With the release of the bands new album ‘Renegades‘ via Golden Robot Records, (read our review here). Here at Backseat Mafia we where lucky enough to catch up with Steve Riley and find out about the new album and his 3 decades in the music industry.
Exciting times with the new album ‘Renegades’ set to be released. How are you feeling about the album? Are there any surprises to look forward to? How has the pandemic affected you and this album? We are so excited about our new album Renegades. We have released 3 singles from it so far this year and the response has been great. We really feel we nailed it with great songs and stayed true to our L.A. Guns sound that our fans like. We can’t wait for the fans to hear the whole album as there are so many good tracks on it and it moves so good from one to another.
The pandemic has made us take a different way to release this as we were going to release it in March of 2020 but with the pandemic shutting down all live shows, we gave our fans something new every 2-3 months with a new single. Now we are ready to get the whole album out there on November 13th 2020.
LA Guns are synonymous with the the American hard rock scene that was so unique to that era. What do you thing makes bands like LA Guns and others from the scene still so popular?
It all boils down to having good songs. I don’t think you can last very long in this business without having a good catalog of songs.
Over three decades in the game is one hell of an achievement? What attracted you to the music scene all those years ago? Do you feel you achieved what you set out to do?
I started recording when I was 18 in 1975. I have been playing drums for over 55 years. I feel very good about my track record and I was very fortunate to be able to play with so many good musicians and work with so many good producers.
How do you feel when looking back over the years? Is being in a band still what you love?
I still love what I do. To be able to do it this long has been a blessing. Being in a band with great people is still a thrill and I still love recording and playing live.
How does a track develop within the band? Where do you guys get your influences? Has the creative process changed over the years?
We have always written together. Someone will bring in the gist of a song and we will all finish it in the pre-production stage. We all have so many influences and we draw on those but try to make it our own sound. I think L.A. Guns has it’s own sound and we try to stay true to that.
The music industry has changed a hell of a lot over the years. How have you guys found the journey when dealing with the industry? Are you glad you started in the 80s rather than starting out today?
The music industry has changed so much. The big labels and the big machines that came with that are gone. You really have to do a lot on your own and make things happen. We were very lucky to have MTV and radio back in the 80’s. It got us to a lot of eyes and ears. Today is so difficult for new bands and I always tell them to just jump in to the internet and use it for your main tool. You can get a lot done with the internet but it is still a difficult situation for new bands.
As notorious as bands were from those days. Do you think the whole drink and drugs and the drama added to a creative scene and produced some cracking music? L.A. Guns were so lucky as we never got into heavy drugs back in the day. We would smoke a little and have some drinks, but never went the drug way. I think it is a false thing that drugs helped bands create music.
What songs are you looking forward to playing live when you get the chance?
Well we want to play the 3 singles, Crawl, Well Oiled Machine, and Renegades for sure. We are such a classic rock band that has a fan base that wants to hear a lot of out hits from the 80’s and that’s ok with us. We will do all of the hits from then and then sprinkle in some of this new stuff from Renegades. It should be a fun set to do.
Are there any bands past or present you would love to have played with or even been part of?
I have been so blessed to have been able to be a part of Steppenwolf, Keel. WASP, and L.A. Guns. But if I could have played with some of the bands that I loved, maybe the Rolling Stones, Zeppelin, and Sabbath. That would have been a gas.
Difficult to talk about future plans, but what does the future look like for yourself and the band? We will do a full schedule of dates next year that will include festivals, casinos, and fairs. We will throw in the some clubs too, but we don’t want to do the 200-250 club shows that we used to do. It is a hard schedule to do and we want to do some bills that other bands are on that are on bigger stages and have great equipment and bigger crowds. We will also be doing more albums for Golden Robot Records. They are a great label and have been so supportive with us.
Lastly, what music are you digging right now? How do you see the hard rock scene in the year 2020?
You know, I have always listened to a lot of Jazz on my down time from when I was very young. I always feel myself going to Classic rock like the Beatles, Stones and Zeppelin. I think the rock scene in 2020-2021 will be very exciting. Can you imagine how much of a party it will be when this pandemic is over and live shows start up again? I have a good feeling that we will get back to normal soon and we will see all of you out there.
Craig, thanks so much for your support and I wanted all of our fans to know that if they want to know anything about new dates, how to order our new album Renegades, or see some fun stuff with merchandise and videos, go to LAGUNS.NET
Be safe brother and see you soon.
Check out ‘Crawl’ the opening track of the album, below:
Find out more about the band via their Facebook