Shotgun Messiah started out in life known as Kingpin in their Swedish homeland and their CD Welcome To Bop City from 1988 gained them a great following and fanbase there. They opted to shift their operations to the late 80’s glam scene of Los Angeles in search of fortune and fame that never came. Upon their arrival, the Kingpin moniker was abandoned and the Welcome to Bop City recording re-worked and re-released under the new heading of Shotgun Messiah.
Comprising of members Zimmy J. San on vocal, Tim Tim Skold handling bass guitar, the aptly named Stixx Galore drumming and the guitar stylings of Harry K. Cody the band pushed out three CD’s in their career, all with distinctly different musical styles. Their recordings were met with varying receptions by fans and critics and I have seen them referred to as “Bandwagon Messiah” as they changed their sound to follow the musical trends.
The self-titled debut was the most successful, placing at #99 on the Billboard Chart and hit in 1989. The pop flavoured “Bop City” is the lead-off track and sets the tone for the album. There are some stand-out rockers on here though and all in all, it is a light, but enjoyable listen. Check out the heavily glam video for “Shout It Out”. Does anyone else hear The Beastie Boys here?
Vocalist Zimmy J. San parted company allowing Tim Tim Skold to lay aside the bass and step into the front man role, leaving newcomer Bobby Lycon to fill in the void bass shoes. The next release, Second Coming, had a more sleaze rock sound and reached a commercially disappointing #199 according to Billboard even though it spawned the rock radio hit and arguably best-known tune “Heartbreak Blvd.”. Second Coming, released in 1991, is widely considered to be the peak of their creativity and has a ton of high points to it. Once you get beyond the clichéd album opener of “Sex Drugs & Rock & Roll”, some of the best songs on the disc are offered in “Trouble”, “Heartbreak Blvd.” and “Can’t Fool Me”. “I Want More” is a gem clocking in at over six minutes long, carrying only Harry Cody for a writing credit and is also featured on the punk covers EP of the same title released in 1992.
1993 saw the final output from Shotgun, Violent New Breed. Only Skold and Cody remained in the band by this point. They completed this record using synthesisers and it has a distinct industrial metal sound ala Ministry. Good driving tunes or break stuff music, this album moves along well, but it was largely ignored by the record buying public. The opener “I’m A Gun” sets the tone and doesn’t let up from start to finish showing how far ahead of its time this album was. For me, “Jihad” is the stand-out or best track on the disc. This industrial style is a prelude to the next few years of Tim Skold‘s career as showcased in fellow Decibel Geek Cameron Cooper‘s article: Musicians You Should Be Listening To
All three Shotgun Messiah albums are worthy listens for any metal-head. The different styles employed on each recording show the diversity of the musicians and there’s more than enough great tunes in the repertoire to satisfy all rock tastes!
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