Michael Grant of L.A. Guns
Guitarist Stacey Blades decided to leave LA GUNS near the end of 2012 due to “extenuating circumstances and musical differences.” After Stacey’s leave, he was replaced by guitarist Fankie Wilsey of the Sea Hag’s and Stephen Pearcy’s Arcade. A month later, the world is reunited with former ENDEVERAFTER frontman and ultimate guitar shredder, Michael Grant.
Michael, what got you hooked on music and who has inspired you the most?
I would have to say the most direct and influential were my father, Marcelino, My Brother, Azeron (ASSASSINS) and my sister, Magnolia. They were the first to introduce me to so many different styles of music and really teach me things. As far as artists that started the fire in me, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Prince and so much more.
What is your favorite album of all time and why?
That’s a tough one but one of my favorite albums of all time would have to be Prince – Purple Rain. The movie combined with the soundtrack… it was complete and utter visual/audio bliss to me. Then there’s Michael Jackson’s – Thriller which also combined with the video totally blew my mind and spawned my obsession with the horror movie genre. The first song I ever sang as a kid was Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It” and “Thriller”. These are my favorites of all time cos these were the records that started my passion and love for music. This answer also applies to your first question =)
How were you contacted for involvement with LA GUNS? Were you searching for a gig at the time?
Funny story… I was having a rehearsal for my own band ASSASSINS. We had a show at the VIPER room later on that night. We were having a rehearsal just before the show at Cascade rehearsal studios in Hollywood, California. I was walking in with my ASSASSINS and lo and behold, Phil Lewis, Scott Griffin and Steve Riley were standing outside of the rehearsal studio. They were holding auditions for the guitarist spot for LA GUNS that day and I later found out that the auditions were not going well for LAG. As I was walking in, Phil Lewis in a sort of shock and awe stops me in my tracks and asked me “Who are you. Your aura is like glowing, mate?”. I replied “I’m Michael Grant”. Phil then asked me if I was there to audition for LA GUNS, I sort of snickered and replied “No”. He then asked me “What kind of guitar do you play?”. I said “Currently, A Gibson Les Paul”. He laughed and said “No no no no Mate, What kind of music do you play?”. I told him “I can pretty much play anything”. He then asked me “Can you play guitar solos”? With a devilish grin I replied “Oh yeah, I can definitely play me some guitar solos” After that I walked straight into my rehearsal room to rehearse ASSASSINS. About 30-45 minutes into ASSASSINS rehearsal, Phil Lewis comes barging into our room, totally poaching. In front of my entire band he says “Sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt your rehearsal but I sing for a band called LA GUNS, Have you heard of us”? I replied “yes”. Phil then said They were auditioning for guitarists today and asked if I’d like to audition. I laughed and told him “I’ve never heard your music before with the exception of “Ballad of Jane”. I then told Phil that Himself and the rest of the guys of LA GUNS should come out to THE ASSASSINS show at the Viper Room that very night. I said “If you like what you hear and what you see, then we can talk”. He agreed and all the GUNS attended my show that night. The show went amazing and after the show Phil and the guys approached me and said they loved it and they really wanted me to audition. It took me about 2 weeks before I finally agreed to audition. I had my reservations and knew it would take time away from ASSASSINS. Finally they got me in for an audition and after playing 4 songs with them, (I WANNA BE YOUR MAN, ELECTRIC GYPSY, KISS MY LOVE GOODBYE and RIP AND TEAR), they immediately asked me to join LA GUNS. I had 3 days to learn 16 songs before I was to go out on my first tour as an official member of LA GUNS.
Sounds like you almost had another passport scare this year before attending the Monsters of Rock Cruise. Aren’t you glad you got that one worked out this year? How did your absence affect the band and their performance the previous year?
