интервью Rik Fox "The 6 Degrees of Rik Fox" Part 3 (часть 2)
FIBM: How was it playing in a band with FRANK STARR? What was he like?
Rik Fox: FRANK was someone you just *had* to be there to experience firsthand...Never met anyone quite like him before, and none since. Although he had an 'outlaw' (rebellious) attitude, he did possess a heart of gold, which endeared him to everyone he met. He simply called the shots as straight as he saw them. He LOVED 'getting my goat', lived for it, even. If he could do 'something' to trip me up, and then laugh about it, (because as band leader I was always so serious), to get me to 'lighten up' then it would make his day. He was quite charming, actually. Onstage, he was really in his own element. FRANK STARR onstage...watch-out! He could reach into each and every fan in the audience, because he had no pretentions. He never preached down to anybody. He treated everyone in the crowd as if they were his personal friend. THAT is a great way to win over friends and fans. And they knew it, and loved him for it. while he didn't, in my opinion, have a 'masterful grasp of the English language', with regard lyric-writing, he did, like my songs, and did a good job of interpreting the lyrics. I tried to help him, even giving him a 'rhyming dictionary' which he started to use. He could tell when someone was honest in their attempts to help him. But he had a delivery that was really good.
FIBM: Did SIN ever officially release anything, if so, is it available for purchase?
Rik Fox: Hmmm, no, not really...Not 'officially', unfortunately. Too bad we never got to that next phase of releasing product on a big label, it would have really took off. As a favor, I sometimes make a copy of a tape or so, for a fan here or there, however, I'd really like to put together some kind of "Rik Fox package" containing a variety of things I've done, on a DVD. Then the whole thing could be marketed and sold for everyone who's interested. This way, we can try and better control pirating, and such things. I've got THUNDERBALL LIVE on video, a SIN LIVE gig that's getting grainy and I can't seem to locate the guys who shot the master of it to see if they still happen to have a copy. John Vincenti & John Bruno were the two guys. If anyone knows how to get this message to them, Please let me know. The world is waiting for a LIVE SIN video!
FIBM: Do you ever talk to anyone from that band; The first incarnation, or the second?
Rik Fox: No. Not from the first line-up, and, ironically, not much from the second either...I saw RICHIE MARTEL at the wake for FRANK STARR, and that was about it, many years ago. Some years back, JAY was working for GUNS & AMMO Magazine, shaved off all his hair, and still plays, but with whom, or how, is anybody's guess. I don't hear from MARK either. I guess everyone's moved on. If I could pull off a SIN reunion it would ge great, but, without FRANK STARR, it just wouldn't be the same... Rik Fox's Birthday Bash @
THE CATHOUSE CLUB, 1987
Axl Rose & Rik
SLASH & Rik
FIBM: You're featured on the new Hollywood Rocks Box Set. How were all the bands & songs chosen for the 4 cd set? What was the process? Who contacted you to appear on it?
Rik Fox: I think it was pretty much an extention of their HOLLYWOOD ROCKS book that came out the year or two before. They had pretty much everyone else *BUT* me in that book. Project coordinator (and former LONDON drummer),TIM YASUI told me that they sent people out to do interviews, but I was never contacted. You know, it's not like I live under a rock, I AM all over the internet, and fairly easy to contact, if you know how, y'know? Considering that some of the people on their staff, probably have thing for me, they would have a laugh at my expense, y'know, RIK FOX the poser, the hair-guy, the guy who can't play, etc., etc., y'know, real cheap shots. And these are individuals that actually NEVER did ANYTHING themselves, but look on in jealousy at guys like me and my bands who sold-out shows at the TROUBADOUR and COUNTRY CLUB, and we got *their* girls, which, of course, made them mad as hell as me, so, that might be a part of leaving me out of the printing of the book, who really knows? Who'll really admit the truth? Who cares?...HOLLYWOOD ROCKS had their own process for digging up whomever they could find that was still alive and not all drug-encrusted. I guess they did alright, beyond the obvious choices of GUNS 'N ROSES, FASTER PUSSYCAT, and the local L.A. area favorites. They never really made much effort to contact me, and, I feel, that if I didn't contact THEM, I would never have been on the CD set either. It stemmed out of me calling them, and asking "Uhhhh, I was *also* a very LARGE part of the 1980's Hollywood Rock scene, how come no one contacted me for the book?" They back-pedaled a bit, made apologies, and CLEOPATRA RECORDS President Brian Perera was kind enough to extend an 'olive-branch' by way of asking me if I'd like to submit something for their Commemorative CD set, in an effort to try and make up for the uh...*oversight*. So, I agreed. I liked Brian, he seemed really nice. However, the people working for him, who have issues with me, well, that's another story...
FIBM: What is the track from SIN?
Rik Fox: It's called "Break Down the Walls (That Stop the Rock)" It was my answer to the P.M.R.C. (Parents Music Resource Center)who try to censor all rock music. DEE SNIDER knows all about this, he took them on with the late FRANK ZAPPA. SO, I wrote a song dedicated to keeping rock alive for the kids. It came out being re-arranged by DANA STRUM in a better format, I must admit. It now comes across as sounding very much like it *could* have been included on any JUDAS PRIEST album, like "Screaming for Vengance".
