Friday, June 29, 2007

L.A. Guns - The Hollywood Years Live & Loaded dvd review

L.A. Guns
Deadline Musice

L.A. Guns have a new live dvd retrospective out (not to be confused with the live dvd they are selling on that takes you back to the days when the band was hungry and big hair, stilletto heals, and fishnet stockings were a staple of the late 80's music scene. The version of the band at the time consisted of the most popular version of L.A. Guns that the majority of music fans have come to known as the identifiable L.A. Guns - Phil Lewis singing, Tracii Guns and Mick Cripps slinging the guitars, Kelly Nickels on bass, and Steve Riley pounding the skins.

THE HOLLYWOOD YEARS consists of a full length show consisting of 10 songs that was shot in Philadelphia, PA while the band was out on the road supporting their debut release. Additional bonus footage includes 2 bonus live songs - "The Ballad of Jayne" and "Never Enough" and brand new interviews with all 5 band members who took the band to the upper ranks of the late 80's music scene.

The full length show from Philadelphia features every song from their self titled debut release and captures a moment in time when it appeared the band was on the cusp of breaking out big time. The band is playing before an arena audience on a big stage and they hit the stage running from beginning to end. It appeared that L.A. Guns were to follow in the footsteps of other L.A. bands and soon they would be headlining arenas across the world. However, with the arrival of grunge music, the carpet was pulled out from under the 80's rock bands and the band would see the big arena stage only one more time opening up for AC/DC in support of their third release HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES - they also had an opening slot for AC/DC to promote their self titled release. With that in mind, this live show is a great document from a great period of music when arena rock was king. Now you can relive that experience one more time and get a glimpse of when L.A. Guns were rookies and how they worked the big arena stages. I do have a complaint with the show and that complaint is that the quality of the show is a little under par. It looks like the recording is a high generation copy of the original recording. The reason why I say that is that I have this exact same show on video and my copy is really crisp, the colors are bright, and it's a perfect video. This one is dark and dull and may disappoint some people out there.

Quality is also an issue with the 2 bonus tracks - they appear to be dark and dull. "The Ballad of Jayne" is taken from a live show from the HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES tour and "Never Enough" is from a live show recorded during the brief reunion of this version of the band 8 years ago.

The big highlight of the dvd is the interview footage titled "The L.A. Guns Story". It features brand new interviews with each band member and some rare behind the scenes footage is shown between interview segments. What's great is that Mick takes a break from managing a retirement home and Kelly steps away from his computer to participate in the interviews. Both mantain a very low profile today. It's great to see them share their stories and reminisce about their days in the band. All of the interviews are honest and reveal alot of the innerworkings of the band. A few topics covered are how Kelly ended up doing the vocals on "Nothing Better to Do", how there was no money in the early days, Tracii and Mick's brotherhood relationship, and "The Ballad of Jayne" is about no one particular person and how Tracii never liked that song but got outvoted for it to appear on COCKED AND LOADED. Those are just a few of the stories to wet your appetite.

All in all, this is a good disc because it captures a fun moment in time that we might never see again for a band like L.A. Guns. The interviews are good and you get a good sense of what was going on in the minds of the band when they were climbing the rock and roll food chain. For those that like perfection in your live shows, you might want to avoid this. Die hard L.A. Guns fans will love it. However, it should be noted that the same Philadelphia show was available from L.A. Guns a number of years ago off of their website. In either case, the interview footage on the dvd is priceless and is a good enough reason for any fan to pick it up.

For more information on the current versions of L.A. Guns check out (Phil and Steve) and (Tracii's band)

For more information on Deadline Records and to see their latest releases check out

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Cleveland Rock and Roll Memories

There's a great book out now called Cleveland Rock and Roll Memories by Carlo Wolff. If you're from the North East Ohio area and grew up in the 60's, 70's, and 80's, this book is something you need to check out. It covers the local Cleveland music scene and focuses on the venues, bands, fans, media personalities, record stores, etc. from each decade. It's a blast from the past and features alot of photos and stories (told by the people who were part of the scene during their respective eras) from each era that will take you down memory lane - tons of photos of places and/or things that are nothing more than a distant memory. Well worth your hard earned cash. 10 out of 10 stars.

Published by Gray & Company Publishers

Check out Gray & Co's website below for more info.