L.A GUNS DRUMMER STEVEN RILEY DISCUSSES KEEL, W.A.S.P AND THE ONE TIME HE, ALONG WITH EDDIE VAN HALEN, WATCHED RANDY RHOADS PLAY LIVE

Ruben Mosqueda of KNAC.com spoke with L.A Guns drummer Steven Riley. Excerpts from the interview appear below.

KNAC.com: You played drums on the Kell album The Right To Rock and you left shortly after, but I don’t know the story behind your departure.

Steve Riley: I had spoken to Greg Chaisson, the bass player in Badlands, we had done a session together. He said that his brother Kenny Chaisson was in a band called Keel and they were getting ready to head into the studio to record with Gene Simmons and that I should give them a call. So I gave them a call, they liked me and they wanted me to join the band so I joined in time to record The Right To Rock. We did a couple of weeks of pre-production before we went in to record The Right To Rock. We did that one at The Record Plant in L.A., I had completed my drum tracks and was doing some background vocals with Gene. You probably didn’t know this, but Gene and I did most of the background vocals on The Right To Rock. While I was working on background vocals in the studio, I received a call from Blackie [Lawless]. He said, “Hey, I’d like you to stop by my house so we can talk.” So, I stopped by his place after I got out of the studio. He told me that W.A.S.P. was working on their first album and they were going to have to let their drummer go. It was so ironic because that is what Keel did with their drummer. They had let him go right before they went into the studio to record The Right To Rock. He mentioned that they were getting ready to head to Europe in two weeks and he asked me if I wanted to join the band. I had a hard decision to make. On one hand I was in a great position with Keel, Gene Simmons and A&M Records…I loved those guys and I had to weigh one against the other. In the end I think I made the right call. I wound up playing all of the drums on The Right To Rock and then joined W.A.S.P. I did that about 2-3 weeks after I had completed my drum tracks. It was hard to tell the guys in Keel that I was leaving because they are such great guys. Can you imagine having to choose between two great bands like that? I went with W.A.S.P. and they were under the same management as Iron Maiden so they had this big machine behind them.

KNAC.com: What a streak of albums, [Keel’s] The Right To Rock, [W.A.S.P’s] The Last Command and [W.A.S.P..’s} Inside The Electric Circus.

Steve Riley: And don’t forget Live In The Raw! I played on that too, then after that I joined L.A. Guns like two months later. It was a whirlwind… joining Keel, recording with them, then going out on tour with Blackie and the guys, doing three albums with them and then getting right into L.A. GUNS! [laughs] You have to have a lot of luck and timing also plays a factor I think. You have to be a good player, but you need a lot of luck for the timing to be right. My timing? I was just so fortunate that I was able to go from one band to another band to another band. This just doesn’t happen often. I’m so grateful.

KNAC.comThe Last Command is probably the band’s better record of the two studio albums that you were on, but I have to say that for me Inside The Electric Circus edges it out, mostly because that was the first time I saw W.A.S.P. live. Which do you prefer?

Steve Riley: I feel that when we recorded Blind In Texas and Wild Child the band was firing on all cylinders. The Last Command has so much depth and so many great songs…then there was the tour. It was just my favorite time in W.A.S.P..Randy Piper was still in the band and we were on fire. I loved their first album, I still remember Blackie playing it for me when I was recording the album with Keel. The Last Command tour with KISS and then with [Iron] Maiden was just great. We also got a chance to do some headlining shows and we got a chance to take some bands out with us. I liked Inside The Electric Circus, I like a lot of the material on that album. It was a different mold, Randy [Piper] was out of the band, the twin guitar attack from Randy and Chris [Holmes] was gone, Blackie was now playing rhythm guitar and Johnny Rod was playing bass. It changed the chemistry of the band. I lean toward The Last Command because it was the classic line-up, it had the two biggest songs that Blackie wrote with Wild Child and Blind In Texas.

KNAC.com: Did you run into or meet Eddie Van Halen? You mentioned you were in L.A. by 1977, which is around the time that Van Halen were gearing up to release their debut album.

