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Tuesday
Aug142007

Cocked and Reloaded

cockedandreloaded.jpgShock of shocks, I love L.A. Guns. Over the weekend, I picked up Cocked and Reloaded for eight bucks. I still don't know how I feel about the album.

Turns out, there are several different covers for this album, depending on the distribution deal (I own the version pictured). Also, my track listing doesn't match the actual song line-up, which is more than aggravating. Perhaps I ended up with a defective disc. The track list (should) look like this:

Letting Go
Slap In The Face
Rip And Tear
Sleazy Come Easy Go
Never Enough
Malaria
The Ballad Of Jayne
Magdalaine
Give A Little
I'm Addicted
17 Crash
Showdown (Riot On Sunset)
Wheels Of Fire
Rip And Tear (Spahn Ranch Remix)

Cocked and Reloaded isn't a necessity by any means, but it's good for fans trying to complete a collection. When Vertigo Records refused to give Tracii Guns the masters to their massively successful 1989 release Cocked and Loaded, the boys went back into the studio and re-recorded the entire album.

If anything, Cocked and Reloaded proves that Tracii Guns can play a guitar and the other members of the L.A. Guns support him well. Still, Phil Lewis doesn't sound as good here as he does on the original recordings. I can also do without the unnecessary changes to the musical arrangements. "Malaria" is my favorite L.A. Guns song, and it was perfect the first time around. When it comes to Cocked and Reloaded, I usually just skip this track because I don't like the changes in voice flection or the way the band tried to "update" the modern guitar tones.

Good news is that L.A. Guns give every songwriter their credit on Cocked and Reloaded, and that includes original members Paul Black and Mick Cripps (for my exclusive interview with Paul Black, please see "Roll the Dice").

Finally, a note about the remix version of "Rip and Tear." When Cocked and Reloaded was recorded in the late nineties, dance music was pretty popular and getting in on the craze was probably overly intoxicating for L.A. Guns.

Give me a break.

I don't want the techno version of L.A. Guns anything. I want it sleazy and raw, thank-you. L.A. Guns should stick to being straight up rock n' roll. Otherwise, what's the point?

Monday
Aug132007

Kidd Havok - Roll the Dice

kiddhavoklogo.jpgKidd Havok were one of those bands that was poised to make some Metal magic until grunge swept the nation, sending everyone to the nearest pharmacy for a healthy dose of Prozac. The band was working hard, developing a pretty decent following in their native Florida. During their early days, the members of Kidd Havok were also recording demos for a future release. Now, so many years later, that debut album is finally available through Suncity Records. Roll the Dice features everything a Glam Metal fan needs and wants: guitar solos and catchy vocals.

 

Like many up and coming bands, Kidd Havok weathered quite a few member changes. The liner notes for Roll the Dice feature credits for a revolving door of bass players and drummers, with guitarist Scot Marcs and singer Johnny B. remaining constant forces in the band. Today, the Kidd Havok line-up includes Marcs, Johnny B. and Tommy Pinello on bass and Jim McCourt behind the drum kit. Pinnello’s bass playing is featured on many Roll the Dice tracks.

Roll the Dice opens with “Too Sadd” featuring a nice electric guitar/drum combination. The song is very upbeat, setting the tone for the entire work. Immediately, the listener knows this is prime cut, late 80s glam. Entering the scene at the end of Glam craze, Kidd Havok is influenced by Motley Crue, RATT and Poison. It’s pretty easy to notice these influences in every song, but especially on “1 Push.” The riff is very Poison and Pretty Boy Floyd-esque and so are the lyrics. No, Kidd Havok are not reinventing the wheel here, but they are playing music that works for them.

If a radio-friendly chorus is what you are looking for, then “Lady Luck” is probably for you. Yes, the lyrics here rhyme quite a lot, but the layered guitar portions are excellent and eerily reminiscent of Randy Rhodes-era Ozzy Osbourne. In fact, the guitar solos are so good on “Lady Luck” they demand a louder mix. Instead, producer (and ironically guitarist Scot Marcs) opted to leave the vocals more dominant on this track.

“Cold Sweat” is probably the strongest track on Roll the Dice, featuring vocals and guitars closer to Whitesnake than your average Florida bar band. “Cold Sweat” is in your face, stand-up-and-swagger rock n’ roll. Again there is a formula here, but it works, so why complain?

A little bit deeper into Roll the Dice is “Rumors.” Again, a high point of the song is the lengthy guitar sections. Still, vocalist Johnny B. has a pretty good range, and this is evident on “Rumors.” Johnny B. shows his chops on “Candy Store,” too. A frivolous song with some good riffs, Kidd Havok plays to their strong suit which is entertainment first, everything else secondary.


For more information, please visit:

www.myspace.com/kiddhavok

Sunday
Aug122007

Carnival of Sins: Live

carnivalofsins.jpgEven though F.Y.E. is a corporate giant that is probably contributing to the decline of modern music, I still shop in the store from time to time. The bright spot to F.Y.E. (or Coconuts, or Sam Goody or about half a dozen other names under the music chain) is that the store buys and sells used titles. Occasionally, this means a great deal.

Yesterday, I picked up Motley Crue's Carnival of Sins DVD package for ten bucks.

The DVD isn't horrible and it isn't great. I was immediately impressed with the packaging, which is more akin to a sitcom DVD than music release. The sound quality on Carnival of Sins isn't great, but to be fair, I didn't try to adjust levels on my television either. The mixing is good, courtesy of super-producer Bob Rock.

A production crew using 20 hi-definition cameras taped the 2005 Motley Crue performance in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The people at the show that night seemed to have gotten their money's worth, because the band played a very long set.

The track list looks like this:

Opening
Shout at the Devil
Too Fast for Love
Ten Seconds to Love
Red Hot
On with the Show
Too Young to Fall in Love
Looks that Kill
Louder than Hell
Live Wire
Girls, Girls, Girls
Wild Side
Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Primal Scream
Glitter
Without You
Home Sweet Home
Dr. Feelgood
Same 'Ol Situation
Sick Love Song
If I Die Tomorrow
Kickstart My Heart
Helter Skelter
Anarchy in the U.K.

The DVD also features worthless solos from Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee. Why worthless? Nikki plays keyboard and some sort of welding contraption and Tommy does a good job behind the kit but then jumps around, making beats way too close to techno for my liking.

Overall, Vince Neil and Mick Mars do a pretty great job. Mick is one of the most underrated guitar players in all of rock and Vince actually sings in tune. Still, in tune doesn't always mean accurate, and there are plenty of times on Canrival of Sins where Vince screws up the words to songs he's been singing for 20 years.

The stage show is impressive, and the carnival theme fits Motley Crue perfectly. 

The DVD includes lots of crowd pans, courtesy of giant boom cameras. This helps show the size of the crowd, and adds a bit of enthusiasm to the performance. Still, I'd rather see Nikki, Tommy, Vince and Mick than 19 half-dressed women rubbing on each other every ten seconds. Of course, female fans definitely have their place at Crue shows, but we see the same women over and over again on Carnival of Sins.

For the set-list, I think it was a interesting choice by the boys to include so many classic songs early and then encore with "Helter Skelter" and "Anarchy in the U.K." Perhaps they didn't save "Dr. Feelgood" for the end, fearing Vince would be winded, or the band too tired? At any rate, I may have moved the songs around a bit. Still, opening with "Shout at the Devil" is perfect.

To be fair, I didn't have time to watch the extra features DVD, which includes footage of Tommy's boobie camera, plus some music videos and a time lapse of the production set to "On With the Show."

Here's the opening to Carnival of Sins: "Shout at the Devil."


Saturday
Aug112007

Tear the House Down

Hericane Alice frontman Bruce Naumann is ready to get back in the music game, thanks to growing kids and some good friends in the business. Bring Back Glam! recently chatted with Bruce about reforming the band, family and that famous name change. Transcription follows.

