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Rik Fox
"The 6 Degrees of Rik Fox" Part II
Exclusive photos, never published before, on the internet

FIBM:  After STEELER, you formed a band called SIN, which, was later voted as the #1 band in Los Angeles, by Music Connection Magazine. What are some of your memories from that year? Who was in that incarnation of the band?

Rik Fox:  Welllllllll, It was a long, arduous process, having to undo the spiraling damages caused by the first L.A. version of SIN. That was keyboardist Vince Gilbert's doing mostly, and the rest of the members fell in line behind him. However, when anybody in the band was fighting with another member, they, of course, would come running to me to break it up, since, *I* was the one who *Formed* the thing in the first place (with Vince). Vince had come from a little-known (at least to me), band, called BADAXXE. Well, how many bands out there had this name? Not much creative thought with generic band names, I thought. Anyway, I was introduced to Vince through some psycho-bitch (who was responsible for our car getting stolen, with TONS of my collectors' items of personal memories and albums of bands I'd worked for back in NYC, in the back seat). So, I meet Vince, and he says (words to the effect of) "I know your name is hot right now, and you have this huge following, having been in STEELER, would you like to get something together with me?"

We'd discussed our mutual love of the band ANGEL, and Vince did bear some resemblance to ANGEL keyboardist GREGG GIUFFRIA, only stockier. I'd given the idea some thought, and we agreed, since I was the one with the track record from STEELER, and he, was unknown for the most part. Plus, I wanted to get back out and playing again, and not lose any more momentum.

I went around looking for members I'd either seen playing the scene, or jammed with, (like Carl James who was drummer for THE GREG LEON INVASION when I auditioned for them). Singer Art Deresh was known thru mutual friends. A really good singer, but hygenically, a REAL challenge! This guy was 'stinky!", and people complained to me about it. Guitarist Howard Drossin was met thru a mutual friend, the IN-famous GRANT STRAUSS, my RAINBOW BAR & GRILL Crusing Buddy. Howard was an un-proven (live) RANDY RHOADS wanna-be at the time, who knew I'd played with YNGWIE, and drooled at the idea of the opportunity of playing with someone who played with one of his heros. We rehearsed in a studio in Downy, CA. partially owned by KERRY DOLL, I believe. We wrote a bunch of tunes, and, at that point, it was all a mutual thing between Vince, Howard, and I. Carl (and his Napoleon syndrome), just did what drummers do. Hit them. Hard. He was glad to be out playing, frankly, in my opinion.

Vince then had the grand idea to take us (unproven as a new act) out to parts unknown, errr, I mean, Phoenix, Arizona. Hey, I have nothing against Phoenix, but the whole episode in gettng us out there was nothing short of a NIGHTMARE. Vehicles breaking down, Vince's contact buddy in Phoenix coming in to 'rescue' us with money. Anyway, we eventually get to Arizona. The "ARIZONA BONER" Tour I called it. Cause we got 'Boned' in every way. Shit just kept going bad, and I'm starting to think "Is this guy Vince just carrying a LOT of bad karma, or what?!?" We finally get to play at the infamous Phoenix club "ROCKERS", and 10 seconds before we hit our first notes, Howard FREAKS out. "My Guitar! something's wrong with my guitar! It's not on!" I look at the jack hanging out of his strap, and I say "Howard, try PLUGGING it in, you dope!" He's like "oh, yeah. ok, Thanks!" I'm like, "Ohhhh Brother!, is THIS what I have to look forward to?"

Original LA version of SIN
Record sleeve for picture disc

FIBM:  So, what happened then?

Rik Fox:  Anyway, we worked out the kinks, and brought it back to L.A. We headlined our first show at the TROUBADOUR. EVERYONE who was ANYONE was there! VINCE NEIL, NIKKI SIXX, TOMMY LEE, DAVID LEE ROTH, YNGWIE "J" MALMSTEEN, I mean EVERYONE! All the local "Hot" bands...(YNGWIE wasn't too impressed with his 'fan' HOWARD DROSSIN, BTW), He said that HOWARD need more 'work'... We got thru it unscathed, and kicked ass. Everyone came backstage afterwards congratulating me on a job well done for my first time out with my own new project. The rest of my band members standing there, jaws open..."Wow! Rik Really *DOES* know all these people, WOW!!" Meanwhile in a few months, Vince knows this guy who owed him some recording favors for BADAXXE falling thru on his 'deal' with them. AZRA Records. We go in and record my pumping, biker-tribute song "ON THE RUN" backed with "Captured in Time" (which was our 'Homage' to ANGEL'S "FEELIN' RIGHT" off of "HELLUVA BAND" album). AZRA puts it out on a picture disc, shaped like our Snake SIN Logo. We start throwin' them out to the fans at our gigs. Now, I hear, they're real collectors' items! (This is late sumer of 1983).

