Marin Real Estate





WASP / Steeler / Sin / Surgical Steel / Thunderball bassist
Rik Fox
"The 6 Degrees of Rik Fox" Part I
Exclusive photos, never published before, on the internet

FIBM:  What's new, what have you been up to lately and what's in the future?

Rik Fox:  Just promoting our Living History group "Suligowski's Regiment of the Polish Commonwealth" Our *Prime Directive* is raising Polish Historic awareness. It's personal for me, since my Ancestry and blood is Polish. We have verified Polish Noble Bloodlines historically, going back to around 1148, I think. Our Polish Clan shield is that of the Clan of "Sulima" the same as Zawisza Czarny (Zah-visha- Char-nee), a noble and chivalrous and very large and famous black-armored Polish knight, who helped defeat the German Teutonic knights at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410. 'Google it' and you'll see what I mean.

Our group, however, is the *Very First, in U.S. History, to represent the Legendary and most beautiful and fearsome cavalry in Polish (and European) History, the Polish Winged Hussars. (Google it).

That is why this is *personal* for me. It means so much more. This concept has never been done before in U.S. History, and now, happily, other groups across the U.S. have now begun to spring up and follow our path. we've made U.S. History in N.Y.C. in 2002 in the N.Y. Pulaski Day Parade. See:http://photos.yahoo.com/wngdhussr ("1st U.S." Gallery).

I've also been awash in a recent wave of interviews, the most I've done in some years. We'll be featured in a magazine called "Swindle" (google it), in December, I believe. You'll see me and our group in period armor and my wings. I think there might also be an interview in "Blender" magazine too. Recently, I got a call from Ron Keel from our old band STEELER. He is releasing (in October) a STEELER ANTHOLOGY album exclusively in Europe and Japan. He asked me if it happens, and a STEELER REUNION Tour is possible, would I be interested? I said "Of Course!"

Unfortunately (or Fortunatley, depends on your point of view) Yngwie won't be with us, and would be replaced by another 'pistol' who can cover his tracks. Drummer Mark Edwards sustained a severe back injury some years ago motocrossing, I heard and we'd need to replace him as well. I've got a list of some interesting candidates, however, Ron has final call on everything. So, it would be only the two of us as original members. I'm the only one out of STEELER who never got to tour Japan and Europe, and meet my fans there, so I'd be looking fwd to that. Our fans are the BEST! Many bands followed the STEELER 'formula', and went on from there, so, I know we set a mold for them to follow.

Rik Fox in Sin - 1979
FIBM:  What year did you start playing in bands?

Rik Fox:  About 1975. I played the infamous N.Y.C. club-haunt, "MAX'S KANSAS CITY", and C.B.G.B's with a group called "THE MARTIAN ROCK BAND", we were 'so' cool. Aliens from different parts of the Galaxy. I looked like a green-scaled lizard-version of GENE SIMMONS,(a friend of mine), and I shot flames out of my hand instead of my mouth. We hung out with all the cool bands: N.Y. DOLLS, THE RAMONES, THE BRATS, THE PLANETS, LUGER and many of the bands that came out of that great N.Y. Rock Explosion. Photographer BOB GRUEN captured it all. He was the N.Y. version of famed L.A. Photographer NEIL 'ZLOZ' ZLOZOWER.

I eventually wound up playing in a cover band named "VIRGIN", in New Jersey, thru my good friend RANDY ROXX, a fellow KISS fan. Eventually VIRGIN (which pre-dates the L.A.-VIRGIN by Many YEARS!), became LUST (NOT the RON KEEL band LUST, we pre-dated that one too!). LUST eventually became "SIN", a name that I came up with, and originally drew the logo for, since I'm an artist. I was heavily influenced by the look of a group at the time called "ANGEL" This was around 1976.(more on that later)...That was how I wound up getting the gig with "VIRGIN", a local fairly successful GLAM band.

We did covers of ALICE COOPER (complete with a HUGE boa snake!), BOWIE, MOTT THE HOOPLE, KISS, AEROSMITH, LED ZEPPELIN, etc...VIRGIN was a big attraction on the New Jersey coast. Our biggest competition was a band called "HARLOW", who did almost the exact same show as we did. HARLOW were GREAT! They were THE hottest cover band on the circuit, and Headlined and packed ALL the best clubs in N.J. and Long Island. My friend bassist-Michael Harlow was also a big influence on me. Eventually, some new, little dive-band showed up on the scene called "PRETTY POISON", who eventually became "TWISTED SISTER", wearing all girls underwear and such, and found a new lead singer named "DEE SNIDER". After that, they really rocked, and took off! I was one of a small group of elite to actually get to watch KISS form from the ground up! I used to date one of PETER CRISS'S sisters in Brooklyn, before he was in KISS, so when he got the gig, we all used to go watch them rehearse. Then this weird guy in a grey pin-striped suit and mis-matched sneakers showed up and was in the band. That was ACE FREHLEY. So, I was there, from the beginning, but, whenever these KISS authors write their KISS history/biography books, I always seem to be forgotten about, especially, when I, too, have stories from back then that would have been of some value to their tomes. One book, has some of my stories, David Konow's book "BANG YOUR HEAD-The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal". I did like, 3-4, 90 minute interviews with David, and only a limited amount of my stories made it into the book. Like my coming up with the name WASP, verified by WASP guitarist RANDY PIPER. (and Vehemently denied by Blackie Lawless). (More on this later...)

