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Interview w/ the Legendary Bass Player RIK FOX of WASP, Steeler, SI...
Time-length-icon 1h 20m
Plays-icon 496
Publish-date-icon February 13, 2012
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Early life

Fox was born in Amityville, New York, on Long Island, and raised in the Polish neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. While in high school, Fox was interested in rock music and photography, choosing as his subjects the flashy personalities of the New York glam scene of the early 1970s. He photographed the New York Dolls and KISS among many others, performing on the N.Y. city club scene at such famous locales as Max's Kansas City and CBGB, clubs he was later to perform in also with a group he joined during the height of the N.Y. club scene, The Martian Rock Band. During this period, he dated a younger sister of original KISS drummer Peter Criss. Fox and Criss became friends and Fox witnessed the formation of legendary rock band KISS from the very beginning, including the addition of lead guitarist Ace Frehley.

After moving to Los Angeles, California in March 1982, Fox played bass-guitar in several bands, including Steeler, SIN and W.A.S.P.. Although he was only briefly associated with W.A.S.P. for several months, and recorded a 'live' three-track cassette demo, he came up with the name "W.A.S.P.". The idea occurred to him after he stepped on a wasp in the courtyard of the house where he lived with band leader Blackie Lawless. The story of W.A.S.P. is retold in the book Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal by David Konow, where this is confirmed by W.A.S.P. guitarist Randy Piper as well as in several online interviews with guitarist Piper.[1] On the other hand, some who witnessed the formation of W.A.S.P. explain that Rik Fox participated in the band after drummer Tony Richards showed up in the scene; according to Richards, the name was not Circus Circus when he joined the band.[2] Fox contends that to his recollection, the band was named Sister when he joined. In an attempt to save face and fuel the controversy, Lawless finally admitted Fox's involvement after many years of being asked about this subject, confirms that Rik Fox had indeed played with the band but, backpedals by subjectively claiming 'only for a couple of rehearsals', which is not the accurate truth, since Fox spent some 4 months rehearsing and writing with the band. In fact, Fox contributed to the W.A.S.P. song 'Master of Disaster', found on their original early demo. The entire second verse's lyrics and half-time break was written by Fox which preceded the guitar solo, and was eventually cut-up and re-used by Lawless in the W.A.S.P. hit song 'Wild Child'. Additionally, as photographer Don Adkins Jr. among others, can validate, and who watched Fox at the W.A.S.P. rehearsals at Pipers' studio, all Fox's claims and preponderance of evidence to be in fact, true. Fox is also shown in early band photographs taken by Don Adkins Jr. during the band's first photo session. Both Lawless and Richards allege that 'Rik Fox couldn't do it in the band, his playing was just not right', again, a subjective back-pedal-face saving gesture, so they 'let him go in a very short period of time', which comes off as plausible, because Lawless is in a better position to be believed, yet it is Fox's bass tracks found on the 'original' W.A.S.P. 3-track demo recorded at Pipers' studio which, as further evidence do not lie; so his playing ability was 'not' as some contend, the actual reason for his departure from the band.[3] The band was actually called 'SISTER' when Fox flew out from N.Y., but with several other bands using the term 'Sister' (White Sister, Twisted Sister, et al.) Lawless claimed he 'was looking for something entirely different'; at Fox's suggestion of the name W.A.S.P., Lawless 'lit up' and loved the name). It's still not clear why Piper (and others) stand by Rik Fox's evidence, while some others are in opposition in this affair since; clearly, sides have been drawn on this controversial issue.

Fox did play quite successfully, with his band SIN, which found the band being voted 'Top drawing heavy metal/rock band of Los Angeles' according to an L.A. Music Magazine, and performing in dozens of packed-house concerts and shows, including the annual 'Los Angeles Street Scene' before some 5,000 people, and the band recorded a master demo in 1985, just before the bands' chemistry took a downturn. Fox also spent several months in the late 1980s, rehearsing with Niji Management's band BURN and then several more months recording and performing with local Arizona heavy metal band SURGICAL STEEL, with apparently, no 'playing issues' at fault claimed there either, especially with Fox successfully recording with Mick Brown, drummer of the band Dokken for the Surgical Steel sessions. (The band lost its financial backing and the recording fell through).
[edit]Moving On

Fox actually received a lot more mileage from his time with Steeler, after his tenure with W.A.S.P., and contends that Steeler was one of the cornerstones of the Hollywood rock scene in the early 1980s, laying integral groundwork for many of the bands yet to follow, such as Poison and Guns N' Roses just as the MTV era was being introduced to Rock music. Steeler acquired the services of a young, up-an-coming Swedish guitar-whiz Yngwie J. Malmsteen, which rocked the band to much-garnered attention, selling our venues and opening for the likes of Quiet Riot at a high-point in their respective careers. Unfortunately, Steeler changed their line-up several more times before calling it quits and re-forming as Keel.
[edit]Going Solo With SIN

