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April 06, 1995 - Image 16

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-06

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, April 4, 1995

GLAM SLAM
Continued from page 1
"It was way better, but then we
had that songwriter guy come in and
fuck it up."
That was 1991, the last successful
year of pop metal, when Winger and
Slaughter were still going platinum
and Guns's "Hollywood Vampires"
easily went gold. But pressures from
the record company were destroying
the band and they took a three year
hiatus, in when they all started differ-
ent bands and grunge and pop punk
killed almost every one of their peers.
Oddly enough, it was at this time that
Guns almost crossed over into the "al-
ternative" community and became a
member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
(who know a thing or two about writing
schmaltzy power ballads).
"I tried out for them the last time,
when they lost Johnny (Frucisate),"
Guns admitted. "Flea called me up and
said, 'Hey man, you're not doing any-
thing, why not come and play with us?'
I did and it was great, but it was one of
those typical 'I can't stand singers'
kind of thing. I've known Anthony
(Kiedis) my whole life basically, but

me and his dad used to fight all the
time, believe it or not. Now I get along
real well with his dad but me and
Anthony never hit it off for some
reason."
However, Guns shrugged off his
chance at alterna-success.
"What itjust came down to was that
a metal guitar player in the Chili Pep-
pers is not the best thing. What prob-
ably would have happened is that I
would have done it for four or five
months. I would have gotten a little
itchy and wanted to play some heavy
chords or stuff like that."
When the band reformed they com-
pleted the record and then waited al-
most two more years for it to come out,
as their switch from Polydor to
Polygram (both A&M subsidiaries)
took longer than expected. But even
with a record collecting dust for two
years the band has found surpris-
ingly positive press coverage and a
strong club tour, playing to between
300 and 2100 people. Unfortunately
the lack of radio and MTV support
has created a generation gap in their
audience.
"It's not just us, it's all hard rock
and metal that's not getting airplay,"

Guns claimed. "So that's just going to
make attendance go up at our shows.
They're all old fans. I don't think we
have any new fans ... getting new
fans is tough. The only way to get new
fans is to do bigger tours with big
bands, and that doesn't always work
either."
Without the airplay time of Green
Day or Offspring the band stands little
chance of breaking it big, but Guns
doesn't see much difference between
them and his band.
"I don't consider that stuff punk
because I listened to so much punk
when I was younger," he said. "Punk
generally sucks but has the energy and
lyrical content that's attractive to young
men. They're melodic rock bands, not
so much punk. They just don't happen
to look Poison. Yeah, they remind me
of Poison, they just don't look silly.
They look silly in theirown way. It's all
the same ... Green Day, Offspring and
even Weezer are just 'good rock.' I
don't see it changing the world, I don't
see it breaking ground, I just see great
rock' n'roll."
"We are the youth gone wild,"
Skid Row

Although L.A. Guns incorporates
an impressive amount of influences
(including punk) into their latest
record, the band faces the same prob-
lems as Extreme, Tesla, Warrant and
Skid Row in breaking out of the bar-
riers put before them.
"(People) are too busy walking
down the trendy neighborhood," Guns
lamented. "They go 'Oh God, how
uncool am I with my cool black hair
and my tattoos and black t-shirt on. But
it's still the coolest look, man, black
leather and black hair. Elvis did it for
years, the Ramones did it for years,
Danzig, Type O Negative."
Maybe this is what separates a band
like L.A. Guns from the rest, their lack
of angst. While Live makes anguished
faces and Trent Reznor hurts himself,
L.A. Guns make a specific point to
have fun in their songs and not strive
for "meaning."
"Everybody feels that they have
something to say in this life," he phi-
losophized."AndIjust don't ... (on the
song 'Kill That Girl') We wrote that
song before O.J. killed his wife. And
then all of the sudden that happened
See GLAM SLAM, Page 11

