W.A.S.P. / ANIMAL / Kings Horse's Guitarist Randy Piper (на англ.)
FIB MUSIC: Tell us a little about the new cd from ANIMAL.
Randy: This album is like the old days...you know, in the old days you go buy a vinyl record, take it home and put it on the stereo...you'd sit down with the album cover and check out all the pictures...read the lyrics along with the record while it's playing. You memorize the lyrics and really get to know the record. That's how this album is....there was a lot of thought put into it and a lot of thought into the continuity....the way it flows, where the songs were placed...there was a lot of thought....it wasn't just thrown together. I know a lot of people that have listened to it that way...got it and put the headphones on or just listened to it extremely loud. By the time the album is done, after the last song ends, you take off the headphones and you just feel high....I don't know...like you're on acid.
FIB MUSIC: Well I guess I have to get a copy then.
Randy: Exactly. You'll be like, "what the fuck was that?" I've told people to listen to it that way.....I mean, it did it to me and I know the songs and shit and it has done it to a lot of other people as well. I told them please, don't just put it on and thumb through a few tracks, but listen to it from start to finish. So it has been Field Tested and I know it to be true.
FIB MUSIC: Have you signed a deal in the States yet?
Randy: No. We have like three different distributors on board, but I'm not sure what is happening with that. I think they had a deal with Tower Records. Where are you at anyhow?
FIB MUSIC: I am in La Jolla.
Randy: Oh you're in California. Yeah, I grew up in LA.
FIB MUSIC: Well, I am originally from Texas. Didn't you grow up in Texas?
Randy: Yeah...San Antonio. You know, you are living in probably the most even-temperatured spot on the planet.
FIB MUSIC: That's exactly why I'm here. I couldn't do anymore summers in Texas. You have been moving around as well.
Randy: Shit man, after about a year, I get bored and have to move on. I went to Florida for about seven months and I wasn't into going through hurricane season there, plus there are too many goddamn bugs and I hate humidity. So I am back out west in Arizona.
FIB MUSIC: That's right...As far as I'm concerned, you are in the Holy Land of Mexican Food.
Randy: Oh yeah...Big Time....Man, you can get a fucking burrito, out here, the size of a Volkswagen for like $3.50. (laughs)
FIB MUSIC: It's that, plus in Texas it's all about the ground beef, which I'm all about the shredded beef.
Randy: You and me both...we'll get along just great.
FIB MUSIC: So back to the album.
Randy: Yeah, they keep pressing those cd's and they keep selling out, places like Amazon and those other online stores. Because people keep calling me saying they ordered it a month ago and they still don't have it. I think the goal is to sell enough copies overseas, to get a major deal here in the States. But people are raving about this album...I don't know if you checked out any of the reviews, but they are all saying it is one of the top ten albums of the year...5 Stars. Even the website, we are able to see where the hits are coming from and we have gotten hits from just about every city in America. So I am beginning to believe we may do better in the States than overseas, which I think is unusual in this day in time.
FIB MUSIC: Well it's seems that the music is making a bit of a comeback.
Randy: Yeah, well they have been saying that for years. But I don't know about that; it's definitely a good rock album. Even people who are diehard W.A.S.P. fans and would hate anything to come from Holmes or myself, or anybody else, LA Guns, or Tony Richards even; even if they want to hate it, after they listen to it they can't. One guy reviewed it and said that he wanted to hate it from the moment he got it, but after listening to it, he couldn't stop listening to it.
FIB MUSIC: Any plans to tour?
Randy: Well, that is actually in the works right now. We would go over to Europe first, but we're in talks right now, trying to put that together. I don't care, just send me my plane ticket and tell me where I have to go. It's like the "I Do What I'm Told Tour". (laughs)
FIB MUSIC: How has it been working with Chris Laney?
Randy: Oh, it has been great. I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but we basically wrote the whole album over the internet. We started by sending .wav files back and forth. He did the first Animal record.....Actually those were just demos, because we were going to do the album with Chris Holmes & Tony Richards. We were going to redo it and Chris and I tried it.....Chris Holmes and I and Rich went out and toured, we went to New York, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee...kind of tested the waters and had a blast. Then I just started thinking, you know, I don't really want to record this album again. They were kind of demos anyway, why don't we just let it go the way it is, it's already out there and let's start on the second one. So, right around that time, we get an email from some guy in Sweden and he says that he loved the first album, but the production sucked. (laughs) And we were like, ok, we knew that. He said that he really thought the songs were heavy, but we're really big on production over here, so I would love to do the second album. So, the more we talked to him, the more we realized how talented this guy was. We also heard some song ideas of his and Rich & I worked on them and put vocals & guitars on them and we would send them back to Chris Laney, then he would send them back and so on. Before you know it, we are like 3/4 of the way done with the record. And Rich & I are listening to the tracks that are done and we're like, shit man, this thing kicks ass. Chris Laney calls up and says how about if I come over there and bring out some equipment and we will do this thing for real. We were like, SURE. And he says, ok and that he would get back to us. I figured it would be a month or so, but he called back and said, hey do you mind if I come earlier than expected? I said, no when are you coming and he says next week. Cool, come on over. (laughs) So he brought his laptop and his hard drives, all his shit and we locked ourselves in the studio for a week and partied, recorded and then it was done. I think he was here for about five days and we were basically done by the second day. So he took all the tracks home and produced it in Sweden and kept sending rough mixes and shit. We'd comment on it and say, how about a little more of this, or a little less of this. But he produced it and did an awesome job. I mean, we had that much faith in him after just hanging out for a week. Great engineer, real easy to work with and we just clicked.
FIB MUSIC: Plus he had a W.A.S.P. tribute band.
Randy: Yeah he did; he also had a KISS tribute band. He's also is in Zan Clan. He is quite a talented guy.
FIB MUSIC: And very busy, we just got an update that he is finishing the latest Candlemass record.
Randy: I know. Shit, he has won two grammy's over there. You know, me and Rich are old farts and hooking up with a little bit of a younger guy, maybe more in tune with the guitar sounds and shit like that...it really helped out. But like I said, it just clicked. It was fucking great, it was easy again. It's not hard, where you're stressing out over this shit. It just fell together, like I said, we pretty much did it in a week and they weren't full days either......shit man, we were drinking & partying in between. There were empty cases of beer stacked up about five feet high. (laughs) I think he took some pictures, I expected to see them on the website, but they haven't surfaced yet.
FIB MUSIC: Are you ready to get into some W.A.S.P. questions?
Randy: Um. Sure. You know, I say this in every interview I've done for the last year. This one guy asks me the other day and says what have you done since you left W.A.S.P.? Let's see, basically I left W.A.S.P. in '86, that was twenty years ago. If someone asked you what have you been doing for the last twenty years, especially with answers written over the internet..you know? I haven't stopped playing, I'll put it that way. I have played with a lot of different people.....King's Horses had probably four albums worth of material.
FIB MUSIC: Yeah, we have some King's Horses pictures that Rik Fox sent us.
Randy: Ohhhhhh, Rik yeah. With Kings Horses, I was just showing that I was multifaceted and that I could really play anything. It was more like Bon Jovi, Brian Adams, Bruce Springsteen, John Cougar type rock. It was really good, you know? I really got into it.
FIB MUSIC: Are you ever going to release any of it?
Randy: I don't know. Who Knows? The possibilities are really endless. I mean, the material is there and it's very good stuff. Kings Horse's was really close to a deal, at that time, then the grunge hit. The Seattle thing kind of threw a wrench into it, because all of a sudden they wanted more bands like that and not so much like what we were doing. But the material is still there. Tom, the singer, is probably one of the best songwriters I have ever worked with.
FIB MUSIC: Did you just have one singer in King's Horses, for the duration?
Randy: Yes, Tom was there the whole time. Well, Animal kind of evolved into King's Horses. Cause I still had Animal and then we had a second line-up. Rich came back to Ohio, the guys came back to Ohio and we had really good management at that time. Then it kind of fell apart again. You know, the band changed and I was playing with Lenny Spickle from Eden and Alex Nelson from Lizzy Borden, who is a really, really good guitar player. I even played with David Wayne of Metal Church for a little while. So we went through a lot of different changes, until basically the whole band just kind of changed and we changed the name and it went off into Kings Horses. After that, I worked with a female vocalist who had a real Janis Joplin influence, did a lot of blues......and we did an album.
