L.A. GUNS guitarist Tracii Guns and vocalist Phil Lewis filed a complaint in California U.S. District Court against their longtime former bandmate, drummer Steve Riley. Joining Riley as defendants in the case are the three musicians — including “classic-era” L.A. GUNS bassist Kelly Nickels — who perform in his recently launched rival version of L.A. GUNS; that group’s manager, booking agent and merchandiser; and Australia’s Golden Robot Records, which recently announced the signing of Riley’s version of the group
The complaint, which requests a trial by jury, alleges that Riley‘s version of L.A. GUNS (referred to in the case docket as “the infringing L.A. GUNS“) is creating “unfair competition” through its unauthorized usage of the L.A. GUNS trademark. Also, Guns and Lewis are seeking relief from and/or against false advertising, breach of contract, and unauthorized usage of their likenesses.
At its core, the complaint calls into question Riley’s claim of partial ownership of the L.A. GUNS name and logo and alleges that his usage of both has been unauthorized. Also, Guns and Lewis claim — as Guns has done publicly in the past — that Riley has embezzled much of the group’s publishing proceeds over the past two decades.
All That Shreds obtained a copy of the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, and you can read it in its entirety below at the link:
We reached out to Mark Alexander-Erber, President & CEO of Golden Robot Records, who signed Riley’s version of L.A.GUNS and have an album being released this year. Mark stated to All That Shreds:
In this particular case, the law is pretty clear and I’m sure justice will prevail, Kelly and Stephen are the real deal, real songwriters, and the nicest guys in rock, So I feel the fans deserve this new album as its incredible with genuine LA Guns pedigree and DNA in every song
Lewis and Guns have been putting out some outstanding records via Frontiers Records. Traci is also a very talented guitarist. Riley’s band sounds good too with Kelly Nickels, guitarist Scott Griffin, and vocalist/guitarist Kurt Frohlich. Looking back at how the Great White and Queensryche lawsuits have some similarities and how they were finalized, It will be interesting how this case will be resolved.