When you have been a one time member of both Guns ‘n’ Roses and the MC5, plus shared the stage with Tommy Lee and Jason Newstead in Rockstar:Supernova, and Joe Elliott, Sebastian Bach, Glenn Hughes and Gene Simmons in Kings of Chaos, it’s safe to say you know a thing or two about rock.
It’s also pretty safe to assume that you have a few good stories to tell.
And that’s Gilby Clarke in a nutshell. Seasoned rocker, exceptional story teller.
“The Gospel Truth” – both album and song – opens with a rumbling bass groove, accentuated by some killer, but simplistic, guitar riffs and brass section. Clarke’s vocals are obviously weathered, but still sound fantastic. The whole package is like a grimier Rolling Stones – and I mean that as a compliment.
“Wayfarer” is a much more bluesy affair that puts organs to very good use, while “Tightwad” featuring Nikki Sixx on bass guitar and Stephen Perkins on drums, is a far more upbeat number. Extremely catchy and thoroughly animated – this could, and should be the next single.
It feels like a lifetime ago that we published a single review for “Rock n Roll is getting louder”, but everything I wrote still holds true.
“Wise Old Timer” is an album highlight for a number of reasons. The guitar is understated but very effective, plus it’s probably the best example of his aforementioned quality story telling. “Violation” is night to “Wise Old Timers” day, but the two tracks back to back are a fantastic 1-2 punch. The latter is a lot more raucous, and bolstered by some vibrant honky tonk style piano. Both tracks provide the centre point and high point of the record.
“The Ending” has a lot of balls in the verses, and big harmonies in its choruses, while “Dangerous Sin” provides a simple guitar line, dirty vocals and an interesting set of lyrics.
Closing out the album is “Rusted and Busted” and “She Won’t Fight Fair”. The former is so so, and the latter has a solid hook, but ultimately both of these tracks are the weakest on offer.
Overall, This is Clarke’s best album since “Pawnshop Guitars” which was released in 1994. A very solid (don’t call it a) comeback record.