Six months down the road, my band members are really feeling their egos getting 'a lot bigger than is allowed by law', and start getting the idea, "Hey, we don't need RIK in the band now, he's already opened a lot of doors and we have a lot of attention, let's just replace him"... We had new costumes that *I* made for us, AND, *just* played PERKINS PALACE, in Pasadena, CA., a deal I had gotten, thru my friendship with promoter GINA ZAMPARELLI, from when I was in STEELER. Now, everybody's egos are bigger than tolerable, and writing the songs without much input from me, and arguing why my parts aren't needed. Fate steps in...

(The following, is a 'personal' version posted on the Tartearean Desire website):

(More SIN BACKSTORY):L.A. version Mach I, formed upon my departure from STEELER, after meeting keyboardist Vince Gilbert, from Arizona. I tried to make the bands' approach like a cross-between ANGEL-meets-JUDAS PRIEST. (Little-known-fact:I was considered for the bass position for ANGEL several times, being friends to Punky Meadows, Barry Brandt, and Frank Dimino)...

The line-up was made up of other previously/relatively-unknown L.A. players. Being the catalyst of the band, I thought I found competent players so not to lose the momentum built by being a member of STEELER. Within 6 months of becoming one of L.A.'s most popular groups, the members, becoming so inflated with their new popularity, they attempted to fire me from my own band. (I got wind of this plan, and adjusted for it). I actually walked out of their premier recording session and apologized to METAL BLADE engineer BILL METOYER, with regard to being unable to work with the new super-ego's in the group. The remaining members attempted to replace me with a new, lesser popular bass player, and continue attempting to illegally use the name SIN. I had service-marked the rights to the name, and, with the assistance of my friends in MOTLEY CRUE, and a good Lawyer, forced my former band mates to give up their attempts to use of the name SIN as "S.I.N.", which was MOTLEY CRUE's Fan club name. (This "WAR of the SIN's", went on and on in the letters section of L.A.'s MUSIC CONNECTION Magazine).

MOTLEY CRUE's Lawyers forced them to change it, and they came up with JAGWIRE, (whatever that means) who, eventually, broke up soon after their albums were returned for lack of decent sales figures. I pushed on re-forming the band SIN with former ALIEN members FRANK STARR, and J.J. KRISTI, (who was a previous band mate of mine in N.Y./N.J.). This second L.A. line-up of SIN was ultimately much more popular and successful, voting us the biggest Metal band of L.A. for 1983-84, by Music Connection Magazine over KEEL, STRYPER, and ODIN. (see accompanying material). The "War of the SIN's" was finally over! And, 'we' won...

"SIN" was re-formed in 1983-84, by myself. This second L.A. line-up was superbly "beefed-up" by replacing the entire former L.A. line-up, and replacing them with some members of the N.Y. band ALIEN. (Then-fledgling), Now Legendary frontman FRANK STARR helped me pave the way for a superior SIN 'resurgence', pushing the band over-the-top. I was contacted by former bandmate J.J. KRISTI, inquiring about the auditions KISS was having to replace ACE FREHLEY, since I was rehearsing at the same S.I.R. studios KISS were. I informed KRISTI, that KISS already were using VINNIE VINCENT, however, *I* was looking for new members. So, upon the break-up of ALIEN, J.J. KRISTI, FRANK STARR, and new guitarist RICHIE (Pagano) MARTEL, made the cross-country trek to join me in re-forming SIN. With the addition of drummer MARK(Bencachea) ANTHONY, the new SIN line-up blew the roofs off of every venue we performed at, impressing all of Hollywood's industry-types. This led to bookings with former band mate RON KEEL, STRYPER, and many other Hollywood Metal acts. Eventually, SIN became represented by MANAGEMENT 3, a TOP Industry management company handling the Beach Boys, 3 Dog Night, Neil Diamond, and others. SIN wasn't even record label SIGNED YET!

