The Metal Voice recently spoke to guitarist Tracii Guns from L.A. Guns.
In the chat Tracii Guns talks about the bands upcoming new studio album ‘Black Diamonds the early days of Guns n’ Roses and narrating the recent Randy Rhoads documentary (Randy Rhoads: Reflection of a Guitar Icon)
Black Diamonds will be released April 14, 2023 via Frontiers Music SRL.
When asked what they did differently on the new album ‘Black Diamonds’ compared to their last album ‘Checkered Past’
“It’s always such a mysterious question to me too, you just kind of gotta go with whatever comes out. L.A. Guns aren’t specific, like some things that I do which are very specific. I can focus on a sound or a Vibe or something like that. But L.A. Guns is kind of all over the place and it always has been. So it’s like the playground, the giant sandbox where all the other kids left all their toys in it and you get to play with these trucks, these balls, these Jacks, these shovels, that kind of thing. So I really don’t put much as far as musical limitations with L.A. Guns. So there could be some extreme metal and Reggae on the same album. As long as Phil (Lewis) sings, it sounds like L.A. Guns, that’s kind of my rule of thumb.”
When asked how long he was a member of Guns n’ Roses in the early years
A year. Axel (Rose) was singing for L.A. Guns, we did a gig, there was a big throwdown with our manager. Based on a big throwdown with another band we played with that night. Our manager fired Axl but we all lived together. We sat on the couch and decided what we were going to do next and it was Guns n’ Roses. That’s all we did, we just changed the name and we added Izzy.
When asked if they were rehearsing the early Guns n’ Roses material that we know today
“We were playing them in L.A. Guns, a lot of those songs. Songs like ‘Don’t cry’ , ‘Anything goes’ , ‘Think about you’ a bunch of them.”
When asked if he helped in the arrangements and compositions of the early Guns n Roses songs
“Yeah some of them because me and Izzy lived together so by the time we had Guns n Roses, when basically he joined LA Guns. Izzy had some of those songs that they had played in Hollywood Rose. Because earlier Izzy and Axl were in a band called Hollywood Rose and when Slash was in Hollywood Rose they wrote ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. But for some reason when we got together as Guns N’ Roses we didn’t play ‘Welcome in the jungle’ I don’t know why. I don’t remember but that was always a favorite song of mine that they had. When I was in the band (Guns N Roses) we were heavier than what people know as Guns n’ Roses now. It wasn’t as blues-based, it was a little bit more metal. So more Straight Ahead, more L.A. Guns-ish really.”
When asked about his experience narrating the Randy Rhoads documentary (Randy Rhoads: Reflection of a Guitar Icon) that was released two years ago
“All the feedback that I’ve gotten from it is, people are just grateful that it exists. The Quiet Riot years, a lot of people didn’t understand them or they didn’t know about them at all. How I got involved was Andre Relis the director contacted me and I got really nervous because I’m really good friends with Randy’s brother and sister. And we have always said that we would never do anything to do with Randy (Rhoads) unless it made sense and somebody else wasn’t gonna make money off it, like it wasn’t a cash grab kind of thing. So I talked to Andre about, what does Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne say? What does Kathy (Rhoads) say? Are they all against it? I’m like those are my people and I really shouldn’t do this without their approval. And he (Andre Relis) said well I understand your thing but I’m doing it anyway there’s nothing legally binding that says I can’t do it. I had to think about it at that point because I knew that if I didn’t do it they would just get anybody to do the narration and then it would be a big sore spot forever. So I agreed to do it after I saw the documentary and I read the script, it was really put in a positive light and it was very truthful. And it turned out great and Kathy (Rhoads) hit me and up and goes I can’t believe you did this. I didn’t answer her for a couple days because I really had to process the reason that I did it. Why is it a positive thing? Why is it a good thing? Why does it make sense now? And I told her why I did it. I wanted to tell her after I had done it and explain those reasons but she found out before it was actually made public. So ultimately she agreed with me. You know she said well it is good that it’s you and I wish you had run it by me. And I said oh I didn’t run it by you because you would have talked me out of it and then somebody else would have done it, it was gonna get done. So I think that at the end of the day it’s been out for two years now um I think that it was very successful, number one but I think that we all feel good about it you know and it leaves a lot of room for the Ozzy years. Because an Ozzy documentary about Randy would be a full 90 minutes on its own. There’s footage there you know a lot of people say there’s no footage of Randy but there’s a lot of footage of Randy (unseen). I haven’t seen it but I know that type of footage has been collected over the years. A lot of it’s VHS quality, a lot of it’s bootleg.”