Rik Fox: ABSOLUTELY!!! Yes! Thanks for the opportunity to say something and set the record straight. Sometimes, if you don't secure a 'creative control' of the final product at first, then those who put out that final product, can really wreck your submission work. I believe, in a very unprofessional move, Cleopatra Records let some clown(s) on the editing/writing staff, arbitrarily, and without my APPROVED consent, re-write what my original SIN liner notes submission read. There is quite the noticable difference in what I submitted, and what they arbitrarily changed to better suite 'their' taste. Anyone in possession of that 'Audio Campanion' booklet (entry # 18, DISC 1), that came with the boxed set, can read 'the HOLLYWOOD ROCKS version' and compare it to what I *originally* submitted below, and judge for themselves. It really took a lot of balls to screw with my text like that, and they probably thought it was very funny, because, once it's printed and out there, it's too hard to make them recall every piece of it and make them re-print it at their expense, which, a VERY powerful lawyer could make them do, and, hopefully, they'd learn their lesson, not to fuck with people and think it's funny. If I were Brian, I'd have a major shouting fest at my staff and fire the person(s) who were responsible for attempting to ridecule the particpants on their project. But, that's just me and my N.Y. attitude talking there...FRANK STARR would just beat the living shit out of whomever was responsible....It seems, that I just can't live a normal happy life, without some idiot, going out of their way to screw with me, and make a joke out of it. I think it was very unprofessional of Cleopatra Records to allow this to happen. When an entity such as CLEOPATRA RECORDS openly solicits a submission, from an artist, and then arbitrarily re-writes the text copy in their own version that serves to redicule, or otherwise undermine the original submission, and the artist, that is low-level unprofessionalism. For example, I said our demo 'exploded' due the awesome quality the level of material recorded . Not recorded the "Exploded' Demo". Also, their adding that I was "sacked from my own band". Who would ever write something so low about themself?!? Most of what I wrote was 'changed', by the HOLLYWOOD ROCKS writing 'staff', into me 'alleging' my claims, (as if there was any question), as opposed to me speaking from my experience and point of view. Here is what I originally submitted: SIN?The Legend...As it Was... One of the most interesting and exciting Hard Rock / Metal bands of 1980's Hollywood Scene was founded and led by a controversial, yet charismatic and 'quite popular' Bassist, known as Rik Fox. Rik hailed from Brooklyn, N.Y., and migrated out to L.A. in 1982, at the request of Blackie Lawless, then, of SISTER. Soon after, Rik coined the name WASP, and then, after writing and recording a live 3-track demo, was 'removed from sentence', by Lawless, for purely personal reasons. After performing and recording in 1983 with another extremely popular L.A. group, Shrapnel Records' STEELER, Rik proved he was then able to begin to name his terms as a Headlining act in the Hollywood Rock Scene. In 1984, Rik formed a new group based loosely on two of his favorite groups, namely, ANGEL, and JUDAS PRIEST, attempting to combine the two sounds into one concept. Rik then re-used the name SIN, which he also coined, (a Glam/Hard Rock cover band he played with back in the N.J. Club scene, in the late 1970's). SIN immediately began playing to packed sold-out crowds, based on Riks' popularity while in STEELER, and although experiencing some rough waters with regard to the various egos of the other members in his first L.A. line-up, Rik soon re-formed SIN by adding a much more 'Hard-Assed' attitude with fellow former New Yorkers, by adding members of the defunct Mongol Horde recording act "ALIEN", enlisting lead vocalist Frank Starr, Guitarists J.J. Kristi, and Ritchie Martel. Rounding out the new line-up was Monterey Park, CA. Drummer, Mark Anthony (Bencachea). The new line up of SIN kicked serious major ass now! Although guitarists Kristi and Martel had a propensity to imitate their idols in Iron Maiden, it was Fox who tried to keep some semblance of catchy hooks in SIN'S material. Rik was the predominant songwriter, lyricist and arranger, and saw to it that SINS' material reached out to the masses, which was proven time and again with each sold-out performance! During this time Rik became quite friendly with MANY, MANY other Major Rock acts, and band members who came to see his new group SIN bring down the house. Costumers for David Lee Roth and KISS's Paul Stanley even ripped off SIN'S costuming ideas, due to the popularity of Rik's designs! By mid-1984, SIN was a major draw in the Hollywood/ L.A. Club Scene and a force to be reckoned with. How they keep getting overlooked in various books and articles on the 1980's Hollywood Rock Scene is truly a serious mystery! L.A.'s Music Connection Magazine poll showed SIN as THE top voted Hard Rock/Heavy Metal act cumulative for 1984, over the popular acts KEEL, STRYPER, and ODIN. Early 1985 saw SIN in Encore Recording Studio?s in Burbank, CA. At the helm was (pre-Slaughter) bassist, DANA STRUM, with LES COOPER (brother of SIN manager TODD COOPER), engineering. The result was a demo that turned the heads of all the major labels at the time! It was believed, that since Strum was (then) bassist for the problem-laden act the VINNIE VINCENT INVASION (who, incidentally, ripped off FOX?s SIN material for his 2nd album "ALL SYSTEMS GO" while listening to the SIN mix-downs with Strum), and they had a contract with Chrysalis Records, then it would be Strum who would get a piece of the action by getting SIN signed to Chrysalis as well. The results were, they turned out the demo from Hell, and Strum's input saw the SIN sound go deeper towards a hook-oriented version of Judas Priest! The demo exploded with what was FOX's answer to "Born to Be Wild". His road-ripper "ON THE RUN" (penned by FOX and a favorite with their following), was a biker song in true biker fashion, telling the story of a biker on his way across country "...If you live for the road and you wanna be free"... This song was ripped off by VINNIE VINCENT and re-named "LET FREEDOM ROCK" with Strum and Vincent conspiring behind it all the way, only having the lyrics re-written to poorly cover it up. SIN"S version grabs ahold by the throat, like no other, and never lets go. Following, was a remake of the MARTY KOOPERSMITH-penned "We got Your Rock" originally written as a follow-up to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll", only, the SIN version (also beaten to the punch by Frehley's Comet), sounded more like the anthem-laden material of Twisted Sister! The song has a Great groove, moving along, unstoppable like a tank! The next song, "Break Down the Walls (That Stop the Rock)" was penned by Rik Fox, as 'My answer to the P.M.R.C., telling the kids, I, too, went thru what you're going thru about digging your favorite Rock as well. Well, this one's for you!" The song contains a very similar "Screaming for Vengeance-like" flavor to it, many have said, in direct comparison to Judas Priest. "Don't Say Goodbye" penned by Guitarist Kristi, was very commercial, and should have been offered up to the various telephone companies for their T.V. Commercials! Backing vocals on the SIN demo were provided by TOMMY THAYER and PATRIC YOUNG of BLACK N' BLUE, courtesy of Geffen Records, and MARK SLAUGHTER appears courtesy of Chrysalis Records. Lead vocals were provided by a relatively unknown, obscure San Diego singer named Ric Reed, (who then, wanted SIN to become HIS backing band!), and some by MARK SLAUGHTER. Drums were provided by another unknown player from Las Vegas, thru Dana Strum, because Strum 'came in and removed vocalist FRANK STARR and drummer MARK ANTHONY', against FOX's wishes. Such is the legacy left behind, by SIN, unfortunately never signed to a major label. SINS' line up soon disintegrated, due to internal problems, as Rik tried to keep it together. Fox could not find competent players with egos in check long enough to keep the dream alive. After a failed attempt with Arizona's SURGICAL STEEL, in 1986-7, Fox tried one more time with another line up he created called "THUNDERBALL", around 1989, who "Came on like an arena act in clubs too small to contain them". Although well received, THUNDERBALL found at this time, the music scene was becoming 'infested' with the oncoming Seattle sound, and the writing was on the wall. Rik soon got out ?while the gettin? was good', gave up, and returned to working in the Film Industry.
