20 QUESTIONS WITH RIKKI ROCKET OF POISON
By Troy Schmidt
HardRock.com: You came from Harrisburg, the middle of Pennsylvania,
so this question is vitally important
Steelers or Eagles?
HardRock.com: Pirates or Phillies?
Rockett: Pirates. Even though I was closer to Philly and I consider
Philly my home, I just like those two teams. My uncle and people I
knew were just Steelers guys. What can I say? I liked the Orioles
too. Living in Harrisburg, we weren't that far.
HardRock.com: Schmidt's beer or Iron City?
Rockett: Iron City, Rolling Rock. You gotta love it.
HardRock.com: When you went to L.A. in 1984, what did you learn
during the lean years?
Rockett: Growing up, we never had a lot of money. My dad was a taxi
driver, my mom was a telephone operator, but we lived okay. I had
everything I needed. I always worked, since the time I was 15--a lifeguard--always
had a job, and a little bit of money here and there. But to be thrown
into a situation where literally I didn't have 10 bucks in my pocket
was tough. If we had any money, it went into the band's kitty. Honestly,
if it wasn't for the girls we dated, and it sounds terrible in retrospect,
we wouldn't have survived. They brought us food, clean stuff to wear,
pillows, blankets--you name it.
HardRock.com: What did fans see in you that they didn't see in
other bands during those early years?
Rockett: When we got there, there was a real swing to big, hard rock.
Keel was a big band. Malice. It was very leather--wristbands. It got
more aggressive. It was after Ratt and Motley Crue got signed. It
was a harder edge thing on the Strip (Sunset Strip). Wasp had just
gotten their deal. Witch was a big band. And on the other side of
the coin, Duran Duran, speed metal, and the punk scene. It was all
tattered--all over the place. Then we show up with the scarves and
the glam kind of vibe. We just mixed it all together, the glitter,
the punk, the hard rock
looking like a teenaged version of the
Dolls with an injection of Van Halen, that's what we were. It took
everybody by surprise.
HardRock.com: What individual has taught you the most?
Rockett: That's a good question. My parents are important. They really
gave me a lot of support. I know that sounds trite, but if it's true,
it's true. Different people for different reasons. Nathan from Aretha
Franklin's band taught me how to play to a click the day before I
went into the studio. If it hadn't have been for that, I would have
HardRock.com: What went into maintaining that big hair during the
Rockett: I just wouldn't wash it for a week or two. During some of
those early years, I wouldn't take my makeup off. I would just wake
up in the morning and add to it.
HardRock.com: What are you reading?
Rockett: I was given a book about a woman who has spent her entire
life rescuing animals. Pretty neat book.
HardRock.com: In your one song, "Fallen Angel," you talk
about lost dreams and selling out. You've probably seen a lot of that
in the rock world.
Rockett: I saw a lot of it. I see these people who say, "I want
to be famous." Okay, well what do you do? They don't know! If
you're going to find yourself, don't do it in L.A. You have a better
chance finding yourself in the middle of a jungle. There (in L.A.)
you can get so screwed up. You have to have a focus. Consequently,
we saw so many people come in from whatever town, with these ideas,
and pretty soon, they're blowing somebody for crack. I saw this over
and over again--beautiful girls--go down hill over time. It's very
HardRock.com: If the four of you were on the show Survivor, which
one of you would survive?
Rockett: Bret, because of his assorted head gear. He would fit in
with the tribes.
HardRock.com: Is there any painter you like?
Rockett: Salvador Dali and H.R. Geiger. They were both friends.
HardRock.com: If you could be present during any moment in history,
where would you want to be?
Rockett: Witnessing Rikki Rocket's life, now more than ever!
HardRock.com: The Hard Rock motto, "Love All, Serve All,"
what does it mean to you?
Rockett: I actually have a beef with that. It has to do with the Hard
Rock menu. All those grazing cattle are destroying the rain forest.
It should be a vegetarian restaurant if you want to love all, serve
all. That's my beef. Get it?
HardRock.com: What kind of thing scares you?
Rockett: It would scare me for my career to come to an end, because
I'm not prepared for it. Although I've done a ton of things in my
life--I was a hairdresser, a lifeguard, an EMT. I've done a lot of
fifty percent of me says I'm really happy if I'm just
creating stuff. But there's another part of me that is a performing
artist. I have to get this (clap, clap). You know what I mean? I like
the instant reaction. Maybe it's a little egocentric. When it all
ends, I'll have to destroy that ego part of me, so a chunk of me will
have to die. I haven't figured out how to do that yet.
HardRock: On the website, you have information on the fistfight
between Bret and C.C. after the MTV Music awards. Now most bands would
cover up that kind of stuff. Why are you so open about it?
Rockett: We can't cover it up. I'm not proud of it. It's just like,
"Hey, we got problems. This is what happened to us. This is how
stupid you can get." Now people know the story. To cover it up,
people are going to say, "Uh-huh, I heard this." Mark Twain
said, "Tell them the truth, and you won't have to remember anything."
HardRock: What events in your life led up to the song "Something
to Believe In?"
Rockett: "Every Rose" went to #1 and it stayed at #1 for
close to 2 weeks. After we got that call, two days later we get the
news that our security guy had died. That was a bittersweet time.
You do feel lost at a time like that. You ask yourself a lot of questions.
You start to get brutal about stuff. You question your religion, God,
this and that and why am I here?
HardRock.com: In "Something to Believe In" the verses
that read, "And give me something to believe in/If there's a
Lord above/And give me something to believe in/Oh, Lord arise."
What sort of "rising" from God would you like to see?
Rockett: You know, every once in awhile you do get a message somehow,
something that allows you to go on.
HardRock.com: What times in your life are you most spiritual?
Rockett: When I fly on a plane! I hate to fly.
HardRock.com: How has the Internet changed music?
Rockett: Critics are going to suffer the most. If somebody tells me
a new album sucks, I can download a sample of that song in the same
amount of time it takes to read it (a review).
HardRock.com: This is an election year. If you ran for president,
who would be your vice president?
Rockett: Bobby (Dall, the bassist). Definitely. He would draw the
state of Florida.