Kelly Nickels doesn’t want to get into war of words with Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns
L.A. Guns (drummer Steve Riley‘s version) bassist Kelly Nickels was interviewed by Sally Steele for Vegas Rocks! just prior to the band playing (along with Dee Snider and Dokken) the Sunset Rockfest, which took place at the Sunset Station Amphitheater in Henderson, Nevada, USA on July 27, 2019. The band line-up consisting of Nickels, Riley on drums, Scott Griffin on lead guitar and Kurt Frohlich on lead vocals and rhythm guitar.
Nickels was asked whether he has recently spoken to his former L.A. Guns bandmates Phil Lewis (lead vocals) and Tracii Guns (guitar) to which he replied (as transcribed by Blabbermouth):
“No. [Laughs]… We’re trying to talk about just our part of what’s going on. We don’t want to get involved in a war of words. I ain’t got the time for that. We’re just trying to be cool. We redid the logo, so it separated us a little bit from them and tried to give us our own identity of it. Steve‘s been in the band a long time. He’s the only guy who never quit. We’ve got as much right to play these songs as well, and always just wish them luck. I got no problem with them doing their thing. Let people live, as my friends say.”
On what he would say to Lewis or Guns if given the opportunity, Nickels advised: “I would say, ‘Hey, fellas, have a nice day, man. Love ya, miss ya. Take care of yourselves out there. Peace, man. Namaste.'”
When Riley announced that his version of L.A. Guns was going to play the 2019 edition of the M3 Rock Festival while seemingly taking a swipe at Guns‘ version of L.A. Guns, Lewis and Guns went on the offensive criticizing both Riley and Nickels in sometimes some rather puzzling ways. In an interview with Sleaze Roxx in March 2019, Lewis stated as follows about Riley‘s version of L.A. Guns:
“I’m laughing my head off. I’m absolutely — this is fucking comic gold that Riley is even stupid enough to accept this offer and the offer came about only because the organizers at M3 are mad at us for not doing it. We have this on full authority. You know, they dug up some people. They told him put a band together. They’ll give him a slot. And very stupidly without thinking, he agreed to do it without having any band personnel. He hasn’t played in years. He managed to persuade our old bass player [Kelly Nickels] to do it. Two old bass players — he’s got Scotty Griffin from the ‘Hollywood Forever’ album. He’s actually taking it upon himself to play guitar in the band. Scotty’s nice guy, a good bass player but as far as guitar playing goes, he ain’t no Tracii Guns. Let’s face it. So there you go, we’ve got a drummer that can’t play anymore, a bass player that never could, a bass player that’s going to be playing guitar parts that he can’t play and the icing, the cherry on top is they don’t have a fucking singer!”
To their credit, Lewis and Guns have stayed quiet in that regard since Riley‘s version of L.A. Guns played a successful gig at the M3 Rock Festival on May 4, 2019.
You can read other transcribed excerpts of the interview with Kelly Nickels at Blabbermouth‘s website or listen to the interview done by Sally Steele for Vegas Rocks! below:
Original L.A.GUNS bassist Kelly Nickels returns to Steve Riley’s version of L.A.GUNS after over a 24 year absence. Sally Steele does the first interview with Kelly since he rejoined the fold and talks about Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns as well as Steve Riley’s new line-up.