No matter what Gilby Clarke does in his career, he is always going to be preceded by "ex-Guns n' Roses guitarist". Clarke's tenure with that band was incredibly short to be so personally defining. With only two years in the band, his work is only found in recorded form on the all-covers album "The Spaghetti Incident".
Fortunately, Clarke can look at his role in last summer's "Rock Star: Supernova" reality show as an opportunity for his solo work to get some deserved exposure.
You might remember Clarke as the likeable guy who could speak in complete sentences. It's sad how being intelligible is what set him apart so well. With several solo albums to his credit, this new release is a compilation of his best cuts and the new song "Black" featuring "Rock Star" finalist Dilana.
His pedigree should give a good indication of what Clarke does best. On albums like Pawnshop Guitars and Rubber, Clarke can rock out with the best of them.
Probably more effective as a sideman as his lyrics are rudimentary. Keeping it simple is fine but he can tread into forgettable territory.
Clarke has the ability to write an awesome rock riff and he has been fortunate to work with some major talents in rock music. Names like Slash, Tracii Guns, Dizzy Reed, James Lomenzo, Matt Sorum, Eric Singer, Clem Burke and Slim Jim Phantom have all lent a hand to Clarke's solo albums.
The obvious highlight here is the lead off track with the killer riff, "Cure Me
or Kill Me". Dilana was one of the more enjoyable contestants on "Rock Star: Supernova" but she falls a little flat on "Black". It is just modern rock by the numbers.
The rest of the album is a slow burn but totally worth the time. "Skin n' Bones" is a grooving country track, "It's Good Enough for Rock n' Roll" boogies to its full satisfaction and "Bourbon Street Blues" has the swagger any Rolling Stones devotee should have absorbed by osmosis.
Clarke collects his influences together into a fun, rocking album. He is competent in everything from bluesy country to candy-coated riff rock.
If anything good can come from a tacky reality show, it is wonderful that Gilby Clarke can get some attention. It is old school rock. The kind that seems to be withering away.