Less than two years since the release of “The Missing Peace” — the first L.A. GUNS album since 2002’s “Waking The Dead” to feature founding guitarist Tracii Guns and vocalist Phil Lewis — the group will issue a follow-up effort, “The Devil You Know”, on March 29 via Frontiers Music Srl.
The latest single from the disc, “Rage”, can be streamed below.
Sonically, “The Devil You Know” covers a lot of ground and incorporates influences from BLACK SABBATH to LED ZEPPELIN to KYUSS to THE HELLICOPTERS, all while distinctly sounding like L.A. GUNS. The band is rejuvenated and inspired after relentless touring and is taking no prisoners.
“After the success of ‘The Missing Peace’, a lot of people requested that the next record stay on track with the more metal side of the band’s music, which is my personal favorite side of the band,” says Guns. He continues: “I drew from my typical influences of NWOBHM [New Wave Of British Heavy Metal], while still not forgetting my earlier influences of the late ’60s and early ’70s.”
“It’s loaded with attitude and most of it bad,” says Lewis of the album’s lyrical content. You want a love song — [fuck] off and listen to JOURNEY. They say write about what you know, and lord knows we’ve all known some evil bitches and dudes that have gone out of their way to make life difficult for us. We say unanimously from the whole band — [fuck] you, we’re going places you could only dream about. We know what it’s like to be put down, poked, ridiculed… but guess what, looks like we get the last laugh. This band has always been fueled by adrenaline and anger and this record is a glimpse inside the carnival of rage that dwells deep inside our collective souls. Not much sunshine and hold tight to your lollipop… This is gonna be a fast, loud, bumpy ride!”
“The Devil You Know” track listing:
02. Stay Away
03. Loaded Bomb
04. The Devil You Know
05. Needle To The Bone
06. Going High
07. Gone Honey
08. Don’t Need To Win
09. Down That Hole
10. Another Season In Hell
11. Boom (bonus track; CD and digital only)
When “The Missing Peace” was released in October of 2017, it added a new and unexpected chapter to the long and often confusing history of L.A. GUNS, who, along with W.A.S.P., are the longest-running, continuously active group of the 1980s Sunset Strip scene.
Since being founded by guitarist Guns and drummer Rob Gardner in 1983, more than 50 musicians have performed under the L.A. GUNS moniker, including Axl Rose (who fronted the group prior to forming HOLLYWOOD ROSE, and then again for a brief period after that band’s breakup), Ralph Saenz (better known as Michael Starr of STEEL PANTHER), Jizzy Pearl (LOVE/HATE, QUIET RIOT), Chuck Garric (ALICE COOPER), Chris Holmes (W.A.S.P.) and Keri Kelli (NIGHT RANGER, RATT).
In 1987 — two years after Guns left the original lineup of GUNS N’ ROSES to restart L.A. GUNS with a group of musicians, including Mick Cripps — the band ‘s “classic lineup” was solidified with the additions of vocalist Lewis (GIRL), bassist Kelly Nickels and drummer Steve Riley (W.A.S.P.). Those five members appeared on the group’s first three albums — its eponymous 1988 debut, 1989’s “Cocked & Loaded” and 1991’s “Hollywood Vampires”.
When Riley left the band in 1992, it began a rotating door lineup that continues in full force in 2018, a year in which four guitarists have performed alongside Guns. The group’s current lineup officially features Guns, Lewis, drummer Shane Fitzgibbon, bassist Johnny Martin and bassist-turned-guitarist Adam Hamilton, who played with the band from 2001 to 2007 and rejoined earlier this year after the departure of Johnny Monaco (ENUFF Z’NUFF). Because Hamilton is unable to tour extensively, however, the group recently announced that FASTER PUSSYCAT guitarist Ace Von Johnson will join them on longer tours.
For a number of years after Guns left the band in 2002 to focus on BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION — a group that also featured MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx — there were two competing versions of L.A. GUNS: one featuring Lewis and Riley, and another featuring Guns. After the latter incarnation disbanded in 2012, Guns and Lewis gradually began making amends, performing a full set of L.A. GUNS material together at a Las Vegas concert in 2015 before officially joining forces (while initially being billed as L.A. GUNS’ PHIL LEWIS & TRACII GUNS) for a handful of concerts the following year. For the past two years, the group has toured and recorded simply as L.A. GUNS.
In 2019, however, there are once again competing incarnations of L.A. GUNS, as Riley — who was in the group for a total of 27 years and is said to own 50 percent of the band’s name — will perform at the M3 Rock Festival in Columbia, Maryland in May under the L.A. GUNS moniker with a lineup that will include Nickels and guitarist Scott Griffin (who played bass for the band from 2007 until 2009, and then again from 2011 to 2014).
Since the M3 performance was announced, Guns and Riley have traded barbs on social media. “Some guys would rather headline a sports bar than play on a great bill like M3,” Riley wrote on December 6. “L.A. GUNS is back to being a fantastic band and Steve Riley is still a drummer,” Guns responded. He subsequently added, “What would you have done without my name [for] the last 15 years, you ungrateful punk?”