Its fair to say that the LA Guns have struck a rich seam of form and are knocking out cock rock Diamonds left right and centre from ‘Checkered Past’ through ‘The Devil You Know’ and the last offering ‘The Missing Peace’. The main players of Guns and Lewis seemingly on the same page and the music is all the better for that. However having the likes of Johnny Martin in the engine room laying down the rhythm is a big part of this sound.

With Production handled by Tracii Guns, ‘Black Diamonds’ is indeed a tour-de-force of rock ‘n roll and right from the off the groove heavy ‘You Betray’ offers up a swagger and cool lick courtecy of Guns dirty guitar but its Lewis who steals the show with a huge display of vocal talent soaring over the last three albums with a spine tingling performance.

Written and recorded over the course of 2022, ‘Black Diamonds’ offers eleven songs of LA Guns gold. Sure there are loads of impressive licks that fall from Guns fretboard but he can’t carry a whole album with riffs he needs the engine room being stoked by a rhythm section of exceptional quality who have the groove none better displayed than on ‘Wrong About You’.

You also have a band that can slow it down and display a softer, gentler, and warmer like they do perfectly on ‘Diamonds’. A song that ebbs and flows like all good power balads should, the band have done throughout their career to be fair.

If you’re in the mood for some 70s-inspired Rock then look no further than ‘Babylon’ dipping its toe in the Bowie-inspired hard rock but its got that sleazy swagger that is pure LA Guns and the world is a better place for it. ‘Shame’ is a laid-back honkin’ song Aerosmith used to do so why wouldn’t the Guns fill that void? Some nice harmonica and again Lewis works those pipes out to great effect.

I remember when the band hit the ground running back in the late 80s offering something different and not afraid to mix their hard rock roots with their punk rock roots and the no-brainer of 70s Glam dropping their glittery bombs all over their catalogue. This record has elements of all of the above running throughout it, ‘Shattered Glass’ is a cool example of a very good song not relying on style over substance, the chorus has a good gang vocal punching in unison with Lewis’ lead vocal and then a dirty solo to tidy things up, on what is a great song that gets better the more you play it (the louder it gets also helps).

‘Gonna Lose’ heads back to the porch for some acoustic navel-gazing but the song doesn’t hang around wallowing because they turn it up a notch for a dirty verse before settling back down a really good song that showcases exactly what the band does best big dirty riffs and tender moments where the two main players showcase their unique talents that work so well together.

The album isn’t front-loaded with the best songs if anything the latter half is where the gold is or should that be the diamonds? ‘Got It Wrong’ is exceptional, a cool groove with a banging tempo and Lewis on top form drawing you in to hear exactly what he’s got to say. Punky, raw yet uptempo and absolutely rockin.

The band’s creative energy is on disp[lay for the world to see and the quality has been continuing unabated over the course of, now, four studio albums.

“Black Diamonds” shows no signs of L.A. Guns hanging up their guitars and on this form they should never contemplate it either. Still kickin’ it unlike so many of their peers this band is up for the fight and they’re coming out swinging. Songs like ‘Lowlife’ will testify that and if you’ve had enough throwing yourself around then sit back and pour yourself a large glass and get into the cool swaggering ‘Crying’ as the band gets its collective hips shaking on one that Bolan would have been proud to have penned.

It only leaves ‘Like A Drug’ to finish this album off in style L.A. Guns style. when you know what you do best and write songs to suite yourself in that style then you are on to a winner and this album might just top the last few over time. Join the gang and get involved. L.A Guns are in da house and they’re kickin ass big time. Buy It!

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There was always more to Chicago legends Enuff Z’Nuff than day-glo clothes, peace signs and drug problems. To a select few back in the day, singer Donnie Vie and bassist Chip Z’nuff were our generation’s Lennon & McCartney. And while they peaked commercially with their self-titled debut album, 1991’s follow-up ‘Strength’ was their masterpiece. Then along came Grunge and knocked them straight outta the ball park like many others. The following album ‘Animals With Human Intelligence’ sank without a trace, as did their career.

But unlike many of their contemporaries, the band battled through the subsequent line-up changes, legal issues and drug & alcohol addiction. Original guitarist Derek Frigo died of an overdose, long time drummer Ricky Parent succumbed to cancer. They changed labels more times than they changed drummers and guitar players, yet through all the tragedies, the one constant was that Chip & Donnie released quality music year after year. Even Donnie’s departure couldn’t stop the band. Now 15 albums into their career Enuff Z’nuff are back with a new album entitled ‘Brainwashed Generation’, the second to feature Chip as lead singer.


To be honest, I had little interest in hearing EZN’s last album ‘Golden Boy’. For me, EZN without Donnie is like Queen without Freddie, its peaches without the cream; it’s like a broken pencil…pointless! While their voices work well in harmony together, can Chip really compete with those golden Vie pipes, and does he even have the songwriting chops on his own? Well, I’m glad to report that ‘Brainwashed Generation’ goes a long way to prove me wrong.

