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Tracii Guns Speaks About GNR, LA Guns, Brides of Destruction and Beyond.

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Sunday, June 11, 2006 @ 11:04 AM


"I donít make plans anymore. I

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The 80's were a time for decadence, and self-indulgence. A time when Metal ruled the world and Rock and Roll knew no boundaries. One band that is closely affiliated with starting the whole Glam-rock scene and influenced many bands on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood was LA Guns.

For the past two decades, LA Guns founder and lead guitarist Tracii Guns, is one of the most respected and influential guitarists to emerge out of the 80ís Hollywood scene. Tracii plays from the heart with a passion reminiscent of his guitar hero Jimmy Page and has made quite an impact with fans in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

Tracii Guns has a Rock and Roll attitude that is hip, innovative, and totally LA. The former Guns Ní Roses guitarist left GNR to form the legendary LA Guns in 1987. The black leather clad guitar-slinger with his raw, driven talent has led LA Guns to fame for the past 20 years inspiring such hits as "Ballad of Jayne," Sex Action," "One More ReasonĒ, and "Never Enough." In the late 1980ís, Guns took his signature guitar playing, reminiscent of early Aerosmith, and Van Halen and added his own special flair creating the backbone for a unique, and innovative sound.

At a very young age, Guns knew he was going to make a special impact in music. I can remember seeing him perform for the first time with LA Guns at the Channel in Boston in the early 90ís. His electrifying performance and raw energy blew me away. In 1987, LA Guns released their self-titled debut album, but it wasn't until the following year when "Cocked and Loaded" hit the airwaves that the band really broke big. LA Guns first hit single, ĒBallad of Jayne" was played in heavy rotation on MTV. Shortly after their MTV debut, LA Guns developed a major following and proceeded to sell out concert venues across the country, and abroad.

Two years later LA Guns released "Hollywood Vampires". The band managed to keep their loyal following but realized that the Seattle grunge movement was quickly replacing the Glam-metal genre. The band laid low for 4 years and later released their 4Th album,"Vicious Circle" in 1995. At this time, the band saw the beginning of several line-up changes. With the departure of singer Phil Lewis, the band welcomed Chris Van Dahl as the new front man. LA Guns released "American Hardcore in 1996, which had a punkish feel and new direction for the Guns. During that period LA Guns went through many different singers including Ralph Saenz and Jizzy Pearl. In 2001, Phil Lewis and Mick Cripps returned to the line-up and the band released, "Man On the Moon." These days, LA Guns features Phil Lewis, Steve Riley, Stacey Blades, and Adam Hamilton.

In 2004, Tracii Guns moved on and left LA Guns to form the new super group of 2004, The Brides of Destruction. BOD embarked on a world tour in support of their first release, "Here Come the Brides." In April of 2004, The Brides toured the U.S, Canada, and played many festivals in Europe. Tracii had found a new enthusiasm with new band mates and a new record deal. Recently bass player Nikki Sixx had to leave the band because of his commitment to put Motley Crue back together. Scott Sorry from Amen stepped in to replace Nikki. The Brides released their second album, "Runaway BridesĒ on September 27 on Shrapnel Records.

Shortly after the fall tour in 2005 with BOD, Tracii announced that BOD would take a hiatus. But fear not, Tracii Guns is back on the road touring with the original members of LA Guns. Keeping the many LA Guns hits alive and adding some special cover tunes in one of the hottest concert tours this spring.

Tracii's new project includes former LA Guns vocalist Paul Black, Nickey Alexander on drums, and Jeremy Guns on bass. Tracii is again working with the original LA Guns proving that 80's metal is alive and making a huge comeback this year. His band recently wrapped up a month long tour which took the band up and down the East and West Coasts.

Take a walk down Sunset Strip in the 80's as one of the top guitarists from that gone-by scene goes back to his roots and unveils his old-new version of a band. In this Exclusive interview with KNAC.COM Tracii Guns discusses his new project, future touring plans, the music industry today, and the longevity of LA Guns.

KNAC.COM:: I recently reviewed your show in Hartford. How does it feel to be playing a lot of the LA Guns tunes again, What is the driving factor for L.A Guns longevity, and Why do you think tunes like "Ballad of Jayne" have remained popular for so long?

GUNS: For now it is still very fresh because the LA GUNS songs we are playing sound different and feel like a broken-in baseball glove so, itís very comfortable. Not to mention, most of the ones we are playing were written with the guys that are in my band now. "Ballad of Jayne" is just a great rockíníroll ballad and it will be forever.

KNAC.COM:: Do you see a new surge of LA Guns fans at your shows this spring?

GUNS: When we do the all ages shows there are 3 times as many people there because most of my fans are young guitarists or musicians whose parents listened to LA GUNS while they were growing up. Also most of the Brides fans are younger. I really have noticed a lot more kids on this last tour.

KNAC.COM:: I would love to hear a new album with you and Paul. Do you think you will record any new music with the band?

