Australia's Inside_Out66 recently conducted an interview with BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION/ex-L.A. GUNS guitarist Tracii Guns. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Inside_Out666: 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 [LeGrand, vocals] had all the music for about a month. He basically started writing stories to all the different pieces of music and when he felt that he was at a place where he wanted us to work on it with him, he bought it back in and 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."
Inside_Out666: 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 and that was pretty much his involvement with the record. Making sure we had a massive amount of bottom end on the drums and things like that. He's great. He's like your drinking buddy [laughs]."
Inside_Out666: 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 three videos for this album. We have tons of live footage and 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."
Inside_Out666: After all these years of writing and 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 themselves?
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 lifetime? 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 and 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."
Inside_Out666: Now how are things between you and Nikki [Sixx] now? Are you guys talking?
Tracii Guns: "Yeah, we're talking and I think things have been pretty much smoothed over. He's doin' his thing and is really happy. Financially, he's doing exactly what he needs to do. I think everybody's happy right now."
Inside_Out666: 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 and he'll get bored. We will see when the time comes. Of course, I'm not gonna say never; we're open to it."
Inside_Out666: I would like to talk to you a little about touring! Is life on the road still as crazy now as it was in the Eighties?
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 and 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."
Inside_Out666: 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 and 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 and 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 and get it out there the way I think it should be out there."
Inside_Out666: 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 cliques of hard rock and 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 and cool. TURBONEGRO's not a new band but for me they are and 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 and they're really extreme. I wish it was more commercial. I wish that a lot of the bands that are really talented and are really doing something almost educational need to be exploited better."