Ok, we did this interview while the band was recording their new album that JUST came out this week….it’s called Acoustic Gypsy and it features Jizzy Pearl (ex-Love/Hate) on vocals. This week the band hired a NEW singer, DILANA and is getting set to go out on a fall tour. L.A. Guns itself really needs no introduction….If you paid attention to anything coming out of the west coast scene in the last 20 plus years you already realize their importance. Band founder Tracii Guns has been at it for decades now and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down or losing his tasteful, unique style. He is one of my favorite guitarists of any era and it is always a pleasure to catch up….Read on…
Q: Start off by letting us know what Tracii has been up to and plug whatever the hell you’re currently plugging;
A: Plugging the new Acoustic album with Jizzy called ACOUSTIC GYPSY!! Yes it has come full circle. Which wasn’t necessary because I was very happy with Jizzy (current LAG former Love/Hate singer Jizzy Pearl) when he was first in the band.
Then pressure came from agents and band members trying to convince me that if we reunited we would all of the sudden make all this money and that people would all of the sudden care. I didn’t buy it then but, I tried to go with the flow and nothing changed other than the fact that I got more frustrated.
Right now I am on Vacation spending time with my Girl and my little boy. L.a. Guns is currently talking to drummers and bass players because Danny and Chad were basically on loan to me from Faster Pussycat and both bands are touring this year at the same time but, not on the same tour.
I am also working with Bronxstyle Bob , writing, recording and booking some shows with our new band tentatively called The Tracii Guns Bastard Blues Band (also on Favored Nations label).
Q: One of your earlier stops here was on The Hollywood Vampires tour. You stopped at the Coronado Theatre in Rockford and you guys KILLED. What, IF ANY, memories do you have of our little city which is consistently labeled as one of the worst in the U.S. but still managed to squeeze out Cheap Trick ???
A: I always liked Rockford. I am remembering that particular show John because Tom Petersson threw Kellys brand new bass into the crowd. Those guys in Cheap Trick were always top shelf pranksters.
I hung out one time with Rick at his pad in Rockford. He is a real rockstar and I will leave it at that!
Q: What took you guys so long as far as getting around to the acoustic shows/album? It seems like a pretty logical progression given “Ballad Of Jayne”, did you guys just previously resist all temptation to turn it DOWN????
A: Well acoustic guitar always reminds me of the beach and summer camp so, what we did is bring some other guys into the band for that show to really make it sound big. I like big sound. I even like Lo-fi sound if it is pounding and groovy. Basically it was something I had never done before and I was really nervous about doing it but in the end, it is one of my proudest recordings to date… The sound is beautiful.
Q: I have seen you live so many times and you interact with the fans so well while you’re up there. The shows are always fun, always pro, regardless of what era, lineup or even BAND that we are seeing. You still remain loosey goosey on stage and break into some of your influences’ riffs spontaneously. Were the acoustic gigs affording such opportunities as well?
A: Putting my guitar on always wakes me up and fills me with good,positive energy. I don’t hide behind my guitar. It actually allows me to express my inner soul. So, I really jump from emotion to emotion live, even in the acoustic show.
Q: There have been many, MANY recordings that have been branded with the title L.A. Guns, your name or Guns and Roses since 1986. I love the vast majority of them but your hardcore fans DO have to swim through so many choices. Is it all good publicity regardless? Are there any albums you’ve had absolutely nothing to do with being released?
A: Well, My not being any sort of a business man on any level has left me virtually with no protection . Alan Kovac told me a few years ago to be careful because musicians are emotional criminals and will do things to each other out of desperation although they mean no harm. I don’t have an opinion about what the other band guys do.
Q: Your singer Jizzy Pearl stands on his own as a literary, musical and intellectual cat. You have worked with literally everyone under the sun (Poison, Nikki Sixx, Quiet Riot etc..) but there is a chemistry with you two that seems genuine and copacetic. I’m into those Corabi/Jizzy voices granted, but it seems at least possible that you two can forge past the b.s. for the sake of simply making better music. Are things as good as they seem with Jizzy? Can all of us settle in and enjoy LAG for the rest of our golden years??
A: I think so. Jizzy and I really connect musically. We love old music,,,, really old music! I should say old beginnings of Rock n Roll, Aretha , blues, moody blues, Doo wop,,, just really emotional music. We have a very good thing going together. We are low maintenance guys.
Q: As you know, I think it’s ridiculous that folks like the guy who plays bass for Motley Crue or the gentleman who sings in Guns and Roses taking shots at you for having an ego problem. People that have known you over the years know the deal with how you treat fans. When alls said and done how can people honestly accuse you of doing things to “cash in” on associations or purely for ego?
Do you just gotta put the blinders on and let some shit slide? Is it disheartening that people who should be considered mates feel the need to be a badass and lash out via the internet, years after the fact?
