Many years ago while sifting through the discount box at a record store, I came across an album by Gilby Clarke, called Pawnshop Guitars. Gilby had just ended his run with Guns N Roses at the time, and being a big fan of that band, I thought I’d check out what a solo effort from him was all about.
Pawnshop Guitars is nothing short of vital listening for rock fans, and I was a huge fan of the man from that point on.
It’s worth noting that Clarke hasn’t released an album, solo or otherwise, since 2007, so I can understand how he may have fallen off of people’s radars to a degree. That being said, he has recently signed with Golden Robot Records, and now we get the first taste of what’s to come from an eventual album.
The track is “Rock N Roll is Getting Louder”, and although I didn’t instantly vibe with it like I did with Pawnshop Guitars, it definitely grows on you.
There’s an unmistakable swagger to the track, driven mostly by Gilby Clarke’s excellently understated guitar playing. A few of the guitar licks are very familiar, but in the kind of way that pays tribute or homage to the rockers that came before it, rather than just a blatant rip off.
Rhythmically, the drums shuffle along perfectly, and the bass has a nice huge rumble to it, particularly in the opening moments of the song. Vocally, Clarke can still cut it. He’s a little older now, so there’s just a hint of weathered quality to his voice, but that works with the musical landscape.
This is classic rock for modern times. It’s hot rods and motorcycles, summer days and all round good vibes. Most importantly, it’s a clear indication that Gilby Clarke still has a lot to offer musically.