Demo sessions were soon handled by eventual VINNIE VINCENT/SLAUGHTER bassist DANA STRUM, with a plan to have SIN signed to a major label (Chrysalis?) soon. The ultimate demo that came out resulted in opening many doors for SIN, however, internal player-chemistry problems, again, found the line-up dissolving like sand through my fingers, the more I tried to keep it together. (After this line-up dissolved, I found a temporary stint in another L.A. Metal act called"BURN"), more on this coming up...

Rik Fox & Tommy Lee

Frank Starr w/ JJ Kristy
Rik Fox Signature bass cabinets in background

Country Club, Reseda, CA 1984

The late, Frank Starr

FIBM:  OK, so continue... Rik Fox:   Sorry, Digressing now... Anyway, I get a phone call from my New Jersey room-mate J.J. KRISTI, back in N.Y. His band MONGOL HORDE recording act ALIEN is breaking up, (his bassist killed someone in a drug deal in Florida), and JAY wants to get out of N.Y. He asks me "I heard KISS is auditioning guitarists, I know you know them, can you get me a shot with them?" I said, "Jay, they already have someone named VINNIE VINCENT, HOWEVER...*I'M* looking to re-form SIN out here, what do you think of that?"

He says, "Can I bring my singer and another guitarist" I said "OK, but if they suck, they're out, and we replace them, I'm tired of taking shit from knuckleheads." He says "OK, we're comin' out to L.A."... These guys drive through Midwest blizzards, and weather all kinds of 'adventures' eventually pulling up outside of where I was living in Venice, CA., in a mobile home, parked in the driveway of the girl I was dating at the time. FRANK was sleeping in their van, and when J.J. went to wake him up, they immediately began a big fist,street-fight between each other! Nice way to meeet my new band mates...(Not knowing FRANK's biker background), I got in the middle of it, and broke it up. FRANK was just like that, if he was awoken suddenly. Then, just like nothing happened, he was all smiles, and said: "What's to eat?" That, was the beginning of a long, and very interesting relationship working with the inimitable FRANKIE STARR... We got right into working together on the songs in the mobile home, and decided, that, since there was a lack of material written by all of us together as a band, then we'll do half of their ALIEN album cuts, and half of my songs, which made quite a nice interesting set. We needed a drummer, and I remembered MARK (Bencachea) Anthony from a local inland-empire band called PRISONER, from their supporting one of our SIN shows, and we got along well, (especially since MARK understood my dry, sense of humor), I gave him a call, and said : "Ok, you asked me if I was ever interested in a drummer to give you a call, well, here's the call". Within two day we had a nice, pro-looking press kit on Mark and a demo tape. We all like it a lot, and drove out to MARK's Mom's place where he rehearsed in his garage in Monterey Park, CA. We brought our guitars, and jammed with him, showed him some songs, and looked at each other. "Yeah, he's the guy", we said. As the bassist of the rhythym section, I really liked his playing, and I repeated all that I had learned in my STEELER rehearsal sessions with MARK EDWARDS, with MARK ANTHONY, our new drummer. MARK had that cross between TOMMY ALDRIDGE and TOMMY LEE/BOBBY RONDINELLI. We also had to make a fast decision, because the TROUBADOUR Club had called me, and I had booked a gig before we even had a drummer, but I was confident MARK could handle the job. We rehearsed like fiends, and got all the material down. We debuted the NEW-SIN line-up and completely BLEW the doors off the TROUBADOUR! It was PACKED, to the walls... My fans never even saw it coming, that I had turned around so fast, with a new line-up of 'out-of-town' guys who L.A. had never seen yet, and this was now four-fifths of a total New York 'attitude' band, taking L.A. completely unawares. I rather think that our fans saw this as Very refreshing, from the same pap going on from L.A. band to L.A. band, and it really made a distiction of making us 'different' from all the other L.A. bands.

