While most bands of their ilk are resting on their laurels FM hit the road running with the release of Thirteen, coming hot on the heels of their double Tough It Out Live set from 2021. This album has no right in being as good as it is. Considering they are now only a few years away from hitting 40 years as a band. And the current line-up has been in place since 2008! With this album being produced by the band themselves, they having never sounded better or more on fire than they do over the 11 slabs of melodic rock gold.

Wasting no time, the album kicks into gear with a none more politically apt ‘Shaking The Tree’. When people mentioned singer Steve Overland’s voice it is normally in awe and this song proves that he can sing anything, no matter what the subject and make you want to fight, love and smile all at the same time. Single ‘Waiting for Love’ is more like what we have become accustomed too from the band, but even that sounds fresh and vibrant, especially in today’s musical climate. The flame is still burning for the page 7 stunner that is Steve Overland and I honestly do not think he has ever sounded this good.

As the band themselves continue to lay down some of the most awe-inspiring grooves, from Merv Goldsworthy’s tantalising bass lines, to Pete Jupp’s backbone drumming and Jim Kirkpatrick’s sizzling solos and last but least Jem Davis glorious keys of parp, the band can do no wrong.

Just like the big hitters of the AOR scene any of these songs could be singles as they are all, that good.
Clearly the band are enjoying and relishing their moment in the sun again. And so they should, as this album is up there with their best.

Buy Here

Author: Dave Prince

Written and recorded while the world was still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, this new studio album sees the band just keep rolling and making music for the 21st Century as they did on “The Devil You Know” and “The Missing Peace” even if this has some softer lighter edges in the shape of the whistful ‘Get Along’.

Sure their classic rock influences are still in the mix. The heavier songs are present and correct but thats the beauty of an L.A. Guns album you kinda know what you’re going to get but there are subtle surprises within that keep the listener on their toes.

When fans absorb the album as a whole, they’ll see that the tracklisting is divided up into ‘sets’ or ‘suites’, where a sonic style is explored across multiple songs before moving on to the next, making for a longer-lasting listening experience that has certainly kept fans coming back for more (as well as the obvious talents within the line up).

I’ve always been a big fan of Lewis from when he was fronting Girl through Torme and as a solo artist he’s lost none of his talents over the years.

The album kicks off in style with the dirty rock of ‘Canonball’ that harks back to the real spirit of the band and when they first came to the fore. The attack of the two guitars and Lewis’ voice is excellent. then to follow it up with the groove-based boogie of ‘Bad Luck Charm’ then ‘Living Right Now’ that has attitude as well as grooving on a ‘Born To BE Wild’ opening riff its three songs in the intro and three styles that blend really well before the acoustic change of pace that is ‘Get Along’.

Going back to the ‘Sets’ where the album is divided into this laid-back, reflective acoustic section has the excellent ‘If It’s Over Now’ that has a great classic melody going on and Lewis vocals soar before gently getting back into the verse where its more softly spoken. The solo you know is coming and I got the impression of a Randy Rhodes style Ozzy feel and it hits the spot.

There is a solid more gang-like feel to this album and one the band seems altogether more comfortable with. There isn’t any need to just pummel the listener (even though they do at times) they seem more comfortable experimenting and taking different paths with the arrangments and that always makes for a better listen.

Halfway through the album, there’s plenty of grunt on ‘Better Than You’ before the boys get the feet up on the monitors for a DC like stomper in the shape of ‘Knock Me Down’. ‘Dog’ sees Tracii lead the way with a ballsy rocker.

As we head into the home straight the band shift through the gears with the slow-building ‘Let You Down’ that might just be the highlight of the whole album reminding me of the band’s darker classic ‘Hollywood Vampire’. Closing off proceedings with the sludgy, big, let’s get the fuck outta dodge grinding rhythm of ‘Physical Itch’ that closes off another long-player from a band that should rightfully get the respect of its peers for being not survivors but pioneers – a band who kept fighting against the odds and doing it on their own terms and a band that is maturing like a fine wine. Not going through the motions but a band that is going through the emotions – lifting you up and putting you down and if you turn up the speakers they’ll still throw you about. Long may this incarnation of L.A. Guns continue because they have the chops and are still very much capable of cutting the mustard and making really really good albums.