Bring Back Glam!: Tell me what’s going on right now with Hericane Alice.

alicepic2.jpgBruce Naumann: Basically, I put together another version of the band, with three new members – none of which are original. I live in Minneapolis right now, and I kind of picked some local guys around. The local talent around here is just awesome. We learned some old stuff, and we’re going to write a new album. The first thing is to get the band up and out. I guess stylistically, we’re going to be a hard rock band. We’re still doing the old stuff. I’ll tell you what: it’s a challenge. The guys are really good at it. We’re listening to current stuff, like Chris Cornell or Audioslave. I wish I could sing like him (Cornell) he pisses me off, he’s so good. Directionally, we’re still rocking and still having a good time.

BBG: Tell me about the new members of the band.

Bruce: Chris Lakey is a drummer. Johnny Holiday is a guitar player and Super “J” (Johnny Kytee) is a bass player.

BBG: Have they played with another other bands?

Bruce: Just local bands, no national stuff.

BBG: Are you beginning the recording process?

Bruce: We’re just now having the ProTools system set up in our studio. I’ve always been writing. There’s a lot of material kind of laying around. The first step to bringing this back was to see if I could still sing like that. I had to get the vice grips out…to hit the high notes again. I had a couple of good nights during rehearsal. Get up, get out, do some traveling and some touring. Here in Minnesota when it gets cold out, it’s a perfect time to be inside working on artistic things.

BBG: There’s been a large gap of time since the last album and now…so why now?

Bruce: Basically…if you want to say I retired…well I didn’t really retire. I walked away from things. The music business got very fickle in the early 1990s, and it was kind of like trying out for a heavyweight bout, and trying to get in at the table and being a rocker…and suddenly having all the rules changed on us and what we were doing was out of style. There were a few projects going on for me personally, that didn’t develop all the way. The main thing for me is that I had kids, and I’ve been raising my kids all these years.

BBG: How do you support your kids?

Bruce: I have a little company, it’s a contracting company. I moved back here (Minnesota) in the early 1990s and I worked in the film business. One of the guys who worked on our videos…invited me to a (film) set and I ended up becoming an art director for about ten years, and I ended up working on a lot of nameless television shows and rock videos. The problem with that…you work sometimes 24 hours a day, really intensely for weeks at a time. Then you have down time. It was increasingly hard for me to be a father, because I’d have to leave for three weeks. I thought it was more important for me to be there for them.

BBG: You say you want to get out and gig. Are you hoping to just stay north, or do you want to hit areas all over the country?

Bruce: It’s interesting. One of my friends is John Domagall, and he’s the president of ARM Entertainment. They have about a dozen artists signed exclusively like Bret Michaels, Poison, Dokken…John was actually in Hericane Alice before we made the move to L.A. Anyway, he’s one of my best friends and we run together everyday and talk about stuff. He books tours for L.A. Guns, Warrant, Firehouse…little runs all over the place. He told me that if I put Hericane Alice back together, he could book us as an opening slot. We don’t have name recognition or hits, we were a good up-and-coming band that had some good songs and exposure…and a hit breakout in a few areas. We’re in no misconception about our popularity, but we just to love to do what we do.

BBG: Do you think grunge killed your chances of stardom?

Bruce: That’s the feeling I come away with. Bad timing. We actually had a record in the can a year prior to the release (1990s Tear the House Down. Hurricane Alice released a self-titled debut in 1986). We had some pending litigation from the band Hurricane regarding the name. That delayed our release date by a year.

BBG: Why did you just re-spell your name?

Bruce: You know, Hurricane was probably right because there’s always issues with charting if the names are spelled the same. We just changed the letters because we didn’t want to drop Hurricane Alice. I was in a local band here (in Minnesota) in the 1980s and I had a decent following. With a separate band, when we broke up…I put together a recording project with a few guys. I kind of had a great deal of success and draw in town. We were together for a year. That was the Hurricane Alice with the “U.” After we broke up, I went to L.A. and got some interest…got signed. We were sitting around on our hands, not doing shows or anything. We wanted to go back to the Midwest, where we had a good following and we could make good money. Go on tour and develop our show. So then the debate was about “What should our name be?” We just used the old name. It was kind of my following personally that developed the name Hurricane Alice in the first place.