Suffice to say, all the venues we performed at were extremely happy with the numbers we were bringing in at the box office(s). We also started making a nice amount of revenue as well. So, Since I already had an endorsement deal with RANDALL Amplifiers, I had the RANDALL people come to see our shows. They really liked what they saw, and had me bring SIN down to their local factory, and we signed a band endorsement deal with RANDALL Amplifiers. Right in the middle of my signing the paperwork in the President's office, someone comes in, and says: "There's a call for you, someone from "GUITAR WORLD MAGAZINE" wants to interview you about playing with YNGWIE MALMSTEEN in STEELER". I said "Right NOW?!?" I look at the RANDALL President across his desk, and he says :"Go ahead, no problem", he lights up a cigar, gets up, and begins to putt golf balls around his office!!! I was like "MAN, you just can't BUY publicity like that!!! It really made quite a nice impression on the RANDALL people. Now SIN had a full endorsement deal with RANDALL Amplifiers, just like DOKKEN, and other bigger bands! We were really starting to make the rounds. I got us an endorsement deal with VANS footwear, just over the phone! I got us all boxing shoes (boots) which were really comfortable onstage, and much better than wearing higher-heeled boots. Only FRANK STARR chose to continue to wear his leather boots onstage, and wore his VANS boxing boots off-stage everywhere... Many more endoresments continued to come in, along with my B.C.RICH endorsement and RANDALL. NADY Wireless, DUNLOP Picks, G.H.S.Bass Strings, etc, etc...AND WE WEREN'T EVEN SIGNED to a MAJOR LABEL YET!!!!!!! What a GREAT Life!!!! The new band members were totally digging all this treatment, and, so far, no egos were getting out of control! Whew! New York rockers are *So* different from L.A. ones. We were like a gang. When we walked into a club, people just parted for us, just like you see in the movies about the 1950's, it's so funny. People could *smell* our N.Y.'attitude' and really liked us for it! We were also getting more respect whenever we went to the NAMM shows (Music Conventions), as well.

We continued to rehearse at MARK's place, and had to keep chasing FRANK out of the kitchen in MARK's Mom's house. He was always scrounging thru the refrigerator, making cheese sandwiches. Eventually, I began using all my STEELER royalties, to put us in S.I.R. Rehearsal studios in Hollywood, just before a gig, so we could work out all the stage moves. Rehearsing next door to us were MOTLEY CRUE, who kept coming in to watch us during their breaks. NIKKI SIXX says: "I'LL tell ya what, why don't you take all our unused rehersal time, and it's still on our tab?" We were just blown away at NIKKI's continued generosity to me and our band! VINCE and TOMMY really liked our material, and even sat down to hang out while we rehearsed...I'll never forget moments like that.

Now, SIN is headlining all the major venues in L.A. except THE PALADIUM, and SANTA MONICA CIVIC. Oh, and THE FORUM. We were even slated to be on a New Year's bill with KEEL at SANTA MONICA CIVIC, but someone put RIOT in there before all the details were worked out...In our adventures, in 'gig'-land, we get visited by old Metal fan-friend LUCY FORBES who used to promote Heavy Metal shows at THE COUNTRY CLUB, in Reseda, CA. We were sound-checking a show we did with friends WITCH at the STARDUST BALLROOM on Sunset Boulevard in HOLLYWOOD. With her was some tall guy (who I thought), looked like actor, Darren McGavin. Anyway his name was TODD COOPER, and his Father is JAY COOPER of the Law Firm COOPER, EPSTEIN, & HUREWITZ, and TODD worked over at JERRY WEINTRAUB's Beverly Hill Company, MANAGEMENT 3, who handled the BEACH BOYS, THREE DOG NIGHT, ERIC CLAPTON, NEIL DIAMOND, etc.,etc. All the biggest talent in the industry. TODD says he's been hearing good things about SIN, and is interested in managing our affairs, (when he's not on the Tennis courts), because word's getting around about us, and we showed promise, up and coming in the local Hollywood rock scene. we said, "Ok, we'll try it as a trial run, and see what happens". Meanwhile, now we can say we have this high-powered Beverly Hills Management behind us, and when we tell people MANAGEMENT 3 is behind us, jaws start to drop. We had no idea HOW big this company was...

FIBM:   What were some of the benefits of being with MANAGEMENT 3?

