Rikki Rockett recently spoke to Perris Records about his 2002 solo album, "Glitter 4 Your Soul", and the group's current U.S. tour with KISS, among other subjects.
PR: How did "GLITTER 4 YOUR SOUL" come together?
RR: Several years ago Blues Saraceno and I were hangin' out at my studio and though it might be fun to jam a cover of Fame by Bowie. Several years later I found the unmixed tape and started playing around with it. I called up Blues and said, "Hey, remember when we did that cover? How would you feel about doing a whole record of songs like that?" He responded positively.
PR: How did you pick the songs that appear on the cd?
RR: I picked a whole slew of songs and left it up to the people who I got to guest appear to decide what they were most favorable to doing.
PR: How did you choose who should sing or play instruments for each song?
RR: Mainly it was people who felt would have some connection to that music. People who I had remembered saying that they loved this or that song. I just started making phone calls.
PR: Were you friends with everyone that helped out?
RR: Yes, for the most part.
PR: Why didn't you sing all the songs on the cd yourself?
RR: I'm no singer. The only reason I sang "Life's a gas" is because Cliff Calabro (Co-Producer) insisted that I try. That song was originally reserved for Rolan Bolan, (Marc Bolan's son). He was going through some shit and wasn't in the head space when it came time to do it and I had to get it done at that point. His band broke up and he was bumming pretty hard.
PR: Why didn't any of these songs ever get recorded for a Poison cd?
RR: Beats me! I always push this kind of stuff.
PR: I read on your web site that "Fame" was being considered at one point.
RR: Yes, it was. But, again, beats me!
PR: Who picked out the cover songs that have made it on Poison cds?
RR: It depends. We usually all bring something in and if it works right out of the box during a jam, that is usually our best bet and we go with it.
PR: Did you try to keep the songs close to the originals or did you change them around a little?
RR: My plan was to approach the songs old school, but with new school technology. Use Pro-Tools as a tape machine. Not as a crutch. I read as many interviews with the original musicians and producers that I could find. Trying to get an idea about how they approached making records then. I even talked to producers who were involved in some of those records. For instance, Marc Bolan from T-Rex always snag and played guitar simultaneously during recording. Even after 24 track technology came along. It was what he was comfortable with. He hated spending too much money on studio time. But, I played drums on the song (Life's A Gas) and sang it, so obviously that wasn't going to work in this scenario, but, I did try to keep the simplicity in mind.
PR: Were there other songs recorded that didn't make the record?
PR: Are there other songs you would liked to record but didn't get the chance to?
RR: Sure. I could do several volumes!
PR: Will you play any shows to support the cd? Any chance of a Glitter 4 your Soul tour?
RR: I doubt it. The musicians are so varied on the record that I would have to have three tour busses or one hell of a singer!
PR: Any chance of playing a song from the cd live with Poison?
RR: Probably not. We barley fit in what all four members want as it is in a Poison set.
PR: What is next for Poison?
I hear there may be a box set, if so, what would be on it?
RR: Yes. That has been discussed. I think that's fine, but I'm personally tired of rehashing old tunes. I want a new record. Full blown. Chapter Two, please!
PR: I read Poison was not going to tour this summer and then a few weeks later I saw dates for a KISS/Poison tour. What happened?
RR: Kiss made the offer and that in itself was enough to convince us to go out. Come on! It's Kiss!
PR: Do you know long of a set you will have on the KISS tour?
RR: Yes. One hour.
PR: Is it less work to go as an opening act compared to the headliner?
RR: Oh, yes. Very much so.
PR: Will you be allowed any stage show?
RR: Yes. To a point.
PR: Do you have any control over ticket prices?
RR: Not a drop.
PR: Are there certain rules you have to follow that are given from KISS?
RR: Yes. I don't know all of them yet. We will get briefed by our tour manager next week.
PR: In the past did you give rules to your opening acts?
RR: Sure, in a very basic way.
Time onstage. (If the opener goes late, the headliner goes late and the headliner pays the extra union costs for load out, etc. This can result in thousands of dollars a night. Especially on the East Coast!)
Guests. (Guests of other bands found floating around backstage become the building's and promoter's responsibility and they get pretty testy about that type of thing.)
PR: We have also have had openers and roadies of openers hit on our guests. Sometimes these people are affiliated with radio stations, friends, friends wives, etc. They don't know who is who and that can get pretty sticky. A couple of years ago a long time friend of ours had a merch guy from another band ask this guy's wife for a blow job. She wanted to file charges agianst the guy. That pretty much ended the whole other bands and crew hangin' with our guests thing. Everyone's actions out there is a reflection on the headliner no matter how it goes down. Sad, but true.
RR: There are reasons for rules, obviously.
PR: How do you prepare for a tour? Is it different for this tour with KISS VS tours you had in the past?
RR: Yes. We are pretty stripped down this time out. I think that will make it really fun, actually.
PR: What happens at a rehearsal for a tour?
RR: We basically figure out what songs we want to do, rehearse them, then figure out the best way to pace the selections. Then we figure out the best way to segue from one song to another.
PR: Do you go through the entire set list? Do you try different set lists?
RR: Yes and yes. It's like art, you rough everything in and then fine tune as you go along. Then you take a break and talk about cars and girls!
PR: Do you allow fans to get in and watch?