Rik Fox - The Green Lizard
Rik Fox, as a Lizard
FIBM:  How long did you play in Steeler?


Rik Fox:   Hmmm, I think, about 8 months. Enough time to do the album and a bunch of cool gigs. we played with HUGHES-THRALL, and even VANDENBERG (Adrian's pre-Whitesnake band).

(I once met guitarist PAT THRALL when he was a member of PAT TRAVERS's band, playing THE PALLADIUM in N.Y.C. I met him back stage. Years later, then in STEELER, opening up for him, I said "Hi PAT", We met back at...."and his eyes go big as saucers! He says "Oh my God! THAT'S RIGHT! NOW, I Remember you!" "Holy Shit"! I said I loved his post-TRAVERS work with AUTOMATIC MAN, and he was flattered). He DUG STEELER too. Really, really nice guy, PAT THRALL)...


Steeler at Perkins Palace
Rik Fox, Ron Keel, Yngwie Malmsteen, Mark Edwards


At this time, all of a sudden, Blackie Lawlwess, after sacking me out of the band I named (WASP) (well, it *was* HIS band), starts recanting, and wanting to be my friend again. What a load of crap. NIKKI SIXX and I got to be real good friends. Nikki was cool. He used to give me his old Ampeg amps gear, and costume pieces. I have an old pair of his burned thigh-high stiletto-heeled boots too. I wore them in my first L.A. version of my band "SIN". Anyway, we really made a mark on L.A. when we opened up for "QUIET RIOT" at Perkins Palace in Pasadena, CA. This was right when "Metal Health" went to No.1. We played a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd! It was awesome! Some of that concert will be featured on the upcoming STEELER ANTHOLOGY album. Two songs that never made it to the regular album, "Excited" and "Victim of the City" will be on there. They're really cookin' songs, and represents more of us writing as a group, beyond the songs that Ron already had, when I joined STEELER.
FIBM:  What are some of your memories of the Steeler recording sessions?

Rik Fox:  COLD! VERY COLD! HA! HA! HA! By that I mean that we recorded up northern California, in a town called 'Cotati', up in the 'wine country', so, at night it was FREEZING! It was on a farm, so there was NOTHING but cows and horses for MILES around. When Yngwie's fans heard that we were just north of San Frnacisco, they DEMANDED that we do a gig there in the city. So, we took a break from recording, and did the gig. It was hot, sweaty, and rockin' just as any STEELER gig was. Back in the studio, I was having a problem with the newly aquired Aria-endorsed Bass. The pickups sucked and just weren't putting out anything that the board could read. Real weak pick-ups, so, I HAD to use a Fender Precision bass with 'really' old strings, which the engineer-owner refused to let us change for new ones. So, I was limited in what I could do, except to just play. After sessions with Mark & I alone, I had to come back in and re-do everything with the Fender, while Ron, and Mark watched from across the room. I layed down some cool grooves, I believe, and when done, they both smiled, and said "Good Job". Yngwie couldn't play a lick until his green-card paperwork arrived much later. Mike Varney was pretty much responsible for all the recording opportunities.

I wrote a short, instrumental intro piece, titled by Mark Edwards: "Abduction". I wrote it, Mark named it, and Yngwie got most of the royalties for 'claiming' that *HE* wrote it! My influence for 'Abduction' was the instrumental intro piece found on the "Y & T" album "Black Tyger". We had just seen them play at the ROXY in Hollywood, (more later), and I was inspired to have a piece like that. I said "We need a cool opening theme too". After comparing the two, side-by-side, you can see how my claim is the more believeable one. Very easy, just an 'E'Chord, going to 'C' chord, sounds very mysterious, under-water-like, also, very powerful when combined together. I showed it to Mark when we got back to the place where we lived together. Then Yngwie came in said it sounded "really cool man, show me what your're doing". and that's how it came about. Man, we had tons of guitars overlayed on that track, and piano too. I feel the finished piece is very complimentary, even if I didn't receive the due credit for writing it.


-Steeler Recording Sessions-
Prairie Sun Studios, Cotati, CA
1983


FIBM:   How did you end up playing in Steeler? Were you aware of them before you joined the band?

Rik Fox:  I 'was' aware of STEELER alright...They were new in town and making quite a big notice already. They were one of the only bands who commanded their own truck, light show and sound system (a true sign of a road band for sure). I was at the Roxy Club on the Sunset Strip one night, hanging out with my good friend, (the late) ERIC CARR of KISS. (I had once played with a band that had his not-yet girlfriend fronting it in Long Island, N.Y.). He was interested in this girl who was a friend of mine (and, who's life I saved one day). I was trying to set him up with this girl (Bambie), that was eventually the model for the POISON album with the Chick sticking our her tongue ("Open up and say ...Ahhh")