Rik Fox:  We got to use all their mailing office facilities and phones to do all our fan mail and around the world mailings, etc... This was really cool! Saved us TONS of money...Todd says he wants to put SIN in the recording stdio. Not like the earlier (live) SIN demo we did a few months before in Culver City. No, he wants this to be "Album Masters" quality, ready for pressing. Todd arranges us to go into ENCORE Studios in Burbank, CA., where PAUL McCARTNEY, and STEVIE WONDER had just recorded...His brother LES COOPER, engineered the tape and then we meet his younger brother KEITH COOPER, assisting, who's interning at record companies, (and who later worked at/ran several Hollywood Clubs like THE CAT HOUSE, CAMP HOLLYWOOD, and CABARET). Todd then brings in DANA STRUM to Produce the SIN Demo. Unimpressed, I remembered meeting DANA from some years earlier, thru BOB AISS, the former manager for Capitol Records Baltimore, MD act, FACE DANCER (whom I worked lights for in NYC), and part-time for my good friend KIX guitarist RONNIE "10-10" YOUNKINS. Now DANA'S with some '80's Pop band Modern 'something', (MODERN PROBLEMS?) I forget now...

So, we begin to record, and DANA's got this system of recording from the middle-out, not the traditional way...Rythym guitars, first, then drums, then bass, then the rest. I neve saw anything like this before, and DANA and I start butting heads on the arrangements. However, I must say, I was happy with some of the outcome. I hated his opening for "ON THE RUN" which, was *supposed* to open with a motorcycle revving it's engine and shifting gears up to the key of opening hook. DANA and I fought on this, and eventually MOTLEY CRUE did it on "KICKSTART MY HEART" some years later. Essentially, it was a copy of the intor of MONTROSE's "BAD MOTOR SCOOTER". DANA wanted some 'thunderstorm and lightning' sounds, and I lost on that account, however, subsequently, back live, (both SIN and THUNDERBALL), we reverted to the original opening of the motorcycle shifting gears, which, dynamically, really made more sense, and sounded better. Of the other tunes, DANA did some good work, however, since I couldn't always get out to the recording studio, I had to miss a lot of what was going on there. During the mixdowns, his 'partner-in-crime', VINNIE VINCENT were planning their next big project for VINNIE. While doing so, VINNIE's noodling around on our gear, testing it and such.

FIBM:   Didn't you mention something about VINNIE VINCENT ripping off one of your SIN songs?

Rik Fox:  Right! Between them both, they hatched a plan to re-record ON THE RUN, with *some input from me*, as they said. I said "OK, let me know what your plans are". They say "OK, we'll get back to you".

Then, at a NAMM show convention, some time after, MARK SLAUGHTER, who sang some on our SIN demo, confides in me, that VINNIE and DANA conspired to rip off my song, and they changed the title to "LET FREEDOM ROCK", and wrote new lyrics, using the hook from my song as the *exact* same hook for their song, which I eventually heard on an advance demo of "ALL SYSTEMS GO", VINNIE's second album. At the NAMM show, I was approached by both MARK SLAUGHTER and drummer BOBBY ROCK and they said "I hope this won't affect *Our* friendships with you, but, we didn't realize what we were playing, until it was too late, and DANA said just to do it, and we'll worry about it later". One night at my apartment, I played the two cuts, side-by-side to my friend FRED COURY of CINDERELLA, and he says "DUDE...You just got ripped off big-time!" I tried to stop the album from coming out, but met with some resistance, especially from DANA who said in a phone conversation to me: "Go ahead, sue us...we'll bleed you so dry in court, then counter-sue your ass!'ll NEVER see a cent from us...ha,ha,ha,ha". DANA was infamous for while being well-off financially, he'd do the 'couch tour' thing at various girls' apartments, use their phones, ring up big bills and then just take off. A real shrewd user. He was very smart that way, and then he'd tell us about it and laugh at how stupid the chicks were...DANA was also the only person I've ever seen who could down an *entire* bottle of Jack Daniels during a recording session, and show no outward signs of being drunk! We never knew how he did this...
Well, eventually I got to sit in the court proceedings of VINNIE VINCENT's Bankruptcy case, where, he was exposed for ripping off hundreds of people, including the fans of the KISS ARMY, former musician friend HIRSH GARDNER from the band NEW ENGLAND, (I was told that HIRSH had all of the bands' pink and black touring gear confiscated *right* before they went onstage at a gig in Boston!!!)...Anyway, I got the satisfaction of watching Mr. VINNIE CUSANO (VINNIE VINCENT) squirm in front of the judge, because my name was one of the hundreds that VINNIE owed a LOT of money to. I have the papers sent to me from his attorneys, and there's a *looong* list of people he owes money to! On top of which, VINNIE even tried to copy MY IMAGE when he came out with his second album. Because he was nearyl bald, VINNIE wore wigs styled just like my hairstyle, and tried to copy anything he could from SIN! It was pure pleasure to watch him go down....

