SURGICAL STEEL bassist
Excerpts from 1987 Interview with the Arizona Entertainer
Q: What year were you born?
For all those still going through Rik Fox withdrawal, we decided to
post an interview that Rik did in 1987. The interview was done for the local Phoenix publication called the Arizona Entertainer.
We will be posting a few excerpts from the interview, every day this week, so keep checking back. Once again, this is
AN INTERVIEW FROM 1987, so teaze your hair, put on your tapered jeans and your fringe jacket, pop a cool
one, fire one up and imagine a different time, but most of all, ENJOY!
RIK: Trade secret, old enough to know.
Q: Where were you born?
RIK: Amittyville, New York, but I grew up in Brooklyn.
Q: Is Rik Fox your given name?
RIK: Yes. I know it sounds too perfect, but that's just the way things are. Every now and then one of us comes along.
We're just unbelievable. (slight smile)
Q: How long have you been playing bass?
RIK: I started semi-professionally in 1975-76, 'til now.
Q: Always Bass?
RIK: Pretty much. I diddled around some on guitar. When I was a kid I wanted to take music lessons, I know it's
hard to believe, but I was a kid once, still am. My parents couldn't really afford it. So I became self-taught.
Q: Why did you choose bass?
RIK: My first idol was a bass player named Nick St. Nicholas. I always liked Steppenwolf.
anyway I saw
him, I loved the way he
looked, the way he stood, the
way he dressed . A lot of
bands are dressing like that
nowadays. That's when I said
"I gotta play bass".
Q: What were you like as a child?
Q: Were you shy or outspoken?
RIK: Outspokenly shy....you'll get the idea you're interviewing Woody Allen from time to time. (Smiles)
I kept to myself. I didn't have that many friends, so a lot of my early experiences came out on paper. I would look to music as an outlet.
The things I couldn't understand or deal with I'd put down on paper. It would end up being songs.
Q: Were you lonely as a child?
RIK: Everybody's lonely as a child, some more often than not. I'm a Capricorn....look it up.
Q: Were you popular?
RIK: Oh, everyone knew who I was.....(With a devious smile)...I was always known for something, like George Carlin would
be the class clown, I had my moments when I was funny, when I got into trouble and I had my moments when I was wrong. I wasn't a lady
killer at the time. NO!! There wasn't much luck with the girls then....
Q: Are you from a big family?
RIK: No, I'm the only child from my parent's first marriage.
Q: Were you a good student?
RIK: Giftedly Average. Some subjects I like more than others. I hated math and "real brain teasery" shit. I
went more for History and Science. I was quite artistically inclined. My father would've sent me to one of those special schools where
they push what you do best, but we could never afford it.
Q: Did you finish high school?
Q: What about college?
RIK: Not in New York. When I came to California I took some courses at Santa Monica Community College. I started
to pick up the study of the Japanese language....I'll be set when we get to Japan. I took some music courses to brush-up on things.
Q: What's one thing you would say to up-and-coming musicians?
RIK: (Laughs) Funny how this is relevant to right now, but "Don't give up"...."Don't lose sight of your goals
and don't ever let go of the dream because when you give up you lose everything.
Q: Is that what you're doing now.....Not giving up?
RIK: You could say something like that.
Q: What would you change about the time you played with W.A.S.P.?
RIK: I've gotten a lot more experience and knowledge in areas I was not aware of before. When I came to L.A. I was
naive as to how things were done out here. I was under Blackie's (Lawless) wing. He was the band leader and called the shots. I had
no choice, but to follow his lead. After being with W.A.S.P. four months, (originally the band was called Sister), I came up with
the name W.A.S.P. and we kept it. To this day, Blackie will probably deny it. He gets angry when people ask him about me, it's like
slapping his pride in the face.......He's Mr. Credit......, but anyway, I learned it can get pretty rough if no one is helping you.
They (WASP / SISTER) got my name and heard about me in New York. When they had me come out here, they said, "Our search is
over, you're the guy we're looking for."
We did the demo tape, everything started to look good. Then Blackie came up to me one day and said, "YOU, OUT!!". It was more
personal reasons than musical.
Q: How did you feel then?
