Cameron Edney - http://insideout666.mysite.freeserve.com
Tracii Guns has been rockin' stages with his unique style of guitar
playing around the world now for more than twenty years. Tracii shot
to the top in the eighties with his band L.A. Guns. The debut album
spawned the singles “One More Reason” and “Sex Action”
along with many other LA Guns classics. In 1989, they released their
second album, titled ‘Cocked & Loaded’ which contained
my all time favorite L.A. Guns track “The Ballad of Jayne”
the album sold over one million copies and was undoubtedly the commercial
peak of their career. A couple of years back Guns formed Brides of
Destruction and fans welcomed the debut album ‘Here Comes the
Brides’ with open arms. The success of ‘Here Comes the
Brides’ led the band to embark on a world tour & proved
that fans around the world were hungry for more. Tracii has powered
on despite the departure of former Brides/Mötley Crüe bass
player and long time friend Nikki Sixx to release the second Brides
album ‘Runaway Brides’ which is due to hit stores on the
27th of September. It’s sure to impress fans that have followed
Tracii’s career. With a mix of Blues, Punk & high energy
Rock n Roll the new album is guaranteed to rock your socks off. With
tracks such as ‘Never Say Never’, ‘Tunnel Of Love’
& the first single ‘White Trash’ the new album will
set standards for many bands to live up to. Being a long time fan
of Tracii’s work I was thrilled to have the opportunity to recently
call Tracii at home to discuss the new album, life on the road, tattoos,
guitars, those early days in L.A. Guns among many other things.
Let the destruction begin!
Metal Fanatix: Hi Tracii how’s things going mate?
Tracii Guns: Very well, what time is it over there?
Metal Fanatix: Ahh it’s just after 5:30 am.
Tracii Guns: Wow, good morning.
Metal Fanatix: Yeah it’s nice & early here
mate, freezing cold too.
Tracii Guns: Actually it’s cold where we live.
We live near the ocean but yesterday it was so hot.
Metal Fanatix: Its summer over there isn’t
Tracii Guns: Yeah & last year at this time we
were in Australia. It was one hundred degrees when we left Japan &
by the time we got to Australia & got off the plane in Melbourne,
it was like ice in the wind [laughs]. We all had shorts on, it was
Metal Fanatix: Let’s start with the new album
‘Runaway Brides’ which is due out soon!
Tracii Guns: Yeah it comes out on the 27th of September
& I think the date is the same there in Australia.
Metal Fanatix: It’s unusual to have it released
here the same day as the rest of the world. I mean sometimes we can
wait up to three weeks after an album is released in the United States.
Tracii Guns: Well it’s lucky if you can do
it, the countries that put it out first make the most money &
everybody else that wants it orders it on import & pays twice
Metal Fanatix: When you prepare to do a new album
such as “Runaway Brides”, what comes first the lyrics
or the music?
Tracii Guns: Music always comes first in everything
that I’ve been involved with. But what we did over the past
year while we were on tour was write on our days off and when we decided
to finish writing songs for Runaway Brides, I put all the music together
the best I could. Then London had all the music for about a month.
He basically started writing stories to all the different pieces of
music & when he felt that he was at a place where he wanted us
to work on it with him, he bought it back in & we turned all those
stories into more of a song format. That was a little different. It
was something new for me doing it that way. It’s a little bit
more artistic in the end.
Metal Fanatix: Awesome I’m looking forward
to hearing it.
Tracii Guns: Oh you don’t have it yet?
Metal Fanatix: No not yet [laughs]. At this stage
no advance copies have been my way. I’m one of the unfortunate
Tracii Guns: Yeah we’re being over-protective,
we’re not going to let anybody have the record. Everybody’s
just gonna have to take our word for it [laughs]. You can’t
get it anywhere yet, but it’s great.
Metal Fanatix: Now you guys shot the first video
yesterday, what will be the first single & what can you tell us
about the clip?
Tracii Guns: It’s called ‘White Trash’.
It’s pretty much like the most popular fashion style in America
right now, moustaches, corduroy pants, mullets all the fun stuff that
everyone was throwing tomatoes at people in the seventies for wearing,
now its very hip.
