Drummer STEVE RILEY Says The 'Other' L.A. GUNS Is 'A Band Of Scrubs'

February 16, 2008

Clint Hale of 210SA recently conducted an interview with L.A. GUNS drummer Steve Riley. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

210SA: Do you ever want to have a battle of the bands with the other L.A. GUNS and just settle it once and for all?

Riley: It would be no contest. If you're an L.A. GUNS fan or even a casual fan, you'll still notice the difference pretty immediately. ..... There are certain techniques that Phil [Lewis] used, and it's hard to duplicate that. As for L.A. GUNS, the other one will peter out. People are becoming aware that it sounds really bad. We're fighting the fight right now, and it's childish, but we have to sort of stick our nose in it right now because people want to know what we think. The reality is that (the other L.A. GUNS) is a band of scrubs, and this band is the one with the original singer and drummer. We sound like our records. They sound like a band trying to sound like L.A. GUNS.

210SA: What do you think of the fact that your band will always be closely linked with GUNS N' ROSES?

Riley: We knew we were in the same boat as GNR because we came out of the same place. We're the same bunch of people. When you see that kind of phenomenal success, it was so big, as big as the (ROLLING) STONES. Anything near it or compares to it is dwarfed. We were dwarfed. We had gold albums and were on MTV, and we were still a little bit dwarfed by the enormous success of GNR. We were all for it, and it was great that another one of our brother bands was opening so many doors. There was never any envy or jealousy, and it was great that they were doing so well. We were fans of them, too.

210SA: Why do you think '80s rock music is making a comeback?

Riley: It goes in cycles. Once you've been in the business long enough, you open your eyes and see how it goes in cycles. Our cycle was so big. We were involved through the whole thing from '82-'92. ..... I was involved for the entire 10 years. But it had to peter out because it got so huge and was so dominant; the cycle was about to change. It changed to grunge, and we hated it. But there was so much good music in grunge that you really couldn't hate it. ..... The '90s was not a good time to like '80s music.

210SA: Do you think part of the mystique and popularity of '80s rock music stems from the fact that none of the bands took themselves too seriously?

Riley: SOUNDGARDEN, NIRVANA and PEARL JAM, those bands and ALICE IN CHAINS put out some great stuff. But the knock on it was that it was so dark, suicidal, "I'm down" music. That was the knock against them, and it proved to be true because a lot of them are dead now, and a lot of the bands aren't playing together anymore. It was a very dark feeling, and that was the difference between the '80s and '90s. People are ready to get back to lighter music.

Read the entire interview at www.210sa.com.

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