have to drive to Vegas now, but their single bears it all and well with a tongue in cheek video accompanying its mix of punk, 80’s metal and pop prowess. The Rock Can’t Stop nor can the post-hardcore punk pop sound it’s powered by.
They could play all night but instead play tribute to LA Guns Michael Grant’s former band EndeverafteR.
LA young upstarts Signal City have garnered press playing numerous shows, completed 35 songs, playing their first single Fortune. They’re a punky, poppy energetic group in its infancy but are poised and driven by strong desire and a love of songwriting and performing.
Calgary, Alberta native Eddie Black’s trail to the Hollywood stage is unique. After winning a 2009 Star Search competition and opening for Collective Soul on Canada Day the band headlined Super Nova’s Summer Warfare Tour. A meeting with Steve Vai sent him to Nashville opening for Patricia Conroy and Michele Wright among others. He’s been featured on Calgary’s Feel Good Radio Station Up 97.7 with new songs and a video following.
Eddie Black throws It All Away on the first tune bringing a different indie rock style to the stage. Lonely Night started with some guitar soloing progressing with some background acid-rock-like effects tripping on Bob Dylan and other legendary six string on the back gunslingers, in the shadows. Can’t You See had some guitar slide interplay ending with some “wah wah”, Congo drums and background harmony giving off an almost Beach Boys vibe. Every Step I Take surprises, opening up with heavy guitar and wavy vocals, perfect for a midnight entranced mad-dance at the beach party.
One More Day felt like an early Nirvana demo that never surfaced with Black’s voice giving subtle hints of Kurt’s haunting tension without the grief and angst. Broken Hearts finished with an electric guitar dance and “Dylanesque” vocals.
Dixon California, 2013 Kings of the San Francisco Battle of the Bands, Force of Habit (possibly named after the Exodus album but not confirmed) came on stage to wreak havoc playing a punk/hardcore/metal sound with shades of Exodus, Anthrax and SOD. Influenced by a wide range of bands from Maiden to Godsmack and Papa Roach to Skynyrd, their sound and songs are quite Nuclear. The sorrow filled emptiness on the opening cords of Give Up and Die rocked into its mean spirited but heavy sentiment.
Broken’s opening notes carried an almost haunting country/honky-tonk feel mixing the bizarre by product of a drunken night with a bunch of hardcore misfits and rockabilly horror punk band. The mosh pit friendly teachings of Fall to Your Knees hit hard in the face with its breakneck speed. Kobe Waste’s fingers were all over the fret-neck on Trial by Blood.
Next up Scarlet Vice from right here in Southern Cali, formed in 2011 and they’ve already burned up the local scene playing up and down the coast with more venues to come. They’re young, hungry and starving for the success that they’re willing to earn.
Influenced heavily by Malcolm Young, Izzy Stradlin, GNR, Motley Crue, Slash, Velvet Revolver and recently Skynyrd and fueled by their own musical desires, they bring their boot licking rock, shiny bottled liquid poisoned blues to the stage along with all the trappings and excess you’d expect from a band trying to make their mark. They may enjoy indulging from time to time but feel no pressure in living up to stories of the past and are focused on building their own legacy.
You’re the One has that nasty, dirty rock sound that’s got a few road stories behind it. Having that roadhouse, raunchy sound made famous by Faster Pussycat and LA Guns they’re a mixture of 80’s-modern day rock/blues with a few nice touches of sleaze. The long term relationship challenged Backdoor Lover wastes no time with its “wham bam” intentions. They’ll be your Boogey Man, from the voodoo haze of New Orleans to the booze stained strip of Hollywood. The Whisky is just the beginning as they plan on blazing a trail through all of LA and outward hopefully playing with Dead Sara, other locals and someday Slash and the Devil City Angels among others. An EP is coming soon at www.scarletvice.com
Formed in 2005 Permacrush continue to play the strip and lay their own style along the sacred history paved sidewalks, four albums into their own. They’ve opened Whisky shows for Faster Pussycat, Don Dokken and Stephen Pearcy. Love 2 Hate U was a bluesy janglin’ jammer with some punk fused riffs while Punchdrunk took the slow echoing melody chords of 80’s heavy ballad territory delivering vocals of Scott Weiland and Scott Stapp from Chris Crush. Is morphing glam and grunge musical heresy… historically speaking? Or could it be a unique twist/take on genre styles? Permacrush ends with Break U Down, a hard rocking blues number with some grungy sounds mixed in with the sometimes mocked ‘yarling’ vocal. They could be the band that successfully unites two historical strongly opposed rivals (or at least one accused of ending the other) into one big happy, hair sprayed, spandex flannelled mutated family.