Metal Fanatix: When can we expect to see the video
on our screens?
Tracii Guns: Well the video will be finished getting
edited in about two weeks, for some reason it’s taking a little
longer than usual. As soon as that’s done it goes to MTV so
I would say end of the first week of September.
Metal Fanatix: Andy Johns has produced the new album.
Andy is someone that who you have worked with in the past. Why was
Andy the right choice for this album?
Tracii Guns: He’s just the person that I trusted
the most from an audio point of view. Not so much with the arranging
of the songs. Having the confidence of knowing he was the guy who
recorded John Bonham’s drums. If you want the best sound ever
you have to go right to the source & that was pretty much his
involvement with the record. Making sure we had a massive amount of
bottom end on the drums & things like that. He’s great.
He’s like your drinking buddy [laughs].
Metal Fanatix: What guitars did you use on the new
album? Did you pull out some vintage guitars that you have kept stored
Tracii Guns: Yeah I used a fifties Les Paul custom
on most of the stuff. I also used a Strat, a newer Strat. I had a
million guitars in there but I used the Strat & the Les Paul in
just about everything. There were a lot of different amp choices,
I was working with a pro tools plug-in which is like an amplifier
stimulator. The possibilities with something like that are just endless.
Metal Fanatix: How would you describe your guitar
playing on the new album?
Tracii Guns: The new album’s cool because
I was able to play what people would consider to be an old Tracii
Guns style on some of the songs like ‘Down in the City’
& bluesy rock from really early L.A. Guns stuff & there’s
other things that’s really modern guitar wise, where I tracked
one guitar with an octave low harmony on it & it plays through
the whole song. There’s something for any fan from any stage
of the records I have done, its not one dimensional. I don’t
want to call it progressive but its progressive from one song to the
next. I think it’s gonna be great for Tracii Guns fans.
Metal Fanatix: Do you guys have any plans in the
works to release a DVD?
Tracii Guns: Actually it’s funny that you
mention that, we just started making plans within the last few days.
We’re going to hopefully do at least 3 videos for this album.
We have tons of live footage & tons of the making of this record
on film so we’re hoping that by the end of next summer here
that it will be out and it will run for about two hours.
Metal Fanatix: After all these years of writing &
recording how do you constantly come up with new fresh sounding material
without falling into the trap a lot of other bands do by repeating
Tracii Guns: When I was younger I would have told
you it was my genius, but now I don’t believe that for a second.
Music just comes out of you, it flows through, it’s weird. If
you think about it intellectually, how does someone come up with two
hundred riffs over their life time? There are only twelve notes. I
don’t really know where it comes from but I know when I’m
getting into an area that’s a little to reminiscent, so I’ll
wait a day & something new will come through me. It depends a
lot on what I’ve been listening to. If I listen to classic rock
for a year it’s going to be bluesy or if I listen to metal for
a year it’s going to be heavier. I just go with it. I don’t
try to pre-plan anything.
Metal Fanatix: Now how are things between you &
Nikki now? Are you guys talking?
Tracii Guns: Yeah we’re talking & I think
things have been pretty much smoothed over. He’s doin' his thing
& is really happy. Financially he’s doing exactly what he
needs to do. I think everybody’s happy right now.
Metal Fanatix: When the Mötley Crüe tour
is over will Nikki be returning to Brides?
Tracii Guns: I don’t know. I think he’d
like to because he’ll get home & he’ll get bored.
We will see when the time comes, of course I’m not gonna say
never, we’re open to it.
Metal Fanatix: I would like to talk to you a little
about touring! Is life on the road still as crazy now as it was in
Tracii Guns: It can be. It can be crazier. It’s
not popular to be an outlaw anymore, so if you get into some trouble
now you really get into trouble. In the old days you could pretty
much walk into anywhere in the states with a joint in your mouth &
a copper would say “oh you’re a rock star”, now
going from state to state if you get caught with a valium in your
pocket you go to jail overnight. It’s a little bit different
but just as much fun.
Metal Fanatix: What is the most ridiculous thing
you have ever asked for on a tour rider?
