Interview By Kara Uhrlen of TPRS.com
July 28, 2002 marked a milestone in Poison history as Derrike Cope and the #37 Poison Ford finished a shortened race in the 35th position at the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Prior to the completion of the first leg of Hollyweird, TPRS. com caught up with drummer Rikki Rockett for this informative Q&A session:
We've been waiting so long for a full Poison studio release. How the album is doing in stores and at radio?
"Well, We've gotten added to a lot of stations, you know, for an independent record its done really well. We've been averaging 5 or 6 thousand copies a week approximately, but first we came out of the box with like 20 (thousand) I think. So, it's been consistent at about 5 or 6 thousand a week, which I think is due in part to touring and whatnot more so than radio. "
With it being an independent release where can it be found?
"It's in the major stuff like your Best Buy and Walmart and stuff like that, and some of the mom and pop shops have them, some of them don't. "
Are you selling it on the road at the merchandise booths as well?
"No we're not doing that. That's the record industry's job not merchandise's job you know what I mean. I know some bands do that, but we kind of eat into what they do and they kind of eat into what we do. So, we don't do it like that. "
Having gone through line-up changes on the last two full Poison studio albums, and now having the original four band members back together, how did you pick a direction for the release?
"Well we didn't really pick a direction. We know what it is that we do, in the same way I'm sure that the Ramones knew what they did on each record. You just do more songs. We weren't trying to pick a different direction or anything and I think that's obvious. So, we were happy with just going like that. To me it's in the songwriting and the delivery more than it's in say 'Oh, let's decide to be rap metal now'. We just weren't going to do that, that's just not who we are. "
You are currently playing at least two new songs live, but since there are so many strong songs on Hollyweird, why not do more?
"If I had it my way we'd be playing a lot more off the new record, but some nights we add in Hollyweird, it just depends on the night and how much time. The trick is that people want to hear the hits and with a four-act bill there's only so much time, your set can only be so long, there's curfews and all sorts of stuff. If you keep extending the set, then you've either got to start dropping bands or you've got to start dropping songs. You know, I don't know if somebody wants to hear 'Shooting Star' more or 'Fallen Angel'.
I think people would be bumped if we didn't do our hits, and then there's some songs that need to rock just to pace the set. It's very tricky. Somebody will complain because there isn't enough off the new album, and then somebody else will complain because we didn't do 'I Won't Forget You' or something. You can't fit it all in, all you can really do is just sort of pick and pace the set, and do the best you can. "
With Winger only doing the first leg of the tour, will there be another band replacing them or are you planning on extending the sets?
"I don't think so. I think we're just going to move Faster (Pussycat) up into that slot. Of course then, we have to look at the set list again. "
Do you have plans to release another single to radio other than Squeeze Box?
"Actually, 'Shooting Star' is at a lot of AOR stations. It's kind of in a test phase though. "
Poison has started something new by inviting fans to return to a second show using their tickets from select shows. How did that come about and are you doing it often?
"We have been doing it where we can do it. It was a surprise to me the first time we did it. It was something Bret just did, and after show he comes back like 'Oh my God what did I just do. '(The band responds) 'It's a great idea, let's just go with it. '. . . I think it's awesome.
So, then, we started talking to promoters and going 'When can we do this?'
Unfortunately, they're not the best seats in the house, but at least you can get in and see the show again and all that kind of stuff. It's a way of giving back, I think it's a good thing. "
And it's not like it could hurt you guys or the venue, because the more people that come in, the more money they spend. "Oh, exactly. The promoters are not upset about this at all. "
It was great to see NASCAR driver Derrike Cope at your Pittsburgh show and learn of the Poison Winston Cup car he'll be racing at Pocono. Are you all planning to make it to the race?
"We'll we're certainly all trying to figure out how to do that, because we're kind of all over the country, you know. But, I'm still totally blown away by this whole idea. They had come to us about it. It's really, really cool. You sort of feel like you've arrived when something like this happens. It's totally a feather in our cap for somebody to want to do a Poison NASCAR Winston Cup car and pay for this. This is something that they wanted to do. You know, how cool is that?"
How has Bobby been feeling after last year's injury?
"Actually it's his neck, and he's doing really well. He's showing no signs of slowing down or anything. He seems to be doing really well. So we're happy. We're happy with Bob. "
What is the status of your solo album, Gitter 4 Your Soul?
You were working on it and looking to get it out the last time you talked to TPRS. com. "Well, what I'm looking at doing is putting this out after this tour, only because I don't want the confusion with the Poison record. I need to give Poison my attention right now. The reason I didn't (release the album yet) is because I pretty much had a falling out with Cleopatra Records, and they haven't even heard the record," he laughs, "So, yeah, I'm going to put it out probably after this tour. "
Are you going to put it out yourself or shop for another label?
"I'm not sure, maybe the same way were doing the Poison record. I've been talking to my guys about it and stuff and it's done. It's been done. I finished it, god, a couple months before this tour. It was done, as far as like the performances, but we hadn't finished mixing it yet, cause I wasn't sure what I was going to do, so I just financed the rest of it myself and got it done. "
Keyboard players tend to get lost when they aren't official members of a band. This is Charlie Lawrence's second year with you guys and he played with Cinderella prior to that, can you tell the fans a little bit more about him?
"It was kind of weird because last year at this time, we didn't know Cinderella was going to go out with us this year. So, we asked Charlie if he would do the tour. So, he committed to the tour, and then we got Cinderella and then they're kind of like, 'Wait a minute, who gets Charlie?'It was a little bit weird for a while quite honestly, but we worked it out.
He lives in Philly and he plays in piano bars and stuff. And he works with his wife a lot, he's a very good songwriter and he's got a great voice, and he has got a whole bunch of songs that he's got out on a CD. He's a talented guy. He's a very traditional sort of piano guy. A very song oriented fellow. "
Is there anything else you'd like to mention that we forgot to ask?
"Well, I'm always worried that I'm going to sound corny or something like that or forced but I just always have to thank the fans for the reason why we're out here, because that is the reason. We haven't had really the support of MTV or anything like that. We have had some VH-1 support, with the VH-1 classic sponsoring the tour, but really the reason for that is because of the fans. It wasn't the other way around, so I just want people to know that we know that, and we get it, and we're paying attention. "