Drummer Steve Riley – L.A. Guns
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Judith Fisher at BJF Media PR for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Golden Robot Records for the promo pictures of the band.
Promo pictures are taken by: Mike Pont
Steve Riley is a man that maybe doesn’t need no further introduction with his involvement in WASP and his then later main act L.A. Guns. L.A. Guns is now releasing their brand new album titled RENEGADES which definitely ought to speak to old hardcore fans of the band. Along with him original bass player Kelly Nickels teams up and together with the rest of the line-up they create magic. I had a shorter interview with Mr Riley during which we handled the brilliant new album RENEGADES, the new line-up in the band as well as what the future has in store. Enjoy!
Hi Steve, nice to talk to you today and a big thank you for taking the time for this interview. I hope you and the rest of the members are healthy and safe.
Hi Anders, hope all is well. The band are doing fine
First of all congratulations on the brilliant new album RENEGADES, it’s great!!
So glad you like the new album Renegades. We are so proud of it and the response from the fans has been great.
I read that you reached out to Kelly Nickels back in 2017 in order to re-form the band, when did the rest of the members join forces with you?
Geting Kelly Nickels back with me was huge. We are best friends and he has been my partner in the rythym section from the beginning. Scott Griffin was playing bass in the band for a number of years but is really a lead guitarist. So when Kelly joined back up, it was a no brainer to ask Scott to play guitar in the band. He is thrilled to be back at his regular instrument. So he was in as soon as Kelly rejoined. We lucked out finding Kurt Frohlich. Someone told us about him and we called him early 2019 and he was the first singer we looked at. He is just so talented and a great singer, guitarist and song writer.
Why did singer Jacob Bunton leave the band and how did Kurt Frolich end up in the band, were you friends with Frolich before he teamed up with you?
Jacob was never in the band. I called him to see if he was interested in doing the M3 show before we found Kurt. It was just going to be a one off and have some fun with the show. He declined and that was cool. He seems like a really cool guy. As I said, we were very lucky that we found Kurt through a friend and did not have to go through the audition process of trying to find a singer.
In 2019 the band did live performances, how was that and what did the fans think of seeing the band live again?
We did 2 shows in 2019. We did the M3 show in May, and a Las Vegas show in July. The band did so well at the first show at M3 that it started a snowball effect of scoring a great management with New Breed and Eric Baker and Bobby Collin, and they found us the deal with Golden Robot Records and Mark Alexander-Erber. The fans loved the band at M3 and it was all over the internet.
New album RENEGADES
When did you start on material to RENEGADES, who wrote the music and lyrics and what are the lyrics about?
The band lives all over the states. I am in LA, Kelly is in New York, Kurt is in Florida, and Scott lives in Vegas. We started trading songs over the internet right after we got the deal with Golden Robot Records in late summer of 2019. We are all song writers that have been sitting on songs we have wrote for many years. We did this for about 2 months and then I had the guys fly out to LA to record in November 2019. The lyrics are really about the usual rock and roll stuff. Girls, fast cars, and having a good or bad time.
With thought of the fact that LA Guns now reached legendary status within the rock n roll scene was that something that affected your music-writing? I mean does your rock-status have any impact on the way you create music?
I think we made an effort to not stray away from the L.A. Guns sound that our fans like. I also think that we know you have nothing with out great songs and we made an effort to make this album have no throw away tracks. We wanted it to be one good track after another. Having a good status in the rock field is a plus and we have such a great fan base.
How have the fans and media responded on the three singles/lyric-videos “Renegades”, “Crawl” and “Well Oiled Machine” that the band released earlier this year?
All 3 songs have streamed so well on just Spotify with over a half million streams and the reaction from the fans has been fantastic. We can’t wait for them to hear the whole album on November 13th.
The release of the album was postponed due to the covid 19 pandemic is that correct, when was it originally due to be released?
The album was supposed to come out in March 2020. When the virus hit and we knew that all of the shows were postponed, we went into a different mode and decided to let the fans have something new every 2-3 months with a new single.
Well Oiled Machine
Who did the cover artwork to RENEGADES and what do you think of it? Why the title RENEGADES, does the title have any special meaning to the band and the members?
Kelly Nickels does all of the artwork. He is not only a great songwriter, but also a great artist. He does the artwork for the album, ads, and merchandise. The title Renegades is one of the song titles and it just had a great ring to it.
Are there any plans on shooting proper videos to any of the songs?
We would love to do proper videos for each song, but with the budgets you have now it is not that easy. We also know that you don’t get videos played on TV now and it kind of is a waste of money. We put the Crawl video together ourselves and will do more things like that so we can put them up on our sites.
I read that you re-designed the band logo, why did you do that and who came up with the final edition of the new logo?
That is also Kelly. He did the new logo and he made it our own. We love it and I think the fans really dig it too.
All the booked US shows for the band is now canceled or postponed, do you think it’s going to be possible to tour or perform live in the near future? What are the touring plans for US and Europe in the future?
All of our schedule for 2020 has been moved into 2021. None of the shows were cancelled, just postponed. We have plans to tour the States, the Pacific Rim, and also hope to get over there and tour both Europe and Scandinavia in 2021. Lets hope this virus calms own and we can get back to normal and get out there and do some touring.
How has the virus affected the band besides canceled tours etc?
Well we all have been careful and tried to stay healthy. We were very lucky to get the album done at the end of 2019 otherwise it would have been very difficult to do it this year. This has been one hell of a year for not just us and our friends in other bands, but for everyone all over the globe.
Do you think fans are torn between your L.A.Guns and L.A Guns feat Phil Lewis & Tracii Guns? What are your opinions and thoughts regarding the other fraction of the band? Is it possible for fans to like both versions of the band?
I think fans have been used to 2 versions of the band. We hope fans like both versions and know there is something to like with both. We have no ill will against anyone from the classic lineup. It’s only rock and roll and like I said, it’s all about how good the songs are.
Many members have come and gone in the band through the years, do you feel you got a solid line-up now?
I feel so good about this lineup because of the way we came together and recorded Renegades so easily. I also have big respect for all past members and would never say a bad thing about them.
Well my time is up now, once again thanks a lot for taking the time making the interview, it’s been an honor!! do you have any final words to share with fans and readers? Stay safe and healthy and I really hope to see L.A. Guns out on the roads soon over here in Scandinavia!
Anders, I just want to thank you for your support and hope to see you on tour soon. Also we want the fans to know that if they want to find out anything about the band with shows, how to order the new album Renegades, or see some cool merchandise, to just go to LAGUNS.NET or GOLDENROBOTRECORDS.COM. Stay safe my friend and hope to see you soon. Thanks, Steve Riley LAG