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Articles Home » Music Reviews » L.A. Guns 'Checkered Past' Album Review By Sherry Thomas
L.A. Guns 'Checkered Past' Album Review By Sherry Thomas

L.A. Guns

Checkered Past

Frontiers Music s.r.l.

November 12, 2021

Album Review By Sherry Thomas

Boston Rock Radio


L.A. Guns has seen times of success and turbulence since forming in 1988, so it’s only fitting that the latest album is titled Checkered Past. Tracii Guns, Phil Lewis, and company bring their signature style to the band’s fourteenth studio release. The album was written and recorded during the grips of the coronavirus pandemic. Guns and Lewis are accompanied by the strong backbone of Ace Von Johnson (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Johnny Martin (bass), and Scot Coogan (drums).

Checkered Past continues in the same vein of The Missing Peace and The Devil You Know by providing a darker lyrical tone infused with classic rock and bluesy grooves. The tracklisting is divided into sets that make the listening experience more enjoyable, but it can be appreciated as an entire body of work too.

The album blasts off with “Cannonball” and it doesn’t disappoint. This track was released on September 16, 2021. A music video was released in conjunction that must be seen with Lewis starring as a renegade pirate. It’s rebellious, humorous, sonic, and the perfect song to get the ball rolling, so to speak.​

“Bad Luck Charm” follows with honky tonk swagger and tongue-in-cheek lyrics to match. “I have a bad luck charm. It's never easy, is it? There ain't no good news on today. It don't bother me,” is representative of the song’s overall feeling. Tracii Guns brings it with his smoking solo and the gang vocals add extra badness. This is the standout track for me at the moment. “Living Right Now” keeps the train rolling with fast and furious fervor.

The next two songs slow things down, but pack a powerful punch. Think of them as cool-down songs for the gym with deep emotion. “Get Along” is inspirational and heart-felt, while “If It’s Over Now” dives deep with a ballad that can rival “The Ballad Of Jayne”.

“Better Than You” launches back and keeps the momentum going with fast-paced rockers, with the exception of “Let You Down”. “Knock Me Down'' and “That Ain’t Why” are two personal favorites, the latter being most representative of early L.A. Guns. 

Checkered Past shows that L.A. Guns are still forces to be reckoned with. Surely, you find headbangers, thought provoking ballads, and tunes to dance around with. It’s proof they aren’t slowing down. It’s solid from start to finish and all of the tracks could be hits. Lewis’ and Guns’ creative and personal relationship has never been stronger, as evidenced in this body of work. The Toxic Twins of hard rock need to continue playing music for a long time to come.​

Fans of L.A. Guns will eat this up, but Checkered Past will attract a mass of new followers as well. Dare I say, this is one of the best albums of 2021 and is now ranked in the Top 3 of my favorite albums from the band. It is that great!

Checkered Past is available now anywhere music is sold or streamed and L.A. Guns is adding dates to an upcoming US tour as this is being written!




Bad Luck Charm

Living Right Now

Get Along

If It's Over Now

Better Than You

Knock Me Down


Let You Down

That Ain’t Why

Physical Itch


US Tour Dates:

November 26, 2021 — San Juan Capistrano, CA — Coach House

November 27, 2021 — Long Beach, CA — Gaslamp

December 3, 2021 — Las Vegas, NV — Count’s Vamp’d

December 4, 2021 — Las Vegas, NV — Count’s Vamp’d

December 31, 2021 — West Hollywood, CA — Whisky A Go Go

Feb 9-14, 2022 — Port of Miami, FL — Monsters of Rock Cruise 2022


Official Website - L.A. Guns

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