Following a trail previously blazed by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, a number of bands on the washed-up side of things have competing lineups on tour, each featuring members who claim to be the real nucleus of their band's former glory.
One night last summer, L.A. Guns took the stage at the Taste of Lombard food festival in Lombard, Illinois. At the same time, 1,200 miles away, L.A. Guns hit the stage at the Muscle Party Rockfest in Sarasota, Florida. How was this possible? Because L.A. Guns, like a growing number of acts, are touring in two competing lineups: one fronted by the group's original guitarist, Tracii Guns, and another led by his Eighties bandmates, singer Phil Lewis and drummer Steve Riley. "Tracii's L.A. Guns is bogus," says Riley. "People want to hear the songs sung by the original lead singer." Guns counters, "Those guys are a couple of dirty motherf--kers. I hired them for my band — if you get hired as a manager at McDonald's, you don't take over the McDonald's."
Now, this is a problem that the old Motown groups have been dealing with for years, as anyone who's ever driven from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and seen signs that say "The Drifters" in huge letters with the word "Original" printed in what must be 14 point type to meet whatever lawsuit conditions they must adhere, can attest to. Apparently this is now affecting rock acts like Asia and L.A. Guns as well.
Anyways, I saw L.A. Guns play at the Ritz in NYC when I was in 5th grade, and I'm sure my Dad will jump for joy when he reads this post, for they put him through quite a bit of aural misery that night.
The idea of two former cohorts, now rivals, being willing to drive down prices to their own gigs by competing with each other for bookings ("Yeah, I'd have you for $1,500, but the other L.A. Guns will play for $1,000",) is really something. I would think that the extra money they'd make by touring together would make them enough that they could ride in separate vehicles and have separate dressing rooms like the Ramones did for years after Johnny stole Joey's girl.