Today, Rik has a 'normal' day job and is involved in re-establishing his roots with Living History re-enactments as a cavalry persona of a Polish Winged Hussar, a Polish Knight of 16th & 17th Century Renaissance/Baroque-era Europe. They added some wayyyyy-old info about me being "Chevalier Don Ryszard di Lis, Prince di Sulima of Lechistan". Although it was used when I 'first' started portraying Poland in relation to Renaissance Faires back in 1996, where they dug for that is anybody's guess, they certainly didn't get approval on that from me. And, they didn't even get it right either.
FIBM: What are your 3 most fond memories of being in SIN?
Rik Fox: A gig we did at ORANGE PAVILION in San Bernardino, where we outdrew W.A.S.P.! The fans went wild, and were pissed off when we got our encore stage power cut. L.A.'s STREET SCENE, where we rocked over some 5,000 fans packed in a city block in downtown L.A., and a gig we did in San Diego at THE HILLTOP ROLLARENA (Skating facility) with co-headliners BIBLE BLACK. We got 'escorted' out of town by the San Diego Sheriff's Dept., the following morning, because FRANK STARR had aided and abbetted in "transporting a minor interstate and across County lines". (it was a girl he brought with him from L.A. whom he was 'dating' (in the TOM LEYKIS terminology), and she happened to be under 19 years old. Not to mention the fear the hotel owner felt because we had such a nice party there after the gig, and tons of people showed up. We did a 'blackmail' photo shot of SIN guitarist RICHIE MARTEL becaue he had just played the gig with a bad toothache, so, after the gig at the hotel, he took a pain-killer, passed out, and went to bed. I told one of our roadies to jump in bed next to him and put his arms around RICHIE and 'smile'. That was hilarious!
FIBM: Weren't you considered for the bass position in ANGEL? What's the story behind that? How close were you to playing with them?
Rik Fox: I never really knew how close I was. They told me, only that my name kept coming up on the road, in some cities, and that I was being recommended and being considered for the position. I certainly had the look, which was an important marketing point they considered, they just didn't have enough background info on my playing abilities. Little did they know, that I had their first three albums memorized, from practicing with them at home. I'd first met PUNKY MEADOWS and the other guys briefly when they came to play in New York several times. (I'd showed PUNKY a few pictures of me playing in cover bands,as they ate dinner and PUNKY'S then-wife, Fran, looking at the photos said "Punky, when did you take these pictures? I don't remember you playing in these bands..." PUNKY replied " No these pictures are of RIK not me", but, the similarities to how close PUNKY & I resembled each other was really scary! His own wife thought we looked alike, yikes! Years later playing in New Jersey cover bands, I became friends with PATTY BRANDT, Drummer BARRY BRANDT's cousin, who also thought I looked exactly like PUNKY enough to make a lot of people think twice...She gave me pictures of BARRY taken in his Mother's home, and when I showed them to BARRY, he, shockingly yelled "WHERE did you get these pictures?!?! These were taken at my mom, Esther's house!! WHAT ARE YOU MATT HELM?!? [referencing the Dean Martin spy-spoof films of the 1960's] It was REALLY, really funny!...BARRY was like a rock & roll version of Forest Gump...very talented, but not the brightest bulb in the pack, lol... Securing the bass position in ANGEL would have been a dream-come-true for me, however, in retrospect, sometime down the road they fell apart, and Casablana Records didn't do much to help keep them together as far as I can tell. Casablanca Records needed them to write hit songs, and I guess the pressure was on. Personally, I really dug the first three albums, all the big production numbers. But, by the time they got to teh album White Hot, it was really getting commercial, and giddy-sounding. More bubblegum approach, and not the serious cooler sounds they had. They told me that 'farmer', FELIX ROBINSON didn't really like wearing those "white pajamas" (their costumes), but did it because it was part of his job in the band. Also, that FELIX had alreay done some preliminary work with them before I could be brought in for an audition. They were in a time pinch on the road, and needed to fill the bass position as fast as they could. So, it was all a matter of timing. Even though MICKIE JONES was an original founding member of ANGEL, he was summarily dumpted and, from what I was told, by the third album, PUNKY had to play/record all of MICKIE'S bass lines, because he wasn't that good. I had all those bass lines locked down, but couldn't get in in time to make a difference. So, looking back, it would have been an awesome ride, but it wouldn't have lasted for too long. When at one of the NAMM conventions I had the pleasure to finally be introduced to bassist ERIC MOORE and guitarist MARK CHATEL of the Cleveland, Ohio band THE GODZ, while helping BARRY BRANDT try & secure a new drum endorsement deal. We had a blast, and MARK & BARRY were going around amazed saying "JEEZE! RIK F*ckin' knows EVERYBODY!!! we can all get endorsement deals today!!! LOL!!!! It was really rewarding, to be treated as a 'peer' (or greater), by bands I used to idolize as I helped them out...
FIBM: How did you end up being a member of WASP? Did you form SIN first, or did you join WASP first?
