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With Guns N' Roses on hiatus, rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke said opening for the likes of Motley Crue is like a dream come true. For veteran heavy-rock band Motley Crue, Clarke was the opening act needed to complement a new killer lineup.

"This whole tour came about for the fun of it," said Clarke during a telephone interview from Los Angeles. "I was in my home town of Cleveland and Nikki Sixx from the Crue called me up and asked if I'd like to tour with them. I like Motley Crue and really wanted to tour. So I said `yes.' "Mick Mars, Motley Crue's lead guitarist, also thought the matchup was inspired.

"Gilby's a great guy," said the soft-spoken axeman. "He's fun to watch and really pumps the energy level."

Motley Crue and opening act Clarke will play at the Power Plant, 4835 South Highland Drive, Wednesday, Aug. 24. The show starts at 8 p.m.

Clarke replaced former GN'R guitarist Izzy Stradlin in 1992 just prior to the "Use Your Illusion" tour. After continuous touring, the band finally took a long-needed break.

"I had a bunch of songs ready for the studio even before I joined Guns," said Clarke. "When it came clear I had some time to do an album and even a tour, I jumped at it."

Not only does Clarke's new album "Pawn Shop Guitars" feature heavy, blues-based rock with a catch, it also includes inspired remakes of the Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers" and The Clash's "Jail Guitar Doors."

And though each member of Guns N' Roses makes an appearance on the album, it is definitely Clarke's album.

"The album is very different from Guns, but is still very me," Clarke said. "I tried to make each song better than the last song I wrote and played like it was my last gig. There's no faking on the album. What you hear is me. And it's all done in the spirit of rock 'n' roll."

The rock spirit is exactly how the new self-titled Motley Crue album came about, said Mars.

"There wasn't any real premeditation," said Mars calling from Oklahoma City. "When we got (new vocalist John Corabi) into the band, the project took its own direction."

After inner-band quarrels eventually led former vocalist Vince Neil to depart, Mars, bassist Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee regrouped and recruited ex-Scream vocalist Corabi.

"Nikki had done an interview with Rolling Stone magazine and was listening to the Scream and commented on how much he liked the voice," Mars said. "John read the article and called our manager to say `thanks.' "

The vacant vocal slot was immediately offered to Corabi.

"John's voice adds quite a bit and gave new life to the band," Mars said. "He also plays guitar, which allows me to go off into a practically different world."

That new dimension is present on the album, Mars said. The songs are harder, heavier and step heavily into the blues territory.

"This time around the band is pretty much letting the music speak for itself," said Mars. "We are planting new seeds and showing fans the music is important to us. Even though there is a lot of activity on stage, there is more music."

Mars said Motley Crue deliberately took more time to create the album - 11 months.

"We will never take that long again," he said. "But at the time it was neccessary. If I wasn't happy with my track, I'd do it again. Also with the change in singers, we needed to search for perfection. The album is more bluesy and you can hear a lot more melody."

Mars also said fans of the old Motley Crue will not leave the live shows disappointed.

"I'm sure some people are skeptical and some are just curious about how John's going to do the old stuff," he said. "The fans will be very surprised how John handles them."