FIBM: After STEELER, you formed a band called SIN, which, was later voted as the #1 band in Los Angeles, by Music Connection Magazine. What are some of your memories from that year? Who was in that incarnation of the band?
Rik Fox: Welllllllll, It was a long, arduous process, having to undo the spiraling damages caused by the first L.A. version of SIN. That was keyboardist Vince Gilbert's doing mostly, and the rest of the members fell in line behind him. However, when anybody in the band was fighting with another member, they, of course, would come running to me to break it up, since, *I* was the one who *Formed* the thing in the first place (with Vince). Vince had come from a little-known (at least to me), band, called BADAXXE. Well, how many bands out there had this name? Not much creative thought with generic band names, I thought. Anyway, I was introduced to Vince through some psycho-bitch (who was responsible for our car getting stolen, with TONS of my collectors' items of personal memories and albums of bands I'd worked for back in NYC, in the back seat). So, I meet Vince, and he says (words to the effect of) "I know your name is hot right now, and you have this huge following, having been in STEELER, would you like to get something together with me?"
We'd discussed our mutual love of the band ANGEL, and Vince did bear some resemblance to ANGEL keyboardist GREGG GIUFFRIA, only stockier. I'd given the idea some thought, and we agreed, since I was the one with the track record from STEELER, and he, was unknown for the most part. Plus, I wanted to get back out and playing again, and not lose any more momentum.
I went around looking for members I'd either seen playing the scene, or jammed with, (like Carl James who was drummer for THE GREG LEON INVASION when I auditioned for them). Singer Art Deresh was known thru mutual friends. A really good singer, but hygenically, a REAL challenge! This guy was 'stinky!", and people complained to me about it. Guitarist Howard Drossin was met thru a mutual friend, the IN-famous GRANT STRAUSS, my RAINBOW BAR & GRILL Crusing Buddy. Howard was an un-proven (live) RANDY RHOADS wanna-be at the time, who knew I'd played with YNGWIE, and drooled at the idea of the opportunity of playing with someone who played with one of his heros. We rehearsed in a studio in Downy, CA. partially owned by KERRY DOLL, I believe. We wrote a bunch of tunes, and, at that point, it was all a mutual thing between Vince, Howard, and I. Carl (and his Napoleon syndrome), just did what drummers do. Hit them. Hard. He was glad to be out playing, frankly, in my opinion.
Vince then had the grand idea to take us (unproven as a new act) out to parts unknown, errr, I mean, Phoenix, Arizona. Hey, I have nothing against Phoenix, but the whole episode in gettng us out there was nothing short of a NIGHTMARE. Vehicles breaking down, Vince's contact buddy in Phoenix coming in to 'rescue' us with money. Anyway, we eventually get to Arizona. The "ARIZONA BONER" Tour I called it. Cause we got 'Boned' in every way. Shit just kept going bad, and I'm starting to think "Is this guy Vince just carrying a LOT of bad karma, or what?!?" We finally get to play at the infamous Phoenix club "ROCKERS", and 10 seconds before we hit our first notes, Howard FREAKS out. "My Guitar! something's wrong with my guitar! It's not on!" I look at the jack hanging out of his strap, and I say "Howard, try PLUGGING it in, you dope!" He's like "oh, yeah. ok, Thanks!" I'm like, "Ohhhh Brother!, is THIS what I have to look forward to?"
FIBM: So, what happened then?
Rik Fox: Anyway, we worked out the kinks, and brought it back to L.A. We headlined our first show at the TROUBADOUR. EVERYONE who was ANYONE was there! VINCE NEIL, NIKKI SIXX, TOMMY LEE, DAVID LEE ROTH, YNGWIE "J" MALMSTEEN, I mean EVERYONE! All the local "Hot" bands...(YNGWIE wasn't too impressed with his 'fan' HOWARD DROSSIN, BTW), He said that HOWARD need more 'work'... We got thru it unscathed, and kicked ass. Everyone came backstage afterwards congratulating me on a job well done for my first time out with my own new project. The rest of my band members standing there, jaws open..."Wow! Rik Really *DOES* know all these people, WOW!!" Meanwhile in a few months, Vince knows this guy who owed him some recording favors for BADAXXE falling thru on his 'deal' with them. AZRA Records. We go in and record my pumping, biker-tribute song "ON THE RUN" backed with "Captured in Time" (which was our 'Homage' to ANGEL'S "FEELIN' RIGHT" off of "HELLUVA BAND" album). AZRA puts it out on a picture disc, shaped like our Snake SIN Logo. We start throwin' them out to the fans at our gigs. Now, I hear, they're real collectors' items! (This is late sumer of 1983).
