L.A. Guns bring new and classic material back to The Vogue in Indianapolis, September 5
As the 2019 summer festival season begins to wind down, there is one band on the rock circuit who is absent from the various monster tours and monumental spectacles that pepper the globe. L.A. Guns are not a band who succumb to the cramped set lifestyle that festivals often provide.
“It’s a bit tricky for us doing festivals and packages,” said Phil Lewis. “We don’t get a lot of time. Sometimes it is only 30 or 40 minutes. We are not that kind of band and, consequently, we have to do our own shows.”
With that said, the band has spent 2019 celebrating the release of their latest album The Devil You Know with a summer long tour that is leaking into autumn. There is no slowing this band down as they continue to put their Sunset Strip stamp on clubs across the country.
On September 5, they return to rock out The Vogue in Indianapolis. With Phil Lewis, Tracii Guns, Johnny Martin, Michael Grant, and Shane Fitzgibbon in charge of this official lineup, you can expect a packed setlist filled with classic LA Guns songs, as well as their hunger-driven selection of new rockers.
L.A. Guns – Speed Official Video
In 2017, Tracii and Phil stepped back in the studio to record their first album together since 2002’s Waking the Dead. The release of The Missing Peace was an album that stood as a monolith to Tracii and Phil’s rekindled reunion. What the listener experienced was a vicarious and renewed L.A. Guns. “Speed” points back to the chaos of the Sunset Strip’s heyday while pushing the levels into more progressive terrain while the title track shows a deeper contemplation from the group’s songwriting efforts.
“The last record were ideas Tracii had accumulated and compiled, slowly putting them together before the reunion,” said Phil. “I was really interested in his new ideas.” That led to the two working together again to achieve a heightened awareness from the core sound developed in the 1980s.
Now that the honeymoon is, once again, over, the band has opened up the throttle with The Devil You Know. Their new collection of West Coast rock tease is not a fashion statement. The album presents a hunger and desire unsuppressed in the band’s history.
“The Devil You Know was a clean slate for all of us. The album was written all together at the same time pretty much on the road. Tracii has still got that anger and that hunger. You can hear it in the riffs and the guitars. That is the nucleus of all the songs. Sometimes it writes itself. It’s really that infectious. It’s not autobiographical. The songs may be in the psyche of the band and bubbles up and is inspired by what Tracii’s giving us. There! That’s it! That is really what it is! I don’t wake up in the morning and go I am going to write a song about a mass shooter. If you look at the lyrics, none of the songs are that specific. It’s a great style, and I like it more so than being focused on any specific subject matter.
“There is a parallel between the first record and Cocked and Loaded. On the first record they already had a singer and had written the songs. When I joined L.A. Guns in 1987/1988, it was a bit of a salvage job. After we put out the debut and started to work on Cocked and Loaded, it was created completely from scratch. That is the same parallel between The Missing Peace and The Devil You Know.”
L.A. Guns – The Devil You Know Official Video
At first the working name of the album title set them on a different path, originally calling it ‘Wasn’t Tomorrow Great.” They wanted to prove to the fans that their past is only an influence into the future. Yet something was not right and the album title did not fit into the psyche of L.A. Guns’ dangerous antics.
“The album title was okay, and it worked for a while, but we did not like the word ‘great.’ There is a song called ‘Down That Hole’ and in the song there is a line, “gravities and control.’ For some reason that stood out to us. And then we had artwork done of a standard astronaut floating above the planet. Scotty Ludwick, our manger, came up to us and said, ‘You guys have got to be fucking kidding! What are we Supertramp?’ And then we just snapped out of it and there was the title of the record. It was sitting there right in front of us.”
Tracii’s guitars roar like a beefed-up Harley as Shane’s drums crawl through timing like a killer on the prowl. On the album, Phil used this experience to push his vocal capabilities into new terrain. He gives credit to L.A. Guns collaborator, Mitch Davis. Traveling across the country to New York City, it is where Phil tracked all of his vocals for the new album.
“It’s an immersive experience. Going to Mitch’s studio is incredible. It’s like a music emporium. He’s got every instrument you can imagine. He works me hard and takes me outside of my comfort zone. I love it. It is frightening and the pressure of being there for four or five days with the goal of getting it all done, it is really needle to the bone. I was exhausted at the end of it, but overall it is a really good feeling.”
The album opener unleashes a fire that boils underneath the band. For Phil he tears through an intensity in his vocal demeanor. For him, a song like “Rage” is breaking away from the old regime. He can now say with confidence that he is no longer spinning his wheels and moving towards a greater future.
“I’m smiling while I tell you about this new album. It’s slightly terrifying and it’s a lot of pressure, but I cannot get into the studio quick enough. What we are doing now sounds so good, and I want people to hear and experience it. That’s the real motivation. Obviously we are not going to sell millions of records in this day and age. It’s folly for bands to be putting records out. But it’s what we do, and it is in our DNA. We will, indeed, carry on doing it.”