Steve Riley: Yeah, this is a weird story. It all came back to me when Eddie passed, another musical giant. So I moved out here in ‘77, I came out to play with Mickie Jones who was the bass player in Angel. He had just left Angel, I was great friends with those guys, I grew up on the East Coast and I grew up with Frank Dimino, their singer in Boston. Mickie Jones called me and told me that he was forming this band and wanted to know if I wanted to come to L.A. I was living in Indianapolis at the time and was in a band called Roadmaster. I came out in ‘77 and come to find out, Mickie was great friends with Eddie Van Halen This was before the album came out, they were still playing clubs in L.A. The Angel guys knew Van Halen because they’d hang out together at The Rainbow after their shows. The Angel guys took me to The Whisky to see this band called Van Halen. I got a chance to see them for the first time before their album was even out. I could not believe that band. About a week later Mickie and I are getting ready to go out and he mentioned that Eddie was coming along with us. So, Eddie shows up at my apartment with Mickie Jones to pick me up. Eddie was driving the Van Halen van which was this old cargo van headed to The Starwood to see a band called Quiet Riot with Randy Rhoads. Check it out, we’re in the audience, hanging out, Eddie, Mickie and I smoked a bunch of doobs, we’re having drinks and we’re watching Quiet Riot with Randy Rhoads. Can you imagine?! [laughs] It’s just such an insane thought! I had never seen Randy play, he was just burning it up onstage. I looked over at Eddie and asked, “Well, what do you think of this guy”?! At the time I had no idea that there was a little bit of tension between the two, because they were jockeying to be ‘king of the clubs’. Anyway, he replied “Oh, he’s okay.” I think back at that in amazement, because I was there with Eddie Van Halen watching Randy Rhoads before either of them became these “titans of rock.” I also remember hearing the Van Halen debut album before it was released. He brought it over to a place that I was living at in the Hollywood Hills. He puts on this cassette with a bunch of writing on it and it was like “Wow.” It starts off with Eruption and we hadn’t heard anything like that before, it was incredible. I also got a chance to see Van Halen at the Pasadena Civic Center, the album wasn’t out yet, but they had “graduated” from the clubs and were playing bigger venues. What great memories.

Read more at KNAC.com.

Steven Riley’s version of L.A.Guns released their new album, Renegades, on November 13th. Read more details here.

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WOLFGANG VAN HALEN SAYS VAN HALEN CONSIDERED DOING A “KITCHEN SINK TOUR” WITH DAVID LEE ROTH, SAMMY HAGAR, MICHAEL ANTHONY AND POSSIBLY GARY CHERONE

Brian Hiatt of Rolling Stone reports:

Before Eddie Van Halen’s cancer took a turn for the worse, his son Wolfgang Van Halen said he convinced him to consider a “kitchen-sink tour” that could’ve included bassist Michael Anthony for the first time since 2004, with Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth each taking turns on vocals. They even talked about bringing back Gary Cherone, who sang with the band on one album, Wolfgang told Howard Stern Monday (11/16).

That said, they never got as far as discussing the idea with Roth, Wolfgang said, because Eddie turned out to be too sick to go out on the road. Sometime in the last few years, Eddie had a motorcycle accident, and they learned that he had a brain tumor. “If only things had been better,” Wolfgang said, “it would have been amazing…”

…Eddie had countless tapes of jams, riffs, and songs spanning decades in his 5150 Studios vault, but in the wake of his death in October, there are no immediate plans to start sorting through them for possible release, Wolfgang said.

“There’s a s–t-ton of tapes that will take a very long time to go through,” Wolfgang told Stern as part of an interview debuting his first solo single, Distance, released under the name Mammoth WVH.  “That’s not the priority right now. I can’t put a timeline on it. There will be a time we go through it. Not for the foreseeable future.”

Wolfgang also made it clear that his father’s band is over. “You can’t have Van Halen without Eddie Van Halen,” he said.

Read more at Rolling Stone.

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GUITARIST REB BEACH ON BEING CALLED A “SHREDDER,” “WHEN I THINK OF A ‘SHREDDER’ I THINK OF SOMEONE LIKE YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, [NOT] MYSELF”

Ruben Mosqueda of Sleaze Roxx spoke with guitarist Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake). Beach released a solo album tittled, A View From The Inside, on November 6th. Highlights from the interview appear below.

Sleaze Roxx: If you’re going to release a solo album, this is the year to do it.

Reb Beach: Oh yeah, with all the downtime, it’s good timing. I have been hearing from people that the album is uplifting which is great to hear.

Sleaze Roxx: One of the things that could be hard for fans to digest are instrumental albums, if that isn’t what you’re used to listening to. It’s always great when you come across an album like A View From The Inside, that guitar enthusiasts can get into as well.

Reb Beach: Thank you. That’s nice to hear. I have read a couple of reviews where the reviewers have said something like, “This album is only for fans of jazz-fusion.” I disagree. There’s barely any jazz on the record! I’m not a jazz player at all!

Sleaze Roxx: How long have you been sitting on some of these tunes?

Reb Beach: Little Robots was one of the first ones that I wrote in 1986. Black Magic was written for the Guitar World compilation in 1989. Cutting Loose was written for my instructional video also in 1989, but it was never properly recorded. People would say from time to time, “Hey what’s the name of that song on your instructional video?” I would tell people, “It doesn’t have a name. It’s just a jam.” It was on the video and everyone that heard it seemed to love it. I had to recut it.

Sleaze Roxx: You’re promoting the album by doing interviews and getting the word out. I assume you want to take this to the stage at some point?

Reb Beach: I would love to get on one of those tours. I was talking to Joe Satriani last year. I went to one of his shows and we talked for about 20 minutes. He’s such a nice guy. He said, “Hey listen, if you get an instrumental record, we can get you out on one of these tours.” I said,”Funny you mention that, I’m actually almost finished with my instrumental record.” He said, “Okay get it to me as soon as it’s done.” So I got it to him last week. We’ll see what happens. I’d love to do something like that, time willing and I’m able to do it given my commitment to Winger.

Sleaze Roxx: Do you ‘cringe’ when someone refers to you as a ‘shredder?’

Reb Beach: When I think ‘shredder’, I think of someone like Yngwie Malmsteen. I certainly don’t consider myself as a ‘shredder’ but I know a lot of people do. I guess they needed some easy name to refer to this style of play and that was it [laughs]!…I guess it helped that when I came out in 1989, I did the fast stuff and did those breaks, on Seventeen. That really helped my career for sure. I don’t have a problem with it.

Sleaze Roxx: You stepped into Night Ranger for a couple of years when Jeff Watson departed.

Reb Beach: It was a year and a half or so. I loved my time in Night Ranger. I have always been such a big fan. What a great time. I got along so well with Brad [Gillis]. It was a great honor, because I learned how to play the whammy bar from Brad Gillis [laughs]! One of the first videos on MTV was Don’t Tell Me You Love Me. I rushed right out and bought a whammy bar after I saw that [laughs]! It was great playing in Night Ranger.

Sleaze Roxx: You also put together the band The Mob together. You had Kip on board as well as [Dug] Pinnick. How did that come to be?

Reb Beach: Frontiers [Records] approached me about doing a “super group.” They wanted me to use one of those singers with the really high voices. You know the ones. The guys from Sweden or something. I didn’t want to do that. I had all of these songs that I had written. They weren’t quite done yet. I went to Kip and I said, “I have like ten song ideas, but I need help to finish them.” So Kip went in and helped me finish them and then I had the idea of using Dug Pinnick, because he was one of my favorite singers. The label wasn’t too happy about it because it wasn’t what they had envisioned. It’s Dug’s huge, incredible voice over very straightforward music. It’s not like King’s X at all. King’s X is just way “progressive”’ There are people that got it and there’s been many people that have been calling for a second record.

Sleaze Roxx: So does it interest you at all to do another record?

Reb Beach: Yeah, but like with this instrumental record, it would be way back on the back burner. We’re right in the middle of Winger right now. So my priority is going to be the next Winger record and then once we’re all clear to tour, we’re going to be gone baby [laughs]. We have been looking at going to Europe and Japan.

Sleaze Roxx: One thing that I really appreciated when you joined Dokken was that you didn’t try to play like George Lynch and you did it in your own style. You recorded [the albums] Erase The Slate and the Live From The Sun [with Dokken].

Reb Beach: I had a great time in Dokken. When I played George’s songs, I tried to play the exact same notes that he played. I tried to get as close as I could to his notes as possible, but it just doesn’t sound like him, because it was me. I just don’t do what he does so I just did it my way. Dokken was really fun. It was a big freaking party. There was no management. It was do whatever you want. Drink as much as you want. Just show up on time [laughs]! Don was totally hammered at the time, he would leave the stage in the middle of the song and go take a leak [laughs]! I would get these opportunities to improvise and jam. Jeff [Pilson] and Mick [Brown] didn’t care if they played along. It was like the “Reb Beach Hour” so I had a lot of fun [laughs].

Sleaze Roxx: You’re in Whitesnake. I’m thrilled that you’ve taken a bigger role in the band. What a great gig. Did you have any input in the remix compilation albums. They do include the material that you’ve recorded.

Reb Beach: I didn’t have anything to do with the remixes. That’s all David’s thing. He does really well with those and the fans are eating them up. It’s always great to hear Whitesnake songs and to listen to them the way that David wants to hear them the way that he wants to. It was a huge honor to finally get a chance to write with David. It’s something that I always wanted to do. Flesh & Blood was that opportunity. I actually lived with David for a year. That was like totally the odd couple [laughs]. Here’s a guy that’s like British royalty and I’m a guy that’s like a beer drinking slob. All hungover in the morning and stuff [laughs]. He’d be like, “Rebel darling, how are you doing this fine morning [laughs]?” I’m like,“Okay David, I’m fine.” There’s beer cans everywhere [laughs]. He was great about it. He was great. We worked really well together and we wrote some great songs. He gave me the opportunity to write my big ballad at the end, which I’ve always wanted to do. Doug Aldrich had that amazing song Forevermore at the end of that album. David let me do it and kept sending me back to the drawing board on that one. We finally got Sands of Time and I’m really proud of the solo on that one.

Sleaze Roxx: You spent a year with Coverdale, what was the‘magica’ cure for the hangovers?

Reb Beach: [Bursts into laughter] You know it wasn’t that bad. I was exaggerating. I knew I had work to do so I tried not to party too much [laughs]!

Read more at Sleaze Roxx.

Listen to Beach’s Infinito 1122‘ from his solo album, A View From The Inside, here.

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WOLFGANG VAN HALEN RELEASES FIRST PIECE OF MUSIC FROM HIS SOLO BAND MAMMOTH WVH, VIDEO FOR “DISTANCE,” A TRIBUTE TO HIS FATHER, EDWARD, CAN BE SEEN NOW

Everybody has a name they are born with. Having one of the most recognizable names in entertainment, Wolfgang Van Halen has been preparing to release music from his solo band Mammoth WVH for some time. That plan was altered when his father, and guitar icon, Eddie Van Halen called him and told him his cancer had returned. Wolfgang decided to put everything on hold to be with his father through his battle. During that time, Wolfgang was writing material for his upcoming solo album (available via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records in 2021) for which the first single Distance would be born. The song is available via all digital service providers here.
“As my pop continued to struggle with various health issues, I was imagining what my life would be like without him and how terribly I’d miss him. While the song is incredibly personal, I think anyone can relate to the idea of having a profound loss in their life,” explains Wolfgang Van Halen. 
Writing the song and performing all of the instrumentation and vocals for Mammoth WVH, Distance is an open letter to his father – one Wolfgang was fortunate to play for his dad and would become a favorite of Eddie’s – declaring “no matter what the distance is, I will be with you.” The video for the song is created from a collection of family home movies through the years and offers an inside look in to one of music’s most notable personalities. Chronicling the family through the years, the video ends with a touching voicemail left from Eddie to his son. The video for Distance can be seen below.
“I never intended Distance to be the very first piece of music people would hear from me, but I also thought my father would be here to celebrate its release. This is for him. I love and miss you, Pop.”
An organization that is very close to the Van Halen family is the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Eddie was very supportive of the organization via numerous donations throughout his lifetime. Following in his father’s footsteps in another way, Wolfgang is donating his portion of all proceeds from Distance to the foundation. 
“Our connection with Eddie grew out of his generous nature, his delight in seeing kids learn and play music, and ultimately understanding what’s important in life. Eddie lived out loud through his music, and I believe that he wanted to see that kind of expression ignite in the students. Music saved him and he loved giving back through what we do for kids through the power of music. Thank you, Eddie. We’ll never forget you.” – Felice Mancini, the President and CEO of The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation

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THUNDER ANNOUNCE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR “LAST ONE OUT TURN OFF THE LIGHTS,” FROM FORTHCOMING ALBUM “ALL THE RIGHT NOISES”

British hard-rockers, Thunder, have announced the release of their 13th studio album All The Right Noises on March 12th. The band have also shared the first single Last One Out Turn Off The Lights. The video can be can be seen below.

The album is a return to the full-throttle sound of Thunder that has seen them create a hugely successful 30+ year career at the forefront of British rock, all built around the lifelong friendship of vocalist extraordinaire Danny Bowes and songwriting genius and guitarist Luke Morley.

All The Right Noises is an intense confection of illicit charms that reasserts their authority as the number one band in the land. Recorded in the months leading up to the first Covid-19 lockdown, it was originally due for release in September 2020. Strange to reflect then on how much of the new material appears to address the challenging new world we now inhabit.

On the album, Luke says “All the songs were written and recorded pre-Covid. But it is interesting how if you look at some of the tracks through the prism of Covid they still make a lot of sense.”

All The Right Noises will be available in 1CD, 2CD, 2LP, and 4LP formats, with the 2CD and 4LP releases containing bonus tracks.

The LP versions feature a stunning pop-out of the Singing Ringing Tree which appears of the album’s glorious artwork. The photo cover art was shot by the band’s long term collaborator Jason Joyce. The sculpture, which also appears in the video for Last One Out Turn Off The Lights, is set in Burnley, Lancashire, and resembles a tree which harnesses the energy of the wind to create a choral, discordant sound.

All The Right Noises Tracklisting:
1. Last One Out Turn Off The Lights
2. Destruction
3. The Smoking Gun
4. Going To Sin City
5. Don’t Forget To Live Before You Die
6. I’ll Be The One
7. Young Man
8. You’re Gonna Be My Girl
9. St George’s Day
10. Force Of Nature
11. She’s A Millionairess

Available as
1CD
2CD
2LP
4LP

All The Right Noises follows on from 2019’s stripped back and reimagined album, ‘Please Remain Seated’ which continued their consecutive Top 10 UK Album Chart run since their ecstatically received comeback six years ago.

It is another chapter in the band’s incredibly successful history that has seen them create a succession of some of the most highly-regarded rock albums of the past 30 years. The key to their renown: brilliantly conceived top-drawer material including all-time classics like Dirty Love, and Low Life In High Places, described by the late great Radio One Rock Show presenter Tommy Vance as “the greatest ever single released by a rock band.”

With their most recent success, Thunder have proven themselves as vital now as when they emerged with their debut album in 1990 Backstreet Symphony, and their hit follow-up in 1992 Laughing On Judgement Day, which was only kept off the top spot by Kylie Minogue.  

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AC/DC STREAM NEW SONG “REALIZE” FROM FORTHCOMING NEW ALBUM “POWER UP”

AC/DC are streaming a new song, called Realize from their new album, Power Up, due November 13th.

Listen to Realize here.

To watch the official video for their first single, A Shot In The Dark, please go here and pre-order the album, go here.

Power Up track listing:

  1. Realize
  2. Rejection
  3. Shot In The Dark
  4. Through The Mists Of Time 
  5. Kick You When You’re Down 
  6. Witch’s Spell
  7. Demon Fire 
  8. Wild Reputation 
  9. No Man’s Land
  10. Systems Down
  11. Money Shot 
  12. Code Red

Power Up was recorded over a six-week period in August and September 2018 at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver with producer Brendan O’Brien, who also worked 2008’s Black Ice and 2014’s Rock Or Bust.

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