Glam CD apocalypse

By Kirk Miller
Daily Arts writer
Most record companies are hold-
ing out in the secret hope that their
pop metal gold mines of the '80s can
milk a few more dollars out of the
public. The problem comes when they
have to decide if the band should
become "alternative" or stay true to
its large but rapidly shrinking base of
fans.
One thing that Jani Lane and other
MTV bands have acknowledged is
that their decrease in popularity and
rise of alternative has forced them to
write better songs, get away from
formula and ditch stupid lyrics like
"unskinny bop/all night and day." Are
there solid, respectable fun bands lurk-
ing behind the image?
Well, sort of. L.A. Guns does it
best with "Vicious Circle," possibly
because their incorporation of Mott
the Hoople, New York Dolls and
Chuck Berry influences has always
been there, but never as boldly as
now. "Killing Machine" has a great
thrash riff and industrial style drum-
ming, while "Nothing Better to Do" is
three chord rock 'n' roll at its finest.
The only problem is Phil Lewis's
voice, which is fine on ballads like the
rereleased "Crystal Eyes" but can't
handle the harder stuff without sound-
ing weak and strained. The lyrics are
kind of dumb too, but they aren't
trying for more so why criticize? Who
listens to the words of "alternative"
bands, anyway? "I wanna fuck you
like an animal" is pretty shallow and
yet it's on the lips of every boy in
baggy jeans with a nose ring, so why
can't "I wanna kill that girl" be next?
L.A. Guns are a good band with di-
verse range that could eat Candlebox
and Sponge in a second, 'if they all
happened to be stranded on a moun-
METAL
Continued from page 1
metal together, successfully incorpo-
rate a guitar hero into their lineup with-
out letting him take over and even did
the first pop metal industrial album.
Faster Pussycat: One of the few
talented bands to come out of the glam
Sunset Strup scene, 'cat had wonder-
fully bad sexual puns and a musical
diversity that would surprise someone
only familiar with their ballad "House
of Pain." They had indie creed; they
took their name from a Russ Meyer
film name before Mudhoney did.
Law and Order: Not glam but one
of the many blues-based hard rock
bands that failed in the 80s. They did
six minute songs about racism and oc-
casionally sounded folky. Cool.
Life Sex and Death: Even an ap-
pearance on MTV, a thumbs up from
Beavis and Butthead and good expo-
sure on the radio didn't sell this record,
a bizarre cross between Cheap Trick

tain somewhere with no food or help
available and that's highly unlikely,
but hopefully you get my point.
w On the other hand, Warrant might
be on an indie label (CMC) but they
don't mesh quite as well with their
new alternative influences. Note to
Jani Lane: Kurt Cobain would like *
the guitar riff back that you stole from
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" on the title
track "Ultraphobic," Ministry is com-
plaining about the "borrowed" drum
machine and industrial noises you
used on "Ride #2" and King's X is
wondering if you could return their
entire sound, since you seem to have
run off with their whole Beatles-do-
thrash style.
But I'm not going to complain.,
This isn't as obviously "different" as
their third album "Dog Eat Dog" was
(remember the ballad with thejGer-
man opera chorus?) and that helps, as
does the complete move away from
their crappy early days of dirty rotten
filthy stinking rich cherry pies. De-
cent lyrics mixed with King's X-style
prog rock equals an OK record. Ru-
mor has it that several radio stations
jumped on the first single "Family
Picnic" before they found out it was
Warrant, so don't be surprised if this
one succeeds.
Since we're on the subject of bands
combining the sounds of different
bands, I'd be remiss if I didn't men-
tion the new album by Shaw/Blades
entitled "Hallucination." You know,
Tommy Shaw (Styx) and Jack Blades
(Night Ranger), both also former
members of Damn Yankees with Ted
Nugent. It's Mr. Roboto meets Sister
Christian! The fury of Night Ranger
with the style of Styx ... no, that's
definitely not right. How about "an
acoustic version of crappy Beatlesque
See GLAM CDS, Page 6
and a vocalist notfar removed from
Jimmy Stewart.
Bakers Pink: Formerly known as
the Doors rip-off The Front, they ,
changed names and acquired a more
diverse rock sound. The second they
became original they sold nothing.
The Throbs: Good bluesy hard rock
that proved a band could succeed even
with a vocalist named Sweetheart. Also
notable because my mom overheard it
and said "Hey this is pretty good" and
my mom thinks ABBA rocks.
I Love You: Embarrasing to ask for
at a record store, but these guys were
trippy alterna-hard rock before it was a
genre. Sort of like pot-smoking
Aerosmith, they had the memorable:.
"Fear of a Weed Nation" t-shirts.
Where there others? Sure: try Mind
Bomb, Lock Up, Love/Hate, Circus of
Power, Hanoi Rocks, Crimson Glory,
and WarBabies. Mostof them are gone
by now, some are hanging on tiny indie
labels, others are big in Japan. b.4
I'm sure they'd love to hear from
you.

Extreme: Full of cheese, or Is that a natural biological product to be found In a large percentage of humans at any given time?

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