discredit me, and dismiss my personal experience as being a member of the original line-up of WASP…It’s been quite a ride and I appreciate the fans who continue their unwavering positive support for and to me, because it has not always a very pleasant one. Darren has probably been the most responsible person for helping my story get out to all the fans who, to this day, tell me they had no idea that I was the band member who actually created the bands’ name. Anecdotes I have plenty of. Whether or not they are believed by some of the disgruntled critics is another story, ha, ha, ha.
But then, how could my anecdotes be so accurately described unless I was actually there when the critics weren’t, right? OK, right after I arrived at his house on Feb. 4th 1982, Blackie told me ‘If you’re going to lie, lie BIG; the bigger the lie, the more prone people are to believing it.’ And he picked a doozy; following his own advice when he carefully evades the subject of ‘Was Rik Fox ever a band member of WASP?’ Despite the photographic and recorded documentation, some thirty years later, now comes a small horde of critics who have drank Blackie’s Kool-Ade and believe his Big lie.
This is why he knew what he was doing when he let me go and demanded that ‘you are not to own any proof that you were ever in this band, and you are to surrender all photos you have of you with the band.’ Now, if that wasn’t premeditated, then I don’t know what is. After we recorded the now-infamous WASP demo, we’re back at his house, and Blackie looks at me and says ‘I’m glad we got you; the search is definitely over for a bassist and I’m happy with how the demo came out.’ I said ‘I hope we can make a good team working together, after all, you’re a Virgo and I’m a Capricorn…and, if Gene (Simmons) is a Virgo and Paul (Stanley) is a Capricorn, so, if that works for them, then…’ and Blackie just smiled at me.
Apparently being a good songwriter is not good enough for the guy, he also has to take other people’s ideas and lie that they were his own; After I went to Blackie and told him of my idea for the new band name of WASP, (and the ‘Road Warrior’ look), and we both told the rest of the band, I had no idea that he actually went around telling people that it was *his* idea! WASP / L.A. GUNS drummer Steve Riley confirmed that for me years later, when he came over my place in Hollywood; he said ‘Blackie did this all the time to his other band members.’ Why was I let go from the band? Well, there’s two sides to that; mine and Blackie’s and Blackie is NOT going to come clean and admit it; it would undermine everything he’s ever said about WASP’s origins. The night of their Troubadour show at the after party, Randy Piper told me the story why, that today, he back-pedals and now refuses to admit to.
At first, everything was great, a few rough bumps here and there equipment-wise, but musically, I never saw any problems. We were a tight band and, to my recollection, I locked in tight with Tony Richards’ drumming. All of that can be heard on the WASP demo along with my more melodic bass lines than what Blackie played later on. When Randy is asked about this, he back-pedals and, like Blackie, consistently evades coming out and answering the question directly—that’s a sign of knowing the truth and refusing to say anything out of self-protection or self-incrimination. He knows, musically, there were no problems with me.
The honest story I have been told by Randy which he now recants, is that I was let go by a band leader who became angry with me because of, on occasion, one or two girls I brought back to Blackie’s place who had earlier in the evening turned down his advances at a club. I had no idea that this had happened and so, according to Randy, Blackie must have thought that I was doing it on purpose as if to rub it in his face. It was only later that I was told by the girls that Blackie had hit on them earlier in the evening and they said no, but rather came on to me being the ‘new guy’ in town.
Apparently this must have become some kind of personal issue with Blackie and so, out of the blue he stops talking to me and I knew something was wrong, but never thought it had anything to do with me. One day he says ‘we need to talk’ and begins to tell me how ‘it’s just not working out with the band, and that I am being let go…I am not to own or possess any photos or proof of ever having been with the band.’
I said to myself, ‘screw that’, and took the negatives and went out and had copies made, and when Blackie found out he flipped out and went berserk, yelling and screaming at me. I handed over most of the photos but not all of them, which, at present are the only proof of my actually having been one of the original founding members of the band. We’ve seen musicians let go from bands for some really ‘out there’ reasons, but for being jealous of ‘the new guy’ and then trying to use the oldest back-pedal in creation of falsely blaming it on him being an inferior player, in the face of an awesome demo, is a clear example of what has become one of the most controversial conspiracies in the world of rock music. When asked directly, Blackie (and Randy) carefully evade answering directly and try to change the subject. That is because they know that admitting the truth will prove that they have, in fact lied to the fans all these years. And because my career is not as accomplished as Blackie’s, he is in a much better position to be believed.
However, if my career was just as extensive, it would be a different story and my side would be equally as plausible to be believed. I’m just very appreciative to all the WASP fans who have displayed a huge amount of positive support in the face of all this and they know the truth will prevail. As for my dismissive critics flaming up the social media internet, instead of living their own lives and staying out of my business, all they are really doing is blowing a lot of hot air, pontificating from their own soapboxes to gain their own attention by discrediting me. WHO CARES who these idiots are?!?
