Exclusive Interview: Tracii Guns From Brides Of Destruction, LA Guns


Man, you’ve got to be excited with the way Sanctuary is getting behind the new Bride’s CD. The word is out…Everywhere!

It’s insane. There was a point in this whole process where a couple of old farts – me and Nikki – said that we know how to do this. We know how it’s going to be done. Everybody thought we were insane. Our management thought we were nuts. The labels thought we were nuts. There were some people at some labels that totally believed in us but they couldn’t really come up with what we wanted. Nikki started talking to Sanctuary and they put a fuckin’ plan together. When I heard the plan I thought, “If one tenth of this shit comes true we’re gonna have a great time.” That was the whole idea of having a band – To have a great time and not get frustrated relying on other people. Here comes January 2004 and it’s everywhere. It took us all by surprise. Sanctuary is doing such a great job that I can’t believe it.

The Brides of Destruction are everywhere. I hear you have a new billboard, right?

Yeah. On the Rainbow is this big giant thing with our cartoon on it. Me and Nikki drove by it the other night going, “Holy shit!” That place is where we started! We’ve got to give a lot of credit to Sanctuary. They’re actually paying our street team money! Nobody else will do that. I can’t complain about the label!

What started this all? How did you and Nikki get together?

Bad timing on my part is what started it. We just finished the last LA Guns record and had just booked a summer tour. It was probably April and I got this bright idea in my head – “I’m going to start a new band. I’m tired of this!” I tracked down Nikki on the internet and wrote him a quick note. It said, “Hey dude. Let’s start a band.” He wrote me right back and goes, “OK.” Holy shit. Now what? So we started talking on the phone. He was already in the process of trying to put a new band together. His manager at the time used to be my manager and now he’s our manager. He really wanted us to do a “supergroup” thing. Me and Nikki decided to just make the best band we can. Of course, I was getting ready to leave on tour. We (Tracii and Nikki) didn’t have a singer. We couldn’t think of anybody. The day before I left on tour, Adam Hamilton – who plays bass with LA Guns now – he gave me a picture of this guy London. He said this guy was our guy. I saw the picture and said, “There is no way this guy can sing! He looks too cool.” You know, the two never equate with each other. You can’t have a guy that looks amazing and can sing in this day and age. Especially with guys that are kinda jaded, like me and Nikki. My girlfriend made me email Nikki the picture of London. I did. He thought he looked great but had the same opinion. “This guy looks too cool. He probably can’t sing.” I told him I had to go on tour. I was on tour and a couple of weeks later London called me on my cell phone and said, “Dude! Do you want to hear me sing or what?” I did. That was the first time I had ever talked to him! He started wailing over the phone! He was playing an acoustic guitar, screaming, doing all this weird indian shit with his voice. This guy is not just a good singer, he’s an extraordinary singer. I called Nikki right away and hooked them up. By the time I was on my first break from the tour they had written a couple of tunes together. When I got home we all got together at my house. Adam was playing drums, although he’s the bass player for LA Guns. We did a demo at my house. London was in. That was it. Damn! We had a great singer, now what? We knew Adam wasn’t going to be in this band so we had to find a drummer. I knew Kris Kohls from Adema. He’s been my friend for the past ten years. We’ve always wanted to be in a serious band together. I called him and he was into it. Nikki went and saw him play with Adema on Ozzfest that summer. Nikki called me and said, “Yep! That’s our guy. He’s funny. He’s a great drummer. He looks like us. Cool, he’s in.” We had a band and I couldn’t get off tour fast enough. I was thinking, “C’mon hurry! Let’s go!” After the tour, we all got the studio together. Went in, rehearsed the first three days and sounded like ass! It sucked so bad! Nobody was saying anything! We were just uncomfortable and it was really weird. It eventually started coming together. Kris left. He had to go record an album with Adema. Stevo Bruno, who produced our record, also owns the rehearsal studio and the recording studio where we recorded the album. He said he had the drummer for us. Again, we were like, “Whatever. Everybody’s got our guy.” It was Scot. Steve dragged me down to see Scot play in his band which is like a Zeppelin-Beatles-Cream cover band. Scotty actually played drums and was the lead singer. As soon as I walked in and saw that guy I was like, “Oh my god!” We stole him. He didn’t show up for his first day of rehearsals so we knew he really was a rock star! His first day! We cursed his name all afternoon on that Monday and he showed up Tuesday. We had our band.

The record will be out in the States in March and it’s out overseas already. Is that release just basically demos?

That’s exactly what they are. Four songs on the album have Kris Kohls playing drums and the other five songs have Scotty. It is a collection of album quality demos. We recorded them – not too rough – but rough enough. We decided since we had those nine songs done to go write a bunch more. In the process of writing almost 30 more songs after those demos, the Japanese label wanted the record now. Sanctuary came to the plate and said they were good enough. Fucking great! Wow. We hired Pete Thompson to mix it and make it sound current and up-to-date, loud. He did a fantastic job. Because we’re talking about it now, I can’t wait to do our second record! Not because we’ll put more thought into it, but I’ll actually be aware that we’re doing an album this time!

Nikki said the next record may be a double album. What’s that all about?