RIK: Not angry.....confused. I didn't know what was going on, because Blackie wasn't being honest with me. At that
point, I had befriended some girls who were high class call girls. They had enough money to give me a couch to sleep on. I was
by myself. Blackie had said, "It's gonna be rough, we'll pay your way back to New York, but if you want to make it, you should
stay in L.A. You're gonna need balls of steel!" I decided to stay. I lost everything in New York. My apartment, my girlfriend, and
my furniture. The girls' apartment I stayed at was next door to Nikki Sixx, who was a starving musician at the time. Many times
I'd walk in and see him huddling over a candle under a blanket trying to keep warm. He was running his extension into the girls
apartment to tap for power.
Q: What would you change about your time in STEELER?
RIK: That came right after the W.A.S.P. thing. I put out ads in the local trades. I had auditioned for RATT twice, but
they couldn't make up their minds. I didn't have enough of a reputation, no one had seen me play, they didn't know if I was any good.
People just saw me standing around at the clubs. "Here's this guy with his hair all done up and a good looking outfit." I guess this
is where the name "poser" came in. I didn't know what a "poser" was. It's a word in L.A. for people that don't do anything, they just
stand around. They're wanna-be's. Ron Keel called me, he was having trouble with his line-up. He said, "You have the most pro ad in
the magazines. I've heard your name around, but nobody knew what you did except you said you played with W.A.S.P. At the time
W.A.S.P. was coming out and playing. Blackie wound up moving to bass so that kinda bunked my theory. How could I be the bass
player in W.A.S.P. when he was playing bass? I was with STEELER for about six or seven months. It was Ron, myself and Mark for about
one month, then Yngwie came in. The problems began from the very start with Yngwie and Ron. There was arguing, bickering and fighting.
We did the album, it wasn't really a smooth sailiing trip. Actually, the best time to be in STEELER was on stage. It was the best thing to do and
to happen to me at the time. I don't regret being in STEELER. It helped me get to where I am now. I learned what it was like to
live together in one house with a bunch of musicians and be hungry. No one was better off than anyone else. We all starved together.
I was still a little naive, but I was starting to pick up on what goes on behind the scenes. When the album came out it got a decent
reputation. My friends back east started to see and hear about it. I had started to build a name and at that point, I was
approached by some musicians. If you can call them that. They wanted to get together and form something even though they'd been
told rumors (i.e.: "He's not worth his salt either as a player or a person. Get involved with Rik and you are wasting your time.")
You see, this has always been an uphill battle for me. I'm not where I want to be now because I haven't had enough of the right
breaks. I've always been surrounded by the wrong element, the wrong people. I decided to reform the first L.A. line-up of my New York
band SIN. I picked the players and I let the keyboard player handle the business, which was a mistake. I handled the press and publicity.
I told them, "If you stick with me, I'll get us notoriety." and I did. By the time our first show came in L.A., Motley Crue, Yngwie and
most major label bands were there. I came up with a whole new fashion look that we wore on stage. Everybody is doing it now, with the
shredded outfits. I was the first one to do that in L.A. David Lee Roth copped it and used it in the "Jump" video. KISS copped it and
had it on tour with them. They they say, "We know the little bands in L.A. copy us and we know who they are, but we're real
flattered." I should be angry and then again I shouldn't. I should be happy, because I know I'm doing something right when the big
bands take from the little bands. Six months later I let go of the first line-up of SIN.
They were causing trouble, intending to kick me out of the band and steal the name. I beat them to it. I trademarked the name and
formed the second line-up with two guitars. I imported two guys that used to be with the band Alien. It was the better of the
two line-ups. We were voted the top drawing metal band of 1984 over the whole L.A. area. Over Keel, Stryper and Odin. We played
for over 7,000 people at the L.A. Street Scene. The scary thing was all of those kids know who we were. They were stomping the street
and yelling our name before we went on. When we hit the stage it was hysteria. I knew I was on to something big. Management came in
and made decisions that didn't agree with what I had in mind. The chemistry started to shift among the band members, attitudes developed
and it went like sand through my fingers. I lost control of something I had control of before all these outside elements came in.