Tracii Guns: I don’t know if I’ve ever
had that much time on my hands to think about it. Socks are pretty
stupid but you’ve got to have them. I always put those on the
rider. I think once we asked for a variety of hot dogs, those hot
dogs that have the tough skin on them. You bite in & it’s
disgusting. Even in L.A. Guns, we would walk into a dressing room
and all the stuff would be there. Everybody would drink all the beer
& eat a couple of carrot sticks then basically somebody else would
get it. I don’t think we have ever paid that much attention
as long as there’s alcohol [laughs].
Metal Fanatix: What was your first experience playing
outside the USA like?
Tracii Guns: Wow lets see. The first place was Japan.
I had a stomach ache at the airport before we started flying. I was
so nervous. But when we got there, it was so much like the United
States but with short people. It was a brand new thing & it was
so exciting. It makes you want to go to different places & that’s
what I like about it now. I have never played in Africa, I’ve
never played in Indonesia, never played in a couple of places but
now I really want to go to those places. The first time was magic.
Metal Fanatix: As you said earlier, this time last
year you were here in Australia. Do you have any plans in the pipeline
to tour again soon?
Guns: We’re definitely coming back to Australia yes.
We have a licensing deal down there for the record & that has
enabled us to go down there. We’re actually contracted by the
label in Australia. We have to play there, so not only do we want
to but we have to go play. That’s not going to happen until
the end of your summer I guess. We have forty two dates in the states
starting at the end of September & then the week after we go to
Europe for twenty one days, then Christmas & January off &
then Japan Australia & South America in that order.
Metal Fanatix: So you will be here roughly at the
end of February, that’s a great time to be wearing shorts here
Tracii Guns: It’s that hot then?
Metal Fanatix: Yeah February is one of the hottest
months here in Australia.
Tracii Guns: I hope these places have air conditioning
Metal Fanatix: Over the years you have shared the
stage with so many great bands. Who have you enjoyed touring with
the most & could you share a funny road story with us from the
Tracii Guns: : I really enjoy touring period! I had
another band called Killing Machine, we went out on tour which was
only fifteen shows & we went out in a really old motor home. That
had to be the most fun. I didn’t have to do radio at nine in
the morning everyday. It was me & a bunch of friends. The singer
was my tattoo artist. My girlfriend would fly in & we would sleep
in a hammock above the bed the band were sleeping in [laughs]. I like
that stuff that’s really fun, I like the camping experience.
Metal Fanatix: Going way back to when you recorded
the first L.A. Guns album, if someone had come up to you & told
you that you would still be doing this all these years later would
you have believed them?
Tracii Guns: Oh yeah, I defiantly threw pennies
in the wishing well during my youth hoping that this was going to
be my life. I have never second guessed it. Other people have known,
I know, you know. When that’s it then that’s it. I’d
be lying if I said I didn’t expect it.
Metal Fanatix: What comes to mind when you look back
on those early experiences with L.A. Guns?
Tracii Guns: A lot of black hair & leather.
Even from the very beginning. It was a great band & we always
had fun. I remember a lot of in stores, shows & a lot of tiredness
[laughs]. It was job & everyone thinks that it was so easy. The
only real sanctuary is when you’re on stage & you’re
so loud that you can’t hear anything else around you. That’s
the quiet bedroom [laughs].
Metal Fanatix: You have grown up influenced by some
of the greatest bands in Rock ‘N’ Roll history. Do you
feel you have played a large role in influencing many of today’s
hard rock acts?
Tracii Guns: I do especially in my haircuts [laughs].
That’s another thing that I really wanted, what I listened to
is what I learned from & that was always the most important thing
to me to know that I could bring something to other people to listen
to & want to learn. And for people to say wow this is really cool.
But I think even more so, & I hate to say this but the fashion.
Metal Fanatix: What would you be doing if you stopped
Tracii Guns: If I stopped playing music I would
probably sit on the couch with a remote control all day.
Metal Fanatix: Well you guys have plenty of channels
over there to choose from [laughs].
Tracii Guns: Yeah [laughs] we do. We have a lot
of infomercials which are basically half an hour commercials.
