L.A. Guns’ Singer Philip Lewis
Metal Sludge and Phil Lewis have a long history together. We first did20 Questions with him on April 11, 1999, and he played our 2nd Metal Sludge Extravaganza on November 30, 2000. Then for a few years we weren’t exactly sure where Phil was coming from since it appeared that he was avoiding us. He actually did a Rewind for us back in 2002, but it was an audio interview and he ended up taking the tape back after it was done! So we weren’t sure what his story was, but lately we’ve heard he’s been speaking highly of us, as he should, and he finally did his Rewind like a good boy. Time to find out what Phil’s story is.
1. What are you up to?
We are still on the first week of a long summer tour. Tonight, playing our own show in Chicago. The last three gigs have been on the Great White / Dokken package which is doing great, between 6 to 10 thousand people a show. Tonight we?ll be playing to a few less than that at City Limits. The contrast keeps things interesting. We recently released a new CD ?Rips the Covers Off? which, as the name implies, is a cover record of some of our favorite songs. It was a lot of fun recording it and are very happy with the way it sounds. Our new boy, Stacey Blades really stepped up to the plate at such short notice. My original plan was to get as many ex members involved as possible, but that was much too difficult for the amount of time we had to track. Andy Johns once again produced, Adam Hamilton and Steve Riley did an outstanding job and in my opinion it sounds as good as ?Waking the Dead?.
2. Why has it taken you so long to do a Rewind with us? Why were you running from us?
Honestly I?m sorry about the last time I was supposed to do this. I was very tired and frustrated and totally in the wrong frame of mind to have fun. I love visiting this site and the last thing I wanted was a sour puss attitude on my rewind, but my medication has kicked in and now everything is peachy. And I?m definitely not running from you guys. I think you still owe me some money from a gig a while back. But if you give our record a good review we?ll call it even.
NOTE: You know that we don’t pay the bands, the promoter/club does. Nice try.
3. What made you finally see the light and fire Obi Steinman?
We didn?t fire him, he?s still involved. People talk a lot a smack about Obi, but I like him. He?s made us money and never tried to interfere with the music. Managers fall into two categories: Very efficient but totally boring or very passionate but useless.
4. L.A. Guns turned down our MSX Tour last year but ended up doing the same route our tour did. Looking back, don?t you wish you had taken our tour and don?t you wish there was an MSX 2 you could be going out on this summer?
Hell yeah! I wanted to do that tour, it looked like a blast. I?m sorry you?re not doing one this summer, but we?d love to play Sludge shows in the future.
5. Rate the following singers on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being somebody who totally needs singing lessons and 10 being a true great!
Ozzy Osbourne = 5 10 in Black Sabbath
Stephen Pearcy = 7
Jani Lane = 7
Kevin DuBrow = 8 Mr super pipes
Vince Neil = 5
London = 6
Michael Monroe = 7
Jesse James Dupree = 5
Don Dokken = 8
Bret Michaels = 5
Taime Downe = 7
6. It was reported that Tracii had you give Brides Of Destruction singer London voice lessons. What exactly did you teach him and how hard was it trying to pull a good performance out of him?
London?s a good kid who?s been thrown into the deep end. He?s a decent singer and definitely a star. I just gave him some help on preserving his voice on the road, warm ups, throat sprays, etc. He?s going to be under a lot of pressure. Its rotten having to cancel shows because of a blown out voice.
7. Can you name everybody who has played in L.A. Guns in alphabetical order?
Not in alphabetical order BUT here goes: Paul Black, Robert Stodard, Mick Cripps, Kelly Nickels, Nickey Alexander, Tracii Guns, Phil Lewis, Steve Riley, Mc Bones, MP, Johnny Crypt, Roxy Van Dahl, Chuck Garric, Ralph Saenz, Jizzy Pearl, Muddy Stardust, Keri Kelli, Brent Muscat, Chris Holmes, Adam Hamilton, Stacey Blades, Keff Ratcliffe, Charlie Paulson, Rod Arrias and Stefan Adika. It takes a village!
8. L.A. Guns is touring with Dokken for most of the Summer. Do you realize if your set runs overtime you run the risk of Don Dokken coming out on stage and bitching at you?
Don?s alright. You guys rag on him way too much, but I think deep down it secretly amuses him. As far as him coming on stage, he?s welcome anytime. I think the incident with Warrant was a case of mid-tour madness. Contrary to popular belief, the last band of the night is not always the best slot. Quite often people are burned out after watching five or six bands and cut out after a couple of songs from the ?Headliner?.
9. Taime Downe gave you some advice about learning to love the song ‘Sex Action". What advice did he give you and what advice would you give to a lead singer / band that hates one of their biggest singles?
