Frank: This is TOO COOL! I'm sitting here at the computer actually listening to the live part of the
STEELER comp CD ("Victim of the City", actually) and I get an email from Rik Fox?
I must've fallen asleep and hit my head or something! The 16 year old me is somewhere in time having a heart attack right now.
Okay, first off, let me say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, and THANK YOU for that amazing SIN single.
Rik: You're most welcome. Wasn't that a great
STEELER song? Too bad we had to leave it off the album for Yngwie's 'solo. 'Excited' was the other great song.
Listen, I had to cut & paste your letter, and answer it in Microsoft Word, so to keep all the grammatics in place, you'll need to open it in Microsoft Word, or Yahoo will butcher it with weird symbols.
Frank: I listen to it still, all the time. "On The Run" especially, in the car in summertime on my crummy tape deck.
Rik: Funny you should say that?It's actually a biker song?like my answer to that classic "Born to be Wild". I was really pissed off when I wrote it. About wanting to be free, on the road.
In the studio, recording it for the second time with SIN mach II in L.A., although he is a jerk-off, producer Dana Strum said: "When is Rik Fox going to win the Nobel prize for song-writing, this is a classic song"! Of course, he showed me how much he loved it, by stealing it with partner-in- crime,
Vinnie Vincent, and changed the title to "Let Freedom Rock" on the second V.V. Invasion album. Then threatened to 'bleed me dry in court if I try to sue them over it.
Frank: I guard that single with my life, as it's all I have from what MUST have been a TRULY AMAZING band.
Rik: I'm truly flattered and honored! I wish I had more fans like you! It was only amazing when things actually got accomplished, and unfortunately, it was only me running things from behind the scenes, much like
Nikki Sixx did with
Motley Crue, only difference was, the guys in Motley *LISTENED* to Nikki and went along with the program, whereas I kept running into opposition.
Frank: Rainbow and Angel were HUGE with me when I was a kid (still are) and I thought SIN was a PERFECT blend of those bands, plus the great L.A. SOUND OF THE TIME.
Rik: Oddly enough, you're not far off the mark. I was trying to see how close we could come to crossing Judas Priest with Angel.
Frank: The keyboard that comes in at the beginning of "On the Run" always sent the same shiver up my spine as Tony Carey's at the start of "Tarot Woman", or Gregg Giuffria in "The Fortune".
Rik: WOW! Now THAT's a compliment! Unfortunately, that intro was actually a very large point of contention in the studio between Dana & I. The way I originally wrote it, was to pay homage to the intro of Montrose's 'Bad Motor Scooter' and you were *supposed* to hear the bike shifting gears, up to the key pitch of the song. Dana said "That's so old, everyone else has already done that, *I* want the thunderstorm of the keyboards there instead, besides, I already made arrangements to have it there." We fought tooth & nail over it, and he had final say, despite my artistic argument. Ironically, not long afterward, Motley Crue came out with "Kick start my Heart" with the VERY SAME intro that *I* wanted, (and from the same source), and originally wrote into the song. Dana said nothing about it then, and said "What's done is done, and we can't change it now"....I said BULLSHIT!
Frank: And "Captured in Time" is SO much like classic Angel/Rainbow, I have to go put that on right now? Okay, I'm back.
Rik: "Captured in Time" the flipside to "On the Run" picture disc, was our homage to the Angel song 'Feelin' Right', complete with the call-and-answer, scat-duel between the guitar and the keyboards. We really tried to capture that 'classic' Angel feel, but the guitarist was a young 'pistol' and saw Randy Rhodes and Yngwie as his heroes, and tried to overplay to show off what he could do, (especially since I had just come from playing with Yngwie, so he was also trying to show 'me' what he could do, even though I asked him to tone it down), rather than play to the song's feel. Punky wouldn't have tried that, it takes an older veteran to capture the feel of a good song. However, if that's what you felt in there, then we succeeded. Thanks.
Frank: I'll start off with STEELER.I loved that album so much, I actually talked about it in front of my whole Psychology class my freshman year in high school as an assignment. "The quality of the unknown (STEELER), versus the overratedly known (Van Halen)".
Rik: Again, thanks for the great compliments.
Frank: That argument didn't go down too well in Milford, Massachusetts at the time. Everywhere you looked, kids had Van Halen tour shirts. But before the year was out, Motley and Ratt had broken out, so I wound up being kinda prophetic in a way.
