PAGAN with Crave Death, Blind Girls & Masochist. Crowbar, Brisbane Saturday 18 August, 2018 At 8pm on a Saturday …
“LA Guns are ready to tear it up!” Promising words from Tracii Guns, founder, guitarist and all-round legend of LA Guns.
As he touches down in Australia for a whirlwind run of shows with the “classic” lineup of the Hollywood glam rockers, this is the first time the country will see LA Guns performing with collaborator and lead singer Phil Lewis, the two reunited and sharing a stage for the first time in nearly 15 years.
LA Guns are a fiery blend of cracking tunes (including Sex Action, Never Enough, Electric Gypsy and The Ballad Of Jayne and last year’s album The Missing Peace), multiple line-ups and their fair share of issues—we’re not even going to try and attempt to assess the band’s colourful history. Guns as a topic of conversation alone is a menagerie of experience, insight and laughs. He’s brushed shoulders with some of the biggest artists out there, and the music Guns has released has had a big impact on the people who started out on the LA scene when he did. “I’ve been really lucky more than anything,” he says, “It’s not even so much about getting in there and playing as the things you learn from other people, the communication, the chemistry.
“Being in LA Guns since I was 17 years old, I’ve been around guys I taught how to play, all kinds, I’ve been lucky to meet a lot of people. I would eventually get phone calls, ‘Hey you wanna do this, you wanna do that,’ I used to say yes to everything! It’s what you take away from it.
The only thing we regret is that we’re not going to live until we’re 150! Man, you know, we could have 30 more records!
[ Tracii Guns ]
“An interesting experience was when I got together with [drummer] Rikki Rockett from Poison—it was very different from what I would normally do–I had to write accordingly to the style of other people in the band and had a vocalist that was different from what I was used to, who really didn’t have that LA attitude, but it ended up really good! That’s one of the things I really like. It was one of the first things I was involved with with Poison and producing. I really enjoyed that.
“Of course Rikki got cancer and scared the shit out of everybody, now everything’s fine … It is LA [music], a different sort of music with different people. People often use the word chemistry when they talk about rock bands but it really is what it comes down to–chemistry.”
Funny that. Phil Lewis has also recently been quoted as saying that chemistry is key to music, especially for him and Guns. “When we got back together and rehearsed for the first time and I heard that voice, I was like, ‘Oh, I remember this! This is great! That’s why I’m so excited to take to the stages together again.”
Despite their ups and downs over the years, LA Guns isn’t itself without Guns and Lewis sharing a stage. For Guns, playing with Lewis is the most natural thing in the world. “It was like no time had passed, we have such a unique sound. It’s almost like, after the amount of tours we did over years, and years, and year, we’ve kind of become one person. Not the same person, but one person.
“The only thing I expected from him to be there [on stage] is that it’s good, and I can definitely tell that [playing] together, it’s our musical home. Nothing comes close to feeling as good as when I’m playing with Phil.”
Some 25 years into his career and Guns is not only enjoying reunions and revivals with LA Guns, but a whole lot of firsts, too. In performing in Australia for the first time with Lewis, it’s like the audience will be witness to music history, a concept that, Guns agrees, will give the band’s biggest hits a new lease of life. “It’s funny, Phil wants to do the heavier stuff but I like to do the more melodic stuff.
“The only thing we regret is that we’re not going to live until we’re 150! Man, you know, we could have 30 more records!”
Catch LA Guns at the following dates:
Thursday 17th May //Woolly Mammoth // Brisbane
Friday 18th May //Max Watt’s, //Melbourne
Saturday 19th May //Max Watt’s // Sydney
Wednesday 23rd May //Rosemount Hotel // Perth