Yes, I have bad luck with passports. I was definitely relieved to have found my passport just a day before the cruise. As far as how my absence affected LA GUNS last year on the cruise in 2013… I think my absence was missed, incredibly so. The guys were horrified that I didn’t get on last year and even more horrified that they had to perform as a 3 piece. Scotty did bass solos in place of my guitar solos haha. All in all it was pretty bad all the LA GUNS members know how to take lemons and make lemonade, so to speak. I was pretty devastated being stuck at port and watching that ship sail off without me in it. OUCH! On top of that every hotel was booked and I had a hell of a time finding a place to sleep for 2 nights cos that was the soonest I could get before an incredibly sad flight back home. Luckily just before the ship left port, My good friend Larry Morand hooked me up with some cash to get me through. Was incredibly thankful for that man saving my ass.
Tell us about your experience on the Monsters of Rock Cruise?
The Monsters of Rock cruise came at a very interesting and pretty rough time in my life. I was going through a lot so it was a struggle trying to balance my emotions and have a recklessly abandoned good time. I think after our performance on the deck on the 2nd night, Things started to look up and I was able to release some of that tension on the stage.
Describe the most memorable performance you have played during your music career.
I think opening for KISS in Japan and Touring for 4 months straight with Poison and Cinderella in 2006 with my band, ENDEVERAFTER. That was the most memorable time for me cos pretty much all of my dreams were coming true out of nowhere. My first taste of playing amphitheaters, arenas and stadiums in front of hordes of thousands in the audience every night. ENDEVERAFTER getting up on stage with Poison at the Concord Pavilion and singing “Nothing But A Good Time” with the band as an encore, plus it was pretty much a home town show, closest to Sacramento, that we were playing so many of our friends and family were in the audience.
You must have some good road stories considering the places you have toured and the people you have toured with, and not disclosing yourself in any way. What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you on tour?
Hmmm… There are so many crazy things that happen to me on a daily basis that it’s since then become my normality.
You are currently touring with LA GUNS, but what can you tell us about your band, “Michael Grant & The ASSASSINS”?
Yes… Well it’s incredibly different from LA GUNS and my former band, ENDEVERAFTER. It’s a hybrid fusion of rock and electronica as well as a vast array of my different influences. On the recordings I play most all the instruments (drums, bass, guitar, keys, etc). My band consists of my 2 brothers Azeron on bass, Sean Christopher on guitar, Niles Abel on drums and Greg White on programming (also co-produced my record with me). We are releasing our record in October. I’m doing it all independently. I’m very excited to get this album out
What can fans expect in the future for “ASSASSINS”?
Fans can expect a lot from ASSASSINS. We will definitely be doing some touring. Expect the unexpected. I really went out of my comfort zone writing and recording this record and I’m very proud of how it came out. ASSASSINS is fairly new so our website and all other social media will be up soon for all to consume. #ASSASSINSla
You were recently arrested in Michigan at the Canadian border on a minor charge. Personally, I wasn’t surprised, but would have bet my money on you having a passport issue over this any day.
Another horrifying incident brought to you by yours truly. This situation just overall sucked. I got thrown in jail. Jail just ain’t for me.
What are your thoughts on social media and how it has affected the music industry and you personally?
I think social media is a powerful tool and in my case allows me to keep in touch with fans, friends and family. Also makes it a lot easier to promote and share things with a wide audience. I dig it.
The feud between Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns has been going on for nearly a decade. Do you think their reunion show at 2013’s Vamp’d confirms the end to most of the tension??
Honestly I don’t know much about the feud or have any inside information regarding that whole debacle. Both Phil and Tracii are very talented grown men and should just get over whatever the fuck happened however many years ago. Just my opinion.
Do you still talk, jam, or hang out with any of the guys from ENDEVERAFTER?
I still talk to Eric Humbert and Kristan Mallory from time to time. We mostly just like each others pictures and shit on social media. Eric Humbert came out to an LA GUNS show in Illinois and it was really great to see him after so many years
You have been with LA GUNS for almost a year and a half now. Do you plan on recording with them in the future, or are there other plans in store for Michael Grant?
If it comes to recording a new record with LA GUNS then I’ll gladly be a part of it. As far as other plans… There are definitely some “other plans”. You’ll just have to wait and see!
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