It was a typical Wednesday night, but what started as a killer tribute to fallen Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell turned into work, which I’m not going to complain about. As I sipped my Black Tooth Grin in honor of Dime, I waved hello to ex-LA Guns, current Sin City Sinners bassist- Scott Griffin. After the usual hug and hello, we got into conversation and I just said “Want to just get this interview out of the way?” I had been wanting to interview Scott for a while, and we’d talked about it, but he’s a busy guy. After grabbing a drink, we sat outside on the patio at Vamp’d, surrounded by the awesome crowd that frequents the place, and did our thing. For a setting so casual, I got to see a few new sides to the man, often referred to by many girls around Vegas as Scotty the hottie, including his thoughts on music in today’s world, his departure from LA Guns, and of course, the infamous groin photos he posts.
ZR: First thing’s first, how did you come about being here in Vegas?
Griffin: I just got sick of LA. It’s really expensive in LA, and there’s not a lot of gigs. I was in LA Guns at the time which was good money, but I still needed some extra. I would drive out here a lot to play with the Sin City Sinners too. So, I looked out here a couple of times, but I didn’t like what I saw, and then I met a real estate agent. I told her what I wanted, and she said “Oh, I can get that!”, and I thought she was joking. I got a really nice place out here, and it’s easier out here. There’s more gigs, stuff like that.
ZR: So, how did you get involved with the Sinners?
Griffin: When I was in LA Guns, I had left at one point to be in a couple of Vegas bands, and we would drive out here from LA every weekend, and we were making really good money, which is why I left LA Guns. I met the Sinners when I was doing that and struck up a friendship with Brent and Todd, and they called me up once because we’d swapped numbers and said, “Hey, can you play bass for us?” So, I said sure, and I started doing that a lot. When I joined LA Guns again, I kept in touch so that contributed to coming out here a lot for extra cash, which was lost in gas or plane fare.
ZR: You were in LA Guns, and then you weren’t and then you were, and then you weren’t again. You mentioned you left the first time, and with this last time, I obviously read your Facebook post about it, different publications were posting it, and obviously it was written when everything was fresh. Since some time has passed, do you look back on it with any sort of resentment? What exactly happened?
Griffin: I don’t look on it with any sort of resentment at all. I stand by my post. I didn’t say anything bad to anybody, and I said “I love you, Phil” in it. I still feel it was handled badly. I actually got an email from not necessarily a hater, but someone who was like, “Hey, that’s unprofessional. When you get fired from a band or quit a band usually both parties just say there’s artistic differences.” I have no problem with that at all, and I understand that, but when it’s just for no reason at all out of nowhere, and after playing one of our biggest shows ever in Hollywood at the Whisky, and then the next day just go, “You’re out of the band.” I had shows booked, and that’s the unprofessional thing, you finish those shows. If you want me to leave after them, then fine, I get it, but I turned down other gigs for that. So, all of a sudden I was in the middle of the month with no gigs. The other part of it comes from the press release on it which stated that I wanted to go on to new things. I didn’t want it to look like that. I didn’t want to look like that ego guy who’s like, “Oh, I don’t need LA Guns anymore. I’m going to do my own thing.” because I knew I had a good thing. I didn’t want to be put in that predicament. I learned not to be that person, and I’ve always made sure not to be that person and make hasty decisions. I’ve grown, and I don’t want to look like some foolish kid who thinks “Oh, now that I’m in LA Guns I can take on the world.” So, I wanted to let it be known that I liked being in the band, and for whatever reason they just didn’t want me in the band anymore. That’s totally fine. I have my image to uphold, and I don’t want to look like an idiot.
ZR: Right. Did you see it coming at all?
ZR: I ask simply because there’s been speculation, and of course, there are 3 sides to every story. This person’s, the other person’s, and the truth. Having read your post and the official post written by Phil on the LA Guns page, something didn’t add up to me.