It?s true I?ve been quoted as saying I?d rather stab myself with a plastic fork than sing Sex Action. I?m sure I?m not the only singer who?s less than enthusiastic about performing a song they?re associated with. We?ve matured as a band so much since we recorded our Poison inspired ?Hit? sometimes it seems a little daft. My advice to any singer in a similar predicament is the same as Taime?s advice was to me ?Get over it!?
10. Yes or no, has Phil Lewis ever:
Wanted to blowup the offices at Spitfire Records = NO
Wanted to blowup Obi Steinman?s office = NO
Seen Andy Johns sober = YES
Worn a wig = YES
Had sex in a brothel = YES
Regretted leaving Girl = NO
Filed for bankruptcy = NO
Been arrested = YES
Lied about your age = YES
Voted in American Idol = NO
11. Do you even know who?s playing guitar in L.A. Guns? this week?
Yes I do. A blue eyed, black haired, tattooed rock God. We got lucky when we found Stacey Blades.
12. Somebody told us you were friends with Courtney Love. Is that true and what do you two possibly talk about? Isn?t she fucking nuts?
Courtney?s daughter and mine have been best friends since they were four. They?re like Sisters. They once fought over a bowl of cereal in exactly the same plate with exactly the same spoon. The outcome was a very messy kitchen. Both girls are chips off the old block. Courtney has always been very nice to me, I wish her luck with all her problems.
13. You?re British so you?re the perfect one to ask. What?s the big deal about The Darkness?
Yeah I know what you mean. Personally I think they?re good at what they do. It?s not my thing… I find the falsetto a bit grating, but more power to them. It?s been decades since a rock band had done anything like this as well as them. When I left London (on the Mayflower) the rock scene was dead. All you heard on the radio was watered down cover versions of Abba songs, House, Techno, club music. I have to respect them as a band getting through all that crap. I hear they?re great live.
14. LA Guns would have loved to be on the Poison / Kiss tour — how bad of a mistake do you think it was for Brides of Destruction to skip that tour?
I think the biggest mistake they made was losing John Corabi. Tracii and Nikki have got it in their heads that they?re punk rock. I guess that?s why they turned down the tour.
15. Last of Phil Lewis:
Last time you talked to Tracii Guns = Can?t remember
Last CD you purchased = Jet – Get Born
Last movie you saw = Big Fish
Last time you visited London, England = January 04
Last time you wanted to quit the music business and get a real job = Five years ago, in October, I quit my ?real? job at Fox as an editor to rejoin LAG knowing full well that we wouldn?t do the kind of business as the early days. Most of my co-workers were ex musicians and they helped my decision. I really appreciate how fortunate I am being able to make a living from my music. I accept the bumpy life of a troubadour and hope to continue for many more adventures to come.
Last time you got a royalty check = April
Last concert you saw = Jackyl
Last time you put a crowd to sleep by doing an acoustic set = Gee thanks.
Last book you read = Rat Pack Confidential
Last time you were at The Rainbow = Late May for the taping of VH1?s 100 most metal moments.
16. Now that you’ve sold your Jaguar what kind of car are you driving thanks to LA Guns money?
I have a Jeep, a vintage BMW motorcycle and wonderful 35 year old Dodge van affectionately known as Bubbles. I always keep an eye out for classic old Jags while I?m on the road. I?ve lost count of how many stray cats I?ve brought home at the end of a tour.
17. How much are you hoping that Brides Of Destruction completely fails so Tracii will have to come back to you?
I think he should concentrate on his Tracii Guns? salad dressing.
18. You recently stated that LA Guns started a trend with your "Rips the Covers Off" Cd – do you actually think that Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, and even Warrant & Trixter stole the idea from you?
Did I say that? Rather pompous statement. I?ve been fishing for a label to put out a cover record for ages. I don?t really know if our decision influenced anyone. It?s interesting how many bands are doing it. But of course, ours is the best.
19. How bitter are you that the ?Waking The Dead? CD went unnoticed when it might be your best work yet?
I?m not bitter about anything. Waking the Dead is a very good record and may be the best thing we?ve done in a while, but I didn?t have any great expectations about how many units it would sell. The record was a labor of love, I?m very pleased. Almost everyone likes it. Your message board has been very supportive & you gave it a rave review and the new songs go down well live. I?ve no doubt that if LAG had the same money put behind WTD it would have done much better than that Brides record.
20. Time for Metal Sludge?s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts!
Andy Johns = Shreck
Chris Holmes = gentle giant
Keri Kelli = all chops, no guts
Brent Muscat = Muscat by name. Muscat by nature.
Phil Collen = Tea and tofu
Adam Hamilton = Mr. mystery
Mitch Lafon = I agree with Tracii
The Wildhearts = friends of the Darkness
Paul Gargano = party boy
Obi Steinman = Time out!
It’s good to see that Phil was able to hang and seems to understand what Metal Sludge is all about. It’s also good to see that he finally admits that he came over on the Mayflower.
For more info, you can go to www.LAGuns.net