FIB MUSIC: Kind of funny, because they fire that drummer after the first self-titled record.
Tony: Exactly and then they bring back Audie. Audie is a good guy....a good friend of mine.
All this time, Audie had been honing his chops, he had been practicing and he was either going to come back, or get something better.
So he ended up coming back.
FIB MUSIC: By the time you leave the band, they are still called Dante Fox, right?
Tony: It was right on the verge. That's what their manager wanted them to do.
Change the name, get rid of the drummer, tone down the music and all that stuff. They were wanting to get rid of Don too, cause he
FIB MUSIC: It's odd, because that first (major label) self-titled release was the heaviest Great White
ever got, even heavier than the previous releases. Was that the direction they were wanting to go? Did they still have the same management by that time?
Tony: Pretty much. But if you noticed, each album got a little more commercial.
FIB MUSIC: Absolutely. Do you remember what songs you were doing at that time? Did any of those songs
appear on the later Great White recordings.
We were working on some of that stuff, but it wasn't the same, it was a little more rowdy. Actually, we didn't have a direction. The
originals? I couldn't even tell you what they were, it has been so long. I left right before and during all that.
FIB MUSIC: But the band was much more aggressive than what they were on the self-titled album?
Tony: Oh yeah.
FIB MUSIC: One of the great things about that release, is Jack's
voice. That aggression in his voice. He never sung like that again on any other Great White record.
Tony: I know. I don't think they were too happy with the direction later on. I think
there were more and more demands put on them later. I would see Jack & Mark a few times at parties after that and they weren't too
thrilled with it all. They were making the money, but their art, their craft, or whatever you want to call it took the bite for that.
But they were making money, so they kept their mouth shut. And even then, in the end, I heard they got taken for a lot of cash, so
who knows what happened there.
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with Jack Russell?
Tony: In those early days? Oh, it was pure chaos.
FIB MUSIC: The guy was always in jail wasn't he?
Tony: Yeah. I mean, none of us were saints, but he just had a knack for it, you know, in and out.
FIB MUSIC: Any cool memories stand out from the house you guys were living in?
Tony: Oh Yeah. We were just playing it up; we were bad boys. (laughs, then sings) "It's Closing Time".
Sometimes we would buy only one keg, knowing that the party was going to be shut down before we could finish that keg. We'd pack them all in and
collect all their money. Knowing that the cops were going to be there real soon to shut it down. But we would get our rent that way.......
because it would get old, you know? They would trash the house; cops would come and there would be trouble anyway. So it got to
where it was like a business. We would calculate it, we knew that we'd just get this one keg, we'll collect the money; we know it's going to be shut down before that,
we'll already have our rent money; we'll keep a few select women behind and drink the rest of the keg, in the house and there you go. Lock the
doors, have the cops get everyone off the property. (laughs) And then the rest of the night was ours.
FIB MUSIC: You guys also played at these parties, right?
Tony: Oh yeah. The house that we were buying was on a corner lot and for whatever reason, it
had a good size lot....I want to say a 1/4 acre, but that sounds huge, but it was big though. It was this corner lot and the house
was just trashed. We got in there and fixed it up and got in there real cheap. But it had a huge yard, perfect for partying. Of course,
in the end, we trashed it again anyway.
FIB MUSIC: So when you get kicked out of the band, do you still get a cut of the house?
Tony: No, I just left. If I had a car that quit running, I would leave it right there where it
quit running. If I had furniture at someone's house, I would leave it there. Just move on, that's how it was back then.
FIB MUSIC: Describe a typical DAY-IN-THE-LIFE-OF Tony Richards back then. From the time you woke up
to the time you fell asleep.
Tony: Well, I move around a lot. I ran into this girl Diana. Her sister, they were both very, very fine
looking ladies. The sister had this boyfriend and he was a wealthy mexican. So, what can I say man, for ahwile I moved around from stash house
to stash house. I worked for him for a while and just kind of moved pot around for him and did little errands and stuff like that and I would help
him keep up his properties. Just doing things to survive back then, you know, in between bands and shit.
FIB MUSIC: Did you work with any other bands in between Great White and W.A.S.P.?
