L.A. GUNS have dropped off their previously-announced European tour with ALICE COOPER and have made their internal squabbles public, with guitarist Tracii Guns being pitted against the rest of the band in an ugly war of words that is almost certain to result in an extended break from all recording and touring activities.
L.A. GUNS frontman Phil Lewis was the first to launch a verbal attack, having put the blame for the European tour cancellation squarely at the feet of Guns via the following message on the group's official web site:
"Well, it's official — we won't be going to Europe," the singer began. "I'd like to apologize to ALICE COOPER and thank him for giving us the gig in the first place, and I'm beyond sorry to all the European fans we've been promising to visit for so long. Right now, I wonder how Steve Tyler felt when he had to make a choice between Joe Perry and AEROSMITH. I'm honestly not sure why Tracii is pulling this @#%$. I do know he's still very bitter about the whole [GUNS N' ROSES] thing, being so close to that phenomenon, and self-sabotaging it seems to have set a pattern in his behavior. I sympathize. I want to make it clear I do not dislike Tracii — since I've been back in the band, we've hardly had a single argument in three years. It's been fun, and I'm very proud of the music we've made together. But it's been tough watching him drop this band at even the hint of a better gig, joining POISON for five minutes, the LIMP BIZKIT audition… I now honestly think that had Gilby Clarke included Tracii in COL. PARKER, then L.A. GUNS would never had made 'Waking The Dead'. And maybe, in a way, that would have been better — I might not feel so passionate and determined to make this band get the recognition it deserves. I know Tracii hated being the opening band on the recent Rockfest 2002 summer tour. Personally, I wasn't that bothered — I knew we were the only band that had a new record to promote, a record we're incredibly proud of. It felt great playing new songs to people that didn't know us, or hadn't seen us in years. I'm glad we weren't sucked in to the bitch-fest that WARRANT and RATT had to endure on a nightly basis from DOKKEN, It was easy work, and I'm grateful that there was about the same amount of people in attendance for all bands. Tracii is tired of being the underdog band on every package. I understand that, but it's such a pity when we're finally offered a decent slot on a killer tour, he decides that 'L.A. GUNS is all played out.' It's been a fight trying to move ahead and work while constantly having to watch Tracii sulk and withdraw from anything to do with us. Tracii informed us that he can't tour because of his commitment to the new project [BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION] with [MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist] Nikki [Sixx]. It's too bad that two of that project's players will themselves be touring with their own bands the same time we we're due to play Europe. It's going to kill me if RATT replace us on that tour and [former MÖTLEY CRÜE frontman and current BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION/RATT touring guitarist] John Corabi takes a leave of absence from [BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION] so he can do the same tour that should have been ours, That's no offense to John either — I like him, and I wish him all the best luck in the world, and I know that he's been trying to dissuade Tracii from committing career suicide. And honestly, we've been supportive of Tracii and Nikki getting something together. But I never expected Tracii to dump his own band in the middle of promoting the best record we've ever made.
"I know this is rock'n'roll and I shouldn't look for logic or loyalty — it's notoriously devoid of both attributes. I know Nikki and his manager couldn't give a @#%$ about L.A. GUNS, but I don't think either one has pressured Tracii to make a choice between the projects. I'm realizing that this is a decision Tracii has made on his own. I am very sad and confused by this decision, but I feel it's better he does it now than while we're out on tour. If anyone has any doubts how committed I am to this band and the new record, now is the time for me to set the record straight: L.A. GUNS will continue. Steve Riley and I do not intend giving up. We will pick up the pieces and continue to do what we love the most in the band, that's most important to us. I'm not even tempted to go back and work in TV while there's still breath in 'Waking the Dead'. I am also disappointed that our label Spitfire pulled tour support when they found out about Tracii leaving, so I was not surprised when the ALICE COOPER people dumped us for the same reason. It's time for people to understand that this band has never been the Tracii Guns project. Of course, he will always be an important element in the band and will always be remembered fondly, and maybe one day down the line we may all get over this nonsense and get back together. But I've still got songs to sing, and I want to sing L.A. GUNS songs, so I have no intention of hiding under a stone while everyone comes to their senses. Get over it, people. I'm over it now and looking forward to getting back to work, It's never really been easy, but it's always been fun, so if you like the sound of my voice and consider yourself a true L.A. GUNS fan, then I'll be seeing you soon. Bye for now. Best wishes, Phil."
Several hours later, Guns posted the following response via the group's official web site:
"I haven't left L.A. GUNS... I told the guys months ago I could do a three-week tour in Europe.... When the ALICE dates came up, I was excited and then I was told the tour would be five and a half weeks… They already knew I couldn't do that... I even made suggestions regarding replacing me for the tour. Then I get the phone call... 'Uh, dude, could you not tell anyone you are not going to Europe until a week before we leave?' and I very reluctantly said 'OK.'... I was part of a lie to help my bros in the GUNS make some bread to go tour... The truth of the matter is that our management is a bunch of liars, and now it trickled down to the bandmembers lying, and now down to you, our very small, loyal fan base actually believing that I was going to be their in Europe while everybody in our camp knew for at least two months now that I was not going.... If this is what MY BAND, our management and our agent have to do to get this band to work then, NO, I WILL HAVE NO PART IN THIS AMATEUR BULLSHIT. If the BRIDES end up doing very well and everybody is patient, then L.A. GUNS may actually get a fair shot at being a successful band again... Right now, 'Waking the Dead' has sold about 10,000 records (maybe) worldwide… IT'S TIME TO TAKE A BREAK FOR AWHILE AND LET THE HORSE REST BEFORE WE BEAT IT TO DEATH! GET IT? HELLO!!!!
"By the way, Phil wrote that letter without so much as a phone call to see where his brother's head was at… So am I supposed to do these upcoming shows or what? This is fucked. I have no problem with the band having [former W.A.S.P. guitarist] Chris Holmes as lead guitarist in L.A. GUNS. Sounds great to me, but without a break, the band's value will continue to go down. The truth is, when Phil came back to the band (which was absolutely the right thing to do), the band's value was the same. Nothing has changed except WE NOW HAVE A LYING MOTHERFUCKER MANAGER AND AGENT, A GREAT BAND, A GREAT ALBUM and A LABEL THAT TRULY BELIEVES IN US BUT CAN'T SELL DICK IN A WOMEN'S PRISON.
"I care that you understand my point of view and I love our fans and my band mates (Phil, Steve, Keff and Adam). Just be patient everybody. I will not make excuses — we lied to you and it sucks.
"I LIKE IT, IT'S ROCK AND ROLL, AND IT AINT ALWAYS PRETTY… TRACII"