Rikki Rockett spoke with The Aquarian
about the tour, his experience beating oral cancer, the inspiration behind his company Fallen Angels Customs, and details about his exciting summer project with Ducati and Leica. A few excerpts follow below.
You, Bret, Bobby, and CC are set to kick off your first headlining tour in over 10 years. What are you most looking forward to about getting back on stage and rocking with your crew for a headline gig?
I don't know if it has been 10 years exactly but it has been a hot minute that's for sure. I am looking forward to having a little more time to play the songs we ordinarily don't get the chance to play. The conundrum you have as a band that has several records and has been around for a while is that fans want deep tracks and you want to play deep tracks but then you also have a chunk of fans that want the hits. Thank God we have enough hits to fill a time slot, but it also makes the situation where it's like what do you throw in? You have to get those songs in so it makes it challenging. When we headline we have more time up there so we can play more songs. I'm looking forward to playing "Cry Tough" and things we don't ordinarily get to.
Do any songs in particular trigger more powerful memories or transport you to the heydays of the bands' skyrocket to fame?
"Cry Tough." That was our very first single and it wasn't a very successful one. The song got more popular after the band broke. It reminds me of the struggle when we just really couldn't get much traction. We wrote that song when we were living in downtown L.A. in a pretty nasty section. It's definitely a big one for us.
Last July you announced that after a one-year battle you were cancer free. This month marks one year since you started an experimental clinical trial for immunotherapy at UCSD Moore's Cancer Center. What does it feels like to be on the other side of cancer?
It's a mixed feeling. The main thing is thankfulness. I am more thankful than you could ever imagine. But then you get moments, I don't want to say of depression, but I did lose a year of my life. That kind of sucks but I didn't lose my life so then I sit there and I go, "Well I am happy about that." Then I go, "But I missed some of my kids growing up," but now I get to see my kids growing up. There are all these crazy mixed emotions, but logically and non-emotionally I am ridiculously thankful. I was right there on the edge. It could have gone either way.
After defeating cancer how did you get back in fighting form? What did you do to mentally and physically prepare to tour?
I have been working out as best as I can while balancing all the other things in my life. Drumming is what they call a sport specific exercise. There are some things you just have to do. You can workout a million different ways and it all helps but you really have to sit at the kit and play for it to come together and make sense. That's what we have been doing for the past couple of weeks, just hammering it out in rehearsal. That's the best preparation because rehearsal is harder than the show. The show is only however many minutes. Rehearsal is eight hours.
Can you talk to me about Fallen Angel Customs? What inspired you to start the company and how involved are you in each step of the process?
When I was right in the middle of the cancer stuff my girlfriend and I kept fantasizing about riding the bike and travelling and do all the things we did before that I didn't feel good enough to do. She is really great at graphics and I am pretty good. We put our minds together and started to come up with designs and ideas and we decided to launch it. What's really great is actually getting out now that I am better.
It must be incredible to rock the gear and get out there with your girl. Everything came full circle.
Just on time to tour! I have another project I am working on, which I am going to announce first to The Aquarian Weekly. Ducati is hooking me up with a Scrambler motorcycle and Leica gave me a Leica Q camera to take on the road this summer. I am going to shoot photos from the seat of my motorcycle. I have to stay on the bike and shoot all the photos. I want to do a show at the end of the tour with those photographs. Hopefully they turn out good and people will buy them. I am going to donate the money to UCSD Moore's Cancer Center. I am taking two cameras but the Q will probably be my go to because it is light and it autofocuses. I will probably videotape myself modifying the bike with one of the zoom cameras and maybe the Leica as well and put that up on social media. It will be fun.
Poison fans are excited to watch their favorite rockers perform the greatest hits. Are there plans to work on new material or release another album in the near future?
There aren't any immediate plans right now, but I would love that of course. I am always the guy that wants to get in the studio. I have a studio at home. I would be the last person anyone would have to talk into doing it, but at this point there aren't any plans.