Meanwhile, Fox was now 'on the map' and had a bankable reputation and sizable following, enough to now attempt to sell out clubs on his name alone. This happened when he formed a band and referred back to the band name he used back in his New Jersey club days going back to 1977-SIN. Fox's first L.A. line-up began to sell out clubs rapidly drawing attention, following on the heels of his popular notoriety from Steeler. However, within one year, the band members began to entertain ideas of kicking Fox out of his own band and replace him. Things came to a head during recording what would have been their first album when Fox stormed out of the session after apologizing to the producer Bill Metoyer. Fox quickly re-formed another line up using 3 members of the New York band ALIEN, and outstandingly outdid his previous band's accomplishments, finding themselves being voted in a Los Angeles Music magazine's poll for 'The top drawing rock/metal band cumulative for 1984.' Doors were now opening for Fox and SIN, and they entered Encore Studios in 1985 to record master album demos, which got the attention of the record companies. However, bad luck struck again and the line-up fell apart despite Fox trying desperately to keep it all together.
[edit]New Band Life

Fox was quickly approached by NIJI managed band BURN, who shared the same producer, and was accepted into the band. Not long after the band eventually removed their singer, Fox approached friend and fellow New Yorker, former Anthrax lead singer Neil Turbin to offer him the gig, which Turbin turned down in favor of his own project. During a break in rehearsals with BURN, Fox flew to Arizona to scout potential gigs for BURN when he was approached to join Surgical Steel, which led to recording an album with them and opening for Lita Ford band. Unfortunately, the financial backing fell through for Surgical Steel to finish the album and Fox left the band, returning to Hollywood.

Not one to stand still, Fox's music career took a turn, but never entirely ended, after he abandoned his last band, Thunderball, in the early 1990s. He changed his 'pretty-boy look' and played in a local, low-key Hollywood band Wiseguys, (not 'The Wiseguys'), radically camouflaging himself into a rather incognito image that better fit the band Ministry, than the more Glam-looking bands he created or performed with.
Rik Fox has had shared the stage and performed with some of Rock’s Legends the late Ronnie James Dio and rock comedian Sam Kinison, Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo, as well as KISS Mark St. John, Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Mighty’ Max Weinberg, Roseanne’s John Goodman, producer Jean Beauvoir, as well as Warrant and others at various all-star jams, or jamming with the likes of Steppenwolf's legendary guitarist Michael Monarch.
[edit]New Interest

After having served five years in the California State Military Reserve as a radio operator/communications NCO, his interest moved on in all things military which brought him to working in the film industry as an assistant property master, and weapons handler, working on direct-to-video lower budget films and on the television series Air America, featuring Lorenzo Lamas, and the late Scott Plank, with whom Fox became close friends. Fox also dabbled in acting and took several film roles. He worked on the film Surface to Air with Chad McQueen, Melanie Shatner, and Michael Madsen. Fox worked/acted briefly on the television soap opera General Hospital, acting directly with series anchor 'Luke'-Anthony Geary. Rik was also one of the interviewees for the VH-1 Cable series 'Driven' for the episode "The Rise of Motley Crue" being a close friend of the band and recommended to VH-1 producers by former Hollywood booking agent Vicky Hamilton (music executive).
[edit]Renaissance pioneer

Through acting, he eventually became involved with the Renaissance Faire scene, where he actively sought to bring the noticeably absent Polish history into the forefront. Fox has been referred to by many Polish media correspondents and others as a 'recognized pioneer' in this venture, of creating the first representation in the U.S., of the Polish winged hussar cavalry of central Europe which, apparently, is a part of his ancestry. Apart from being a 'rock star' musician, he is the first Polish-American of Polish noble ancestry, to 'formally', represent the Polish Winged Hussar cavalry in U.S. history. Among other accomplishments, Fox had been nominated as the vice-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Polish American Congress, in which he served a 4-year term and stepped aside for family-related reasons.

Fox is also involved in co-promotion of the European and Japanese market release of The STEELER Anthology with former band mate Ron Keel. A discussion of a possible STEELER reunion performance has been left open-ended so far. Although he has not left the music field entirely, in recent years, Fox has taken a new interest in learning the field of natural horsemanship through his wife Tarrah, (married on October 1, 2009 in a small private ceremony), and they train their (rescued) horses, while he continues to work on his pursuit of raising Polish historical awareness and culture and military history with their winged hussar group. Fox still dabbles in music. Through Shrapnel Records producer Mike Varney, Fox has recently re-connected with fellow Steeler band-mate and drummer Mark Edwards. Renewed interest is being shown to Steeler, by renown DJ SHADOW who expressed interest in using some of Steeler's music for a new project, which will possibly revive an interest in Steeler once again for the next 'Metal Generation' to come as well as previous fans who still listen to their classic album. There is an interesting after-note, that the Steeler album is the first and only independently released Hard Rock/Heavy Metal album to continue to sell, since its release in 1983, and possibly, has gone well-past the point of being certified as Gold status for such a release of its kind.

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