LA Guns's Checkered Past finds them still hustling, still swinging, still packed with sleaze

Checkered Past finds veterans LA Guns retaining an edgy sound in their fourth decade of rockin'

LA Guns: Checkered Past cover art
(Image: © Frontiers)

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L.A. Guns need both guitarist Tracii Guns and vocalist Phil Lewis. 

As evidenced here, together they hustle like shady streetwise dealers and deliver music with a dark hue. Like the best albums from this band, Checkered Past is invested in sleaze and rock’n’roll, and sees the aforementioned pair trading off one another’s artistic peccadillos. Cannonball starts everything on the front foot, Get Along slithers and chides, and If It’s Over Now offers menace. 

Better Than You has Rolling Stones swing, while Dog harks back to the glories of their ‘89 album Cocked & Loaded

Yes, there are dips, as on the dirgy Let Me Down or the routine Billy Idol-influenced Bad Luck Charm. But these don’t detract from the overall feeling that the Guns/Lewis alliance, ably backed up by a rhythmic trio, is still one that suits both talents better than any other.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021