BBG: Are you looking for a record deal, or do you not really care?

Bruce: At this point, no, we’re not. We are going to record and we are going to have a record that we self produce. We’re not actively shopping or anything like that.

www.myspace.com/hericanealice2007

http://www.armentertainment.com/alice.htm

Friday
Aug102007

The Similarities are Striking

drfeelgood.jpgIf you've ever listened to Aerosmith's Pump and Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood back to back, you already know the similarities of both releases. Plus, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler guests on two Dr. Feelgood tracks: "Sticky Sweet" and "Slice of Your Pie."

Both Dr. Feelgood and Pump were released in 1989. Motley Crue and Aerosmith recorded their respective albums at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, Canada. Bob Rock produced Dr. Feelgood and Bruce Fairbairn produced Pump. Bob Rock learned production techniques from Fairbairn. While both Aerosmith and Motley Crue were recording their albums, each band member was also going through rehab. At one point in The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band,  the members of Motley Crue recount their days recording Dr. Feelgood right next to Aerosmith. Apparently, both bands would jog "around a pond," doing things to stay healthy and sober.

Getting clean really helped both bands, financially and musically. Of course, many will argue that Dr. Feelgood and Pump are overly produced, too slick and lacking the raw qualities of earlier releases. No, Dr. Feelgood isn't Shout at the Devil and Pump certainly isn't Rocks, but both bands were trying to reinvent themselves and become more commercially successful. The slick production worked, especially for Motley Crue. Dr. Feelgood is the most successful (in terms of chart position and concert ticket sales) release for the Sunset Strip kings. For Aerosmith, Pump is one of their most successful releases, but 1993's Get a Grip was even bigger.

Dr. Feelgood went to the top spot of the Billboard music chart and Pump peaked at number 5.

pump.jpgThanks to the close relationship of both producers, most songs on Dr. Feelgood and Pump sound very similar and enjoy the same themes. Sex and drug use is prevalent on both albums. On Dr. Feelgood, there's "She Goes Down," and "Rattlesnake Shake." Nikki Sixx wrote the lyrics to all the songs on Dr. Feelgood, but for my money, his Aerosmith influence is most prevalent on "Rattlesnake Shake." One reason this song sticks out so much to me is because the Bad Boys of Boston actually also have a song named "Rattlesnake Shake" available on Pandora's Box and Rockin' the Joint: Live. The songs have very different lyrics, but it's pretty clear that Motley Crue is paying tribute to America's greatest rock band.

Since every member of both bands is a recovering addict of either drugs or alcohol, it's no surprise this battle creeped into the recording process. Of course, Dr. Feelgood is a term for cocaine and Sixx wrote "Kickstart My Heart" after he nearly died from a drug overdose. Aerosmith's drug themes are even darker, with "Monkey on My Back" and "Voodoo Medicine Man."

For their similarities, there are also differences. Nikki Sixx maintains the main songwriting credit for all the songs on Dr. Feelgood. Aerosmith also wrote most of their album, but still relied on hit-makers Jim Vallance and Desmond Child to churn out the tunes.

Finally, the year of the release also dictated a similar sound. In 1989, Badlands, Dangerous Toys, Danger Danger and Skid Row all released self-titled debuts. Warrant released Dirty Rotten Stinking Filthy Rich, Bang Tango released Psycho Cafe and L.A. Guns released Cocked & Loaded. All these albums feature influences of both Aerosmith and Motley Crue.

So, did the older Aerosmith borrow from Motley Crue during the recording process, or was it the other way around? You decide.


 

Thursday
Aug092007

Clouds in My Coffee

fasterpussycat.jpgSometimes you can actually witness an artist's tastes and styles evolve over time.


In 1990, Faster Pussycat provided a song for Rubaiyat: Elektra's 40th Anniversary. The songs on the four disc set are covers. Faster Pussycat chose "You're So Vain" originally performed by Carly Simon. Even way back at the turn of the nineties, it was pretty clear Taime Down was moving to a more "industrial sound." Even the video looks industrial, with the extreme coloring of the film (yes, they still used film in 1990). Take a look for yourself: Faster Pussycat "You're So Vain."

