Lou “L.A.” Kouvaris, original guitarist with Riot, died at the age of 66, the band confirmed.
Manager Giles Lavery had reported that Kouvaris had been suffering from symptoms similar to COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
(Update: On April 7, 2020, Kouvaris’ son confirmed that his father had died of coronavirus-related complications)
Kouvaris was a member of the late Mark Reale’s band from 1975 to 1978, appearing on their debut album, 1977’s Rock City. He went on to become a session musician, notably appearing on recordings by the Village People, and after a series of musical projects he opened a commercial production studio in L.A. in 1988. He’d made a number of guest appearances with Riot V, as the group renamed itself following Reale’s death in 2012. Last year he’d joined some of them under the title Riot Act, concentrating on the band’s first three LPs.
“Riot has lost another brother,” the band said via social media. “Lou played on the very first Riot record ‘Rock City’ and performed with the current lineup many times as we are family. We are saddened by his passing.” They added that they intended to “continue in his and the Riot family honor,” and concluded: “Rest in Power Lou! Now start working on music with Guy Mark and Rhett! Shine on Warrior!”
In 2019 Kouvaris explained how the new project had come about, telling Forgotten Scroll: “I went to Japan in 2015 with Riot V as special guest; I did a little tour with them. Riot V was very gracious and the rest is history.” He added: “We are going to do an album, resurrect some old and bring in some new songs.”