Six months down the road, my band members are really feeling their egos getting 'a lot bigger than is allowed by law', and start getting the idea, "Hey, we don't need RIK in the band now, he's already opened a lot of doors and we have a lot of attention, let's just replace him"... We had new costumes that *I* made for us, AND, *just* played PERKINS PALACE, in Pasadena, CA., a deal I had gotten, thru my friendship with promoter GINA ZAMPARELLI, from when I was in STEELER. Now, everybody's egos are bigger than tolerable, and writing the songs without much input from me, and arguing why my parts aren't needed. Fate steps in...
(The following, is a 'personal' version posted on the Tartearean Desire website):
(More SIN BACKSTORY):L.A. version Mach I, formed upon my departure from STEELER, after meeting keyboardist Vince Gilbert, from Arizona. I tried to make the bands' approach like a cross-between ANGEL-meets-JUDAS PRIEST. (Little-known-fact:I was considered for the bass position for ANGEL several times, being friends to Punky Meadows, Barry Brandt, and Frank Dimino)...
The line-up was made up of other previously/relatively-unknown L.A. players. Being the catalyst of the band, I thought I found competent players so not to lose the momentum built by being a member of STEELER. Within 6 months of becoming one of L.A.'s most popular groups, the members, becoming so inflated with their new popularity, they attempted to fire me from my own band. (I got wind of this plan, and adjusted for it). I actually walked out of their premier recording session and apologized to METAL BLADE engineer BILL METOYER, with regard to being unable to work with the new super-ego's in the group. The remaining members attempted to replace me with a new, lesser popular bass player, and continue attempting to illegally use the name SIN. I had service-marked the rights to the name, and, with the assistance of my friends in MOTLEY CRUE, and a good Lawyer, forced my former band mates to give up their attempts to use of the name SIN as "S.I.N.", which was MOTLEY CRUE's Fan club name. (This "WAR of the SIN's", went on and on in the letters section of L.A.'s MUSIC CONNECTION Magazine).
MOTLEY CRUE's Lawyers forced them to change it, and they came up with JAGWIRE, (whatever that means) who, eventually, broke up soon after their albums were returned for lack of decent sales figures. I pushed on re-forming the band SIN with former ALIEN members FRANK STARR, and J.J. KRISTI, (who was a previous band mate of mine in N.Y./N.J.). This second L.A. line-up of SIN was ultimately much more popular and successful, voting us the biggest Metal band of L.A. for 1983-84, by Music Connection Magazine over KEEL, STRYPER, and ODIN. (see accompanying material). The "War of the SIN's" was finally over! And, 'we' won...
"SIN" was re-formed in 1983-84, by myself. This second L.A. line-up was superbly "beefed-up" by replacing the entire former L.A. line-up, and replacing them with some members of the N.Y. band ALIEN. (Then-fledgling), Now Legendary frontman FRANK STARR helped me pave the way for a superior SIN 'resurgence', pushing the band over-the-top. I was contacted by former bandmate J.J. KRISTI, inquiring about the auditions KISS was having to replace ACE FREHLEY, since I was rehearsing at the same S.I.R. studios KISS were. I informed KRISTI, that KISS already were using VINNIE VINCENT, however, *I* was looking for new members. So, upon the break-up of ALIEN, J.J. KRISTI, FRANK STARR, and new guitarist RICHIE (Pagano) MARTEL, made the cross-country trek to join me in re-forming SIN. With the addition of drummer MARK(Bencachea) ANTHONY, the new SIN line-up blew the roofs off of every venue we performed at, impressing all of Hollywood's industry-types. This led to bookings with former band mate RON KEEL, STRYPER, and many other Hollywood Metal acts. Eventually, SIN became represented by MANAGEMENT 3, a TOP Industry management company handling the Beach Boys, 3 Dog Night, Neil Diamond, and others. SIN wasn't even record label SIGNED YET!
Demo sessions were soon handled by eventual VINNIE VINCENT/SLAUGHTER bassist DANA STRUM, with a plan to have SIN signed to a major label (Chrysalis?) soon. The ultimate demo that came out resulted in opening many doors for SIN, however, internal player-chemistry problems, again, found the line-up dissolving like sand through my fingers, the more I tried to keep it together. (After this line-up dissolved, I found a temporary stint in another L.A. Metal act called"BURN"), more on this coming up...
FIBM: OK, so continue... Rik Fox: Sorry, Digressing now... Anyway, I get a phone call from my New Jersey room-mate J.J. KRISTI, back in N.Y. His band MONGOL HORDE recording act ALIEN is breaking up, (his bassist killed someone in a drug deal in Florida), and JAY wants to get out of N.Y. He asks me "I heard KISS is auditioning guitarists, I know you know them, can you get me a shot with them?" I said, "Jay, they already have someone named VINNIE VINCENT, HOWEVER...*I'M* looking to re-form SIN out here, what do you think of that?"
