Rikki Rockett at the Bonzo Bash NAMM Jamm 2015 event on Jan. 22 at the Observatory in Santa Ana, California, featuring:
Kenny Aronoff, Charlie Benante, Joe Franco, John Hummel, Brandon Kachel, Johnny Kelly, Corky Laing, Dave Lombardo, Khurt Maier, Stephen Perkins, Mike Portnoy, Gregg Potter, Rikki Rockett, Bobby Rondinelli, Matt Starr, Glen Sobel, Todd Sucherman, Jason Sutter, Mike Terrana, Brian Tichy, Franklin Vanderbilt. open album
Bonzo Bash NAMM Jamm 2013 (13)
Artists Bonzo Bash NAMM Jamm 2013:
Brian Tichy, Steven Adler, Seven Antonopoulos, Charlie Benante, Will Calhoun, Jimmy D'Anda, Virgil Donati, Chris Frazier, Gene Hoglan, Brandon Kachel, James Kottak, Dave Lombardo, Ray Luzier, Khurt Maier, JoJo Mayer, Jonathan Mover, Xavier Muriel, Rikki Rockett, Stephen Perkins, Simon Phillips, Mike Portnoy, Glen Sobel, Tommy Stewart, Simon Wright, Yael
The Observatory, Santa Ana, California, USA. open album
Born as on August 8, 1961 as Richard Allan Ream in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Rikki Rockett or "the Rocket" played drums in glam rock/hair metal outfit Poison. His biography in his own words:
When I was about 10 years old, a couple of us kids decided we wanted to start a band. I was jealous of my best friend Lee, because he got to play the drums he had made at camp. I was stuck playing guitar because my Dad had an old nylon string guitar, so I was deemed the guitarist. We were called the GTO’s. For no other reason than we thought GTO’s were cool cars. We played on a picnic bench for the whole neighborhood one night, all dressed in little suits. I right then knew what I wanted… To perform, but with drums!
I started to play along to my Sister’s Beatles records on an old set of bongo drums with a pair of "Lincoln Logs". A couple of years later, my parents bought me a set of drums for $50 dollars from my Sister’s then boyfriend. The first song I ever learned was "Bab O'Riley" by "The Who". This was around the summer of 1974.
In 1976 - 77 I tried High School Jazz Band. What a joke! We tried, but had no leadership. Never even played a show, but we had fun! At least it was a great way to get out of other classes!
1977 - 78
Some guys and myself put together a horrible little band called "Igneous". We played Kiss, Alice Cooper, Sweet, Stones, Bowie and Zep covers. We had basement parties but never played anywhere else. We really thought we were cool, though.
1978 - 80
My first semi-pro band was called "Spectres". Yeah, I know, another dumb name. We played parties, high schools, roller-skating rinks,VFW halls and finally bars and clubs. Bret became the singer in late '79' and we began to find our niche' among all the covers we played. Late nights and day gigs weren't enough to make it happen. We started to become our own agents. We also made much of our own gear including PA speaker enclosures, lighting rigs and pyro blast cannons. We started to actually get paid once in a while and actually began to attract girls.
1982 - 84
The concept for Poison actually emerged from a frustrating conversation that Bret and I had one day in a parking lot when we were lost searching for some club we were trying to book a gig at for Spectres. We were determined to have a band that would be everything we ever wanted to see in a band. A band that we would be fans of. An exciting high energy, theatrical mish-mash of the great influences of Hard Rock, Metal, Punk, Glam and Old School Rock and Roll. Doing this in Suburban PA, is not an easy task.
Poison played everywhere and anywhere. Small bars, clubs, opening gigs and our "ace in the hole"... the infamous skating-rink concerts. *(Poison was first called the Kidz and then changed to Paris. Paris became Poison in 1984 when we moved to the West Coast.)
Things were getting better, but we weren't happy being the cover song, clubbing band that the East Coast wanted us to be. Hard rock was on the rise and it was all coming from the West Coast. We wanted to be original and play our own material. The East Coast clubs wanted cover songs and waged your merit on how much beer was sold.
We kissed our loved ones goodbye and left for California in a van that was converted from an old ambulance. It was "sink or swim". We had $800 dollars between us and that ran out fast. We lived hand to mouth and knocked on every door. We wrote songs, hustled gigs, put flyers up everywhere, spray painted walls, wrote lies about ourselves in women's restrooms and practiced.
1986 Poison had been turned down by every record label at least twice even though we were the top drawing band in Los Angeles by now. We were working off a demo that Jim Faraci had produced and got financed through Atlantic Records (Atlantic passed on us by the way).
We finally got a break from an Indie Label called Enigma. We made our first record, "Look what The Cat Dragged In" in twelve days for $28k.
My first name is Richard and I have always been Ricky. My real last name is Ream. My nickname had been "The Rocket" for years because of my hyper personality. I decided to changed my name officially to Rikki Rockett. The spelling of Rikki simply looked cool. The real last name Rockett (Rockett is actually a real name!) is spelled with two T’s. Just like Crockett. But, without the C of course!
With a real record deal, I considered myself as finally "going pro" that year. I think changing ones name for a career is a pretty damn cool commitment. It gave me a sense of transformation into my new role as a pro.
We did a headling club tour in the US in a camper van. Yes, the clubs were quite small for the most part, but we cut our teeth in the touring realm.