Tony: Sure. On and off for years, I kept going back, in between all the other shit that I
was doing. I kept going back to a good friend of mine, named Pat Mckeon, who was from Orange County and he had a pretty big band at the time called,
Max Havoc. Great guy, excellent vocalist, there was nothing he couldn't sing. We kind of skipped a little, but me and Pat had this
band called Max Havoc, right before the 90's hit. Shit like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Alice in Chains and all that good
stuff. We had put a cover band together, because it was taking a lot of time to write shit. A couple of members came and went, because they couldn't
hang. Ultimately, we were just kicking ass, we were doing Nirvana and all that stuff. And I am telling you this guy had a voice and I
could play any of that shit. The guitar players we had were phenomenal. We could play all that shit to the "T".
FIB MUSIC: This is the mid-90's?
Tony: No, early.....yeah, mid-90's. Early to mid.
FIB MUSIC: Just to clarify. When you leave Great White, you start working with Pat, right?
Tony: Yeah, I had worked with Pat before. Somewhere in between Great White and W.A.S.P., I had
started working with Pat. Yeah, after Great White........well, this is where it gets real sketchy. I knew Pat and he knew me, but I
had never worked with him.....Jeez, when did I hook up with him? I really did a lot of partying back then as did everybody.
FIB MUSIC: Did you play with any other musicians that went on to be successful?
Tony: Just locally. I also even gave lessons for awhile. I was living in Long Beach and there
were a bunch of kids in the neighborhood. I was just kicking back and not doing much. There used to be a place called Fender's Ballroom, in downtown Long Beach. They
used to have a lot of punk shows there. I would hang out with bands like Black Flag, X and all these different people that would come
through there. I would go there and have drinks and watch the shows. Sometimes, I would even kind of work there, you know, clean up and shit. Because I used to
live across the street and I knew the owners. So, I fucked off a lot of time, where I just sat back and was disappointed because I couldn't find
what I was looking for out there. So, I did waste some time.
FIB MUSIC: So maybe a couple of years before you join W.A.S.P.?
Tony: No, the thing with W.A.S.P. was pretty much right away. I know I am confusing you, because I'm
confused myself. I remember that we pretty much traded drummers.
FIB MUSIC: Gary Holland was in W.A.S.P.?
Tony: Yeah, but it wasn't called W.A.S.P. yet. They were called Circus Circus. They had made phone calls;
they had seen me and Great White had seen Gary. So they figured, they got our drummer, he doesn't fit with them. And Blackie was like,
"Well, you guys got our drummer, we need someone over the top like that". So, pretty much, right after Great White, I went with
W.A.S.P. and we fart around for about a year and wrote and played a few clubs. Where Max Havoc comes in....I'm
sorry man, it's just such a mess. It was in between and after W.A.S.P.
Rik Fox, Blackie Lawless, Tony Richards & Randy Piper
FIB MUSIC: When you hook up with Blackie, the name of the band was still Circus Circus?
Tony: No, they had changed the name right away. When I got in there, they were like
we are going to start over and do this. I was there from the creation of W.A.S.P.
FIB MUSIC: Is Rik Fox in the band at that time?
Tony: No, we brought Rik out from New York and he didn't last that long. He had the look, but
I'm sorry to say, he just couldn't play a note back then. He's better now, but you know, that was a time when everyone wanted to come
to LA and be in a band and be rich. It just wasn't like that. But it didn't last long, after we booted him, I think that's when Blackie
decided to play bass and we brought Chris Holmes back in on guitar and Randy. Blackie and Randy had their falling out years before I
had ever known them.
FIB MUSIC: Yeah, I got an email saying that Randy had left the band for awhile, just after Rik leaves.
Tony: That's true. And Blackie had me go crawling back to get Randy back in. Yeah, Randy had a setup in
a warehouse, a very nice setup. A rehearsal studio and he lived up on top. That's where he was when I met him and that's where we also rehearsed in the
beginning. I've got some old funky cassettes of us back then. Talking, "Hey don't do that, do this here". Weird shit, the songs barely
even sound the same.
FIB MUSIC: How long was Randy out of the band?
Tony: Couple of months. They were always bickering about something. I was the newcomer, plus I
wasn't Mr. Hollywood, I was just some dude from Phoenix, what did I know. I would just sit back and let them hash it out. Then I would start
busting out some beats and they would be all happy again and start writing to them.