The only person that stuck by me was our publicist, Charmaine King of King Kommunikations. She's the only one that remained constant through
the whole thing. I did my time of being depressed and bumming around for several months. Wondering if I should pick up the pieces and
start SIN again. Hoping the third time would be the charm. I started to get it off the ground when I got a call from a group called
Burn. They asked me if I wanted to be in the band. I agreed to try it. So, I was with Burn for five or six months. Nothing was
happening. We were getting ready to do some gigs when the call came from Mr. Keeler. Well, not Jimmy himself, but from an
associate of his, Brad Laughlin of Top Entertainment. He told me that after I was in Phoenix to see Cinderella and Loudness, Jimmy
had fired his whole line-up. He wanted all new people and one of the people he wanted was me. According to Brad, I was to drop everything.
I went through this once before when I auditioned for Quiet Riot. I don't want to be one to say I could've, should've and didn't, but
I wanted to see what Jimmy was made of. I'd vaguely heard the name Surgical Steel. I knew there was some affiliation between
them and Rob Halford, but that's not why I came. I came out of curiousity. The next day Jimmy already had me learning songs, without
even asking me if I wanted to audition or if I even wanted to be in the band. He just told people I was already the bass player.
Q: How did you feel about that?
RIK: I didn't like it.
Q: But you stayed with them anyway?
RIK: I stayed because I liked the material. I thought at that point we could straighten out other considerations.
I do have a bit of a name. I've been in magazines around the world and I figure that lends me enough credence to know if I play
with someone else, that they're going to be using my name to get publicity and notoriety. It would warrant me not special
treatment, but just consideration. When I join a band that has little or no name, they all of a sudden have a name because I do.
That brings us up to where we are now.
Q: Did you think Surgical Steel was a step backwards?
Q: Do you ever feel you were passed by for stardom or just considered a flash in the pan?
RIK: I think I've done too much serious work to be considered just a "flash in the pan". I don't know if being
passed by is the right description. Maybe it's just not my time yet. I've spoken to several astrologers, not specifically for this
reason, but they all say the same thing, with out knowing each other and that is I'd definitely make it after I'm thirty.
Q: How do you feel about not being the spokesperson for the band?
RIK: At this point, for Jimmy Keeler and all intents and purposes, it's Surgical Steel. From my point of view,
it is not. It's a whole new band. As far as not being a spokesperson, being a former band leader, I find myself more often than not
having to bite my lip about it becuase I see things that could be done differently. Maybe not always better, but differently. I've
done it longer and been through it longer than Jimmy has. Once in a while he'll ask my opinion. That doesn't mean he'll abide by it, but
sometimes he takes the time to ask me. I would think he'd ask me more, being the oldest member in the band (He smiles).
There is another reason I'm not the spokesperson. It's Jimmy's band, as we speak. At the entrance of a major label and signing, everyone
will have 25% say so. I feel I'm kept in the dark too much. So, I can't be a spokesperson. I think maybe Jimmy likes it that way.
Maybe he is the big fish in the little pond called Phoenix. I'm a big fish that came in from the ocean. to quote yourself, "I feel
like a caged animal". I don't have the room to run around and do what I do in L.A. I would return the offer for Jimmy to come to
L.A. and see what it takes to make it. The ingredients are a lot different.
Q: What would you say your goal as a musician is?
RIK: Where security is not a problem anymore. According to Nikki Sixx, "Your start being in a band as a young musician
because it's fun, you can meet girls and be a star. The next level is you're doing it for money. Then you're financially well-off
and you return to the original reason you got involved: Because it's something you love and it's what you do best." I subscribe
to that theory. Once I've gotten financial security and to a point, money can buy happiness. I'd like to return everything that
was given to me. I'd help bands out on their way up. I'd also like to get involved with movies. I have done some movies already.
Everybody tells me I have expressive eyes; they can do all the talking. I don't need the script, the eyes know everything. (smiles)
No really, I don't forget on the way up.
Q: What would you like to be doing five years from now?
RIK: (laughs) Collecting platinum albums -- mine. I like writing songs for other people as well as myself.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Nothing is definite in this world except death.
Q: What do you like best about yourself?
RIK: I'm cool......(Smiles) I'm a cool guy. I'm a nice guy. You're holding in these laughs.....(laughing). I
don't know. It depends on how I feel from day to day. I'm very moody.