The Hard Way started as the brainchild of Eric Jeffreys , former singer of Boston’s Expose. The short version: Alcatrazz bassist Tim Luce laid done some groove and vocals on a track Jeffrey’s was working on with Joe “Drock’ Johnson. Luce’s studio/tour experience played a massive role in The Hard Way’s development. Adding the skill and knowledge of Ampora’s John Huldt added a whole new level. Only a man that’s toured with Lita Ford, Vinnie Vincent Invasion and Slaughter could keep time, the hard way, enter Bobby Rock. They’ve performed with a who’s who of the Sunset scene including Lynch Mob, Faster Pussycat, Enuff Znuff, Bullet Boys and Tuff among many others.
They started with A Long Way to Heaven, a hard blues driver with whipping guitars. Watching Jeffrey’s on stage was a bit like a collage of Meatloaf and a masculine version of Janis Joplin with a raspy, whisky strong leathered voice, who’s lived through ‘a few’ wild nights and unpublished backstage book excerpts.
How the fuck ya doing Hollywood? Jeffrey’s welcomed one and all to his decadent birthday bash at Sleazefest. Only in Hollywood on Sunset could they do it right. Two lovely ladies joined the performance as the next tune was dedicated to all the girls because everyone knows a Diabolical Bitch. Those scantily clad nasty necessities will sooth and seduce before they screw… you over.
It ain’t easy being sleazy (a saying that if not born on the strip, should’ve been). The next song Jeffrey’s dedicated to the sleaziest, sluttiest, dirtiest, fuckin, crack addicted whore that he’s ever known. If you have the money this girl will reenact 2 girls 1 cup, by herself. She’ll blow goats, any f’n nasty ass disgusting thing you want… if you have the money. Of course he was talking about… our ‘beloved’…. United States Congress. The dirty f’n whores. Ironically the mic briefly went out before he could announce the title. The electric eye must’ve been watching as they started I Can See You Lying. A thunderous drum solo by Mr. Rock segued into That Ain’t Love. Coco and Stephanie rejoined side stage for one more song, and then Jeffrey’s promised we’d drink until we all roll under the table and vomit ourselves into oblivion. “You with me?” Dedicated to Tracii Guns, this one was called Cave Woman. A new CD is coming.
The Guns start old school going back to the beginning showing absolutely No Mercy to the crowd. For all the drinkers, smokers and fornicators, time to talk about love and Sex Action. We’re cocked, loaded and ready but it’s Never Enough. Baby, I Wanna Be Your Man, he’s a good catch.
Our first taste of immortal Hollywood Forever, don’t love them, they seem to attract the wrong attention. They enticed with a Hollywood Vampires offering of love. Reach out and kiss it goodbye. They started a Revolution with guns in the air, bringing the dead along, as the mic collected souvenir bras and underwear. After band member introductions we got a slice of our favorite pie that’s tasty, seductive and could be considered disgusting (based on condition). No the other one, with the slinky stain that’s ‘eelectrificing.’ Backtrack to the 80’s headbangers heyday with One More Reason.
We got covered in Sabbath and some fairies played LA style. The roar and rumble of the Electric Gypsy calls from the open road as does the echoes of poor sweet Jayne. The opening riff of Rip and Tear signals the end of the show with sleazy, sweat fueled bravado.
The encore brought us the nocturnal Hollywood retrospective Vampire. All the cool shit happened when the sun went down. They end with the pure Gypsies Soul. They’ve kept plenty in the chamber after 10 records, 30 years of touring and an uncountable amount of unspoken and… unspeakable stories never to be shared.
Scarlet Vice, Hard Way and LA Guns photos by Mike Ritchie all others courtesy of Facebook.
Read more from the pit articles and reviews by Mike Ritchie on his web site www.coveringthescene.com