Rik: I was the same way about KISS while I was in High School. No one even knew about
KISS then, but *I* did, and I was almost successful in getting them to play at my High School too, sadly, it fell thru.
Frank: I still think that album is an amazing representation of the absolute best era of L.A. rock and roll. Just about
flawless. Even the raw edge, much like "Too Fast for Love" is perfect in its imperfect way. But, really. It
was the SIN single that sent me through the roof. Obviously, I got it because I wanted to see what you were
up to after
I sent away for it and it's been on my turntable frequently ever since.
Rik: You mean it hasn't worn out yet? Wow. What a testament to longevity!
Frank: I read an interview where you said the whole unreleased SIN album was done with a singer (I'm forgetting his name) who had basically been foisted on the band by the record company.
Rik: Not the label, but
Dana Strum, and manager Todd Cooper. The singer's name was Ric Reed, out of the band 'Child' from San Diego, and essentially his main 'claim to fame' was imitating Ronnie Dio's voice in an old Budweiser Beer commercial, with him mimicking 'This Bud's for you' to a pseudo-'Rainbow in the Dark' feel. Reed wanted to just come in and take over, making *us* his back-up band. After all my hard work, I said "NO WAY", despite his amazing voice. Mark Slaughter sang a lot on our SIN material, which were album master demos. Back-up vocals were some of the guys from the band
Black n Blue.
Frank: Did you ever get around to playing live with him?
Rik: No. We broke up not long after the studio sessions. I always seemed to get band members who lacked cohesion and could share my vision. Or, I joined other bands who were already going down like sinking ships. I always seemed to miss the brass ring, through no fault of my own. The members began in-fighting and bickering with each other, THEN, came up with some idea that I wouldn't be able to 'cut it live' with all the new song arrangements?Wait a minute, I wrote most of the material, why would I not be able to cut my own parts live?!?
Frank: Is he the guy who was in Jagwire?
Rik: No, that was Art Deresh. A real pig-sty kind of guy, who mimicked Krokus' Mark Storace. He was all nice at first, but turned sour and followed the others when they tried to kick me out and steal the name SIN. What a pus*y. I beat them to it, and had it service marked, HA!
Frank: I never listened to that band when they released an album because they lost all 'coolativity' level without Rik Fox.
Rik: Wow, again, thanks. 'Coolativity', what a great description. It was actually a lot more than that. I seemed to develop this propensity to put together bands with unknown players, who, after some taste of 'success' (at least on a local level) then all of a sudden, are feeling a bit too big for their egos, and feel that they can continue on without me, and then try to kick me out of my own band. The punishment in that, was that soon after trying to kick me out, they would lose all cohesion, and fall apart. They couldn't get those same industry doors open like when I was back in the band, and, quite frankly, the sucked without a good, clear direction. I was like a catalyst, the center of the wheel, and they were the spokes. Together we could roll places, without the center hub, the wheel falls apart and crashes.
Frank: SIN was a great band musically and conceptually, and they struck me as a bunch of average Hollywood musicians who didn't get that at all.
Rik: You must be referring to the Mach I - L.A. version. Honestly and realistically, I have to take the due credit for that, thanks. The Mach II version was better. None of that was there before I did my thing. I was approached by unknown small-potatoes keyboardist, Vince Gilbert, from Phoenix, AZ., who virtually wanted to make it in L.A., but needed a 'gimmick' to get him on the map there. Since I had a good name and proven track record, he approached me thru someone I knew, and since we both liked Angel, that was the 'common ground' necessary to try things out. Vince tried to look like Gregg Giuffria as well, and played a similar set-up, and swung his head around like Gregg did also. We tried to see what would work. As I brought in each member to the pot, they had no ideas about concepts, they just wanted to play. I began to apply the concepts once things were in place. Then after a few shows, they kept trying to write songs without my input, and no parts for me except straight bass lines. Vince began to exert himself and the others lined up behind him. I had to put a stop to that.
Frank: Hence the name Jagwire.
