L.A. Guns is a glam rock band from Los Angeles, California, originally formed in 1983 and continuing on today. During the 1980s the band's first two albums gained some commercial success, though historically the band is perhaps most noteworthy because its original members went on to form Guns N' Roses.
There are currently two bands touring as L.A. Guns, as of 2006. One fronted by Phil Lewis, the other fronted by Paul Black (featuring Tracii Guns).
In Los Angeles, during 1983. Guitarist Tracii Guns formed the L.A. Guns with singer Axl Rose, bassist Ole Beich, and drummer Rob Gardner. Axl later quit to form Hollywood Rose and was replaced by Michael Jagosz. The band demoed in 1984, but Tracii and Rob left to reform with Axl as Guns N' Roses (named after L.A Guns and Hollywood Rose, not Tracii Guns and Axl Rose) and L.A. Guns broke up. However, Tracii soon left Guns N' Roses and reformed his own band. Guns N' Roses replaced him with guitarist Slash and went on to sell millions of records.
For the third lineup of L.A. Guns, Tracii recruited Mau Maus and The Joneses drummer Paul Mars Black (who switched to vocals) and guitarist Mick Cripps (who switched to bass) and teamed up with drummer Nickey "Beat" Alexander. They were later joined by ex Dogs D'Amour first singer, Robert Stoddard. This lineup demoed and gigged in 1985 and 1986, with Black contributing to much of the material that would be recorded on their debut album.
Paul was replaced by Phil Lewis of the British band, Girl. Mick then switched to guitar when Robert left, and former member of Faster Pussycat, Kelly Nickels, was added on bass. The L.A. Guns then recorded their first album, released in 1988 on Vertigo Records, L.A. Guns. The debut album spawned the singles "One More Reason" and "Sex Action" along with many other L.A. Guns classics. On tour, Nickey was replaced by former W.A.S.P. drummer Steve Riley and this lineup remained until 1992.
In 1989, they released their second album Cocked & Loaded. It contained the smash radio and video hit, "The Ballad of Jayne" which brought the album to gold sales status (over five hundred thousand sold), this was the commercial peak of their career. The album also contained the hits, "Never Enough" and "Rip & Tear". The band also released two home videos coinciding with these two albums, "One More Reason" (1989) and "Love, Peace, & Geese" (1990).
During 1991, the band released their third album Hollywood Vampires on Polydor Records. The album failed to re-achieve the gold status of Cocked & Loaded, but did spawn a few hits such as "Kiss My Love Goodbye" and "It's Over Now". Guns participated in the supergroup Contraband the same year. The L.A. Guns released a five song EP titled Cuts in 1992 and then in 1994 their fourth album Vicious Circle, drummer Michael "Bones" Gershima played on parts of these recording as this was around this time Phil Lewis fired drummer Steve Riley. Riley later returned to the band for the 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.
I bought "Cocked & Loaded", "Hollywood Vampires" and "Tales from the Strip" from L.A. Guns. These are suprisingly fun, sleazy and decent rock albums featuring cool guitar work and good singing. Guns 'n Roses fans will surely appreciate it too.