Brad Wilson is one hard rocking, hard working dude. If you’re a California native (or, at least, a resident for some time) you may very well be familiar with his work since, according to his website, he and his band play over 150 shows a year in that state. He jams at a variety of venues - Harley Davidson events, casino’s, blues and rock clubs, fairs and festivals - and his music is just as diverse. He’s also been featured in two John Carpenter films and has won awards for his songwriting.
It’s difficult to categorize his work. He’s definitely got the power rock guitar down. It’s gritty and full of attitude. Early in his career he apparently played with a glam metal outfit named Shame, though finding info on that band is impossible so far. His metal days come shining through on Rockin’ the Sunset Strip, Volume 1. But he also has an understanding of the blues and those songs are laced with a smoky, alcohol tinged flavor. Unfortunately, he delves into almost a little country/western overtones - but some people might actually like that.
Here are a few thoughts on three of his recordings: Rocking the Sunset Strip, Volume 1; Brad Wilson Live; and Cities and Songs.
Rocking the Sunset Strip Volume 1
Wilson shows his metal roots on these tracks. “Walk the Streets” and “We Could Be Lovers” sound like they came right from the mid-80s. The vocals are shrieked at high pitch and the Gibson’s squeal. The guest female vocalist for the third track has a razor sharp wail that blends well with the heavy rhythm of Wilson’s guitar. This is great music to put on while cleaning out your garage or the backyard. It won’t irritate the neighbors too much and it also takes you back to your youth with its retro hair metal overtones, making you feel a like you still have the strength to just throw that lawnmower out to the lawn.
Wilson also throws in a groovy, bluesy track. “Knights Bridge” drops the tempo of the album. It’s an odd change of gears but the song is worth the listen. Wilson’s guitar work makes almost anything worth a listen. The last track, “Madhouse,” takes us back to the glam. Once again, the souls of Dokken and Skid Row are summoned.