Rik: To be honest with you, I have NO idea WHERE that name came from, lol! We used the name SIN, based off of my previous usage of the name from back in NY/NJ, since 1976. And, after a week of everyone trying to come up with a name that sounded cool and described us, NO One could. I said "If no one can beat SIN, then SIN it is". They all gave up and agreed afterwards. As I said in my interview in Full In Bloom Music, The recording session with that line-up went to hell in a hand basket really fast, and, poor Metal Blade engineer, Bill Metoyer was helpless to intervene in the 'politics'. Right in the middle of a song take, I took off the bass and looked at Bill, I apologized, and said "Bill, I'm really sorry about this, but you are a witness to all this B.S., and I gotta do, what I gotta do, take care". And I walked out. Just like that. Ironically, I am not a quitter, but I knew my limitations, and they were reached and crossed by SIN Mach I members. They tried to bring in a second rate player to try and finish up my bass tracks, but they ran over budget, ran out of money, and the final result was an album that was only good enough to use as a Frisbee. (No offence to Wham-O ?). Vince finally 'took over' and ran it into the ground. They 'tried' to continue using the name SIN, which led to a HUGE legal battle which they embarrassingly lost in public. They shipped like 3,000 albums and like 2,700 were returned. It was titled "Made in Heaven" from the song of the same name, which we amusingly referred to as "Can of peas, made in Heaven". They dried up like dust and blew away into oblivion soon after that. Since then, no one from that line-up has ever gone on to do ANYTHING of notoriety or be successful in anything.
Frank: Rik, is there any chance at all that SIN fans like me will ever get to hear the album?
Rik: Hate to be the bearer of bad news?Nope. Actually we never did a complete album. Just four songs. While I own the rights to the songs, the studio we recorded them in, owned the master tapes, until the label was to take over. (I think Dana was trying to get Chrysalis Records to sign us since V.V. Invasion were on there too, this way, Dana could stay on as a 'finder and producer'). I don't have the financial gain to purchase the master tapes, AND, after talking to Todd Cooper, he's not sure the tapes even exist anymore. They might have been either recorded over, or just fell apart from sitting idle on a shelf somewhere. I only have a cassette of the songs, and legalities prevent me from releasing them. But I'll find a way somehow.
Frank: I would imagine you get that question all the time from people like me tracking you down. Sorry if it's a redundant question. But if it's anything like the single, I can't imagine how mind blowing it would be for someone like me and other fans of that awesome style of music.
Rik: It's O.K. To his own credit, I must admit, that Dana didn't do a half bad job with the songs, except for his botch of 'On the Run'; we actually DID come out sounding just like Judas Priest. The song 'Break Down the Walls (that Stop the Rock') sounds just like 'Screaming for Vengeance'! We really had something different from all the other Hollywood bands, but fate had other plans for me. Then 'Seattle' hit, and our style of music was considered 'dinosaur'.
Frank: I realize from reading interviews with you over the years that the line-up that recorded the single I have, and the line-up that wound up recording the album weren't exactly your favorite line-ups of SIN.
Rik: Well, there were two different line-ups. The first group of idiots, and then my ex-ALIEN boys from New York, (with Frankie Starr). Really was an ass-kicking difference, and we proved it when the new line-up came out, it was like day & night. We came on with all the fury & attitude of Twisted Sister, which Hollywood players could never do, only New Yorkers. Everyone went "JagWire, WHO?!?", Lol! Eventually, even the N.Y. guys lost their steam. Too much pot-smoking on my watch, which I tried to get them to slow down. They loved Iron Maiden, and would smoke pot and then jam for hours in guitar harmonies just like Maiden. I said: "Look, there ALREADY IS an Iron Maiden, I'm trying to get us OUR OWN SOUND!".
Frank: But you can't keep great songs and performances down, so I'll bet the album still wound up great. Is there any chance you would someday make the album, or (I wish) some Frank Starr era stuff available to us fans?
Rik: Right. And I must say: YES! The owner of the Full In Bloom Music site and I have been slowly working on some plans to release some of the SIN material with Frankie Starr, and a portion of the profits are planned to be set aside for Frank's daughter. While the material arrangements are somewhat inferior to what we did in the studio with Dana Strum, it does contain a certain unrefined rawness, which was SIN in the making. Actually, the Dana Strum arrangement of the SIN cut 'Break Down the Walls' is included in the compilation 'Hollywood Rocks' Commemorative four album CD set. I don't like to help them with their sales, because their employees totally fucked-up the SIN Liner notes 'copy' of the text of what I sent them, and re-arranged it arbitrarily on their own without clearance from me. For that I piss on them. Other than that it's a cool collection of early Hollywood bands.
Frank: I have the Alien E.P. from back then, too.
Rik: Wow, great for you! That's a classic and out-of-print! You should frame it.
