Stalwart California rockers and veterans of the ’80s glam metal scene, L.A. Guns employ a sound and style rooted in the debauchery and sleaze of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. They are also known for being one of the two bands (along with Hollywood Rose) that merged in the mid-’80s to form Guns N’ Roses. The group’s 1988 eponymous debut and its 1989 follow-up, Cocked and Loaded, were certified gold. However, chronic personnel changes and the onset of grunge and alternative music eventually knocked them out of the mainstream. By the 2000s, two rival bands were operating under the moniker. Despite all this, L.A. Guns have maintained a steady release schedule over the decades, issuing their 14th studio effort, Black Diamonds, in 2023.
Formed in 1983, the group’s first lineup included Tracii Guns and vocalist Axl Rose, the latter of whom eventually left to form his own group with childhood friend Izzy Stradlin. Rose and Guns decided to combine their two bands in 1985, thus creating the earliest incarnation of Guns N’ Roses. Tracii Guns handled lead guitar duties for several months before being replaced by Slash; suddenly finding himself without a band, Guns bounced back by rejoining his old bandmates in L.A. Guns, who’d continued playing shows in his absence under the leadership of vocalist Paul Black.