Much like most bands that been around for such a long time, L.A. Guns have quite a history behind them; former band members have gone on to create huge successful bands, quite a lot of in-house fighting and a split between Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns that resulted in two versions of the L.A. Guns touring at the same time! Thankfully all that is now water under the bridge as not only have Lewis and Guns re-joined forces, they released a new album last year and they’re also coming to Australia this upcoming May for the first time since 2011.
When asked about the band’s excitement of getting to come back to Australia, Lewis pointed out “I’ve been to Australia twice and I know Tracii’s been there at least once, but we’ve never actually played Australia together so this will be an amazing first! It’s always exciting to go to Australia; the people are really nice, they treat band well and the shows are genuinely really well attended. What’s not to be excited about, especially the first time since me and the old boy will be playing together; there aren’t many places we haven’t played together so I’m really looking forward to that!”
Describing the reaction to ‘The Missing Peace’ since its release, Lewis quickly stated “I wonder if phenomenal is too dramatic a word!” before going into further detail about the response from fans:
“When we were recording it, writing it and putting it together we knew that we had something really special that people were going to like; it’s definitely a labour of love. The very final part of the record we compiled when we were on tour in Aberdeen, Scotland; we were importing files and doing last minute adjustments. We felt really confident about it and it was a matter of time before people started to say this is good. As far as sales so, we haven’t sold millions of copies but we’ve made countless top five record lists of last year and that’s a great compliment. Any band can do a reunion tour, but to actually make a new record to coincide with that takes balls; L.A. Guns is a ballsy band and always has been!”
Taking time to talk about the upcoming run of shows, Lewis gave a good insight into what fans can expect to see as he pointed out that “we’ve got five or six songs that we incorporate into the set; usually not all in one night though as we usually play a venue for two nights and we’ll mix up the off-set. Some of the songs on that record are going to be very difficult to pull off live; not that we can’t play them, but it’s all the extra bits and pieces that will be missing. They are very reliant on those strings and those are real strings; they’re actual cellos and violins and aren’t getting MIDI’ed in. It’s not like we can just MIDI it in, as so we’d have to try and come up with some synthetic string which is a bit of a distraction; if we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it properly with the orchestra!”
Even though L.A. Guns have a small advantage in knowing five or six songs guaranteed to be on the set-list, they still have to decide what else is going to be added. Lewis pointed out how “it’s really difficult; it’s so hard to figure out as it depends on the set-time. If we have an unlimited set time and can play as long as we want, we can easily go into two hours! Other times they want us to play 90 minutes, 60 minutes, even down to 30 minutes; it’s excruciating to have to pick out what songs to play and what songs you can’t. It’s a real ball buster as we like to play long sets and play all the songs! there are certain songs that we always have to play like Ballad of Jayne, Never Enough and songs that people associate LA Guns with. A lot of the set is already decided for us, so we try to slip a couple of our favourites in if we can!”
Lewis couldn’t stress enough that “we hope that people can get to multiple shows, as each night is going to be a little bit different! Whereas some bands play exactly the same set and have been for decades, we do make an effort and we like to keep it interesting for both the punters and ourselves. It’s a good problem to have, especially when they’re all fun songs to play.
Taking time to speak about what has kept him motivated to create music for so long, Lewis gave a very rare insight into what keeps the flame alive after all these years:
“Music changed my direction and my perspective; even though I didn’t have a musical upbringing, it ended up being my salvation! Everyone else I grew up with and went to school with, they either went to prison or did drugs and nobody ever heard from them again. I did something and I’m doing something because of the entity of music that flows through me; it’s like my religion as it’s the one thing I think about the most. I still love it like I did when I was 15 and it’s quite an accomplishment to still be doing it after so long!”
Drawing the interview to a close, Lewis had this message for Australian fans:
“We’re just looking forward to coming down! As I said at the start, it’s the first time that Tracii and I are coming to Australia together; make sure you come party with us and make it a trip we’ll never forget.”