Rik Fox: I was in the New Jersey version of SIN years before I ever heard of BLACKIE LAWLESS. I believe he was still in his band from Staten Island called "BLACK RABBIT". I joined his 'project' SISTER in early 1982, after I was advised to come out to L.A. and consider his 'project'. I joined WASP first, here's the "Early Days Backstory of my participation in WASP as best as I can recallat the moment: W.A.S.P. was born as a band in 1982 when they were formerly known under the name SISTER (even earlier, they were known as CIRCUS, CIRCUS, until the Las Vegas Hotel contacted them and forced them to stop using the name). Blackie Lawless had also played with N.Y. DOLLS and filled in for heroin-soaked guitarist Johnny Thunders for only the last two weeks of their "Red Patent Leather Tour" which was how Blackie met Arthur "Killer" Kane, and allowed his 'claim' to have 'played in the N.Y. DOLLS'. While visiting the East Coast, a couple of fans of BLACKIE's earlier bands, met bassist RIK FOX (me) by accident in N.Y. City's West Village where I was working, a few doors down from the famous ELECTRIC LADYLAND STUDIOS. Having found out that I was a personal friend of KISS since their early days formation they took a photo of FOX (me) and showed it to BLACKIE. After several calls from Blackie, I sent him a press kit, who in turn sent me some demo material. When I was convinced to come to L.A. the band had just changed their name from CIRCUS, CIRCUS, to SISTER. This was in late February/early March of 1982. After one audition I was a member of the new line-up and began rehearsing and writing with the band at guitarist RANDY PIPER's 'MAGNUM OPUS' rehearsal studio where pre-DOKKEN band mates, MICK BROWN and GEORGE LYNCH's band EXCITER also rehearsed. Within 2 months, I recorded a now-famous bootleg 3-track, live demo and actually coined the band's new name: WASP (no periods), after stepping on one, outside of LAWLESS's Hollywood home. LAWLESS liked the name, and it stuck. Photo sessions were made with early M?tley Cr?e photographer DON ADKINS Jr., and it appeared that soon WASP would be playing live. Upon seeing the first press photo of Mel Gibson, in the then, newly-released film "THE ROAD WARRIOR", I conceptualized, to Blackie, a new look for WASP, which,until then, no one had yet thought of, and, which, at first, LAWLESS, disdained, then eventually used, for their subsequent performances after I was let go from the band. Although there were many witnesses who saw me rehearse, and write with, and invent the band-name W.A.S.P., to this day, BLACKIE LAWLESS angrily denies I ever had anything to do with the band, which would, of course, undermine everything we formerly knew about the bands' early days. If there "was no WASP for me to be in" as BLACKIE contends, then how do you explain my bass tracks on the WASP demo, and me being in all the pictures of that early WASP photo session? Upon my position as bassist in L.A.'s popular Metal act STEELER, BLACKIE began to recant his allegations, as my prominence grew in the Hollywood Metal community, thinking he'd have to do 'something' to recover a 'plausabile deniability'. Later BLACKIE reverted back to his original denial of me ever being in W.A.S.P. I'll explain the name: "After stepping on a Hornet, under a fallen leaf in LAWLESS's 1247-1/2, Fountain Avenue, Hollywood home-courtyard, the name WASP came to me, initally appearing to me, as the old "GREEN HORNET" logo, coiled, about to attack, stinger first". BLACKIE loved the idea, and *that's* how the name WASP was born. If I can ever find that piece of original artwork in my files, it will see the light of day.
In retrospect, I now claim, that since *so many* members have passed thru the ranks of W.A.S.P., humorously, (and, realistically), it actually now comes to stand for: W.(e're) A.(ll) S.(ide) P.(layers), especially, since Blackie was holding all the cards from the start, telling me early on: "If you ever have to lie about something, lie "BIG". The bigger the lie, the more fantastic it has to be, making it more believable." LAWLWESS followed his own advice after dismissing me for *purely* personal reasons, and not anything to do with not getting along with RANDY PIPER, (another BLACKIE lie),whom I temporarily performed some years later with, in PIPER's band "KING's HORSES". No matter what claim is made by LAWLESS, I, RIK FOX *TRUELY WAS* a member of the original W.A.S.P. BLACKIE LAWLESS has had a bad habit of dismissing his reasons for removing band members by accusing them of having 'drug problems'. Yeah, considering all the good-quality players he's had the 'honor' of sharing his name with, in W.A.S.P. BLACKIE shouldn't cast stones so easily, since I've personally seen him down whole bottles of Vodka back in the day...So, who's the person with the 'problems'?...
This was my 'introduction' to the Hollywood's Metal scene. Eventually, as I learned how 'the game was played', I pushed on, making my own name later in the mid-1980's.
FIBM: How long were you a member of WASP? How many shows did you play with them?
Rik Fox: Long enough to write and record that infamous 3-track demo of about half a dozen songs, and take group photos. If I wasn't in the group, then why go to the trouble of doing all this?
FIBM: When you were playing with WASP, were you guys doing all the songs from the first album, even ?Animal??
Rik Fox: No, on that live 3-track demo we did "ON YOUR KNEES" (which Blackie ripped the hook from the HUMBLE PIE's song "I Don't Need No Doctor"); "SCHOOL DAZE" (which RANDY sang, and I wrote my walking bass lines in 'homage' to ALICE COOPER's "Muscle of Love" only slower); "B.A.D." (where I first used the bass slides I took back and later used on STEELER's "Cold Day in Hell"); "HELLION" (really rocked), "SLEEPING (IN THE FIRE)" (a pseudo-ballad which slowly built up tempo and intensity); and "MASTER OF DISASTER" (which I also co-wrote on). The songs were a lot of fun to play and record on. I felt like watching the old KISS early days rehearsals, only this time, like I could jump 'into the dream'. You can only imagine the unexpected shock I felt, when out-of-the-blue, one day Blackie comes up with "You're out of the band". BAM! Blindsided. Never even saw it coming. It wasn't like we sat down and TRIED to work out whatever needed to be fixed. His mind was already made up, and, it was all under false pretenses anyway. He lied thru the entire process. I know there's a lot of WASP fans and friends of Blackie out there *still* in denial, on the internet who cowardly hide behind false internet ID's so that they can spew smack-talk about what I have to say about Blackie and WASP back then, but that's just too bad. They are the ones who are sad and pathetic. I really don't care enough to be judged by them. I've left a positive mark on the world and rocked 'em by the thousands. The fans really know the difference. A lot of the players from the Hollywood rock scene of the 80's are really insanely jealous, going bald, and most likely are just sour grapes because I probably nailed their girlfriends because they were too coked-out to get it up. Now, years later, they still hold these stupid grudges today trying to defend that meglo-maniac Lawless... There's all kinds of shit about how ego-ed out Blackie has become on that Metal Sludge site, and how he treats his fans and employees. Go see for yourselves. Hey, I've already PROVEN what I can do both live and in the studio, and I can STILL kick their collective asses, lol...