Griffin: Well, I knew he was mad at me, and he had said things to me. We fought before, but we all would get into fights. I’d get into a fight with Steve, or Mike would get into fights with Steve, when Stacey was in the band he’d fight with Phil etc., and there were times where Phil had said, “You might want to look for something in the future.”, and I was okay because I completely understood that. He was giving me the silent treatment, and I could see it coming, and I figured I’d know when exactly it was coming. When you have dates and planes booked it’s like, “Okay. They’ll tell me.” All I wanted to do was just know. When you’re booking dates and you say, “Hey, we have plane tickets for you. Don’t book any gigs.” because when you’re with LA Guns you need to be 100% solid. You can’t sub it out or anything. It’s not like The Sinners where someone can fill in if you have another gig. You have to be 100%, and I was dedicated to being that until they said I didn’t have to be. So, I figured they’d say something to the effect of “Hey, after these tour dates here, you’re done.” Kind of like a two week notice type of deal. Like I said, I turned down a bunch of gigs, and that was the crux of the whole problem. Other than that I have no problem. It’s Phil’s band. It’s their band. They can fire me for no reason which is probably what it is. Maybe it’s that he just wanted Kenny back. He liked Kenny a lot. Maybe he was tired of me. I’m the 25th member. I haven’t talked to him, but I am totally cool with Phil now. In my mind we’re cool. Whether it’s true or not, I think of Phil as kind of like the papa bird, and I was in the LA Guns nest, and he pushed me out kind of like “Hey, it’s time for you to fly now. You had your time, and now it’s time to do something else.” Whether he meant it or not, I like to feel that subliminally is what he meant. Whether he did or not, I don’t care, but that’s how I made peace with it.
ZR: And so far so good?
Griffin: It’s okay. I’m in a holding pattern I feel. Sin City Sinners are great. I feel like they are the premier local cover band out here.
ZR: So, tell me about your other project that’s going on. The unnamed project. I’ve heard like 4 different names for you guys, haha, but I think New Wave Hookers is my favorite so far.
Griffin: Yes, New Wave Hookers is what I’m thinking of calling it.
ZR: Isn’t that after a porno?
Griffin: It’s after a very infamous porno with Traci Lords, and it was made when she was underage. It came out in the 80s. It’s a great name for a band I think. I think we’ll keep it. I know I should probably be a little more “Okay, we’re going to do this, and call it that,” but you know…
ZR: It’s all about having fun.
Griffin: Yes, absolutely. I don’t consider myself a singer, but I sing what I can. I pick out these punk songs in a low register, and I kind of already messed that up trying to do “Search and Destroy” by Iggy Pop. That’s what’s fun about it though. I’ll give it a shot. I sang in a band once. I sang and played guitar, but in this one I am just singing, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. I grew up a big Elvis fan, and that was rock n roll to me. I used to tape myself singing as a kid, and when I’d play it back I’d just be like ew. I’m not a singer so I learned how to play guitar. Through the years though and through being in bands, you learn how to sing background vocals and learn to control your voice. So, I always taped myself, and I sing songs with the Sin City Sinners. So, with the 4 songs I’m singing already, that’s like three quarters of a set right there. So, I figured I’d try this out. One of my idols is Sid Vicious…
ZR: I could see that. You bleed punk rock. Your aura is very punk rock.
Griffin: Thank you! When the Sex Pistols ended, Sid didn’t look for another band to play bass in. He became a singer. So, in my own way, I am trying that out. Why not? I guess I am trying to be like my idol. As long as I don’t die like my idol.
ZR: Yeah, please don’t. Haha. So, you mentioned recording yourself as a kid and whatnot as well as playing guitar. Where did the transition to bass come in?
Griffin: That didn’t come in until later. I spent years and years playing in bands, not making any money playing guitar. I was going to be the next Eddie Van Halen and stuff. I wasted all of this time over practicing. I had a bass that I would record my own demos with. Then one day a friend said, “Hey, we need a bass player. Do you wanna play with us?” So I said, “Sure.” It was an original band called Rocket Ride. I liked bass. Eventually I met Stacey Blades, and he called me up and said, “Hey. I know that you’re a guitar player, but LA Guns needs a bass player. Are you interested?” and I was like, “Yeah!” Everything seemed to work out better when I began playing bass. I don’t feel disgruntled or anything. I still play and record demos at home, but I don’t feel like I need to be on stage playing guitar. I love bass. It fits my personality more.
