RIKKI ROCKETT "We Never Set Out To Be A Metal Band"

Date February 1, 2008 / 224 reads / No comments yet

Interview by Gus Griesinger of http://www.glam-metal.com

Gus: Your company Rockett Drum Works has been at NAMM for a couple of years now. How?s business going?

Rikki: To tell you truth we are only 9 months old. I've been building drums for three years but I've been putting together drums since I was 14 years old. My first kit I got contact paper and re-did my own kit. Even when I was playing DW, I was doing my own designs and running around getting paintwork and powder coats on. So, it was a natural progression for me to custom make my own drums.

Gus: How's business going?

Rikki: Really great so far! It's heading in the right direction.

Gus: Will you be at future NAMM expo's selling your products?

Rikki: I'm not going anywhere! If we're tremendously successful it's "Rockett Drum Works." If I'm only making kits once a year it's still "Rockett Drum Works." I?m going to do everything I can, and I won't go away!

Gus: Tell us about your documentary ?Hooligan -Motorcycling Outsiders??

Rikki: I have been working on it for a couple of years now and I'm almost done. I actually got burned out on it. I think I hit it too hard too fast. I plan on finishing it before the tour. I have a ton of footage now so I'm good to go!

Gus: You fill in and play percussion with your girlfriend Melanie Martel. How much fun is it playing out with her? It's actually very different from what you?re used to...

Rikki: It's very different! It's very challenging. She's very particular. If you're a little off time she'll embarrass you. She just got back from Nashville.
(Gus chimes in: songwriters capital of America)

Rikki (laughs): yeah, old bunch of guys who make it very challenging. I have to play directions, I have to play quiet, I have to play dynamically. With Poison I'm out there and I find a groove and drive it home. With her it's a different feel, it's a big thrill!

Gus: That's cool! It's something different and you're able to keep your chops up somewhat.

Rikki: I think it makes me play better. Plus, she's better to look at than Brett (laughs.) Well the girls may disagree...

Gus: Poison are a staple of touring just about every summer since 2001. Do you like the commitment every year to Poison or would you like to do some of your other projects instead?

Rikki: I'm very thankful for Poison! If it wasn't for Poison, I wouldn't be able to do all this stuff. I?d just be dreaming about it or still trying to work for it. It's a double-edged sword. Once in a while I like to say "Hey let's take a year off for something?" As long as it's there, I got to go out and do it.

Gus: You already stated that you're going back out on tour this summer. What about the possibility of any new material from you guys?

Rikki: I would love it, but Brett's doing the "Rock of Love" thing right now and there is just no time before a summer tour.

Gus: I wasn?t just asking about before this tour I meant soon or maybe in the fall? Hollyweird was the last release of new material (in 2002) and greatest hits or covers packages were released since then.

Rikki: I hope so! There's a DVD coming out from the show in St. Louis from the last tour for HD Net (hopefully before the tour.) As for new material? I am so ready to do something new! I love to get up on stage and play something new.

Gus: In 2003, you released a solo CD ?Glitter for your Soul.? Any plans for solo material from you?

Rikki: Not at the moment. I think I'm going to concentrate on Melanie. We write together. I can't be her drummer while I'm out on tour obviously, but we're partners. It's her name and I?m really glad to be a part of it!

Gus: Are you just doing local dates with Melanie or do you plan on taking this out on the road?

Rikki: I hope so! We're just taking it one day at a time and see what happens. The main thing is to get all the songs ready. Once we have that we will make a video and start the process.

Gus: You are a well-known animal rights activist. What is your absolute favorite charity that you love to be involved in?

Rikki: Probably "The last chance for animals" who I've been involved with for many years. There are so many that are important. I always tell people, "look what inspires you" or "look what you have a soft spot in your heart for" and start hope with that! For me, it's pet theft and selling for lab experimentations. I like to do undercover work, but I really can't because I'm too well known. That's my main thing. I think stealing animals and selling them to research labs is something I'm totally against!

Gus: Ok, what are your opinions of Brett Michaels "Rock of Love?"

Rikki: I think it's fun, but it's not for me. It does bring a lot of attention to Poison, so that's cool! I couldn't do it. I'm not wired like that. It's doing well and he's having a great time with it.

Gus: What is the biggest misconception of Poison?

Rikki: I'm really tired of how people are wrapped up in one aspect of who we are. I'm still judged on what I looked like in 1986 and what I played like in 1986. I think we?re a whole lot different than that now. I made a mistake of staying too humble in the beginning. I said "We're not the best players in the world and were just out there doing our thing" and that got taken to: Ah Ha!! They suck!! They admit it kind of thing. And the whole hair metal thing was like, "They aren't metal enough!" We never set out to be a "metal" band. We were a "Rock 'n Roll" band! We wanted to be Aerosmith. We wanted to be Kiss. Those were our influences. Our influences were not Iron Maiden even know I love Iron Maiden. I didn't want to be Iron Maiden, I wanted to be Aerosmith! So Poison not being "metal" enough is stupid! So while when we got crowned this "hair metal" band, it never felt good!

Gus: Pretty much almost every band that came out in the mid-to late 1980s got classified as such.

Rikki: "Baby got thrown out with the bathwater!" If it was hair Rock 'n Roll then you can say the same thing about the Beatles. They're all about their bangs, and that's all they talk about! I'm not saying we?re anything like the Beatles...

Gus: Going back on what you were saying earlier, if you guys have been touring every year for the past seven or so years, you must be doing something right? I mean, a lot of 80?s bands are not even together anymore or if they are touring they are doing clubs or bars.

Rikki: I think the reason for that is we started as a touring band, a live band. Our music was the soundtrack to our lives. That's another misconception about Poison. We were never a studio album band exactly. Sure, we did studio albums, but we?ve always written songs like a garage band. One guy comes up with a riff, one guy comes up with an idea, another guy builds on it. Once you have a collection of stuff you kind of hone in on it. But it works well live first. We set up like a live situation so it's like a soundtrack of what we do. A lot of other people do it the other way around and do the studio stuff first. By the way, there is nothing wrong with that. All these bands like Toto are amazing at it! But that was just our band. I love live rock 'n roll, I just do! It's the one thing that always excited me as a fan. There were bands that I really didn't care about one way or another and I go see them open up for somebody and I be like, "Fuck,? I love this band now! For me it was always about selling live!

Gus: Albums like "Kiss Alive," or Cheap Trick "Live at Budokan" or "Frampton Comes Alive," are staples in many people's lives. The "live" CD concept went to the wayside, but it would be nice if they came back because you do get an appreciation of some these bands when they play in front of an audience.

Rikki: Absolutely! You can pull a lot of shit off in a studio. I can sit there and pack a drum track together. I can also sit there with a stick and my bass drum and do some crazy as pattern and put something over the top of it and blah blah, blah, blah and have some track that people are like "How did you do that?" Now, I got to figure out how to pull that off live and trying to figure out how to do it. People will do that and it will help you grow... I guess, but for us it was never about that. It was about laying the song down and being able to translate that into something exciting.

Gus: In wrapping up at your booth here at NAMM 2008 is there anything you want to say to our glammetal readers?

Rikki: I'm really proud of what I am doing here and I'm not going away. My drums are American-made by drummers for drummers. You probably heard that before, but it really is! I want people to play my stuff as I put all my life experiences into it.

Gus: Thanks for taking the time here at NAMM Rikki!

Rikki: Thank You!!