Mark Anthony, Jay Kristi, Frank Starr, Richie Martel, Rik Fox
  Anyway, right before we're back in the studio, DANA tells me he's bringing in a guy from a band he played with, named DANNY SPANOS. Aside from being a singer, DANNY apparently was a drummer, and sat in one of our rehearsals, and found problems with my drummer MARK ANTHONY, saying his meter was off. He also said FRANK STARR had to go, he sang too flat. It was up to me, as the bandleader, to break the heart-breaking news to two of my favorite players. I was told "Either they go, and we replace them, or, the whole recording deal is off". I was truly between that rock and a hard place. This wasn't a case of us having problems with the members, and looking to replace them, this was a producer/management thing. I didn't get much support from JAY and RICHIE either. TODD said "If you want to progress forward, you need to make some decisions". So, I told MARK and FRANK what had happened. and although they were hurt (and it was killing me to tell them), they understood, and left SIN. (I said, we *should* have got them back in later).

Now...we need a new singer, so, we're referred to a guy by KEEL drummer BOBBY MARKS, who is from san Diego, named RIC REED, who's 'claim to fame' is his singing (imitating) RONNIE JAMES DIO's voice in a Budweiser Beer radio spot sounding like the song "RAINBOW IN THE DARK". RIC was from a band in San Diego called CHILD, apparently well-known by the guys in RATT, and friend JAKE E. LEE. So, we bring this guy in, and get him to sing all the lead vocals on the SIN demo. Then, he gets the wild idea that if he wants to join, *his terms* are to change the band to "SIN, featuring RIC REED". Well, we have a meeting and everyone looks at me when we're told this. I said: " This guy wants to make us *his* back-up band?!?...*That* just isn't going to work at all, especially since it was me, that got us all here to begin with. I'm not just going to hand over the reins to some *new guy* who is just NOT going to be the new bandleader. Period. I'm not going to let *that* happen to me again! DANA also brings in some *kid*, we never even knew, from Las Vegas, to play drums on the tracks. Guy drives in from Vegas, playes on the tracks, and drives home, all in one night. I never event got to meet this guy until later. Kind of lanky, and *not* a rock star look in his body. Kinda nerdy, y'know? Nice guy, just not SIN material. When it came time to do the back-up vocals, I got some friends from the band BLACK N' BLUE, TOMMY THAYER and PARTIC to come in, (as well as MARK SLAUGHTER). The BLACK N' BLUE guys are going like "HOLY SH*T, this tape's HOT!". So, after we finish the demo, *now* I start to get a hint of trouble from JAY & Richie, who are living with JAY *& his girlfriend. Squabbling, and room-mate issues. TODD comes to me and says: "JAY and RICHIE feel, that since SIN spent so much time in the studio (not really), that they say that they don't think *you* can cut it live with the newly arranged material". I was in SHOCK. I said "WHAT?!?!" "What the hell kind of lame-ass excuse is THAT?!?" Now, I begin to see the cornerstone of all my work begin to start crumbling. As I said, "like sand, the more I tried to hold it together, the more it just ran thru my fingers". I watched everytning I had worked for, blood, sweat and tears, go right down the drain. (he last show we did together as a band before we went into the studio in 1985, was on my birthday, December, 28th, 1984. SIN was no more). Oddly enough, when we had just finished the SIN demo, I took a copy over to B.C.RICH guitars, and the late President, BERNIE RICO and I sat in his Caddilac. He pops in the SIN demo, and, 30 seconds into the first song, he says "Welcome to B.C.RICH, what would you like us to make for you?" He says "I've heard tons of bands, but *this* is something special, you guys are awesome!" That is how I got my B.C.Rich bass endorsement. Everything just fell into place from there, even though we did have the RANDALL endorsement before that...

FIBM:   So, what happened after SIN? Where did you go from there?

