Album of the Week: Cocked & Loaded – L.A. Guns

Originally published on my other blog,

Been on an L.A. Guns kick the last week or so, listening on repeat to 1989’s Cocked & Loaded along with their self-titled debut (1988) and the follow-up Hollywood Vampires (1991) on CD in my car.

L.A. Guns always kinda got second billing after Guns N Roses, though GNR actually spawned out of L.A. Guns, with lead guitarist Tracii Guns being the original “Guns” to Axl’s “Roses,” but I do believe that didn’t last too long.

And Izzy Stradlin had been in and out of L.A. Guns’ line-up, as had Axl and if I could be bothered to go look the timeline up in Marc Cantor’s book right now, probably the rest of GNR had too.

The sound was similar to GNR but different. At times, much poppier and less gritty (“Rip and Tear”), at other times, more exotic (“Malaria,” “Magdalaine”).

Cocked & Loaded was the second album out for L.A. Guns, and I suppose the most distilled version of their sound… a bit smoothed out from the rough edges of L.A. Guns, not quite as smoothed out as some of the tracks on Hollywood Vampires like “My Koo Ka Choo,” co-written with pop songwriter Jim Vallance who cowrote a million massive hits, but in those years probably best known for working on Bon Jovi’s biggest blockbusters.

This was the first L.A. Guns album I had on cassette, (presumably because Mom wouldn’t let me get the debut with its second track being called “Sex Action”!), and I used to listen to it endlessly on my Walkman, as I later did with Hollywood Vampires as well. I seem to recall having had a massive crush on their bassist Kelly Nickels, too, though I will admit that actually, in their heyday L.A. Guns were all pretty good looking dudes. Kelly was just the cutest despite the stiff competition from his bandmates, therefore his Metal Edge pinups got pride of place on my preteen bedroom walls, lol…

While probably my favorite L.A. Guns individual songs are on L.A. Guns (“No Mercy,” “Electric Gypsy,” “Bitch Is Back”) and Hollywood Vampires (“Over the Edge,” “Wild Obsession”), this is my favorite of their albums, if only because gawd, I loathe ballads and there’s only one of those on here for me to hit that NEXT button on my CD player. And it’s not like the songs on Cocked & Loaded are worse than on the other 2 albums, we’re talking a cunt hair’s difference in preference as it’s all pretty solid work.

Personal favorite tracks on Cocked & Loaded: “Sleazy Come, Easy Go,” “Magdalaine,” and “Wheels of Fire.” But kinda like between albums, it’s tough to pick, they’re all good.

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