L.A. Guns’ Tracii Guns + Phil Lewis Suing Drummer Steve Riley Over Band Name
L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns and singer Phil Lewis have filed a legal complaint against former drummer Steve Riley over usage of the band's name amid confusion arising from both camps performing as L.A. Guns.
Currently, competing versions of the veteran Los Angeles glam metal band are doing business under the L.A. Guns moniker. One led by Guns and Lewis, the other featuring Riley along with classic-era L.A. Guns bassist Kelly Nickels, guitarist Scotty Griffin and vocalist Kurt Frohlich.
Nickels, Griffin and Frohlich are listed as co-defendants alongside Riley in the complaint filed last week (Jan. 9) in California District Court, as Blabbermouth reported. The complaint requests a trial by jury and alleges that Riley's version of L.A. Guns (called "the infringing L.A. Guns" in the case docket) are creating "unfair competition" via unauthorized usage of the band name.
According to the report, Riley based his version of the band on a claim of partial ownership of the name. However, Guns and Lewis assert that this is not the case. The two also maintain that Riley embezzled much of the group's publishing profits over the past two decades. Riley's version of L.A. Guns recently signed a record deal with Australia's Golden Robot Records.
In the complaint, Guns states that he "is the owner of the common law trademark rights" for the L.A. Guns name and logo, even though he was absent from the group for several years after leaving in 2002. Guns founded the band in 1983. Lewis and Riley both joined in 1987. The complaint also mentions that Riley was fired from L.A. Guns in 1992 for "assaulting" Lewis. He rejoined in 1996 after Lewis left the band temporarily.
Three years ago, similar confusion reared its head when Lewis announced he was leaving the then-current version of L.A. Guns. At the time, the singer revealed that he would still be working with Tracii Guns on future projects.
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