L.A. Guns’ TRACII GUNS formed L.A. GUNS in 1983 initially with singer Axl Rose, bassist Ole Beich, and drummer Rob Gardner. Rose then left to form the band Hollywood Rose with childhood friend Izzy Stradlin and guitarist Chris Weber. Michael Jagosz was brought in as his replacement and the group recorded the EP Collector’s Edition No. 1 which would be the only release from the band with its current lineup and would be re–released as a bonus disc with compilation album Hollywood Raw.
Singer Paul Black reformed L.A. Guns, initially as Faster Pussycat, recruiting former Dogs D’Amour singer Robert Stoddardto be the new guitarist with the group being rounded up by Nickey “Beat” Alexander on drums and Mick Cripps on bass. Tracii joined the group a short time later. The groups lineup would change with Black being replaced by Girl frontman Phil Lewis, bassist Cripps switching to guitar, replacing Stoddard, and former Faster Pussycat bassist Kelly Nickels joining the group. L.A. Guns recorded their eponymous first album that was released in 1988 on Vertigo Records, charting at number 50 on the Billboard 200. On the first album’s supporting tour, Alexander was replaced by former W.A.S.P. drummer Steve Riley with the lineup being regarded as the Classic lineup of L.A. Guns. This lineup remained until 1992. In 1989, they released their second album Cocked & Loaded, which charted higher on the Billboard 200 at number 38. During 1991, the band released their third album Hollywood Vampires on Polydor Records. In 1994 they released their fourth album Vicious Circle, drummer Michael “Bones” Gershima played on parts of these recording as this was around the time Phil Lewis fired drummer Steve Riley in January 1992 after touring with Skid Row in support of Hollywood Vampires. Riley later returned to the band for the successful Vicious Circle club tour. After this, the L.A. Guns were dropped from Polygram (Vertigo/Polydor) Records. Phil Lewis and Mick Cripps then left the band.
July 1995 saw Tracii and Steve Riley recruit vocalist Chris Van Dahl and guitarist Johnny Crypt (ex-Ripper, aka Johnny Crystal) after seeing them perform with their band Boneyard. Six months into recording sessions, Kelly Nickels left the band and Johnny switched to the bass. In 1996, the new L.A. Guns released their fifth record, titled American Hardcore. They toured throughout 1996 and into 1997 where Tracii let Chris go and was replaced by singer Ralph Saenz. Tracii, Steve, Johnny, and Ralph toured for the remainder of ’97 and in early ’98 released the six song EP Wasted. Halfway through the band’s 1998 Rock Never Stops tour, Ralph quit to form his own band, leaving Tracii to do another singer change. Joe Lestéfrom Bang Tango and Jizzy Pearl from Love/Hate were considered as candidates. Lesté would last a week. Tracii and Steve picked Jizzy and quickly geared up to tour. L.A. Guns toured clubs with Jizzy in late 1998 and early 1999 when they releasedShrinking Violet, produced by former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke. This release was followed shortly by Crypt’s departure.
In September 1999, the classic lineup of Tracii Guns, Steve Riley, Phil Lewis, Kelly Nickels, and Mick Cripps prepared to reunite. L.A. Guns set out on the reunion tour in October 1999 and recorded a live album in their hometown of Hollywood, enlisting Gilby Clarke as producer. The album, named Live: A Night on the Strip, was released the following year. After the reunion, Mick and Kelly couldn’t commit to the summer 2000 tour, so they were replaced by guitarist Brent Muscat and bassist Muddy, respectively. Ratt and L.A. Guns teamed up with Warrant for a remainder-of-the-summer tour, which L.A. Guns opened. Mick Cripps again rejoined the band briefly in late 2000 to record an album with the band, entitled Man in the Moon, which was released on Spitfire Records in April 2001. L.A. Guns released the album Waking the Dead, the last album to feature Tracii Guns, in August, 2002, produced by Andy Johns, to mainly positive reviews from critics and fans.
In 2006, Tracii announced he was to perform a ‘Best Of” tour with former L.A. Guns members Paul Black on vocals, Nickey Alexander on drums and former Brides live member Jeremy Guns rounding up the lineup on bass following a brief stint with Quiet Riot. Eventually The Tracii Guns Bands would became the second L.A. Guns. Drummer Chad Stewart eventually joined the group replacing Nickey Alexander. On March 4, 2008, Tracii Guns’ L.A. Guns was announced as one of the acts of the second Rocklahoma festival.
