From his seminal work with L.A. Guns to his stints with Brides Of Destruction and Devil City Angels, Tracii Guns’ ferocious guitar playing is known to hard rock fans the world over.
The Legendary guitarist sat down with MetalTalk’s Kahmel Farahani to go through his latest project Sunbomb with Michael Sweet, his signature guitars, the past and future of L.A. Guns, his brief stint in Poison and Quiet Riot as well as playing golf with Eddie Van Halen.
On his new Sunbomb album:
“When Frontiers asked me if I wanted to do my own record, I said yeah, but I had no idea what I was going to do! I could have done something mellow, but as a guitar player, my thing is metal. So my wife and I were doing Sunday drives up the coast listening to only Metal and discovering different things.
“No matter what I was listening to, it was all influenced by The Scorpions and Randy Rhoads. You just can’t get away from those influences. So I started demoing stuff, and I had three or four tunes. I thought this is great, but who’s going to sing this stuff?
“I had recently met Michael Sweet and seen him play live at The Whisky, so I texted him a demo. He asked me “What’s this?” and I said that’s me, you want to sing on that? He said yeah. I said, OK, what about 11 of these? (laughs). He said “I’m in”. We did a successful collaboration, and I couldn’t be any happier with it.”
On the future of the music industry post-Covid:
“I think that things will go back to some sort of… normal, but I don’t believe things will ever be the way they were before the pandemic. Right now in The States, for example, you can play half-capacity shows or full capacity, if you’re in the south where they just don’t care about the pandemic…we won’t partake in that. We have a responsibility to our audience.”
On the creative comeback of L.A. Guns:
“The element of creativity and having a good time with it is what fuels the authenticity. As long as we’re really enjoying it, it’s going to show. That’s the benefit of having a band of guys and a crew that are like family.
“It’s interesting why the new live record (‘Cocked and Loaded Live’) is coming out. We had a deadline to turn in our new studio record on November 1st last year – it wasn’t possible. The label needed to put something out, so I called my manager and asked, ‘didn’t we multi-track that livestream? I’ve got to listen to it.’
“It was pretty damn good! It’s something I’m proud of, and I think L.A. Guns fans will love to have a live version of ‘Cocked And Loaded’! We’re proud of the way we sound, and I think Phil has really taken care of his voice. We still care…we have to be L.A. Guns.”
On Eddie Van Halen:
“Eddie Van Halen and I became golf partners in the early 90s – we had a really fun relationship. I met him because he had heard this ‘King Biscuit Flower’ recording of L.A. Guns. My girlfriend at the time got home and hit the answering machine; ‘Hey Tracii, it’s Eddie Van Halen. Could you give me a call?’
“She said that’s Eddie. I said no, it’s not! (laughs). Eventually, I realised it was him and called back. He said, ‘Hi Tracii, what are you doing? Want to come up to my house? I’m trying to mix this live record, and I got hold of the engineer that did your live recording’.
“I went up there, and Sammy Hagar was there too. Eddie handed me this cassette and said ‘What’s going on with the guitar right there?’ We had fun – he was a great guy.”
On playing with Poison:
“C.C. had left Poison to go do his own project called Samantha 7, so the guys in Poison all call me. The interesting thing was, we started rehearsing to write. We go in, and Bob Ezrin is there! He’s going to produce the next album.
“The thing is, we’re kind of musically incompatible – Bobby has a way of writing, and that’s cool because that’s Poison, but I couldn’t add any musical sophistication to it. Bob Ezrin pulled me outside, going ‘I don’t know how we’re going to do this’.
“All of a sudden C.C. freaks the fuck out and goes ‘you can’t have Tracii in there, its my band.’ I get it. The thing was, I had cleared my schedule of over a year of L.A. Guns shows. Bobby called, and he understood – they’re great guys, and we’re all long time friends.”