Front man Phil Lewis was not a member of the 1983/84 line-up of the band when they first assembled the group and began their domination of the 80’sera Sunset Strip music scene. The band rotated members in and out at the time, blending parts with the group Hollywood Rose and eventually spawning two cornerstones in the MTV Headbanger’s Ball generation – LA Guns and Guns n’ Roses. The result remains legendary in the influence of literally hundreds, if not thousands of bands that followed. By the time 1985 came around, however, the band had secured Lewis on vocals and his songwriting prowess and live performance history would meld with that of former band guitarist and founding member Tracii Guns to create a sound that would land the band a place in the rock and roll history books forever.
The current line-up of LA Guns includes singer Phil Lewis (Girl, Torme), guitarist Michael Grant (Endeverafter, Assassins), drummer Steve Riley (WASP, Steppenwolf) who has performed with the band as far back as 1987 and on bass guitar, Scotty Griffin (Hookers and Blow, The King Mixers.) The level of authority that each member provides from a history in recording and performing on the hard rock circuit played a key role in turning a night at the Whisky in to a show that concertgoers will talk about for some time to come.
When the curtain dropped and the lights came up, the band opened their set with four fan favorites. The opening song was Show No Mercy, a hard rocker that launched the band in to stardom as the first track of the self-titled debut by the band in 1988, eventually reaching gold status after the release of their follow up album titled Cocked & Loaded. Next came the 2nd track from the same album, Sex Action then two songs from the sophomore release – Never Enough and I Wanna Be Your Man. Throughout the night, LA Guns ran the gamut of singles from their catalog, touching on the strongest songs fans have responded to throughout their history. From the back of the room to the stage, attendees raised their horns and sang along, one fan even getting personal with the band was able to remove a cuff style bracelet from her arm and put it on Lewis’ wrist with gratitude, which he responded to with thanks from the stage, wearing it for the rest of the show.
The band is now on tour, independently, and has scheduled performances across the US that will showcase a series of talents that also come from the same era of the band’s years in scoring radio airplay. Throughout August and September, LA Guns will share stages with artists including Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, Winger, The (London) Quireboys, Enuff Z’Nuff, Great White, Sebastian Bach (Skid Row,) Warrant, Queensryche and Trixter. A good look at the summer of 2014 begs one to ask – “What the hell year is this, where hard rock is the biggest thing taking the concert scene by storm?” Fans, it seems, are just grateful for the return of music that feeds their hungry hard rock hearts.