Metal Fanatix: I hate those fuckin' things. They
send me crazy.
Tracii Guns: It’s the same one every night,
at the same time. Once you have seen it once you don’t need
to see it again. We have hundreds of channels of just that.
Metal Fanatix: That’s just turned me off ever
coming to the United States [laughs].
Tracii Guns: Oh there are other things to do here.
We have very good food over here. You want to come here?
Metal Fanatix: Yeah mate, I would love to go to Los
Angeles & New York.
Tracii Guns: Get there before you get old, so you
can do what you want to do, out of all the places in the U.S.A. I
would say they are the only two places that you really need to go
to. Everything you can imagine is really what it is. What are you
waiting for I’ve been down there twice now [laughs].
Metal Fanatix: Twice, have you? I don’t remember
you touring here until last year?
Tracii Guns: Yeah actually just my girlfriend &
I went down in 1991 with Greg Bissonet from David Lee Roth’s
band & we did some clinics & theatre shows. We played with
a couple of guys from The Angels [Angel City] & the second time
was last year with Brides.
Metal Fanatix: After all these years in the business
what goals have you set for yourself these days?
Tracii Guns: I do have goals that are different
then what they used to be. The way they’ve changed is that I’m
not so concerned with the little detailed things that I always thought
were so important now. I’ve really learned how to manipulate
the business a lot better. That was never really my thing in L.A.
Guns. I didn’t do that at all & when Nikki was in the band
I still wasn’t doing it, all the final answers went through
me but it was me deciding on their educated opinions. But now that
Nikki’s gone I have to do all of that stuff & I have really
learned a lot from him. Even more than twenty years in L.A. Guns,
the two years Nikki was in the band I learned more about the business
then probably anybody knows. So I have been able to really take control
of it & get it out there the way I think it should be out there.
Metal Fanatix: Which Song/Album would define Tracii
Guns to a complete stranger?
Tracii Guns: Hmm! Let me ask. [Tracii ask his mom
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] hey you can’t ask anyone
Tracii Guns: Oh O.K. [laughs] let me think. You
know what I’m going to say because it has a bit of everything,
I would have to say ‘Magdalaine’ off ‘Cocked &
Loaded’. What’s funny is that I think my best stuff which
represents me more than anything else is the slower stuff because
that’s more of my soul, all the metal & rock n roll stuff
is just fun but I don’t think that sums up what my style is.
Metal Fanatix: Well to be honest my favorite L.A.
Guns song would be ‘The Ballad of Jayne’. Out of the variety
of material that L.A. Guns released that song stood out for me.
Tracii Guns: There you go, see that’s the
stuff I grew up listening to, Elton john & Led Zeppelin stuff
that’s a bit more atmospheric. Hendrix & the metal stuff
is just all the real fun metal. That’s the balance I go between,
Elton john & Turbo Negro.
Metal Fanatix: In your honest opinion what do you
think about the direction that Hard Rock/ Metal music has taken over
the last few years?
Tracii Guns: Over the last few years I have noticed
there are definite clicks of hard rock & I think they’re
getting more interesting as time goes on. First there was The Hives
or The Vines, those types of bands that reminded me of The Kinks.
Real stripped down not out of control. Then you got bands like Mudvayne
that are taking metal to the extremes, coming up with drum beats that
are so heavy & cool. Turbonegro’s not a new band but for
me they are & they really remind me of the early L.A. Guns, just
a lot of high energy rock n roll. Actually I like a lot of bands that
come from that part of the world. Refused, they’re a Swedish
band & they’re really extreme. I wish it was more commercial.
I wish that a lot of the bands that are really talented & are
really doing something almost educational need to be exploited better.
Metal Fanatix: I agree with you there, there is a
lot of stuff that comes out of Europe that’s phenomenal but
gets no where near the exposure & recognition it deserves.
Tracii Guns: It really doesn’t. It’s
funny because the guys in the Backyard Babies come over here &
they tour all over the world but when they’re at home they play
to ten thousand people, then when their record comes out they go straight
to number one in their little country. And that means to me if there
doin' that there it can be done everywhere.
