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INTERVIEW: RIKKI ROCKETT of POISON – June 2018

| 12 June 2018 | Reply

What’s better than checking out Poison on a Friday night in Detroit?  Getting up Saturday morning afterward and chatting with none other than Poison drummer Rikki Rockett.  After a killer show at Pine Knob (DTE Energy Music Theatre), the band moved on to Chicago and I headed home.  The next morning, I waited for Rikki to call so I could get his take on the show, the rest of the tour, and much more…

Toddstar: Rikki,  thank you so much for taking time out. I know you guys are so busy right now.

Rikki: We are. I’m running on about maybe four hours right now, so bear with me…

Toddstar: Well, as someone who was in the crowd last night in Detroit, we appreciate the fact you’re running on four hours of sleep.

Rikki: Well, Detroit’s always, always, always, always awesome. I don’t know what to say, it’s just never lets me down. And we do our best never to let Detroit down.

Toddstar: You guys always deliver. That said, how’s the rest of the tour going over so far?

Rikki: Great. Really, really good. Detroit’s always the pinnacle city, but it’s been going great everywhere. I’m a little concerned about Chicago right now cause it’s raining. We had to cancel one show… we’ve gone several tours where we’ve never had to cancel anything, and I’m really hoping we don’t have to cancel this one. Promoters are scared now after that Sugarland incident. And I get it. It’s lives are involved. Hopefully it’ll clear up and we do this show tonight.

Toddstar: Cool. Rikki, you’ve been doing this more than 30 years now, did you think when you guys were getting ready to drop that debut release that you guys would still be here doing what you love night after night for packed houses?

Rikki: I didn’t think I’d be here 2 years ago. Honestly, sometimes life is definitely a ride. You don’t know when you’re getting off when you get on it. You know what I mean? I wanted to carve out some kind of a career out of playing music. But I had no idea that it would last this long. And I don’t think any of us did really.

Toddstar: You are one of the busiest dudes ever. You had the drum line. You’ve done saddlebags for motorcycles. You’ve got your own accessory line. You’ve got the Devil City Angels. What is it that motivates you to keep going and stay involved with all your different projects?

Rikki: Anxiety. I have a lot of anxiety, so therefore I just channel it by doing a lot of things. And I’ve always been a hobby person. I love hobbies. I love doing stuff. I love keeping my mind busy. I was the kind of kid that would get up in the morning and mom didn’t have to worry about me except to feed me. I just had always some little project going on. I was either just working on something and then when I got into music, then forget about it. I was all about that. So, I think I’m just like that as an adult too. So, I think that’s what motivates me. I don’t know how to do it any other way. Sometimes I go on vacation, I don’t know what to do with myself. It’s like can I work on something?

Toddstar: I want to get back to Poison for a second. You guys got to play the hits. That’s what people expect. What are the song or two that when you know they’re coming up in the set list, you just can’t wait to get to?

Rikki: Honestly, everything has its place. “Unskinny Bop” is a fun one to play for sure. “Nothing But A Good Time” is a fun one to play, cause I love doing the live version of it where we do breakdowns and fun stuff like that. Those are two highlights for me for sure.

Toddstar: Conversely, if there was one or two songs that you’d love to dust off and throw into the set just as your personal favorites to do live or that you’d love to do live for the fans, what would those songs be?

Rikki: You know what? I was talking about this the other day. What I think would be really cool… I don’t think I’m going to get the band on board. I don’t think I’d get promoters on board for it, but I would love to do what Aerosmith did. I would love to do a Poison No Hit Tour. Literally, don’t do any hits. All B-sides. “Tearing Down Walls”, “Life Loves A Tragedy.” All those, just strictly stick with those. I think that’d be fantastic.

Toddstar: I’m sold on it. I think it’d be amazing. You mentioned two years ago you didn’t know you’d be here, and fortunately I was one of those guys that was able to interview you just after you got your first all clear scan and the all clear diagnosis. How are those scans going? Are you still getting the results that you’re looking for?