Once "Look what The Cat Dragged In" was released, we made a budget video of the song "Cry Tuff". It got poor MTV play, but put us slightly on the map.
In late 1986 we hit the road in a camper with Quiet Riot, touring mostly large clubs. The second tour was with Japan’s "Loudness" and fellow Pennsylvanians, "Cinderella". Later we landed an arena tour with Ratt, which prompted Enigma Records to make a last ditch effort for the now peaking sales of "Look what The Cat Dragged In" by kickin’ in for one more video. The video was for "Talk Dirty To Me". It was a hit and when the sales of the record started to soar, Ratt kept us on for the remainder of the tour. "Look what The Cat Dragged In" topped out at just over 4 million in sales.
Capitol Records bought into the Enigma label and we were one of the lucky ones to be lab tested for the deal. We recorded "Open Up And Say Ahh!" with a real record budget, made a new video and set out on the road with David Lee Roth for six months. Later that year, we did our first headline tour across the world. Total time on the road was sixteen and a half months. We scored three top 40 hits that year including, "Nothin’ But A Good Time", "Fallen Angel" , "Your Mamma Don’t Dance" and a number one with "Every Rose Has It’s Thorn". "Open Up And Say Ahh!" topped out at just over 6 million in sales.
Poison recorded "Flesh And Blood" and began the same routine for another two years. "Unskinny Bop" was first out of the box, pushing sales upward of over 2 million in the first few weeks. Following was "Ride The Wind", " Somethin’ To Believe In" and "Life Goes On". "Flesh And Blood" top out at just over 4 million in sales by the end of the year.
Poison released "Swallow This Live". A live recordings from the 1990 tour. Poison continued touring in support of this record throughout that year in both the U.S., Europe and Japan.
Poison replaced C.C. DeVille after a long period of infighting and recorded "Native Tongue". The first single, "Stand", received massive MTV play. The second single, "Fire And Ice" received less play and the record topped out at 1.3 million in sales. A flop compared to the first three records. Yes, 1 million was actually considered a flop!
I also had been collecting studio gear for years now. I have always had a weak spot for good vintage gear, so when I discovered a Neve 8058 console in England for sale, I jumped on it. I open the "Rockett Plant Recorder" in Burbank, CA. Filling a niche for low cost, pro recording. I bought up solid gear from fledging studios around the U.S. and started a genuine audio recording business. Demos for "Crack A Smile" with Poison’s new guitarist, Blues Saraceno were done at the "Rockett Plant Recorder" as well as "Fame", that would later be included on my "Glitter 4 Your Soul" record later in time. I produced several emerging artists as well during that time.
Area recording studios, fed up with smaller studios like mine taking away potential "mid –level" customers, started to offer their small rooms inexpensively. This undercut me and others like me. The "Rockett Plant Recorder" would have to function with "Up Time" constantly to survive, leaving no personal studio time for me. It began to fledge and out of frustration with the recording biz and Poison’s position, I soon sold the studio and most of the gear, except for certain prized pieces. Later that year, my garage was broken into and I lost those last pieces of prized gear.
"Crack A Smile" was recorded, but not released. Capitol records had lost faith in Poison and wasn’t willing to put the record out.
The music biz had been both amazing and at the same time, cruel to me. I decided to hibernate from music. By then, I had made enough money to live without working any more. But, I wasn’t about to…
1994 – 1995
Poison took a long break. Since Poison was on hiatus, I wanted to try something away from the music biz. I refused to be a part of the new scene that was emerging. It wasn’t what I was about and hence, I would have been faking it. So, I embarked on a new creative outlet, comic books. I have always considered my self an artist, so I learned to write and color With my old bud, artist Mark Williams, we started "No Mercy Comics". We produced three titles a month for a couple of years. The Titles were: Sisters Of Mercy, Nightshade and Coven 13.
Fox was so impressed they bought the rights to Nightshade. Sadly, Fox never did do anything with it and returned it to us 18 months later. I considered "No Mercy Comics" as mildly successful. However, I learned so much artistically during that time. I consider that part of it as massively successful. Soon after the Fox deal, Mark discovered he had cancer and succumbed to complications less than a year later. I was no longer motivated to continue. "No Mercy Comics" closed the doors and stopped producing comics a little while later. Again, I hibernated. This time, away from everything.
Capitol decided to release a Greatest Hits collection. Poison was against it, feeling that we had been cheated on "Crack A Smile" and wanting to record a new record at some point. We felt that it wasn’t time to reflect on a Poison legacy quite yet. Capitol owned the rights and could release it anyway. So, we finally co-operated with the release to insure it’s integrity with the promise that "Crack A Smile" would finally be released as well. "Poison's Greatest Hits 1986-1996" soon reached the 1 million mark, proving that we had sustained the test of time.
C.C. Deville rejoined Poison, VH-1 shot a "Behind The Music" episode and the following year, 1999, Poison successfully toured a 4 month Summer outing. VH-1 aired the "Behind The Music" episode at the end of that Summer.
"Crack A Smile" is released early in the year. Poison records and releases "Power To The People", a self released effort with new songs and live recordings from the 1999 tour. Poison embarks on another summer tour.
Poison again successfully tours for the 3rd year in a row.
Poison records and releases a full length record called "Hollyweird" and successfully tours for the 4th Summer in a row.
No record this year, but here we go again for the 5th summer in a row on the road.