Metal Fanatix: What was the first tattoo you got?
Tracii Guns: The first tattoo that I got was a little
Flying V guitar which kind of looked like Randy Rhoads it goes through
a heart. That was the first one. I was seventeen, a guy named Leo
did it out of Bob Roberts studio, and I was with Izzy who got his
second tattoo that day.
Metal Fanatix: Out of all the tattoos you have had
done what one means the most to you and why?
Tracii Guns: The one that means the most to me is
definitely the portrait I have of my girlfriend on my right arm. I
got it about a year after we started goin' out and she gets really
old & haggy like she is now I look at it & it reminds me of
how hot she is [laughs]. I’m kidding of course.
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] watch out mate she will throw
something at you [laughs].
Tracii Guns: My mom & my girlfriend just called
me an asshole.
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] There has been so many highlights
in your career, what would you say have been your greatest achievements
Tracii Guns: Well the single greatest achievement
is that twenty years later this guy named Cameron is calling me from
Australia, that’s an achievement. It is things like that; the
biggest achievement is that people are still interested. Personal
things like playing Madison Square Gardens, playing the forum in L.A.
& selling out big shows those are the highlights. Those are the
really memorable events because they were goals you had & when
you hit them you remember those in particular. There has been a lot
of lows, I did a show with L.A. Guns five years ago where we were
the opening band at an out door festival & we went on an hour
before they let the crowd in. My roadie was in the audience [laughs].
So I have been to both sides of it, that’s for sure.
Metal Fanatix: What is the strangest question a fan
has ever asked you?
Tracii Guns: I don’t know. I don’t think
I pay attention [laughs] I’m just kidding. You know I don’t
have a good answer for you, I think I’m just used to them being
strange, probably what’s my favorite colored birthday candle
or something [laughs].
Metal Fanatix: Has there ever been a question you
have wanted to be asked but no-one has ever presented it to you?
Tracii Guns: I think so, I don’t know if I
can pin point it accurately. Before a record comes out & I know
I’m gonna be doin' a lot of press, I’m laying in bed thinking
to myself ‘well if they ask this then I can answer like that’
you go through this for about a month before press starts. Of course
when I wake up the next day I forget all the questions & answers
that were running through my head. But I think that the most important
thing to me that gets overlooked that has always bothered me is that
I don’t feel like people ask enough about the music that I create.
I think that if I do a guitar related interview then that’s
all it is, people will avoid the subject of the music. It’s
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] yeah it really is, you would
think that being a musician people would want to talk to you about
music & not what computer games you like to play.
Tracii Guns: Yeah but that’s fine to, but
it’s always celebrity hyped & that’s great because
that’s what gets people excited. I agree with it but I wish
that there was more of a balance. Some people that read it are actually
interested in the music & they are curious about things. Luckily
now with the internet it’s a lot easier to communicate with
other musicians that are interested. I get a lot of questions not
even about my music but music period. I think I have been able to
fulfil it that way. I always think its weird when people don’t
ask about how I recorded something or who the producer was I like
answering those things.
Metal Fanatix: What was the first guitar that you
Tracii Guns: The first guitar that I owned that
meant anything to me was a little black Les Paul that my mom got me
from valley art guitars when I was eleven years old, that’s
when I took my first couple of real guitar lessons and then again
when I was sixteen or seventeen. I was at a friend’s house &
there were ten of us sleeping in the bedroom & we were all jumping
off the beds & somebody fell on it & broke the neck on it
which is why I don’t have it anymore.
Metal Fanatix: So I gather you always wanted to be
Tracii Guns: Oh yeah, I have a picture of me making
the Johnny Rotten face when I was six years old with a guitar in my
Metal Fanatix: You never woke up one day & thought
to yourself fuck this I am sick of playing guitar I might try my hand
at singing or bashing on the drums?