FIBM: What was your initial reaction to the debut WASP release, when you first heard it?
Rik Fox: Honestly, I thought it totally ROCKED! I really liked it. I'm not that much of an asshole to deny that they put out a great product. I still think it's a great album. I admit it was a great album, perhaps that's what hurt so much back then, because I was supposed to be a part of all that and watched it dump me and pass me by. But in time, I got my shit together, and got it in gear, and moved on to do good. And that is what matters.
FIBM: How did you meet Blackie Lawless and what was it like working with him?
Rik Fox: When I got off the plane arriving in LA for the first time, I knew Blackie was tall, because he asked me before I came out "How tall are you? Because we're all really tall and big guys", so we need you to be at least 6 foot as well". So, I'm coming down the arrivals ramp at LAX, and I see this tall, black-haired 'lighthouse' coming towards me at least 1-2 heads taller than the rest of the crowd. As I got closer, I saw his face thru the hair, and the rest of the band behind him, welcoming me to LA. I really got on well with Tony and Randy, and since Blackie had no running car at the time, he had Randy use his van to put my bass and stuff in. No amps, just my bass and some clothes. To get us around LA, Blackie used to get MIKE SOLON, a best friend of ACE FREHLEY, living in LA, to drive us around, until Blackie got his shit-running car repaired. While still new to LA, it was great working with Blackie. I believe he considered me his 'investment' once I passed the audition at Randy's studio Magnum Opus, in Buena Park. He got really, really mad one time at a guy who roadied for MOTLEY CRUE, named DONAVON, who was also a scam-artist. DONAVON got a huge limo one night, came and picked me up and then we went all over to the clubs, and in addition to the alcahol in the limo, he was getting me toasted in the TROUBADOR club. We then picked up MOTLEY CRUE singer VINCE NEIL, and drummer TOMMY LEE and one of the main waitress's from the TROUB, named KELLEY, and got into the lime, when the TROUB suddenly emptied out because someone called in a fake bomb-threat. So we're riding all over and I had had too much to drink. I started to get real sick, and VINCE and TOMMY panicked...Tommy yelled "DUDE! NOT ON ME, NOT ON ME!!!" and we had to pull over somewhere in Beverly Hills so I could jump out and heave my guts out. Kelley came out after me and saw to it that I was ok. They them took me back home to Blackie's and boy, did he verbally hand DONAVON a new ass, yelling at him in the street. DONAVON looked jusy like CURLEY from the Three Stooges and he made these 'whoop-whoop' faces when he was being chastised so it was really funny at teh same time. I had one hell of a hang-over the next day, but is was an experience I would never trade. In teh process I got to become good friends with the CRUE guys in their early days...Blackie & I tried to make attempt to write some stuff and it was working towards some cool stuff, but, once he tossed me out of teh group, he was real big on trying to erase any trace of me in the band, knowing that it would come back to bite him in the ass one day if it wasn't a through job...Well, guess what...
FIBM: How did your departure from WASP come about?
Rik Fox: Not very fairly, I can assure you. BLACKIE just stops talking to me one day, just like that. No warning. I wondered if I did anything to make him mad. Or, if SOMETHING made him mad. He just wouldn't talk to me. And I'm still living at his place. This was very uncomfortable. He simply said "we need to talk", you know, that speech. He says "It just isn't working out with the other members and you", which, was later shown to me to be utter B.S. and a 'big lie'. None of the other members later backed up Blackie's lies. It's really sad, how Blackie had Randy and Tony bullied into submission. I'd never seen that kind of attitude on how to run a band, done before. At least, not back in N.Y. and N.J. Hollywood and Los Angeles, CA was a whole new ball of wax, and I was pretty nieve as to how the egos were so out of control, well, it was a pretty cut-throat business, from the street on up to the "Offices of the Suits"...
I 'can' say, that I was replaced by a guy named DON KOSTA. I think he played with GREAT WHITE (another famous 'revolving-door' band), for a short spell, not sure. DONNIE was infamous up and coming on the scene for one thing: He used to attach a flat, metal cheese-grater onto his bass. Then, he'd scrape his knuckles across the grater, making his knuckles bleed, then offer it to the fans in the front row, which, they'd grab and lick clean..."Yech!". This was all before the AIDS thing became a big deal...
FIBM: Have you ever talked to Blackie since then?