We were both watching STEELER, and Ron was screaming his head off, getting really red-faced. But they were hot. Eric said "These guys are Really LOUD!" I eventually put an ad in Music Connection Magazine in L.A. looking for a gig and availing my services as a Bassist. I got a call from Ron Keel, and he said "Your ad looked the most professional from what I've seen in there. Here, take this cassette tape, learn these songs and show me what you can do." At the time, Ron was also very interested to hear that I was personal friends with one of his favorite bands, that being KISS, so, when I came back to show him what I learned on that tape, we kinda goofed around with the stage moves that KISS did, and I showed him the moves that SEAN DELANEY (former KISS 'road manager/teacher') showed them. Ron really got into it, and we did those moves live. I knew Sean from his days at Rock Steady Management. I used to visit their offices quite often, and Sean turned me on to two of his other 'creations'..."STARZ" (whom I was *also* up for as bassist in later years), and a group that never made it called "SPIKE". whom I wound up road managing for a short time back in N.Y.). To this day RICHIE RANNO & I are good friends, and STARZ is back playing the clubs. Anyway, that was what happened with STEELER. One night just before I made the decision to make STEELER my 'home', I was invited over to sit with GREGG GIUFFRIA (keyboardist of ANGEL). He was putting away some champaign, and re-opened up our past dialogues regarding my interest in joining the band of my dreams, ANGEL. NOW, I had a dilemma. Who do I go with? Gregg said (my friend) RUDY SARZO was filling-in with them for awhile, and was I still interested in joining ANGEL? I thought about it for awhile, and felt confident that my decision to join a new, hot band like STEELER was the better decision, and I have never looked back. ANGEL tried several times to make comebacks, all unsuccessful. (More on that later)...

I was up as a potential replacement for Mickie Jones after he was fired from ANGEL, however, FELIX ROBINSON was in a better position at the time, and had already been working with ANGEL in the meantime, as, ANGEL were in a touring mode, and needed a fast replacement. PUNKY MEADOWS (guitarist) knew of me, and I think he wanted me, but Felix was more ready to just jump right in. My lobbying for ANGEL was being handled by J.R. SMALLING, former Road Manager of KISS ("YOU WANT THE BEST?, WELL YOU GOT THE BEST...KISS!" *KISS ALIVE* album). J.R. was working out of Leber-Krebs Management's office (formerly of AEROSMITH) back then, and making the phone calls for me as I sat there listening. So, I was rather 'connected' back then, before I came to L.A. Before I did come to L.A. I hung with a friend who worked at A & M Records, HERNANDO COURTRIGHT, who had TONS of connections in the business. He used to ask me to come to his office (in Manhattan), and listen to the demo tapes submitted by bands looking for a deal. That's how I first heard of MOTLEY CRUE. He had a copy of their first (Leather Records)album. He made me a cassette copy and I had that entire album memorized by the time I landed in L.A., LOL!!! Hernando also hipped me to other hot L.A. bands like SNOW, QUIET RIOT, etc., etc...Then I asked him about Blackie Lawless. Hernando knew Blackie, and upon Hernando's advice I accepted Blackie's offer to come to L.A. and 'audition' for their then-named band "SISTER". Since there was already a TWISTED SISTER, and a local L.A. band called "WHITE SISTER" the name SISTER wasn't really going to go anywhere. Blackie was looking for some new material... That's when, as the honest story goes, that while on Blackie's telephone outside his bungalow-home, in his courtyard, I aimlessly kicked over the leaves of the avacado tree there. I kicked over one leaf and a HORNET was under it. I quick flipped the leaf back over on it, and stepped on the leaf before it could attack me. I then turned the leaf back over, revealing a dead Hornet. Because it was semi-curled, it hit me! "The old T.V. show, GREEN HORNET"!

I went back inside to Blackie, watching the N.Y.Yankee baseball game, and said "Hey, I got an idea for a new band name for us"...He looks up at me from his boredom and says "What"...I said..."WASP"! Blackie looks off, thoughtfully, as if he could already envision what the band eventually became, and said "That's *real* good. I *like* that! Keep working on that, it sounds like a cool name", and he went back to watching the ball game on T.V. God's Honest truth, THAT is EXACTLY HOW the name WASP came to be. Next day at rehersal, Blackie says the new name of the band is WASP. Drummer TONY RICHARDS, says "Who names their band after a BUG?!" I said..."The BEATLES?" and Everyone laughed. I followed with "SCORPIONS?" And it stuck, "BLACKIE'S LAW". RANDY PIPER wanted to call the band HELLION, because coming from texas, that's what bad kids were called. However there already WAS a band in Hollywood called HELLION, (with whom I later played with, for a short time, while they were fronted by ANNE BOLYN. Later incarnations became a group magaged by RONNIE DIO's NIJI Management, called "BURN", to whom, I was requested to join after SIN's demise and played with them, before I left to record and perform with Arizona's one-time hot act, eventually a failure, "SURGICAL STEEL". I wrote the text for BURN's Video commercial)... Digressing...
  
