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Since 1994 Gilby Clarke has flown just under the radar releasing six solo records and performing with a host of big bands like Heart and the MC5. In addition he has done lots of production work with bands from both the US and Canada. And of course, most people know Gilby from his stint in Guns N’ Roses as well as guitarist for Rockstar Supernova, the band that appeared on the TV show of the same name.
Spitfire Records recently put out a retrospective record, simply called “Gilby Clarke” and it’s got 14 tracks of the bluesy rock & roll the guitarist is known for. It starts off with possibly his most high-profile song, “Cure Me…or Kill Me”. Nobody would ever expect Axl Rose vocals from Gilby but his sincerity and evident love of the music is enough to power him through the lyrics with ease. According to him, he was surprised that the song found its way onto radio stations across the nation as 1994 was in the middle of the rise of grunge and bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Nirvana ruled the roost. Nonetheless, the song became his one bonified hit.
“Tijuana Jail” is a bouncy rocker that works as well as a motorcycle on a highway on a hot day. Possibly the highlight of the record is a new version of the song “Black” which first appeared on his debut solo disc, Pawnshop Guitars. Called in to lend lead vocals on the song is Dilana who was the runner-up on Rockstar Supernova, and she does a terrific job, really nailing the song. Possibly my favorite song on here is “Alien”, the stellar track from 2002’s Swag.
“Skin N’ Bones” is a countrified rocker that would not sound out of place on a John Mellencamp record and then Gilby goes all the other way with “Punk Rock Pollution”, a balls to the wall punk anthem. “Kilroy Was Here” is kind of Beatles-esque and “Bourbon Street Blues” has a Keef/Woody kind of Marlsboro and Jack feel.
Also included are two songs by Col. Parker, the band Gilby formed with Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom in 2001. That was a terrific project that deserved to get heard by more people than it did.
If you’re into the Stones or basic rock of that nature, you’d best check out this record. There’s more to the man than what you’ve seen on TV or heard on the more high profile discs.
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