He says, "Can I bring my singer and another guitarist" I said "OK, but if they s*ck, they're out, and we replace them, I'm tired of taking shit from knuckleheads." He says "OK, we're comin' out to L.A."... These guys drive through Midwest blizzards, and weather all kinds of 'adventures' eventually pulling up outside of where I was living in Venice, CA., in a mobile home, parked in the driveway of the girl I was dating at the time. FRANK was sleeping in their van, and when J.J. went to wake him up, they immediately began a big fist,street-fight between each other! Nice way to meeet my new band mates...(Not knowing FRANK's biker background), I got in the middle of it, and broke it up. FRANK was just like that, if he was awoken suddenly. Then, just like nothing happened, he was all smiles, and said: "What's to eat?" That, was the beginning of a long, and very interesting relationship working with the inimitable FRANKIE STARR... We got right into working together on the songs in the mobile home, and decided, that, since there was a lack of material written by all of us together as a band, then we'll do half of their ALIEN album cuts, and half of my songs, which made quite a nice interesting set. We needed a drummer, and I remembered MARK (Bencachea) Anthony from a local inland-empire band called PRISONER, from their supporting one of our SIN shows, and we got along well, (especially since MARK understood my dry, sense of humor), I gave him a call, and said : "Ok, you asked me if I was ever interested in a drummer to give you a call, well, here's the call". Within two day we had a nice, pro-looking press kit on Mark and a demo tape. We all like it a lot, and drove out to MARK's Mom's place where he rehearsed in his garage in Monterey Park, CA. We brought our guitars, and jammed with him, showed him some songs, and looked at each other. "Yeah, he's the guy", we said. As the bassist of the rhythym section, I really liked his playing, and I repeated all that I had learned in my STEELER rehearsal sessions with MARK EDWARDS, with MARK ANTHONY, our new drummer. MARK had that cross between TOMMY ALDRIDGE and TOMMY LEE/BOBBY RONDINELLI. We also had to make a fast decision, because the TROUBADOUR Club had called me, and I had booked a gig before we even had a drummer, but I was confident MARK could handle the job. We rehearsed like fiends, and got all the material down. We debuted the NEW-SIN line-up and completely BLEW the doors off the TROUBADOUR! It was PACKED, to the walls... My fans never even saw it coming, that I had turned around so fast, with a new line-up of 'out-of-town' guys who L.A. had never seen yet, and this was now four-fifths of a total New York 'attitude' band, taking L.A. completely unawares. I rather think that our fans saw this as Very refreshing, from the same pap going on from L.A. band to L.A. band, and it really made a distiction of making us 'different' from all the other L.A. bands.
Suffice to say, all the venues we performed at were extremely happy with the numbers we were bringing in at the box office(s). We also started making a nice amount of revenue as well. So, Since I already had an endorsement deal with RANDALL Amplifiers, I had the RANDALL people come to see our shows. They really liked what they saw, and had me bring SIN down to their local factory, and we signed a band endorsement deal with RANDALL Amplifiers. Right in the middle of my signing the paperwork in the President's office, someone comes in, and says: "There's a call for you, someone from "GUITAR WORLD MAGAZINE" wants to interview you about playing with YNGWIE MALMSTEEN in STEELER". I said "Right NOW?!?" I look at the RANDALL President across his desk, and he says :"Go ahead, no problem", he lights up a cigar, gets up, and begins to putt golf balls around his office!!! I was like "MAN, you just can't BUY publicity like that!!! It really made quite a nice impression on the RANDALL people. Now SIN had a full endorsement deal with RANDALL Amplifiers, just like DOKKEN, and other bigger bands! We were really starting to make the rounds. I got us an endorsement deal with VANS footwear, just over the phone! I got us all boxing shoes (boots) which were really comfortable onstage, and much better than wearing higher-heeled boots. Only FRANK STARR chose to continue to wear his leather boots onstage, and wore his VANS boxing boots off-stage everywhere... Many more endoresments continued to come in, along with my B.C.RICH endorsement and RANDALL. NADY Wireless, DUNLOP Picks, G.H.S.Bass Strings, etc, etc...AND WE WEREN'T EVEN SIGNED to a MAJOR LABEL YET!!!!!!! What a GREAT Life!!!! The new band members were totally digging all this treatment, and, so far, no egos were getting out of control! Whew! New York rockers are *So* different from L.A. ones. We were like a gang. When we walked into a club, people just parted for us, just like you see in the movies about the 1950's, it's so funny. People could *smell* our N.Y.'attitude' and really liked us for it! We were also getting more respect whenever we went to the NAMM shows (Music Conventions), as well.
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