L.A. GUNS singer Phil Lewis has once again denied being racist, one and a half years after his controversial onstage comment that "black people are all one-dimensional."
L.A. GUNS was performing at the Fish Head Cantina in a Baltimore, Maryland suburb in April 2016 when Lewis made the remark. His observation came as he attempted to praise the life and music of Prince, who died one day earlier at the age of 57.
Lewis later moved to clarify his comments in a Facebook post, which has since been removed, saying he was simply attempting to broaden the debate on rap music.
Asked in a new interview with "The Classic Metal Show" about the uproar that followed his original statement, Lewis said (hear audio below): "It's strange that an off-the-cuff comment at basically a rock bar ended up giving me international notoriety for five minutes.
"What I said… I said it was a shame… It was shortly after Prince passed away. And I said, it's a shame that there were more… I can't remember… 'there were more rappers and less Princes.' 'I wish there were more Princes and less rappers.' Or something like that. That was my point. And I happened to stupidly say the word 'black people.' And if I had said 'I wish there were less rappers and more Princes,' it would have been fine, but I kind of set it up and I became clickbait. To the point that even that cocksucker Dr. Drew wanted to get me on his show and fucking tear me apart. He brought in, like, three black journalists that were just ready to skin me alive. And I told him to fuck off; I wasn't gonna do it."
Lewis went on to defend himself against accusations of racism, saying: "I'm not racist. I know I'm not, because I'm not, and I've grown up around black people, colored people, Indian people, Pakistani… I'm from London; it's the world's biggest melting pot. If you're racist, you don't stand a chance. Where I live here — I'm in [Las] Vegas at the moment — I have black neighbors. And I don't live in a fancy neighborhood; these are working-class people, and they're good people. I've helped the kids. I'm teaching the ten-year-old daughter how to… I bought her a guitar and I'm teaching her a few chords on it. And I'm trying to broaden their horizons a little bit."
Phil again refused to apologize for his comments, saying: "My conscience is clear. I could have said it a little more delicately, perhaps. I'm just shocked that it caused such a big deal. I guess it must have been a slow news week."
In an attempt to clarify his original statement, Lewis lamented the fact that black kids never knew a time when hip-hop didn't exist, and never even considered listening to anything other than what they have been told is a suitable soundtrack for black people.
"I love black music: EARTH, WIND & FIRE, Jimi Hendrix…" he said. "It seems that the black community have kind of forgotten what great rock and roll… THE ISLEY BROTHERS… Where are those bands now? Where's the new EARTH, WIND & FIRE? Where is new BROTHERS JOHNSON? There isn't. There isn't. And I think it's a shame. 'Cause they all wanna be gangster rappers. None of them wanna commit to learning an instrument. It's real sad. 'Cause you've gotta remember: black people invented rock and roll, and it just seems like they turned their back on it; it's like they're a little bit embarrassed by it. And I think that's a shame."
L.A. GUNS' new album, "The Missing Peace", will be released on October 13 via the Italian record label Frontiers Music Srl. The disc marks the return of the songwriting combination of Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns under the L.A. GUNS banner.