Rikki: Oh yeah, I arrived at the desired result. They wouldn’t let me tour if I had cancer. Yeah, I’ve been clean for two years now. And I’m doing great. So, after two years with having that typically 90/95% of all cases recur in that first two years with this type of cancer that I had. So, you’re never a hundred percent, you know what I mean? And I have to get scanned every six months, but yeah, everything’s been clean and it’s always nerve-racking. Two weeks before the scan, I’m like not the same person.

Toddstar: Right, yeah. As we talked about before, my mother-in-law does that, and she just actually got her all clear the other day for the fifth year.

Rikki: Oh, that’s great! She’s done. She’s good.

Toddstar: Yeah, yeah. Again there’s always so much to talk to with you and right now the focus is Poison, so what’s next for you guys? There’s this tour. Is there ever any rumbling of, “Okay, I’ve got this new riff. Or I’ve got this fill. Or I’ve got this melody.”

Rikki: Yeah, we’ve been messing around with some of that stuff at sound check. We’ve talked about those things. We’re going to have a meeting, our manager’s here today as a matter of fact. But we don’t really have an announcement right now of any kind. But yeah, there’s nothing more I’d like than new material. I think it would be a good thing.

Toddstar: When it comes to Poison, what are one or two of the moments that stick out in your mind that told you that you made it?

Rikki: I try to measure it, but if we start at the club level, I remember when our first club sell out was. It was November 12th, 1985. And I knew we were on our way, all the way back to the Streets of LA. But then I move all the way up to do Rock in Rio or some of the first sell outs in Detroit, you know what I mean? As a headliner. Hearing “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” as elevator music, I realized we had arrived. It’s like here we are, a rock band. We’re going to melt your face and we have elevator music.

Toddstar: It’s called diversity. You won’t hear Ozzy in an elevator.

Rikki: Right. Well, you probably could. Some of the ballads, you know?

Toddstar: That’s true. What’s the one thing that happened in Poison’s career that you think, if you could go back and revisit it, you could correct it?

Rikki: There’s lots of stuff. I mean a lot of people say “I have no regrets,” but I do. There’s stuff I could fix if I could fix it. But overall, in general I’m proud of the body of work that we’ve put out there and everything’s been an evolution. Everything happened for a reason. And look, we’re here. It’s 32 years later, it’s the original lineup, and we’re still doing what we do. So, I can’t regret too much. You know?

Toddstar: Yeah. I know you’re busy, so I’ve got one more for you before cut the string. Looking back, if you were to play any albums back-to-back-to-back-to-back, what’s the one Poison disc that you’re still in awe when you listen to back to it?

Rikki: Still in awe? You know what? It’s not just one record. It’s various tracks. Sometimes I sit there and go, “I really like what I chose to play.” And other tracks I’m like, “Mm, I could have come up with something better than that.” But sometimes you’re under the gun, you know what I mean? Like if things change in pre-production and then you only have a couple of days to work with that change and then bam, you’re in the studio and it’s like, “Okay, let’s make this great.” And it’s like, “I’m still not sure if I’m comfortable with that part.” And it’s like well, it’s time to put your big boy pants on, be a pro and lay it down. You know what I mean? There’s lots of different breaks and things like that. But then there’s a lot of stuff I sit there and I go the simplest fill, I can look out in the audience and see people doing air drums to it. And if I did something else, it just wouldn’t be the same. If I would have thrown in a Jeff Porcaro fill or something, it just wouldn’t have worked the same way with our audience and that time frame and all that sort of stuff. So, I sort of do feel like I played for what we do. I know that’s not exactly what you asked, but… (laughs)

Toddstar: It got us there. So, listen man, enjoy and hopefully you’ll get to play the show in Chicago and you give them almost as good a show as you gave us here in Detroit. And we look forward to seeing you back in Detroit.

Rikki: Well, I give it 100% every night. I just hope it doesn’t rain.

Toddstar: Alright man, we’ll see you next time in Detroit.

Rikki: Alright, thanks man. Bye.

POISON LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

RIKKI ROCKETT:

TWITTER

Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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