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L.A. Guns

L.A. Guns in concert, 2008
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, USA
Genres Hard rock, glam metal
Years active 1986–present
Labels Polydor, Spitfire, Vertigo, Shrapnel, Sanctuary, CMC International, Black City, Favored Nations
Associated acts Hollywood Rose, Guns N' Roses, Girl, Brides of Destruction, W.A.S.P., Contraband, Love/Hate, Ratt, Adler's Appetite, Beautiful Creatures
Website Phil Lewis' L.A. Guns
Tracii Guns' L.A. Guns
Phil Lewis
Stacey Blades
Kenny Kweens
Steve Riley

Jizzy Pearl
Tracii Guns
Jeremy Guns
Chad Stewart

Former members
see L.A. Guns Band Members

L.A. Guns is a name used by two American glam metal bands whose music is frequently associated with the L.A. glam metal scene which grew up around the Sunset Strip in the 1980s, in particular the sleaze rock subgenre. Three members of the first L.A. Guns lineup, including founder Tracii Guns, were involved in the formation of the first incarnation of Guns N' Roses. L.A. Guns merged with fellow L.A. group Hollywood Rose, but they soon all left the group.

L.A. Guns were then reformed by singer Paul Black initially under a different moniker until Tracii joined the band. The lineup changed to what is now known as the classic lineup with Phil Lewis on vocals, Tracii Guns on lead guitar, Mick Cripps on rhythm guitar, Kelly Nickels on bass and Steve Riley on drums releasing three moderately successful albums. During the early 90's the group were dropped from their label and several members left the group with the band going through numerous lineup changes afterwards. In 1999 the classic lineup reunited for a reunion tour and later began recording new material.

In 2002 Tracii left the group forming Brides of Destruction with Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx. The remaining members decided to continue on without Tracii, adding guitarist Stacey Blades and releasing new material on the album Tales from the Strip. After Tracii put the Brides on hiatus he formed a solo band he eventually renamed L.A. Guns. Both bands continue to tour under the L.A. Guns moniker.



Formation (1983-1984)

The very first lineup up L.A. Guns was formed by Tracii 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.[1][2]

Guns N' Roses, Reformation (1985-1987)

In 1985 Tracii and Rose decided to merge both L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose together to form a new group. Rose named the band Guns N' Roses combining the two names of the bands with the lineup featuring Axl Rose on vocals, Tracii Guns on lead guitar, Izzy Stradlin on rhythm guitar, Ole Beich on bass and Rob Gardner drums.[3] A short time later, bassist Ole Beich was fired, and replaced by Duff McKagan, then Tracii was replaced by Slash and drummer Rob Gardner quit and was replaced by Slash's close friend Steven Adler.[4] Singer Paul Black reformed L.A. Guns, recruiting ex-Dogs D'Amour singer Robert Stoddard to be the new guitarist with the group being rounded up by Nickey "Beat" Alexander on drums and Mick Cripps on bass. The group initially were to be called Faster Pussycat but later re-adopted the name L.A. Guns after Tracii Guns returned to the band. A record deal with Polygram Records[5] was secured after Paul introduced a song called "Love and Hate." The label wanted this to be the first single, however, 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 joing the group.

Debut album, Classic lineup (1988-1995)

L.A. Guns recorded their eponymous first album that was released in 1988 on Vertigo Records, charting at number 50 on the Billboard 200. The gold award debut album spawned the singles One More Reason and Sex Action which were both written by previous frontman Paul Black who had contributed most of the albums lyrics. 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[6]. It contained the smash radio and video hits Never Enough and The Ballad of Jayne, which peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100, which helped the album reach gold, and eventually platinum status. This was the commercial peak of their career. The band also released two home videos coinciding with these two albums, One More Reason (1989) and Love, Peace, & Geese (1990) and participated in worldwide touring as headliners and as support for such acts as AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, and Ted Nugent. During 1991, the band released their third album Hollywood Vampires on Polydor Records. The album did re-achieve the gold status of Cocked & Loaded and their debut album and did spawn a few hits such as Kiss My Love Goodbye and It's Over Now, with the former charting at number 16 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. It would be 3 years before they released their 4th album after the rise in popularity of the Seattle grunge scene. In 1993, their debut album reached gold status. Tracii Guns participated in the supergroup Contraband the same year.[7] 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.[8]

Lineup changes (1995-1999)

July 1995 saw Tracii Guns 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 was asked to switch to the bass to avoid having to seek out and deal with yet another member. In 1996, the new L.A. Guns released their fifth record, titled American Hardcore. This new album built on the heavy music from Vicious Circle and projected a darker image for the band. They toured throughout 1996 and into 1997 when Tracii let Chris go in hopes of regaining Phil Lewis and the band's former glory. Phil refused, and so Chris 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 Lesté from 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 released Shrinking Violet, produced by former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke. This release was followed shortly by Crypt's departure.