Joining Chip on this latest excursion is long time guitarist Tory Stoffregen, drummer Daniel Hill and ex Life Sex & Death/AntiProduct legend Alex Kane (back in the band for the first time since 1987). Rick Nielsen’s son Daxx contributes drums for more than half of the album, along with Mike Portnoy and even estranged main man Donnie puts in a guest appearance.

With the basic tracks recorded back in November 2019, mixed and finished off by Chip at home during lockdown you could call ‘Brainwashed Generation one of the first ‘post lockdown’ releases?


Opener ‘Fatal Distraction’ sets the scene with hazy, lazy vocals and great power pop hooks to die for. Chip’s penchant for Cheap Trick is never far from his songbook, and the combination of loud, brash guitar work and a very hummable chorus takes this opener into classic EZN territory.

Ok, Chip you have my attention but any band can put their best tune as an opener, put your money where your mouth is and prove it! As if in reply, the punchy ‘I Got My Money Where My Mouth Is’ follows and puts to bed any doubts that the bassist needs Donnie Vie to carry his songs in 2020. This shows a band full of confidence, urgency and bravado. With continuing Cheap Trick vibes, trademark backing harmonies and a chorus that insists you sit up and take notice, I’m convinced just 2 songs in; they have already done enough to prove EZN are far from a spent force.


It’s impossible to do an Enuff Z’Nuff review and not mention The Beatles. Lennon-esque, sentimental balladry is rife in the likes of ‘It’s All In Vain’ and ‘Broken Love’. Chugging guitars, ringing chords and soaring vocal melodies take this listener to the same heights the likes of ‘Fly High Michelle’ and ‘Right By Your Side’ did back in the day.

Donnie Vie returns for ‘Strangers In My Head’ and it’s no surprise that its an album highlight. His lush tones carry the dark and foreboding tune to another worldly plain. It’s a powerful. riff heavy rocker that sees the writer delve deep inside his own head. So much so, it makes the following ‘Drugland Weekend’ sound like a just another dumb ass rock song, all style and no substance, but hey there’s nowt wrong with that sometimes!


Enuff Z’Nuff never got the breaks they deserved. But let’s face it, most of the greatest bands suffered the same fate! But put an Enuff Z’Nuff greatest hits package together and it stands tall quality wise with any band you would care to mention and that will be their legacy.

‘Brainwashed Generation’ is a surprisingly good album, which recalls their glory days and the best of their influences. Sure, it’s not as good as ‘Strength’ or even ‘Animals…’ song for song, but it’s on a par with anything the band put out after, and that is a good place to be 15 albums into your career.

Chip continues to fly the flag for Enuff Z’Nuff, writing quality tunes and touring the world. It’s all he’s done since the heady 80’s and no one’s gonna stop his love train now.

Buy ‘Brainwashed Generation’ Here


Author: Ben Hughes





Hooray for The L.A. Guns.  I was secretly hoping that someone would make a Christmas record and I wasn’t bothered if it was original or cover versions to be fair I just wanted it to be good and low and behold who steps up to the plate with an EP of Christmas themed bangers but my old muckers The L.A. Guns.  Now I raved about their new album (rightly so)  and I loved Cuts when they did that EP especially the Japanese version because it had more tracks and ones that should have been more widely available because they were so good.  Anyway I digress.  L.A. Guns whilst toured and seemed happy to be lumped in with a lot of absolute dross in the 80s and onwards and haven’t always made it easy to follow the band and what they were doing and to negotiate the often soap opera goings on with the bands personal but when they did settle down and let the music do the talking they were more than a step up from a lot of if not 99.9% of the hair metal tosh they were wrongly lumped in with. those early records were great and still sound great and when they went over the edge they twisted the melon and introduced a little Gothic flavour into the mix but they also always had taste outside america, maybe due to Phil and his previous workings but covering Generation X and the Damned always sounded fantastic to me and the versions they did showed they were people who got it and understood the task they were facing.  Lots of band fuck it up and miss the point so badly but not the Guns. So, Onto 2019 and this Christmas offering well, it might only be an EP of five tunes but one is a Ramones cover, a Slade cover and A Damned cover whilst for the opener they bring out William Shatner for a cover of the Billy Squire tune ‘The Bills/Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You’.

Now don’t snigger at the back this is serious. bloody brilliant having the Shats on the intro is classic.  All hail the L.A. Guns and Shats you guys nailed it. There are those who say you shouldn’t touch a classic especially one like Slades Merry Christmas Everybody’  but fuck it, they nailed it again and obviously Lewis is no Holder but they take on a beast of Christmas tunes and own it. ‘Dreidel’ lasts nine seconds what else can I say?  Now onto the highlight of the EP and the Damned  ‘(There Ain’t No) Sanity Clause’ and again they prove they just get it and a finer Christmas tune doesn’t exist so I’ll take this every day of the week.  Well done you lot. To finish it off the Ramones ‘Merry Christmas I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)’ is exactly what you’d expect of a Ramones cover of this nature.


That’s it in a nutshell an admirable effort that hits the spot and when anyone round my gaff asks for some Christmas tunes I know what I’ll be playing.  Same time next year boys?

Author: Dom Daley