In the 1980’s, the Sunset Strip was about to be set ablaze. Runaways and wanderers filled the streets like roaches, waiting to take over the world with guitars, drums, microphones, and hairspray. A new genre of music was about to descend, leaving its mark and impregnating the airwaves, causing panic in every father across America who feared for their daughters’ loss of innocence. Hair metal spread like an STD and the sleaze metal group L.A. Guns were the hosts and incubators of the soon-to-be pandemic.
1985, After getting tired of the singer in the band (Axl Rose), guitarist Tracii Guns decided it was time to create his own group with singer Paul Black, Mick Cripps, and Nickey Alexander. Soon Paul would leave to be replaced by singer Phillip Lewis, and the Faster Pussycat guitarist Kelley Nickels would eventually complete the lineup. After their self-titled debut album, L.A. Guns was complete, Alexander would be replaced by W.A.S.P drummer Steve Riley. The album, which was released with the songs “Sex Action,” ” Bitch is Back,” and “One More Reason,” reached 55 on the Billboard music charts.
A few albums later, after a few arguments and artistic differences, Tracii left the band, and revolving line-ups continued through much of the 90’s. At one point Tracii fronted his own version of L.A. Guns, while Phillip toured with one of his own as well. Two versions of L.A. Guns touring at the same time caused confusion for the fans and promoters. Tracii eventually stopped using the name L.A. Guns and worked with other artists including a Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) side project called The Brides of Destruction in the early 2000’s.
Tonight Tracii Guns and Phillip Lewis were back together alongside guitarist Adam Hamilton, Bassist Johnny Martin and drummer Shane Fitzgibbon bringing their musical onslaught to The Cabooze.
Hitting the stage with “Show No Mercy,” then immediately following up with “Electric Gypsy,” it is easy to understand why Tracii is considered one of the most underrated guitarists of all time.
Phil still sounds exactly the same after all these years, as his raspy British scowl highlighting “Over the Edge,” and his chants of “Fuck You’s” before heading into the guitar challenge of ” The Flood Is The Fault Of The Rain” off their new album The Missin Peace.
The Cabooze was the perfect host for these self-described Hollywood Vampires to show Minneapolis that their brand of Hair Metal never really left; it just sort of receded with age.