As Jizzy Pearl, Skid Rose, Jon E. Love and Joey Gold laid into Love/Hate’s back catalogue with the gusto of men half their age it suddenly dawned on me why this was one reunion tour which left so many others in the shade.
All four members of the band were the original quartet adorning the back of my mint condition She’s An Angel seven inch single. And how often does that happen these days?
The four blokes who took the band to their commercial peak back together two decades down the line and still playing with the passion that made them such a great live draw in the late 80s.
Then, of course, there’s a band like LA Guns. Or two bands like LA Guns. And although they’re (both) a pretty extreme example, I can’t say the chance to see either act fills me with the same fevered anticipation as last week’s Toon show by those lovely Love/Hate blokes.
Together Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns were a pretty toxic combination, capable of using their on-stage chemistry to often devastating effect with some of the best sleaze rock shows this side of the Sunset Strip. The fact that both men now front their own versions of LA Guns doesn’t do either any favours because it simply highlights the fact that neither band is the real deal.
Of the two, Guns has the greater right to the LA Guns name for obvious reasons. But then Lewis was the singer who gave the band their unique sound. Shit happens. Splits happen. Bands reform without original members. And fans just about accept it in every instance. But when two former members both lay claim to one band’s name it’s rubbing it in the noses of honest punters everywhere.
So what must be going through the mind of the man who acts as the common denominator between the classic line-up and the commercial line-up? As lead singer of Love/Hate, Jizzy Pearl plays the role of original vocalist surrounded by fellow founder members. His alter ego as frontman for the Tracii Guns version of LA Guns sees him step into the role of hired hand and Lewis clone. It can’t be an easy transition.
But having seen Jizzy jazzing up his Love/Hate show in Newcastle just last week I reckon one thing’s for certain ahead of next Thursday’s LA Guns show in the same city. Fans will be guaranteed a great performance from the ultimate showman. Expect a genuinely passionate display. Just don’t expect the genuine article.