Tracii Guns Explains How He Joined Forces With Rudy Sarzo and Rikki Rockett in Devil City Angels
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Devil City Angels — a new hard rock supergroup featuring Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns), Rikki Rockett (Poison), Rudy Sarzo (ex-Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne) and singer Brandon Gibbs — will be releasing their self-titled debut album on Sept. 18. You can watch the premiere of the “Boneyard” video above.
The album is now also available for preorder via IndieMerch and at Amazon. The IndieMerch pre-order features 11 unique bundles, which include exclusive colored vinyl and new t-shirt designs, as well as the CD. All CDs come with a sticker and all vinyl comes with a poster.
As Guns told us, the birth of the band happened organically. “It just started from the love of playing music together,” he recalls. He and Rockett had been tapped to be part of a musical tribute to the Who‘s John Entwistle and Keith Moon.
“We got bunched up in the same quartet with a couple of folks, including [bassist and actor] Sean McNabb,” he recalls. “We walked off after we played and we really had some chemistry there, and Sean looked at me and Rikki and said, ‘You guys should do a band called Guns and Rocketts,’ and you know, everybody laughed and then I looked at him and I said, ‘Hey, we should [work on something together],’ and we just took it from there.”
Rockett suggested that Gibbs would be a good fit for the developing project and after a phone conversation with him, Guns gave the potential new recruit his thumbs-up and he quickly discovered that Gibbs had a lot of layers as an artist.
“The interesting thing about Brandon is that he has more modern influences as a vocalist,” he says. “But at the same time, he grew up playing guitar and listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan, which is the exact opposite of modern. So he has a unique way of presenting himself in a more modern world of rock, almost Nashvillian rock comes through his voice.”
Gibbs in turn, suggested that Cinderella bassist Eric Brittingham might be the missing link to complete the band lineup, and with that, Devil City Angels began to take shape. “It was just really easy,” Guns says. “At the time, when we put the band together, I had just broken up with a lady, so I wasn’t in a very good mood for a few months and it was just the right thing to move forward and do something cool.”
The new band hit the road last summer to test things out — reaction had been positive to “All My People,” which was the first song that they shared on the web as soon as it had been completed. Before they hit the road for the shows, they posted four new songs on their ReverbNation page, and Guns was happy that the people coming out to see those first shows knew the new material and, more importantly, they liked it.
“It wasn’t an uncomfortable lull when we played the new stuff,” he laughs. “You know, I’m very fearful of that. I don’t like cramming new music down people’s throats when they’re not there [to hear that]. But in that case with that band, people were there to hear new music, so it made it very comfortable for sure.”
He calls “Boneyard” an appropriate sampling from the new album that will give fans a good idea what Devil City Angels are all about. Talking about the genesis of how the song came together, Guns throws out some familiar names.
“Brandon had written this song originally with his brother,” he says. “It was pretty straight forward, and it wasn’t called ‘Boneyard.’ The first thing I heard, I said, ‘Wait a minute — if we play it like this, with kind of a Keith Richards meets Angus Young kind of thing, it would sound really cool.’
“We tried it and everybody, you know, we kind of went, ‘Wow, man. This is simple and cool and big sounding.’ We kind of redid the arrangement a little bit, and I added that little Jimmy Page part in there instead of doing a straight up guitar solo, and it just turned into a really neat, organized, powerful, immediate sounding piece of music.”
Brittingham stepped away shortly after the album was completed, and Guns says there are no hard feelings between the bassist and the remaining members of Devil City Angels. With Sarzo now filling the bass duties, Guns says that once the album is released, he’s hoping they can take the band back out on the road.
“We really don’t have any touring plans, it’s really up to the public,” he says. “If we get pushed in a way where we get the same response that we did from the people we played to a year ago, which is pretty much 100 percent positive and we can get on a tour that makes sense financially, I mean, that’s the bottom line here. If we can get with a bigger band and we get some real exposure in terms of people, then that sounds fun and that sounds interesting.”
For Guns, it’s the “fun” part of things that’s really the bottom line. “With us, it’s about fun. It’s not so much about being virtuosos in [this] band, it’s about just having a good time and projecting that mood.”
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