GUNS: We are starting to write new material June 1st, and also recording demos of the tunes. The new music will be 100 percent guitar rock and we will also be experimenting a lot. I am not going into this band with the idea we must sound like old school LA Guns, although we will remain a dirty rock band.

KNAC.COM:: Are there any plans for a package tour this summer?

GUNS: I donít make plans anymore. I let my manager and agent tell me what to do. That way I get to just create music and play music and I follow that wherever that takes us.

KNAC.COM:: Tracii, the seconds Brides of Destruction album was great. I was so sad to hear about BOD going on hiatus. What happened?

GUNS: The Brides were great and I agree the second record was over the top but I feel like we lost our leader and I was uncomfortable continuing.

KNAC.COM:: Also last year it was announced that you would be working with Quiet Riot. What happened there?

GUNS: Not Much!

KNAC.COM:: I have heard so many great reviews of your current tour, and I am happy that you re-united the former members. Tracii what inspires you to keep on writing such great music?

GUNS: Well, There are 2 factors. I always get to work with new people who have new ideas that I wouldn't have thought of. I feel like I have not lived up to my potential as a writer, musically or lyrically so. That keeps me motivated to move forward and I know I will never be completely satisfied with anything I write because things can always be better in my mind.

KNAC.COM:: How do you feel about the music industry today? Do you think the label gave BOD a fair chance?

GUNS: I think that the industry is a great vehicle for younger musicians, although I also feel that it still exploits the energy of young musicians and that will never change. As in any big business the product line gets discontinued when the product stops selling well. Thatís just the reality. BOD absolutely had a fair chance with the first record. We had all the marketing tools we needed. Had we put out a second single and followed through with Nikki, it would have been a much different story but that was his choice.

KNAC.COM:: How does your version of LA Guns differ from current line-up with Phil and Steve, and Adam?

GUNS: This band feels much different then LA Guns 87-2002. This band has a looser feel, its a little dirtier and less screamy Paulís voice is much more like Dylan, John Fogherty etc, so it's just raunchier. I do remember playing the Channel in Boston twice. Both of those shows were super high energy. Lotsa sweat, dirty rock"n"roll and dirty women. THE BEST TIMES!!!!!!

KNAC.COM:: Back in the day, when Guns N' Roses was just getting started, what was that like and how did you meet Axl?

GUNS: I met Axl through Izzy and we hit it off like long lost brothers and we really are long lost brothers. (Laughs). The version of GnR I had started was a little more metal, a lot heavier because I was really exploring, Wolf Hoffman, Randy Rhoads etc. So it was a mixture of really bluesy riffs played very hard and a lot of screaming. The scene in my GnR days was perfect. Crue, Wasp and Ratt had all moved on to bigger things so Poison, LA Guns, JetBoy and GnR completely took over the LA scene taking what the more metal bands had to offer and bringing more dirt and blues into the mix.

KNAC.COM:: Did Axl ever approach you to be in the new version of GNR? I would have really enjoyed seeing you perform again with GNR.

GUNS: No he never did but, I reached out to him last year through Del James and Del told me he just laughed it off. I would love write with AXL again, just like I am excited about writing with Paul Black.

KNAC.COM:: What do you think about the new GNR line-up versus the old line-up?

GUNS: I saw recent Video. I think Bumble foot is great in the band. I donít have an opinion on the other guys.

KNAC.COM:: What is your favorite L.A Guns song to perform live?

GUNS: Jeez. Right now I love em all. Ask me again next year.

KNAC.COM:: "The Black List" was released last year Tell me about that album, and was it your idea to put the older songs out on that album?

GUNS: That record is all Paul. I had nothing to do with it.

KNAC.COM:: A while back you also have performed with Poison. How did that go?

GUNS: Well I rehearsed with them 4 times. Thatís about it definitely a good time and good guys. Sixx always gives them a hard time. I am not sure why exactly but I like the show and was honored to be asked to join.

KNAC.COM:: In our last interview you mentioned that DimeBag Darrell Abbot was one of your favorite guitar players and a friend. Have you heard "Rebel Meets Rebel"?

GUNS: I still donít believe heís gone. Even when I hang out with his friends the spirit is still as if he's still here. His family and friends are the most sincere gentlepeople I have known in my life. Believe it or not even Phil Anselmo has a very kind gentle side. I love his bionic style of guitar playing. There was nothing he couldnít do mixed with his personality, he was a real guitar god. "Rebel Meets Rebel" is just superb, so classy, so dirty. The riffs are sick. David Allen Coe is so real and lyrics are so funny but true. I love the record and the idea. It would be nice to see Vinnie and Rex move onward and upward. I love those guys like brothers including John Graham.

KNAC.COM:: What can the fans expect to see from Tracii Guns in 2006?

GUNS: Like I said, I donít make the plans, I just follow them, so I know we are going to Texas mid July, and possibly Canada for August. Japan after summer.


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