L.A. Guns PhotoFORMED: 1987

L.A. Guns was formed by former Guns N' Roses guitarist Tracii Guns in 1987. Teaming with ex-Girl vocalist Phil Lewis, former W.A.S.P. drummer Steve Riley, bassist Kelly Nickles, and guitarist Mick Cripps, Guns adhered to the Aerosmith-derived raunch of his former band. L.A. Guns released their self-titled first album in 1988, yet it wasn't until the following year's Cocked and Loaded that they truly broke big. On the strength of the hit single "The Ballad of Jayne," Cocked and Loaded went gold. Released two years later, Hollywood Vampires managed to hold their audience's attention, peaking at number 42. Nevertheless, the band laid low for four years, waiting for grunge to fade away. When L.A. Guns released their fourth album, Vicious Circle, in early 1995, they retained a core group of followers, yet it failed to capture the mainstream's attention; it was their weakest-selling album to date and saw the beginning of several lineup shifts, with Johnny Crypt taking over bass-playing duties and Guns remaining the band's sole guitarist. Featuring new lead vocalist Chris Van Dahl, 1996's American Hardcore fared no better;

Greatest Hits & Black Beauties, a collection of re-recorded favorites and new material, followed in 1999 after a succession of new vocalists that included Ralph Saenz (on 1998's Wasted EP) and Love/Hate singer Jizzy Pearl. That same summer, the group released a Gilby Clarke-produced collection of new material, entitled Shrinking Violet, with Pearl as lead vocalist. For 2001's Man in the Moon (again produced by Clarke), Phil Lewis and Mick Cripps returned to the lineup, joining Guns, Riley, former Pretty Boy Floyd member Keff Ratcliffe and new bassist Muddy.~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide