21 Guns


About 21 Guns

Just prior to the when the Seattle movement shook up the music world in the early '90s, a plethora of groups containing veteran members of classic rock bands united to assemble new outfits that focused on mainstream, radio-friendly rock. The more successful of these aforementioned acts included Damn Yankees (which included Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw, and Jack Blades) and Bad English (Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, John Waite), while several other similarly styled outfits surfaced with considerably less success, such as 21 Guns. Led by ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham, 21 Guns consisted of Leif Johansen (bass), Michael Sturgis (drums), and Tommy LaVerdi (vocals), and formed in 1991. Noticeably absent from the proceedings was Gorham's trademark harmony solos that he became renowned for while a member of Lizzy (perhaps not having a second guitarist had something to do with it), as the quartet honed in on replicating such '80s radio rock hitmakers as Foreigner and Journey. 1992 saw the release of 21 Guns' debut recording for RCA Records, Salute, which failed to attract much interest commercially, despite receiving some scant attention on MTV's then-popular 'Headbanger's Ball' program. Gorham put the group on hold for several years as he performed in several tribute shows worldwide for late Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott. But by 1997, Gorham was ready to resuscitate 21 Guns, as the group issued a sophomore effort, Nothing's Real, which included a cover of the underrated Lizzy nugget, "King's Vengeance" (a tune which originally appeared on the 1975 release Fighting, and co-written by Gorham). But just like their debut album, the disc failed to attract a sizeable audience, which resulted in the group splitting up for good, as Gorham joined a reunited version of Thin Lizzy (with John Sykes handling the vocal chores previously handled by Lynott) for shows and the 2000 live album, One Night Only. 2000 also saw the re-release of 21 Guns' second disc via the Z Music label, which featured six previously unreleased bonus tracks. Drummer Sturgis has gone on to become a regular member of a modern day version of prog-rockers Asia, appearing on several releases throughout the '90s. ~ Greg Prato

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