Reunion (1999-2002)

Tracii and Steve had been talking with their former bandmates, Phil, Mick, and Kelly about a reunion album and tour. When Johnny found out about the reunion he left on February 6, 1999. The reunion album Greatest Hits and Black Beauties was released on Deadline Records around the same time as Shrinking Violet.

As of September 1, 1999, Jizzy and Chuck were fired from the band as 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 dropped off in August due to booking problems.

In August 2000, L.A. Guns re-recorded and re-released Cocked & Loaded retitled Cocked & Re-Loaded on Deadline Records. 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. Mick played keyboards on the album, but did not tour to support it. Muddy later left the band after a short promo tour for Man In The Moon. He was replaced by Adam Hamilton for the winter of 2002 Man In The Moon club tour.

Tracii Departs, Brides of Destruction (2002-2005)

Despite signing a deal Spitfire Records, Tracii Guns left L.A. Guns, during the recording of a new album,[9] to form Brides of Destruction with Nikki Sixx, initially with the name Cockstar, after Mötley Crüe went on hiatus. 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[10] and was the first album featuring Tracii to chart since Hollywood Vampires in 1991. Nikki Sixx would leave the group in October 2004. 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 positve reviews from critics and fans.[11] The album features OK, Let's Roll - dedicated to Todd Beamer and the people who rushed the cockpit of Flight 93 during the events of September 11, 2001 attacks.

Phil Lewis' L.A. Guns (2002-present)

The future of L.A. Guns was in doubt until both Steve Riley and Phil Lewis told the Hairball John Radio Show that the band would continue despite Tracii Guns' involvement in Brides of Destruction. They had gone through several guitarists since Tracii Guns departed in October 2002. With a new guitarist named Stacey Blades, L.A. Guns released the covers album Rips the Covers Off. The band recorded and released Tales from the Strip in August 2005. It is the only U.S. released L.A. Guns album not to feature Tracii Guns (there was also a Japan-only live album released in 1992).[12]

On August 29, 2006, Phil Lewis' L.A. Guns released Loud and Dangerous: Live from Hollywood, a live compilation featuring the bands current line up, including a DVD of some recent live tracks as part of the package.

On January 2, 2007, Phil Lewis' L.A. Guns released a cover of the song "Crazy Bitch" - originally by fellow L.A. sleaze rockers Buckcherry. As of March 2007, bassist Adam Hamilton has been replaced by Scott Griffin.

On July 5, 2009 former Beautiful Creatures bassist Kenny Kweens joined L.A. Guns to replace the departed Scott Griffin but still played with BC at the 3rd annual Rocklahoma.[13][14]

Tracii Guns' L.A. Guns (2005-present)

In 2005 a remastered set of demos, which were recorded around the time L.A. Guns wrote their first album (before Phil Lewis joined) was released, featuring Paul Black on vocals. The album was called Black List. The album featured much of the same material as the band's first two studio albums, which Paul Black had a considerable role in writing before being dismissed from the band. This was surprising to many L.A. Guns fans since Black was denied credit on the first two albums and the information was never made public until the Black List release.

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.[15][16] With The Tracii Guns Band touring, this put Brides of Destruction on indefinite hiatus in 2006. Eventually The Tracii Guns Bands would became the second L.A. Guns. Drummer Chad Stewart eventually joined the group replacing Nickey Alexander.

In an odd twist on October 10, 2006, Phil Lewis joined Paul Black and Tracii Guns onstage at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Cathouse, a Hollywood club run by Riki Rachtman and Taime Downe. The two frontmen dueted on the band's song "Rip and Tear".[17]

In December 2007, the Tracii Guns version of the band's dressing room was robbed during a show at McGuffy's in Dayton, OH. Items taken included wallets, "a Blackberry and a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey." [18]

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.[19] 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:

'We were hoping that we (Marty and I) would be touring this summer in support of our new record but no release date has been set so, we decided to do our own thing until that day comes and also that Big Al will not be on this LAG tour either and is looking forward to the record coming out. “

Ten years ago, Jizzy Pearl and I recorded an L.A. GUNS album called Shrinking Violet if you have never heard this record you can listen to 10 songs here, Enjoy the music and we will see you on tour!'[20]

In an interview in 2009, Tracii stated that L.A. Guns parted with Alexis Records and that he was unsure wither the material recorded with Marty Casey or the VH1 pilot will ever be released.