RR: Not until we are pretty dialed in. No one needs to watch our arguments. They are ugly!
PR: Are the opening groups involved at the rehearsals?
RR: No. We usually don't see them until day one.
PR: How has picking a stage and effects for the show changed since you started touring?
RR: Oh, God! That is always the biggest argument. By then the music is there and the focus becomes the stage show.
There are always new and exciting things out there to try out. If they make sense for us, we try it. We were one of the first to use some of the 2nd generation laser effects and some of the Morpheous moving lights. Blue Oyster Cult were the forerunners of laser stuff.
PR: Will Poison ever play any songs from "Crack A Smile" live?
RR: I thought it was an incredible cd.
Thank you! I love that record! All I can say is that I hope so. I think I played really well on that record.
PR: How did you pick the groups for Poison's past tours? (you like the music, get along with band members, or you think the fans will like the music)
RR: It depends on who is available first and foremost. Then it's a matter of deciding who makes sense for the bill. I personally love really wacky bills like back in the 70's. But, the biz these days won't allow it to work that way, so I stay out of it for the most part.
PR: If it was up to only Rikki Rocket who would be the opening groups for the next tour?
RR: The Donna's! I just love them! White Stripes, The Jets and Blondie so Clem Burke could kick my drumming ass every night. He's the frickin' bomb!
PR: Which groups have you enjoyed touring with the most?
RR: Skid Row, Faster Pussycat. Mike Fasano the drummer from Warrant is the best dude in the world to be on the road with. We had a blast! L.A. Guns were fun and all the way back to Tesla. There are a lot of great folks out there who we have toured with. There are also some that I have no desire to even ever see again! Off the road, I very rarely hang out with other musicians. Mike Fasano and Ginger Fish from Manson. That's about it.
PR: Which of your recent tours has been your favorite and Why?
RR: It's hard to say. Last year was a bit difficult. It was kinda long, or so it seemed and we had a few internal problems. Other than that, I have enjoyed most of them.
PR: From reading your tour diaries you seem to have lots of fun on the road. In fact you seem to always have a good time no matter what you are doing.
RR: Do you miss touring when you have a break?
Sometimes I do, but it's more about the playing for people that I miss. We don't get paid for playing, we get paid for missing out on everything that normal people get to do. We get paid for 1,200 mile bus rides and not being able to be with our families when there is a crisis. The guilt that follows that, etc. When your girl is upset and you aren't there to comfort her or the guys in the band who have kids miss the baseball games that they are in and that sort of thing. It ain't all a party, trust me. At the same time, there are so many upsides. Meeting people and going places I otherwise probably never would have seen. It's a weird balance to strike and some folks never do. It's no wonder that drugs are so plentiful in the rock world. This should all mean greater music and more personal struggle in the music. But, that is not always the case. It's also not always understood by the public and the downward spiral begins to spin for many.
PR: While on tour do you enjoy some cities more than others?
Or don't have enough time to get out?
RR: Yes. You begin to make friends in many places and look forward to seeing them. All too often though, their lives change while yours has not, in the touring sense. Touring is emotional suspended animation. You are there to rock and you keep that sensibility for months on end. When you get back home, your friends have grown and you have to pick up where you left off. However, I can't think of a better job in the world!
PR: Why haven't solo cds or side project cds been sold while on tour.
(cds like Bretts solo cds, Samantha 7 cds, or your new cd?)
RR: It's just not fair to cannibalize Poison's efforts on a Poison tour.
PR: Were you ever in a fan club when you were younger?
RR: Yes. Kiss Army. Blue Oyster Cult. Ready for this? Marcia Brady!
PR: How long do you seeing Poison continuing to tour and record?
RR: I seriously can't answer that. I love these guys, but were are THE most dysfunctional band in the universe. It's very shaky ground. We would all take a bullet for each other, but we would also be the reason for getting shot at!
PR: Will any video footage of Paris ever get released? Or any older Poison show?
Are there any plans for new Live Poison footage to be released?
RR: Yes. I'm sure all of the above will surface eventually.
PR: What do you think of the prices some groups are charging for a concerts this summer?
I love the fact the Poison keeps the prices low for having multiple groups on the tour.
RR: We do our best. Live performance is so important to preserve rock n roll. Greed certainly can kill art.
PR: What do you think of groups selling the premium seats to their own show at a much higher price?
Should you have to pay a higher price or join a club to get good good seats for your favorite group?
RR: Well, premium seats are always more money. Who should be getting the money? The promoter? I think as long as it isn't ridiculous it's cool, but there are certainly some groups fucking their audience over as well. Serious rock fans are usually willing to pay more to get good seats over the people who are just looking for something to do that night.
Money is tight. It costs a lot to bring the kind of rig we bring into a city, but I'll be damned if I am going to fuck a long time Poison fan. I have heard stories of scalped tickets even at our shows being way out of line. That pisses me off. I'm not about that and neither is Poison.
I personally like "Animal Style" seating when I'm performing. More exciting. No premium seats. However, when I go see a show I like premium seats so I'm not fighting the crowd. See what kind of asshole I am? Actually, before anyone gave a shit who I was, free for all seating was always more fun. I guess I'm getting older now too. Hey, I paid full price for Kiss's reunion tour! Know what was the coolest part? My parents went with me! My Dad and I drank in the parking lot before the show. That alone was worth it!