Ex-L.A. Guns tour manager thinks Mick Cripps was most important band member in classic line-up
Former L.A. Guns tour manager and Sweet Pain lead vocalist Mike Corcione was recently interviewed by Sleaze Roxx. Corcione has written a book about his music experiences and is looking for a publisher and agent in that regard. His music experiences also include growing up with Bruno Ravel and Steve West of Danger Danger, being a DJ in New York City during the early ’80s, working for Relativity Records and Combat Records, and partying with Mötley Crüe.
Corcione was L.A. Guns tour manager from December 1987 to July 1988 while the band toured in support of its self-titled debut album. L.A. Guns‘ classic line-up is widely recognized as consisting of lead vocalist Phil Lewis, guitarists Tracii Guns and Mick Cripps, bassist Kelly Nickels and drummer Steve Riley. The latter joined L.A. Guns just after the recording of the band’s self-titled debut album (1988). L.A. Guns‘ classic line-up went on to release the albums Cocked & Loaded (1989), Hollywood Vampires (1991) and Cocked & Re-loaded (2000).
In terms of how long that he ended up working with L.A. Guns, Corcione indicated: “I worked for L.A. Guns from December ’87 to July ’88. I was on the road with them that whole time. It was just a crazy time. And then, I left and went back to New York. I would go out on the road sporadically after that. Mick would call me up and say, “Hey! Come out on the road with us. We don’t like our road manager.” Or whatever. And I’d go out and hang out with them. I wasn’t getting paid but you know, I’d room with Mick all the time. We’d just hang out and I would take care of them. That’s the thing. Once you get into that, you go on the road a few times. They had switched managers by this point. L.A. Guns switched managers to Alan Kovac so they were part of a bigger machine and then, it’s just like a revolving door of people — road managers, bus drivers — so you’re not really, it’s hard to keep a bond with somebody that’s working for you. It happens. So they just kept calling me, “Come out. Come out and hang with us.” I worked, worked for them as far as getting paid from December ’87 to July ’88.”
With respect to the two line-ups of L.A. Guns that are currently going at the same time, Corcione stated:
“It’s just so ridiculous the whole thing. For me, it’s about those five guys and each of those guys contributed to the success of that band. They all contributed to the first two albums. First album, ‘Cocked And Loaded, Hollywood Vampires — yes. They all wrote. They all contributed. I read all these things. Not that I’m a big Facebook guy. I like Instagram a lot but I’m not really on Facebook but occasionally, I read stuff. Everybody things that L.A. Guns was always Tracii and Phil. I’m like, ‘Nah!’ Mick Cripps is more important to that band than any of those guys at the time. Mick was very intrical in L.A. Guns as far as Mick was the guy that got the manager, that got them the record deal. Mick very much led the direction of things.
By the time that Steve Riley came in, Steve took over the business of the band ’cause no one else wanted to deal with it. Steve handled everything. Steve had been through W.A.S.P., The B’zz, Roadmaster, every other band that he had been in. First time that I met Steve Riley was when he was in W.A.S.P. so Steve handled the business. No one else cared. You got to remember something too, Steve was much more experienced and seasoned. Phil had been in Girl and I think toured Japan, did some European shows, but it’s not like touring America man with PolyGram Records behind you. PolyGram at the time had Scorpions, KISS, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Cinderella — they were the rock label. So you had four guys that were like wild animals and then you had Steve who is older and married. It’s just a different dynamic. He took care of the business ’cause no one else cared! Kelly and Steve are doing their thing. I love it! I just think it’s great for no other reason than to say, L.A. Guns was those five guys. Kelly was the main songwriter of [“The Ballad of] Jayne.” “Rip And Tear” — that riff is Mick Cripps’. So it’s not all Tracii and Phil.”