Wil Forbis of Acid Logic.com
recently conducted an interview with Rikki Rockett. A few excerpts from the chat follow.
Wil: I'd like to start off by asking what I think is the most obvious question that anyone would ask Rikki Rockett, famous hard rock drummer and vegetarian. How do you get your protein?
Rikki Rockett: The same way vegetarian animals like cows get it, from everything else. The protein myth is a just that, a myth. It really isn't hard to get enough protein, and meat certainly isn't the best way. There is more fat than protein in meat most of the time. If you ask your doctor who's suffering from the heart attacks, strokes and cancers, I doubt vegetarians will be at the top of the list. It's the overweight, feel-like-they-need-to-get-enough-protein meat eaters!
Wil: When I look at Gene Simmons spitting blood, or Ozzy Osbourne biting off bat heads, it seems like hard rock is a pretty carnivorous genre. Do you ever find yourself kind of out of place with your pro animal/vegetarian beliefs?
Rikki Rockett: Sure, at times I do, but I'm not all about myself at the expense of animals being slaughtered. There are many of us out there: Joan Jett, Paul McCartney, Prince, Bobby Rock, Chrissie Hynde, Silverchair, Moby, and many, many more. O.K. they aren't all hard rock people, but I don't really give a shit.
Wil: I guess the inconsistency I can't get away from in the vegetarian philosophy is the fact that animals eat other animals. In the right situation a coyote or piranha would happily gobble me up. How do you rectify that concept?
Rikki Rockett: Well, animals smell each others assholes when they greet each other, should we do that too?
Wil: You made an interesting point in an interview last year when you said: "The hunter as an environmentalist is a myth." (http://www.animal-lib.org.au/interviews/rikki/) Can you elaborate on that? What about hunters who follow the Teddy Roosevelt school of environmental conservation by supporting National Parks and land subsidies? Or the archetypical Indian hunter who believes his actions to be part of a greater spiritual balance?
Rikki Rockett: What the world was like when Teddy was around is much different than it is today. Hunters are responsible for most of the dwindling numbers of rare animals. Hunters today try and bag the biggest bucks or whatever that they can find. They are not concerned about balance like the Indians of yore who killed the slowest moving buffalo to feed and clothe the tribe. I am part of a race that has built cities that won't move, unlike the Indians who would be nomads and leave the Earth to replenish itself after a while. I am a white man who has to claim responsibility along with the rest of us to try and fix what we have broken. Going out into the woods to blast Bambi in the name of conservation is silly.
Wil: The glam music of artists like T-Rex and Bowie has lately been the favorite of music critics. But the music press always kind of lumped Poison in with the hard rock of Van Halen while discounting your obvious glam roots. Unfair? We're they only seeing what they wanted to see?
Rikki Rockett: That's true to a point, but we certainly haven't been overlooked as being a Glam band. I just don't like the name Hair Band. That's a stupid attempt to try and lump bands that don't belong in the same bracket. These journalists go to school for years and the best they can come up with is Hair band? Lester Bangs would roll over in his grave!
Wil: What band would you say was more of a forbearer to Poison: The New York Dolls or AC/DC?
Rikki Rockett: Both for different reasons. One was Mom and one was Dad.
Wil: What'd you think about the whole nineties punk emergence? Was it a necessary upheaval to keep music fresh, or was it another fad created by the record labels?
Rikki Rockett: I just think it was and is a reflection of musicians trying to reclaim the youthfulness of the soul of just rockin' out hard and fast. String lyrics together, make a catchy line, make a point and get the fuck out.
Wil: One of the big things that came out of the "alternative revolution" was the concept of D.I.Y., of avoiding major labels cuz they were gonna screw the artists. Poison however, came from the previous school of thought where a band worked hard to get that major label deal. Ever had any regrets with your major label treatment?
Rikki Rockett: Not really. We were on a small label (Enigma), everyone seems to forget that. Enigma continued to be involved for years after we were involved with Capitol. No one from Capitol ever set foot into our rehearsals or studios until Native Tongue. We did what we felt was right. We are admitted, sold out Capitalists with a capitol "C" and fuckin' proud of it. If you cut a record deal and a merch deal, you are as sold out as the next guy even if you run around claiming you have integrity with a hippie attitude and the clothes to match. Pop music is a whore. Nothing is worse than whores running around posing as musicians with integrity. And damn, there are a lot of them these days.
Wil: On your web site, you state "I can't control the press or people's perceptions about me or Poison." That said, don't you get kind of pissed when a new music fad rolls in and suddenly you're the butt of jokes for Courtney Love?
Rikki Rockett: Well, if Poison is responsible for alternative being the adverse reaction, then alternative is now responsible for Boy bands. Who's the joke now? Besides, talk about sold out? Courtney is the epitome of sold out. She knows it and anyone who still thinks people like her aren't are the real fuckin' jokes. I say right on to Courtney! She pulled it off.
Wil: We keep hearing about the return of hard rock. Is it actually gonna happen? I know you're poised on a summer tour with Warrant, Great White and a lot of the classic hair bands of the eighties...
Rikki Rockett: See, you said it, "Hair Band". Did you go to college or just read the same article that some other person read that some other person read that someone wrote sometime ago?
No, I don't see a return of rock right now because Poison is the only band that has the balls to do what we do. Everyone else is too busy trying to be more angry than the next band, or too urban. Keep it real? No one has kept it real since Bob Dylan and I never liked him much anyway.
Wil: If you couldn't be in Poison but could be in any other band in history, who would it be?
Rikki Rockett: I'd want to be in "Stomp", the musical. Playing on trash cans and shit. That's keepin' it real!