L.A. GUNS singer Phil Lewis says that everything GUNS N' ROSES has released after "Appetite For Destruction" has been "pretty average."
Asked by Canada's "Thorn Of Rock" radio show if L.A. GUNS ever felt overshadowed by GUNS N' ROSES' success in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Lewis said (hear audio below): "Well, yeah, of course. GUNS N' ROSES were a phenomenon, and they were a band that were in the same place at the same time. We shared personnel. Tracii [Guns, L.A. GUNS guitarist] had been involved with both bands.
"We did good. L.A. GUNS did really, really good," he continued. "We got gold records. We did incredibly well. But it was never enough. Compared to GUNS N' ROSES, it was one percent, and that's a little bit frustrating, of course.
"The difference between us and GUNS N' ROSES is they had one album," Phil added. "And people are gonna be mad at me for saying this. 'Appetite For Destruction' is a masterpiece, but everything else isn't — everything else is pretty average. Now, we just carried on. We just went one album after another, interesting albums. And now with this reunion [between me and Tracii], we've been together for three years and we've already put out three records — we've put two studio and one live record. GUNS N' ROSES hasn't written one song."
Tracii Guns helped form GUNS N' ROSES with Axl Rose in 1985, merging L.A. GUNS with Axl's HOLLYWOOD ROSE. The lineup only lasted several months, however, with Tracii leaving GN'R about two years before the Rose-fronted outfit went on to rule the world with its debut record, the aforementioned "Appetite For Destruction".
Two years ago, Tracii told Ultimate Guitar that GUNS N' ROSES probably "would have sounded more like L.A. GUNS" had he stayed in the Axl-led group. "Had I been in the band, I don't think GUNS N' ROSES would have had the mass appeal," he said. "I think the way Slash plays and his tonality with Axl's voice is way more compatible. When Axl and I play together, unless we're playing a straight-up rock and roll ballad, that's one thing, but when I write heavy stuff, it's heavy. It's very heavy, and the thing GUNS N' ROSES has always been able to straddle is not falling into the über-heavy thing. Which I think has really worked out for them and kept them more within the classic rock kind of vibe."
Tracii went on to say that he has no regrets about leaving GUNS N' ROSES when he did. "I think everything happened the way it's supposed to be," he said.