To this day, Blackie has denied that I ever had ANYTHING to do with the WASP, and changed it to W.A.S.P. Well, I have the photos to prove it, as taken by then-MOTLEY CRUE photographer DON ADKINS. I have color AND, B & W photographs, about some 10 or so pics. If there was no WASP for me to be in, then why go to the trouble to take band photographs, and make that now-infamous live, 3-track demo???? It's all over the internet now, and *my* personal copy was *Stolen* years ago. That's probably HOW it wound up mass-produced. I even titled my copy of the demo "BACK FOR THE ATTACK", (pre-DOKKEN), and this was picked up and further mass-produced. I now have a shitty multi-copied copy, from who knows where. There was also a small group of friends who used to come over to Randy Piper's rehearsal studio "Magnum Opus" in Buena PArk, Ca. and watch us rehearse. One of them was DAN STARR, who eventually became my Bass-tech, and stage manager for my band SIN. (Incidentally, RANDY PIPER's MAGNUM OPUS rehersal Studio is where I met drummer Mick Brown playing in a band called "EXCITER" with GEORGE LYNCH. Later Mick join DOKKEN, and more later, whom I'd record with for SURGICAL STEEL at EL CHATON Studios in Arizona, produced by ICON guitarist DAN WEXLER).
   So, NOW, there were WITNESS'S to the fact that I WAS, in fact, a full-on member of WASP. (pre-periods). I still have my original sketch artwork of the logo I drew up in my files somewhere. So, actually, by right and legally, Blackie Lawless owes, me quite a hefty sum of back-royalties for my idea(s). (The Road-Warrior-look for WASP was also one of my ideas too, which Blackie originally shot down). In later years, one-time WASP drummer (and former STEPPENWOLF / KEEL, eventually "L.A. GUNS" drummer) and good friend, STEVE RILEY admitted that "Blackie became violent at the very sound of my name, and that he often-times stole the costuming ideas of fellow WASP members after shooting down their original pre-touring ideas, which Blackie later used for his own". Blackie told me on my first night in L.A. at his house: "If you're ever gonna lie about something, make it the BIGGEST lie you can, the more OUTRAGEOUS the lie, the more believeable people will believe it". Well, Blackie Lawless has lived by his own philosophy for all these years, and OWES me *Millions* in back monies. Well, Sorry for getting off on a rant, but, SO many people ask me "What's your story with WASP?". There's a few W.A.S.P. internet fan sites who claim me to be a 'poser' and that the whole thing is a lie. If they only could open thei star-filled eyes, and pull their collective heads out of Blackie's ass, they'd see the truth. Some have actually found my story truthful, asking me, "Well if you came up with the name WASP, what does it stand for (with the periods)?" I said, "when I named it, it was more related to the GREEN HORNET logo, 'coiled, about to strike'.
  
W.A.S.P.
1982
Tony Richards, Blackie Lawless, Rik Fox, Randy Piper
  In later years, considering all the many, many members that have been 'sentenced' to play with WASP, I coined this version now and say it means:
W(e're) A(ll) S(ide) P(layers), which, in retrospect, is very amusing, and many laugh at it, including RANDY PIPER. Well, that's it. True, top-to-bottom. I have no profit to lie about any of it. Years later, Randy admitted to me, "The reason Blackie kicked you out of the band was, since you lived at Blackie's place, he got *real pissed off* when you brought a girl home, after she had aready turned him down earlier in the evening, when he tried to pick her up. It was like you were unintentionally rubbing it in his face. He got sick of it, and fired you. It had absolutely nothing to do with how you played as a musician. We couldn't defend you, because it was HIS band, and he'd fire us too". (At one point, Randy and I bonded over his favorite, Champagne, because he had misinterpreted my quick-dry, N.Y. humor, and threatened to leave the band. Blackie, of course never one to be accountable for anything HE did, places blame on me, and says "If Randy leaves the band..YOU'RE DONE!, now...GO FIX IT!". Randy & I wound up getting toasted drunk, and we both 'ganged up' on Blackie whenever he turned his back and we'd goof on him and laugh. Ever-like the stern school-master, Blackie would yell "What's going on here?!?)...Giggles...

Unfortunately, for *my* new education in L.A., this was *how* things were done in the 1980's L.A. Rock Scene. TONS of ego-driven insecurity by an over-populated Heavy Metal "alpha-male' competing arena. Band members were summarily fired for ANY reason, and the ever-flowing revolving-door policy amongst bands was prevalently the norm. "Welcome to L.A. Rik, now...get lost!"

FIBM:  Do you still receive residual checks from the Steeler sales, since it is still in print? How often are payments made?

Rik Fox:  Hey, that's starting to sound a little too much like an IRS question, lol...Yes I still do receive royalty checks, amazingly! Believe it or not, that STEELER album STILL continues to sell! Although the royalties are increasingly smaller, but still welcomed....They come when the label's accountant sends them.

FIBM:   What was it like working with Ron Keel?

