L.A. GUNS guitarist Ace Von Johnson says that he is "tired" of telling people that he will not perform at this year's M3 Rock Festival, set to take place next month in Columbia, Maryland.
When M3 — one of the largest annual '80s rock-themed events in America, if not the world — announced its 2019 lineup, L.A. GUNS was on the list of scheduled performers. It soon became clear, though, that the band who takes the stage that day won't include singer Phil Lewis or guitarist Tracii Guns, as the show will mark the first — and, as of now, the only — appearance of a group anchored by drummer Steve Riley, who still owns half of the L.A. GUNS name, and bassist Kelly Nickels, who played on the band's first four albums.
Earlier today, Ace — who plays in the Lewis-Guns version of L.A. GUNS — tweeted: "I wish M3 would be more honest about their 'LA Guns' on the bill, because I'm tired of telling people that they will NOT be seeing myself, @traciiguns & Phil there in May. It's not @LAGuns. Just several past members. Huge difference. Also, tacky pulling the wool over fans eyes."
In addition to Riley and Nickels, the L.A. GUNS lineup that will perform at M3 will include guitarist Scott Griffin (who played bass for the band from 2007 until 2009, and then again from 2011 to 2014) and guitarist/vocalist Kurt Frohlich.
Lewis recently said that Riley "will make a fool of himself" when he plays at M3. "He is going to go out as a laughingstock, whether he does it or not," he said.
Lewis went on to say that Riley's M3 appearance is " totally exploiting" the hard work that he and Tracii have laid down with their reunion.
"I don't think that Riley is aware of what we have done or how far we have come since [2017's] 'The Missing Peace' [album]," Lewis said. "He doesn't give a fuck. I don't think he knows what he is really up against, which is even more pathetic."
Riley is the longest-tenured member of L.A. GUNS, a group he joined shortly before the release of their 1988 self-titled debut. (While he is pictured on the album, he did not actually perform on it.) Although the band has famously featured more than 50 members in its ranks through the years, with the exception of a two-year period in the early 1990s, Riley was the sole constant from 1987 until the end of 2016, when the group that he and Lewis managed to keep alive for nearly 15 years without founding guitarist Guns (who quit the band in 2002, on the eve of the release of their acclaimed album "Waking The Dead") dissolved. Since then, Lewis and Guns — who, after years of acrimony, buried the hatchet in 2016 — have forged ahead as L.A. GUNS while Riley focused on other projects.
The Lewis-Guns version of L.A. GUNS released a new album, "The Devil You Know", on March 29 via Frontiers Music Srl.