FIB MUSIC: So David Wayne was a part of King's Horses?
Randy: No actually, he kind of came in on the second part of Animal. I was just trying anything and everything to see what would work.
FIB MUSIC: Are there any recordings with him?
Randy: No, I don't have any....and I wish I did. Because we were in the studio a couple of times. I don't know; I heard he passed. Same with Alex Nelson, I heard he was killed in a head-on car collision. It's a shame when everyone around you is dying.
FIB MUSIC: Yeah and just think it will only happen more and more. You've got to think of it positively. (laughs)
Randy: That's for damn sure.
FIB MUSIC: I hear it a lot as well.
Randy: Then you talk about touring overseas and shit. They won't let you carry anything on board anymore, so I don't know what it's coming to. I don't know, like I said, I hope the record sells enough that we can tour the States. I was hoping we would make the Swedish Rock Festival, but we didn't. I guess W.A.S.P. played there and Blackie did some sort of press conference. I was told that some reporter asked Blackie what he thought about Randy Piper's Animal sounding more like W.A.S.P., than W.A.S.P. and Blackie just said "next question". I don't know; I think I am still a thorn in his side. I don't know why.
FIB MUSIC: Can you tell us a little history about how you met Blackie. Didn't you form the band Sister with Blackie? Do you remember who was in that initial line-up ?
Randy: I do. I don't remember the guitar players name and I have been asked this before. I would have to look back in my records and stuff. I apologize to him, but actually I never met him. I met Blackie at the Starwood in Hollywood, through a mutual friend that I knew from back in Yonkers, NY...he was a friend of Ace Frehley. His name was Mike and Mike ended up working for us in the early days in W.A.S.P. So, he was the one that introduced us and Blackie and I just got together and started recording. We were always like video taping, recording and we just kind of put Sister back together, which was Joey Palemo and Jimmy Image, they were the original drummer and bass player. Blackie always talks about Chris Holmes being in Sister, but as you can see there have never been any pictures with him in the band. I have all the old videos, and rehearsals on video. I had a studio in Buena Park.
FIB MUSIC: It was a rehearsal studio right?
Randy: Yeah, back then Exciter was there, which was George Lynch and Mick Brown. They rehearsed there for a couple of years. So anyway, we went from Sister to Circus Circus and then after Circus Circus is basically when it became W.A.S.P. But I have all the old videos, even of the different stages of me building the studio. You can see the drywalled walls, you could see the tape and everything on them. Then when it was carpeted; then when we painted it black. It shows the progression in these videos, the studio as well as the band itself.
FIB MUSIC: Wow. You should try to put something together.
Randy: Well, you know, I am working on it; it's on the back burner right now. If Animal does really good, I was thinking of doing something that shows the progression of my career. You know from when I first started playing with Blackie through Sister, through Circus Circus and then the beginnings of W.A.S.P. and there are a lot of old....the beginnings of W.A.S.P. songs like.....I don't know.....Dr. Rockter, School Daze and shit like that.
FIB MUSIC: So there were some Sister songs that evolved into W.A.S.P. songs?
Randy: Actually, they were Circus Circus songs. But it was the same drummer and bass player from Sister. Then we went through a ton of member changes for awhile and then it turned into W.A.S.P.....and the rest is history.
FIB MUSIC: What were some of the things that Nikki Sixx borrowed from Sister?
Randy: Well, the pentagram and all that stuff.
FIB MUSIC: What about the white make-up? Didn't Sister wear the white make-up?
Randy: I didn't at that time, or even previous to that. But as far as Nikki lighting himself on fire; I've got videos of Blackie doing it way before Nikki ever did it. But the pentagram was part of Sister's logo....that was kind of Blackie's thing, that was way before Motley Crue. Blackie gave him a lot of that stuff I think....Nikki said, "hey, can I use some of this" and Blackie was like, "Sure, I'm not doing it anymore". I mean, Blackie used to eat worms....I don't know if Nikki ever ate worms. I don't think he did.