Rik Fox:  Interesting. Very Interesting. In the beginning, I got the feeling that Ron was a 'guarded' person. Kept much to himself. I really was looking forward to working with very open, congenial people. That's the way that I am. I like to be best friends with those I work with. It makes things easier for me that way, I love to collaborate, and create ideas together, work off of each other, y'know? Although he was always there, Ron pretty much kept to himself, I thought. I figured, well, he's the band leader, he's probably got a LOT on his mind. (And he did). On occasion, I got him to open up more, and laugh a bit more. I was really lookijng for the more compassionate, human side of him. Perhaps, since he had just sacked his previous line-up, he was only looking out for his best interest, and keeping STEELER alive on the scene, which, is perfectly understandable. We had a Stage manager, named Mark Workman, who had this Korean girlfriend. Every Sunday, we'd go over to Marks apartment, and his girl would make us these huge Korean-food dinners, which we soaked up like a sponge! Lol...We were really a 'starving' band like many others at the time. During the week, we subsisted from the likes of 'Top Ramen' and the many ways you can creatively come up with preparing it, Like today's G.I.'s do with M.R.E's, lol...That, and we lived off of the gratuity of whatever girl(s) we were dating at the time, and could afford to get us something to eat. We lived in what was, several store-fronts linked togther, inside, and some of the walls were re-cut so that all the rooms entered-exited into each other. It was a pestilential hole, and the kitchen had "armies" of roaches who went scurrying like Iraqi insurgents, whenever we turned on the light or the stove, Lol...

That was the room that Yngwie stayed in, on a big waterbed. He had the idea that we lived in rich digs and had a pool, etc., lol! Boy, was THAT a shock to his system! Lol...

I stayed in the farthest room, and fixed it up real nice, because I'm always creating or building *Something*. I had a stereo, raised bed off the floor, curtains like a railroad coach bed, so less access by the roaches, but I shared the wall with the rehersal room,so, if anyone wanted to practice, Like Mark...woke us the hell up damn fast! Eventually, this room became BOBBY DAHL's room, when we moved out of there, some new, dinky little band just arrived in Hollywood named..."POISON", found our place, and moved right in! Bobby told me about it, and I said, "That's our old STEELER place!" Bobby said he lived in the best looking room there, made-up all real nice and comfy, raised bed, curtains, shelves, and...a DOOR for privacy! I said, "Yup! That's MY old room!" and we laughed big-time. That's how I got to be good friends and hang out with POISON...Pre-POISON, and then-barely legal, CC DEVILLE reminded me that he was "the annoying kid who used to pester me, by constantly grabbing my pants-leg & yelling HEY! HEY!", when I was doing the light show, and follow-spot, for many of the bands I worked with in the former "HOT" N.Y.C. club named "THE GREAT GUILDERSLEEVES", where many newly-signed, and mid-range touring bands came thru...EVERYONE who was ANYONE hung out there, and we had a special place of Honor right out front for the HELLS ANGELS Club to park their "HOGS". My good friend "ZEUS" (Steve Johnstadt) Former Lead singer for A & M Recording act "MAYDAY" also doubled there, when not performing, as a bouncer! ZEUS has worked with TONS of bands since then, as a writer and musician. Anyway, I digress, (see, lots of "Six Degrees" here, WHEW!)...I learned a lot from working with Ron. He taught me a lot of valuable lessons back then about his experiences in a band such as STEELER. I was VERY lucky to get the gig in that band, out of the TONS of players in L.A. It was Fate. Kismet...

STEELER
Mark, Ron, Yngwie, Rik
Mark Edwards
Mark Edwards
FIBM:  What was it like working with Mark Edwards?

Rik Fox:  VERY EDUCATIONAL! The MOST I ever learned about time, meter, playing 'with' the beat, 'behind' the beat, etc. was taught to me by Mark, for which I am indebted to him to this day. I am pretty much a 'feel' player, and always looked for the 'groove' to match the drummer. Mark taught me how to 'LISTEN" and "Find that FEEL". The rhythm section is what controls the songs, and the meter, is EVERYTHING. Later years, FRANKIE BANALI verified this to me, when I auditioned for QUIET RIOT, around 1985...Mark was also good friends with DEF LEPPARD drummer RICK ALLEN and saw to it, that when the PYROMANIA TOUR hit L.A. we all had backstage passes to see them, and later, hang out with the band at their hotel, and get to know them better. Rick used to share some of his endorsement gear with Mark. Although Mark, too, I found to be somewhat of a quite loner-type, he, too had some fun moments. But the best, is when Mark & I used to go together, alone into the rehersal room, and play thru the STEELER set, JUST drums and bass, locking into a real, great groove. We'd do this several times, take a break for dinner, then the whole band would go back in and we'd do it all over again as a unit. DAMN! was that beginning to sound TIGHT! We really ROCKED, I have to say. And, proof of this was obvious when we hit the stage, for the live shows. Ron was Untouchable as a frontman, Mark was Concrete in his playing. I did my best, as anchor between Mark and Yngwie (and Ron). But I felt that Ron's guitar-playing had MILES more actual feel that Yngwie's did. Ron played the second lead in the cut "COLD DAY IN HELL" and you can *really* hear the difference! Ron played more to the song, while Yngwie played more for himself. Granted he was a musical genius, but he never let you forget it either. Yngwie's ego, as the world has eventually experienced, is MASSIVE! And he turns everyone off when dealing with him. If only he could control his personality, perhaps STEELER would have stayed together and made BIG records...It's too bad about Mark's moto-cross biking accident. I really looked forward to the day when we could play together again, if it ever came about...Now, if STEELER winds up doing a STEELER REUNION TOUR, I'll have to work real close, with whomever is the new drummer, and make it a point, to have him play all of Mark's 'signature' points exactly like they are on the record.

