Greg Schmitt of Rock Eyez recently conducted an interview with L.A. GUNS drummer Steve Riley. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:Rock Eyez: You've been in L.A. GUNS from the get-go, really. Steve Riley: Right from the beginning — yeah. And they say that me and Phil [Lewis, vocals] aren't original members? It's like, "Come on, you motherfuckers, what are you talking about?" From the very first day the band stepped out of L.A., it was me and Phil with the band. Yeah, they did this recording in a studio here in L.A., and fired the drummer right after he finished the recording. So you wanna call him the original member 20 years later? Come on, you fucks! Rock Eyez: I saw him a year ago with Tracii. It's a weak band. I mean, Tracii is good, but everybody else is like… Your lineup is so much better. Steve Riley: Well, we're the real band because me and Phil have been in this from fucking day one. And we co-wrote every song. Any song that you hear by L.A. GUNS, me and Phil co-wrote it with Tracii, and with Mick and Kelly. We co-wrote every single song. Like we're doing now — we all get in the studio and write together. And it's just — the thing that Tracii has out right now is not a musical thing he's taking out, it's a destructive thing. He's only out there for one reason, and that's to ruin the name of L.A. GUNS. He has just burned every bridge in the book. I mean, I can go on and name bands that you wouldn't even believe — from MÖTLEY to GUNS N' ROSES to L.A. GUNS to QUIET RIOT — I'll go on — POISON, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS… These are bands that dislike Tracii so much that they don't even want him around them. All these big bands — they can't stand this guy. So what does he do? He burns all his bridges with Nikki (Sixx) and all of those connections — he fucked that whole thing up, too. And now he's got nothing left to do. Me and him own the name! But he has every right to take it out, and what's he doing? He wants to take it out to destroy it right now. I know Trace — he likes to play with good musicians. And he's not playing with good musicians. Oh, they're horrible, Greg. Come on — they're terrible. They don't sound anything like L.A. GUNS. And I just think that if I wanna go see a classic rock band, I really, really want to see the fucking lead singer who sang the songs! Rock Eyez: And they have an argument where they say, "We're the original guys." And it's like all right, fair enough, but you know — they're just not (very) good! Steve Riley: Not at all. And you know, that "original guy" thing too — Paul was in the band, right? And they co-wrote a couple — not even co-wrote — they started writing "One More Reason" and "Sex Action". They were just pieces, not completed songs. Rock Eyez: So, what do you think is going on in Tracii's head? Steve Riley: He's out there thinking… Well, first of all he had to come up with some sort of a fucking shitty story about why he's out of our band. Just to capsulize it one more time: We did the album for Spitfire — "Waking the Dead" with Andy Johns. It came out and it sounded so fucking good, and we were so proud of it. We couldn't believe it. It was our first album with Andy Johns, and it was like, "Oh my god — this thing is huge!" Well, we got great reviews on it, and we got the whole ALICE COOPER tour for the world. Starting in Russia, going all the way through Europe, and then coming over here. And he quit to do the fucking BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION. Bottom line: Me and Phil begged him not to quit. "Please do both — you can do both things, man, you do not have to quit!" He told us to go fuck ourselves, in a matter of words. He said, "Forget it, I'm out of here." We lost our record deal, we lost the tour, and we had to start from scratch to build our way up again. This guy turned around — and now he knows he looks like an asshole — and he turns it around and makes it look like the band ripped him off for money, that I ripped him off for money… You know, it's just so fucking bad — it's horrible. It's like this guy is reaching so bad that me and Phil know we'll never play with this guy again. He's that devious, that bad. And we love Stacey's playing — Stacey's fucking killer. We love him — he fits in, and the fucking guy — he's really into it and he's really low-maintenance, and he knows it's a rough scene right now, but he'll do it. Trace, on the other hand, is into the mode of destruction. He knows he's out there hurting L.A. GUNS' name by having another L.A. GUNS out there. Rock Eyez: And is he really making enough money to make this worthwhile? Steve Riley: No! He's not. That's the way he's hurting L.A. GUNS. Not just in the name, but financially too. We make a certain amount of money, and he's going out for like one-third of that. So the clubs are going, "Hey! I've got L.A. GUNS for this price over here!" So me and Phil right now, and the guys in the band, we're just trying to stay strong. Phil's gotten into a few Internet wars with Trace, but I'm staying out of that. I'm trying to take the high road and not be a little pussy on the Internet, shooting lines that don't make sense. So I'm just taking a back seat on it. We know 'cause when I was in STEPPENWOLF in the '70s, I was in one of the bands that didn't have John Kaye. Now John Kaye, the lead singer, wasn't going by "John Kaye and STEPPENWOLF." He was in STEPPENWOLF, and then the other guys had STEPPENWOLF too, because they all owned the name. When I was in STEPPENWOLF, we sounded really, really good. I thought we sounded great, and I was making all this money, but guess what? We fizzled. And I realized why — we were a classic rock act without the real singer. And we couldn't go on. And me and Tommy went on and started THE B'ZZ 'cause we were still young — we were young 'uns back then playing with STEPPENWOLF. But the fact of it is that we're gonna sit back right now, and we're gonna wait for this thing to peter out. People know it sounds like shit, people know Phil's not singing in it, and they know they're not gonna hear the songs the way they think that they're gonna hear the songs. So we're gonna wait for it to peter itself out and people are gonna eventually ask the question, "Is this the band with Phil in it? No? Oh, OK, I understand — it's that other band." Read the entire interview at www.rockeyez.com.
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