Frank: The SIN version of "Don't Say Goodbye" is my holy grail (my holy grail used to be Graham Bonnet singing "Stargazer" at Castle Donnington in 1980,but I managed to track down that rare L.P. last year.
Rik: Oh, I have that album too, got it when it came out. It's great. Thanks for the compliment.
Actually, our SIN guitarist Jay Kristi (aka Rikk Kristi from ALIEN -The Fucker stole my name when we parted ways back in NY years before that. The ALIEN song 'Time After Time' he ripped off of my song-ballad 'I'm No Angel' which was influenced by STARZ's 'She's just a Fallen Angel'. When SIN guitarist Richie (Pagano) Martel spilled the beans, I nearly kicked Jay's ass before SIN Mach II even got off the ground. Jay was always a scammer, always watching his back.) Well, Kristi wrote 'Don't Say Goodbye' and we missed our opportunity to sell it to Pac Bell?We tried to record it when I was playing with Arizona's SURGICAL STEEL, but that went nowhere as well. (at least I phoned Jay to ask if we could record it).
Frank: The Dio era ruled, but I LOVE Graham's voice so much. So now the SIN version of "Don't Say Goodbye" would qualify as my grail).As a HUGE fan and admirer of yours, I hope someday you could find a way to let people like me hear this amazing stuff.
Rik: Working on it Frank, I just ask everyone's indulgence for patience. Lots of ducks need to be in a row for it.
Frank: If you're ever on MySpace, Danny Dangerous has his own page and in his photo section there's a picture of him in a SIN T-shirt.
Rik: NO SHIT?!? WOW! That's Awesome! Our SIN T-shirts were quite the collector's items back then, maybe now too. I don't think I'll be doing a MySpace site, I keep hearing how that site passes on too many virus possibilities, and unwanted porno spam, besides it's become a meat-market hook-up for many. We're working slowly on an entire new Rik Fox website, so, I won't need a MySpace site. Again, patience, these things take time. My fianc?' and I just moved into a new, larger home and we need time to unpack and fix up the place, real-life priorities, Y'know? Then, the web stuff. Right now I have to go to the public library to get my emails about 3 days a week.
Frank: Another grail of mine, as well as many others I'm sure. Anyway, thanks so much for tolerating my longwinded rambling. And thanks so much for the awesome music that's meant so much to me from childhood right up through today. It's truly been an honor and privilege to be able to tell you all this personally. Thank you, thank you, thank you Rik.
Rik: I think I have only ONE SIN T-shirt packed away in a plastic pouch, and I need that one for me, otherwise?I'd see what I could do. Even most of my bass picks are gone. If I find one that I can spare I'll let you know. Not a problem Frank. Without fans like you, there would be no me. I'm glad that I've made a positive impact on your life, and that it stood for something good.
So I appreciate you and the others like you, who still keep the faith, and didn't forget me. Remember, I, too, have my heroes, so I know what it's like to personally hear back, from them, and how jazzed it feels.
(I once had Punky Meadows, Frank DiMino and Barry Brandt TOGETHER in my Hollywood apartment, because they wanted me to hear some of their post-Angel material, and see if I was interested in joining them?How Cool is THAT?!?)
Because I know how that feels, I know how you'll be feeling when you get my reply.
Keep tuned to Full In Bloom Music's site for updates, and we'll get not only some of the SIN material out, but also some music and live video performance footage from my last band, THUNDERBALL, with singer Arizona vocalist Mike Corday, who performed with guitarist Michelangelo. We actually did a lot of the SIN material all over again, like 'I'm No Angel' , and the Dana Strum arranged version of my song 'Break Down the Walls' (we opened with that one!), AND that MY version of 'On the Run' WITH the shifting-gear intro as it was meant to be played. So, you'll get to hear some of that lost SIN material after all, just played by a different version of 'SIN' aka 'THUNDERBALL'! If you don't mind, I'd like to ask your permission to share your letter to me with some other friends and fans, say, for instance, on the 'Earthforce 2000' Punky/Angel yahoo site, where it's 'All Punky All Angel-All the time'. Have
a great day and keep on rockin'!
Thanks to Rik & Frank for letting us post this - DPJ
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(All Questions will be forwarded to Rik)
Back to Rik Fox Feature Topics
Interview w/ Steeler / SIN bassist Rik Fox Part I
Rik Fox Part II
Rik Fox Part III
Search Fibits for Steeler cd's
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Steeler Self-titled CD
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