Rik Fox:  So...Now SIN is but a memory, and I'm *really* bummed out about this...NOW what do I do?!?...Some time later, a couple of friends pick me up and we're heading to see STRYPER, and it's pouring rain, which cancels the outdoor show. We stop off at a local rehearsal studio in North Hollywood, on the way, and our friends BURN are auditioning bass players. (BURN shared producer DANA STRUM). The guys in BURN remember me from when they were HELLION, and I jammed with them years before. They tell everyone to leave the room so they can talk, but, they ask me to stay. They said "We heard about SIN, and we're sorry to see such a great band fall apart...what would you say, if we asked you to audition for bass in BURN?" I said, "Well, I've *already* more than proven myself in how I play for years now, and everyone who's seen me knows I kick ass"... They said (words to the effect of) "It's just a formality, would you be interested?". So I said..."ok". BURN was being handled by RONNIE JAMES DIO's NIJI Management under Curt Lorraine. NIJI is also handling ROUGH CUTT under WENDY DIO at this time as well. It was nice to be a part of the NIJI Banner.

So, I get a copy of five tunes on the BURN Demo produced by, guess who?...DANA STRUM. I pick up the songs pretty fast, and go in to do the 'audition'. I must say, we ROCKED!

I even threw in a few 'moves' with the guys, and between ALAN BARLAM and RAY SCHENK, they really dug it. I locked in with drummer SEAN KELLY, or so I thought. After blowing smoke up my skirt about how great it all sounded, they called me later, and said "SEAN, being the other half of the rythym section, decided to go with another guy. So, they 'blamed' the overall decision on SEAN. Two days later, I get a call from ALAN BARLAM, telling me "RIK, we're REAL sorry, SEAN happened to pick a guy who didn't even OWN any gear!, and can't do any gigs with us..." I said "After all this you tell me that?!?" He says "Overall we really wanted *YOU* more, you really gave some life to the songs more than our last guy, and we *Should* have given it to you right away". So, now, I think about it, and tell him "Let me think about it". And, they're getting nervous now... ALAN's calling me every day, two times a day, asking me "Well?... what do you think, still interested?".

Now, they're sweating it out...Eventually, I say, OK, let's do it." So, ow I'm rehearsing with BURN at MATES rehearsal studios in North Hollywood. And it's sounding really good. We're cookin'. Then, singer RICHARD PARICO, has some problems and needs a place to stay, so, I offer him my couch, and the band members warn me to watch out, be careful, he's a diabetic, and will eat you out of house and home. He's done it before. You know, I had to go out and put a friggin' lock on my refrigerator at home?!? They were right! This guy's raiding all my food, and drink, promising to pay for it. then, for other reasons, they ultimately sack PARICO form BURN, and I have to kick him out of my place. Now...BURN needs to replace their singer. I know of someone from N.Y. out in L.A. Former singer for ANTHRAX, NEIL TURBIN. NEIL's got this awesome voice, and I think he'd be really good for the position. BURN says ok, and we want to bring him in. Although NEIL's an awesome singer, he knows this, and starts telling me, he doesn't like to sing anybody else's material, only stuff *he* has written on. I said "NEIL, you're not grasping the concept of joining a band that is *already* together, and is established...this is a *team-work* thing". He stays adamant to his principles and passes on joining BURN. Now here's where the idea of me joining 'sinking ships' phase starts to take hold...BURN, just replaces their bassist with me, and now, has to go back to square one, and find a new singer. In the meantime, my friends in LOUDNESS are touring the West Coast, with rotating support CINDERELLA and POISON. The get me a couple of tour laminate 'All-Access' passes, and I go to see a few of their shows, hanging out with them. While in Phoenix, Arizona, I meet this nerd named Brad, who knows I was in STEELER, and KEEL had just played there. He says he knows a band looking for bass players named SURGICAL STEEL. Supposedly being a big (local) promoter, who can't get himself passes for LOUDNESS, I generously let him use one of mine. (He nearly got himself kicked out of the backstage area for nosing where he had no business being)...Anyway, I meet this guy named JIM KEELER, from SURGICAL STEEL, and we have a nice, quick chat, nothing big. By the time I fly home, next morning, land and get home, my phone's ringing when I walk into my place. It's Brad, begging me to come back to Phoenix, because JIM KEELER wants me in SURGICAL STEEL...He says "You GOTTA DO This!!"