Rewind just a few months, and Faster Pussycat was at the top of the Sunset Strip sleaze-Metal game. In 1989, Faster Pussycat released Wake Me When Its Over. The album spawned two signature songs: "Poison Ivy" and "House of Pain." At this point in the band's career, it was still hairspray and screams, as it should be. Taime still had his blonde mop, which I love. This isn't to say I don't like the frontman with his black hair. The dye just signaled a different move for the band I suppose. See for yourself. Here's Faster Pussycat "Poison Ivy." Rejoice in the long hair and leather.

So, was the image change a result of Taime's evolving musical tastes, or was it out of necessity because grunge was sweeping the industry? You decide.


Wednesday
Aug082007

Roll the Dice

It's been an interesting ride for original L.A. Guns lead singer Paul Black. Cut from L.A. Guns just before the band landed a recording contract, Paul spent years in and out of courtroom, fighting for his rights. Now, more than 20 years later, Paul is back fronting the band he helped form along with guitarist Tracii Guns. Bring Back Glam! recently chatted with Paul fresh off a major tour stop in Korea. During the chat, Paul talks about his past, the present and the future of L.A. Guns. Transcription follows.

paulhead_wm.JPGBring Back Glam!: What was it like, playing in Korea?

Paul Black: It was amazing! The first night we played in Seoul, and it was kind of weird. There was no one in the club – I think it holds 500 people – and, about five minutes before were supposed to go, it was half full, and everyone was sitting Indian style on the floor. By the time we hit the stage, the club was completely packed. It was weird; it seems like everyone waited to the last minute. I guess everyone is really punctual over there. If you go on at 8:30, then everyone shows up at 8:30 to watch you play. The next day we played in Busan (Beach), and when we did sound check it was pouring down rain, and we thought it was really going to hurt the crowd. We went back to the hotel, came back later that night, and when we went on stage, it was a sea of people. I think this was the biggest crowd I’ve ever played to.

BBG: How many people do you think were in the crowd?

Paul: At least 30,000.

BBG: You think Busan Beach was bigger than Rocklahoma?

Paul: Yeah, it was definitely bigger than Rocklahoma. (Editor’s note: 100,000 people attended the four day Rocklahoma music festival last month in Pryor, Oklahoma. Concert organizers estimate at least 30,000 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.) The crowd was completely nuts. When we would play, everyone’s arms would go up in the air at once. Everyone would be jumping up and the down. The whole entire crowd would bounce up and down. When we did ballads, the arms would wave back and forth. They really got into it.  L.A. Guns had never been to Korea before. The reception was really great in Korea. They want us back...We’re trying to take a break, but we keep getting sent back out on the road. We’ve been working a lot this year. We’ve just been all around the world. We’re trying to get a small window of time where we can work on a record. Tracii (Guns, founding guitarist) just presented me with nine songs to work on. Guitar riffs, arrangements that he recorded. I’ve got them on my computer, and I’m listening to them constantly, writing lyrics and melodies for them. Hopefully, we’ll find a break where we can rehearse, record some new songs and put a record out.

gunsfamily_wm.JPGBBG: Will you have the new record out by 2008?

Paul: Yes. We’ll be working on it by 2008.

BBG: What do some of the new songs sound like?

Paul: Some songs remind me of Alice Cooper. Some songs remind me of Def Leppard. Some songs remind me of Aerosmith. We’ll have to see what the overall thing looks like after the lyrics and melodies are all picked out. After we get into the rehearsal mode, we’ll get the whole band’s input. It could go any direction. Right now, the songs sound really good. It’s going to be a great album.

 

BBG: The last L.A. Guns album was released on Black City Records. Is that your label?