In February 2010, L.A. Guns announced they had signed a deal with Steve Vai's label, Favored Nations, to release a "Deluxe Reissue" of Shrinking Violet, the only L.A. Guns album to feature singer Jizzy Pearl, in the summer. The album will be repackaged with new artwork and five new live bonus tracks.[21]

Band members

Phil Lewis' L.A. Guns

Tracii Guns' L.A. Guns


Studio albums

Year Album US Certification
1988 "L.A. Guns" 50 Platinum
1989 "Cocked & Loaded" 38 Platinum
1991 "Hollywood Vampires" 42 Gold
1994 ""Vicious Circle" - -
1995 "American Hardcore" - -
1998 "Wasted" - -
1999 "Shrinking Violet" - -
2001 Man in the Moon" - -
2002 Waking the Dead" - -
2005 Tales From The Strip" - -

Live albums



Year Single Chart positions
US Hot 100 US Main Rock UK
1990 "The Ballad Of Jayne" 33 25 53
1991 "Kiss My Love Goodbye" - 16 -
"Some Lie For Love" - - 61
1992 "It's Over Now" 62 25 -

Music Videos

  • One Way Ticket - 1988
  • One More Reason - 1988
  • Sex Action - 1988
  • Electric Gypsy - 1988
  • Bitch is Back - 1988
  • Cry No More - 1988
  • Never Enough - 1989
  • The Ballad of Jayne - 1989
  • I Wanna Be Your Man - 1989
  • Rip and Tear - 1989
  • Malaria - 1989
  • Some Lie 4 Love - 1991
  • Kiss my Love Goodbye - 1991
  • Over The Edge - 1991
  • It's Over Now - 1992
  • Long Time Dead - 1994
  • Tie Your Mother Down - 2005


VHS Home Videos

  • One More Reason (1989)
  • Love, Peace & Geese (1991)


  • Hellraisers Ball (2005)
  • The Hollywood Years-Live and Loaded (2007)
  • Loud and Dangerous-Live From Hollywood (2007)

Closely related bands


  1. ^ L.A. Guns: Encyclopedia II - L.A. Guns - History
  2. ^ MusicMight :: Artists :: L.A. GUNS
  3. ^ Berelian (2005). The Rough Guides to Heavy Metal. Rough Guides. p. 143. ISBN 1-84353-415-0. 
  4. ^ Slash; Anthony Bozza, (2007). Slash. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0 00-725775-1. 
  5. ^ KNAC.COM - Features - Paul Black Interview
  6. ^ L.A. Guns @
  7. ^ "Biography by Doug Stone". Retrieved 18 January 2009. 
  8. ^ Rock Eyez - Interview with Steve Riley - Drummer (LA Guns,ex-WASP)Pt.1
  9. ^ L.A. GUNS Drummer Says TRACII GUNS' Departure Left Band's Album 'Dead In The Water' - Apr. 10, 2005
  10. ^ BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION Set North American Release Date For Debut Album - Dec. 2, 2003
  11. ^ allmusic ((( Waking the Dead > Overview )))
  12. ^ L.A.Guns Live! Vampires
  13. ^ Kenny Kweens Joins L.A. Guns «
  14. ^ L.A. GUNS Parts Ways With Bassist, Announces Replacement - July 5, 2009
  15. ^ QUIET RIOT: Guitarist TRACII GUNS Joins The Fold - Dec. 16, 2005
  16. ^ QUIET RIOT Part Ways With Guitarist TRACII GUNS - Jan. 13, 2006
  17. ^ L.A. Gunners Unite at Cathouse
  18. ^ "LA Guns Robbed at McGuffy's". Dayton Daily News. 2007-12-08. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  19. ^ The Bright Light of Possibility:An Interview with L.A. Guns' Marty Casey
  20. ^ Jizzy Pearl Rejoins L.A. Guns For Upcoming Summer Tour Icon vs. Icon
  21. ^ "L.A. GUNS: 'Shrinking Violet' Reissue Artwork Unveiled". Blabbermouth. Feb. 22, 2010. 

External links

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