Poison drummer Rikki Rockett recently joined LA Guns guitarist Tracii Guns for a Sunset Strip-themed episode of the Totally ’80s podcast, and at some point the conversation inevitably turned to returned to the subject of whether “the rock is dead.”
While Rockett optimistically stated that “there’s a lot of promising (new rock music), Stolen Prayer and some of these new bands that are coming out holding the torch,” which he finds “very exciting,” he acknowledged that “rock represents less. the music business, unfortunately” – and admits he doesn’t “know if we’ll ever get back” to rock’s glory, although he’s “trying hard to keep rock alive.” And he surprisingly didn’t say anything about why he thinks rock ‘n’ roll isn’t as important as it used to be.
“I think rock doesn’t have any sociocultural activity, and that’s the problem. Nobody stands for anything now. Rap is the most dangerous (genre) today. Honestly, Taylor Swift has more guts than most rock bands these days — not afraid to open his mouth and fight ‘the man,'” Rockett complained, likely referring to his growing political outspokenness in recent years. year and his fight against his former record label, Big Machine, over the ownership of his masters. “Rock bands are playing now, man. … There is no one more brave than that.
“I think every big music event is kind of a cultural/social event. Like, punk rock is very social, and what we’re doing is a sociocultural event,” Rockett continued. “You really have to PROMISE to be involved in what we’re doing — I mean, people get kicked out of school and fight with their parents and ‘we don’t accept it,’ all that stuff. It really set America and the world on fire, in many ways. And then I think that grunge has a sociocultural movement. … And so, I think that for the stone to really come back to the surface, it has to have something behind it, like any great art.”
Rockett also addresses homophobia — and hypocrisy — within the aging and increasingly conservative rock community (since his Yahoo Entertainment/Totally ’80s interview took place, famously cosmetic-enhanced rock stars like KISS’s Paul Stanley, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, and Alice Cooper have all made shockingly transphobic public statements). “Now, the crazy thing is that even so many people in our time used to wear makeup — and the older I get, the more I need it! — it’s amazing how many rock people are homophobic,” Rockett pointed out. “It’s an incredibly homophobic genre. It’s very strange. … It’s part of why rock is struggling. I think now there’s a contradiction in all these things.”
On a lighter note – and speaking of makeup – Rockett also talked about the famous cover art for Poison’s 1986 debut, See What the Cat Drags. (“At first it was See What Cat Drugs Are Inbut the people at Enigma Records thought the ‘drug’ reference was bad,” he laughs.) The members of Poison had their faces heavily painted for an album photo shoot by Athena Lee, the younger wife of Crüe drummer Tommy Lee .“You can blame Athena for that album cover,” Rockett gushed, referring to the resulting gauzy-lensed, Merle Norman-makeover glamor shots that caused a stir at the time.
Rockett – who revealed that he took much of the inspiration for his early look not from the hair-metal scene on the Sunset Strip, but from deathrock bands like Specimen and Alien Sex Fiend – continued to express -see that Poison’s thick pancake spackle that “you can scratch. off with your nails,” is not just a fashion statement, but a necessity.” (Poison guitarist) CC (DeVille) had a breakout literally that day ( pf the photo shoot). He had a reaction. He had this horrible breakout,” he recalled.
“We kept slapping makeup on (CC). I’m not kidding! We put on makeup, no question, but we put on TON on, and it didn’t work. It is peeling. … And when we finished the shoot, Enigma couldn’t pay to have us do another photo shoot, so they hired an airbrush artist. Now, at that time, there was no Photoshop; they literally airbrushed it. So, if you airbrush one guy, you have to airbrush all the guys, or they won’t work together. And when they were done, we were like porcelain dolls. We are like (Patrick) Nagel (paintings),” laughed Rockett.
“But we just turned it down. We were like, ‘Wow, this is very impactful.'”