Why? Because what you hear on the STEELER album, are the results of hours, and hours of Mark & I working on all those little 'kicks & stops' and 'cymbal catches'. Mark was professional enough to allow me to add little things in certain spots, where I thought those kind of accents would make sense. What you hear, was the final result of all that hard work. I know musicians like to add their own 'flair' on things, but, when it comes to the foundation of the songs, I demand the best a player can do. It was demanded of me back then, and I gave it. I expect others to be the same way. I'm always 'listening' for those 'signature' accents, for my cues, so, they're real important. As a fan of my heros, I always listened for them in their songs as well. That's why I was dissapointed in seeing a DEEP PURPLE reunion tour years ago with the original line-up, sans Richie Blackmore. Dixie Dreggs guitarist, Steve Moorse, who is excellent in his 'own' right, just didn't do it for me. He played whatever he wanted, to and, I felt, ruined the overall feel of the presentation. Richie Blackmore plays various 'signature' phrasings, and when they are not there, the songs and band are just not DEEP PURPLE. I feel the same way about songs I play on, whether mine or someone elses. PLAY IT LIKE IT WAS WRITTEN! The only person who has the right to alter a song is the writer themself! .

Steeler, 1983, opening for Vandenberg

Mark, far left, in the band Lion, which featured, Whitesnake / Dio guitarist, Doug Aldrich
FIBM:  What was it like working with Yngwie?

Rik Fox:  That's "Yngwee "J." Malmsteen, so as not to confuse him with all the *other* Yngwie Malmsteens" (Derek St. Hubbins/SPINAL TAP)...LOL!!! Well I just touched on that in the previous answer, however, I found that the ONLY way to 'level the playing field' with Yngwie, was to relate to him on a non-musician level. You bring up topics like UFO's, Dark things, belief's, and he got like a big kid, really excited. Nothing like the monster he was as a musician. When he agreed with you he'd say "That's quite cool, actually". He wore his Stratocaster around his neck EVERY waking hour, constantly 'noodling' up & down the fretboard. One day, I'd said to him "Hey man, the era of ALVIN LEE (TEN YEARS AFTER) was over". Yngwie says "Who's that?" I just shook my head....

But as a player, Yngwie'd have an entire song already worked out in his head, saying to each player around him: "You play this" (and he's show them the part he already wrote 'for' them), "You play this", "You play this", etc., to each player, then he'd lay down his leads over it. He was really gifted in that way. We really grooved when I'd start playing an old DEEP PURPLE tune, and he'd 'Richie Blackmore' out on it! For anyone who's seen Yngwie live, you can see, that he's copied ALL of Richie Blackmore's classic, 'signature' moves. Yngwie's also notorious for taping off square boxes on stage for his other band-members to "STAY IN" while they perform, this way, no one else gets any spotlight time BUT Yngwie. Move out of the box, "You're FIRED". Definitely not the way to run a "BAND".

Whomever is utilized to replace Yngwie on a potential STEELER REUNION TOUR, would, in my mind, be expected to copy what Yngwie played on the STEELER album exactly same way, for the same reasons I cited above. I would be listening for all those 'cues' for my parts to be 'there'.
Rik Fox & Yngwie Malmsteen
Rik Fox & Yngwie Malmsteen
FIBM:  What are your 3 most fond memories of being in Steeler?

Rik Fox:  Well, I think I pretty much hit the mark on that one in the other answers...Let me think on it some more...Oh! When we did our FIRST show as the new line-up of STEELER, we opened for HUGHES-THRALL at "THE COUNTRY CLUB" in Reseda, CA. As the curtain was going up, it started to take my mike-stand with it and it's half-way up in the air, and we're calling to the roadies to stop, and get the mike stand back, out of the curtain!, LOL!!! They had to lower the curtain, and start all over again! What a way to begin our new show with new members...Later, after the show, RATT drumer BOBBY 'The BLOTZ' BLOTZER, walked by my dressing room, and I gave him back "What For" and completely embarrased him. He respected me after that and we became good friends after that.

(Back Story: When I auditioned for RATT, and THE GREG LEON INVASION, before STEELER, Bobby Blotzer had preferred bass players who played with their fingers, over those who used a pick. I stated that some of the BEST bassists used a pick. Bobby says: "Like WHO?" I said" Paul McArtney, Pete Way, Gene Simmons, etc...), He didn't like that, because I was right. I said "Different players, different preferences, besides, I can play either way". THEN, he picks on my bass, because it wasn't a 'traditional' shape, like "real players' use a Fender Precision. I was using a more-exciting-looking Explorer-body bass made by a GIBSON offshoot. Problem was, I overlayed the fret-markers with those little 'prism-looking' stars, which were easier to see, and (I thought) cooler-looking. 'The Blotz' always dogged me on that, so, when I finally showed up in the hottest new local act, STEELER, opening for a MAJOR act, he'd asked Ron Keel's girlfirend (who booked acts for THE WHISKEY AND ROXY), in the audience at the time, "Who's the new guy with the 'Disco Stars' on his bass, he looks familiar...".

Well, as Blotz passed me after the show, he looks in at me, up close, THEN recognizes it was ME, that guy who didn't get the RATT gig, and I say: "Not bad for 'DISCO STARS', huh?!?" Blotz turned six shades of red, and ran up the hallway, LOL!!! Now THAT was funny! He later relented, and thought I was a 'decent' player...When we opened up for VANDENBERG at the Roxy, the stage was recently re-built higher off the main floor, and, subsequently, still a bit wobbly. Every time I stepped up to the mike for backing vocals, the mike-stand would wobble, and the mike would hit me in the mouth, lol...

