Music Review: L.A. Guns Checkered Past

Rockers L.A. Guns
Spread the love

L.A. GUNS Checkered Past continues the legendary Sunset Strip rockers’ streak of releasing high-quality rock music during the later stage of their long career.

While many artists might coast into retirement on the tails of tours with greatest hits set lists and deluxe editions of their seminal albums, L.A. GUNS carries on in an opposite manner.

Sure – there have been a few live albums to keep the fanbase warm in between the studio albums.

But L.A. GUNS has always been a solid live band – no matter who is in the line-up.

So for that – they get a pass.

Conceived during late 2020 and early 2021 – also known as the COVID-19 era – Checkered Past finds Tracii Guns, Phil Lewis, and the rest of L.A. GUNS (Johnny Martin, Ace Von Johnson, Scot Coogan}, continuing with the moody tone of their previous studio albums – The Devil You Know and The Missing Peace.

Buy CD, vinyl or digital on Amazon. Also on Apple Music.

Yet instead of trying to sound trendy or simply sticking to their classic formula, L.A. GUNS deftly incorporates their classic rock influences into the final results.

Sure – there are the heavy tunes. Some bluesy, boogie rockers. An introspective ballad. Maybe even a groovy tune with pop-music tendencies.

Checkered Past rocks and rolls where it should.

It also makes you feel melancholy where it should

While also easing up on the throttle from time to time.

L.A. GUNS Checkered Past singles:


“Get Along”

“Knock Me Down”

“Let You Down”

Defining L.A. GUNS as “legendary Sunset Strip rockers” may sound a little cliche – but it’s 100% accurate.

Mickey Mantle is described as “Yankee Hall of Famer” – and not as just some baseball player.

Their first album was released over thirty years ago. And like the Energizer Bunny – L.A. GUNS is still going strong.

It would be easy to be a paint-by-the-numbers act going through the motions. Not these guys. That is for sure!

Some Checkered Past reviews:

Checkered Past continues to see (LA Guns)rebellious spirit drive the band to double down on their combination of tightly wound riffs, rhythmic fury, naked emotions, and pushed-to-the-edge vocals, all fired up with melodic precision and tightly crafted songs like ‘Cannonball,’ ‘Dog,’ and ‘Bad Luck Charm.’” –

“Opening with the fire and swagger of ‘Cannonball’ which really captures the intensity of the early albums you’re right there front of stage as L.A. Guns remind you what they do best; and whilst ‘Bad Luck Charm’ immediately adds a contrast – going for a rich Bluesy crawl and ‘Living Right Now’ adds a Punky, Sleazy, fist-pumping rabble-rouser to the mix, it’s ‘Get Along’ the light breezy ballad that really rounds out that opening salvo and shows you the diversity of the new record.” –

Checkered Past Track Listing:

Bad Luck Charm
Living Right Now
Get Along
If It’s Over Now
Better Than You
Knock Me Down
Let You Down
That Ain’t Why
Physical Itch

Cocked and Loaded Live –  A Defining Album Celebration

L.A. GUNS Cocked and Loaded Live bridged the gap between studio albums at a tumultuous time in worldwide history.

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a devastating blow to the entire live music business. Some acts took a long hiatus.

Some recorded new original music.

Some did Zoom-like performances of their well-known songs and covers to keep fanbases engaged.

L.A. GUNS was active as well.

Aside from recording a new studio album, the band announced a special gig at the Fremont Country Club in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The show celebrated the 31st anniversary of Cocked and Loaded.

It’s a fiery performance that’s true to the original versions – but not quite paint-by-numbers.

Buy CD, vinyl or digital on Amazon. Also on Apple Music.

Some songs were never played live or resurrected after being put away.

Cocked and Loaded Live serves more as a souvenir of an appreciated performance during a trying period of life. The band tore through all the classic album tracks that fans know and love.

As Tracii Guns told TotalRock – “We played only (most of the album) Cocked & Loaded’ and ‘Speed’ — one extra song — and the recording is fantastic. And it was a really meager kind of weird gig — it was weird — but the recording is great; it really turned out great. So Frontiers asked if we could put it out,…(it’s) definitely for all the L.A. GUNS fans that wanna hear great versions of those songs live.”

Some Cocked and Loaded Live reviews:

“The band (is) tight, Lewis’s unique voice is still strong, and amid the sleazy hard rock bangers it’s The Ballad Of Jayne that shines brightest – from these badasses, a beautiful song.” – Loudersound

“…it’s not perfect, but it hasn’t been touched up in the studio post-show, which is definitely appreciated. ‘Showdown (Riot On Sunset)’ exemplifies Tracii’s six-string ability in just over three minutes. ‘Wheels Of Fire’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ faithfully wrap up an incredibly enjoyable set.” =

“Tracii Guns rips his way through song after song and blistering solo after solo…there’s nothing wrong with this album at all,…the sound quality is pretty damn good,..” –