TRACII GUNS On MICHAEL SWEET: 'We Have The Same Influences In Music, We're Great Friends, And We Have Completely Opposite Ideologies'
March 13, 2021
Tracii Guns (L.A. GUNS) recently spoke to Talking Metal about SUNBOMB, his collaboration with STRYPER's Michael Sweet. Regarding how the project came about, Tracii said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The greatest thing about Michael and I is that we have the same influences in music, we're great friends, and we have completely opposite ideologies — completely; on every level. And we laugh about it. We are two guys, when put together, we do discuss these things without any judgment. It's just, like, 'Hey, I respect your opinion. Cool.' Whether it's religion, politics — it doesn't matter; we get along.
"It kind of came to be where when we did 'The Devil You Know' record, which is [L.A. GUNS'] last studio album, I wanted to tour with STRYPER," he continued. "Of course I wanted to tour with STRYPER — it's like the 'Heaven And Hell' tour. And Michael wanted to do it too. We couldn't get promoters to okay it. They were just, like, 'Oh, man. C'mon.' It's, like, what happened to the music industry? It's, like, this is fun. This is great. This is literally combining two rock audiences that love the same style of music, but two separate audiences; a great opportunity. So, anyways, we couldn't make it happen. So Michael and I just kept talking. And then I got a solo deal with Frontiers, who L.A. GUNS is on, and STRYPER has done records with Frontiers. And I started writing this stuff that's super metal, man. It's awesome; I totally love this album. And I sent Michael a couple of tunes and said, 'Hey, I want you to sing on this stuff.' I go, 'It's a great opportunity for us to do something together after talking about it for two years.' And he goes, 'Yeah. Totally. This is insane. This music is insane.' And I'm, like, 'All right. Cool.' So, a lot of time went by, and finally I started getting the tracks back from him, with his vocal. And it's mindblowing."
Regarding SUNBOMB's musical direction, Guns said: "I compare it — in my catalog, my personal catalog — to BLACK SABBATH's 'Born Again' album. That album is so different than any other BLACK SABBATH album, yet it's BLACK SABBATH. It's a hundred percent Tony Iommi, but Ian Gillan is singing. That's what this record is like — I hear my riffs and my style times a hundred; it's what I do normally, but extra strength. And Michael's voice is insane, man — he's so good."
SUNBOMB will release its debut album, "Evil And Divine", on May 14 via Frontiers Music Srl. The lyric video for the first single, "No Tomorrows", can be seen below.
According to a press release, "Evil And Divine" is "an absolute blinder of a heavy metal album, melding influences of classic metal bands such as BLACK SABBATH and JUDAS PRIEST, with Tracii's love of metal subgenres, specifically doom metal."
Initiated and conceived after Serafino Perugino, president and A&R director of Frontiers Music Srl, reached out to Tracii about working on a new musical project for the label, the idea of a classic heavy metal-sounding album was born. The music style on "Evil And Divine" is much heavier than what one would expect from these two musicians and is firmly planted in the "metal" category. While Tracii wrote the music for the album, the fact that Michael Sweet has been writing/playing in an increasingly heavier style in the latter era, and extremely well-received STRYPER albums made him a very logical choice to sing for the band. And since doom metal, often known for having powerful singers like Messiah Marcolin from CANDLEMASS, was a massive influence on Tracii's songwriting here, Sweet's ability and range were a perfect match.
Michael said: "Hard to believe that I met Tracii for the first time just a few years ago. We hit it off right away and we obviously share the same love for metal.
"Tracii sent me a song and I loved the vibe and then he eventually asked me to sing on the entire album.
"What I love about it is it's definitely different not only for me, but for Tracii as well. I think fans will love this album, and although it's reminiscent of some of the greatest metal bands of the past, it also has a fresh spin to it. I can't wait for everyone to hear it! I'm honored to be a part of it."
Tracii leaked the news of the new project in a March 2019 tweet, where he described the project's debut LP as "the metal record I would have made when I was 17 years old." In May 2020, he mentioned on "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that "the SUNBOMB record is really kind of like 'The Devil You Know' times three. It's more on the heavy side of 'The Devil You Know' album. And Michael Sweet, he's a really fantastic metal singer."
Drums on the album were handled by Tracii's old L.A. GUNS bandmate Adam Hamilton, and bass was recorded by Mitch Davis, with the exception of the track "They Fought", which features current L.A. GUNS bassist Johnny Martin.
"Evil And Divine" track listing:
01. Life 02. Take Me Away 03. Better End 04. No Tomorrows 05. Born To Win 06. Evil And Divine 07. Been Said And Done 08. Stronger Than Before 09. Story Of The Blind 10. World Gone Wrong 11. They Fought
Tracii Guns - Guitars Michael Sweet - Vocals Adam Hamilton - Drums Mitch Davis - Bass Johnny Martin - Bass (on "We Fought")