A: Blackie Lawless of W.a.s.p. once told me that I am a free spirit and that that scares certain types of people. That I have the ability to walk on any stage at any given time with a guitar and just start playing whereas a lot of these other cats put a lot of time and effort into perfecting their shtick. I don’t have a shtick, I am the shtick. That’s why shticky guys want to work with me so they can add the shtick I guess to the new shtick they are creating at that time.
Believe me, in the rock world to have Axl Rose and Nikki Sixx both who are notorious for their egos bash me verbally which also means they feel that I am a threat somehow to their egos is great because it reminds me that I am important enough to these people to go out of their way to say anything negative or positive about me. Thank you Axl and Thank you Nikki,,,, we created mayhem and great loud rock… At least I still appreciate it.
Q: We know you’re a gearhead/guitar fan. We’ve seen lots of your collection…Does Rick Nielsen have you beat or are you catching up? Is there anything that you are still chasing and do you still use the theremin?
A: I will never catch up to Rick for a couple of reasons. He bought a lot of his flametops and korina guitars at a time when they were attainable , that’s just not the case for me. I have some very nice vintage stuff but not on the Rick Nielsen level! The Theramin just got a tuneup and I have been messing with it a bit though!
Q: Similar to you being on Polygram, the Trick guys had their run with Epic and are now doing their own thing; they’ve indicated that a lot of the glory of being on Epic was a total facade. They even mentioned it directly on their performance on Austin City Limits…What do you not miss about being involved with your major label friends, did you also find that the allure could be overrated at times?
A: Well I don’t put out my own and can’t put out my own music. Everything with the Guns now goes through Favored Nations Records which is run by Steve Vai. He is a very smart man who I trust very much with business decisions regarding recordings and music distribution.
Q: Time to rip off Stevie Rachelle and MetalSludge.tv
Rate the following geetar slingers, 1 being someone you would sic on Phil Lewis and 10 being someone you’d let sit in for you if you broke your wrist
Fast Eddie Clarke: 8.5, a beast
Rick Nielsen: 8.5, a LOVABLE beast
CC Deville: 9, outside of Poison. I don’t think he cares much about the way he plays in poison,,, he gets it and just goes all crazy in that band… I don’t even know how to rate him within the confines of Poison.
Vinnie Vincent: (be kind as I idolize him): I just don’t get it, don’t hold it against me!!!
Andy Taylor: I don’t know, never heard him actually play
Jimi Hendrix: 11, phuuck, c’mon man, that’s daddy!
Kirk Hammett: 9, sometimes the vibrato sounds odd to me….. He is the lead guitar player in Metallica he rules!
Tracii Guns: my ego won’t let me answer this question in fear that I will talk shit about myself after I read it.
Zakk Wylde: 9.5, a sick guitar player
Jim Martin: 8, very beastlike
Q: Tell us the last time Tracii Guns
Had to break up a fight,
I don’t remember
Had to cancel a show
Awwwww late last November or early December in England due to bad weather
Had to explain to an old person what you do for a living,
Hahahahahahahahaha……. I don’t tell people what I do for a living if they don’t already know.
Saw a band in concert that was under 30 and actually shredded,
I liked a band Dirty Penny.
Had to push someone off your stage,
I don’t mind people onstage.
Thought about putting down a guitar in favor of either playing another instrument since you’re clearly mastered guitar,
Well I am pretty good at the pentatonics of it all but, I feel I still have a long way to go on the guitar John.
Had to be a dick to someone just to keep your own sanity,
Hmmmmmm. I need to learn more about how to be a dick so I can actually start figuring out what sanity is.
Turned down a chance to play with some fellow Hollywood compadres and then had to suck it up and tour with them anyway in order to put asses in seats ( Ed. Note, this past summer’s Motley/Posion tour comes to mind),
Hahahahahahahaha,,,, I like 60s and 70s music personally and have buddies that are in heavier rock bands. I have my opinions about thatbut they are mine and I try to keep them to myself.
Told someone to chillax their drug/alcohol intake in order to be a pro,
All the fucking time!!!!! I am over alcoholics and drug addicts,,, and I am serious about that statement….. Every recovering addict has stuck me in the heart one way or another,,, I am over that personality type period, end of story,,, I have gone above and beyond for these types of people and I have only bad feelings about it.
Payed to see a show or buy a guitar,
Mmmmmmm… Last guitar was a present for my girl; a 64 silvertone w matching amp case only 400 bucks and minty condition.
Q: That’s it Tracii, okay so I lied it wasn’t totally quick or painless….is there anything else you wanna shout out to your peeps who crowd the stages calling you the devil of rock guitar?????
A: Check out the live shows! Let’s Rawk!
Whole Lotta Love