Phil Lewis thinks Tracii Guns bolting to Brides of Destruction was ‘most outstanding piece of selfishness’

Phil Lewis thinks Tracii Guns bolting to Brides of Destruction was ‘most outstanding piece of selfishness’

L.A. Guns frontman Phil Lewis was recently interviewed by Chuck Shute for the Chuck Shute Podcast. Lewis was promoting L.A. Gunsupcoming studio album Checkered Past, which will be released via Frontiers Music Srl on November 12, 2021.

Back in December 2016, Lewis announced that he was leaving Steve Riley‘s version of L.A. Guns and continuing with guitarist Tracii Guns in the latter’s version of the group. This was after both had been apart from each other for about 15 years which was prompted when Guns left L.A. Guns to take part in Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx‘s new side project Brides of Destruction starting in 2002. Since reuniting as L.A. Guns in 2016, Lewis and Guns have released some great studio albums consisting of The Missing Peace, which finished at #1 on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2017 and The Devil You Know which landed the #9 spot on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2019.

Lewis noted that L.A. Guns‘ new album title Checkered Past was a reference to his relationship with Guns, which prompted Shute to ask whether the duo were friends now or just “totally totally professional.” Lewis replied (as provided by the Chuck Shute Podcast with editing from Sleaze Roxx): “Oh no, no, no. When I first joined the band, him and I, we were just fulsome buddies, the best friends you know you’ve ever had, the long lost transatlantic friends, and he was just so sweet. It really you know like did change my life, getting me over and given me the gig. But like most things, there’s a honeymoon period and that didn’t last very long at all and that’s okay [laughs]. We went from being great friends and we both had — we were on the same page with as far as the band was concerned but you know like just the way we were going about it. He wanted to be at times, I really felt like he wanted to be Slayer or Motörhead and I was like, ‘No, I don’t that’s not right for us.’ So our opinions did vary.

And we for the most part, we stayed friends but the thing was, in the big days, in the Cocked And Loaded multi-platinum days, there was a lot of outside pressure from management and publicists and even accountants. We became not so much a band but they were looking for a hit machine. There was Poison. There was Cinderella. They wanted us to to follow in the footsteps and get to that like multi [-platinum] Bon Jovi [level]. That Bon Jovi label signed us. The label that signed Cinderella — Polygram — signed us. They signed us because they liked our edge. They liked the rawness of it. And then it didn’t take too long before they wanted to smooth it out and they were like, ‘Write us a hit. Write us a power ballad.’ And that was all the thing at the time. And that drove a big wedge between Tracy and I’s friendship. There’s no doubt about it. And yeah, for a while because of that, we actually hated each other.

We recorded after Hollywood Vampires, like Vicious Circle, and all of that stuff, we were in the same studio but strictly at separate times, so that we wouldn’t have to encounter each other. It got that bad. Wow. And then when we did get back together, the first reunion, and we put Waking The Dead together, which I felt was fucking great! I was so happy that we found ourselves. The record before that — Man In The Moon — is a good record but it’s not really, typically L.A. Guns. I really felt like Waking The Dead, we’ve got our vibe, our groove back, and we were just getting ready to promote the record. And it was coming out and we had a tour lined up with Alice Cooper, and Tracii bolted. He fucked off. He decided he wanted to be in a band with Nikki Sixx and just focus on that. He fucked us. He fucked that record. It was the most astounding piece of selfishness I’ve ever encountered in my life and that was the beginning and the cause of the 15 years estrangement.”

You can listen to the interview with Phil Lewis on the Chuck Shute Podcast below:

L.A. Guns‘ “Get Along” video (from Checkered Past album):