ZR: Aside from Sid Vicious, do you have any other bass influences?
Griffin: Yeah. Gene Simmons, obviously. Nikki Sixx. Paul McCartney. John Paul Jones. Stuff like that… I like Flea, but I can’t play like that. That is a bass player. I just do duck lips, haha.
ZR: Speaking of the duck lips… What is with the duck lips and the famous Scotty Griffin dick pics? What the fuck started that?
Griffin: I posted a picture of me from a looong time ago recently doing the duck lips. So, I’m OGDL, ha. It’s something I have always done. I saw the Stones do it. I was a big Mick Jagger and Keith Richards fan, and they did the duck lips. I don’t really like many of my pictures, but I like all my duck lip pictures. If I’m not doing that it is really hit or miss. I feel I look better. As for the dick pics, I forget exactly how that came about, but I think I took a picture of a lanyard I had on. I got a lot of comments on it, and everyone was laughing. I didn’t think of it that way. I was just taking a picture of my lanyard because we were playing with Alice Cooper or something like that. I got a lot of responses on it. So, I figured it would be kind of funny to just take a picture of that whenever I’m doing something. It’s just kind of like “Oh, here’s me waiting in line, and here’s my dick!” Sometimes I look and I’m like, “Wow, did I really post that?”
ZR: As long as you are not posting your actual dick to the world, I think you’ll be fine.
Griffin: Or Miley Cyrus sucking a plastic one.
ZR: Wait, didn’t you get reported for that?
Griffin: I did! I think I made people uncomfortable though because I said, “What do you get more offended by? This, or some guy putting a gun in someones mouth?” Something violent or a chick in her early 20s trying things? I wasn’t a fan of her, but I am now because there’s a lot of people in like, rock n roll offended by that. It’s rock n roll. She’s showing a dangerous side. I think everyone should be cool about that kind of danger. Rock n roll today is not dangerous.
ZR: That leads into my next question. How do you feel about rock n roll and the music industry in general today?
Griffin: I like a lot of stuff out there today. The greatest thing that helps me get into music today is Pandora. You put in a band that you like, and it plays that genre. I’ll put in something modern I like, and it will play a whole bunch of other bands, and it makes me go “Wow. Who is this?” I’m just a music lover. A good song is a good song. I’m rock based, but I’ll go to clubs on the strip and listen to EDM and such. Some of these DJs are great, and I understand why people get into it. It’s intense if a DJ knows how to do his stuff. There’s a lot of new stuff I hate too, but there’s also a lot of new rock that I hate. Sometimes I’ll hear something on the radio, and it isn’t so much that I hate it, but it’s boring. It makes sense, but it’s all the same. There’s nothing quirky anymore. Music doesn’t hold the same place it did for people in general. 50s through 90s all had their own thing. You can tell a 50s song from a 60s song, but we’re in the second decade of the 2000s. What is the difference between 2004 and 2014? If you go from 1974 to 1984- Led Zeppelin to Motley Crue or something like that it is insanely different. If the White Stripes came out now people wouldn’t go “Oh, that’s so dated.” They’d just go “Oh, I guess that’s cool.” I’m not putting it down, but it is a totally different time now. I think a lot of people use the radio as their guide, but they complain about not liking new music. Get something off of the radio. When I was a teenager, most of the shit I listened to wasn’t on the radio. I had to find it myself. Record stores and such. Now I use Pandora or Spotify. Not that I like it from a business point of view, but I like to find music. There’s no money in music anymore, which is a weird thing.
Anyone who knows Scott knows what a fun person he is. It was really awesome getting to sit down in a business setting with him, and peel back the onion that is Scott Griffin. Major thanks to him for taking the time to do this. You can catch Scott and the rest of the guys in Sin City Sinners around Vegas. Check ’em out HERE for show dates and times.
All photos © Stephy Hayward and Dillon Radley/ Zrock’R Magazine