SHOTGUN MESSIAH – Shotgun Messiah [Digitally Remastered] Out Of Print
Eighties hard rock fans know the name SHOTGUN MESSIAH very well. The Swedish combo delivered two awesome albums of hook-filled sleaze ’n’ roll with 1989’s self-titled LP Shotgun Messiah and 1991’s Second Coming.
Divebomb Records is the label that finally did it: they are presenting Deluxe Remastered reissues of both albums.
The original tapes have been remastered by Jamie King at The Basement Studios.
Shotgun Messiah may never have become a household name, but they garnered a ‘cult’ audience (count me in) and copies of their long-out-of-print CDs have become hard-to-find, often-pricey collectibles on the secondary market over the years.
These reissues mark the first time both Shotgun Messiah and Second Coming have been available at music retailers since the ‘90s. And of course remastered for the first time, only on physical format.
SHOTGUN MESSIAH’s self-titled debut is a blast. This is what I call a badass rockin’ band.
The band originally formed in Sweden in 1985 as ‘Kingpin’ – an outrageously over-the-top glam-to-the-max act whose neon-colored stage costumes (and unintentionally hilarious band photos) completely overshadowed the music on their debut album, Welcome to Bop City – which was released on a tiny Swedish label in 1988.
The album was mostly ignored in their homeland, where clean-cut melodic rock acts like Europe were ruling the roost… so Kingpin decided to head to America and try their sleazy luck in Los Angeles – the Glam Metal capital of the world at the time.
After a trans-Atlantic flight, a name change (there was already a band using the Kingpin name in L.A.) and a much-needed image makeover – more black leather and denim, way less neon – the newly christened Shotgun Messiah signed a deal with Relativity Records, a well established indie label signed to its Combat Records imprint.
Welcome to Bop City was remixed, repackaged, and re-released worldwide as Shotgun Messiah’s self-titled debut album in 1989.
“Shotgun Messiah” is sleaze glam hard rock, there’s no question of that. But amongst the screeches and tired entendres, there are glimpses of other influences.
Released in 1989, it starts off with the very Motley Crue-esque “Bop City,” which has guitars so hooky as to differentiate them from all the other bands of the era.
And this is the Ace of Spades of Shotgun Messiah: guitarist Harry Cody. The guy delivered a terrific set of riffs, licks and solos with a killerrrr sound that even put George Lynch into shame.
“Don’ Care About Nothin’” is a similar follow-up, but “Shout It Out” is the first song where there’s something a little different going on than the usual Californian hard rock. With rapid-fire lyrics and hoodrat attitude, the song is broken, body-moving, and catchy.
“Squeazin’ Teasin” comes next, and on this track is where you can really see Zinny J. Zan’s vocal range – because he does have a vocal range, and is able to move Faster Pussycat screeches to a lower Cult-growl.
On “Dirt Talk,” for example, again sounds like a completely different singer from the rest of the album. Now we edge into L.A. Guns territory.
“Nowhere Fast” is a personal favorite. A kick ass hair metal sleazy stomper with a razor riff, swirling lead guitar and a ‘monsta’, simple but tremendously effective chorus.
Shotgun Messiah is, basically a best of the ‘80s Los Angeles hair metal scene as imagined by a band 6000 miles away in Scandinavia.
The album ends with “I’m Your Love” and “Nervous.” While the former has a nastier edge, complete with a Marq Torien whine (that is, best of ‘80s LA hair metal), the latter is what a Runaways/Scorpions lovechild would sound like. Angry punky kid chorus chants with a soulful bridge.
Probably wouldn’t be the most attractive child (that’s what we’d call ‘a face made for radio’), but a good listen at any rate.
In fact, that’s Shotgun Messiah in a nutshell; not so easy on the eyes, but great personalities all around!
Shotgun Messiah debut wasn’t a smash in the U.S., but it performed respectably enough thanks to a pair of flashy music videos for “Don’t Care ‘Bout Nothin'” and “Shout It Out,” which got play on MTV’s ‘Headbanger’s Ball’ and helped the album achieve a peak position of #99 on the Billboard charts.
However, before they could celebrate their newfound success, vocalist Zinny J. Zan abruptly announced that he was quitting the band and heading back to Sweden.
Without missing a beat, bassist Tim Skold promptly stepped up to take over the frontman position, and Shotgun Messiah came back with a vengeance on album number two: the Hard Rock masterpiece 1991’s ‘Second Coming’.
“Shotgun Messiah” (and ‘Second Coming’ to be featured here soon) are essential albums to understand the evolution of ’80s hard rock / glam / sleaze in years to come. Both albums influenced tons of bands (Crashdiet would not have existed without Shotgun Messiah), and defined a particular sound in the L.A. scene.
I have both albums in its original editions (a treasure) and these Remastered Reissues have improved the original sound updated to modern times.
This first album is already out of print, and the band’s second almost the same.
01 – Bop City
02 – Don’t Care ‘Bout Nothin’
03 – Shout It Out
04 – Squeezin Teazin’
05 – The Explorer
06 – Nowhere Fast
07 – Dirt Talk
08 – I’m Your Love
09 – Nervous
10 – Hidden Track
Zinny J. Zan – vocals
Harry Cody – guitar
Tim Tim – bass
Stixx – drums
Out of Print