I'd been told that Eddie Van Halen, Brian May, and other BIG famous guitarists were out in the audience to see this new 'pistol' named Yngwie and his 'new style' of playing. Later between shows, (we did two sets, BLACK N BLUE did the previous night the same way), I was visited by NIKKI SIXX and Blackie Lawless...Blackie, now thinking, that I was a person to be reckoned with as a player in a hot, Sunset Strip act, begins recanting his original feelings about kicking me out of WASP. He NOW says "If there's ANYTHING I can do to help you, you just let me know, and I'm there"... I look over at Nikki, remembering what Blackie told me about "the BIG Lie", and Nikki grabbed me and pulled me into the upstairs dressing-room-men's room, and locked Blackie out. He says Blackie is the BIGGEST liar and thief he ever met. Blackie helped him out so he could get further along for himself. Nikki was too smart for him, and since they'd played together in LONDON, Nikki knew how Blackie operated. He said "Don't EVER give ANY ideas or suggestions to Blackie, he'll steal them fast as he can throw your grandmother off a cliff and get away with it".

I say "Well then, why do you continue to hang out with him?", and Nikki just goes "For laughs. And, because I'm now a bigger star than he is, so he likes to tag along and see what girls he can try and get by hanging out with me"...Then he lays out some 'lines' (blow), and we do them. (my first time)...Nikki tells me how proud he is of me in STEELER, and that I was "kicking Blackie's ass all over", with my look and performance. Meanwhile, Blackie's banging on the door screaming "C'mon guys, let me in! What's going on in there?!?"...Nikki looks at me and says "Watch this"..."WHATTA YOU WANT OLD MAN?!?" And we both crack up laughing hysterically...It was truly a bonding moment, to be 'recognized' as a "PEER" by Nikki, who, I think was well onto working on the "SHOUT AT THE DEVIL" album by then??? (This was summer of 1983)...We eventually opened the door and Blackie looks all 'left out of the fun'. (he didn't do drugs, but, downed Vodka like a fish!)...Nikki says to me "Have a great set, winks, and laughs with me, as he heads back downstairs to the club, Blackie looking like, "What'd I miss?!?" I'll never forget it. I have a picture of the three of us together posing that night backstage. "The Three Gods". All bassists, all black-haired. All wild.

Rik Fox, Nikki Sixx, Blackie Lawless  Rik Fox, Nikki Sixx, Blackie Lawless
Rik Fox, Nikki Sixx, Blackie Lawless

Then...there was the night we as STEELER, were coming home from that "Y & T" "Black Tiger" tour show we saw at the Roxy club...

We're all packed into somebody's car, I can't remember who's we borrowed, might have belonged to one of our roadies. another car pulls up next to ours at a red light. Gang-bangers.

(only that phrase wasn't yet coined). They say something to us. I can't rememebr what was said, or, replied with. Next thing, one of them gets out of their car with a gun, I believe, and starts coming towards us. "FUCK THE RED LIGHT...GO!!!!!" we punched it, I'm talking LIGHT SPEED! Zero to Eighty in .1 seconds!!! These guys then tear out after us, and now there's this chase, like right out of Steve McQueen's film "BULLIT", all thru the streets, and NO frickin' cops ANYWHERE!!!! Up streets, down streets, around corners, tires squealing, burnin' rubber and all! We finally ditched them by pulling and ditching into one of those strip-malls between some parked cars, and killing our lights. ZOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!! they go right past us, doing about 90 MPH...We all look at each other, in shock. "Man, THAT was CLOSE!"

We were never so GLAD to get back to that roach-infested dump, we called 'home' on the western edge of South Central L.A. When we went up north to record our album, we loaded up anything that wasn't nailed down, for fear that our place would be broken into because we were the ONLY white guys in an all-black neighborhood, and the kids were always trying to probe our defenses, which would result in us chasing them down the streets with baseball bats, boy can those kids run, lol!!!! We loaded up everything into the truck and the road crew drove it up north to the studio. Whatever we needed 'from home' was conveniently located right outside the studio in the truck!!! LOL!!!

Opening one night for us (STEELER) at the Country Club in Reseda, CA, were SHRAPNEL RECORDS label mates "WILD DOGS". at the time, this was of no special signifigance. They were nice guys, and rocked the place.

Push on to...the 1990's...I'm a guest of L.A.GUNS, thru my friend, Stage manager CORKY late of SWEET PAIN where KELLY NICHOLS came from. (I was told by my ex-SIN drummer BASIL STANLEY, that he 'groomed' KELLY NICHOLS to be another version of RIK FOX)...Anyway, L.A. GUNS are opening/support for BAD ENGLISH and ex-BABYS bassist RICKY PHILLIPS, now with BAD ENGLISH calls and offers me backstage passes. I used to hang out with RICKY and former DIO sound engineer, (also from back home in N.Y.) ANGELO ARCURI at RECORD PLANT Studios. So, after L.A.GUNS's show, I go backstage to say hi to everyone, and I'm hangingg out with TRACII GUNS who's showing me his new 'ocotpus dreds' hairstyle, when I hear my name gets mentioned, I hear this REALLY LOUD YELL from behind me: "OH MY GOD! MY FAVORITE BASSIST! HOLY SHIT!...RIK FOX!!! Now, the entire backstage area is all on full alert!