FIB MUSIC: So the initial line-up of W.A.S.P. was you, Blackie Lawless, Tony Richards and Rik Fox?
Randy: Ummm. Yeah, that was pretty much it. Actually, we flew Rik out from, I think, New Jersey. We played with him for awhile and did some recording and stuff and then Rik was out. We actually had another drummer in the beginning who was in a local, Orange County band or something. And we switched drummers with them, their band took our drummer and we took Tony.
FIB MUSIC: Right. Wasn't Tony in Dante Fox, which later became Great White?
Randy: Yeah, I think that was it. It was like everyone was just fucking everyone. (laughs)
FIB MUSIC: Do you remember why Rik Fox was kicked out of the band?
Randy: I don't know...you know, I really just don't know, I guess it just wasn't working or something; we went into the studio or something....I don't know, it wasn't working out. I guess we kept looking for a bass player and we tried out a shitload of people. And it ended up that Blackie, who was playing guitar at the time, switched to bass and we recruited Chris Holmes.
FIB MUSIC: So, right after Rik leaves the band, Chris Holmes joins?
Randy: Yeah pretty much.
FIB MUSIC: Do you remember how you guys found Chris Holmes?
Randy: Blackie had done a couple of songs with him in a studio at one time. I think that was after Sister was over with......Chris was never in Sister, even though Blackie claims it. But there is no record to prove it. I don't really know. But I do know he played with Chris and that's how he knew how to get a hold of him. So we brought Chris in and we started from there.
FIB MUSIC: Who came up with the name W.A.S.P.?
Randy: Well, actually that was Rik Fox. Him and Blackie are outside building a fog machine, or something and a wasp landed on his hand and Rik said "fuck, that would be a killer name for a band" and Blackie stole it from him. (laughs) Well, I think Blackie put the periods in there, but it definitely was Rik's idea. He claimed that for years and I have to back him up on that, you know what I mean.....I know it to be true.
FIB MUSIC: So have you been talking to Tony Richards at all?
Randy: Yeah, actually I have talked to him. W.A.S.P. had played in Cincinnati and I got a hold of Chris and got Tony's number through him. But yeah, I talk to Tony all the time now. Yeah, I love that guy; I always did. Tony had a lot of flair man...No one could play his drums, he's got his pedals all switched. (laughs) People would ask to sit in and we'd be like, no you don't, there's no way you are going to be able to do that. I think he thinks with the other side of his brain or something....I don't know what it is. He used to have those cymbals behind him and he would just rear back and hit those things. I mean Tony had a lot of flair you know. He's a fun guy and a lot of fun to play with.
FIB MUSIC: So why didn't it work out when Tony and Chris joined Animal?
Randy: Well, like I said Tony had to come back to Arizona and Chris had some messes he had to clean up in LA. So he went back to LA, then came back out and then went back to LA and came back out. It just started to become a pain in the ass after awhile. And like I said, we went out and kind of tested the waters and stuff. Then I said, you know, fuck recording this album again, let's just go on, then Chris wasn't going to come back out. So Rich and I just kind of pushed on and we found Chris Laney. It worked out really well for us and we're really happy about that. Hey, life is just another band, you know? Everybody in bands knows that. It's good while it's happening and it's easy and when it gets real stressful and all fucked up, it's time to do something else.
FIB MUSIC: How long was Tony in the band after you get signed? Did he do the complete tour supporting the self-titled record?
Randy: Well, we toured a lot before the album came out. Before the first single, "Fuck Like a Beast" and the album came out...we did a lot of tours. We'd take road trips to Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego...
FIB MUSIC: Were you guys signed at that time?
Randy: Actually no, but that is what got us signed. We were just playing our asses off. We were playing the Troubador every two weeks, The Whiskey....we were constantly playing and recording even then. Until we signed with Rod Smallwood, you know Iron Maiden's manager, after that we got our deal with Capitol.
FIB MUSIC: Does Tony tour at all, after the album comes out?