Rik Fox: Not much. He abhors the sound of my name. That's what he gets when he has to continually try and cover his tracks, with that major 'skeleton in the closet', of knowing where the name of WASP *Really* came from. My ass still feels the pain of getting totally reamed by BLACKIE, Ilegally, over the rights to the name WASP, and there's plenty of Blackie-loving cronies of his who still say "Good...let that be a lesson to you, ya poser"...What utter B.S. from these losers. He knows, that sooner or later, I would come in from the background, and when the timing was right, pounce on him with this info he tried to keep hidden all these years. I'm sure all those W.A.S.P. fans he has who will continue to live in denial and get angry with me, will stay that way, because, to see a flaw in their 'hero' would make BLACKIE look bad, weak even, after all these years. See, BLACKIE at some point, will HAVE to come clean, and admit where the name WASP *really* came from. Even RANDY PIPER admitted it in interviews, so, BLACKIE can't back out of this one. At that point, it would undermine his entire 'house of cards'. So, by right, he'd really owe me Millions of back-pay Royalty monies for everything he's done with that name, because, legally, I *should* be a part-owner of the rights to the name WASP. That would mean CAPITOL RECORDS and his manager ROD SMALLWOOD would also be liable. BLACKIE was shrewd, by cutting me out of the picture back in 1982. I didn't have the smarts back then, to be fully aware of all my rights to the name WASP. Now, if there's any Attorneys out there who think they can take this on as a case, and represent me, I'd invite them to see if they think they can try and do it. I'd stand to make a fortune if we can win it. There's stuff on Blackie recently in that trash-spreading site "Blabberbitch", where they spew a ton of really bad news on how Blackie had threatened various technicians while touring and threatened to kill and shoot them if they don't get his monitors just right. I hope everyone will go and look that one up. They block anyone who tried to defend my position in their news alert pages. Another B.S. website, that, along with "Little Stevie"- Rachel's "Metal Sludge" site...What a waste of time...Get a life will you?!?
FIBM: What are your 3 most fond memories of being in WASP?
Rik Fox: Well, if you can call them 'fond', One was when I got picked up at Blackie's house where I was staying, by a local, and VERY 'popular' little 'tart' who was the daughter of the lady who owned the Los Angeles Rams, and her dad was the music composer for the original Outer Limits TV show. She gets me and we go out, later showing up at the TROUBADOUR CLUB, I believe, we were all pretty buzzed from a night at the bar, and we're back at Blackie's place, so, I go into the bathroom for a moment, leaving her in the living room. Next thing I know, Blackie has her up in his 'loft', and I'm feeling that my date just got shanghied. Then, a few moments later, I hear Blackie call me up to his loft...He's now completely buzzed from too much Vodka, his drink of choice, and he tells me I should screw my date, right there while he looks on! I was like "WHAT?!?!" Well, as I recall, Blackie passes out as we were talking, and my 'date' laughs and says "Look at this...", and exposes his 'private parts'!!! Now, we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, exactly how "SMALL" BLACKIE'S LITTLE WEENIE *really* was!!! I mean, we are talking SMALL, and we are really giggling hard now, trying not to wake him up! So, she gets it in her head, to just push Blackie over off of his little mattress, and we go at it, as he just laid there, passed out. I do remember some of his bare ceiling wood-beams covered with those 'pictures of naked ladies' like he wrote about in one of WASP's songs, so, I can verify that, as well as he took the red Communist flag the New York Dolls had from their last "Red Patent Leather" Tour, and now, Blackie had it stapled across his little ceiling-nook to cover the exposed wood. As I put one of my hands against it for balance in that tiny loft, I guess I pushed a bit too hard, and my hand pushed right thru the wood, only still being covered by the red flag! We also heard something running around in the roof and walls of the house, like racoons od possums or something. It was weird!
FIBM: Any other bands or projects you almost worked with, that people might not know about?
Rik Fox: Sure! I had the golden opportunity one night to jam with the late SAM KINISON, at L.A.'s CHINA CLUB, courtesy of RANDY HANSEN. RANDY did a JIMI HENDRIX tribute and was handled by the same manager I had, KENNY RUBIN. RANDY knew the problems I had had in trying to get in the door playing at these "ALL-STAR" Jams. The bass positions were usually monopolized by the likes of JIMMY BAIN, or OZZY's PHIL SOUSSAN, who never give up the spotlight to allow other bassists to play, especially me. Anyway, after the first set, the roadie there pulls JIMMY BAIN's amp plug, and plugs me in. I *Finally* get to play, and I'm onstage with...SAM KINNISON, JOHN GOODMAN of the ROSEANNE T.V. Show, who plays Blues harp (harmonica),, JEAN BEAUVOIR of THE PLASMATICS (and RAMONES Producer), LITTLE STEVEN (VAN ZANT), The late OZZY drummer RANDY CASTILLO, RANDY HANSEN, and one other guy I can't remember. Camera flashs are going off like a war zone, and I don't even have one photographer's number to get any copies of that night. I surely wish I could find out who some of the photographers were that night, I'd like a few copies of the pictures for posterity! It was Awesome. I was in the middle of all these LEGENDS! After that everyone was like "WOW, Rik, you can really rock!"...I said, "Yeah, all those years in WASP, STEELER, SIN, SURGICAL STEEL, etc. really helped"...As if I was someone 'new'...SAM was really, really cool! I was honored and priveleged to have had that opportunity and share the stage with him for that fleeting moment...
FIBM: What was the story with you and Great White?
Rik Fox: In addition to being groomed for bass position in QUIET RIOT in 1985, I was once considered for the bass position for GREAT WHITE, back before I was in STEELER. JACK RUSSELL and guitarist MARK KENDALL came over my place around the corner form the * restaurant in the "FAIRFAX District" of L.A. For some unknown reason, which I now forget, they began to get into a disagreement about something, and actually begin to physically wrestle and grapple on the floor of my apartment!!! I had a Spanish 'El Cid' wall-hanger decoration sword over the mantlepiece, and pulled it down and held it to JACK RUSSELL's throat, and yelled "BREAK IT UP!...IS THIS THE REASON YOU CAME OVER?!?" I mean, these guys were really going at it, turning into a fistfight, red-faced and all... Well, suffice to say, they got the hint, and I did not get the gig in GREAT WHITE, however, we *did* remain good friends after that, and drummer GARY HOLLAND thought it was a hilarious story!
FIBM: We interviewed Mandy Lion recently, any stories come to mind?
Rik Fox: Wow, Mandy Lion. You know, I auditioned for him at the suggestion of Jim Warino, who used to write for Rock City Newspaper in Hollywood, because, while watching a WWIII show, we agreed that I would better fit the bass position, and, I really, really loved Mandy's material. about 95% of the males in the audience thought Mandy's onstage 'character' was bullsh*t, I saw, deeper into it, and saw (just like Mr. T's character did in Rocky III), by watching, where Mandy's approach was really going over with...all the females in the audience...They were packed up to the front of the stage, digging his 'animal' act of growling and such.
