Tracii Guns opines very little of his overall vision for L.A. Guns came into play until after the first 4 records
L.A. Guns founder and lead guitarist Tracii Guns was recently interviewed by Matt Wake for Alabama’s AL.
Guns was asked what’s a way that he has evolved for getting along with other musicians in L.A. Guns given the group’s line-up changes over the years. Guns was also given the proposition that being in a band is like being married to four ugly chicks.
The guitarist replied: “Right. And it is. The thing is, when I started I had exactly that mentality: Led Zeppelin, four guys; Aerosmith, five guys. That’s the way it is. But we weren’t put together in the late ’60s, early ’70s, you know? For me, I was really at least six years younger than the next guy in age, so it’s my band, I put a band together with all these older guys, and the older guys had different ideas and different manipulation tactics and control issues and things like that.
So, very little of my overall vision for L.A. Guns really came into play until after our first four records. And then through the process of playing with different people, like you said, improvements. That’s likely why our newer records are really critically looked at because of the players. Almost every great guy you’d want to play with, I’ve played with, so inserting new members into this band, especially drums and bass, I’m just used to a different standard now. Of guys that are virtuosos, they can sing, they understand music.
For me I’ve always benefited from the bad relationships and bravado of a subpar musician because a subpar musician, they make up for it by being a–holes. [Laughs] It’s like, yeah, I believe you’re the greatest drummer in the world. Yes, because you’re telling me over and over again. Until I went and played with another drummers. There’s only so much of that in your life that you can handle and then you’ve got to walk away.
So, when inserting new players in a band like L.A. Guns, the first requirement is like, “Are you better than the last guy? The second requirement, “Can I live with you? Are you nice? Are you sensible? Are you smart? Are you humble? Do you have a good sense of humor?” And those are the types of things that make a marriage to four ugly guys bearable. You all get along and you’re on a mission. And finally at 50 years old, I’m 53 now, I could take control of my band and do exactly what I’ve always felt the band needed to do musically and the way we conduct our business. And we’re very successful now and I’m very happy.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Tracii Guns at AL‘s website.
Interestingly, L.A. Guns‘ first four albums — L.A. Guns (1988), Cocked & Loaded (1989), Hollywood Vampires (1991) and Vicious Circle (1994) — are widely regarded as some of the band’s best records. In addition, those first four albums still figure prominently in the L.A. Guns‘ version featuring Guns and lead vocalist Phil Lewis since eight of the 13 songs played at the group’s tour stop at the Beacon Theatre in Hopewell, Virginia, USA on April 18, 2019 came from those first four L.A. Guns records.