Randy: He did after the single came out for sure, but by the time the album comes out he was pretty much gone.
FIB MUSIC: Wow. I didn't know that; I thought he toured for awhile. What happened?
Randy: I don't know, maybe just personality differences between Blackie and him...I'm really not sure. I don't really want to comment on it. Like I said, Tony and I are still really good friends....I love him as a friend and as a musician. I tell you what bro, I don't want to slam anybody. That whole thing with that one slag site. Those guys had been trying to get an interview with me for over three years, or so....I kept saying, I'm not going to play into that and I know who these guys are, it's the guy from Tuff, or something like that, from LA....the guy couldn't make it in a band, so he does nothing but slag or get people to slag on other people. All the questions were wanting me to slag on Blackie and made derogatory statements about me wanting to say shit about Alice Cooper and all these other guitar players. And I said NO, so they put me on their Pussy List, right? So I had enough of that. Then they beg Chris Laney to get me to do it and I finally agreed. It is supposed to be like twenty questions and of course those twenty questions turn into sixty, because there were like three parts to every question. They basically wanted me to write a fucking book. I'm thinking man, I don't want to do this....this is stupid. They asked me shit like, if I had ever seen Blackie naked and how big his dick was and I'm thinking, you know you sound like a bunch of fags to me....I don't know what you got going, but I don't want any part of it.
FIB MUSIC: No, I am not trying to get you to talk shit. That is not the point of our site; we just want to know the history.
Randy: No, no, I know. But you know, me and Blackie were like best friends for 8 years.
FIB MUSIC: Sure. I just thought Tony really added something cool to W.A.S.P. and I remember thinking it was a bad decision to part ways with him. I got to see you guys, in Dallas, on tour for that album. I can't really remember if Tony was in the band, at that time, but I guess he was gone.
Randy: Yeah, it was Stephen Riley by that time.
FIB MUSIC: Any cool moments stand out from the recording sessions of the first W.A.S.P. album? Any cool, brilliant, sucked moments come to mind?
Randy: Ummmmm. I don't know. I haven't ever given it too much thought.
FIB MUSIC: Where did you guys record it?
Randy: Well, like I said we were recording the whole time, so we probably recorded in every studio in LA.
FIB MUSIC: So the whole record was done in LA?
Randy: Yeah.....well, actually a couple of songs were done in San Francisco, because Mike Varney and Steve Montana, his engineer, were from the Bay area.
FIB MUSIC: How does Mike Varney end up producing that record?
Randy: I don't know, I guess we were looking for producers and Mike's name came up and he ended up getting the gig.
FIB MUSIC: Any idea what the budget for that record was?
Randy: (laughs) It was a lot. I know we spent a lot. It was about time....I mean we probably got one of the biggest deals that any of those bands had gotten. Everybody had gotten signed in LA. We were the last ones with like Motley Crue, Ratt, Dokken, Black n Blue, Great White....all of us got signed pretty much at the same time and we got one of the biggest deals. Our deal was like a two plus four option, so it was two guaranteed and our deal was for three million dollars. It was a huge deal, of course, they don't do that anymore, it's a lot tougher now. Kind of miss the old days...The digital revolution has changed everything....I don't think it will ever be the same again.
FIB MUSIC: So you guys got a nice-fat-signing bonus?
Randy: Oh Yeah...big time...I remember Tony and I got new cars and we are driving down the freeway and we're just slamming beers, looking at each other, with our feet hanging out the window. I mean, it couldn't have gotten any better than that, you know what I mean?
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with Mike Varney?
Randy: You know, he's an awesome guitar player. He finds all the good guitar players. Actually, a couple of years ago, I found an album by Leslie West that Mike Varney produced. Yeah, Leslie is talking about him he goes, "Mike Varney, that fat bastard" (laughs). It's called "Blues to Die For" and it's Leslie West playing all blues. I'm a big Leslie West fan.
FIB MUSIC: Any memories come to mind from the day you signed with Capitol?
Randy: Not really. It was a lot of paperwork. I remember going to the top of the Capitol building to sign the papers. We were going to do a video at the top of the Capitol building, but they wouldn't let us because of insurance purposes. I always thought that would have been cool.