Paul: Yes, it’s my label that I started to get the songs out. Sun Down and Yellow Moon is the album that I did with Jo "Dog" Almeida of Dogs D’Amour (released under the band name Jo Dog and Paul Black’s Sonic Boom). It’s a bunch of songs we did, kind of in the vein of Rolling Stones, Tom Waite. Very blues rock. My publishing company has always been Black City Music, and we just made it (Sun Down and Yellow Moon) ourselves and it got some really good reviews. Later, Tracii and I talked about putting out all the old demos from when I was in L.A. Guns. Originally we were going to do it with Cleopatra Records, but the offer wasn’t good enough. A bunch of other labels were interested, but they were dragging their feet and taking a long time to get it out, so finally I got frustrated, and I put it out on Black City. I got a lot of good reviews, and good press and it helped sparked an interest in this (L.A. Guns) band. A lot of people didn’t know about me, or Robert Stoddard (rhythm guitar) or Nickey Alexander (drums). Right about the time we took L.A. Guns to the record label, Robert left the band, and then we were down to a four piece. Then I left the band, and was replaced by Phil Lewis. Shortly after the record was recorded, Nickey Alexander was replaced by Steve Riley. The original band was completely replaced by the time the first record was done. They re-did the bios, and made it sound like the band started in 1988 and kind of wrote everyone out of history. When the Black List record came out, it let everyone know about the original band.

paulmarsblacksings_wm.JPGBBG: Why did you leave L.A. Guns when you were about to sign a record deal?

Paul: I was the main songwriter, along with Tracii, and I started the band but right about the time we were about to get signed –Guns n’ Roses had just gotten signed – and we all kind of continued to be the bad boys of rock n’ roll. We did a lot of partying, me and Izzy (Stradlin, Guns n’ Roses rhythm guitarist) we’re doing a lot of heroin together. Right before we were getting ready to be signed to Polygram; me and Izzy had gotten busted copping dope. We spent some time in jail. Really, just overnight in jail but we were facing charges and that sparked a lot of rumors that Guns n’ Roses would lose their deal with Geffen over the drug and heroin use. It was very apparent that I was very strung out on drugs and partying a little too much, and it scared our label. Basically our management, a guy named Alan Jones, was friends with Phil Lewis. Alan said that L.A. Guns could have record deal, but "you need to let us put our singer in there." So our management bought a ticket for Phil Lewis to fly over (from England) so he could replace me. Tracii always said that he felt really bad that he didn’t stick up for me, and I guess he felt Phil was filling the job good enough. That happened 20 years ago and its all water under the bridge now. Tracii and I have buried the hatchet and become friends again. It caused a lot of bitterness, because not only was I replaced, but they also used my songs for the first two records, which were really successful. Phil Lewis got the credit for my songs. To this day, he’s still taking credit for my songs. I sued them and got my credit back, but the lawsuit dragged out for three years and I couldn’t sign my new band when I was in a lawsuit with a major label, and it caused bad feelings all around. I think it probably held L.A. Guns back a little too. We don’t know what the future holds for L.A. Guns and this lineup, but we have a tight unit right now. Tracii’s son (Jeremy) is doing a great job on bass. He’s 24 years old. Full of energy, looks great, he’s just like we were back in the day.

BBG: How did you kick your drug habit?

Paul: Right after L.A. Guns, I went through some stuff: losing my band, losing a record deal. Some things happened, and I got arrested. I got sick and wore out and I realized I had to do something. It was within about six month of being out of L.A. Guns I went into rehab, and I managed to stay clean for about a five year period. I was sober pretty much the entire time I had Black Cherry together. The band was really strong, but I ran into political battles because I was suing Polygram Records and my former band. I had a lot of major labels contacting me directly because Black Cherry was selling out clubs and they wanted to sign the band. The labels liked the demos, liked the songs. No one wanted to get involved with Black Cherry while I was suing a major label. The lawsuit took three years. Black Cherry was at a club level, but I couldn’t get past that point because I couldn’t get a record done with them. The band fell apart and I settled the lawsuit in 1990. That’s when labels started calling again. While I was trying to put the band back together, it was a time when grunge was coming in, and glam Metal bands were not getting signed anymore. I think I forgot why I was staying sober, so I started drinking again. I went through a two year period where I didn’t do anything but drink and toward the end I was strung out on drugs again. That was in 1995. There was only one thing left to do: if I wanted to live and have a happy life, I had to get off drugs. So I went into rehab again on April 17, 1995. I quit drugs completely and I haven’t had a drink, done drugs or smoked a cigarette since 1995.