Rik Fox, Ricky Phillips
Rik Fox, Ricky Phillips, Bobby Omen

I just about get turned around, and I get lifted up in a bear-hug by none other, than, ex WILD DOGS drummer DEAN CASTRONOVA, now, playing with BAD ENGLISH! I never expected that, and had no idea it was DEAN who was now drumming for BAD ENGLISH...That guy is one AWESOME drummer!

What a commotion THAT was! TRACII GUNS was like "Who's THAT?!?" And, by this time, PUNKY MEADOWS & I had identical hairstyles for some years now...It was a GREAT show by BOTH bands that night!
FIBM:  Why did Steeler break up?

Rik Fox:   Y'know? I'm not too sure. I wasn't there when it happened. I think Ron would be the better 'go to' person to ask on that one. I know, that by about July of '83, some 'wierd vibes' were starting to creep into the band. We had just done a hot, sweaty, and successful STEELER 'annihilation' gig at a club in Orange County called "Radio City", I think, and Ron was acting noticably wierd to me. (There was no 'dressing room' that I recall, we had to use the kitchen to get changed in). I truly have NO idea 'why'. Mark was acting distant too. I figured, well, they must have a lot on their minds. They did.

The next day, Ron was out doing something, I don't know what. Mark comes over to me and give me that "We need to talk" line...He tells me that Ron isn't here so we can have the planned band meeting, so, it fell upon him to deliver the goods. I was being 'let go' for "unspecified reasons" (the usual "it just isn't working out routine" we all hear about). Nothing that I rememeber specifically, just that a decision was made between he and Ron, and that I was being 'let go'. All this after we just delivered an awesome first album. I couldn't find the logic in the decision.

Later that day, A truck pulls up to the front of our place, and Andy Trueman, manager of ALCATRAZ gets out, and says to Yngwie, "OK, you'ready to go?" (Little to my knowledge did we know, that Yngwie was already making "other arrangements" to leave STEELER, and join ALCATRAZ...Boy, were THEY in for it now...). So, with that, I began packing up my stuff. In walks some 'new guy' named Mitch Perry who hears me listening to a TALAS album by my good friend BILLY SHEEHAN, and says "WOW! WHO'S THAT?!?...That guitarist is AMAZING!" I said, "THAT is no guitarist. It's my friend, Bassist BILLY SHEEHAN". Perry says, "I gotta see this guy play!" Eventually, he went on to play with Billy in TALAS...(Years earlier, back in N.Y. I had spent my last Dollar on subway fare to see the original, 3-piece band, TALAS, (from Buffalo, N.Y.), perform to a *completely empty* house at GREAT GUILDERSLEEVES, where I did lights for bands there. I sat right up front in front of BILLY SHEEHAN, COMPLETELY mesmerized by a style I ahd never seen before in bassists. BILLY had this awesome bass solo, that he showed me later after the set, in the dressing room. Imagine my suprise, at hearing the premier release of the first VAN HALEN album... When I heard "ERUPTION" I said "WOW! There's BILLY SHEEHAN'S BASS SOLO, only...it's on GUITAR!!!!")...Years foreward, now, BILLY tells me VAN HALEN wanted him in the band, and after seeing the band, EDDIE VAN HALEN was *Very Impressed* with BILLY's Bass playing. Yeah...I'll bet he was! What a rip-off act that was...Anyway, digressing, STEELER went on after me and Yngwie, with a VERY boring, Donald Duck-looking Mitch Perry on guitar, and a new *very* un-rock-looking guy named RON MURREY, late of a band called "DUTCH COURAGE", who had the lead singer named RALPH MORMON, from a band called "BUX" better known as "DADDY WARBUCKS", which, as we all know wound up forming the nucleus of..."A-N-G-E-L"... (WOW, Six Degrees or WHAT?!?)...I believe Ron Keel soon after canned the whole idea of STEELER, and started from scratch again, calling his new group, simply, "KEEL", and they went on to some nominal success after that. Mark Edwards went on to record and perform with "LION". Both KEEL and LION (and ALCATRAZ) had toured Europe & Japan. Alhough my second L.A. line-up of SIN was at the threshold of a major deal, I unfortunately, never had enough success with the bands I put together, to finally get over there and see my fans. Bassist MASAYOSHI, of the Japanese band LOUDNESS, confirmed that I had HUNDREDS of fans who were waiting for me to get there and meet me. At this point, it is still a dream. Most of them, by now, have no doubt, moved on from their STEELER/RIK FOX fan days...We'll have to see what kind of hand, Fate deals me...


Picture of Steeler's last performance, with THE line-up


Make sure to read our interviews with:
Rik Fox - PART II

Rik Fox - PART III

W.A.S.P. Guitarist Randy Piper

W.A.S.P. Drummer Tony Richards

W.A.S.P. Drummer Tony Richards - Part II

Steeler Vocalist Ron Keel

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