Drummer Steve Riley‘s version of L.A. Guns will perform at next year’s M3 Rock Festival, set to take place May 3-5, 2019 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.
Riley confirmed his appearance at the event in a post on the original L.A. Guns Facebook page, which is still under his control. He wrote: “I’ll be at M3 next year and I can’t wait to rock out with you all. I’ll be bringing alumni from LAG from over the years with a couple surprises. Really looking forward to seeing you guys! Tix go on sale on December 19.”
Guitarist Tracii Guns, who is joined in a separate version of L.A. Guns by singer Phil Lewis, slammed M3‘s decision to book Riley, writing on Twitter: “It’s what happens when people dupe the public for financial gain and can’t rely on their own merits. God bless them and may whoever is in that band enjoy playing my music.”
The Guns–Lewis version of L.A. Guns was originally scheduled to play at this year’s edition of M3, but dropped out about a month before the event. The group stated at the time: “We regret to inform you that L.A. Guns will not be able to perform at the M3 Rock Festival this year. There have been rumors swirling, and they are simply not true. We love M3 and have performed 7 of the past 10 years. We would love to come back next year and perform at the M3 Rock Festival 2019.”
A couple of years ago, Guns and Lewis began working on new music together again after playing periodic dates together — billed as “L.A. Guns‘ Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns” — around the tour schedule of the other long-running incarnation of L.A. Guns, which also featured Lewis and Riley. In December 2016, Lewis left the Riley version of L.A. Guns and joined forces with Guns in a new version of the band, which issued a studio album, “The Missing Peace”, last year.
After leaving W.A.S.P. in 1987, Riley joined L.A. Guns and played on the band’s most commercially successful albums. However, he and Guns have a fractured relationship, which came to a head in 2002 when Tracii left L.A. Guns to focus on Brides Of Destruction.
In a 2016 interview, Tracii said that he had no intention of playing with Riley ever again.
“Steve Riley is a hired drummer,” Tracii said. “And since the awe of him being in W.A.S.P. has worn off, I’ve played with drummers that are just like so much… a billion times better musicians and more interested in being musicians that I have no reason to ever [play with him again]. He’s not a defining factor in a musical unit; he’s just a solid drummer. And he would argue that point, but I know. I’ve played with Brian Tichy and Shane Fitzgibbon and Vinny Appice, and they’re in a different league.”
Tracii said that the only way he would be willing to reunite with Riley is if he was offered enough money. He explained: “Believe me, I’d love someone to come up to me and say, ‘Hey, we can set your kid up and your great grandchildren up for the rest of their lives by getting Steve Riley back with all the original guys of L.A. Guns, I’m not stupid; I’d be, like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ But that’s in no way a reality in any universe.”
Photo credit: Cole Riley.