BBG: You say Phil Lewis gets the credit for songs you wrote. What are those songs?

Paul: The very first single from the first record, a song called “Sex Action.” Polygram Records was coming to our shows, and were not committed to signing us. They were looking for a single. I wrote the song “Love and Hate” before L.A. Guns and later Mick (Cripps, former L.A. Guns bassist) rejected it (Editor's Note: an A&R rep for Polygram liked the song and it helped pave the way for a record deal). After I left the band, I think they brought in an outside songwriter, or they gave Phil Lewis permission to mess with my songs, and the lyrics got rewritten and the song became “Sex Action.” The music is the same and the guitar riffs are the same. I wrote all the music. They revamped the lyrics. Other than that, “One More Reason to Die” I wrote. “Show No Mercy” was one I wrote with the band. “One Way Ticket to Love” is a ballad I wrote with Tracii. “Never Enough” was originally a song called “Looking Over My Shoulder.” These songs are all in their original form on our Black List record. When the band got signed to Polygram and they hired a different singer, they (label management) confiscated all the demos and wouldn’t allow them to be released for all these years. We just did it anyway. Me, Nickey and Tracii kind of went through all our cassettes to find the best versions, took them to the studio to have them restored, and that’s what got released on the Black List record.

BBG: So, what’s the deal with the L.A.Guns name?

Paul: The L.A. Guns name is owned by all of us (original members). The guy who actually owned and trademarked the name was a guy named Razz. He was friend of Tracii’s from high school. He had a bunch of money because he was in an accident and in a wheelchair. He actually talked us into using the name L.A. Guns. Originally, we were going to use the name Faster Pussycat. We dropped that name because Razz asked us to use his name. He actually had van that said “L.A. Guns” on the side. We had backdrops and leftover promotional materials from Tracii’s old band that he left a year prior so he could form Guns n’ Roses. Razz wanted to keep the name L.A. Guns. Later, Razz got busy doing other things, so he gave me the paperwork for the name. When I did the settlement agreement with the band and Polygram, I didn’t release my rights to use the name L.A. Guns. All I did was give them permission to go ahead and use the name. When I put the Black List record out I still called it L.A. Guns. Well, “Paul Black’s L.A. Guns” so people would know that this was the original version of the band. Steve Riley and Phil Lewis feel like they’ve put so much of their time into L.A. Guns, they feel like they have a right to use the name as well. I don’t blame them. When you put so much of your life into something, you feel like you have a certain claim to it. Legally, the only people that have a claim to the name are me, Tracii, Mick (Cripps) and Nickey (Alexander). In my opinion, Tracii is the one that’s kept it going all these years. I don’t really participate in the drama…I’m more concerned with playing rock n’ roll and I try to ignore petty attacks.

BBG: So you don’t feel any animosity toward Phil Lewis?

paulsky_wm.JPGPaul: Well, yeah, he’s said a lot of really crappy things about me. He’s been lying a lot. He’s still taking credit for my work. As a matter of fact, I’ve been giving him the benefit of the doubt. Like maybe he just didn’t know that they were my songs. Now I realize that’s not true. To this day, he’s trying to convince people he wrote those songs. I deserve that credit, and I should have gotten credit for my work. To my face he’ll be nice but since I rejoined the band, he’s been fully attacking me, kind of putting me down, and criticizing my voice and everything else. I don’t feel any need to retaliate. I think it’s real immature and I don’t think it’s a good thing to do. Out of respect for the name L.A. Guns, it’s really wrong for Phil Lewis to be putting down the original members of the band. He’s putting down the people that started the foundation for him. It doesn’t make any sense. I think he’s alienating a lot of L.A. Guns fans… and I don’t feel any need to retaliate.

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