We’ve written almost 30 more songs and we’ve just completed six more. Out of those 30 there are 20 that are just barn burners. They’re insane. We know we’re going to keep writing because we’re songwriters. We have an attitude to not go – Ok, we’re off tour – Let’s write 12 songs in this fashion and finish a record. We want to always be able to put out collections of songs. I’m saying that now. It could change tomorrow! We have all this great music written. We just don’t want it laying around everywhere. If we end up with 25 or 26 songs that nobody can part with we’ll just do a staggered double or triple record. We’ll have a CD come out, the next month another one comes out, then the next one. It’s horrifying to put out 25 songs at once. Nobody – no matter how good the songs – are going to sit through 25 songs. We’re not even in the planning stages of that. We’ve written so much music that we know that there’s not enough room on a CD just to do a single disc release.

I read one of your posts on the BOD website where you said you’re “keeping an open mind and exploring different styles of music.” What do you mean by that?

We had a little writing session a few weeks ago where I had brought in something along the lines of “Funeral For A Friend” by Elton John. Nikki had a kinda country Rolling Stones song. Nikki had written part of a song with a friend of ours, Kevin Kadish, which was like a real melancholy Queen song. We really put a lot of energy into writing those songs. They’re all completely different from one another. It’s like Exile On Main Street…One weird song into another one into another one. We’re really going to try to not focus on any one sound in particular between now and September when we’ll probably get ready to do another record. Who knows what we’re going to come out with. Our first album is like that. It goes from “Shut The Fuck Up” to “Only Get So Far.”

I’m a nut for guitar tones…The one you use in the solo for “Shut The Fuck Up” sounds just like the one you use in “Killing Machine” off of Vicious Circle.

Right, right. Exactly! That’s my biggest problem. I have three or four basic roots that I always lean on. It’s either brutality, country, Manfred Mann, or really messy, sloppy Johnny Thunders stuff. That song called for the big shit. It was fun. If you’ll notice on the other ones I went for the Manfred Mann’s Earth Band sound! I’m just in desperate need to confuse everybody! I’m sure with you and with me, we appreciate all kinds of music. That was my thing with Zeppelin, Smashing Pumpkins, Queen. You never knew what was coming next. It’s great riff-writing with Nikki because he’s so open minded. He’s not limited in his skill of playing guitar or bass. His vocal melody in the lyrics can’t be beat.

What about touring? You’ve got to tell me a couple of names of some bands you may go on tour with.

Oh man…We’ve got KISS on the table right now for June. It’s not confirmed. We’re talking about maybe going out with Slipknot. I think AC/DC is going out at one point this year. Obviously, Aerosmith is. Some stuff is sitting on the table right in front of us and we’re just waiting for a couple of things to come in before we confirm anything. The way it turns out, it looks like we may start touring a couple of days after the record comes out. I think we’re going to tour a lot! When there’s a lot of fun stuff sitting in front of you, you can’t go, “Nah. I’ll just stay home.” I think me and Nikki have both been home long enough.

How close to your hearts are you keeping LA Guns and Motley Crue?

With LA Guns, it’s such a great body of work. I think it’d be a shame if those guys weren’t out there doing it. They love playing the music. It’s their only source of income. The fans love it and they really haven’t taken a hit because I haven’t been there. As long as everything’s kosher, it’s great. I love those guys and I want them to do whatever they have to do to go rock. To me, Waking The Dead is the best record LA Guns ever did. Nothing can even compare to it. Nobody gave a shit. It’s not that my life depends on that. I can’t put the energy into creating this great work and just have it be signed to a label that is just not willing to do what it takes to at least sell 100,000 records. It’s not difficult. It took it’s toll on me and I wasn’t having fun anymore. In the future – a year from now, maybe two years from now – I might really want to do that again. It’s the same with Nikki. He’s planning on doing a Motley Crue tour in 2005. Everything is good and everything is cool with everybody.

So the Brides will stick around through it all?

Hell yeah! Absolutely. This is our band. All the other bands have turned into bodies of work that we’ve left behind that we can always go back and work on. Those bands are on auto pilot. There’s not a lot of thinking that goes into those bands. I think me and Nikki are just really motivated people. We wanna rock and do something fresh! We’ve been in our other bands for over 20 years. This is like completely different. This is new. We have a singer that we can beat up now!

I’ve got to ask you about this. Tell me about the fan reaction when the album came out overseas.

It was crazy! We sold 12,000 records the first week. The last time LA Guns sold 12,000 records worldwide was in like 1991! For our demo tape to come out – it’s over 20,000 now. We’re going to have a gold record in Japan. I never thought I’d have a gold record again. It weird. We should know better because our website gets almost a million hits a month. Sometimes I don’t believe it. All these people keep hitting the site. The fanbase is there. We want to deliver. We want to go fucking kick ass!

They’ll be some MTV spots, too, right?

Yeah! I saw the TV ad. I’ve got a copy of it. It’s short, like a 30 second “Shut The Fuck Up” advertisement. They didn’t even edit it so I don’t know how they’re going to air it. We’re doing a lot of high visibility stuff with “Shut The Fuck Up” with MTV. They’re not backing down from it.

But Janet Jackson’s tit makes it on TV and they throw a fit!

I know! How stupid is that? MEN are throwing fits! Are they all gay? What’s wrong with a nice round tit on television!

What would you like to say to the readers and your fans?

Oh man! The best way I can put it is, “Thanks for waiting.” Although they haven’t really been waiting. We’re not officially a band until our record comes out. There have been so many people on our shit about being lazy and being slow. We hope you love this short record and hopefully we’ll make up for that on the second record. We’ll see you on the road this year!