Tracii Guns: No not at all. I started on piano when
I was young but I was never interested in it, it seemed real mechanical
to me when I was younger & there was something about a guitar
that I could put it on & just make noise. That was what always
interested me, all the different noises you could get out of an electric
guitar. I’d listen to Pink Floyd or Jimi Hendrix and stuff like
that when I was really young & it was soulful. It felt like people
were whaling & screaming on a guitar & my mom was playing
classical piano & rag time piano & you really have to practice
to know how to play that kind of music. I saw her for years learning
how to play the pedal steel & it looked like way to much work,
so I learned all those styles on a regular six string guitar. I used
to practice to my moms accompaniment lp’s which is a lot of
major keys & that sort of thing, that’s where I got most
of my country influence & my blues influence from her style of
music that I use to deny liking when I was a kid. But that’s
what I ultimately chose to do like in the Ballad of Jayne, it’s
got that real country feel. I wish Johnny Cash would have done it
on his album.
Metal Fanatix: I only heard his version of Nine Inch
Nails ‘Hurt’ a couple of months back, I couldn’t
Tracii Guns: Oh it’s amazing did you buy that
Metal Fanatix: No a friend of mine actually sent
me the file.
Tracii Guns: That’s not even the best thing
on there. There’s some other stuff on there. That could be one
of the most depressing albums I’ve ever heard, it’s like
listening to ‘Long Long Time’ by Linda Ronstadt ten times
over. Now when you listen to it he is dead & you really get attached
to the lyrics & all the songs that they chose for that record.
You’re listening to a dead man screaming from the grave. Rick
Rubin really planned it out that way & it’s really creepy.
I like it.
Fanatix: What advice would you give to up and coming rock
& metal bands?
Tracii Guns: The truth is the more honest the band
is with themselves the less bullshit hyping & latching on to other
metal bands they’ll do. Loving what you do is ultimately going
to get you to where you think you should be. The one thing that musicians
do to much of which they shouldn’t is ‘lie to yourself
musically’. You know when something’s good & as long
as you can keep second guessing yourself & improving your music
to what you know is great, you’re going to be successful because
you’re going to feel successful. More than having bricks of
cash is being satisfied knowing that you’re doing the best you
Metal Fanatix: If you could put a band together consisting
of musicians passed on and/or present who would they be & what
would you call the band?
Tracii Guns: Let’s see Randy Rhoads on lead
guitar, John Bonham on drums, Moby on keyboards, on bass it would
have to be Nikki Sixx & John Paul Jones’ child and on lead
vocals it would have to be Ian Gillan. They would be called ‘The
Dry Fruits’ [laughs] it sounds good to me.
Metal Fanatix: Any last words you want to share with
Tracii Guns: Obesity is a crime against humanity
[laughs] it’s been great talking to ya Cameron, take it easy
For all the latest news & updates on Tracii Guns &
Brides of Destruction make sure you check out the following websites:
- Official Brides website
- Brides My Space site
- Official Tracii Guns Website
- Dedicated to 40 years of pure hard rock & metal music
Brides of Destruction will kick off their world tour in a
few weeks time. You can catch them on the road at the following venues:
Fri 09/30/05 San Diego, CA Canes
Sat 10/01/05 Santa Ana, CA Galaxy Theatre
Tue 10/04/05 Denver, CO Benders Tavern
Sun 10/09/05 Saint Paul, MN Station 4
Mon 10/10/05 Cleveland, OH Peabody's Down Under
Wed 10/12/05 Clifton, NJ Dingbatz
Fri 10/14/05 Saugus, MA Palace
Sat 10/15/05 Bedford, NH Mark's Showplace
Mon 10/17/05 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre / Underground
Tue 10/18/05 State College, PA The Crowbar
Thu 10/20/05 Rochester, NY Penny Arcade
Fri 10/21/05 Brooklyn, NY Music Terminal
Sat 10/22/05 Springfield, VA Jaxx
Sun 10/23/05 Jacksonville, NC Planet Rock
Sat 10/29/05 Houston, TX Engine Room
Thu 11/03/05 West Hollywood, CA Key Club
Fri 11/04/05 Las Vegas, NV Cheyenne Saloon
Sat 11/05/05 San Marcos, CA The Blvd
Tue 11/08/05 Boise, ID The Core
Please note all dates are subject to change & are correct at time
© Cameron Edney August 2005 Not to be re-printed in any form
without written permission.