FIB MUSIC: How has it been, over the years, working with Chris Holmes? Have you heard from him lately?
Randy: I don't know what he's up to. I haven't heard from him in the last year and a half since he went back to LA. So I don't know what he's doing. I liked him better when he drank. (laughs) He was more fun when he drank. You know, it's like that country song, "You ain't much fun since I stopped drinkin'". That pretty much sums up Holmes, you know?
FIB MUSIC: So how was it working with him? Was he serious when it came to work?
Randy: Absolutely. When it's business, Chris has always been serious....always there at rehearsal. He was never fucked up at rehearsals, contrary to what some people would think....No, Chris was always business.
FIB MUSIC: Once the band officially becomes W.A.S.P., how soon after did you guys sign your record contract?
Randy: I don't think it was that long, things were really rolling at that time, but like I said, Blackie and I were together five years previous to that.
FIB MUSIC: Right. So maybe a year after you guys named the band.
Randy: I think less than that. We already had been recording, we just started going to better studios....we were in A&M and then in Capitol, we were all over the place. Baby-O, I think at the time....Then we were going to release the first single and Capitol said NO.
FIB MUSIC: Which was Fuck Like a Beast?
Randy: Yeah, they said no you can't release that on Capitol Records, so then I guess they got us a deal with Restless Records overseas. They were going to print it in London, then the Queen's Council got a hold of it and said you can't do it here either. So I think they ended up pressing it in Belgium and importing it into England. Once it got into England it was on the charts for like 110 weeks, which I think was a record at that time.
FIB MUSIC: Any memories from that tour stand out?
Randy: I don't know.....we went out and toured the first album and then we'd come back two weeks and then leave again for a couple of months, then come back for a couple of weeks and then leave again for three months....it was pretty crazy then and when we did come back, we immediately went into rehearsals for the second album, wrote the album and we are halfway in the middle of recording it and we had to go out and support Maiden. So we went out in the middle of recording "The Last Command" and had to put the first show back together....even though the second show had already been put together, we're out doing the first show again. So we had to forget everything we had just learned and start playing the first show again. We did a bunch of festivals and shit like that and then we went back and finished the second album and then we were out on tour for that one.
FIB MUSIC: Whose idea was it to drink blood and chop meat on stage?
Randy: That was Blackie's gig. I didn't want to drink blood.
FIB MUSIC: Blackie would even put the raw meat in his mouth.
Randy: Oh yeah, wherever we could find it. We'd send the roadies to the store for meat. They would come back with some pretty bad cuts too. (laughs)
FIB MUSIC: Any idea how many copies of the first album were sold?
Randy: It went gold in the US, both of them. I don't know, I know I've got a shitload of albums coming to me from all over the world. I won't know until I get back out there and start playing all these places again. But Blackie wasn't going to send them to me. (laughs)
FIB MUSIC: Like the Gold records from all the different countries?
Randy: Yeah, well I mean, I already have them from all over the world. But I think I have a lot more coming, since he has repackaged everything.
FIB MUSIC: Well Blackie somehow gained the rights back to his music, didn't he?
Randy: Yeah, he bought back the masters or something.
FIB MUSIC: Do you still recieve royalty payments from the first two albums.
Randy: Yeah, but that's another story
FIB MUSIC: You guys sold enough records to not always be recouping, right?
Randy: Right. Yeah, we sold a lot of records man.
FIB MUSIC: The first and second albums went gold?
Randy: Yeah and I don't know if they ever received another gold record since then. Chris told me they hadn't. I haven't really kept up with W.A.S.P. Someone asked me the other day, what do you think of the last few albums from W.A.S.P. and to tell you the truth, I haven't really heard the last five albums. I mean, I like Blackie's music and stuff, but I haven't kept up with it, I'm busy doing what I'm doing.
FIB MUSIC: But you own a copy of "Inside the Electric Circus" right?
Randy: Oh yeah, I heard it when it came out, actually there were some good songs on it. And the "Headless Children"? That was my favorite W.A.S.P. release and I wasn't even on it. (laughs)
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