There Are Two Versions of L.A. Guns Again
These days, it’s not that uncommon for there to be multiple versions of one band, at least while members fight each other over brand ownership in court. But L.A. Guns were truly ahead of their time: they had two competing versions of the same group back before it was cool. There were a lot of line-up changes in each, but the distinction basically came down to one version having guitarist and namesake Tracii Guns and one version having vocalist Phil Lewis and drummer Steve Riley (and at one point a guitarist named Stacey Blades, presumably because Casey Fisticuffs wasn’t available). But then Guns and Lewis made up and reunited, albeit without Riley.
Now a press release tells me that Riley ALSO has a band called L.A. Guns, this one featuring original bassist Kelly Nickels and not-original guitarist Scotty Griffin, formerly of the Lewis/Riley version of L.A.G. and an expert in being in competing iterations of a glam metal band (he was also in Bobby Blotzer’s version of Ratt). Handling vocal duties is Kurt Frohlich, who also also has experience playing in one of two iterations of a hair metal act (he was in Brent Muscat’s version of Faster Pussycat). This version of L.A. Guns will release an album called L.A. Guns 2020 in — you guessed it — 2020, via Golden Robot Records.
Thing is, the Riley/Nickels L.A. Guns is at an immediate disadvantage, because fans care much more about Guns N’ Lewis. And I suspect the Riley/Nickels version is at least somewhat aware of this, because a) the L.A. Guns 2020 press release includes a link to the L.A. Guns Spotify page, where you can listen to albums by the Guns/Lewis version of the band, and b) you can’t really see anyone’s face in their overexposed promo photo, so if you just glance at it you really see a lot of black hair and might even go “Oh I guess that’s Tracii and Phil.”
Meanwhile, original L.A. Guns rhythm guitarist Mick Cripps is either too smart to get involved in this clusterfuck or is planning to debut a third version of L.A. Guns sometime soon. Hopefully he can find a singer named Lou Philips so I can finally have that aneurysm I’ve been anticipating.