Buy ‘Checkered Past’ Here


My listening with Jetboy goes back to the time of their debut ‘Feel the Shake’ back in 1988, one of my Forgotten Classic Albums. Sadly, this album was ready to be released on Elektra Records first who then changed their mind, and the band eventually ended up with MCA Records releasing a slightly adjusted version of the album. Their follow up ‘Damned Nation’ was also a winner in my book. After that, there were plenty of releases with older material and demos but no new music until about 2010 when they snuck out an EP. ‘Born to Fly’ represents their real third album. Coming 29 years after ‘Damned Nation’ which just makes me feel old. I am happy to say that the wait has been worth it with the band crafting another overall winner for me.

When the first two songs for this album, I must admit I was concerned as the title track did not initially grab me, and album opener ‘Beating the Odds’ has still not really fully grabbed me. The album starts with ‘Beating the Odds’ appearing almost at full speed when the needle drops as if someone forgot to hit the “record” button when the band started playing. I like the heavy guitar riff, but the song just feels a little too one dimensional. I will give this one some time though because the title track which follows also felt a little disappointing when I first heard it. After a few listens though, something just clicked and this one just completely gelled in my soul from the lyrics to the great guitar work by Billy Rowe and Fernie Rod. Mickey Finn stood out back in the ’80s with his huge mohawk setting him apart from everyone else in this genre back in the day visually, but vocally his voice drips with sincerity, attitude, the blues, and heart. He has tremendous ability to go where the song needs him to go. The title track’s chorus is a little understated which is what I believe initially disappointed me, but it serves the song so much better in the end by being less immediate. The part that follows the second chorus showcases a simple hook and then Finn hits the stratosphere on a note before the guitar solo that is pure magic.

‘Old Dog New Tricks’ takes a cool blues riff and beat with some harmonica added to create a powerful straight-ahead rocker where the band explores some slightly different textures between the verses and the choruses that make it pop. The rhythm team of Eric Stacy (bass, formerly Faster Pussycat) and Al Serrato (drums) are vital for Jetboy as they truly lay down an excellent foundation for the songs. Changing gears with the full-blown acoustic based rocker ‘The Way That You Move Me,’ the band bring in some female backing vocals to showcase a new dimension to their sound with a song that should be getting played on every stereo this summer. New single/ video ‘Brokenhearted Daydream’ provides a great hook whose only fault is there is a brief line in there that sounds just like a line in the title track. This is pure rock n roll with more outstanding guitar work with riffs inspired by the legends such as Chuck Berry. Closing out the first half of the album is the bluesy ‘Inspiration from Desperation.’ The groove is fantastic, and the chorus becomes quite hypnotic.

The band provide a slightly lighter touch with ‘All Over Again’ and contrast it with a rougher chorus to really nice effect. Lyrically, Jetboy always set themselves apart from their peers with some really thoughtful moments combined with lyrics about cars, music, girls, the blues which avoided the clichés of the time. Rowe and Rod provide awesome guitar licks and riffs through the fun ‘She’ where we can all feel a little guilty about our dreams of being a rock star as we sing along to the music. The sample referencing Instagram is perfectly placed, and the song should feature plenty of crowd participation live. Follow up ‘A Little Bit Easy’ might as well be permanently stamped into the live sets now as that deft guitar riff lays on top of a great beat with Finn delivering a perfect performance. The guitar solo inspires some air guitar moves.

Melodic midtempo ‘Every Time I Go’ shows yet another side of the band with plenty of space in the mix for the vocals to shine and the simple hook leaves a huge mark in the soul. This is another highlight for me. Some bluesy guitar lines introduce ‘Smoky Ebony’ with Finn sounding as excellent as he ever has in his career. This one also includes some nicely placed female backing vocals and really allows Rowe and Rod to shine as the intensity builds throughout the song. Ironically, this might have been the curveball I would have used to open the album. Closer ‘Party Time’ takes a timeless riff with similar pacing to the title track to remind us that life is entirely too short for all the little crap that we let stress us and affect us. It ends the album on an awesome high note and makes it very easy to reach over and play the whole thing over again.

Jetboy showcase that great music is simply great music regardless of when it is made. While I might struggle right now to fully get the opener of the album, this album is packed with great songs that deserves a wide audience. Similar to their first two, that audience might not find this album, but these songs should each get plenty of space in the band’s live sets as these songs are as great as those on the early albums. I am thankful the band recognized that we did not want to live on nostalgia. We want to see them continue to develop and give us new songs to learn. You were ‘Born to Fly,’ and you were born to give this album a listen.

‘Born to Fly’ is available Here




Author: Gerald Stansbury