In 2008, Tracii Guns’ L.A. Guns signed a deal with Alexis Records and began working on material for a new album with producer Steve Thompson. Singer Marty Casey, of Lovehammers, was asked to co-write some songs with the band by bassist Jeremy Guns. Eventually Paul Black left the group and Marty was asked to replace him. They finished recording the album and set a release date for March, 2009. The group toured through 2008 and early 2009 and also recorded a pilot for VH1. While waiting for a release date to be set for the new album, as well as deciding on a new name for the band, Marty Casey returned to Lovehammers releasing new album Heavy Crown. Jizzy Pearl returned to front L.A. Guns for a summer tour while guitarist Alec Bauer departed the band.
Guns N’ Roses
Main articles: Guns N’ Roses and Hollywood Rose
In 1985 Tracii and Axl Rose decided to merge their groups L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose to form a new group. Rose named the band Guns N’ Roses combining the two names of the bands. The lineup featured Axl Rose on vocals, Tracii on lead guitar, Izzy Stradlin on rhythm guitar, Ole Beich on bass and Rob Gardner on drums. Tracii had been trying to recruit Rose and Stradlin into a group before. However, Tracii, as well as the other former L.A. Guns members Ole Beich and Rob Gardner, departed the group and were replaced by Slash, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler.
Contraband was a short-lived supergroup/side project that included vocalist Richard Black, of Shark Island, guitarist Michael Schenker, of Scorpions, UFO and Michael Schenker Group, bassist Share Pedersen, of Vixen, drummer Bobby Blotzer, ofRatt, and Tracii taking up the second guitar role. They released one self-titled album in 1991 which received lukewarm reviews. The album was a commercial failure and the band disbanded shortly after, while touring with Ratt.
Brides of Destruction (2002–2005)
Despite signing a deal Spitfire Records, Tracii Guns left L.A. Guns during the recording of a new album, to form Brides of Destruction with Nikki Sixx, initially with the name Cockstar, after Mötley Crüe went on hiatus. After a number of changes, the lineup was rounded off with singer London LeGrand and drummer Scot Coogan. They released Here Come The Brides, which charted at number 92 on the Billboard 200, in 2004 and was the first album featuring Tracii to chart since Hollywood Vampires in 1991. Nikki Sixx would leave the group in October 2004. Initially Tracii was to form a new band with the remaining Brides members and also offered his services to Axl Rose in a bid to join Guns N’ Roses. Eventually he continued with the Brides and Scott Sorry formerly of Amen was chosen as Sixx’s replacement. Ginger of The Wildheartswas added as the band’s second guitarist. The band then started writing for what would become Runaway Brides but soon after, Ginger departed the Brides. The follow-up to Here Come the Brides, Runaway Brides, was produced by Andy Johns who had previously worked with Tracii on the L.A. Guns album Waking the Dead. Three of the songs of the album were cowritten by Nikki Sixx having been written during the Here Come the Bride sessions with former guitarist Ginger also contributing writing on 3 tracks prior to leaving. The album saw a change in a style with it leaning towards a heavy metalsound in contrast with the hard rock/post-grunge sound of the first album. “Dimes in Heaven” was written as a tribute to recently deceased Pantera and Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell. After signing a new deal with Shrapnel Records, the album was released in Europe on September 13 and on September 27 in the US. A video was shot for “White Trash” but both the album and the single failed to chart. With the formation of The Tracii Guns Band, later the second L.A. Guns, the Brides were put on indefinite hiatus.
In 1999, Tracii played a show in Hollywood, California with former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, who produced the L.A. Guns album Shrinking Violet in the same year, as part of his solo band with the performance being released the same year as 99 Live. In 2002, Tracii contributed guitars the Clarke’s solo album Swag with some of these tracks appearing on the 2007 compilation album Gilby Clarke. Also in 1999, Tracii released his debut album Killing Machine, which was later re-released in 2004 with the new title of All Eyes are Watchin’.
Tracii was also in Poison for a short time in early 2000, when C.C. Deville departed the band for a month over a dispute over his new band opening for Poison that summer. Tracii joined Quiet Riot in December 2005, a move that was to be short lived after he parted ways less than a month later.
In 2004, Tracii featured on the album The Roots of Guns N’ Roses, the album featuring the original demos by Hollywood Rose, on tracks remixed by Gilby Clarke.
In 2012, Guns worked with Italian producer Pietro Foresti on the song “America Dreaming” with Italian band J27.
In 2013, Guns joined the band of the production “Raiding The Rock Vault” at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
2014 with Devil City Angels, featuring Brandon Gibbs (Cheap Thrills) vocals, Ricki Rocket (Poison) drums & Eric Brittingham (Cinderella) Bass.
In 2015 L.A. GUNS TRACII GUNS RETURNED TO THE LIVE STAGE TO PERFORM A CAREER RETROSPECTIVE PLAYING THE HITS OF HIS CAREER FROM L.A. GUNS, BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION, CONTRABAND, DEVIL CITY ANGELES AND MORE!