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2019.03.07 - Ultimate Guitar - Tracii Guns Remembers Obscure Original GN'R Members

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2019.03.07 - Ultimate Guitar - Tracii Guns Remembers Obscure Original GN'R Members Empty 2019.03.07 - Ultimate Guitar - Tracii Guns Remembers Obscure Original GN'R Members

Post by Blackstar on Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:47 pm

Tracii Guns Remembers Obscure Original GN'R Members, Bassist Who Drowned in Early '90 & Drummer Blackmailed By Girlfriend

UG exclusive: "He left the band and then she left him. So that didn't work out very well, really."

During a conversation with UG's David Slavković, LA Guns leader and Guns N' Roses co-founder, guitarist Tracii Guns, talked about the early days of GN'R, his current relationship with ex-bandmates, and more.

You can check out a part of the interview below.

I was always very fascinated by the earliest days of Guns N' Roses. There were two members, people usually don't know things about them - drummer Rob Gardner and bassist Ole Beich. There's almost no info about the bassist, Ole Beich. How long did he stay in the band and why did he leave?

"Ole, he came over to LA in about 1982 from Denmark. He's from Denmark, he had played with Mercyful Fate and I think he may have also played with some King Diamond solo stuff.

"He came over and I met him through a friend. He wanted to be in LA Guns because we were a heavy band at that time. That was when Axl was singing in LA Guns. And Rob Gardner too, the drummer - he's somebody I went to high school with and we basically started LA Guns together [in 1983].

"Our manager had fired Axl at one of our shows. And that same night, after he was fired... We all lived together - we decided we were just gonna carry on and we changed the name of the band, we changed our name to Guns N' Roses.

"And we added Izzy [Stradlin, guitar], that was the only real difference in the beginning. So it was Rob Gardner, Ole Beich, me, Izzy, and Axl.

"I think Ole was the first to go. He really wanted to play metal and we had turned into more of a blues-influenced heavy-rock band with a little bit of tinge of glam-rock in there.

"And he didn't really want to do that, he wanted to do something else. Unfortunately, he never found what he was looking for. And by the time I have left Guns N' Roses [in 1985] and started LA Guns, both bands were doing really well.

"Over time, he battled depression. Eventually, he drowned in a body of water in Denmark in the early '90s.

"I really loved that guy - very serious guy, had a great sense of humor. He helped me with a lot of things. He was about 10 years older than me. Good guy.

"And then Rob... Rob was a great drummer. And his girlfriend gave him an ultimatum when we were in Guns N' Roses: 'It's either the band or me.' So he left the band and then she left him. So that didn't work out very well, really."

You were the original guitar player of Guns N' Roses. We've heard the story of how you left the band and how they brought in Slash. But what was your reaction when you first heard 'Appetite for Destruction' when it came out in 1987? Did you listen to it right away and what did you think of it back then?

"We were recording the first LA Guns record, and somebody from Geffen has sent over a cassette to me when they just finished mastering 'Appetite for Destruction.'

"And I went in a separate studio, we were at the Village Recorder - I remember like it was yesterday. And I put that record on and I was blown away. I loved it. It was like a brand new Aerosmith record with more balls. That's how I described it back then.

"And when 'It's So Easy' came on, on that listen, where Axl had a low and a high voice going at the same time - I was really impressed by that. I loved the record.

"So I went into the studio and I said, 'Hey guys, let's take a break, you've got to listen to this Guns N' Roses record.' And they really didn't give a shit because it was, like, 'Oh, you just care about it because that was your band,' blah blah blah.

"I was, like, 'No, this is a fucking great record.' And they really didn't care for it until it came out and exploded in everybody's face. And then everybody decided, 'Oh, wow, it's a great record.'

"It's not even a great record - it's a devastating record. It's amazing. I still listen to that record."

When you left the band back in the day, do you think that was a good idea for you? Or do you think it's better for them that they moved on with Slash? Do you ever think about that?

"Yeah... I mean, I haven't thought about it in a long time. But you see, Slash was playing in the band Hollywood Rose at the same time LA Guns was rolling around. That was with Axl and Izzy.

"So they were already kind of established and had some songs anyway. And Slash actually was a fan of Guns N' Roses. He did our logo and a flyer for us and stuff like that.

"So it just made a lot of sense to me. He definitely brought more of a contrast between him and Axl, to the live thing. Me and Axl were just, like, two similar guys.

"Slash really had an image together and really was like - almost like an alien coming in and saving the world. You know what I mean. It was really... Really, the chemistry is undeniable.

"When I played in the band, I was still going through my Randy Rhoads influence and trying to grasp how to incorporate those styles and stuff into what I was doing.

"And Slash was pretty much already playing the way he's maintained his whole career - just, like, a great blues-rock heavy guitarist. And that's exactly what the band needed.

"I don't believe that the band would have been what it is today if I had stayed in that band."

Have you been in contact with anyone from the band at all for all these years? Like, Izzy or Axl? Do you keep in touch with them?

"No, I don't keep in touch with them but I do see them. I haven't seen Axl since 1988, I think. But I've hung out with Duff [McKagan, bass] a couple of times. I jammed with Slash a couple of times.

"Izzy, I think I had... we talked in person once about 10 years ago. And that's about it. Nothing weird there but I don't hang out with anybody."

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