We approached Mandy, and said, picture me (rik) in all that black leather like you (Mandy), and how cool that would come off if your guitarist had that look as well. A total black-leather band of 'animals'. Well, Mandy was open to it, we chatted a lot, and seemed to get on well, I even got him in free in a few clubs where I had some pull at the door. He seemed to dig that too.
So, I auditioned for WWIII. They said what song do you want to try...(practicing with their 1st album at that time, I knew almost the entire album)...I said, 'go ahead, pick something'.
The looked suprised, and we just launched into "A time for Terror", and when finished, the drummer was ALL kinds of excited. He was totally digging how is sounded. Mandy was also videotaping the auditions of all the players as well, which is a good idea.
By the end of the studio time, the guy comes in and says "you got 10 minutes left". I look at Mandy and... his drummer says, "let's do another song, I'm really digging this". Now that, to me, is a clear indication, that things are really going good in my favor. They said they'd let me know the results. Next thing I know, they're out gigging with another guy playing bass, a friend of mine named Teddy, with realllllly long hair looking as if he should have also been in ANGEL. Needless to say, without the courtesy of a call to let me know either way, I was understandably, pissed off. Mandy backpedaled his way out of it, and I got the short end of the stick once again. That was pretty much it, end of story.
Then, a few months later, Mandy has the nerve to call me on the phone, tell me he broke up WWIII, and has this new project he's working on with Jake E. Lee, and, considering that I knew Jake E. personally, would I take some time to listen to some of their work over the phone and render my input. I was like "What?!?"
This guy screws me over then asks me for more favors? Well, I listen to some of the stuff, and it totally blew me away! Some of Jake's best stuff, I felt. But, remember, Jake needs total control over his material, and then so does Mandy, so we can see where that is going to go. Eventually, as I rekoned, they broke apart, and Mandy eventually went back to putting WWIII back together, with big, bald-headed, goateed guys in the band, looking like giant goths from the vampire trend. I guess Mandy eventually got back his old stand-bys, Vinnie Appice and out of work Jimmy Bain, filled in another guitarist, and recorded more albums as WWIII.
FIBM: We had also interviewed Joey C. Jones of Sweet Savage, do you remember their band at that time?
Rik Fox: Joey C. Jones from Sweet Savage. I'm surprised that he didn't mention, that Chris Sheridan (Sweet Savage guitarist) was given a place to stay at my apartment in Hollywood when they were here in town, playing the Strip. Eventually, I made the mistake of letting their road crew move in as well. One of their guys also brought out his wife and baby too! They wound up owing me a LOT of back rent and utility bills money, and I wound up kicking this guys ass 'real hard'. He was crying and all. And, I'm not a real violent guy, but they overstayed their welcome and caused me a lot of grief. so, I had to put my foot down, it was 'my' apartment. Joey was pretty cool tho, and I actually have a photo of myself and KISS's Mark St. Jon, jamming onstage with Joey in the center. It was Sweet Savage gig, and they asked us to come up and jam. That was Fun!
FIBM: How about "THUNDERBALL"?
Rik Fox: THUNDERBALL was an all-American hard rock band that existed between 1988 and 1989. The band showed promising success and was featured as the band "PUTRID RAGE" in a nationally televised WESTERN UNION COMMERCIAL in 1988. I chose the name from the James Bond movie because the name sounded "BIG". We were described by manger KENNY RUBIN as "a huge, arena-concert act, still playing on small club-venue stages". The band was led and pushed by myself and we were trying to hit the music industry hard once more after STEELER, SIN and W.A.S.P.. I now found my FAVORITE guitairst in JOEY (Mazzola)PRICE from the Detroit based band SPYDER who knew exactly what I needed in a guitarist. JOEY said he had heard about me in Detroit, and tried to contact me through the booking agent of the Hollywood club TROUBADOR. JOEY'S style reminded me of the band CACTUS whom I had ALWAYS loved. Drummer CECIL FREE came from the Baltimore, Maryland area and was reccommended & accepted on the spot after one audition. Vocals in the band were, at first, handled by KELLY RENO (DALE THOMPSON), from the Kentucky based band BRIDE. I was referred to him by former L.A. club talent booker-promoter LUCY FORBES, known from her work at Reseda's COUNTRY CLUB. (KINGDOM COME'S drummer was snatched from me by her).
I really wanted a vocalist in the DAVID COVERDALE vein but even though RENO had a style closer to BRUCE DICKINSON he was accepted into the band and after some work RENO began to fit in. The band recorded an impressive demo which was co-produced and co-engineered by myself. With the advent of grunge-garage bands and the 'Pacific Northwest invasion', however, THUNDERBALL's 'arena-style' presentation and sound started to fall upon the finicky, deaf-style-turning L.A. ears, and they dissolved. We temporarily tried replacing RENO with Arizona singer MIKE CORDET, which is what I was 'really' looking for in a singer, but MIKE couldn't commit full-time to the band due to personal priorities back in Arizona. Today, however, THUNDERBALL would have been a signed band, but we were too far ahead of our time in the late 80's, and the other bandmembers didn't have the patience to stick with it. Our presence in the nationally televised WESTERN UNION COMMERCIAL really helped to push us into the spotlight but unfortunately, the writing was already on the wall. Sadly, no one from THUNDERBALL has kept in touch with me, and, if we had stuck together, we would have been signed by now. Drummer Cecil, went on to work as a stagehand for the film industry, as far as I know, and Joey went back to his given name, cut his hair short and joined a Grunge-rock Stone Temple Pilots-copy, Detroit band called SPONGE, put out a few albums, and according to the online Wikipedia site, apparently, after two albums, Joey must have left the band, because he's no longer listed as a current member. Like they said in Spinal Tap: Joey Mazzola resides in the "Where is he now file"...
FIBM: Describe a typical day-in-the-life of Rik Fox during the 80's.
