Full in Bloom Music recently conducted an interview with bassist Rik Fox (W.A.S.P., STEELER, SIN, SURGICAL STEEL, THUNDERBALL). An excerpt from the chat follows:
On joining W.A.S.P.:
"I hung with a friend who worked at A&M Records, Hernando Courtright, who had tons of connections in the business. He used to ask me to come to his office (in Manhattan) and listen to the demo tapes submitted by bands looking for a deal. That's how I first heard of MÖTLEY CRÜE. He had a copy of their first (Leather Records) album. He made me a cassette copy and I had that entire album memorized by the time I landed in L.A. [laughs]. Hernando also hipped me to other hot L.A. bands like SNOW, QUIET RIOT, etc., etc...Then I asked him about Blackie Lawless. Hernando knew Blackie, and upon Hernando's advice I accepted Blackie's offer to come to L.A. and 'audition' for their then-named band SISTER. Since there was already a TWISTED SISTER, and a local L.A. band called WHITE SISTER, the name SISTER wasn't really going to go anywhere. Blackie was looking for some new material... That's when, as the honest story goes, while on Blackie's telephone outside his bungalow-home, in his courtyard, I aimlessly kicked over the leaves of the avacado tree there. I kicked over one leaf and a hornet was under it. I quickly flipped the leaf back over on it, and stepped on the leaf before it could attack me. I then turned the leaf back over, revealing a dead hornet. Because it was semi-curled, it hit me! The old TV show 'Green Hornet'! I went back inside to Blackie, watching the NY Yankees baseball game, and said, 'Hey, I got an idea for a new band name for us. He looks up at me from his boredom and says, 'What?' I said, 'WASP'. Blackie looks off, thoughtfully, as if he could already envision what the band eventually became, and said, 'That's real good. I like that! Keep working on that, it sounds like a cool name,' and he went back to watching the ball game on TV. God's honest truth, that is exactly how the name W.A.S.P. came to be. Next day at rehearsal, Blackie says the new name of the band is WASP. Drummer Tony Richards says, 'Who names their band after a bug?!' I said, 'THE BEATLES?', and everyone laughed. I followed with 'SCORPIONS?' And it stuck. Randy Piper wanted to call the band HELLION, because coming from Texas, that's what bad kids were called. However, there already was a band in Hollywood called HELLION (with whom I later played with for a short time).
"To this day, Blackie has denied that I ever had anything to do with WASP, and changed [the band's name] to W.A.S.P. Well, I have the photos to prove it, as taken by then-MÖTLEY CRÜE photographer Don Adkins. I have color and black-and-white photographs, about some 10 or so pictures. If there was no W.A.S.P. for me to be in, then why go to the trouble to take band photographs, and make that now-infamous live three-track demo???? It's all over the Internet now, and my personal copy was 'stolen' years ago. That's probably how it wound up mass-produced. I even titled my copy of the demo 'Back for the Attack' (pre-DOKKEN), and this was picked up and further mass-produced. I now have a shitty multi-copied copy from who knows where. There was also a small group of friends who used to come over to Randy Piper's rehearsal studio, Magnum Opus, in Buena Park, California and watch us rehearse. One of them was Dan Starr, who eventually became my bass tech and stage manager for my band SIN. So, now, there were witnesses to the fact that I was, in fact, a full-on member of WASP (pre-periods). I still have my original sketch artwork of the logo I drew up in my files somewhere. So, actually, by right and legally, Blackie Lawless owes, me quite a hefty sum of back royalties for my idea(s). (The 'Road Warrior' look for W.A.S.P. was also one of my ideas too, which Blackie originally shot down. In later years, one-time W.A.S.P. drummer (and former STEPPENWOLF, KEEL, eventually L.A. GUNS drummer) and good friend, Steve Riley admitted that Blackie became violent at the very sound of my name, and that he often-times stole the costuming ideas of fellow W.A.S.P. members after shooting down their original pre-touring ideas, which Blackie later used for his own. Blackie told me on my first night in L.A. at his house: 'If you're ever gonna lie about something, make it the biggest lie you can, the more outrageous the lie, the more believeable people will believe it.' Well, Blackie Lawless has lived by his own philosophy for all these years, and owes me millions in back monies. Well, sorry for getting off on a rant, but so many people ask me, 'What's your story with W.A.S.P.?' There's a few W.A.S.P. Internet fan sites who claim me to be a 'poser' and that the whole thing is a lie. If they only could open thei star-filled eyes, and pull their collective heads out of Blackie's ass, they'd see the truth. Some have actually found my story truthful, asking me, 'Well if you came up with the name WASP, what does it stand for (with the periods)?' I said, 'When I named it, it was more related to the 'Green Hornet' logo, 'coiled, about to strike.' In later years, considering all the many, many members that have been 'sentenced' to play with W.A.S.P., I coined this version now and say it means: 'W(e're) A(ll) S(ide) P(layers), which, in retrospect, is very amusing, and many laugh at it, including Randy Piper.
"Well, that's it. True, top-to-bottom. I have no profit to lie about any of it. Years later, Randy admitted to me, 'The reason Blackie kicked you out of the band was, since you lived at Blackie's place, he got real pissed off when you brought a girl home, after she had aready turned him down earlier in the evening, when he tried to pick her up. It was like you were unintentionally rubbing it in his face. He got sick of it, and fired you. It had absolutely nothing to do with how you played as a musician. We couldn't defend you, because it was HIS band, and he'd fire us too.'"
Read the entire interview at FullInBloomMusic.com.