Q: What's your biggest fault?
RIK: Not being strong enough to tell people where it's at from the get-go. I should grab opportunity more at
the throat level. I should make sure I'm getting a straight line from everyone around me. I find people wanting to have something
to do with me to make themselves important. To say, "I'm friends with so and so". If you meet someone at someone else's house
and talk to them for 5 minutes, for the next month they're saying "So and So is my best friend". I HATE PHONINESS!! I'm very selective
about who I let into my sphere of influence. I wouldn't say I'm secretive, but I do enjoy my privacy.
Q: Tell me about what's considered to be your "Nasty Boy" image (Once again, we at full in bloom music would like to
clarify, this interview is from 1987. Trust me when I say; we would never ask this question)? Did you create it or did the press?
RIK: It comes from the hips. (Laughs) Rock n Roll is a primal, animalistic beat. The 4/4 beat is most often used
for sex. I guess that's why songs can be sexy if they have that beat. I'm not a heavy partier. I don't do drugs per say. I don't
get high. I like a few drinks to catch a buzz, but my outlet is basically sex. That's where the sensual angle comes from. It come from
withing and it comes out on stage.
Q: If you could play with anyone, anywhere, just one, who would it be?
RIK: Always a tricky question. I have a really wide range of tastes. I admire bands like Cinderella and Poison, but
it would probably be a toss up between KISS and Motley Crue. KISS is like one of the biggest bands in the world. I think it would be nice
to be on stage with some old friends.
Q: Were your parents supportive of your music?
RIK: No, not really.
Q: Was your father doubting of your masculinity because of the image?
RIK: They never doubted my masculinity. I'm basically just a man with long hair. I saw it as an easier way to get
girls. I was always an image conscious person. I'm a musician, but I'm also an entertainer. When I go to see a band I want to get
my head blown off. I want to walk out of ther going "WOW". As long as kids walk out of my shows going "WOW", I'll go home a happy
man. My parents haven't always been supportive, even though my father was a disc jockey. He said he saw inklings of me being gifted
in certain areas. He could have made it difficult for me, but he didn't. I wrote him a card once that went something like:
"I know it's a rough road that I've chosen, but it's still the road I've chosen. I know it's full of a lot of holes, bumps and
scrapes. You never really tried to hold me back. If I listen real hard today, I think I can hear you rooting for me silently in the
Q: Tell me about Rik Fox the man. Is he sensitive?
Q: Does he show a lot of emotion?
RIK: (Laughing) What it this? The biograpy? Everybody has emotions they have to let out, if you're moved by
something. It depends on what affects me and how I react at the time.
Q: Would you say you're a strong person?
RIK: Would I say I'm evasive of your questions? (laughing) Maybe.....Sometimes I'm strong. I like to feel in control.
That's the nature of Capricorn. Born leaders, stubborn, moody and sensitive. We're not always easily understood and that's a downfall
on everyone else's behalf. They don't take the time to understand. They just see the superficial and figure you're and ass.
All Capricorns, myself especially, (since we're talking about me) have a lot beneath the surface. People don't take the time to know...
that's their perogative. If they want to know me well enough, they'll take the time. If not, they'll just pass, thinking there's an
attitude problem. It takes time and very, very few people are ever allowed into this shell to know what's going on inside this thing
called Rik Fox.
Q: Because you feel they're not sincere enough?
RIK: I was told once that you could be a lover with someone before you could be a friend. It takes years to be
someone's friend. I'm going through this right now with someone I care about. That's the one thing there's so little of in this
Q: When do you think you'll grow up?
RIK: Never. As long as I'm in Rock n Roll, I'll always be a little boy at heart.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to say?
RIK: Buy my albums, ALL of them!!! Understand my songs; read between the lines. Fight for your right to
That's it folks, the Rik Fox saga is complete.
Make sure to read our
Full in Bloom Music Interview with Rik Fox - PART I
Full in Bloom Music Interview with Rik Fox - PART II
Full in Bloom Music Interview with Rik Fox - PART III
Don't forget to check out our
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Also, be sure to check out our Rik Fox feature
Tales from the Foxhole