Rik Fox: Well, for the most part, I'm sure it wasn't too much different from any other hard-working, hustling Musician of the 1980's in Hollywood, except with me, I didn't fill my days surrounded by drugs and strippers. It was tons of work, making up the flyers, printing them out, finding support for the band(s) I was in, and, of course, practice, practice, practice! (and, for all the practice I/we did, I still feel, that, since I/we PROVED ourselves onstage night after night, the only numbnutz who claimed that I couldn't play, were the extremely jealous ones... In SIN (Mach II w/ Frankie Starr), we had some VERY complexly arranged tunes, which were almost Iron Maiden-like, and tough to keep on top of, yet we did it every performance, so....Screw 'em!
FIBM: Thanks again for doing the interview. If there is anything else you wanted to discuss, please feel free.
Rik Fox: Well, there were two 'interesting' bands (among others) that I played with...one was DR. STARR and the MEDICS fronted by DOUG STARR (no relation to FRANK), and the other was a group called WISEGUYS... Dr. Starr and the Medics was something of an unusual act, considering we were in L.A., what really, was considered 'unusual? Doug Starr, was sort of a David Lee roth wanna be, sporting a lot of spandex onstage, and performing endurance feats as well within the songs, if I recall correctly. I knew of them in the clubs, and a friend of mine was dating their guitarist, which brough tme in closer proximity to the band. I eventually let it be known that I was looking for a gig, and they would up having me 'guest' in about half a dozen songs. Eventually we performed in Arizona, where I got to hook up again (pre-THUNDERBALL) with vocalist MIKE CORDET, whom I met while in SURGICAL STEEL before that. That Arizona show should go down in history for the after show antics at the hotel and the horrendous drive back home to L.A. Apparently Doug Starr had gotten some LSD into his system, I don;t know exactly how, since he was such a health-freak. By default, I was pressured into driving the van with all the gear back, as Doug continually was freaking out, which was very scarey and dangerous. We had to stop in the desert town of Cabazon, CA., at the giant dinosaur statues, and for about the next two hours or so, Doug Starr ran around full-tilt, believing he was a mosquito, flying around and biting the giant dinosaurs. What a nightmare, but funny in retrospect! WISEGUYS was another story...I met the drummer Clay, on the set of a film we were both extras in a film now available on VHS, called "BAD INFLUENCE" with ALISSA MILANO & JUDD NELSON. During film breaks as I was trying to convince him to join me in a new project, he, was trying to get me, to join the group he was in. The singer Bobby, from Boston, was a karate/gun-loving sort, really skinny, yet muscled and toned and was a really nice guy, although he couldn't sing a note, as the frontman very well. I liked the image/look that ZODIAC MINDWARP and AL JORGENSON of MINISTRY, were using at the time, incorporating that heavy leather-meets-what would become RAMMSTEIN look, so, I 'disguised' myself with a similar look, growing my first goatee...I donned a German military officer's cap, dyed it black, dressed out in lots of guns for their photo session at the old Errol Flynn Estate in Hollywood (everyone was using this place for photo sessions), and eventually, WISEGUYS had a poster & flyers with our pics on them (I'd have to dig to find them), but, I have to admit, they looked kinda cool. I'd certainly never recognized me at first glance, so, the 'disguise' worked somewhat, especialy when we played the WHISKEY club. That's when and where I'd met MARRIED WITH CHILDREN star DAVID FAUSTINO backstage in one of the dressing rooms having some drinks. He was very cool, and not an egoed-out 'star', and he even rememberd a few years later, when I reminded him of our meeting, when I was a prop-guy doing the guns in the film industry, while working on a low-budget film with ICE T. and DAVID FAUSTINO called "THE HEIST" (available on VHS). I had to teach David how to work all the .45's he had to use, and I do have some very cool pics of me and David as well as with ICE T. ICE T. is one of the coolest Muthaf*ckas you could ever meet. He is one VERY, VERY intelligent, well-educated guy! He was telling me how much he LOVED BLACK SABBATH, too! We had a great time working together.
FIBM: So, these connections seemed to work in some mysteriously cool ways?
Rik Fox: Absolutely. Sorry to get off on the tangent there. Anyways, I kept trying to get CLAY to leave WISEGUYS and join me, and he kept finding reasons to stay in the band, despite their bad sound. Eventually, I got that phone call from the booking office of the TROUBADOUR club, telling me about 'some guitarist who just got into toen (L.A.), who was trying to look me up & find me, after reading about me in Rolling Stone Magazine. (Right after the Heavy Metal version of "We are the World" came out, that "We're Stars" song by Ronnie Dio, I'd had several opportunities to get up on stage at live DIO concerts and join all the other Metal Players in town, and sing the songs' chorus. After a performance of ROUGH CUTT at the COUNTRY CLUB in Reseda, CA. RONNIE DIO got up onstage and we did it again. This time a photo was taken as we sang, and RONNIE shoved *his* mike in my face to sing, and I really knocked it out there! in the photo, is MOTLEY CRUE's VINCE NEIL, PAUL SHORTINO, RONNIE DIO & myself, singing! Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Anyway, This guitarist fresh from Motor City, Detroit, was looking to find me when he saw that picture, and saw that I was in both STEELER, and SURGICAL STEEL, and wanted to join up with what I was doing at the time which eventually become THUNDERBALL. Oh, by the way, did I ever tell you about the time I hung out with KIX while they toured on the West Coast, and I introduced them to a drink called "Blackjack's"? It's Black Cherry soda mixed with Jack Daniels, you know, their singer STEVE never forgot that...And my buddy, RONNIE "10-10" YOUNKINS & I had a BLAST hanging out together all over L.A. and especially that time at MAGIC MOUNTAIN watching manager BOB AISS riding on the kids' merry-go-round, LOL!!!!!!Bob was like H-U-G-E, rubenesque, y'know? and the horses were so tiny under him, it was so comical!!! Anyways, I think that's about enough for now...If I can think of anything else that's remotely interesting, or funny, or something reminds me of a story, you can be sure that I will send it into FULL IN BLOOM MUSIC!! I wanted to say THANK YOU to all those readers out there who've been sending in all those cool *POSITIVE* messages of support! YOU ROCK! YOU'RE THE B-E-S-T!!!!
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