Opinions are like assholes, it is said, and everybody has one. A few of Blackie’s fans have become obsessive internet stalkers in Face Book over all this, and insist that ‘in their opinion’ that the original line-up of WASP were the members who recorded the first album. Look, it’s all very simple: Blackie was with The New York Dolls for the very last TWO shows of the last two weeks of their last tour. Are there any photos? No. Any recordings? No. Any proof of this? Not in print so far. Does everyone believe Blackie's claims? Yes, without a doubt... Why? Because he’s BLACKIE LAWLESS.Conversely, I was with WASP for FOUR MONTHS. Did I record with the band? Yes. Did I create the band’s name? Yes. Did Blackie arrange for a band photo shoot? Yes. Are there photos? Yes. Did Blackie try to forbid me from possessing any of those photos? Yes. Premeditated? You bet. He KNEW what he was doing. Do some fans believe all this? No and Yes.
And there, is where the line in the sand is drawn. And in that line in the sand, having been drawn, I have lost a few old friends over this stupid controversy, but also gained a few new ones. I’m not the one who gets overly agitated about all this; the idiot morons who are attacking me are the ones who keep stirring all this old news up, but they blame me for what they, themselves are doing. But yet, there are critics, who were never there in 1982, and insist on claiming that in the face of the recorded and photographic documentation of my being an original member of WASP, that it means nothing and proves nothing unless or until they hear it from Blackie himself. How ridiculous can you be?!? People can believe whatever they want; it doesn’t change the fact of what I lived thru in my personal experience as an original founding member of WASP. And so, until a better day, when truth shall reign, the controversy rolls on. I salute the WASP fans everywhere who still stand by me.
Q: Rik why do you think the 80's are re-igniting? I mean, it is like it's 1985 in Colombia, South America; it is happening here in Italy and it is apparent all over the world that the 80’s and even the 70’s styles are becoming enlivened again.
RF: Well, I recently signed with Premier Records label here in the U.S. and I have a new band project called “RIK FOX’S ANGRY ANGELS”… so I look forward to rocking for you all someday and watch for my musical releases; I have plans to release a Rik Fox Anthology of highlights of some of the bands I made my mark with…but in light of the fact that there is nothing new coming out that resembles the 80’s bands or 80’s types of music and presentations. So, from what I can see (and I might be out of the loop here) it’s all harder thrash type of bands with bald heads and goatees…? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but that image is so NOT 80’s…the 90’s Seattle scene took care of that. But, that being said, everything old is new again. Why do you think there is such a proliferation of 80’s’Tribute’ bands? Because everyone misses all the FUN that those types of bands brought to the stage and 80’s bands look a little silly with bald heads and goatees, LOL Just kidding.
We’re ALL older now, us veterans of the 80’s music ‘wars’, so all we can do is bring you what you loved without all the glammy splashy looks, but deliver the same hard rock with the same intensity. That last 80’s generation of players are reuniting (except STEELER it seems so far) because that is where what is left of the market still lives. Especially, mostly in Europe now, where it is still very much alive and the fans are still very supportive of it. In the U.S. the market is all but dead, or drying up; greedy promoters take all they can get off the top without lifting a finger to promote in the traditional sense as they used to (all the older Jewish guys like Bill Graham who were great promoters in the ‘Old Guard’ have retired with nobody competent enough to take their place), bands don’t draw like they used to, venues don’t want (or have the money) to pay everyone’s asking price, everyone’s asking for enough (or more) to make a profit from, and many performers are going broke in the process.
Music merchant companies are not as supportive with endorsements as they were in the 80’s and have cut back on a fair amount of support unless you are a member of an upper-level range touring act. Lots of players are like hired guns, jumping from band to band just to keep playing out there. Things are hurting all over here in the U.S. and somebody needs to get organized enough to re-boot the program back into a state where everyone is happy and makes some money. Now, you have to produce your own CD albums (which cuts out the middleman--but also cuts your traditional tour support), so you have to sell your CD albums at your shows and hope you sell enough to make some kind of profit to pay for your tour. Throw in t-shirts which are now being sold at an INSANE pricing and you MIGHT make enough for a hotel instead of sleeping in your vehicle. Then there’s negotiating you position on the concert bill, who’s greasing whose palm, etc.
You’d really better LOVE what you do, because there is very little money in it anymore. Thankfully most of the countries outside of the U.S. still have markets of opportunity to support all that American 1980’s rock music and I salute all who do; you’re helping to keep the dream and the spirit alive. As the late Ronnie James Dio used to say: ‘Good on ya!’ Thanks for having me and keeping an open mind! Mille Grazi! Cheers!
Rik Fox website: http://rikfoxbass.wix.com/rikfox
Rik Fox Reverb Nation Page: http://www.reverbnation.com/rikfox
Rik Fox Face Book Main Profile Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1126794637
Rik Fox Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/345420518814862/ (It’s a closed group, you can only post or see it if you’re a member)
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